This months profile was written by superpap56 an active contributor to the site.





All Photos courtesy of Aqualand pets plus



Mystus leucophasis



    Seldom seen and when available very expensive the Giant Black Upside Down Asian Catfish can for some be a great choice for a specimen tank. Provided with the proper living conditions they will provide years of pleasure and companionship.

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: May grow up to 5 inches (12.5cm fishbase) (1)
Tank: 55 gallons /4 foot length for one fish
Strata: Bottom, Middle, Top
PH: 6.0-7.0
Hardness: 5° – 25° dH
Temperature: 73°F to 81°F (23°-27° C)


Order: Siluriformes
Family: Bagridae
Genus: Mystus
Species: leucophasis


Common name:


Giant Black Upside Down Asian CatfishDistribution


     Sitang River, Myanmar (Burma)

General Body Form:Mystus Leucophasis has the typical large catfish look with 3 sets of Barbels the longest of which are 1/2 to 3/4 the fishes body length. Long flowing tailfin with top section noticeably longer than the bottom section.


    Black with silver specks in random patterns along the side. From a distance the fish appears totally black. The silver specks can be numerous enough that as it grows the area will appear to be lightly dusted with flour.

Maintenance:Because this fish is an active swimmer (with gained trust-daylight as well as nocturnal ) in my opinion they are not good for a planted tank as plants will be uprooted and knocked around. Not really suited for a community tank with anything other than the recommended tankmates. Makes a perfect specimen for a single species only tank. Mystus leucophasis is best suited for an experienced aquarist and and is not recommended for beginners. Water parameters are not overly important for this species, but should ideally be soft and neutral. Appreciates good current. A very strong jumper so be sure to use a well fitting lid. Always provide at least one “cave” for each Leucophasis. If you wish -pvc pipe sections make perfect “caves”. If you choose to go the community route tankmates could be some of the more boisterous Cichlids -including Mbuna, Larger Loracariids, Large cyprinids including Tinfoil Barbs.–NO slower moving fish. Being one of the scaleless fish if you must medicate only use malachite green medications in half doses -or better yet use a med designed for scaleless and sensitive fish. Feeding is not a problem as they accept all flake and frozen foods, loves freeze dried bloodworms and eats just about any offerred food.


    Adults inhabit rivers.

Breeding:Females are longer and heavier. Males have a prominent elongate genital papilla just in front of the anal fin. Breeding has not been reported yet in home aquaria-but is mass bred commercially.

Personal notes:I have found this fish a pure joy to keep. I have been able to encourage it to raise it’s head out of the water and take food from my hand–when she (not I) chooses to do so. I am permitted at times to actually pet this fish with 2 or 3 fingers. This fish swims almost entirely upside down except when foraging off the bottom and uses the entire tank for swimming. Swims also with its belly and sometimes its back against the aquarium wall. Does exact repetitive laps and then will change it’s course and continue repeating the new course until it chooses to change course again. The fish sleeps and rests inside it’s “cave” hanging upside down from the inner top surface of the “cave”. The Asian giant upside down black catfish is pretty hard to find at any petstore or lfs. All that I have checked locally and online extensively respond that they cannot get this fish.(I have actually had to send pictures to verify that I have 1.) I have however had 4 others which I passed on to fellow fish keepers as young specimens. I have seen this fish at fish auctions selling for 50 dollars or more. Some authorities say this fish is vicious, that may well be true overall-but my experience hasn’t been that-as until the fish was 3 inches or more long I kept it with platys(I had no choice up to that point)and they got along fine. Nnever place a full grown Mystus with something that it could consider food. I would never ignore it’s reputation as a predator. Because I value this fish so much-I dote on her. She is kept as a specimen only fish in her own tank and since the information available is so conflicting I do not risk either her or other fish by combining them. It’s a personal choice But if kept with others -pay attention to and choose the listed tankmates. I must tell you that the Asian Giant Black Upside Down Catfish is one fish I have no complaints about maintaining a separate tank for. She is a lot of fun to watch.


    , Planet catfish lists 11.9 inches with females being the slightly fatter and larger of the sexes.I have found referances stating max size as 7 inches (–as 9 inches -and the planetcatfish size .


5/5 - (16 votes)


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