his month our guest writer is Chris Ralph,
who is the resident catfish expert on the questions and answers
page of "Practical Fishkeeping" the well known U.K. aquatic
monthly magazine. Chris is a fan of the bigger "cats"
and also keeps a few of the "biggies" himself, he will
now compile a factsheet on one of his favourites, "The Giant
Raphael Catfish" or by its more interesting handle "The
Mother of Snails Catfish". I will now hand you over to Chris.
This particular catfish is perhaps one of the more colourful of
the members of the family Doradidae, and is also one of
the larger species hence the common names. This catfish is quite
often described as being one of the "Tank Busters" due
to the fact that it can grow up to 610mm or 24" standard
length (from the tip of the snout to the base of the caudal peduncle).
The local name given to this fascinating catfish is "Key-way-mamma"
which refers to the common name of "mother of the snails".
The reason for this common name being due to the fact that when
a specimen was examined the intestine was lined with large aquatic
snails along its length. Some of you reading this information
may be wondering why the scientific name for this fish is not
Megalodoras irwini, the reason being that the name has
been recently changed and that the old name is now a synonym.
The lateral scutes increasing
to size towards the caudal fin
Author holding Megalodoras
15-18 lateral scutes that increase in size
towards the caudal fin. There are many caudal fulcra or bony plates.
There are no plates above or below the caudal peduncle. The adipose
is described as continuing forward in the form of a hard keel. This
catfish has two pairs of barbels, one pair maxillary and one pair
This species of catfish despite the size
that it can attain is really a "Gentle Giant" and can
be kept with other large or medium sized fish. They are not commonly
available, if you have the space for one or more as they do tend
to like their own company, they are well worth obtaining.
It has an interesting colour pattern with
dark brown markings on a light brown background. The body and head
are covered in dark brown to black blotches. The ventral (underneath)
region of this catfish has a mottled pattern, which is dark brown
in colour. The fins are mottled or spotted irregularly with black
coloured markings. The pectoral fins tend to be lighter in colour
towards the base and darker towards the edge. The adipose fin is
light brown at the top edge of the keel and darker towards the base.
Keeping Megalodoras uranoscopus is
relatively easy assuming that you have the available tank space
in which to keep them at their optimum. Ideally they are best housed
in an aquarium which is at least 72" x 24" x 24".
The preferred substrate is sand such as BD Aquarium sand, although
rounded gravel can also be used. They tolerate a wide range of water
conditions, but do like to be able to hide away. Aquarium décor
should include bogwood and if you don't mind the appearance large
diameter pieces of drainage pipe.
There are no known documented aquarium spawnings
to date, although there may be some breeding-taking place in the
Czech Republic using hormone inducement.
Their natural diet includes crustaceans such
as aquatic snails, which should be included as part of their captive
diet. In the aquarium they will feed on sinking catfish pellets,
floating food sticks, whole prawns, earthworms, chopped and whole
mussel. They also relish sinking tablet foods.
Catfish Association of Great Britain, Volume
With a large helmet (cuirass).
- Different name for
the same fish.
Scutes - Bony covering.
Baench, Aquarium Atlas 3
Top & Middle: Danny Blundell
Hoplodoras uranoscopus, Megalodoras laevigatulus, Doras laevigatulus,
D.libertatis, Pseudodoras huberi, Oxydoras huberi, Megalodoras
libertatis, Megalodorus irwini
|Mother of Snails Catfish,
Giant Raphael Catfish, Giant Talking Catfish
Amazon, Tocantins and Essequibo River basins
| 6.5 - 7.5
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