factsheet this month (May 2006) centers on a former
member of the Bagridae family and one of the nicest
looking "Bagrids" around as its common and
specific name entails "The Ornate Bagrid".
The genus Chrysichthys was split off from Bagridae
by Mo in 1991 along with all of the African Bagrids
bar one and is now housed in the Claroteidae
family. You can find out more in the Ichthyology articles
section titled The
is not one of your "Tankbusters" as it will
grow only to 9ins (22.5cm) standard length (SL) but
in saying that, this is a predator when adult in the
aquarium, so you will need to account for this when
purchasing this species.
It has often been
confused with a South American "Pim" from
the Heptapteridae family, Goeldiella
eques, the"Fox Face Pimelodella". The difference
of course is that the African species, C. ornatus,
has an extra pair of barbels in having nasal
barbels, a shorter adipose fin and a different head
shape. (see below).
- nasal barbels
- no nasal barbels
Could be used in a fishhouse
environment as a feeder for an overrun of Livebearer
fry but would be quite happy on commercial foods.
Quite tolerant of water parameters but very shy
and would need the usual good husbandry and tank
regime of weekly water changes and the keeping of
the filtration up to the mark.
This bagrid is not usually
available in aquatic outlets so would be quite a
find if you could spot any on your "Fish hunting"
River system below Stanley Falls. Type
l’Ubangi à Banzyville
[et] Monsembé, Haut Congo.
up to 17°dGH
Dorsal: 1/6; Anal: 11-13, 6-8
branched. Body elongate, anteriorly hardly compressed,
posteriorly strongly so. Dorsal and anal fins short.
Dorsal and pectoral fins with stout spines. Ventral
fins inserted behind the dorsal. Adipose fin present.
4 pairs barbels ( 1 pair nasal, 1 maxillary, 2 mandibular).
Jaws with teeth arranged in bands. Pallete toothed.
Alternation of large, irregular,
dark brown to black blotches and pale, yellowish
to brownish blotches, with further small dark spots
among them. Belly dirty white. Fins pale with irregular
dark spots; each lobe of the caudal with a blurred
dark longitudinal band.
Care & Compatibility
Not to be trusted with smaller
tankmates. Would do better with larger African Tetras
or Cichlids. Give it a choice of hiding places to
make it feel more comfortable in its surroundings
as it can be nocturnal.
Not recorded but I would surmise
that females would be heavier when in breeding condition.
Frozen shrimp and mussels.
Frozen bloodworm pellets and tablet food.
barbels: Barbels on top of the head, by the
Active at night.
Standard length (SL):Standard length as measured from the snout
to the caudal peduncle.
H.A. and R. Riehl
1985 Aquarien atlas. Band 2. Mergus, Verlag für
Natur- und Heimtierkunde GmbH, Melle, Germany. 1216
of The World, Vol.5 Bagridae and Others. p. 77. Sterba, Günther Dr.; 1 Sterba's
freshwater fishes of the world.