Mystus leucophasis (Blyth,
his Bagrid is the odd one out in this family as all other members
of the Bagridae behave normally, be it swimming at break neck
speed through the tank when food is dropped in or never being
seen for weeks on end until the lights go out. The common name
of the "Asian Upside Down Catfish" will maybe give you
a further clue about the activities of this very pretty Asian
Three pairs of barbels, the longest of which
are 1/2 to 3/4 the fishes body length. The upper lobe of the caudal
fin carries an extension that may be as much as 3cm in length.
As seen in the above image they like to cling to the underside
of objects in the Aquarium and of course in their natural habitats
too. It prefers this position and it will invert for al least
90% of the time. What it has going for it, forgetting its aggressive
behavior, is the white flecks/spots which a scattered in a haphazard
way on the body which makes it unique to this family.
A warning here! These catfish are usually
seen in your local fish shop as 2ins babies and you may misidentify
them as Synodontis species from the African continent
with their Upside Down appearance. Most Synodontis
are great aquarium fish but Mystus leucophasis can
be belligerent of other fish and could cause big problems in
your community tank as it grows. It will eventually eat your
other smaller tankmates.
Provide hiding places in the aquarium
such as driftwood and flowerpots so it can rest underneath them.
Better to keep one specimen as any more than this and they will
fight in the small confines of a fish tank, but if keen on a
group you will only be able to keep one male. A minimum sized
tank of 4ft long would be ideal for this species.
The whole of the body and fins except for
the extreme outer edges of the caudal is an even jet black. The
only deviation is along the flanks where there may be several white
to silvery flecks.
Will need a large tank if keeping a few
as they are territorial. Not to be trusted with smaller fish as
they will undoubtedly be eaten. If kept with other fish, large
Cichlids or Barbs such as the "Tinfoil Barb" would be
better company. Provide hiding places large enough where they
can rest upside down. May grow larger than the stated size of
30cm but this could take a few years to fulfill.
Not recorded but bred
artificially in ponds in the Far East.
Will eat most aquarium prepared foods such
as flake, tablets, pellets, live and frozen.
|Males possess a elongate
genital papilla situated just in front of the anal fin. They
also tend to be slimmer and shorter in length than the females.
Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil
(Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform
primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Catfish Study Group (UK) Information sheet
meaning whiskered (hair on the upper lip) Mystus was
first used by Belon in 1553 to describe all fish with whiskers.
Top picture: ©
© Christian Hauzar