Fish and other aquatic creatures

Som tarakatum: description, compatibility, maintenance and breeding in the aquarium


Som tarakatum has a very unusual way of reproduction compared to other catfish. The male builds a nest of foam on the surface of the water. He will spend his days building a nest, collecting pieces of plants in order to hold him together. It turns out to be really big and can cover a third of the water surface and reach a height of up to 3 cm. In nature, the catfish uses a large sheet during spawning, and in the aquarium you can put foam under which it will build a nest. Tarakatum male produces bubbles that are covered with sticky mucus that help the bubbles not to burst for several days.

When the nest is ready, the male begins to chase the female. The finished female follows the male to the nest and starts spawning. The female lays about ten sticky eggs in the “owl” which she forms with the help of her ventral fins. Then he takes them to the nest and swims away. The male of Tarakatum immediately swims up to the nest with his stomach, seeds the eggs with milt and releases bubbles from the gills in order for the eggs to stick in the nest. The breeding process is repeated until all the caviar is picked. Different females can have from 500 to 1000 eggs. After that, the female can be deposited. If there are still ready-made females in the breeding ground, the breeding can be repeated with them. Although with equal probability the male will pursue them. The male will fiercely protect the nest and attack any items, including nets and hands.

During the protection of the nest, the male of Tarakatum does not eat, so there is no need to feed it. He will constantly fix the nest, adding foam and returning the caviar fallen out of the nest. If, however, some kind of egg falls to the bottom, it will hatch there and there is no reason for concern.

The fry grows very quickly, and in eight weeks it can reach a size of 3-4 cm. From this point on, you can transfer them to adult nutrition, which means enhanced filtration and frequent water changes. Raising 300 or more fry is not a problem and therefore you need to have several aquariums to sort the fry by size. From this moment it is better to think about where to put teenagers. Fortunately, catfish tarakatum is always in demand.

If you come to this problem - congratulations, you managed to breed another unusual and interesting fish!

Not handsome, but with a memorable appearance

Many would agree that som can not be called handsome. At the first acquaintance with them (especially with adults), baleen fish with an elongated body evoke a feeling of disgust rather than sympathy. It often happens that the choice of a given inhabitant for your aquarium is due to certain features. For example, a person wants the soil and walls of his improvised pond enclosed in glass to always be clean, and such tasks can be easily handled by sora tarakatums or antsistrusy. In the process of cultivating pets and close observation of them, they win the hearts of their distinctive uniqueness. Most of them are predators. Antennae located on the head help to find food. This is a kind of locators characterizing the specificity of the external appearance of the fish of this numerous family.

Features of appearance

The males of aquarium catfish of a Tarakatum have a light belly (often this is not white, but rather a cream shade), which acquires a bluish glow during spawning. But for females, the belly is always painted white, which undoubtedly greatly facilitates the task of an aquarist to distinguish representatives of opposite sexes of this species.

The fish has a light brown color, teeming with dark spots. A special perception is created that the catfish is not only covered with round, almost black peas, but also colored with stripes, like a zebra. It is worth saying that among the representatives of the species there are exceptions - albinos, which are completely white in color with rare small dark spots located along the body along the sides. During puberty, tarakatums reach a maximum body length of 13–15 cm. As a rule, at least 100 liters of water per individual is required for the comfortable existence of such an aquarium inhabitant. If you wish to keep two soms in such a volume, you will need frequent water changes and a full cleaning of the aquarium more often than usual.

In aquarium

Som Tarakatum is a very active fish that loves warm water. Ideally, the temperature regime should be 24-28 degrees Celsius. But the water parameters of this type of catfish are very unpretentious. They can live in both hard and soft water. Among aquarists there is a perception that sea pebbles can artificially increase water hardness. Despite this, many still choose natural material as a primer in homemade home ponds. With the Tarakatum you can safely experiment with the design of aquariums, without fear for the health of catfish. For them, it would be useful to use koryag, grottoes and other possible shelters.

Minimum volume - 100 liters

The level of salinity does not play a key role either, but it is still better to lower it to the minimum value. In general, there is nothing difficult in the maintenance of som tarakatums. The main thing is to follow the above rules and keep the fish in large spaces. One or two individuals may feel more comfortable in the volumes that start from 100 liters. With good care, soma can live for 5 years, and sometimes a little more. By the way, the water must be replaced by 20 percent once a week, because these fish are very voracious, and as a result, quickly pollute the space provided for them to live. Keeping it clean will give longevity and health to selected pets. This is an important nuance that must be implemented.


Handsome men, to whom today's article is devoted, have a special intestinal structure. It allows the fish to get air from the atmosphere. However, do not assume that they do not need oxygen supply. Catfish tarakatumy prone to jumping out of aquariums. This explains the fact that they take a strong acceleration from the bottom, where they prefer to be most of the time to breathe oxygen.

Therefore it is important to take care of precautions. You can use a net, cover glass, or other devices to prevent your pet from jumping out of the water. Outside the aquarium, the tarakatum will simply die.

In general, such catfish are restless with peculiar behavior, which is interesting to watch. It is believed that baleen aquarium residents prefer to hide in shelters and not to get caught by the owner once again. However, Tarakatum often violate this principle, pleasing the owner even by swimming on the surface, which is rare among catfish.


The main issue of concern to many aquarists - breeding catfish tarakatumov at home. In this regard, catfish is also different from all its fellows. The male builds a nest on the surface of the water. In nature, he uses foam and plants for these purposes, but in an aquarium, the Tarakatum will be delighted to pieces of foam plastic that the careful owner will put inside the improvised household pond. The height of the nest for the upcoming spawning can reach 3 cm.

When the nest is built, the male pursues the female, forcing to pay attention not only to himself, but also to the special structure he built. The female evaluates the structure and, if everything satisfies her needs, throws eggs. The male fertilizes them, and then holds them together with blisters equipped with mucus.

We have already mentioned above how to distinguish a female from a male from catfish of tarakatums, but there are still some signs that make it easy to determine the gender of a particular individual. In males, the pectoral fins are elongated and have a triangular shape. The first ray with thickening. Females are equipped with short pectoral fins. In practice, the differences are quite obvious that even a beginner can cope completely and easily distinguish individuals of the opposite sex.

Who gets along with?

In general, this type of catfish is very peaceful. They are considered to be great kind-hearted people. Most often they are hooked to medium-sized fish, similar in temperament. When they talk about how many soms to keep in an aquarium, it is important to consider two nuances:

  1. The first is the volume of the aquarium (from 100 liters or more).
  2. The second is based on the understanding that together it is better to place several females and one male, otherwise during the spawning the males can maim and even kill each other.

By the way, sora tarakatums, the compatibility of which largely depends on the conditions of housing and the volume of the dwelling, will become ideal companions to non-predatory fish of medium and large sizes. If there is enough space for everyone, then conflicts are reduced to a minimum. However, it is necessary to monitor the behavior of fish always and in case of conflicts, be ready to resettle opponents. It is important to remember that the compatibility of fish directly affects their health and well-being.

Any fish in the aquarium should receive a balanced diet. Therefore, the question of how to feed the Tarakatum catfish is highly relevant. In pet stores you can buy special food. They will provide a complete diet without the hassle for the owner. But sometimes it is possible to give the meat of shrimp, frozen bloodworms, daphnia, koreter, and even earthworms as a treat and feeding. Do not forget that during spawning, feeding is necessary to diversify and significantly increase the portion volume. However, under normal conditions, it is better to keep the fish slightly under-fed, which will significantly prolong the life of your beloved pet.

Scientific classification and habitat in nature: interesting facts

English and American aquarists call this fish from the squadron somobraznye slang word Hoplo (Hoplo). This is due to the scientific name Hoplosternum thoracatum, which is translated into Russian as “ordinary tarakatum”. For the first time this species of som was mentioned in the writings of the famous French naturalist Ashille Valenciennes.

