mottled brown color, with black or dark
bands throughout the body. The pectoral
fins are quite extended, and aquarists should
use extreme caution with those. They can
sting, but they also tend to get tangled in
nets. Covered in sharp little barbs, the fins
are nearly impossible to remove from a net
without hurting the fish.
Anchor cats seem to handle almost any
water conditions, as long as severe extremes
are avoided. They are, however, sensitive to
low oxygen and organic wastes. In the wild,
they’re often found in fast-moving streams,
as are the other members of the genus. While
flow is not that important, oxygen is critical.
They’re easy enough to feed and will eat
almost anything dropped into the aquarium.
Anchor cats are best kept in small groups
because they do shoal and hang around
each other, which also makes finding the
shy fish a lot easier. Ideally, they should be
maintained in a heavily planted aquarium.
They will often be found in and around the
plants, and so aquarists should be cautious
when pruning because of their small size
and cryptic coloration.
The Indian moth catfish (H. hara) is a
significantly larger member of the genus,
reaching a maximum size of just over 2
inches ( 5 cm). In addition to being a larger
fish, Indian moth cats are much lighter in
appearance. They are also far less shy than
the stone catfish, making them a preferred
choice for the aquarium. Unfortunately,
though, they’re a lot more difficult to find.
While the pectoral spines of the Indian
moth are much shorter than those of the
anchor cat, they still pose a challenge when
netting and can inflict a painful jab. Care
for the Indian moth cat is essentially the
same as that for the anchor cat, but very
small fish (e.g., Boraras spp.) should not be
housed with them, as they may vanish.
H. filamentosa occasionally appears on
trade lists. While the least commonly
encountered of the Hara cats, it is, in my
opinion, the prettiest. It has a darker base
color than H. hara, but the mottling is a bit
lighter and runs more toward tan or gold.
Some individuals of this type have a long
extension from the top of the tail fin—no
one really knows why only some have it.
H. filamentosa is quite a bit larger than the
other Hara species, reaching nearly 3 inches
( 7. 5 cm), so the warning for small fishes is
The shadow catfish (Chandramara
chandramara) is a beautiful midwater
catfish often described as a “hovering”
catfish. It has an archetypical catfish-shaped body that is a diminutive 2 inches
( 5 cm) and ranges from gold to translucent,
making this an interesting tank addition.
These fish are found throughout the
Ganges River in India, typically in weedy,
slow backwaters. These conditions should
be well mimicked in the aquarium, which
should have little to no current. Plants and
driftwood provide excellent hiding spots,
and small groups of these fish will shelter
under the decorations.
They are peaceful, placid, slow-moving
catfish that will not fare well in tanks with
fast-moving species but are an excellent
choice to mix with the sympatric members
of the genera Dario or Badis, various
gouramis (e.g., licorice gouramis), or even
less geographically appropriate fishes, such
as small Apistogramma.
Indian Torrent Catfish
The unusual Indian torrent catfish
(Amblyceps mangois) sometimes shows up
on trade lists, and I’ve had a few myself.
Found throughout the Ganges, they are
unusual and ugly fish, looking every bit like
a thin hotdog with whiskers. The overall
color ranges from light gold to dark brown.
Reaching just about 4 inches ( 10 cm), adult
torrent cats can be somewhat rough with
one another, but they’ll tend not to bother
each other as much if each fish has plenty
of hiding spaces.
The anchor catfish (Hara jerdoni ), like most moth cats, comes from fast-flowing streams and
should be provided plenty of current in its aquarium.