Max Size: 15cm

Spotted Hoplo Catfish (Megalechis thoracata)

Spotted Hoplos are exotic looking active and Peaceful fish. They are hardy, intelligent and not predatory. However, larger individuals can become quite boisterous in a community set up with their digging and unsettling other fish whilst feeding at night.

The adaptable and hardy nature of the hoplo means that you can keep them in almost any setup, including with larger more aggressive species. Still, it would be best if you did not house them with small fish such as Neon Tetras as they will more than likely be eaten overnight when the Hoplo is at its most active.

The Spotted Hoplos are very social schooling fish so therefore should be maintained in groups of at least five individuals, although more would be more beneficial.

The primary body colour of the Spotted Hoplo is brown, and they display Small dark spots of irregular shapes and sizes, these are scattered throughout the body. The abdomen is a creamy-white colour. Their dorsal fin is small and rounded, and the pectoral fin in males is triangular whereas the females are oval. The tail fins are also triangular shape and very dark.

An albino form is available with a milky colour and dark spots on the body, although this is scarce in the aquarium hobby.


Spotted Hoplo Catfish
Spotted Hoplo Catfish
Spotted Hoplo Catfish
Spotted Hoplo Catfish

Spotted Hoplo Catfish Variants

Albino Spotted Hoplo Catfish
Quick Facts
Scientific NameMegalechis thoracata
Other NamesBlack Marble Hoplo, Hoplo Catfish. Port Hoplo Catfish
OriginsBrazil, Russia, Suriname
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
ReproductionBubble nest
Lifespanup to 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 8.5
GH1 - 20
63 - 82℉
17.2 - 27.8℃

Natural Habitat

Paraguay River


In the home aquarium, the Spotted Hoplo Catfish will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is somewhat straightforward to differentiate male from female Spotted Hoplo Catfish. Sexually mature males exhibit a thickened first pectoral ray that ranges from orangey-brown to scarlet. The male also develops a more bluish colour belly when in breeding condition. In contrast, the females are fuller-bodied, and their fins are more rounded than the males.

Other Catfish of interest

African Glass Catfish(Pareutropius debauwi)
Common Otocinclus(Otocinclus vittatus)
Cuckoo Catfish(Synodontis multipunctatus)
Flagtail Catfish(Dianema urostriatum)
Glass Catfish(Kryptopterus vitreolus)
Marble Sturisoma Whiptail Catfish(Sturisoma aureum)
View all Other Catfish
Date Added: 14/01/2021 - Updated: 08/08/2022 15:26:35