More recently, many soms belonged to this species, but in 1997, scientists more closely studied Hoplosternum and divided it into several new species. So in the scientific classification appeared shellfish catfish called Megalechis thoracata.

In the wild, this most catfish lives in the northern part of South America in reservoirs with a slow current. However, he was met in fast transparent rivers.

Interesting fact: Tarakatum is also widespread in the waters of the Florida Peninsula (North America), but it got there by artificial means. According to some sources, American aquarists themselves released a hopper into the Florida rivers. It is not known what prompted them to do this. Perhaps the desire to check whether this fish live in local conditions.

Appearance and habits

The individual Megalechis thoracata in its size rarely exceeds 15–16 cm, its usual size in an aquarium is no more than 12 cm. Like most catfish, the body is oblong, with a slightly flattened head.

The abdomen is light, almost flat, but in males during the spawning period its color acquires a bluish tint.

On the jaws are two pairs of long and rigid mustache, which help the night hunter to move freely in poor visibility conditions.

The color of the body of a Tarakatum is of a creamy color with black irregular-shaped black spots located along its entire length.

The tail fin is short and wide, the dorsal and pectoral fins are small and rigid. A feature of this species is the presence of two rows of bone spines, serving to protect against the attack of larger aquatic predators.

Like some other fish, this catfish has not only gill, but also so-called intestinal breathing. He sometimes jumps out of the water to swallow more air. This property must be taken into account when organizing the correct content in an artificial reservoir.

The average life expectancy of this representative catfish is relatively short - 5–6 years. Fish are mainly nocturnal, in the daytime their activity almost does not manifest itself.

Sexual features

Knowledge of sex differences is an important factor for creating conditions for proper keeping and breeding of fish.

In our case, gender is quite pronounced, which makes it easier for aquarists to solve the problem of establishing gender.

  • First, females are somewhat larger than males.
  • Secondly, during the spawning period, the abdomen of the male, as already mentioned, becomes pale blue. The abdominal area of ​​the female color does not change.
  • Thirdly, the pectoral fins of an adult male are equipped with a long, protruding far forward bone ray of a reddish hue, and in female individuals the pectoral fins are relatively even, rounded in shape.

Terms of proper content

Catfish tarakatum very popular among aquarists around the world, and this is due primarily to their unpretentiousness to environmental conditions.

Aqua Parameters. Thus, the allowable temperature range of the aquatic environment ranges from +18 to +28 degrees, which corresponds to the domestic temperature, as well as the climatic situation for most aquarium fish and plants.

Water hardness can be up to 20 ° С, and acid-base balance at the level of neutral value (6.0–8.0 units).

Aquarium size. Somik recommend to start a group of 2 to 5 individuals. Prerequisite: in this group there can be only one male. On this basis, as well as the size of each individual, the aquarium should be roomy, with a volume of at least 120 liters.

Scenery. Inside the aquarium should be decomposed such decorative elements as grottoes, caves, stone hills. Bushes of aquatic plants will serve as a good shelter during daytime sleep.

Filtration and aeration. As already mentioned, the Tarakatums are able to jump out of the water, so the home artificial reservoir should be closed with a lid. Consequently, intensive aeration of the aqueous medium is necessary. Powerful filtering should be applied, as catfish leave quite a lot of waste. Only during the spawning period the filter cannot be switched on at full capacity, so as not to create a strong flow of water.

Shine. The intensity of illumination for a hop is not so important; a fluorescent lamp of average power is enough.

Feeding. There are no nutritional problems. All specialized commercial catfish feeds are suitable. However, one should not get too carried away with them, it is also necessary to give live food (koretra, earthworms, daphnia) and frozen organic food (bloodworm, for example).

Compatibility. Som tarakatum - quite a peace-loving fish (except for the period of spawning and protection of eggs). It perfectly gets on with such popular inhabitants of aquariums, such as, for example, barbs or tetras. Of course, one should not keep decorative catfish together with large American tsikhlovy.

In all other cases, Hoplo is practically not interested in its neighbors, leading a calm, near-bottom lifestyle.

