here are differing views on the true identity of this
species from the Bagridae family as it may in the
future turn out to be a junior synonym of Mystus
Since its description
in 1822 from “Ponds of India”, by Hamilton-Buchanan,
M. tengara has been discussed as being very similar
to or perhaps a junior synonym of M. vittatus.
The original drawing of Mystus tengara shows
the structure of the fontanel and supraoccipital process
being very similar
to M.vittatus. (Grant 2006).
the drawings of both species are correct (Jayaram
2006) M.tengara has a longer lower adipose
fin. M.tengara has the five longitudinal
body stripes also paler than M.vittatus.
Often mistaken for the smaller M.
but vittatus has a longer median groove and
the stripes are more prominent. It has also a low
head and body and M. tengara occurs mostly
in the northern parts of India. There is still a lot
of work to be carried out on this genera although
Ng and Ferraris (2000) segregated Hemibagrus
to accommodate five species of Mystus and
described two others. You can understand this move
as Hemibagrus are superficially different
in body shape, and from the layman's view, they are
flat headed, large and extremely aggressive.
vittatus - notice
the smaller adipose fin
is even conflicting information on the length of the
maxillary barbels on M.vittatus as Jayaram
(2006) states "maxillary pair reaching base of
pelvic fin" and Munro (1955) "maxillaries
reaching middle of anal" (Macrones vittatus).
So as you can see there is a fair bit of work still
to do, especially concerning the striped Mystus
It is found in flowing and standing waters. Adults
inhabit rivers and ponds in plains and submountain
Apart from the
confusion on this Bagrid...how do we keep it in the
aquarium?. Not a problem as long as you keep four
or more as they will do better in a group. This is
quite a small Bagrid but never the less it is better
to keep species with them that are around about the
same size, for after all they are from the Bagridae
family and most (but not all) can be predatory. Furnish
the aquarium with driftwood for hiding places and
plants. Substrate is a personal choice.
India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Reported from Afghanistan.
Median longitudinal groove
on head reaching base of occipital
process. Occipital process three times as long as
broad at base and reaching basal bone of dorsal fin.
Teeth villiform, numerous in a continuous band on
palate and upper jaw; in a mesially interrupted deeply
curved band on lower jaw. Four pairs of barbels; maxillary
pair extending to base of anal fin, nasal anterior
end of opercle, outer mandibular base of pectoral
fin and inner pair short. Rayed dorsal fin inserted
above half of pectoral fin, spine strong, outer surface
smooth, inner surface with 8-10 retrorse teeth. Pelvic
fin not reaching anal fin. Anal fin not reaching caudal
fin base. Least depth of caudal peduncle 1.5 to 1.8
in its length. Caudal fin forked, upper lobe longer
Light brown on top turning
dull yellow on sides and beneath. About five parallel
longitudinal stripes on either side of body present.
Occasionally a dark shoulder spot may also be seen.
Care & Compatibility
Will do well in your medium
to large aquarium with larger Tetra type fish and
Barbs. Keep at least
4 in a group as they are happier interacting with
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.
Males have an elongate genital
papilla in front of the anal fin. Females will be fuller
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, pellet foods and frozen foods such as bloodworm.
Pertaining to the lower jaw. (mandibular barbels). Maxillary: Pertaining to the upper
jaw. (maxillary barbels). Nasal: On top of the head, by the nostrils.
(nasal barbels). Occipital process: A median bone on
the upper surface of the back of the head; pertaining
to the occiput. Retrorse teeth:Pointing
or curved backwards or inwards; opposite of atrose.
Villiform: Elongated cardiform teeth.
meaning whiskered or moustache (hair on the upper
lip). Mystus was first used by Belon in 1553 to describe
all fish with whiskers. tengara: From the native
'ting ga rah'.
R. and D. Pauly.
Editors. 2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication.
www.fishbase.org, version (07/2009). Jayaram, K.C.
Catfishes of India, Narendera Publishing House (India)
383 p. Munro I.S.R. The Marine and Fresh Water
Fishes of Ceylon. Reprint 2000. Biotech Books Delhi.
349 p. ScotCat Article:
striped catfishes of the genus Mystus Scopoli,
1777 (Siluriformes: Bagridae)