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Batrochoglanis raninus (Valenciennes, 1840)

or our 206th factsheet since our inception in 1997 we again welcome back experienced catfish keeper and author Steven Grant with an insight to "The Frog Catfish", Batrochoglanis raninus.

Batrochoglanis raninus


Batrochoglanis raninus


The Frog Catfish (coined after the meaning of its generic and specific names) shows up now and again in aquatic shops and auctions. It will sometimes be sold as a Microglanis Eigenmann, 1912 but in that genus the posterior portion of the lateral line usually does not have tubed pores.


Batrochoglanis raninus used to be placed in the genus Pseudopimelodus Bleeker, 1858 and was sometimes classed as a nominate subspecies in that genus. However, since 2003 it has been recognised in Batrochoglanis Gill, 1858 and as a full species. Batrochoglanis can easily be told apart from Pseudopimelodus by the latter having a deeply forked caudal fin, and from Cephalosilurus Haseman, 1911 by that genus having the lower jaw longer then the upper. There are other species of Batrochoglanis that sometimes appear in the hobby and these can reach sizes of up to 20 cm, whereas B. raninus only reaches approx. 10cm in the aquarium. The other species don’t tend to have the caudal as white/whitish, mainly having a black or specked caudal fin.


Batrochoglanis raninus - head view


Batrochoglanis raninus - head view


B. raninus is not difficult to keep as it will accept a reasonably wide range of temperature. It isn’t an aggressive catfish but it will try and swallow anything that may fit into the gape of its mouth so choose tankmates carefully. During the daylight hours it will tend to hide away, becoming an active forager and hunter at night. As such it should be provided with caves, pipes etc to enable it to hide away during the day. As it is a smoothed skin fish be careful not to have it sharing hiding places with loricarids, doradids etc.





Amazon River basin: Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru and Suriname


Although it is not a fish you will see much of (if at all) during the day hopefully you will enjoy this unusual but not rare catfish.



Depressed head and anterior portion of body. Three pairs of barbels. Pectoral fin with I + 5 rays. Dorsal I and 6 rays.


Black (sometimes brownish) base colour; barbels have black and white annulations; dorsal, pectoral, ventral and anal fins black with white patches; caudal fin whitish or brownish with black band on the distal portion of the rays; back of head and the body underneath the adipose fin has a whitish or brownish band with one to two similarly coloured roundish patches on upper portion of body, just above the lateral line; the adipose fin has similarly coloured patches at the anterior and posterior portions, as well as the caudal peduncle area, prior to or on the procurrent caudal fin rays. Sensory pores on head are whitish.


Generally peaceful but will try and eat fish that can fit (width ways) into its mouth.

As yet unknown

Sexual differences

There are no proven external sexual differences, but females are probably more robust in the body and have the ventral area more swollen.



Readily accepts all manner of live/frozen foods as well as pellets.


Batrochoglanis: Batrachos = a frog in Greek; glanis = a catfish in Greek.
raninus : From Rana = a frog in Latin, and the suffix -us, meaning ‘froglike’


Cuvier, G. and A. Valenciennes, 1840. Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome quinzième. Suite du livre dix-septième. Siluroïdes. v. 15: i-xxxi + 1-540, Pls. 421-455.
Eschmeyer, W. N. (ed). Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. (http://research.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/fishcatmain.asp). Electronic version accessed 24 February 2013.
Grant, S., 1999. Pseudopimelodus, Bleeker, 1858 & some related genera (Siluriformes: Pimelodidae). Catfish Compendium: 44-58
Reis, R. E. , S. O. Kullander and C. J. Ferraris, Jr. (eds), 2003. Check list of the freshwater fishes of South and Central America. EDIPUCRS, Porto Alegre. 2003: i-xi + 1-729

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Glossary of Terms

Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body

Caudal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.
Caudal peduncle:
The area between the dorsal fin and the tail.
Pectoral fin
: The paired fins just behind the head.
Ventral fins: The paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins.

Anal fin: The fin forward from the anal cavity.
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.

Lateral line: A sensory line, along the sides of the body.

Photo Credits

All images: © Steven Grant

Factsheet 206

Pseudopimelodus acanthochirus Eigenmann & Eigenmann 1888; Pseudopimelodus raninus raninus (Valenciennes, 1840)
Common Name:
Frog Catfish, Raninus, Bumble Bee Catfish
South America: Amazon River basin: Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru and Suriname
10.0cm. (4ins)
23.8 to 27.8°C (75 to 82°F)  
6.0 - 7.5.
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