Hoplo Catfish (Megalechis Thoracata)
The Hoplo Catfish, also known as the Spotted Hoplo, is a medium-sized freshwater catfish. They are recognizable because their elongated body covered in large, dark spots against a silver or light brown background. The dorsal fin is tall and pointed, and the pectoral fins are long and spiny. The Hoplo Catfish can reach an adult size of up to 6 inches.
The Hoplo Catfish, also known as the Spotted Hoplo, is a robust catfish that stands out due to its larger size and distinctive appearance. Their body is oblong and slightly flattened from the sides, with a wide head adorned with two pairs of barbs on the upper jaw and one on the under-jaw. Their elongated body is covered with large, dark spots against a silver to light brown background. In the wild, they typically grow up to 6 inches, but in captivity, they can grow up to 8 inches with a reliable food intake.
Although Hoplo Catfish are generally peaceful, they may display territorial behavior if the tank is excessively crowded, often chasing away other bottom-dwelling tankmates. They are social creatures and prefer to be kept in groups of 5 or more.
Hoplo Catfish get along well with a variety of tank mates and are a great addition to community tanks with other peaceful fish. Ideal tankmates for Hoplo Catfish include small to medium-sized, peaceful fish occupying the tank's middle and upper levels. These could include fish like medium to large tetras (Congo Tetras, Black Widow Tetras), large Rainbowfish, Silver Dollars, Angelfish, and peaceful barbs. Non-aggressive bottom dwellers such as loaches and otocinclus can also be good companions, provided the tank is large enough to give all bottom dwellers their own space. Their thick armor protects them from many larger species, allowing them to comfortably coexist with some more aggressive Cichlids, such as the Texas Cichlid, Oscar fish, and Flowerhorn Cichlid. Avoid housing Hoplo Catfish with aggressive, territorial fish, or compete with them for food at the bottom of the tank.
Hoplo Catfish are omnivorous, primarily foraging for food along the bottom of their habitat. Providing them with a varied diet consisting of high-quality foods is recommended for optimal nutrition. Alternate their daily meals between sinking shrimp pellets, catfish pellets, algae wafers, and bloodworm sticks. As a special twice-a-week treat, offer up frozen bloodworms or daphnia.
In terms of habitat, Hoplo Catfish thrive in well-oxygenated water with moderate flow. They prefer tanks that mimic their natural habitat, which includes riverbeds with a soft sandy substrate where they can forage for food. The tank should be furnished with plenty of hiding spots using driftwood, rocks, caves, and live plants that provide relief from the light. Choose sturdy plants, as Hoplo Catfish are known to dig and may uproot delicate plants. Hoplo Catfish can be paired with sturdy aquatic plants such as Java Fern, Anubias, and Amazon Sword to create a natural and visually appealing aquarium environment. These hardy plants provide cover and hiding spots for the fish while adding a lush and vibrant backdrop to the tank.
Regarding their water parameters, taking care of Hoplo Catfish is easy because they are quite adaptable and hardy. The minimum recommended aquarium size is 50 gallons for a group of Hoplo Catfish. A community aquarium should be at least 60 gallons. The ideal pH range is between 6.0-7.5, and the hardness should be within 2-25 dGH. The temperature should be maintained between 72-79°F (22-26°C).
As with all tropical fish, Hoplo Catfish need consistent water parameters. Sudden or inconsistent swings in pH, temperature, and dGH readings can result in stress and health issues.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.