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The Hoplo Catfish prefers a densely planted aquarium with a dark sandy or fine grained smooth bottom substrate, some driftwood, and plenty of open areas for them to dig and root around in. The tank should have densely planted corners and floating plants to provide some shade, especially during breeding when they can become aggressive to other males.

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Features of Hoplo Catfish:

  • Brown body with irregular spots and a white belly
  • Bottom dweller 
  • Two pairs of barbels at the mouth
  • Nocturnal but active swimmers
  • Grows up to 15cm
  • Level of care: Easy


The Best Aquarium Size for Hoplo Catfish:

Hoplo Catfish Catfish enjoy lots of swimming space. Recommended aquarium size is 180 litres or more. If keeping in a community aquarium, opt for a larger tank.

Check out these suitable aquarium brands:

After an Aquarium for your fish? Browse Aquarium Tank Selection here.


Tank Mate Compatibility:

Hoplo Catfish enjoy being kept in schools of 3-5. Avoid keeping with other shy bottom dwelling species as the Hoplo Catfish can become a bully. Although a predatory species, it is usually peaceful towards fish that are too big to eat.

Here are some great tank mates to consider:



Hoplo Catfish are omnivores and will feed on most foods. Provide a base diet of sinking pellets, granules and wafer and supplement with frozen, live and freeze dried foods such as brine shrimp, blood worms, and black worms. They will feed on left over food between the substrate and detritus. 

Check out our extensive range of aquarium fish foods, or live foods. 

Hoplo Catfish Tank Setup:

Aquarium Filtration for Hoplo Catfish

A good filtration system is necessary and they enjoy highly oxygenated water. Ensure your filter has an adequate flow rate to effectively remove waste from the aquarium and provide surface agitation. Even though they can be found in muddy waters naturally, they prefer clean aquariums. Cannister filters are your best option for larger aquariums. 

Shop our comprehensive range of aquarium filters here.

Aquarium Heater for Hoplo Catfish

This fish enjoy temperatures between 22 - 28° C. If you are unable to maintain this temperature naturally, use an aquarium heater. Aquarium heaters also stabilize water temperatures.  A thermometer is recommended to monitor the water temperature.

Get yourself a new aquarium heater here. 

Aquarium Plants for Hoplo Catfish

To mimic their natural habitat, we recommend adding live aquatic plants to your aquarium. Hoplo Catfish can disrupt plants easily, so we suggest using anubias planted on driftwood. Anubias is a hardy plant with a firm leaf that will tolerate moderate disruption and lower lighting. When planted on driftwood, the plant has no way of being uprooted. It's rooted to the driftwood already, and ready to go. 

Check out our Anubias on Driftwood

Interested in Live Plants for your aquariums? Click here to shop Live Plants

Aquarium Decorations for Hoplo Catfish

Hoplo Catfish love driftwood and enjoy lots of hiding spots to feel safe in an aquarium environment. Other ornaments large enough to swim around and hide around such as caves and pipes are also great options. Ensure there is plenty of swimming space.

After more nice quality decorations? Check our Aquarium Ornaments.

Aquarium Lighting Hoplo Catfish

Hoplo Catfish prefer a more dimly lit aquarium. While, plants need sufficient light to grow LED lighting is an excellent choice to provide adjustable lighting as desired. LED lighting is also more efficient and runs cooler than traditional aquarium lights.

Substrate for Hoplo Catfish

Aquarium sand or fine smooth gravels are a good substrate to mimic their natural environment. They can be seen searching for through in the substrate.

A variety of Substrates are available at Coburg Aquarium. 

Additional Information

Fish Keeping Snapshot :

Preferred Water Parameters :