The Asian featherbacks, which have a well developed dorsal fin, have been placed in the genus Notopterus for a long time. Nowadays the genus Notopterus is seen monotypic (it contains only the single species N. notopterus) and the high-backed forms have been placed in another genus, namely Chitala.
Currently we have the very attractive species Chitala blanci in stock. This featherback, which can attain a maximum length of about 120 cm, originates from the basin of the Mekong river in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. The fish are gorgeous inhabitants for large aquaria. Chitala blanci prefers waters with a strong current and avoids quiet water or swamps.
All species of Chitala are predatory fish that have to be fed with beefy (frozen) food. Of course small fish are also eaten. The sexes cannot be distinguished externally. Against conspecifics and other tankmates that cannot be eaten, featherbacks are very peaceful. During breeding season the fish form pairs and spawn on rocks, wood etc. The spawn is guarded by the parents.
Chitala species are able to breath atmospheric air when necessary. So they can survive even in oxygen-poor water for quite a long time. This makes the much sought for market fish in the countries where they occurs. However, the flesh is full of small bones, so the meat is usually chopped, pressed through a sieve and used for meatballs.
For our customers: the fish have code 439006 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer