Armored Catfish – Profile | Facts | Size | Aquarium | Lifespan

(Last Updated On: April 14, 2021)

Covered in bony plates, the armored catfish has a triangular shape, with a smooth bottom, spotted in a leopard pattern. The mouth lacks teeth.

Scrapes algae from submerged tree trunks, rocks, and river bottoms. Its “suckermouth” can also affix to surfaces in strong currents.

This article will give an overview of armored catfish for sale, in Florida. facts, species, aquarium, lifespan, size, Texas, and scientific name.

Armored Catfish profile

Scientific name: Two types have become established in North America: armadillo del rio, Hypostomus plecostomus, and sailfin catfishes in genus Pterygoplichthys

Native range: Amazon River Basin

Invasive range: Texas, Florida, and Hawaii; also Mexico, Guatemala, Taiwan, Singapore, and Philippines

The Loricariids, often known as “armored catfish,” are a preferred aquarium fish that use their suckered mouths to wash algae and detritus construct up from the tanks.

This cleansing habits, which is useful in tanks, is devastating to aquatic flora since their actions erode native shorelines as much as ten ft.

These prehistoric wanting catfish have thick, boney plates and are additionally known as Plecostomus or Plecos.

Depending on the species, they’ll develop to lengths as much as 24 inches and may weigh as much as three kilos.

They are native to tropical South America and Central America and have been launched to Florida within the 1950s to be used in aquariums.

Within the wild, armored catfish will create lengthy burrows alongside a shoreline, and the feminine will deposit her eggs.

The burrows can collapse from the burden of a human, making them a nuisance and a hazard that may trigger damage and improve the chance of abrasion alongside canal and shorelines.

The armored catfish is a well-liked aquarium fish, engaging to many aquarists as a result of it scrapes algae from the underside and sides of tanks.

Invasive armored catfish have been present in Florida since no less than the 1950s within the rivers around Tampa, and so they have been recorded in Texas because of the 1960s.

They have been first seen in Mexico for about 15 years in the past within the Reservoir El Infiernillo in Michoacán in central Mexico.

In lots of circumstances, the almost certainly clarification is that aquarium house owners launched this native of the Amazon into wild waterways. It has additionally been deliberately launched in Mexico to regulate algae.

The fish has since unfolded to no less than 13 Mexican states, displacing native species and devastating hundreds of Mexican households that rely upon fishing for earnings.

Owing to its ugliness–and with little info on what to do with it–folks refused to eat armored catfish, believing it toxic.

Due to the financial destruction and common upset the catfish brought about, Mexican fishermen named it pez diablo or satan fish.

The armored catfish lives in freshwater, however, can tolerate average salinity.

Due to a vascularized abdomen, which permits it to breathe air, it may well survive in low-oxygen waters, gulping air and surviving out of water for greater than 30 hours.

Its bony spines aren’t toxic; they’re used as a protection to keep off predators. Scared or threatened, the armored catfish extends its fins to keep away from being swallowed. Predators embody fish, birds, river otters, and crocodiles.

Grownup armored catfish vary from 12 to 20 inches in size and weigh about 1.5 to 2.5 kilos. They’re nocturnal, with eyes tailored to low gentle.

Twice 12 months, females lay a number of thousand eggs in nests or tunnels burrowed into riverbanks–nests that may be three-feet deep and damaging to banks.

They’re extremely territorial. Males additionally stick round to guard the nest.

These variations have made them profitable invasives. In some Texas rivers, armored catfish have been discovered to make up greater than 50% of the whole fish biomass.

After Hurricane Irma in Florida, they have been noticed swimming around flooded driveways and yards.

The enlargement of the catfish comes at the expense of native freshwater species. In Mexico, many species, such because as soon as widespread mojarra, lay eggs in algae alongside the river and lagoon bottoms.

The pez diablo consumes the algae and the eggs, and the natives start to vanish.

Although it’s reviled all through Mexico, the armored catfish stays fashionable in freshwater aquariums and is discovered in lots of aquarium shops within the US.

armored catfish


The armored catfishes (Household: Loricariidae) are algivorous, principally nocturnal, with a noticeable sucker positioned ventrally on the pinnacle. Loricariids can vary in dimension from three inches to over three ft in satisfactory situations.

Their flattened ventral floor permits the fish to make use of their suckers on most substrates. The adipose fin has a backbone and pectoral fins have thick, toothed spines that might be utilized in male-male competitors and locomotion.

Each Hypostomus plecostomus (Widespread Pleco) and Pterygoplichthys anisitsi (Paraná Sailfin Catfish) are Loricariids which might be nicely established in Texas.

They’re usually confused with each other as a result of the black-lined patterns on these two fish species can range considerably, and resemble each other.

Ecological Threat

With the over-abundance of Loricariids in freshwater ecosystems, native indigenous species may be out-competed and diminished.

This might result in a collapse of freshwater fisheries along with the plain ecological risks.

Whereas the Loricariids have been launched to regulate algae populations, it’s unknown how efficient these fish really are at controlling them.


Loricariids are cavity builders and may lay greater than 300 eggs of their nests. Males guard the nest and the eggs hatch inside four to 20 days relying on the species.

Along with their profitable breeding methods, Loricariids are hearty fish that may stand up to a variety of ecological situations.

The truth is because of their massive vascular abdomen, the fish can gulp air and survive out of water for greater than 20 hours.

Fishes within the genus Pterygoplichthys have been discovered to outlive salinities as much as 10ppt, permitting them to invade brackish habitats as nicely.

The armored catfish is consumed in its native South America, particularly in rural areas. It’s offered dwell in markets and eaten entire, grilled, or in soups.

In Brazil, armored catfish can also be floor into piracui, or fish meal, which is mixed with olive oil, onion, and cassava flour to make fried dumplings.

Armored catfish have been added to the rising checklist of non-native fish in native waters, and they’re possibly not going wherever because of their adversarial effect on the stability throughout the atmosphere.

Current Location

U.S. Habitat: Loricariids may be present in most freshwater habitats in tropical Costa Rica, Panama, and South America, however many species have small pure ranges.

They will also be present in some brackish water habitats. Most loricariids are nocturnal. Armored catfish eat algae, invertebrates, and detritus nevertheless, there’s one genus, Panaque, that’s identified for consuming wooden.

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