Back in 1903 Georg Duncker from the Hamburg Museum described a small species of catfish from the Malay Peninsula under the name of Pseudobagrus ornatus. The description appeared in the same famous paper in which the harlequin barb (Trigonostigma heteromorpha) and the dwarf rasbora (Boraras maculatus) were described. In contrast to the two barbs, which are since then among the most popular aquarium fishes from Southeast Asia at all, the dwarf-cats remained almost unknown. This is very sad, as Hyalobagrus (this is the genus the species are currently placed in) make perfect aquarium fish, very nice and absolutely peaceful. They like to school with conspecifics. Hyalobagrus are not bottom dwellers in the strict sense of the word, but prefer to swim in the open water. There are currently three accepted species in Hyalobagrus which differ mainly in details of coloration. We were able to import once more Hyalobagrus flavus from Sumatra (Jambi) now; this species has also a population in southern Borneo.
Hyalobagrus are perfect tankmates for small blackwater fishes like barbs, labyrinth fishes and kuhli loaches. Moreover they should be comparatively easy to breed in the aquarium. Ripe females can be easily recognized by the greenish eggs that are visible through the translucent belly. One should be careful when catching the fish, for they have strong serrations on the pectoral spines which can cause a desastrous tangle in the net.
For our customers: the fish have code 421692 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer