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Gastromyzon ocellatus

by Martin Thoene last modified Jan 09, 2009 10:29 AM



Scientific Name: Gastromyzon ocellatus (Tan & Ng 2004)

Common name: Spiney-headed hillstream loach (this name association comes from previous mis-identification as Gastromyzon ctenocephalus, which means spiney-headed.)

Synonyms: None.

Distribution: Sarawak, Borneo.

Sexual Dimorphism: Females generally plumper all over than males.

Maximum size: 2 inches

Similar to: Gastromyzon farragus, Gastromyzon viriosus, Gastromyzon zebrinus

Gastromyzon ocellatus - Two males fighting

Care: Inhabit fast flowing streams over boulders. Aquarium must duplicate these conditions as fish have very high oxygen requirements.

With all Gastromyzon species, care is broadly the same. All need excellent water-flow and aeration, numerous rocky hiding places and smooth pebbles and boulders to graze over. Lighting should be bright to encourage algal growth in the aquarium. Plants are not necessary as the fish do not normally encounter them in the wild, but they will help with water-quality. Suitable plants for high-flow environments are Anubias and Microsoreum. These will grow on rockwork or driftwood.

See: Hillstream Loaches - The Specialists at Life In The Fast Lane for more detailed explanation.

Feeding: Good quality flake, sinking pellets, algae wafers, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, blanched Spinach, Kale, natural algae an advantage.

Water parameters: pH:7.0-8.0. Hardness: Medium. Max dh: 12

Temperature: 68ºF to 75ºF(20-23.8°C)

Breeding: Not bred in aquaria.



Gastromyzon ocellatus, sitting in a groupThis is a very beautiful species, noted for the stunning colours in the caudal fin, overlays of softly-defined markings and very distinct scale definition.

While most Gastromyzon species are quite territorial and will display or chase one another around, this species is far more tolerant of its own kind and will even sit around in small loose groups. They will get into territorial disputes, as shown above, but these are far rarer than with other Gastromyzon.

The fish is very similar to Gastromyzon farragus, but that species has less defined pale stripe areas over the back and the lateral spotting extends all the way to the caudal peduncle, below the lateral line, whereas in G. ocellatus that area has large markings like ocelli, hence the name.


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