his banjo catfish spends most of its
time inhabiting the coastal waters of northern South America
from Venezuela to northern Brazil. It is primarily a freshwater
catfish but can be kept in a brackish water system due to its
tolerance to salt.
This is a peaceful species that can grow
quite large and as such could prey on small fry as food.
The common name of the "Mottled
Eel-Tailed Banjo Catfish" says it all as the body, from
the dorsal fin to the caudal peduncle, is very elongated with
a mottled/spotted appearance. As a few members of this family
can be termed as a bit on the ugly side, Platystacus
cotylephorus is certainly not in this category as it
has a very attractive appearance.
As this species occurs mainly in brackish
water a little salt added to the aquarium would be beneficial.
Does not like the water to be on the acid
side of the p.H. scale for too long so would be better kept
over a p.H. of 7, which would also be beneficial to livebearers
being kept with this catfish.
Head broad and depressed, as is the body
from the gill opening to the pelvic fin base. The remainder
of the body being somewhat longer and whip like. Eyes small.
Barbels: one pair of maxillary with two pair of mental barbels
present along the ventral surface of the head. Dorsal fin: 4
rays with a soft spine. Pectoral fins are broad with 7 rays
and a strong spine that has serrae on both anterior and posterior
edges. Ventral fins are broad with 6 rays. Anal fin is long
with 52-56 rays. Caudal fin with 8-10 rays. There are parallel
rows of fine granulations running along the body.
Variable ranging from near completely black
or brown to a mottled colouration of different hues of black,
brown, tans and whites.
Will do well
in a quite community tank where the tank mates are non-aggressive,
livebearers wouls be a good addition. Spends most of the day buried
in the sand substrate. The sand should be deep enough so that
they can bury themselves completely covered, and also a planted
dark area to make them feel more secure in their surroundings.
The eggs stick to the females abdomen after
spawning. Short stalks appear with the eggs attached and only
disappear when the eggs hatch.
The males are more
colourful and usually darker than the females and they
also possess a longer dorsal and pectoral fins.
Live and frozen foods such as mosquito
larvae, tubifex, earthworms, whiteworms and small crustacea.
Tablet foods and sunken flake that lies on the bottom is also
Platys = broad; acus = needle.
cotylephorus: meaning sites
for the attachment of developing embryos, refering to
the eggs hanging from the ventral area.
H.A. and R. Riehl 1985
Aquarien atlas. Band 2. Mergus, Verlag für Natur-
und Heimtierkunde GmbH, Melle, Germany. 1216 p.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of
catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes),
and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Catfish Study Group; Information Sheet
The paired fins after head and before anal fin.
Ventral fin: The
paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins.
Coracoid: Middle and lower section of
the pectoral girdle.
The area between the dorsal fin and the tail.
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection
without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Pelvic fins: The paired fins, between
the pectorals and the anal fins. (also referred to as
Anal fin: The fin forward
from the anal cavity.
Serrae : Saw-like
notches along an edge.
Maxillary barbels: Pertaining to the
upper jaw. (maxillary barbels)
Mental barbels: Pertaining to the chin,
on the lower jaw. (mental barbels)
© Allan James @
Bottom image: ©