Reef to Rainforest: Discovering Tropical Species, Places, Nature

Fossil Cat

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Heteropneustes fossilis - (Bloch, 1794)
Fossil Cat

An Asian species that can deliver an excruciating, even fatal, sting.

[edit] Overview

Sometimes referred to as the Asian Stinging Catfish, this eel-like species is a dangerous fish that can inflict an extremely painful sting, even at small sizes. (Sharp, venom-tipped barbs are found in its pectoral fins.)

Human fatalities have been reported. It is already banned in some states—avoid at all costs.

Family: Heteropneustes

Other common name(s):

  • Stinging Catfish
  • Asian Stinging Catfish
  • Liver Catfish

Native range:

Habitat: Swamps, ditches, slow-moving streams and rivers. Sometimes found in brackishwater.

Maximum length: 30 cm (12 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 681 L (180 gal)

Water: Freshwater 21 °C (294 K, 70 °F) - 25 °C (298 K, 77 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom.

[edit] Feeding

Carnivore. Offer meaty foods. Adults will take feeder fish, earthworms, table/green shrimp.

[edit] Aquarium Compatibility

For large, specialized community tanks or species tanks only. A fish for expert catfish enthusiasts only.

[edit] Special Care

Handle with extreme care to avoid being stung.

Will come to the surface to breathe. Be sure aquarium is well covered to prevent escape. This fish can survive periods out of water and is known to slither from one body of water to another.

[edit] Breeding/Propagation

Lays demersal eggs in a nest in the substrate and exhibits extended parental care. Fry are reported to grow rapidly.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW
Facts about Fossil CatRDF feed
Common name Fossil Cat  +, Stinging Catfish  +, Asian Stinging Catfish  +, and Liver Catfish  +
Family Heteropneustes  +
Genus Heteropneustes  +
Image credit JJ  +
Maximum length 12 in  +
Minimum aquarium size 180 gal  +
Native range Pakistan  +, Sri Lanka  +, Myanmar  +, and India  +
Reference 101 Best Tropical Fishes  +
Specific name fossilis  +
Swimming level Bottom.  +
Text credit KW  +
Water max temp 298 K (25 °C, 77 °F)  +
Water min temp 294 K (21 °C, 70 °F)  +
Water type Freshwater  +