Fun Banjo Catfish Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 16, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Banjo Catfish facts are interesting to know about.

Banjo catfish, Bunocephalus coracoideus, are a tiny species belonging to the genus Bunocephalus and are a member of the Bunocephalinae subfamily. It is also known as a bicolor banjo catfish, banjo pleco, guitarrita, or dysichthys bicolor. They are found in different parts of South America such as Peru, the Amazon River in Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, and Ecuador.

They are small scaleless catfish with a wide head and slender body that resembles a banjo and a long tail.

Due to the extremely tiny size of the organs like their eyes and mouth, it is not possible to properly locate them. They have distinct pectoral fins but the adipose fins are absent, like most catfish they also lack the locking mechanism on their dorsal spines.

They prefer feeding on live foods like bloodworms and earthworms, but also don't mind eating frozen or flaky foods if they reach the bottom of the water tank.

This fish can survive in both flowing waters and stagnant waters. If they are kept in the aquarium the size of the tank should be 25 gallons with temperature ranging from 68-84 F. They adjust with most of the small species in the tank, they are usually bottom dwellers and like to stay alone.

They produce eggs at night in the darkness and incubate the eggs, unlike most fish. The eggs hatch in days and the fry come out.

To know more interesting facts about the Banjo Catfish, read on! If you like this article, check out black bullhead facts and Cory catfish facts.

Banjo Catfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a banjo catfish?

Banjo catfish (Bunocephalus coracoideus) is a type of fish.

What class of animal does a banjo catfish belong to?

Banjo catfish (Bunocephalus coracoideus) belong to the class Actinopterygii, family Aspredinidae

How many banjo catfish are there in the world?

There is no exact data as to the population of banjo catfish in the world. However, they are a species of Least Concern and are abundantly found within their home ranges.

Where does a banjo catfish live?

The bicolor banjo catfish lives in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Suriname.

What is a banjo catfish habitat?

Banjo catfish (Bunocephalus coracoideus) inhabit mostly smaller streams, lakes, ponds, and backwater regions with calm conditions. These species are bottom dwellers and prefer areas with debris and leaf litter at the bottom.

During the day they are often found submerged under the snags, branches, and fallen leaves. In river systems where there are no steep gradients and the currents are slow with quiet surroundings, these freshwater fish are abundantly found.

On the other hand, they can easily be adapted to the standing water of the ponds or water tanks. Most catfish are benthic species and thus are highly adapted to such an existence.

Who do banjo catfish live with?

Banjo Catfish (Bunocephalus coracoideus) usually live solitary lives, although they might form small groups with their relatives and float around in the waterbodies. In fish tanks, they have the ability to coexist with others and be a part of the water tank community.

How long does a banjo catfish live?

The maximum lifespan of the banjo catfish is 12 years.

How do they reproduce?

Bunocephalus coracoideus becomes sexually mature when they are 4.5 inches long. In the wild, these catfish species might be found in a group of at least half a dozen mature fish, whereas in an aquarium the pairs prefer to breed on a sandy bottom inside a rock cave.

In case of the absence of rock caves or sand in the tank, they tend to tear up plants and drop them to prepare themselves an appropriate place to spawn.

The act of spawning takes place in the dark, usually at night, with the fish laying numerous clutches of eggs directly on the sand substrate. The number of eggs can reach up to as many as 4000-5000, this process takes several nights.

These banjo catfish incubate their eggs.

However, some of the adult fish can eat the fry so the eggs should be removed. The eggs hatch in approximately three days, the newly hatched fish consume the entire yolk sacs and after that, they become ready to have tiny live foods such as micro worms or brine shrimp nauplii.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this species is of Least Concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, although some conservation measures are recommended.

Banjo Catfish Fun Facts

What do banjo catfish look like?

Banjo catfish are nocturnal animals.

Banjo catfish (Bunocephalus coracoideus) are small fish of around six inches in length with a flat head and a long, laterally compressed body. It is a scaleless fish with a body resembling a banjo, or a guitar, in shape, which is why it is called 'guitarrita catfish' or 'banjo catfish'.

Their bodies are mostly light tan color with dark brown patches along its tail and it is covered with rows of large dotted projections that are called unculiferous tubercles. It has little horns and spines jutting out from various places throughout its body.

Due to the extremely small size of their eyes and mouth, it is not possible to locate its exact position.

They have pectoral fins but do not possess an adipose fin. They also lack a mechanism that is quite common in most members of the catfish family, the locking mechanism on their dorsal spine.

How cute are they?

Banjo catfish are not a very cute species. They often resemble tree bark with a wide flat head, a tan-colored small-sized body covered with horns and spines all over it. They also look like a banjo or guitar due to the shape and size of the body which gives them the name 'Guitarrita'.

How do they communicate?

Banjo catfish (Bunocephalus coracoideus) communicate visually, also hearing sounds and feeling vibrations with the lateral line in the middle of their body.

How big is a banjo catfish?

Banjo catfish are six inches long which makes them almost three times smaller than the aquarium koi fish. The aquarium koi fish are 16-18 inches long.

How fast can a banjo catfish swim?

Banjo catfish (Bunocephalus coracoideus) are particularly peaceful and inactive fish. These fish are bottom dwellers who prefer hiding under shallow areas of the water and are very slow swimmers.

How much does a banjo catfish weigh?

Banjo catfish weigh around 0.2 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

In this case, both the sexes are called banjo catfish.

What would you call a baby banjo catfish?

A baby banjo catfish is called a fry.

What do they eat?

Banjo Catfish (Bunocephalus coracoideus) or Dysichthys bicolor are omnivorous fish, they get their food source from both animals and plants. These banjo fish are often scavengers, they are not at all choosy where their food is concerned.

These fish prefer foods such as microworms,  earthworms, bloodworms, and tubifex. In captivity, they gladly accept catfish pellets, flake foods, frozen foods, or tablets, the only criteria being that the food should sink or be lowered to the bottom of the tank.

Banjo catfish are known to eat snails and other small invertebrates. These fish also feed on plant matter such as mosses and lichens.

Are they poisonous?

Banjo catfish are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, banjo catfish can make a good pet as they not very difficult fish to manage. They require no special maintenance of the aquarium.

The minimum tank size should be 25 gallons and ample hiding places resembling their natural environment are required. Twice every week the water should be changed to ensure a steady water flow maintained. They get along splendidly in a community tank and can coexist with most submissive fish species.

Did you know...

The shape and size of these fish resemble a tree bark when they are hiding.

Banjo catfish are sedentary in nature hence they rarely hunt for any food.

Although both the sexes look similar, sexual dimorphism in a male and a female Bunocephalus coracoideus can be identified by the female's rounder and fuller belly.

Do banjo catfish eat algae?

Banjo catfish do not eat algae.

Do banjo catfish play dead?

Playing dead is normal behavior for banjo catfish. The way these fish silently float around in the water, sometimes sinking to the bottom, it often seems as if they are dead.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including brook trout facts and African Arowana facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable banjo catfish coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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