Scientific name: Homalopteroides smithi (Hora 1932)
Common name: Lizard fish, Lizard catfish, Gecko fish
Synonyms: Homaloptera lineat, Homaloptera smithi (Hora 1932)
Distribution: Mekong and Choa Phraya basins, Malay Peninsula and Indonesia
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are more slender than females and more typical of lizard type hillstreams. Females become more broad in the body and develope a large hump back when mature.
Maximum size: 2.5 inches
Similar to: Homalopteroides tweediei
Care: Typical hillstream conditions. This species needs clean, well oxygenated water with a strong flow. There should be plenty of flat stones on which the fish can rest and plenty of hiding places. Driftwood, caves, broad leaved plants, and pieces of slate leaned against the tank glass provide refuge for this somewhat shy species. H. smithi is a very mellow fish and will get along well with other hillstreams. It should be noted, however, that it may not be the best fish to keep in a river tank with breeding hillstreams as it may feed on the fry.
Feeding: Bloodworms and brine shrimp are the preferred food of this species. Most processed fish foods are ignored.
Water parameters: pH:6.4 -7.5 . Hardness: medium . Max dh: 12
Temperature: 70ºF to 76ºF (21-25°C)
Breeding: There is no record of this species breeding in captivity. Females may become gravid.
Homalopteroides smithi is unusual in that it posseses characteristics of both lizard type and sucker type hillstream loaches.
It has the typical wedge shaped head and cylindrical body of the lizard types (males) and the overlapping pectoral and pelvic fins of the sucker types. The females develope the wide body of the sucker types as they mature.
The common names lizard fish and gecko fish are very descriptive of this fish. Its textured scales, camouflage capabilities, stealthy, stalking actions and articulated neck that can pivot 45 degrees, all are reminicent of geckos and other lizards. It can be very entertaining to watch this stealthy hunter carefully stalk a bloodworm and then suddenly strike its prey with suprising speed. Unlike Homaloptera species such as H. orthogoniata, Homalopteroides smithi is a true hunter and will ignore most prepared aquarium foods. They do not seem to graze on rocks like many hillstream species. Therefore, due consideration should be given to ensure it does not starve. Boisterous, active tank mates should be avoided as they may steal most of the food before this species gets enough to eat.
This species is often imported in shipments mixed with Homaloptera species such as Homaloptera zollingeri.
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