The feature that best distinguishes this subfamily from that containing Corydoras species and their relatives (Corydoradinae) is the snout. In the Callichthyinae, it is depressed, i.e. “flattened,” to a certain extent, while in the Corydoradinae it is considerably more rounded. The Armored Catfish surfaces periodically to gulp in air, which it passes down into its hindgut, where oxygen is absorbed into the bloodsteam. The family Callichthyidae was named for the Armored Catfish, which has been known in the hobby for over a century, having first been imported into Europe in 1897.
- Widely distributed in tropical regions of South America.
- Up to 8in (20cm) reported, but usually smaller.
- Relatively inactive during daylight. May consume very small tankmates, but generally peaceful.
- Wide range of chunky foods accepted, particularly sinking formulations such as granules and tablets. Food should be administered during the evening, shortly before tank lights are switched off.
- Thickly planted, with numerous shelters. Water chemistry not critical. Temperature range: 64-82 F (18-28 C).
- A cover of floating plants must be provided. The male will build a nest of mucus-covered bubbles among the floating plants. Spawning takes place beneath this raft, and the eggs are deposited among the bubbles. The male will then vigorously defend the nest against all comers.