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Bagarius bagarius (Hamilton, 1822)

Image contributors to this species:

Asian Exports (1) Paul Tapley (3) Chris Ralph (1) Fishes of Mainland Southeast Asia (1)

ScotCat Sources:

Factsheet Article Etymology = Genus

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 6 - 6; Anal soft rays: 13 - 14; Vertebrae: 38 - 42. Pelvic-fin origin in front of the base of the last dorsal ray; adipose-fin origin behind the anal-fin origin. Elongate neural spines 4-8, distally expanded abdominal vertebrae 17-20. Absence of sharp ridge on top of head; absence of bumps on dorsal mid-line behind dorsal fin base. Mouth large, inferior and arciform. Inhabits rapid and rocky pools of large and medium-sized rivers and feeds on insects, small fishes, frogs and shrimps. Breeds in rivers prior to the beginning of the annual flood season. Marketed fresh. Important as a food fish, but the meat spoils rapidly and can cause illness. Aquarium Care: This really is a fish destined to live a solitary life due to the fact that it would eat just about any other occupant that it could fit inside its mouth. When keeping the Devil Catfish it is essential to provide the fish with oxygen-rich water due to the fact that these fish are from highland streams. I have personally found it essential (Ralph. 2002) to provide good filtration and water movement in order to keep this fish in optimum condition. Regular 25% water changes are also appreciated by this catfish, and I always carry these changes out weekly and certainly no longer than fortnightly. Diet: As its common name suggests this truly is a demon amongst the fish world, requiring meaty foods at all times. In the wild this fish would predate upon smaller fishes, but in an aquarium it can be persuaded to feed upon cockles, mussels, whole prawns, dead fish and earthworms. It is also documented that this catfish when kept with fish bigger than itself, that it would eat their scales.

Common Name:

Devil Catfish


Pimelodus bagarius, Bagarius yarellii, Bagarius lica, Bagarius buchanani




Asia: Ganges, Mekong and Chao Phraya basins. Reported from Salween, Maeklong and Peninsular Thailand


90cm. (36ins)


18-25°c (64-77°f.)




ScotCat Factsheet no. 78. Dec. 2002.
Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl 1985 Aquarien atlas. Band 2. Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde GmbH, Melle, Germany. 1216 p.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (01/2011).



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