are medium sized catfish that reach a length of 15-40 cm. They are
close relatives of the only central European species of catfish, the
Wels (Silurus glanis). Ompok look quite similar to the Wels. In southern
and southeastern Asia, Ompok are favorite food fish, despite the fact
that they are comparatively small. They are called “butter catfish” due
to the very soft flesh. This makes is almost impossible to detect the
original distribution of the species, because fingerlings are sent over
wide distances for stocking fish ponds.
determination of species of Ompok is very difficult. A lot of species
descritions exist (currently 47), but only 27 are regarded as valid
usually. The remaining seem to be synonyms or unnecessary renamings. But
this fact nevertheless shows that there is a lot of variation in the
species and that different scientist have different points of view how
to evaluate certain characters, like coloration or body indexes. Until
ca. 1950 all described species of Ompok were seen as only one existing,
very variable species, namely O. bimaculatus.
bimaculatus has been described already in 1794. It originates from
India. We also received our specimens from India. From India alone 21
species of Ompok have been described, but only 5 are regarded as vaild.
So the literature on Ompok from India is very confusing. The situation
becomes even worse, as O. bimaculatus is called “pabda” in India, but
Ompok pabda is a different species!
probably the second species of Ompok we currently have in stock came to
Thailand for food purposes. The very long barbels and the marbled
pattern on the body fit very good to the description of Ompok pabda.
Ompok species in aquaria is not difficult and is comparable to keeping
glass catfish (Kryptopterus). However, Ompok become much larger! Against
other fish that are not suitable to be eaten, Ompok are absolutely
peaceful and they also leave plants in the aquarium alone.
our customers: the fish have code 439752 (O. bimaculatus) and 439853
(O. pabda) on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer