Hoplosternum thoracatum, Valenciennes, 1840
Origin: Brazil, Guyana, Martinique, Paraguay, Trinidad, and Venezuela. The fish are most frequently found in standing shallow waters which are densely grown with plants.
Etymology: thoracatum, armoured
Synonyms: Callichthys thoracatus, Callichthys longifilis, Callichthys personatus, Callichthys exaratus, Hoplosternum thorae, Hoplosternum longifilis, Hoplosternum magdalenea.
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) Order: Siluriformes Family: Callichthydae, subfamily: Callichthynae
First European import:Germany, 1911, Vereinigte Zierfishzüchtereien.
Description: See picture.
Care: Peaceful fish, that should be kept in somewhat larger tanks. Can become a bit aggressiv when breeding, but if densely planted corners exist in the tank, no serious problems will occur. These extremely hardy fish survive the worst possible conditions, but still, they are best kept in clean well filtered water, with a pH around neutral. Some sgady areas should be present in the tank, and preferably some driftwood and a dark soil as well.
Feeding: Omnivorous, all food is accepted. Best fed in the evening!
Size: Up to 18 cm.
Breeding: The male will build a bubblenest, similar to that of labyrintfish. A couple can be transferred to a 60 or 80 cm tank, densely planted, with higher temperatures(around 27 degrees). A lowered waterlevel is beneficial, as well as frequent snall waterchanges. After spawning it's best to remove the female
Sexual dimorphism: Males have a thick spine in their pectoral fins. Also, in the breeding season, males show a lila glowing belly, which is white in the females.
Additional: Interesting fish to keep, a good beginner fish if size is not an issue.
Picture references: Picture 1 : E. Naus
References:Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1982): Aquarien Atlas I. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.(click on the link to buy this book)
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