Hovering catfish, Rama chandramara

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Matt Clarke on the Hovering catfish or Hummingbird catfish, Rama chandramara.

Common name: Hovering catfish, Hummingbird catfish.

Scientific name: Rama chandramara (Hamilton, 1822).

Origin: Recorded from the River Atreyi in North Bengal, India.

Size: Quite small at just 5cm/2".

Diet: Might accept flake foods if you're lucky, but it's typically a fussy eater and small frozen foods, such as bloodworms, Daphnia and Cyclops are preferable.

Water: Between pH 6.0 and 7.0 would be best. Keep the temperature a little on the low side at 22-25C/72-77F.

Aquarium: Rama chandramara is a shoaling species, so make it feel most comfortable in a small group of six or so. It's a very placid fish, so it mixes well in a community tank, but should only be housed alongside other small peaceful fishes, such as Danio and Rasbora.

It can be shy, so provide plenty of bogwood and plants for shelter. It can also be a bit delicate, so ensure your water is in top condition and that you can feed it properly before buying it.

Notes: Rather confusingly, this species has been known under a number of different scientific names, including Rama rama, Chandramara chandramara, Leiocassis rama and Pimelodus rama.

Availability: Not rare, but not a common sight in imports either. We spotted these at Maidenhead Aquatics @ Peterborough.

Price: £4.50.

This article was first published in the March 2008 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.