This species is very similar to the D. Iongibarbis (Porthole Catfish). However, it can be immediately distinguished by its boldly striped caudal fin (in D. Iongibarbis the tail is plain). Occasionally specimens without any body speckling appear in shipments of this attractive species.
As the scientific name for this species indicates, the mouth is adorned with long barbels, the two longest of which (the top ones) are generally held out horizontally and pointing forward. The relatively light body armor helps distinguish the two Dianema species from their closest relatives in the subfamily, Callichthys and Hoplosternum.
These small, armoured catfishes are ideal inmates for the community tank, where they will swim in small groups in search of food. Corydoras, with over 100 different species from which to choose, are often the first cat-fishes to be kept. Dianema longibarbis (Porthole Catfish) and Dianema urostriata (Flagtailed Catfish) belong to the same family as the Corydoras, but grow to 14 cm (5 1/2 in).