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Triplophysa siluroides

by Martin Thoene last modified Nov 14, 2006 01:19 AM


Triplophysa siluroides

Scientific Name: Triplophysa siluroides (Herzenstein, 1888)

Common name: Catfish-like Loach

Synonyms: Nemachilus siluroides

Distribution: Qinghai Province, China

Sexual Dimorphism: Unknown

Maximum size: 16 inches (42 cm)

Similar to: None

Care: Aquarium should include high water flow, as these fish have very high oxygen requirements. Needs strong filtration and aeration, numerous rocky hiding places and smooth pebbles and boulders. Substrate should be sand or fine gravel. Lighting should be subdued. 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 rock-work or driftwood and do not need particularly bright light.

See: Hillstream Loaches: The Specialists at Life in the Fast Lane for more detailed explanation.

Feeding: Young fish will probably eat sinking carnivore pellets, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, chopped shrimp and Earthworm. As fish matures will need larger foodstuffs. Whole shrimp, possibly feeder fish.

Water parameters: pH: 6.5-7.5 Hardness: Medium Soft to Medium Max dh: 12

Temperature: 64.4ºF to 73ºF (18-22.7°C)

Breeding: Not bred in aquaria. Spawns in the wild from July to August.


This species inhabits fast-flowing streams at high altitudes, and is a very beautiful addition to a suitably set up aquarium. This is one of the giants of the Balitoridae and very unusual because of its size and habits. It basically fills a similar niche to the predatory catfish of the Family Pimelodidae. Not much is known about its habits and the fish are seldom exported. It is however possible that young ones may arrive mixed in with other species and any aquarist buying one must know exactly what they are dealing with.

This fish can weigh up to 1.2 kg and will be large and powerful as an adult. Tank mates could only be large, robust species that are fast-swimming and too large to be swallowed.

Purchase should only be contemplated if a very large aquarium can be provided with high turnover rate filtration to deal with the fish's waste output.

Rigorous water-change regimes will be needed to maintain excellent water-quality. Growth rates are not known, but many of these predatory type fish can grow very quickly. It is not known if the species is solitary in nature or likes the company of its own kind.

Because of the potential size and feeding habits, this species is only for the true expert who can accommodate its specialized needs.

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