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Hara jerdoni Day 1870

his month (November 2011) we welcome back Steven Grant, well known U. K. aquarist and author.
He takes a look at the small anchor catfish, Hara jerdoni.



This factsheet is about a dwarf catfish usually known in the hobby as the Anchor Catfish. A short note about the generic name used here: Most hobbyists and aquarium literature use the generic name Hara Blyth 1860 for this species. However, Thomson & Page (2006) synonymised Hara with the older name Erethistes Müller & Troschel 1849. Ng & Kottelat (2007) do not agree with this and because of this and the prevailing usage in the scientific community I will use the name Hara here.


Hara jerdoni


This is the easiest of the Hara species to identify as it always stays small (2.5cm SL maximum), its pectoral fins are proportionately very long, and the posterior processes of the coracoid reach the insertion of the ventral fin.


When I first kept this fish many years ago it was kept in a tank with a gravel substrate and undergravel filter. They did Ok but recently I have kept them on a substrate of sand and they have done much better. Through the day they live in Java Fern or Java Moss and when the lights are turned off they swim very energetically looking for food. They don’t seem to appreciate a fast flow of water and in the wild they have been found in sluggish water with lots of vegetation so this should be replicated for them in the aquarium. They seem to prefer cooler temperatures but will be ok up to around 78°F.


Hara jerdoni = Dorsal view showing the long pectorals


They won’t eat dried foods so need to be fed with live or frozen foods. I have noticed mine eating aufwuchs of the fronds of Java Moss. They can be bred as testified by the spawning account of Adrian Taylor, BAP secretary of the Catfish Study Group.


All in all they are an interesting and rewarding little catfish and one that is recommended.


Remarks: There are some publications that sight this species as Erethistes jerdoni due to a paper published in 2006 by Ichthyologists Alfred W Thompson & Lawrence M. Page of the Florida Museum of Natural History. Ferraris (2007) also stated that the Erethistidae be moved back into the Sisoridae family.




D 1/5i; A 3/5i-6i; P 1/4i; V 1/5. Head and body moderately compressed. Dorsal profile curved from tip of snout to level of nares, then evenly sloping to origin of dorsal fin; evenly sloping ventrally to origin of adipose fin and gently concave from origin of adipose fin to end of caudal peduncle. Ventral profile flat to pelvic-fin base; sloping gently dorsally to end of anal-fin base and gently concave from end of anal-fin base to end of caudal peduncle. Strong and very long pectoral fin spines and post-coracoid processes. Skin with tubercles.


Base colour can be grey, light brown, reddish brown or dark brown, with mottling caused by darker patches or bands. An albino specimen was found in West Bengal, India.

An extremely peaceful species. Its diminutive size and tiny mouth meaning it can be safely kept with any species. Should be kept with small, peaceful tankmates.

Has been bred by UK Asian catfish enthusiast Adrian Taylor.

Sexual Diferences

There are no proven external sexual differences, but females appear to get a deeper and wider body, and their pectoral fins spines appear more convex.



Will eat most small live foods. Bloodworm (live or frozen), Cyclops, small daphnia, microworm etc. They also appear to eat aufwuchs from plants, notably Java Moss.


Hara = a local name and specific epithet for a congener;
jerdoni : Named after the ichthyologist T C Jerdon.


Ng, H. H. and M. Kottelat, 2007.
A review of the catfish genus Hara, with the description of four new species (Siluriformes: Erethistidae). Revue Suisse de Zoologie v. 114 (no. 3): 471-505.

Ng, H. H., 2010.
The monophyly and composition of the Asian hillstream catfish family Sisoridae (Teleostei: Siluriformes): evidence from morphology.
Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters v. 21 (no. 3): 247-278.

Taylor, A. W., 2011.
Asiancatfish.com http://www.asiancatfish.com/index.html

Thomson, A. W. and L. M. Page, 2006.
Genera of the Asian catfish families Sisoridae and Erethistidae (Teleostei: Siluriformes). Zootaxa No. 1345: 1-96.



Pectoral fin: The paired fins after head and before anal fin.

Ventral fin: The paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins.
Coracoid: Middle and lower section of the pectoral girdle.

Caudal peduncle: The area between the dorsal fin and the tail.
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Pelvic fins: The paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins. (also referred to as ventrals).
Anal fin: The fin forward from the anal cavity.
Tubercles: Tentacle-like projections.

Photo Credits

 © Steven Grant

Factsheet 185


Erethistes jerdoni
Common Name:
Anchor Catfish, Asian Stone Cat
Ganges and Brahmaputra drainages, India and Bangladesh; Koshi and Karnali Rivers, Nepal.
2.5cm. (1inch)
23-27°c (72-78°f.)
6.2 - 7.2.
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                                                                                                                 Factsheet 185 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top