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Glyptothorax trilineatus  Blyth, 1860

ts the month of November 2015 and we head to Asia for an interesting
group of fishes that have captivated many catfish lovers over the years due to their unusual mode of stability in the mountain streams where they are adapted to live by using the adhesive apparatus on the underside to attach themselves to rocks, and prevent them being washed away.

Glyptothorax trilineatus


Glyptothorax trilineatus is a pretty looking species being one of the largest in this genera and occurs in the basin-wide tributary of the lower Mekong. The Glyptothorax genus is distinguished from all other sisorid genera by having an adhesive apparatus on the thorax with with grooves parallel or oblique to the longitudinal axis of the body (vs. thoracic adhesive grooves transverse to the longitudinal axis of the body in Pseudecheneis, and thoracic adhesive apparatus absent in all other genera).



Showing the Thorax (Breastplate)


Showing the Thorax (Breastplate)



Dorsal spines (total): 1 - 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 6 - 6; Anal soft rays: 13. The eyes are small and dorsally placed. The lips are thick, fleshy, and often papillate. The maxillary barbels have a well-developed membrane and a soft base. The gill openings are wide. The paired fins are plaited and modified to form an adhesive apparatus in some species of Glyptothorax.

A white mid-dorsal stripe extending from occiput to base of caudal fin, a narrow whitish axial line on sides from shoulder to base of caudal peduncle.

Aquarium Care

This is a cool water species of which most of this genera are. A good water flow is also important with high oxygen levels.


Other Asian tank mates such as Rasboras, danios, devario's and Puntius species.

No reports

Sexual differences
No reports of sexual differences. Although it is believed that the females are more rotund ventrically than the males when viewed from above.

Live foods such as white worms, small earthworms and aquatic insect larvae like bloodworms and similar chironomids, should make up the majority of their weekly diet. They will also accept frozen foods such as bloodworm.

Glossary of Terms

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

Maxillary barbels: Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels).

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.
Caudal peduncle: The area between the dorsal fin and the tail.
Pertaining to the chest area.
A median bone on the upper surface of the back of the head; pertaining to the occiput.


Glyptothorax: With a carved breast-plate.

trilineatus: three lined.

Thomson, A.W. & Page, L.M. (2006). "Genera of the Asian Catfish Families Sisoridae and Erethistidae (Teleostei: Siluriformes)" Zootaxa, 1345: 1–96.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2008. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (10/2008).
Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran, 1991. Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Photo Credits
Top: © Johnny Jensen ©  Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library


Bottom: © Nonn Panitvong @ Siamensis.org

Factsheet 233

Glyptosternum trilineatum
Common Name:
Three-lined catfish
Asia: Irrawaddy, Sittang and Salween drainages, India, Myanmar and China. Type locality: Tenasserim [Sittang drainage], Myanmar, [Burma].
25cm. (9¾ins)
10-20°c (47-67°f.) 
6.0 - 7.2.
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                                                                                                                                        Factsheet no 233 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top