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Euchilichthys guentheri  (Schilthuis, 1891)

his factsheet for March 2014 follows on from Februarys (Synodontis notatus) in that we stick with the Mochokidae family and concentrate on a lesser known genera, Euchilichthys. Not often seen in aquaria but there are, according to Fishbase and other literature, five species in this genus, our factsheet of the month candidate, E. guentheri, E. astatodon, E. boulengeri, E. dybowskii and E. royauxi.



                 Euchilichthys guentheri



Not very often encountered in the trade and like the Chiloglanis species they possess a sucking disc on the mouth and so could resemble their Loracariid cousins from South America. They differ from Chiloglanis in having 1/6 soft dorsal rays, eye with a free border, vertebrae 37 (16+21) and 8 branchiostegal rays. This genus is found in the Congo Basin in Africa and our subject is wide spread and found in the lower courses and down to the Bangweulu drainage in Zambia. The type locality is the Stanley Pool, which is now called Pool Malebo, at Kinshasa.

Euchilichthys guentheri . (From Boulenger, 1911.)
Euchilichthys guentheri (From Boulenger, 1911.)



      Bangweulu drainage system.          

Showing Bangweulu and Congo drainage systems.

Bangweulu drainage system.

Bangweulu and the Congo drainage systems.



Aquarium care would be a tank with a good water movement where they sometimes rest in the flow. Provide hiding places such as bogwood, stones and caves. The bogwood could be as tall as to reach the water surface so they can take in the current at a high level. In their natural habitat they will graze on rocks and the living organisms such as Aufwuchs. Try to keep the p.H. of the water to the high side of acidity and over (6.5 - 7.2) as they will tend to shed mucus and become lethargic if kept in too acidic conditions. Regular water changes are a must to keep this catfish in optimal condition.



Flattened head with the skin covered with small papillae and an elongated body. Caudal fin is forked and pointed with the lower lobe longer. Sucking disc is oval with a moderately long upper jaw with two pair of very short mandibular barbels and one pair of maxillary. The short adipose fin starts behind the start of the anal fin. 1/6 soft dorsal rays, eye with a free border, vertebrae 37 (16+21) and 8 branchiostegal rays


Body dark brown with black spots on the anterior parts with a bluish caste.


Peacfull but adults are territorial with conspecifics.


No reports on the breeding of this species.

Sexual differences

No discernable differences.



Vegetable food such as algae tablets, flake and tablet food and live/frozen foods such as Daphnia and Tubifex.


Euchilichthys: Greek, euchilos, os, -ou = well nourished
guentheri : In honour of Albert C. L. G. Guenther, the German ichthyologist, (1830-1914).


Seegers, L. 2008 The catfishes of Africa. A handbook for identification and maintenance. Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany. 604 p.

Stratton, A. Genus Euchilichthys. Catfish Association of Great Britain. Magazine 70. Feb. 1991.

Sands, David; Catfishes of the World Volume 2 Mochokidae.Dunure Publications 1983.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl 1995 Aquarien Atlas. Band 4. Mergus Verlag GmbH, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde, Melle, Germany. 864 p.

Glossary of Terms

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

Caudal fin: The tail.
Anal fin :
The median, unpaired, ventrally located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior half of the fish.
Adipose fin : Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Maxillary barbels
: Pertaining to the upper jaw (maxillary barbels).

Mandibular barbels: Pertaining to the lower jaw. (mandibular barbels)

Photo Credits

©  Hippocampus Bildarchiv


Line drawing from Boulenger, 1911

Factsheet 213

Atopochilus guenther 
Common Name:
Guenther's African Suckermouth 
Africa: Congo River basin, down to the Bangweulu drainage system. Type locality: Stanley Pool.
17.5cm. (7ins)
23-26°C (73-79°F)
6.5 - 7.2.
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