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Cephalosilurus nigricaudus  (Mees, 1974)     

he "Jelly Catfish" is again only a catfish for the more experienced keepers and will do well in the hands of a big cat lover who knows how to look after large predatory catfish.



Cephalosilurus nigricaudus


Cephalosilurus nigricaudus


The Latin name “nigricaudus” means “black tail” and this more or less tells it apart from the similar coloured C. apurensis which is to be found in the Rio Apure in Venezuela very far away from C. nigricaudus from Suriname. There are currently four species in this genera, our catfish of the month C. nigricaudus, C. apurensis, C. albomarginatus and C. fowleri and they are all very much predators in their natural habitats and as such in the aquarium also.


Cephalosilurus nigricaudus - the business end


Cephalosilurus nigricaudus - the business end


Cephalosilurus is now the valid name for the earlier genus name Pseudopimelodus. In its native habitat it occurs in pools and in the backwater of rapids and fast streams with sand, rocks, and decaying wood on the bottom. Found together with Bryconops caudomaculatus, Characidium blennoides, Pimelodella cristata, Leporinus friderici and Astyanax meunieri




Lateral line complete with a very broad and depressed head, angular gape. Maxillary teeth laterally with a backward projection; caudal fin long, lanceolate, truncated or rounded, never forked. Depressed dorsal fin usually reaching well beyond half way to the adipose fin, pectoral fin with 6 rays; barbels short, only reaching to the pectoral fins.

Dorsum brown with a pattern of black markings, fins generally black with a white margin. Caudal fin with a white margin.

Aquarium Care

Large tank with good filtration will work best in a tank with a capacity of approximately 800 litres upward. Not too fussy with tank parameters but water changes and good husbandry are a must as they are gregarious feeders.



Will do best on their own with hiding places if more than one is kept. If kept with other fish they must be high backed and twice as big as your "Jelly cat" as they will quickly become a meal if too small. Other large fish should be mid-water or top species.

Not reported

Sexual Differences

Not known but presumably the female would have a wider girth.


Worms, shell meat and after habituation also fillet of fish in enormous portions.

Glossary of Terms

Lateral line: A sensory line, along the sides of the body.
Pertaining to the upper jaw.
Caudal fin:
The tail.

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

Adiose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Pectoral fins: The paired fins just behind the head.



Cephalosilurus: Greek, kephale = head + Greek, silouros = a cat fish
nigricaudus: Black tail

ScotCat Article: Ros, Wolfgang; Cephalosilurus nigricaudus and its similarity to C. apurensis
Mol, H.A. Jan, The Freshwater Fishes of Suriname. BRILL, Leiden Boston, 2012. 889 p.

Ros, Wolfgang (2008): Cephalosilurus nigricaudus und seine Abgrenzung zu Cephalosilurus apurensis, "Aquaristik Fachmaganzin & Aquarium heute" (AF) 40 (1), Nr. 199, 34-36.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly.
Editors. 2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (05/2009).

Photo Credits
© Wolfgang Ros @ Catfish and more
Factsheet 237

Pseudopimelodus nigricauda, Pseudopimelodus nigricaudus
Common Name:
Jelly Catfish
South America: Upper Corantijn (Sipaliwini), Suriname and Marowijne rivers, Suriname. Type Locality: Sipaliwini River, Upper Corantijn River, Suriname
50cm. (20ins) 
20-25°C (67-77°F)
6.0 - 7.5.
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