Spotted Hoplo Catfish (Megalechis thoracata) Fish Species Profile
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.
|Scientific Name||Megalechis thoracata|
|Other Names||Black Marble Hoplo, Hoplo Catfish. Port Hoplo Catfish|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Groups 5+|
|Lifespan||up to 10 years|
|Maximum Size||up to 15 cm|
|Temperature||63 - 82 ℉ (17.2 - 27.8 ℃)|
|PH||5.5 - 8.5|
|GH||1 - 20|
Origins of the Spotted Hoplo Catfish
The Spotted Hoplo Catfish is endemic to the Amazon, the Orinoco and the Upper Paraguay River basins, as well as the coastal rivers of the French Guianas and the Mana River. You can also find them in Northern Brazil in South America. These Catfish inhabit very slow-flowing, almost still muddy waters in rivers, swamps, ponds and flooded regions usually covered in dense vegetation.
The Spotted Hoplo is not a fussy eater, and they accept most foods. It would be best if you fed them on a varied diet of high-quality flakes, granules sinking pellets and sinking wafers primarily with the occasional feeding of live and frozen fare such as earthworms, bloodworms, brine shrimp and insect larvae.
Breeding the Spotted Hoplo Catfish
Breeding Spotted Hoplos is relatively easy, and they are bubble nesters. These fish reach sexual maturity around 18 months to two years old. Like many species in the callicthyidae family, you can induce reluctant fish to spawn with a water change of cooler water.
It would be better to set up a separate breeding tank containing plenty of floating plants because the male builds a large bubble nest on the water's surface; this will help to strengthen it. It would be best if you also kept the surface movement from filtration to a minimum as this will avoid surface agitation, which may destroy the nest.
It would help if you conditioned the breeding pair with plenty of live and frozen foods as this will also help encourage spawning behaviour as well as a large water change of colder water.
Once spawning has occurred, the female will lay her eggs in the nest, and the male will then guard and defend it. At this point, you may have to remove the female from the breeding tank as the male may kill her as they can get aggressive towards the female when guarding the nest.
The eggs usually hatch around 48 hours after they have been laid. It is a good idea to remove the male from the breeding tank at this point because they have been known to eat the fry on occasion.
The fry becomes free-swimming after three or four days, you should then feed them freshly hatched brine shrimp initially, progressing onto fry foods such as crushed flakes and pellets as they develop.