flavus Ng & Kottelat,
n the last couple of years there has been an ongoing revision (and
confusion) of the Bagridae family and this is just one of
the fishes involved. You may have known this bagrid as Pelteobagrus
ornatus and it was only in 1998 that Ng Heok Hee and Maurice
Kottelat erected a new genus for this fish, namely, Hyalobagrus,
( Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters v. 9 (no. 4) 340 Fig. 6, a new genus
of miniature bagrid catfish from Southeast Asia).
In researching the new genus they also
found that there was more than one distinct species going under
the name of Pelteobagrus ornatus. Hyalobagrus ( hyalo+bagrus=3D
transparent bagrid) belongs to the subfamily Bagrinae (sensu
Mo,1991) and there are three species. Hyalobagrus flavus (flavus=3D
yellow) only known from the Batang Hari drainage in Sumatra and
the Mentaya Basin in Southern Borneo.
Hyalobagrus leiacanthus (leiacanthus=smooth thorn)
from the Kapaus and Barito Basins in Central Borneo. Hyalobagrus
ornatus (Duncker, 1904) known only from Muar Drainage in the
Southern Malay Peninsula. If you do possess this fish and know
the type locality, you can put a name to it. As far as I have
ascertained the fish depicted in the aquatic books is flavus
and not ornatus as has been thought for a number of years.
Now that we have finished with the science bit! how do we keep
flavus. This is not your typical bagrid who will cruise
your tank at night and have a free lunch on your tetra's on your
behalf, it is a small mid-water to bottom living species that
is diurnally active, constantly on the look out for foods such
as small invertebrates, insect larvae etc. I find them a little
more sensitive to water conditions than its larger relatives so
weekly to two weekly water changes are a must to keep them in
good condition. It is also beneficial to keep them in a shoal
in a planted tank as they seem to prefer their own company. You
will see them sparring with each other now and again but no damage
This species does seem to be a prime target
for spawning as the females have been seen with a cluster of green/blue
eggs in their clear (transparent) body cavity (see top image)
and they have a more rounded profile, so buying at least six and
placing them in a well planted species tank with good water quality
and water movement would be a good start.
This fish in good condition and colour can do well at Fish Shows
and I have seen quite a few who have went on to get best Catfish
or Best in Show, because of their relatively small size and good
Acknowledgements : To Asian catfish specialist Shane Linder
for his contribution to this months factsheet.
Body: Naked, compressed posteriorly. Head:
Large and slightly depressed towards the rounded snout. Mouth: Sub-terminal,
almost terminal on some specimens. Eyes: Large and superior. Barbels:
Four pairs. Two mandibular, one maxillary and one nasal. All fairly
short and very slender. Hair like in thickness. Dorsal: 1-5/7; Fin
spine with strong serrations along the posterior edge and smaller
but more numerous serrations along the anterior edge, remainder
with slender but sharp spines. Anal: Fin fairly long with 18-21
rays. Caudal: Fin forked. Pectoral: 1-6/7; Fins with slender sharp
A translucent body with a metallic yellow
tint. Black lateral line from snout, passes through the eye and
ends at the base of the caudal fin. Two finer black lines on top
of the head start at the snout then converge and end just in front
of the dorsal fin spine. Three or four small spots along the back.
The two at the base of the dorsal fin and the start of the adipose
fin are the more apparent. There are two or three small dark spots
on the ventral half of the body, the most prominent are those just
behind the ventral fin and at the base of the anal fin. Small dark
vertical patch, sometimes broken into two spots at the base of the
caudal fin. The translucency of the body is such that the dark lateral
band on the other side of the body can be seen through the fish.
Good catfish for a small community tank or
a species tank, well planted and kept in a small shoal.
Likes all types of live food such as Daphnia
and Brine shrimp. Also small frozen bloodworm and tubifex. Will
sometimes take flake, but does prefer the aforementioned foods.
Mailing List 1999.
Hyalo+bagrus=3D transparent bagrid
Burgess, W.E., 1989 An atlas of freshwater and
marine catfishes: a preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. T.F.H.
Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey
Baench. Aquarium Atlas 3,1993
Northern Area Catfish Group Information sheet 15.