Thus, the conditions of maintenance of this species of somobraznye can be called easy, only the breeding period requires some effort and attention from the aquarist.

Interesting breeding features

The whole process of creating a pair, spawning and fertilizing eggs is very unusual, and it is very interesting to watch this action.

"Nesting". First, the male, ready to create a pair, builds a nest near the surface of the water, and in a rather unusual way. The fact is that the nest is foamy. Som blows air bubbles with a sticky shell, giving strength to each bubble, and holds them together. Pieces of aquatic vegetation are used as auxiliary material.

To create a solid nest, experienced hoplong owners recommend using a piece of foam (preferably round) or a yellow polyethylene lid from the coffee can, which is simply placed on the surface of the water, as the upper frame.

Spawning. When the nest is ready, the male takes care of the females. Finally, one of them, together with the male, swims up to the nest, turns the belly upwards and starts throwing eggs, which he immediately picks up with the pelvic fins and transfers them to the nest.

The male immediately moves under it, turns the tail up, fertilizes the eggs and its firm connection using sticky saliva. This happens several times until the female releases all the eggs. In total for one spawning about 500 eggs can turn out.

Incubation. Immediately after this, the "man" becomes the guardian of the offspring: he shows considerable aggression towards all living or nonliving, which is approaching the nest. That is why the female should be immediately resettled. The male does not sleep, does not eat, vigilantly guarding his “fast”.

Fry care. Usually the incubation period lasts no more than 4 days, after which the fry begin to appear. They stay in the nest for 2 more days, and then leave it and float to the bottom.

Starting food for juveniles during the first day may be remnants of old food, and then you should be given "live dust", gradually transferring the growing fish to larger feed.

Молодые сомики развиваются очень быстро, и через 2 месяца вырастают до 4–5 см. Но для этого необходимы хорошее питание, стабильная фильтрация и еженедельные подмены воды (40–50 процентов от общего объёма).

Таким образом, успешно содержать сомов таракатум способен даже начинающий аквариумист. Да и разведение этих рыбок не такая уж и сложная задача. The question may arise: what to do with the numerous young fry? But even in this case one should not worry too much, since the hopló are traditionally in high demand.


From the description it can be concluded that this species prefers warm water, where the temperature is about 24-28 degrees. In addition, the breed does not react sensitively to changes in water parameters, in nature they can be found in both soft and hard water, where the pH is less than 6 and more than 8. Salinity can also fluctuate, that is, individuals can also be in salt water some time. Therefore, the maintenance of Tarakatum soma does not require compliance with specific rules and any manipulation.

Some of the oxygen enters the body through the intestines, due to its unique structure, so the tarakatum regularly rises to the surface in order to get another dose of air. To do this, it accelerates to high speed, so the aquarium must be covered with a lid, otherwise the individual can jump out. This feature does not mean that he does not need oxygen or a compressor for the life of the individual.

For a comfortable maintenance of Tarakatum, you will need a spacious aquarium, with an extensive bottom part, its volume should be at least 100 liters. Catfish grows to an impressive size, an adult up to 15 centimeters. In nature, the behavior of this species is schooling, and often the number is several thousand. In one aquarium, 5-6 individuals will feel comfortable. There must be one male in the pack, since in the period of spawning the males will strongly conflict, the larger one can seriously harm the competitor.

For a comfortable Tarakatum you will need a spacious aquarium, with an extensive bottom part.

It is important to understand that the dimensions of the individual and increased appetite speak of large volumes of waste. This requires regular cleaning of the tank, and systematically and without fail. Experts advise every day to replace about 20% of the total water.

By their nature, fish have a large size, so they need to eat a large amount of food in order to maintain growth and development at the proper level. Special feeds are made for catfish, they contain all the necessary components and are excellent for pets, although they must be diversified with live food. In the role of protein supplementation are:

By their nature, fish have a large size, so they need to eat a large amount of food.

Despite the large size, the maintenance and care of the Tarakatum can be shared with other underwater inhabitants, since the catfish is livable and peaceful. Almost all of their life passes on the bottom, although even there they do not go into conflict with the fish.