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Acrochordonichthys rugosus (Bleeker, 1847)


The month of December 2012 welcomes back again, Asian Catfish expert Adrian Taylor of the Catfish Study Group to look at an Asian catfish of the Akysidae family which is funnily enough the very first family and species shown in the ScotCat Photo Gallery. Now over to Adrian for his take on this species.


crochordonichthys catfishes are members of the family Akysidae and although they grow considerably larger in both length and girth than either the genera Akysis and Parakysis, they do not seem to grow as large as some of the Breitensteinia species, which are also members of the Asian catfish family Akysidae.

Acrochordonichthys rugosus


Acrochordonichthys species along with Breitensteinia are often referred to as ‘Asian Banjo Catfish’ due in part to their similarity in body shape, which they share with their South American Aspredinidae cousins.



Acrochordonichthys rugosus = head view


Head view


Acrochordonichthys rugosus are very varied in appearance, not only do they vary from locality to locality in colouration, but from specimen to specimen, due to these type of factors and others they have from time to time been erroneously identified as a new and different species entirely.

Acrochordonichthys rugosus is an ambush predator of some 120mm in length (SL) and one that prefers hiding under submerged logs, branches and rocks and apart from coming out to feed they do very little else, with the usual knock-on effect that after some time they tend to get forgotten about when housed in a mid-sized community tank. In the wild A. rugosus feed predominately on shrimp, small Balitorid loaches and small catfish of the genera Glyptothorax. It is also likely that at times other fish are consumed as and when the opportunity arises. So it is advisable that these catfish should be housed in a species only tank or with suitable tank mates that are too large for them to be considered a food source.

An aquarium having a substrate of sand and gravel interspersed with pieces of bog wood and rocks, along with a good filtration system, aquarium water pH with a range of 6.7 to 7.2 a temperature range of
18-24°C (63-75°F) and a robust water changing regime would make a suitable habitat into which one can comfortably keep these Asian banjo’s.


Like all members of the family Akysidae, Acrochordonichthys species have numerous small nodule like growths called granulations running along the length of the body in parallel rows and which also cover the head profusely.


Generally, A. rugosus has a brown coloured head and body, with the head being interspersed with small dots and blotches of a darker brown and a light brown saddle that runs the length of the adipose ridge and fin, some specimens have been found with light brown almost tan coloured spots and patches; and yet in some specimens these colourations and markings are reversed. (As reported by H.H. Ng and P.K.L Ng, in their revision of the Ayksid genus Acrochordonichthys, 2000).

These catfish should be housed in a species only tank or with suitable tank mates that are too large for them to be considered a food source.

Not reported.

Sexual differences

Not reported



Feeding A. rugosus can be a tad irksome as they tend not to feed upon commercially prepared food like granules and tablets, and therefore live foods such as adult brine shrimp, bloodworms, white worms and earthworms should be offered, although as a ambush predator feeding every day is not essential as it is likely that at times in the wild they may have to wait a day or two before a potential meal comes within ‘ambush’ range.


Acrochordonichthys: Greek, akros = summit, topmost + Greek, chorda = nervous line + Greek, ichthys = fish.


Adrian Taylor


Glossary of Terms

Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.

Photo Credits

Top image © Adrian Taylor

Bottom image: ©  Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library

Factsheet 198

Acrochordonichthys buettikoferi Acrochordonichthys melanogaster Acrochordonichthys platycephalus Acrochordonichthys pleurostigma Acrochordonichthys Varius and Acrochordonichthys zonatus.
Common Name:
Asia: Solo, Ciliwung, Citarum River basins, Java; Barito, Kapuas, Mahakam and Rajang River basins, Borneo; Bernam, Terengganu, Mae Nam Sungai Kolok and Pattani River basins, peninsular Malaysia and Thailand; Musi and Tulangbawan River basins, Sumatra. Type locality: Java.
12cm. (4¾ins)
18-24°C (63-75°F)
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