Mystery hitchhiking catfish/pleco?

LexieMoon

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HI everyone!
A few weeks ago I got a little eco pico 5 gallon and I added some seaweed, rocks, and gravel. The tank is cycled.
Yesterday I won a betta at an aquarium expo so I added him to the tank today. I was watching him this morning and all of a sudden this other fish shot up from under a moss ball and quickly swam around before staying at the bottom front corner of the tank.
I never (intentionally) added this fish to the tank. He must have hitchhiked from the pet store but the seaweed I got wasn't transported in water and I didn't put it into my brand new tank for hours before adding freshwater. I have no idea how he survived.

As I was writing this post he just shot up to the surface and back down to the gravel and seems to have stunned himself. He doesn't seem like he's doing too well so I'd like to identify him and see if I should move him to a tank that would be better for him. I have 2 other freshwater tanks.

Thanks for your help!
 
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LexieMoon

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Working on it sorry I didn't mean to already post this. Trying to figure out how to attach photos from my phone
 

Aquaphobia

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It's an upside down catfish! He won't be able to stay in your 5 gallon unfortunately, and they like company anyway. I would take him back, though if it were me I would get a bigger tank and more of them so I could keep him

*edit: I think it's one of the larger species, def not Synodontis nigriventris anyway, unless they get this dark when they're super stressed. Mine go pale when stressed.
 
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LexieMoon

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He's really not doing well. I moved him to my cichlid tank where the water is still warm but there is a lot more movement and water flow. He barely made it under the rocks where other catfish live.

**Edit: I did take my filter out of the 5 gal before adding the betta because the flow was WAY too strong for him. I'm wondering if this mystery catfish is suffering from lack of oxygen? He keeps shooting up to the surface.
 

Aquaphobia

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I'm assuming you didn't acclimate the plants the way you would acclimate a fish? He's probably suffering from shock, stress and whole lot of other things. His best bet is just to be somewhere dark and quiet to destress.

I take it back, that's not what I thought it was, but I still think it's some kind of Synodontis.

Who here knows Synodonts.. @chromedome52? @DoubleDutch? Anders247?

Banjo catfish!

 

Aquaphobia

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I don't think it's that, the head's too flat. And what about the "carapace" it has? I don't see that on the Asian Stone Catfish.
 
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LexieMoon

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Yeah I did not acclimate the plants like I would have a fish. I put them in probably 70 degree water and let it eventually heat up to 80. The tank was not cycled properly. I really have no idea how he would have hitchhiked without me seeing him or without dying already! I set this tank up about 5 weeks ago and have never seen him until today. Poor little guy must be so stressed. I assume my cichlid tank is probably he best bet if he's going to make it. It's very much established and 30 gal.
 

Aquaphobia

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I think you're right. And also that it is amazing that he survived! Keep us posted, I want to know how he does
 
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LexieMoon

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Although I do have a 20 gal tank that only has pea puffers and shrimp. Maybe there is less of a chance he will get picked on in there? Although I don't want to stress him out by moving him again.
My only other freshwater tank is my axolotl tank which would be the worst possible option.
 

Aquaphobia

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Anders247 said:
It's not a type of Synodontis, it's something related to a banjo catfish....
At least I was as close as to pick one from the same Order
 

chromedome52

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Definitely a Banjo Catfish, Bunocephalus species; they are very good hiders, and probably was dug into in the Moss Ball. They can live for quite a while without water, so long as it is humid. In fact, they generally don't actually live in the water in the wild, but in the leaf litter along the edges. He might be alright in a 5 gallon tank for quite a while, as they are not active fish, and they are slow growers. The most common species maxes out just under 6 inches, though there are some very rare species that only get to 2 inches.

It is important to be certain that they are getting enough food when placed in tanks with larger, more active feeders.
 
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LexieMoon

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Updates: My cichlids were not being hospitable hosts. This poor little catfish is clearly stressed because he isn't staying in a hiding spot, he keeps spastically shooting around the tank.

I moved him to my tank with 3 pea puffers. I'm worried he might possibly hurt them since they're so tiny but he doesn't seem to be with it enough to be aggressive. There is a big log in that tank so hopefully he just goes in there and rests.

Thanks for all of the help! He is definitely a Banjo Catfish. I've had many catfish but never a Banjo Catfish. I'm truly impressed with his hiding abilities. Hopefully he makes it.
 

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