(Armbruster & Provenzano, 2000)
he 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.
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.
- head view
Pseudolithoxus 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, 66°28'W.
Pseudolithoxus 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.
There are three other species of Pseudolithoxus
from Venezuela which were described at the same time as P.
anthrax – Pseudolithoxus
tigris and Pseudolithoxus nicoi.
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.
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 water.
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 fins.
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.
Greek, pseudes meaning
false + Greek, lithos meaning stone + Greek, oxys meaning
is defined as the tail fin.
Pectoral fins are defined as paired lateral
Dorsal fin is defined as the medial fin
on top of the back.
Adipose is defined as a second dorsal fin.
Anal fin is defined as the medial fin immediately
posterior to the anus.
Ventral fins are defined as the paired
fins between the pectoral and anal fins.
Dorsal is defined as being top or above.
Compressed is defined as flattened from
side to side.
Lateral line is defined as a line of scutes
with sensory canals running along the flanks.
Scute is defined as a bony plate.
Top: © Billy
Bottom: © Chris