has now reached its 70th factsheetand to celebrate
this milestone we have regular contributor and catfish
expert for the U.K.magazine Practical Fishkeeping,
Chris Ralph, who has picked a quite magnificent catfish
in the Tiger-striped catfish, Brachypatystoma tigrinum.
Over now to Chris for an in-depth look at this beauty.
tigrinum is also
known as the Tiger-striped Catfish. This magnificent
catfish belongs to the family Pimelodidae,
representatives of which can be found widespread throughout
the rivers of South America. The original specimens
that were caught and described by Dr Britski of the
Saô Paulo Zoology Museum were from the Rio Maderia
in Brazil. It was originally thought that this was
the only location where this species of catfish was
found, however this catfish is known to be collected
in Columbia and I personally have experience of Peruvian
exporters collecting these fish in Peru. The original
fish were collected in 1978 by Michael Goulding. A
publication by Dr Dario Castro of the University of
Bogotá in 1984 recorded this catfish as being
collected from the lower Caqueta River in Columbia.
is quite closely related to Brachyplatystoma
juruense, but has a
longer upper jaw, and the first rays of the dorsal
and pectoral fins are described as being flexible
and not pungent. Both of these catfish share a similar
colour pattern of inclined stripes on the body, although
it has to be said that Brachyplatystoma tigrinum
is the more striking of the two fish. Brachyplatystoma
juruense is quite often referred to as the "False
Tigrinus". The colour pattern is outstanding
with a yellow to almost white base colour to the body
with black stripes. Most of the fins share this same
colour pattern of that of the body of this catfish.
- head view
The show size
listed in the Catfish Study Group U.K. listing is
450mm s.l. i.e. from the tip of the snout to the base
of the caudal peduncle. In their natural habitat,
however they grow well in excess of this size and
can attain lengths in excess of 600mm quite easily.
This catfish is perhaps one of the most expensive
specimen from this family of fish. The first specimen
that I ever saw back in the mid eighties had a price
tag of £1000 (U.K.), and I have recently seen
specimens for sale at between £500 and £600.
Obviously consideration needs to be given to the size
of aquarium in which to keep such a magnificent catfish
as this, I would not recommend anyone to keep one
of these catfish in anything less than a 72"
x 24" x 24". As well as the size of aquarium
good filtration is also very important in order to
keep a catfish such as this in perfect condition.
I would also suggest that sand such as BD Aquarium
sand be used as a substrate for the aquarium. This
is a catfish that I have not personally kept which
probably has something to do with the high price that
these fish demand.
I know of a couple
of catfish enthusiasts that have kept this fish successfully
over the years, one of which was Graham Crook (Danny
Blundell's son-in law) and Robin Warne.
It was whilst
on a recent fish collecting trip to Peru with Robin
Warne, Giles Barlow, Allan James, Jools and Clare
Dignall, Stephen Pritchard and Alan Appleton that
I found out some little known information about this
fish. The exporter in Peru that specialises in large
specimen fish such as this informed us that they collect
them as juvenile specimens from a local breeding area
in the river and grow them on for export. We were
informed that when collected at between 50 and 75mm
they could be reared successfully in the holding tanks
and fed on their favourite food of knife fish. This
particular exporter found that when collected at a
size of around 300mm they did not fare well and would
not feed in captivity. The Peruvian exporter keeps
these catfish at his premises for around six months
before offering them for sale.
catfish, Zebra Shovelnose
Amazon River basin.
Up to and over 60.0cm (24ins)
Long upper jaw. First rays
of the dorsal and pectoral fins are described as being
flexible and not pungent. Long maxillary barbels reaching
back to the posterior of the dorsal insertion. Small
eyes laterally placed.
Yellow to almost white base
colour to the body with black stripes. Most of the
fins share this same colour pattern of that of the
body of this catfish. Head area from snout to insertion
of dorsal fin, devoid of stripes.
Care & Compatibility
Suggested tank mates! anything
that does not constitute a meal, I would suggest some
of the larger Characins as opposed to any other catfish,
which may compete for territory. Most enthusiasts
would keep this catfish as a single specimen in a
There are no known
obvious external sexual differences.
As these are predatory catfish
they prefer meaty foods such as whole prawns, mussels,
pieces of fish, beef heart (sparingly) and earthworms
etc. Feed only once or twice a week.
barbels:Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels).