Pareutropius debauwi – African Glass Catfish
Pareutropius debauwi was officially described in 1900 by George Albert Boulenger. Their common name is African Striped Glass Catfish, they belong to the Glass Catfish family (Schilbeidae). This family includes about 9 genera and 46 species.
The genus name Pareutropius is made up of three (ancient) Greek words: Par means beside or near, Eu means well and Tropis means keel; a reference to the compressed body of this species. The genus name debauwi is a reference to the person who caught this species De Bauw.
Synonyms: Eutropius debauwi, Ansorgia debauwi debauwi, Eutropiellus debauwi, Eutropeillus debauwi, Eutropiella debauwi, Ansorgia vittata, Ansorgia debauwi vittata, Ansorgiichthys vittatus, Eutropiellus debauwi vittata, Eutropiellus vittatus, Ansorgia vittatta bistriata, Eutropiellus kasai.
The African Glass Catfish can reach a total length of 15 centimeters. They are silver colored and have a single black stripe across the flank. A second dark line runs above the anal fin on the stomach. Their nose has 4 beard threads.
This is a real schooling fish that you should keep in a large enough group. Think of a group of at least eight specimen, but preferably (much) more. Keeping them in too small a group will make them shy and stressed. Because of the stress, they will also live less long. With proper care, they can reach an age of about 5 to 8 years.
The difference between males and females is difficult to see. The adult females grow slightly larger and bulkier than the males. It is easier to see in a group of adult animals than in a single specimen. The difference is not noticeable in young specimen.
They are often confused with their cousin Pareutropius buffei. You can tell the difference from the stripes pattern. The buffei has a third black stripe halfway along the flank and black dots on the edges of the caudal fin. The tips of the caudal fin of Pareutropius debauwi are pointed where those of Pareutropius buffei are rounded. The store mainly sells Pareutropius buffei, often called Pareutropius debauwi, which is much rarer.
The African Glass Catfish habitat is spread over four countries. They occur in Angola, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. They inhabit the basin of the Congo River and many other rivers in this region.
This species is not a difficult eater in the aquarium. They are omnivores that will take all types of food. Provide them with a good mix of flakes, granulate and frozen food. If you really want to give them a treat, you can give them live daphnia or brine shrimp. Make sure the diet also contains some vegetable matter.
Because Pareutropius debauwi is a very active schooling fish that feels most comfortable in a large group, a spacious aquarium is recommended. I would recommend an aquarium of about 120 centimeters, but preferably 150 centimeters, as the minimum length. If you keep this species solitary it will become shy and wither away. A group should consist of at least six specimen, but preferably ten or more.
Set up the aquarium with enough open space for swimming, and plant plants on the edges that they can shelter between. They don’t like too strong lighting. Floating plants to dim the light are certainly appreciated. A dark substrate and, for example, oak extract to create a somewhat darker environment makes them feel more comfortable so that they show themselves some more.
The water can have a fair amount of current. The temperature may be between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius. They like some soft to neutral water at a pH of about 6.5 to 7.5.
Their tank mates may be of a similar size but stay away of fin nipping species. Congo Tetra’s, for example, are a suitable tank mates.
Breeding Aquarium and Conditioning
Breeding the African Glass Catfish in a normal aquarium will not be easy. The parents and tank mates will soon eat the eggs and fry. For breeding it is best to use a specially equipped breeding aquarium without other inhabitants.
Set up a breeding aquarium with fine-leaved plants such as Java Moss. They are egg scatterers who release their eggs between the plants. If you have some sort of mash through which the eggs can fall but that the parents cannot get through, this certainly helps to protect the eggs.
No substrate or lighting is needed. Keep the temperature around 27 degrees Celsius and the pH between 6.5 and 7.0.
You can condition the parents in the community aquarium by feeding them high-quality food. In my opinion, a better option is to separate the two thickest females. Keep them separate from the males for a few days so they can produce eggs.
Once the women are full and round of the eggs, you can select a male. Choose the prettiest you have in your school and place it with the two females.
The eggs are usually deposited between the leaves by morning. The male immediately fertilizes the eggs. A single spawn can contain up to 100 eggs. The color of the eggs is whitish. Because they eat their own eggs, it is important to remove the parents now.
Rearing the Fry
The eggs will hatch after about 72 hours. They live on their egg yolk for a little while longer. When they are swimming freely you can feed the fry with newly hatched brine shrimp, micro worms and dust food.
Pareutropius debauwi – African Glass Catfish is an interesting schooling fish that can be a bit busy. Provided it is kept under the right conditions, it is a fairly strong fish.
John de Lange
John de Lange