General – This catfish is also known as the Cuckoo Catfish. Please buy them in group of at least 3-4 to get the best result. If purchase 1 single fish, it will hide 99.9% of the time in a cave or under a rock.
Tank Requirement – Rocks and caves required. Sand or gravel is fine.
Compatibility – Compatible with a wide range of cichlids from Tanganyika, Malawi and Victoria. They were almost made to be with cichlids and I will explain why further down.
Aggression – Not aggressive
Size – Maxes out at around 6″
Male vs Female – Females are much rounder than males. Males have larger dorsal fins.
Breeding – This fish is very unusual when it comes to spawning. It uses a mouthbrooding female cichlid as a host for its eggs. They do this by waiting for the female cichlid to drop her egg, then snatch it and replace it with their own. They will do this as many times as they can as they are faster than the female when she’s dropping egg. Once the female cichlid has both her eggs and the catfish’s egg inside her mouth, the catfish’s eggs will hatch much faster than the cichlid eggs. Most cichlids will hatch around 2-3 weeks, while this catfish will hatch in 3-4 days. They will then eat away the cichlid eggs while inside the mouthbrooding female cichlid.
Now, that’s in the wild and some people were able to replicate this process in an aquarium. But, they DO NOT need a host to hold their eggs. They CAN spawn successfully without a mouthbrooding host as well. So we do not know why they do this in the wild.
Diet – Prefers frozen, live, dry food. Vegetables are fine as a treat.