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Porochilus rendahli  Whitley, 1928

t has been a while now since we travelled "down under" for our monthly cafish fix, in fact nearly 2 years have passed since May 2007 when we wrote about the "Coral Catfish, Plotosus lineatus. So for March 2009 we have arrived, with a little bit of help from the Australian fish forum, Aquarium Life, to one of the more managable sized members of the Plotosidae family, "Rendahl's catfish" Porochilus rendahli.

Porochilus rendahli


One of the sure fire methods of identifying this species of Porochilus and also seperating it from Neosilurus is by the eye being closer to the mouth on the former and also the steepness of the head up to the insertion of the dorsal fin, and the innner side of the pectoral spine being serrated. You can see the closeness of the eye to the mouth in the lower image.


Porochilus rendahli  = eye being closer to the mouth



In the aquarium they like company of their own species. They also really like plants to hide in, water sprite and long strands of the plant Vallisneria. seem to be well appreciated. In rocky tanks they often bash their noses when they get stressed, and dart about, so a planted tank would be a good idea. A substrate of gravel or sand would suffice with the appropriate filtration. They tend not to reach their full potential size in the aquarium and 15cm (6ins) would probably be the norm.


Occurs in billabongs and streams in slow to fast-flowing water that is clear to turbid with rock, gravel or sand bottoms.


Not seen for sale in the U.K. as Australian cats are not often for sale and if so, down to an odd few Neosilurus species. A nice peaceful catfish and would make a change from the norm.


Small, relatively short anterior dorsal fin, composed of a sharp spine and 5-7 soft rays; second dorsal and anal fins confluent with caudal fin, composed of 104-127 rays; pectoral fin with sharp spine and 9-11 soft rays; anterior nostrils above upper lip; pectoral spine bumpy or barbed on inner side. Head concaved with eyes in close proximity to the mouth.

Overall colouration ranges from a uniform or mottled dark grey to a pale yellowish-brown (occasionally white), usually with a golden sheen.

As an Australian native fish they would de well with the larger Rainbow fishes but be sure to keep them in a relatively large tank over 3ft in length.

They breed in the early wet season (December-January) and the parents and juveniles migrate back upstream into refuge creeks.

Sexual Differences
Not known.

In their native habitat they feed on aquatic insects, microcrusttaceans and molluscs. In the aquarium they will eat most foods such as frozen bloodworm

Glossary of Terms

Dorsal fin:The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body
Pectoral fin: The paired fins after head and before anal fin.
Anal fin: The fin forward from the anal cavity.


Porochilus: Holed lip (refers to position of nostrils).
rendahli: Named after Rendahl.

G.R. Allen, S.H. Midgley, M. Allen; Field guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia, Western Australian Museum 2002. 410p.
Dave [email protected]/

Aquarium Life

Photo Credits

First image: © Dave Wilson @



Second image: Ombry


Factsheet 153

Copidoglanis rendahli, Neosilurus rendahli
Common Name:
Rendahl's catfish
Oceania: Northern Australia. Western Australia in the Fitzroy and Ord river sytems. Arnhem land in the Northern Territory between the East Aliligator and Roger Rivers. Jardine River near the tip of Cape York Peninsula
20cm ( 8ins)
18-24°C (63-75°F)
6.5 - 8.0
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                                                                                                                                 Factsheet 153 = updated December 30, 2004, © ScotCat 1997-2018  Go to Top