Platystacus cotylephorus – Banded Banjo

Platystacus cotylephorus is a Banjo Catfish from estuaries that can be kept in salt and brackish water. They can reach a total length of 22 centimeters and are peaceful when kept with suitable sized companions.

Platystacus cotylephorus – Banded Banjo

Platystacus cotylephorus was first described by Bloch in 1794. The genus name Platystcus can be broken down into two parts. Platys comes from ancient Greek and means broad or flat. Acus is derived from Latin and means needle. This is a reference to their shape. The species name Cotylephorus means something like the place where embryos are attached, in this case it refers to the belly of the fish. Their common name is Banded Banjo.


Banded Banjo’s can grow up to a maximum of 22 centimetres and are peaceful, provided they are kept with tankmates that are not too small.

The difference between the male and female Banded Banjo catfish would be seen in the colours. The males are more black, brown and white marbled. The women are more even and brown in color. The male’s pectoral fins are also larger than those of females of the same age.


Platystacus cotylephorus is a Banjo catfish from the estuaries that can be kept in both salt and brackish water. They occur along the coasts and mainly the estuaries in Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela. They inhabit the soft-bottomed areas where the water is shallow and flows quickly.

The Aquarium

Platystacus cotylephorus is not an active swimmer and can therefore suffice with a relatively small aquarium, despite its maximum length of about 32 centimeters. An aquarium from 120 centimeters is sufficient for a single specimen.

Decorate the aquarium with sand on the bottom and some dim light. They use the sand to partially bury themselves. Extra hiding places in the form of pieces of wood or rocks are appreciated. Leaves are also used for shelter.

Although the species occurs in the transition zone from freshwater to brackish water, they can be kept well in freshwater. Adding salt to get brackish water is allowed but not necessary.

In an aquarium with many or busy fish species, the Banjo catfish usually does not live long. They need an aquarium with relative calm. It is also important to ensure very clean water.

Water parameters

In the aquarium it is best to keep the Band Banjo catfish at a temperature of 22 to 25 degrees Celsius. The pH may be between 6.0 and 8.0. The GH is the least important water value, ideally you keep it between 12 and 30 GH.

Breeding Platystacus cotylephorus

Not much is known about the breeding of Platystacus cotylephorus. The eggs are deposited in brackish water. The female holds the eggs to her abdomen where the male fertilizes them. The eggs are incubated under the female’s abdomen. This is probably an adaptation to properly provide the eggs with oxygen in a muddy environment.



John de Lange

Copyright images

Ben Lee –


Back to Nature Gids voor Meervallen – David Sands – 1997 – blz. 25,26

Additional information






Aspredo cotylephorus, Aspredo sexcirrhis, Aspredo spectrum, Cotylephorus blochii, Platystacus nematophorus, Silurus hexadactylus

Common name

Banded Banjo


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