Not a ninja!

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Fish In The Shops -

If you’ve got a wood­cat fan look­ing over your shoul­der as you read this, he or she might have barked ‘Ninja cat­fish’ upon see­ing this pic­ture. If they did, then they’re wrong.

This is Ta­tia mu­saica, a dif­fer­ent fish to the ‘true’ Ninja cat­fish, which is Cen­tro­mochlus orca. At naked eye level, the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two comes down to the amount of white present on each fish. C. orca has a greater ‘splash’ of white over it, es­pe­cially on the tail. Ac­cord­ing to ichthy­ol­o­gists Sar­men­tosoares et al., the two fish are likely sis­ter species await­ing a tax­o­nomic clean-up. Based on how these things usu­ally pan out, I wouldn’t get too at­tached to the ‘Ta­tia’ name here.

Keep­ing wood­cats happy is pretty straight­for­ward — the clue is in the name. Of­fer up wood. Split, wa­ter-worn, crevice­laden wood that the cats can hide in will win them over. As a neg­a­tive point, that means you’ll rarely see the fish, and you’ll need to be for­ever cau­tious about any wood you re­move from the tank.

Very warm, acidic wa­ter is needed if you want to keep them at their best, and al­ways look at the bel­lies be­fore buy­ing — thin spec­i­mens can be hard to fat­ten back up.

Sci­en­tific name: Ta­tia mu­saica (Tay-tee-ah mew-zay-ka). Size: to around 6cm. Ori­gin: Guiana shield, Venezuela, Colom­bia and Brazil. Habi­tat: Sandy, stained rivers. Tank size: Min­i­mum 60 x 30cm foot­print. Wa­ter re­quire­ments: Very soft and acidic: 4.5–6.0ph, hard­ness be­low 4°H. Tem­per­a­ture: High, around 28°C. Tem­per­a­ment: Peace­ful, if in­cred­i­bly shy. Feed­ing: Sink­ing pel­lets and gran­ules, live and frozen Daph­nia, Cy­clops and blood­worm. Frozen Calanus. Avail­abil­ity and price: Rare im­port, spe­cial­ist re­tail­ers only. This fish were on sale at £39.95.

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