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Brocade catfish, or pterigoplicht: fish description, maintenance and care

One of the brightest and most unusual representatives of aquarium fish is pterigoplicht, or brocade catfish. In addition to the beautiful exterior, it is appreciated by aquarists for its unpretentiousness in maintenance and care, as well as compatibility with neighbors of other species.

That is why, despite the impressive size and excellent appetite, brocade catfish is a very popular fish. The minimum volume of the aquarium for a comfortable life of a catfish is 400 liters.

Under natural conditions, adults reach 50 cm in length, and grow to 20-30 cm in aquariums.

The natural habitat for the pterigoplicht is the shallows on the Orinoco and Amazon rivers. In these places the flow is usually slow, and the rainy season floods the earth for a short time.

A brocade aquarium, or pterigopliht, can grow up to 50 cm in length. It is difficult to confuse with any other fish because of its characteristic appearance. Recognized catfish can be on the following grounds:

  1. The whole body of pterigoplicht is covered with brown spots, which are separated by streaks of white or yellow.
  2. The body of the fish is elongated, and the head is large.
  3. From the side of the back the body is covered with bony plates, they are absent on the stomach.
  4. The eyes are small, high on the head. Characterized by prominent nostrils.
  5. In the mouth there are powerful suckers with which catfish can be attached to the glass of the aquarium.
  6. The back of the pterygoplicht is decorated with a dorsal fin consisting of 12-13 rays. Fin length can reach 15 cm.
  7. There is a crest in front of the fin on the back.
  8. The tail and pectoral fins are lush and beautiful.

Oral suckers are well developed in these fish, so that they can stick to vertical surfaces.

The brocade pterigoplichts are very warlike, as are most mail catfish. Adult males can get involved in fights with representatives of their own species.

During the fight, they ominously straighten the pectoral fins, which allows them to visually grow in size. Even a large predator is very difficult to attack such a catfish.

Under natural conditions, the life cycle of brocade soms depends on the season of the year. When drought occurs, they hibernate, burying in the mud. With the onset of the rainy season, catfish are activated.

If you take the catfish out of the water, it starts to sizzle. According to biologists, so the fish seeks to scare off attacking predators.

Brocade pterigoplichty popular fish for the aquarium because of the interesting color and appearance.

If we talk about such a breed as the brocade catfish, it can be difficult to distinguish a male from a female. Usually only experienced aquarists can do this.. Among the characteristic features are taken into account:

  1. Body size and color – males are larger and brighter.
  2. On the pectoral fins of males there are sharp long spikes.
  3. In males, genital papillae are sticking out, and in females they are pressed to the body.

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Such signs are rather relative and do not always allow to determine the gender of the aquarium inhabitant.

For fish such as pterigoplicht brocade, the content in the aquarium has some distinctive features. In general, this process is not too complicated.

Until the size of the body of a young catfish reaches 12–13 cm, it can be kept in a relatively small aquarium – about 90 cm wide. .

For an adult couple will require a volume of at least 400 liters. If you keep young fish in close aquariums, they stop growing and start to hurt, their life expectancy is significantly reduced.

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Mandatory requirements for the aquarium:

  • good aeration;
  • powerful external filter, as soma very quickly pollute their home;
  • water change every week for ¼ of the total;
  • water temperature in the range of 24⁰С — 30⁰С;
  • weakly acid reaction of water;
  • average hardness level dH from 4⁰ to 20⁰

It will be very useful to place snags in the aquarium. For normal digestion, pterigoplichts need cellulose, which they receive by scraping the surface layer of wood.

Since catfish are bottom fish, natural ground is important for them. The best option – river pebbles and small pebbles.

To create conditions as close to natural as possible, experienced aquarists resort to some tricks. Somiks feel much more comfortable if the “atmosphere” in an aquarium resembles the river environment in their homeland as much as possible.

To recreate the necessary conditions, you can use large smooth stones, artificial tunnels and shelters, aquarium plants.

Adults in case of lack of food can uproot and eat aquatic plants such as schisandra or blue. Therefore, it is better to plant cryptocorynes, wallisneries or apogetones in an aquarium. In general, soma is unpretentious with respect to vegetation, so you can plant any plants to your taste.

