are off to Asia this month (Sep.2004) and to Myanmar,
formerly the state of Burma, and to a Mystus species
that is not all that well known in the hobby but is
one of the most colourful in this genus, Mystus
pulcher. There have been sporadic imports of
this catfish in the United Kingdom in the last year
so what better than a factsheet to celebrate its arrival
to these shores.
name for this species in India is the "Pulcher
mystus", pulcher in latin, meaning beautiful,
and it can be differentiated from most in this genus
by the two dark spots on the body, one on the shoulder
area and the other on the base of the caudal. There
are also three white/cream longitudinal stripes running
from the beginning of the dorsal insertion along to
the caudal peduncle. The only other species that is
similar is Mystus bimaculatus Volz, 1904,
but the colouration of the body is more reddish and
the two spots have a lighter outer edge to them and
they also lack the 3 body stripes.
is a fairly easy species to keep and is quite adaptable
to different water parameters in the aquarium.
It is also a good species
for any ambitious breeder
to undertake as they do not grow large and are not
aggressive. I am at the moment in the process of carrying
out this task and I'm hoping of some luck in the future
as this is indeed a beautiful species.
are beneficial to this species as it will give them
confidence to come out and feed and to also view them.
Substrate can be of your own choice, either sand or
There is quite
a confusion with the size given, which in some literature
can range from 5cm (2 ins) to 15cm (6ins). I would
go with 12cm (5ins) as viewing them they look like
that the max. size of 15cm might be just a bit out
of their growth range. These sizes are of course standard
length which takes in a size measured from the snout
to the caudal peduncle.
Bhamo close to Yunnan border; small muddy streams
along Kaminng Jade Mines Road, Myitkyina district.
pairs of barbels, 2 maxillary, 2 mandibular and 2
nasal. Two dark spots on the body, one on the tympanum
and the other on the caudal peduncle.
The supraoccipital process meets the basal bones of
the dorsal fin. Maxillary
barbels reaching to insertion of anal fin.
Dorsal and upper part of
the body dark brown with lighter or paler whitish
brown stripes: one median, from the tip of the snout
to the base of the dorsal fin, and two lateral longitudinal
on each side, one above and the other below the
middle line, which is distinguished by being dotted
black for the openings of the lateral organs. Nasal
and maxillary barbels blackish brown, adipose fin
dark brown, dorsal and caudal fins are brownish
with black spots on the membranes between the rays.
It has an intensely black
tympanic spot (not semiocellus), and also one near
the caudal peduncle followed by a thin white band.
Care & Compatibility
Will do well in your medium
to large aquarium with larger Tetra type fish and
Not reported but
oviparous, distinct pairing possibly like other members
of the same family. This
genus is known to be egg scatterers and
may eat the eggs if they are not separated. Cold water
changes may start a pair off if they are kept in a species
tank on their own. There
have been a couple of instances of successfull breeding
attempts with Mystus species, notably M.
armatus and M.
Surprisingly they love flake
food which will give them all the vitamins they desire.
They should of course be fed a varied diet consisting
of the former, tablet foods and frozen foods such
meaning whiskered or moustache (hair on the upper
lip). Mystus was first used by Belon in 1553 to describe
all fish with whiskers. pulcher: From the Latin
pulcher ='beautiful', alluding to the attractive
Steven;The striped catfishes of the genus Mystus
Scopoli, 1777 (Siluriformes: Bagridae)Cat
Chat, The Journal of the Catfish Study
Group (UK) Vol. 5 Issue Number 2 June 2004, 5-17p.
Jayaram, K.C.The Freshwater
Fishes of India, Zoological Survey Of India, Calcutta. Sands, David; Catfishes of the World,
Vol.5 Bagridae and Others.