e are off to Africa this month (July 2006) and
to a species that resides in one of the Rift Lakes,
Lake Tanganyika, along with one of our other Factsheet
There are two
species of the genus, Phyllonemus, this months
subject typus and the much rarer P. filinemus
and the differences between them centres on the maxillary
barbels where typus has the ends of these
barbels thickened (you can just see this in the above
picture) and filinemus has them thread like.
There is also a difference with the bone structure
on the top of the head in these two species, but both
have very large eyes.
So how does this
species fare in an aquarium ?. Very well in fact but
needs to be kept in a higher p.H. than normal because
of the needs of the many species endemic to this second
largest Lake in the world, with the p.H. averaging
out at between 8.0 and 8.4. and the optimum temperature
of about 25c (77f). Set the tank out as per Tanganyikan
with rockwork as they prefer to hide in the crevices
They like to
rest on the substrate with their maxillary barbels
held in a curve out the way and their membranous tips
turned towards the front.
In their natural
habitat in the lake they live in the inshore waters
to 20m depths.
and slender. 3 pairs of barbels with the maxillary
barbels sporting leaf-like ends. Dorsal with one hard
spine and 7 or 8 soft rays. Caudal fin forked. Pectoral
fin spines strongly serrated on posterior edge. The
large eyes have a free orbital rim. The posterior
cleithral process is short and has an acute tip. The
palate is dentigerous and the premaxillary tooth band
is well developed.
Upper body brown with a slight
metallic appearance. Light brown to white belly. Mandibular
barbels white/cream and maxillary barbels black. White
tip to each lobe of caudal fin.
Care & Compatibility
This species is best kept in
a group as it does like company of its own kind and
will feel more secure as it is quite a shy catfish
and can get bullied in a tank with larger aggressive
species. As with all Bagrid type fish it will be attracted
to smaller fish at night and may predate on fry, but
all in all a good addition to a mixed Rift Valley
Has been bred
in the aquarium where they are mouthbrooders with
the male or female incubating the eggs in the mouth.
In its native habitat they
feed on larval insects and crustaceans and in the
aquarium they will eat most foods given such as frozen
bloodworm, catfish tablets, white worm (sparingly)
prawns and shrimp.
A flattened pointed posterior
extension of the pectoral girdle (most prominent in
the genus Synodontis). Premaxillary: In
relation to the premaxilla (an upper jaw bone) e.g.
premaxillary tooth band.
Greek, phyhllon = leaf + Greek, nema = filament.
Freshwater and Marine Catfishes, A prelimanary
Survey of the Siluriformes. 1989. Eccles, David H;Field
Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Tanzania. Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.