Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Brochis splendens

Emerald Catfish

Emerald Catfish, Brochis splendensEmerald Catfish, Brochis splendens
Photos by Andy Rapson


Brochis: Greek, brogchia, -as = throat, trachea

General Notes:

Brochis splendens is a very adaptable and peaceful fish and great for the community aquarium. Single specimens may be shy and easily startled they are far more confident and out going if kept in a group of five or more.
Use fine sand for a substrate because their barbels are quite delicate and easily damaged which could lead to the early demise of the fish through infection. Brochis are safe with most fish even very small ones and they won't damage plants.


Wild Brochis feed on small crustaceans, worms and insects by sifting through the mud or sand on the river bottom using their sensitive barbels. In captivity they will accept sinking pellets, granular food, flake food as a staple but this should be supplemented with live or frozen blood worms, daphnia, glass worms or adult brine shrimps


Brochis splendens is safe to house with most peaceful fish. But they live in the same niche as most Corydoras species and because they are generally much larger and more robust than Corydoras they may out compete them so it isn't a good idea to house the two together.
They are a better option than Corydoras for the Discus aquarium because they are much happier than most Corydoras at higher temperatures and they will perform the same role.


Adult female Brochis splendens are larger and fuller than adult male Brochis splendens. Males have the more intense colouration.


Brochis breed in much the same way as Corydoras but the fry are more difficult to raise. These fish should be bred in groups with more males than females. The eggs are laid out in the open but always stuck to a surface by the female. A group of males initiate spawning by chasing a ripe female and constantly nudging her. Up to 150 eggs will be laid by the female in a single spawning although not all of these will hatch. Remove the parents after spawning and four days later the eggs will hatch. On the second day after hatching the fry will accept newly hatched brine shrimps and a little later they will accept micro worms.

Wild status

The status of wild populations of Brochis splendens has not been evaluated.

Additional information

Easily confused with a Corydoras but Brochis are much larger, they have a more deeply forked tail, longer snout, longer dorsal fin and are deeper in the body.

Information at a glance

pH: 6 - 7.5
dGH: 2 - 15
Temperature: 22 - 28°C (72 - 82°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 8cm (3.25in)
Min tank size: 100 litres
Difficulty level: Easy
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Bottom

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Emerald Catfish, Brochis splendens

Origin: South America: Amazon River basin.

Habitat: Inhabits sluggish waters with dense vegetation. Occurs in shallow muddy waters.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Callichthyidae
Genus: Brochis
Species: B. splendens (Castelnau, 1855)

Other common names:
Emerald brochis

Synonyms: Callichthys splendens, Callichthys taiosh, Brochis dipterus, Corydoras semiscutatus, Brochis coeruleus, Chaenothorax bicarinatus, Chaenothorax eigenmanni