What to Know About Asian Stone Catfish

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on December 06, 2022

Like doghouses and litter boxes, aquariums are a fixture in many homes. An estimated 1 in 8 American households keeps fish as pets, and over 158 million fish live in captivity in the U.S. It’s not hard to see the appeal of these aquatic animals. Fish are beautiful, low-maintenance pets that provide owners with endless entertainment and relaxation. If you’re looking for a small, exotic-looking fish to add to your aquarium, the Asian Stone Catfish could be a great fit. 

The Asian Stone Catfish is a small freshwater catfish species from Bangladesh and India. This fish’s body resembles a rock, making it a visually appealing addition to any household. Read on to learn more about Asian Stone Catfish characteristics and care, along with the risks of owning one of these unique creatures.

The Asian Stone Catfish, or Hara jerdoni, is a small fish native to Bangladesh and Northeastern India’s slow-moving rivers and streams. The species belongs to the order Siluriformes. This category includes 59 freshwater fish, like the Freshwater Shark, Butter Catfish, Clown Catfish, Gray Eel Catfish, Striped Dwarf Catfish, and Walking Catfish.

The Bangladeshi people refer to the Asian Stone Catfish as Kutakanti. Other common names for this fish include: 

  • Anchor Catfish 
  • Asian Moth Catfish
  • Asian Stone Cat  
  • Dwarf Anchor Catfish 
  • Dwarf Moth Catfish 
  • Mini Moth Catfish 

The Asian Stone Catfish has a small, elongated body with a strong dorsal spine. Four pairs of barbels, or whiskers, grow near its tiny mouth. The tail has a forked caudal fin with a long upper lobe and a tiny lower lobe. Female Asian Stone Catfish are typically larger and more robust than male specimens.  

Many aquarists admire the Asian Stone Catfish for its unique coloring. The fish’s body has shades of brown, gray, or yellowish brown. Irregular stripes cover the fish, giving it a mottled, rocklike appearance. This coloration allows the Asian Stone Catfish to blend into decaying leaves and stones at the bottom of a riverbed.

The Asian Stone Catfish is a peaceful and timid creature that enjoys privacy and solitude. Experts recommend keeping this nano catfish in small groups with members of its own species to avoid conflict. You can keep three to four Asian Stone Catfish per every 10 gallons of water. 

This catfish requires a tank with high-quality water and an efficient filter. Frequent partial water changes and vacuuming will keep the tank clean and help prevent bacterial and fungal infections. A temperature of 64.4°F to 75°F is ideal for Asian Stone Catfish. 

The Asian Stone Catfish enjoys hiding in small crannies and burying itself in sandy substrate. It’s best to stock this shy fish’s aquarium with plenty of plants to provide ample hiding places. Dim lighting will also keep your nocturnal catfish happy. 

Some fish owners have successfully bred the Asian Stone Catfish in captivity. The male catfish creates a silken thread to attract a mate. The female catfish lay white eggs, which hatch into tiny white fry.

The Asian Stone Catfish is a nocturnal feeder, so plan to feed your pet at night. The fish’s diet should include live and frozen foods like baby brine shrimp. You can also feed your Asian Stone Catfish algae wafers, fresh vegetables, and catfish pellets. 

The catfish’s shy nature means that it may struggle to compete for food with more aggressive tankmates. Housing your fish with similarly peaceful creatures can ensure that it gets enough food.

When properly cared for, the Asian Stone Catfish’s lifespan is five or more years. This long lifespan makes these fish a long-term investment. If you’re not sure that you can commit to caring for an aquarium for at least five years, you should choose a fish with a shorter lifespan or wait to get a pet until you are sure you can care for it throughout its entire lifespan. 

The Asian Stone Catfish is a tiny fish that reaches a maximum length of 3.5 to 3.7 centimeters, or 1.3 to 1.5 inches. The catfish’s compact size and calm nature make it an ideal pet for people who want to care for a small aquarium without worrying that their fish will eventually outgrow the tank. 

While Asian Stone Catfish are ideal pets for many fish lovers, they pose a few ecological and health risks. 

Currently, it’s legal to import Asian Stone Catfish into the U.S., and the American government considers the species noninvasive and safe. But these fish could potentially become invasive if released into a freshwater body of water, like a river or stream. To avoid this issue, you should never attempt to set your Asian Stone Catfish free in the wild. 

Also, any fish can potentially transmit zoonotic diseases to humans. For example, fish can transmit bacterial infections like Mycobacterium, Salmonella, and Streptococcus iniae. Symptoms of bacterial infections in fish include: 

  • Bulging eyes
  • Decreased appetite
  • Inability to swim 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Red or bleeding skin 
  • Swollen abdomen 

Simple hygiene measures can decrease your risks of contracting a zoonotic disease from your Asian Stone Catfish. Always wear gloves when handling aquarium water and animals, and cover abrasions or sores before caring for your fish. 

Despite these risks, the Asian Stone Catfish is a peaceful, unique fish with moderate care requirements. This catfish could be a fun addition if you’re looking for an unusual fish to stock in your small tank.

Show Sources

Aqua Fauna Research: “Asian Stone Catfish.”
BdFISH Feature: “Sylhet Hara, Erethistes jerdoni (Day, 1870)."
Cat Chat: The Journal of the Catfish Study Group (UK): “Breeding Hara jerdoni.
FAN Bangladesh: “The Checklist of the Riverine Fishes of Bangladesh.”
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: “Aquarium Fish.”
Portland Aquarium: Quick Care Stats Of Asian Stone Catfish – Tank Setup And Care Guidelines.”
U.S. Department of the Interior: “Regional Biosecurity Plan for Micronesia and Hawaii Volume II.”
Washington State University: “Zoonoses Associated with Fish.”

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