return this month (March 2008) to a member of the
Corydoradinae subfamily, a sort of Corydoras if
you like. It was
4 years ago in 2004 when the genus Scleromystax
was resurrected by taxonomists for the Southern
Brazilian species that sported cheek bristles in the
males, during an ongoing study of Corydoras,
Aspidoras and Brochis.
This is quite
a nice looking species in its own right, may be not
as flamboyant as its cousin S.
barbatus, but none
the less quite distinctive in its dress of a metallic
blue lateral band on the body. The males are also
not aggressive like S. barbatus males and
can be kept in smaller tanks.
As this is a Southern
Brazilian species it needs cooler waters and a point
in question was when I moved 7 of a mixed juvenile/adult
batch from my main fishhouse room from a temperature
of 76°F ( 24°C) to a newly built rack in a
cooler area of the fishhouse which had a water temperature
of 70°F to 72°F (21°C - 22°C). The
difference was quite marked and they appeared happier
in their cooler surroundings and started showing an
improvement in colouration.
have been in the U.K. on and of for about 20 years
now but it has only been lately that there are getting
regularly spawned, with Catfish Study Group members
Adrian Taylor and Mark Walters being especially productive.
My individuals were from a spawning by Adrian.
This species inhabits
white water and clearwater streams in the coastal
lowlands, where it is sympatric with the similar looking
The genus Scleromystax belongs to lineage
3 and if there was a revision carried out on the Corydoradinae
in the future they would remain so, with the designated
type species S.
South America:Brazil, Est. Espirito Santo, Linhares (19°22’S,
40°04’W), Lagoa Juparanã, Rio Doce
Male: 6.0cm (2½ins)
Female: 6.5cm (2¾ins)
Shape of head, elongated with
Body colour, grey-brown. Metallic
blue band runs along the body from just the front
of the insertion of the dorsal fin to the caudal peduncle.
Body has many small pale spots especially
on the head and over the top half of body. Three spots
along the ridge of the back on the anterior and posterior
of the dorsal fin and the adipose fin.
Care & Compatibility
As with most of this family,
no problem with other tank mates. Would be better
to keep with species that are comfortable with cooler
temperatures in the aquarium.
As per this genus.
Has been bred at higher temperatures so a good idea
would be to raise the temperture to the high 70s F.
for a short period. Articles on the breeding of this
family can be found in the breeding articles section
do not display the extremely elongated pectoral and
dorsal fins, which its congeners do. Also the cheek
bristles or beard is barely visible, even in sexually
active males. A good guide would be the overall shape
with the females sporting a wider girth.
As with other members of the
Corydoradinae they relish tablet and good quality
flake food with frozen bloodworm a firm favourite.
They are also keen on worm foods such as white worm
used sparingly, and grindal worm.
Anterior:The head end.
Caudal peduncle:The area
between the dorsal fin and the tail.
Posterior:The tail end
of the fish. Situated behind.
From the Greek "sclero" meaning hard and
the Latin "mystax" meaning moustache. prionotus:
From the Greek prionotos = 'jagged' or 'serrated',
alluding to the medial border of the pectoral fin
Markos & Taylor, Martin. (2011). Evolution,
ecology and taxonomy of the Corydoradinae revisited.
Ian A. M. Fuller & Hans-Georg
Identifying Corydoradinae Catfish Supplement 1. Ian
Seus, Werner, Corydoras. The most popular
armoured catfishes of South America. Dähne Verlag,
Ettlingen GmbH. 1993 218p.