or our first factsheet of the new decade we travel
to the Indian sub continent and a visit to the Sisoridae
family and to the Gagata genera with Gagata
cenia as out first venture into the 2020's. Also
known by its common name of the "Clown Catfish"
this is a handsome catfish and a veer away from the
usual "grey" bodied species that we are
so used to seeing from the Siluriformes.
are of course the large eyes and the black and gold
markings especially on the caudal fin where the black
patch on each caudal lobe is a strong identifying
factor. In its natural habitat Gagata cenia
inhabits large rivers with a sandy/muddy bottom.
If acquiring this
catfish you should note their condition because if
they are not fed correctly in your local fish shop
they will look thin and it will be hard to bring them
around although feeding live or frozen bloodworm and
brineshrimp rather than flakes should be the norm.
This is not the easiest fish to keep and acclimatise
and it is not for the inexperienced fishkeeper as
they can be quite emaciated when imported.
India & Nepal:
Widely distributed in the Ganges basin, the Indus River
system, and the Mahanadi River.
Soft, slightly acidic water
is recommended, but the species may also enter brackish
areas. Either way, the water should be comparatively
cool (20-24C/67-75F), and well oxygenated.
As of 2020 there are 8 species
in the Gagata genera. Our factsheet of
the month plus Gagata
dolichonema He, 1996,
1839), Gagata melanopterus Roberts &
Ferraris, 1998, Gagata pakistanica Mirza,
Parveen & Javed, 1999, Gagata
Tilak, 1970, and Gagata youssoufi AtaurRahman,
distributed in the Ganges basin, the Indus River system,
and the Mahanadi River.
D.11, 6 (rarely 7); P. 1, 8
(rarely 9); V.i, 5; A. iv-v, 9-11. C. 17-19. Upper
jaw and palate without teeth; lower jaw with a few
small conical teeth in pocket or depression near symphysis.
Four pairs of barbels; maxillary with stiff basal
portion, shorter than head, nasal barbels very small,
separating the nostrils in the form of a flap; mandibular
barbels in a transverse row often with 2 finger like
processes in the mid ventral line between base of
the barbels. Rayed dorsal fin inserted above half
of pectoral fin, spine strong, finely serrated along
outer edge distal portion, serrated internally also.
Adipose fin well separated from rayed dorsal and caudal
fins. Pectoral fin not reaching pelvics, spine strong,
denticulated along inner edge and serrated along distal
half of outer edge. Pelvic fin not reaching anal origin.
Anal fin not reaching caudal flexure. Caudal fin deeply
forked, upper lobe slightly longer.
Dorsum of body with dark saddles
extending ventrally only to lateral line. Caudal fin
with transverse black bar across peduncle and round
or square black spot on middle of each lobe. Dorsal
fin with black spot on distal part of anterior rays.
Care & Compatibility
This is a peaceful species
which would be better kept in a group of about 6 specimens
with plenty of swimming space. Provide good filtration
and aeration as this species is not the easiest to
keep in the aquarium. Provide a sand substrate with
plants as an option. Other species that like a strong
filtration and cooler water such as the Danio
Live, frozen and tablet foods.
Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the
rayed dorsal fin. Anal fin: The median, unpaired, ventrally
located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on
the posterior half of the fish.
Caudal fin: The tail. Dorsal fin: The primary
rayed fin(s) on top of the body. Maxillary: Pertaining to the upper
jaw. (maxillary barbels). Nasal: Top of the head, by the nostrils.
Pectoral fins: The paired fins just behind
the head. Pelvic fin: The paired fins,
between the pectorals and the anal fins. (also referred
to as ventrals).
Symphysis: The point of articulation of two
bones in the median plane of the body; the median
part or junction of the two halves of the jaws.
Local fish name, kenyakatta, in Bengal.
H.A. and R. Riehl, 1991. Aquarien atlas.
Bd. 3. Melle: Mergus, Verlag für Natur-und Heimtierkunde,
Germany. 1104 p.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2011. FishBase.
World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org,
version. Jayaram. K.C. 2006, Catfishes of
India. Narendera Publishing House. 383p. Roberts, T.R. and C.J. Ferraris Jr.,
1998. Review of South Asian sisorid catfish genera
Gagata and Nangra, with descriptions of a new genus
and five new species. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 50(14):315-345.
Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran, 1991.
Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume
2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.