Mystus pulcher (Chaudhuri,
e are off to Asia this month (Sep.2004)
and to Myanmar, formerly the state of Burma, and to a Mystus
species that is not all that well known in the hobby but
is one of the most colourful in this genus, Mystus pulcher.
There have been sporadic imports of this catfish in the United
Kingdom in the last year so what better than a factsheet to celebrate
its arrival to these shores.
The vernacular name for this species in India
is the "Pulcher mystus", pulcher in latin, meaning beautiful,
and it can be differentiated from most in this genus by the two
dark spots on the body, one on the shoulder area and the other on
the base of the caudal. There are also three white/cream longitudinal
stripes running from the beginning of the dorsal insertion along
to the caudal peduncle. The only other species that is similar is
Mystus bimaculatus Volz, 1904, but the colouration of the
body is more reddish and the two spots have a lighter outer edge
to them and they also lack the 3 body stripes.
This is a fairly easy species to keep and
is quite adaptable to different water parameters in the aquarium.
It is also a good species for
any ambitious breeder to undertake
as they do not grow large and are not aggressive. I am at the
moment in the process of carrying out this task and I'm hoping
of some luck in the future as this is indeed a beautiful species.
Hiding places are beneficial to this species as it will give them
confidence to come out and feed and to also view them. Substrate
can be of your own choice, either sand or gravel.
There is quite a confusion with the size
given, which in some literature can range from 5cm (2 ins) to
15cm (6ins). I would go with 12cm (5ins) as viewing them they
look like that the max. size of 15cm might be just a bit out of
their growth range. These sizes are of course standard length
which takes in a size measured from the snout to the caudal peduncle.
Four pairs of barbels,
2 maxillary, 2 mandibular and 2 nasal. Two dark spots on the body,
one on the tympanum and the other on the caudal peduncle.
The supraoccipital process meets the basal bones of the dorsal fin.
Maxillary barbels reaching to insertion of
Dorsal and upper part of the body dark brown
with lighter or paler whitish brown stripes: one median, from the
tip of the snout to the base of the dorsal fin, and two lateral
longitudinal on each side, one above and the other below the middle
line, which is distinguished by being dotted black for the openings
of the lateral organs. Nasal and maxillary barbels blackish brown,
adipose fin dark brown, dorsal and caudal fins are brownish with
black spots on the membranes between the rays. It
has an intensely black tympanic spot (not semiocellus), and also
one near the caudal peduncle followed by a thin white band.
Will do well in your medium to large aquarium
with larger Tetra type fish and Barbs.
No reports, but this
genus is known to be egg scatterers and
may eat the eggs if they are not separated. Cold water changes may
start a pair off if they are kept in a species tank on their own.
There have been a couple of instances of successfull
breeding attempts with Mystus species, notably M. armatus
Surprisingly they love flake food which
will give them all the vitamins they desire. They should of course
be fed a varied diet consisting of the former, tablet foods and
frozen foods such as bloodworm.
Grant, Steven; The
striped catfishes of the genus Mystus Scopoli, 1777 (Siluriformes:
Bagridae) Cat Chat, The Journal
of the Catfish Study Group (UK) Vol. 5 Issue Number 2 June 2004,
meaning whiskered (hair on the upper lip) Mystus was
first used by Belon in 1553 to describe all fish with whiskers.
pulcher: From the Latin pulcher
='beautiful', alluding to the attractive colour pattern.
Jayaram, K.C. The Freshwater Fishes of India, Zoological
Survey Of India, Calcutta.
Sands, David; Catfishes of the World, Vol.5 Bagridae
Allan James @