month our guest writer is Chris Ralph, who is the
resident catfish expert on the questions and answers
page of "Practical Fishkeeping" the well
known U.K. aquatic monthly magazine. Chris is a fan
of the bigger "cats" and also keeps a few
of the "biggies" himself, he will now compile
a factsheet on one of his favourites, "The Giant
Raphael Catfish" or by its more interesting handle
"The Mother of Snails Catfish". I will now
hand you over to Chris.
catfish is perhaps one of the more colourful of the
members of the family Doradidae, and is also
one of the larger species hence the common names.
This catfish is quite often described as being one
of the "Tank Busters" due to the fact that
it can grow up to 610mm or 24" standard length
(from the tip of the snout to the base of the caudal
peduncle). The local name given to this fascinating
catfish is "Key-way-mamma" which refers
to the common name of "mother of the snails".
The reason for this common name being due to the fact
that when a specimen was examined the intestine was
lined with large aquatic snails along its length.
Some of you reading this information may be wondering
why the scientific name for this fish is not Megalodoras
irwini, the reason being that the name has been
recently changed and that the old name is now a synonym.
lateral scutes increasing to size towards the caudal
holding Megalodoras uranoscopus
This species of
catfish despite the size that it can attain is really
a "Gentle Giant" and can be kept with other
large or medium sized fish. They are not commonly
available, if you have the space for one or more as
they do tend to like their own company, they are well
of Snails Catfish, Giant Raphael Catfish, Giant Talking
Amazon, Tocantins and Essequibo
15-18 lateral scutes that increase
in size towards the caudal fin. There are many caudal
fulcra or bony plates. There are no plates above or
below the caudal peduncle. The adipose is described
as continuing forward in the form of a hard keel.
This catfish has two pairs of barbels, one pair maxillary
and one pair mandibular.
It has an interesting colour
pattern with dark brown markings on a light brown
background. The body and head are covered in dark
brown to black blotches. The ventral (underneath)
region of this catfish has a mottled pattern, which
is dark brown in colour. The fins are mottled or
spotted irregularly with black coloured markings.
The pectoral fins tend to be lighter in colour towards
the base and darker towards the edge. The adipose
fin is light brown at the top edge of the keel and
darker towards the base.
Care & Compatibility
Keeping Megalodoras uranoscopus
is relatively easy assuming that you have the available
tank space in which to keep them at their optimum.
Ideally they are best housed in an aquarium which
is at least 72" x 24" x 24". The preferred
substrate is sand such as BD Aquarium sand, although
rounded gravel can also be used. They tolerate a wide
range of water conditions, but do like to be able
to hide away. Aquarium décor should include
bogwood and if you don't mind the appearance large
diameter pieces of drainage pipe.
There are no known
documented aquarium spawnings to date, although there
may be some breeding-taking place in the Czech Republic
using hormone inducement.
Their natural diet includes
crustaceans such as aquatic snails, which should be
included as part of their captive diet. In the aquarium
they will feed on sinking catfish pellets, floating
food sticks, whole prawns, earthworms, chopped and
whole mussel. They also relish sinking tablet foods.
Synonym: Different name for the same fish.
With a large helmet (cuirass).
H.A. and R. Riehl 1991 Aquarien atlas. Bd.
3. Melle: Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde,
Germany. 1104 p. Catfish Association of Great Britain,
Volume 1. Froese, R. and D. Pauly.
Editors. 2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic
publication. www.fishbase.org, version (12/2009).
Lopez, H.L., R.C. Menni
and A.M. Miguelarena 1987
Lista de los peces de agua dulce de la Argentina.
Biologia Acuatica No. 12, 50 p. (Instituto de Limnologia
"Dr. Raul A. Ringuelet").