Your internet guide to
all things catfish

Auchenoglanis occidentalis  (Valenciennes, 1840)                             

e stay on the African continent this month but instead of sticking with the Mochokidae family from last month (June 2005) we move on to a newish family, Claroteidae. The Giraffe Catfish was a member of the African-Asian Bagridae family until 1991 when Mo split it up and constructed a new family, Claroteidae, for the African Bagrids.

Auchenoglanis occidentalis


This Bagrid can grow to an impressive 46cm (18¼ins) but it is basically a gentle giant and can be trusted with anything that can not fit into its small mouth. Its long pointed snout is well adapted to "sook" up worms and detritus in the sandy substrate and as such you should provide your specimen(s) with a sand floor to your aquarium with an external power filter that has a good flow rate. It goes without saying of course that you will need to provide this catfish with a spacious tank considering its adult size.

It is very tolerant to most water parameters and as such you can keep it in a low p.H. (6.5) with larger Characins or Barbs or even in a Lake Tanganyika setup with Cichlids from that lake in harder water, but my choice would be to stick with the former soft and acidic conditions for a more contented individual(s).

Parauchenoglanis punctatus

Above you can see a specimen that I photographed from the Port Doree Public Aquarium in Paris, France which was captioned as A. occidentalis but it may represent another close member of this family, Parauchenoglanis punctatus.


Update 2010: Teugels et al. (1991) considered the genus Auchenoglanis to be comprised of two valid species: A. biscutatus and A. occidentalis. Due to the work carried out recently (2010) by Michael Retzer there are now 8 in this genus with six new species, A. acuticeps, A. biscutatus, A. occidentalis, A. sacchii, A. senegali, A. tanganicanus, A. tchadiensis and A. wittei. The main description for A. occidentalis is that it can be differentiated from all other congeners (except A. tchadiensis) by having  a uniformly coloured body. It differs from A. tchadiensis by having oval-shaped tooth patches on the upper jaw vs.triangular for A. tchadiensis.

Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7-8; Anal spines: 3-4; Anal soft rays: 7-8. Head large with heavily built body. The upper jaw has oval-shaped teeth.

The main description for A.occidentalis is that it can be differentiated from all other congeners (except A. tchadiensis) by having  a uniformly coloured body

Best suited to the larger aquarium. Peaceful large catfish which will do well in company of larger characins from Africa and large Barbs.

No reports on the breeding of this species in captivity as it would need a very large tank with a number of individuals. In its natural habitat the nested eggs are guarded by the male. Furthermore, the male plays host to eggs and young of Dinotopterus cunningtoni, a member of the Claridae catfish family, which takes advantage of the already prepared nest and feeds on the host brood.

Will eat a variety of foods. Tablet and pellet foods with a good quality flake and frozen bloodworms. Also relishes live worms such as the common garden worm, making sure that there has been no weedkiller on the premises, and white worm.

Auchenoglanis: Auchen; auchenos = neck; glanis = catfish.
occidentalis : Pertaining to the west; from the west.

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2005. FishBase.World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (05/2005).
Sandford, Gina & Crow, Richard: The Interpet Manual of Tank Busters, Salamander Book, p110-111
Retzer, ME (2010) Taxonomy of Auchenoglanis Günther 1865 (Siluriformes: Auchenoglanididae). Zootaxa 2655, pp. 25–51.

Photo Credits
Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library

Allan James @ ScotCat
Factsheet 109

Auchenaspis biscutata, A.biscutatus,A.occidentalis, Auchenoglanis biscutatus, Pimelodus occidentalis, A. biscutatus occidentalis, Auchenoglanis occidentalis occidentalis, Oxyglanis sacchii, Auchenoglanis occidentalis var. tanganicanus, A.occidentalis tchadiensis, A.tchadensis, A.occidentalis tchadensis, A.scutatus, A.acuticeps, A. wittei, A.occidentalis tanganyikanus, A.vittatus
Common Name:
Giraffe Catfish
Africa: Senegal, Casamange and Gambia river drainages in western Africa.. Type locality: Sénégal.   
46cm. (18¼ins)
21-25°C (69-77°F)
6.5 - 7.8
If you found this page helpful you can help keep ScotCat running by making a small donation, Thanks. 

Donate towards my web hosting bill!


Print Friendly and PDF




























                                                                                                                                          Factsheet 109 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018  Go to Top