this factsheet (Nov.2006) had been penned a couple
of years ago in 2004, we would be talking about Corydoras
barbatus but in the callichthyid genus, Scleromystax
was resurrected by taxonomists during an ongoing study
of Corydoras,Aspidoras and Brochis
in 2004. The main criteria for resurrecting the genera
was the cheek bristles on the males of this species,
you can just see them below the eye in the green area
of the snout in the image below.
There are 4 other
species in this genera namely S.
the most up to date species Scleromystax
& Reis, 2005 which is similar to macropterus
but but lacks the black spot common at the base of
the tail on this species. The spots along the flanks
of S. salmacis are also said to be more irregular
than those of S. macropterus. This species
has not been seen in the hobby as of this factsheet.
The males of S. barbatus and S. kronei
are similar but have different body patterns with
the middle band in S. kronei being solid
wheras in S. barbatus it is broken up somewhat.
Back to our factsheet
of the month and how best to keep this large, in Corydoradinae
terms anyway as this species can get upwards to 4
inches in total length, Callichthyidae. First of all
the males can become quite territorial and as such
if keeping more than one male they would have to be
housed in a 36ins (90cm) long tank and if one male
you can scale it down to a 24ins (60cm) aquarium.
barbatus is found in flowing water in the coastal
areas of Southern Brazil on either a sand or pebble
substrate. The temperatures are low in these areas,
we are even talking about temperatures as low as 60°f
(16.5°c) here and as such you would be better
keeping this species in an unheated aquarium
This is of course
a most beautiful catfish, especially the males with
their black and gold markings, and when the males
are in breeding condition there are not too many tropical
fish of any species that can hold a candle to the
The genus Scleromystax belongs to Lineage
3 and if there was a revision carried out on the Corydoradinae
in the future they would remain so, with the designated
type species S. barbatus (Günther, 1864).
Coastal drainages from Rio de Janeiro to Santa Catarina.
Male: 10.0cm (4ins) Female:
D 1/7-8; A 1/6-7; 24-27 bony
scutes in the upper lateral series, 22-23 in the lower.
Body, greatly elongated.
Underside delicate yellowish to white. Blackish to
lovely yellow-brown markings on the flanks, leaving
clear two large golden blotches on the upper side
of the caudal peduncle. Large, gleaming brassy spots
on the upper surface of the head and on the cheeks.
Vertical fins with rows of brownish spots. Female:
Body colour dark brown with irregular lighter blotches,
belly cream to white, head dark brown with irregular
light spots and blotches. Some light brown pigment
forming light indistinct baring in all fins.
Care and Compatibility
As with most members of the
are peaceful and good additions to the larger "cool
water" aquarium set up with maybe other cool
water fish such as White Cloud Mountain Minnows and
other fish that are comfortable with a temperature
around the 70°f (21.5°c).
Will lay up to
60 adhesive eggs high up on the aquarium glass. Best
to have the p.H. on the acid side for breeding as
it helps to break down the membrane and is easier
for the fry to exit their egg cases. Will need feeding
after three days as the fry use up their yolk sac,
and can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp.
The males are more ornate and
have extended pectoral fins. The second and third rays
of the dorsal fin are often extended and of course the
male has the cheek bristles that the female doesn't.
As with other members of the
Corydoradinae they relish tablet and good quality
flake food with frozen bloodworm a firm favourite.
They are also keen on chopped earthworms and other
worm foods such as white worm used sparingly, and
From the Greek "sclero"
meaning hard and the Latin "mystax" meaning
moustache. barbatus: Bearded, alluding
to the bristles on the cheeks of adult males.
Markos & Taylor, Martin. (2011). Evolution,
ecology and taxonomy of the Corydoradinae revisited.
Information Sheet no.52. Günther; Sterba, Freshwater Fishes
of the World 1, t.f.h. 1973. Ian
A. M. Fuller & Hans-Georg Evers (2011).
Identifying Corydoradinae Catfish Supplement 1. Ian