Banjo cat Bunocephalus
sp. from Brazil.
this family of catfish, Trevor Morris of the
Catfish Study Group (U.K.). Speaking to
other catfish enthusiasts within the U.K.,
I’ve found the banjos, while not the most
popular group of fish, have been kept by
most of them—and it would appear that
some have kept more than one species.
These catfish tend to be very nocturnal,
preferring to bury themselves within a
sandy substrate such as aquarium sand. The
“banjos” will tolerate water conditions with
pH in the range of 6.0 to 8.0, temperature
in the range of 20° to 28°C ( 68° to 82°F),
and hardness in the range of 5° to 19° dGH,
depending upon species.
The ideal diet for these wonderful catfish
should include bloodworms, Tubifex worms,
whiteworms, earthworms, sinking catfish
pellets, and catfish tablets, to name a few
The following are some of the various
banjo catfishes you might come across, as
well as some information about the size,
background, and classification of each.
Bunocephalichthys verrucosus scabriceps,
Bunocephalichthys verrucosus verrucosus
Size: 95 mm ( 3. 7 inches)
Origin: Guyana and Amazon River Basin
Color: The base color of the body is dark
chocolate with some mottling, especially
on the head plate. The barbels are banded.
The dorsal, anal, ventral, and pectoral fins
are black with a white margin, with the first
rays being banded. The caudal fin is black
with a white margin as with the remaining
fins, while its outer rays are banded.
Body: This catfish has a very deep head
which is said to be almost as deep as it is
wide. The head is often described as being
craggy, in reference to its head plate.
black in color with a white margin; the first
rays of the dorsal and anal and the outer
rays of the caudal are banded. The ventral
fins are described as being mottled with a
white margin. The pectoral fins are dark
brown to black in color with the last rays
being lightly mottled.
Body: The head plate has a shallow Y-shaped nuchal crest with its base just in
front of the dorsal plate extending forward
and dividing level to the base of the pectoral
fin spine. The head and body are covered
in minute tubercles. This catfish has nine
rows of conspicuous tubercles around
Common Name: Gnarled catfish
Synonyms: Agmus lyriformis, Aspredo
gronovii, Bunocephalichthys gronovii,
Bunocephalus gronovii, Agmus scabriceps,
Bunocephalus scabriceps, Aspredo verrucosa,
Platystacus verrucosus, Silurus verrucosus,
Common Name: Camouflaged catfish
Synonyms: Bunocephalus amaurus
aloikae, Bunocephalus amaurus
Size: 120 mm ( 4. 7 inches)
Origin: British Guiana
Color: The base color of the head
and body is dark chocolate brown
with a lighter saddle between the
nuchal crest and the dorsal fin spine,
with some lighter patches on the back
between the dorsal and caudal fins.
The barbels are banded. The caudal,
anal and dorsal fins are dark brown to