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Tatia intermedia (Steindachner, 1877)

he genus Tatia contains around about 14 species (2010) distributed throughout South America east of the Andes from Venezuela and Colombia to Southern Brazil. They don't grow big and the largest size recorded is 12cm. ( 5ins).

Tatia intermedia = female


Tatia tend to be kept by catfish fanatics (for the want of a better word!) as you will not see them from one week to another as they are nocturnal (active at night) and you have to feed at lights out or as I do, put food into the pipe or crevice that you will find them jammed into. 

Tatia intermedia is quite a pretty catfish as most of this genus are. The eyes are large with a skin over them and a few non catfish aquarists tend to think that they have cloudy eye's and it is a disease, but this is normal for the Auchenipteridae family.

The barbels are moderate in length reaching to the end of the dorsal fin and they tend to bend them upwards when looking for food. They can also tuck their barbels alongside their cheeks making them nearly invisible. I tend to think that there is a groove in this area where they can lay their barbels in. They possess two pairs of barbels, one pair of mandibular and one pair of maxillary.

They have quite a chunky body with a broad based caudal peduncle (between the dorsal and caudal) which is unusual in itself as in most fish it slopes down to the caudal fin. Tatia possess a very small adipose fin and a moderately sized ventral and anal.


The anal fin is the key to the sexual dimorphism of this genus, if you think of the male and female of most livebearer fish (Goodeidae family) and you will not be too far away with this assumption. As you can see above the female has a normal anal fin but the males are modified into a copulatory organ with the first and second ray thickened and longer, it is thought that the male uses this to clasp the female during the spawning embrace.

Update Oct.2006: Swedish aquarist Daniel Blom has recently bred this species and you can see his progress below in these clickable images.


Click for full image
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Eggs-laid under a piece of wood

Eggs-on the third day

10mm fry a couple of days after hatching

D 1/4-5; A 8-10; P 1/4; V 6. Body stocky, varying little in depth from front to back, the hinder part compressed. Dorsal fin inserted far forwards, short, with a stout spine. Adipose fin small. Caudal fin forked. Anal fin-base short. 1 pair of maxillary barbels, reaching to the pectoral fins when laid back; two pairs of short, very fine, mandibular barbels.

Body dark brown to black with pale blotches. Middle of the underside delicate pale brown to white. The dorsal, adipose and caudal fins display the same colouration and markings as the body. The remaining fins are translucent, pale or light brownish.

Give them small pipes, and they do seem to like to hide in the crevices of bogwood as well. They appear to be happier if they can jam themselves in with the use of their pectoral fins. Community tanks are fine for this species although you may find that they will predate on fry from other species, but apart from that they come well recommended but don't expect to see them too often.

Internal fertilisation with the eggs deposited 24-48 hours later. (See images above) Also a report on Tatia creutzbergi, with them placing their adhesive eggs on the underside of wood with no broodcare after the event. A few members of the Auchenipteridae family have been spawned in the hobby with a successful breeding and raising of the young of Trachelyichthys decaradiatus by Dick Thompson, a former member of The Northern Area Catfish Group (now Catfish Study Group)

In its native habitat they feed on small invertebrates and crustaceans and in the aquarium they will eat anything given such as frozen bloodworm inserted in to their hideaway, catfish tablets, white worm (sparingly) and prawns and shrimp.
They do like their food and you can see them shooting out of their hideouts and swimming in a frenzied manner to try and take all for themselves, especially when you feed them their favourite food, frozen bloodworm.

Tatia: In honour of Mr. C. Tate Regan.

Burgess,Warren.E.Dr. Freshwater and Marine Catfishes
Riehl, Baensch. Aquarium Atlas 3.1997.
Catfish Association Great Britain. Volume1
Sterba, Gunther; Freshwater Fishes of the World 1

Photo Credits
Top two images:    Allan James @ ScotCat

Breeding images : Daniel Blom
Factsheet 048

Centromochlus intermedius
Common Name:
Snowflake Woodcat
South America: Amazon River basin and rivers of the Guianas
12cm (4¾ins)
21-24c (69-75f )
6.5 - 7.5.
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                                                                                                                                                    Factsheet 48 = updated December 16, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top