second month of the new decade (2010) brings us to
another indepth look from the catfish world from regular
contributor, aquarist and author, Chris Ralph. His
subject is the Flyer Cat and certainly one of the
more impresive members of the Loricariidae. I now
hand you over to Chris.
anthrax is a species
that I have not had the pleasure to keep and in my
opinion would be an unusual species to keep. It is
documented that Museum records state a maximum size
of 10cm/4", although it is suggested that the
fish can reach twice this size. Whilst this catfish
is best suited to soft and acidic water conditions
it is generally recognised that as with most other
loricariids it is quite adaptable to harder and slightly
more alkaline waters when being kept under aquarium
conditions. It is suggested that this can be a tricky
species to acclimatize to the aquarium. Close attention
therefore, must be given to providing this catfish
with good water quality with plenty of oxygenation.
I would suggest
a minimum size of 48” x 18” X 18”
for one or two of these catfish, with plenty of hiding
places amongst bogwood and plants. The ideal aquarium
substrate to use would be aquarium sand such as BD
Aquarium Sand. As with all other species of fish,
water quality and general husbandry is very important,
and I would recommend that a minimum of 25% water
is changed on a weekly basis. This fish has similar
requirements to other loricariids, so should do well
under normal aquarium conditions.
anthrax belongs to the family Loricariidae from
South America; namely the upper and lower Orinoco
tributaries. It is documented that Museum specimens
have been collected from the Rio Orinoco drainage
in Venezuela, and in the Rio Caura and Rio Aro, which
are tributaries of the Orinoco. The type locality
is given as Río Orinoco backwater behind sand
beach ca. 0.5 hr upstream from Isla Temblador, 3°04'N,
anthrax prefer to be kept in water which has
a slightly acidic pH of around 6.0. A ph range of
6.0-7.2 is documented as being acceptable for this
catfish. It is ideally suited to temperatures in the
range of 22-25ºC or 71-77ºF.
Upper and lower Orinoco tributaries, Caura and Aro
rivers. Type locality: Venezuela,
Estado Amazonas, Río Orinoco backwater behind
sand beach ca. 0.5 hr. upstream from Isla Temblador,
20.0cm. (8ins) s.l.
(standard length – this is the measurement of
the fish from the tip of the snout to the base of
the caudal peduncle).
The body of Pseudolithoxus
is generally described as being flattened or
compressed. It is described as having two dorsal spines
and seven to eight branched dorsal rays. It is described
as having one anal spine and four branched anal raysand
there are 24-26 lateral line plates; seven to eight
dorsal plates; seven to eight adipose-caudal plates
and 12-14 post-anal plates.
The base colour of the body
is described as being charcoal grey to black with
white spots covering the entire length of the fish.
Care & Compatibility
Wherever possible I would recommend
that the aquarist keep these catfish in a community
aquarium as single specimens or as sexed pairs due
to their aggressive and territorial nature. These
catfish should be kept with other small species of
fish which are peaceful and tolerant of fast moving
There are no documented
reports of aquarium spawnings of Pseudolithoxus
anthrax as far as I am aware, most likely due
to the rarity of this catfish amongst imports.
As with most other species
of catfish the males tend to be more slender than the
females. It is suggested that females are fatter and
have smaller odontodes than males. Adult males have
much longer cheek bristles and bristles to their pectoral
Requires a mixed and varied
diet which includes meatier foods such as chopped
prawns and bloodworm in addition to algae wafers to
name but a few.
is defined as a second dorsal fin. Anal
fin is defined as the medial fin immediately
posterior to the anus.
is defined as the tail fin. Compressed
is defined as flattened from side to side. Dorsal
is defined as being top or above. Dorsal
fin is defined as the medial fin on top of
line is defined as a line of scutes with
sensory canals running along the flanks.
Pectoral fins are defined as paired
lateral fins. Scute
is defined as a bony plate.
Ventral fins are defined as the paired
fins between the pectoral and anal fins.
pseudes meaning false + Greek, lithos meaning stone
+ Greek, oxys meaning sharp.