continue our look at another "Wolf in sheep's
clothing" continuing the theme from our 100th
factsheet two months ago in spotlighting the Asian
Red Tailed catfish, Hemibagrus
close associate this month from the Bagridae family
and from the same genus is Hemibagrus nemerus.
If you look up Fishbase the common name for this species
is the Asian Red Tailed Catfish which is also a widely
used name in the hobby for H.wyckioides but
considering that H.nemerus does not sport
a truly red tail, more of a pinkish/orange variety,
I have taken it upon myself to give it the common
name of the False Asian Red Tailed Catfish. Common
names don't really matter in the great theme of things
as long as we get the right scientific name for this
This can become
a pretty nasty character in your fish tanks and if
housed with other fish can be lethal. Cichlids such
as the Pikes from the Crenichla genus that
can look after themselves would be the best bet for
other tankmates. I have housed them with Synodontis
and they can make a lot of damage to their fins and
can kill smaller specimens by charging them midriff
and causing internal injuries.
The reason for
this factsheet this month is that there are a lot
for sale around the U.K. at present going under various
names with such as Mystus gulio and there
seems to be quite an influx of asian imports at the
present (Nov.2004). They look quite nice at about
10cm (4inch) and you could be fooled into thinking
that "they would make a nice addition to my community
There are a few
identification checks to make between H. nemerus
and H. wyckioides. H. nemerus has a smaller
adipose fin and a identifying black mark on this fin
which can even be seen on the farm bred albino variety
above. It also possess a filament extension to the
top caudal lobe and there are a few specimens that
do not even have the pinkish/orange colour to the
caudal but have the same colouration as the body.
in with the factsheet of two months ago, Hemibagrus
wyckioides, there is also a link to last months
factshheet for the Helicopter catfish Wallagoni
leerii, in that this
enormous catfish from the Siluridae family actually
predates on H. nemerus in its native habitat
so there is always something else higher up in the
Your tank set-up
should be at least a 4ft long for juveniles with either
gravel or a sand base with rockwork and also plants
if you so prefer. H.nemerus will rearrange
the substrate to suit itself anyway with the gravel
bed being shifted and usually banked up the side of
the aquarium walls. External filtration is a better
bet with weekly water changes carried out, although
this catfish is very hardy and can take most tank
In its native
habitat they are caught by seines, hook and line,
gill nets, cast nets and traps and then taken to the
local markets to be sold fresh.
Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand,
The dorsal fin has 2 spines
with 7 soft rays. The anal fin has 10-13 soft rays.
Base of adipose fin
shorter than that of dorsal fin and about equal to
that of anal fin. Barbels four pairs; nasal barbels
extending to or beyond eyes, maxillary ones in anal
fin, mandibulary ones beyond base of pectoral fins,
mental ones 2/3 - 3/4 the distance between their base
and insertion of pectoral fins. Head flattened rather
than conical; rugose skull roof; depressed dorsal
fin not reaching adipose fin; pectoral fin smooth
Body colour brown often with
greenish sheen. Fins grey with violet tint.
Caudal fin sometimes shows
a pinkish/orange colouration. Dark pigmentation
to adipose fin.
Care & Compatibility
Not to be trusted with other
fish. If kept with other fish they will have to be
able to look after themselves as mentioned above.
There are no known
reported aquarium spawning's of this catfish, most
likely due to the eventual size that these fish attain
and their aggressive nature! The males are said to
possess a genital papilla just in front of the anal
fin. Breeds in the summer
months in its natural habitat. Moves into the flooded
forest to spawn and the youngsters are usually seen
in August. Returns to
the larger Rivers at the end of the year.
Whilst this catfish is best
described as a predator/carnivore in its natural habitat
feedings of fish, insects, shrimps and other crustaceans,
in captivity this catfish will feed on mussels, prawns,
pieces of fish, earthworms and will even take prepared
foods such as catfish pellets.
half; bagrus - From 'bagre',
a South American name for a catfish, but is only used
for African and Asian species.
R. and D. Pauly.
Editors. 2004. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic
publication. www.fishbase.org, version (11/2004).
Rainboth, W.J., 1996 Fishes of the
Cambodian Mekong. FAO Species Identification Field
Guide for Fishery Purposes. FAO, Rome, 265 p.