Algae must be carefully fixed in the ground so that large fish will not break or damage the algae by any other means.

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The diet of pterigoplicht must be varied. In the daily menu of animal feed should be 20-25%, and vegetable 75-80%. From plant products fit:

  • lettuce leaves scalded with boiling water;
  • zucchini, zucchini;
  • cucumbers;
  • carrot;
  • spinach;
  • cabbage.

These vegetables can be combined with special foods that are sold in pet stores. Thus, it is possible to create an optimal diet for pterigoplicht.

As a live feed, you can use frozen seafood, bloodworms or worms.

Most often they keep shallow areas of rivers with weak currents, as well as on flooded areas during the rainy season.

You should not overfeed catfish, otherwise they will stop cleaning the algae in the aquarium. Since pterigoplicht prefers to be nocturnal, it is better to feed him in the evening before turning off the lights. These fish are rather slow and can miss the moment of feeding.

It is very important that the fish have a reliable shelter for daytime rest. Here he will be able to hide from relatives and from other inhabitants of the aquarium.

Only the same large individuals as himself can be the “neighbors” of the brocade catfish in the aquarium. The following types can be settled in the same pond with pterigoplicht:

  • large cichlids;
  • knife fish;
  • large gourami;
  • polypters;
  • flower horn.

It is not recommended to settle a pterigopichta with scalars in one aquarium.

The latter usually destroys all the “neighbors” in the aquarium, but the brocade catfish is protected by its bone armor.

It is not recommended to settle a pterigopichta in the same aquarium with the following species:

  • discus and scalaroids – catfish will eat their scales;
  • goldfish – they are very slow and can be attacked;
  • bagless-haired catfish typeless fish;
  • species of fish with veil tails and fins;
  • other sweepers – antsistrusami, etc.

In brocade catfish, intraspecific aggression is often observed, therefore in one aquarium there should not be more than one adult pair of this species.

In their homeland, during the breeding season, pterigoplichts go to deep holes and tunnels dug near the river bank. The female hides in such a hole and lays caviar, while the male is guarding the entrance.

After the fry are born, the males take full care of them.

It is impossible to create such conditions in a home aquarium, so brocade catfish at home will not work. Cohabitation in one aquarium of an adult couple will not lead to offspring.

For breeding brocade catfish, special farms are built in East Asia, Australia and the USA. Here, fish are grown for commercial purposes – they are transported to pet stores around the world, as pterigoplicht enjoys incredible popularity.

The plates covering the body of the catfish are particularly clearly visible in albino forms.

Brocade catfish are highly resistant to diseases, provided that they are properly maintained, they have excellent health. However, in the event of adverse conditions, even such “forts” can overtake the diseases characteristic of the inhabitants of the aquarium:

  1. If the water in the aquarium changes irregularly and the products of metabolism accumulate in it, the catfish may form holes in the fins.
  2. Lack of pigs in the pond provokes digestive disorders.
  3. A sick fish may change its behavior – it becomes restless, hides even at night, or, conversely, begins to beat against the walls of the aquarium.
  4. Ichthyophthyroidism is a disease caused by ciliary infusoria. This disease can affect almost all aquatic inhabitants. These unicellular parasites invade the body of the fish, its fins and gills. Soon, whitish spots appear on the skin surface. Sick fish becomes weak, floats to the surface. The death of an individual comes from suffocation.
  5. Many fungal and bacterial infections in catfish are manifested in a change in skin color, loss of scales or the appearance of pustules on the surface of the body. The belly or back can turn white.

Wood is the main component of food, but perhaps as an auxiliary component of digestion, and not because of its nutritional value.

It can be difficult to recognize the disease in pterigoplichts due to the fact that the fish is nocturnal, and during the day it hides under the snags or in the caves.

To get rid of ichthyophonosis, it is necessary to raise the temperature of the water in the aquarium to 30 degrees or to relocate the sick catfish to a weak salt solution. Preventing disease is easier than curing.

To do this, you must carefully follow the rules of care, keep the aquarium clean and regularly update the water. With proper care, pterigoplicht will live and delight with its appearance for 10 years or more.

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