Agamyxis pectinifrons – Spotted Talking Catfish

Agamyxis pectinifrons – Spotted Talking Catfish is a peaceful, somewhat shy fish that will not exhibit much daytime activity.


Agamyxis pectinifrons – Spotted Talking Catfish

Agamyxis pectinifrons was officially described in 1870 by Edward Drinker Cope. The genus name Agamyxis can be divided into two ancient Greek words. Agan means a lot and myxa means slime. A reference to the amount of mucus this genus can produce.

Their common name is Spotted Talking Catfish, as they can produce sounds underwater.

Synonyms: Doras pectinifrons, Doras flavopictus.


A peaceful fish, which can be kept in both a community aquarium and a predatory fish aquarium (because of its shy nature). Although the Spotted Thorn Catfish is not a predatory fish, it is an opportunistic hawk that will certainly consider small fish, snails and crustaceans a valuable addition to its daily diet.

This species can be kept as a solitary as well as in a small group, provided there is enough space available and can get very old (specimens 10 years and older are no rarity!).

One problem with the Spotted Thorn Catfish, like its relatives, is that they are not picky about hiding places. It often happens that they “nest” between the aquarium wall and a heating element, with all the nasty consequences that entails: a death or an ugly burn with an increased risk of secondary infections. A plastic cover around heating elements is therefore recommended!

The fish likes to scrape in the substrate in search of food. It is therefore wise to reserve a part of the aquarium for this and provide fine sand. Do not place plants in that part as they will uproot them.


South America; Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru.


This shy and nocturnal catfish stays hidden as long as the aquarium lighting is switched on in a shelter. Only when dusk falls will he venture out in search of food.

Agamyxis pectinifrons are easy to keep and take care of, accepting algae tablets and catfish pellets, shrimps, small pieces of fish, beef heart and meat. Bloodworms and especially protein-rich dry food are also particularly suitable. This fish should not be kept with small fish such as tetras and barbel fish, because it will not hesitate to grab fish small enough to be swallowed at once, especially at night.

Once accustomed to aquarium life, a well-aimed piece of food can also attract the Spotted Talking Catfish from his hiding place during the day.

The Aquarium

An aquarium of at least 80 centimetres in length is sufficient to provide this inactive and nocturnal fish with sufficient space. A densely decorated aquarium with many shelters in the form of (drift) wood and rocks and dimmed lighting is preferred because this Catfish is most comfortable under these conditions. Can be kept with other species without problems, but of course, a larger aquarium is necessary.

Optimal is soft, slightly acidic water, which can be obtained by filtering over peat or using Black Water Extract. But the Spotted Thorn Catfish is a strong, adaptable fish, and will also do well in harder, more basic water.


Captive breeding has not been achieved.



Jan Bukkems – Aquavisie
Jonas Hansel –
John de Lange

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Jonas Hansel –

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