Updated: September 14, 2022 - By: - Categories: Planted aquarium

Appearances, temperament, and interesting facts

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If you’re looking for something a bit different for the nano tank, then you may want to consider the Asian stone catfish. These bottom-dwelling peaceniks are a truly unique addition to the aquarium!

They are also called anchor catfish. As seen from above, it’s understandable why Hara jerdoni is also called an anchor cat. They look like miniature anchors, don’t they?

The color of a stone catfish depends on several factors; time of year, the environment, even its diet. Colors include red-brown, light brown, dark brown, and gray.

Stone catfish are considered shy and retiring, but I wonder if it’s more a matter of being nocturnal, rather than shy? While not a boisterous fish, by any means, ours are out and about during tank maintenance and we often have to shoo them away from where we want to vacuum.

That being said, since they are nocturnal, if you want to see them, you sort of have to make it a point to look for them. We’ve noticed that having several of them together in a school gives them added courage.

Because of their needs (both dietary and environmental), we would classify the Asian Stone Cat as an intermediate to advanced fish. They’re definitely not the first fish for the beginner.

Tank setup, layout, and stocking

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You’ll want to provide lots of plants, dim lighting, and numerous hiding places for your cat; and while not necessary, a sand bottom is appreciated. If using sand or very fine substrates. Be careful when vacuuming – these guys like to bury themselves.

Unlike most catfish, they don’t seem to particularly care for driftwood, but they do like plants and can often be found hiding amongst the leaves. Ours have a special fondness for the Bolbitis and Vallisneria nana.

Stone catfish, are not active swimmers, so they don’t need much room; a 10-gallon tank will house several comfortably.

Stone catfish need clean, cool, and well-oxygenated water. They do not belong in an uncycled tank!

It is important that they have a high level of dissolved oxygen in the water; this becomes especially critical if/when they are kept at the higher end of their temperature range. Air stones, powerheads, and/or strong filters, can all be used to help achieve this.

Like many other bottom dwellers, stone catfish can be susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. Maintaining a clean aquarium, that includes a weekly vacuuming of the substrate, goes a long way towards alleviating any potential for disease.

Tankmates for Asian Stone Catfish

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Stone catfish make an excellent addition to the peaceful, cool water, community tank and should be kept in groups of at least 3-5. Ours are housed with white cloud minnows and red rili shrimp, which has worked out really well.

Some other suggestions are celestial pearl danios, loaches, gold barbs, espei rasboras, and scarlet badis. In larger tanks, they would work well with farlowellas.

Diet, foods, and feeding

Stone catfish are nocturnal feeders, and although we’ve looked, we’ve never actually seen them eat anything. The good news is they’re still among the living, so they must be getting what they need.

We feed ours a combination of live and frozen foods as well as catfish pellets, algae wafers, and fresh veggies. There have been reports that some of these fish will not accept any sort of dry food, so when first introducing them to your tank, keep an eye on things.

If they start to look emaciated, you may want to lay off the pellets for a bit and stick to a diet of live and frozen foods. To ensure that your catfish is getting enough to eat, feed them after lights out.

Be careful if housing them with other bottom dwellers – you don’t want anything overly rambunctious sharing the tank with them as they are easily outcompeted for food.

Love these guys!


We enjoy keeping fish, and have for many years. We are trying to promote the hobby as much as possible. We want to see many others succeed in their fish keeping efforts and are committed to sharing our knowledge when we can.

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  1. can i have mine in a tank with a beta that’s around 74 degrees to 76 at all times?

    • Yes, you can.

  2. Do you have a breeding group of Rili Shrimp housed in with the Stone Catfish? Do the Catfish eat your Rili Shrimp fry?
    If no I might try some with my guppy/shrimp tank…

    • Hi Michael,
      It is possible for these fish to eat baby shrimp; however, it will not affect too much the population of your shrimp. It is very hard for them to catch a baby shrimp as they can’t see the shrimp for chasing.

  3. Hi Lucas, I have 5 of these with 4 otos and a few RCS. They are very active early evening and I have seen them investigating the floating plants and snuffling around in the cholla wood/moss “trees”
    They love slurping bloodworms. I have a suspicion that they also hunt detritus worms and possibly tiny baby snails. I agree that they have very poor eyesight.
    My question is have you ever know yours to shed their skin?
    One of mine looked like it was doing that last night so I did an emergency water change . The others are all fine and the one with the shedding problem still seems happy and normal in it’s behaviour.
    There is so little info on them so any advice welcome 🤗
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 10 last night now 5
    Ph 7.5
    KH 7

    • Hi Helen,
      Shedding skin is a serious problem with these catfish, this could be a sign of death. Normally, this problem is caused by a drop in the oxygen level or increased nitrates. Your water is ok, so I think the problem may be the oxygen level. Hope this help.

      • Thank you for the reply Lucas.
        I have increased surface movement to encourage more oxygen exchange and all Hara are fine. I am wondering if maybe it had just changed colour which made it look like it had shed? I had the blue light on at the time…
        Anyway, they are all eating and wiggling as usual but I will be keeping a very close eye on them.

  4. Could I keep four of these guys and a betta in a five gallon? I would do weekly gravel cleanings and a 50% water change every week. And what and when should you feed them? Thanks

    • Yes, there is no problem with this. Feed them twice a day with foods in the article. They also consume uneaten foods from the Betta.

  5. Is it normal for the catfish to hang out at the top of the tank with floating plants even if the water is well oxygenated

    • You should check ammonia, nitrite, pH,… and ensure everything is ok.