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Common Name(s) Banjo Catfish, Bi-coloured catfish

Scientific name: Bunocephalus (Bew'no-seff"alus) coracoideus. Meaning of name: With hills (bumps) on the head
Similar/close relatives; Agmus lyriformis, Disichthys coracoideus, Bunocephalus bicolor, Bunocephalus kneri.
These relatives are often confused with Bunocephalus coracoideus for in size and shape are very alike, but B. coracoideus has much more grainier skin.
Except for A. lyriformis which has alot rougher skin.

Family- Bunocephalidae.

DISTRIBUTION- Amazon river in South America

HABITAT- Sandy, muddy bottoms often scattered with leafs in rivers and streams.

SIZE- Normaly Banjo cats get about 5 inches (12.5cm) long when fully grown.

TANK SIZE- A minimum tank size should be a base of 36'' (90cm) by 12'' (20cm) Breeding style tanks are a good choice.

DIET- Carnivorous, so protein is essential in their diet. They prefer live but also will usually accept prepared and frozen foods, along with pellets and wafers. Some will also will eat flakes.
Live bloodworms are a favorite among these guys.
Where these fish only feed at night you need to make sure that you put some food in the tank for these guys to eat when they come out in search of food, after you shut the lights out.
I have put some food right in front of my banjo cats mouths before during the day. After the food sits there for a minute or two they start to act interested in it, and then goes and eats it.
They will search the whole tank bottom thoroughly every night in search of food. Eating whatever scraps of food that the other fish occupying the tank may have missed. Making them great to help keep down on NitrAtes.

TANK ZONE- Bottom. These fish never usually, if ever leave the bottom of the substrate

TEMPERAMENT- Very relaxed and docile fish that keeps to itself and leaves all other fish alone. Recomended for tanks with skiddish fish (I.e Discus)

CHEMISTRY- Doesn't really care about water conditions, they are very hardy and can take a wide range of conditions, but regular community tank stats will do great for them.
Optimal Stats.
Temp- 78F (46C)
DH-8. Farily Soft
Saltinty- None

TEMPERATURE- 75F (43C)-82F (50C)


SENSITIVITIES- Where the Banjo cat doesen't move at all during the day it is very easy for them to get picked on by other tankmates.
So its really important for these catfish to have a safe place where they can feel secure for them to hide during the day if there are other tankmates in the tank.
I have noticed that lots of fish browse on the banjo cats skin if they are not burrowed under sand, or hidden in a tight area or cave.
Sand is recommened for the person owning these catfish, but it is not needed to own them.
Banjo cats will burrow into the substrate if they can, and if they cannot burrow into the substrate they seek out a cave, rock, plant or crevise somewhere in the tank to hide in, under or behind.
These catfish also prefer to be in little groups of 3+, even though they can do perfectly well all by there lonesome, they like to shoal and seek out there food at night.
These fish should have some live plants in their tank. They do not eat, or harm plants at all, but they do like to burrow (if they can) around the plants roots.
Also some basses of plants will make great hiding spots for them to hide in during the day.

HARDINESS & LIFESPAN- Very hardy fish that isn't to picky about a certain range of water conditions, but like with any other fish proper care and water conditions are a must.
In captive these fish normaly live to about 8 years of age, but can live even longer (up to 15 years of age) if properly cared for.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION- Banjo catfish have a considerably round body/head with a long tail that gets slimmer as it gets to the caudal (tail) fin.
They have very very beady eyes with pretty long barbels ("whiskers").
They have very rough skin, which has a few "grain lines" running up and down the length of the body.
Also they have patches of dark, then light-colored skin (see picture below)
The fins are almost triangular pointed, with a little bit of an oval shape to them.

SEXING- Sexing of these fish can be hard. Females will have more rounder, deeper, plump stomachs than the males, and are darker in color.


HABITS- When Banjo catfishes are disturbed they will seek out another location for which they can hide
New aquarists that have never owned these fish before will think that they are dead for when they first release them into the tank, they just sink to the bottom playing dead from the stress of the move.
There mouths are really big and they will eat anything that can fit into it, small fish and shrimp.

SPAWNING- Not much is yet known about breeding these fish.

OTHER NOTES- These catfish are burrowers and prefer a sandy substrate.
If you own a banjo cat you will rarely ever see it during the day, if there are plenty of hiding places. The only way I can tell if my banjos are alive is to see where they move from day to day if I can find them.
These little guy's will sometimes growl when taken out of the water, like with alot of the other catfish species.

COMMENTS- These fish are unbelievable when it comes to keeping your tank substrate looking nice and clean.
I had a sand substrate tank for months before I owned any of these guys and I always had an extremely hard time keeping the sand clean, with not having to much visible junk and wastes on the bottom.
Put one of these babies in there and in less than 2 weeks (same vac roution as usual) he had the sand looking nice and tidy, without much visible crud to litter the bottom of my tank.
Only downfall to these guys is you never see them, so not recommened for the person wanting an active tank, but this fish is defintely worth it if you want a cleaner (looking) substrate.

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