Community Fish Spotlight: Asian Stone Mini Catfish AKA Anchor Catfish (Hara jerdoni)

Community Fish Spotlight: Asian Stone Mini Catfish AKA Anchor Catfish (Hara jerdoni)

In the vast world of aquarium fish, there's a charming and often overlooked species known as the Asian Stone Mini Catfish, or scientifically, Hara jerdoni. This tiny yet captivating fish, also lovingly called the Anchor Catfish, is a hidden gem for aquarists seeking unique additions to their community tanks. Let's dive into the fascinating world of this curious creature.

Physical Characteristics

The Hara jerdoni boasts a unique appearance that distinguishes it from other aquarium inhabitants. At just around 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length when fully grown, this catfish is exceptionally small, making it ideal for nano tanks and limited spaces. Its slender, elongated body showcases a light beige to pale brown coloration with darker speckles, resembling riverbed stones and providing natural camouflage.

One of its most notable features is its ventral fins, resembling tiny anchors, hence its endearing nickname, "Anchor Catfish." These fins aid in stabilizing the fish as it maneuvers through the substrate, contributing to its agility and grace.

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Vocalization: While not commonly known, Asian Stone Mini Catfish are capable of producing audible sounds. They use their swim bladders to create clicking or grunting noises, particularly during courtship rituals or territorial disputes. These vocalizations are relatively quiet and may go unnoticed in larger aquarium setups without close observation.

Habitat and Behavior

Native to the freshwater streams and rivers of Southern Asia, particularly in India and Sri Lanka, the Hara jerdoni thrives in moderate water flow and lush vegetation. In its natural habitat, it can be found among rocky crevices and submerged vegetation, utilizing its camouflage to evade predators while hunting for small invertebrates and algae.

Within the confines of an aquarium, these miniature catfish exhibit fascinating behaviors that enchant hobbyists. Primarily nocturnal, they prefer to explore and forage under the cover of darkness. Their shy and peaceful demeanor makes them excellent additions to community tanks, where they coexist harmoniously with various other non-aggressive species.

Tank Requirements and Care

Providing suitable habitat conditions is crucial for the health and well-being of the Hara jerdoni. A densely planted aquarium with ample hiding spots, such as caves, driftwood, and rock formations, mimics its natural environment and offers security. Smooth substrate like sand or fine gravel is preferable to prevent injury to their delicate ventral fins.

Maintaining stable water parameters is essential, with temperatures ranging from 64°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C) and a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. While they are relatively undemanding in terms of water quality, regular water changes and filtration are necessary to ensure optimal conditions.

Feeding the Hara jerdoni is straightforward, as they are omnivorous scavengers that eagerly consume a varied diet. They readily accept high-quality sinking pellets, frozen or live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and small crustaceans. Supplementing their diet with algae wafers helps meet their nutritional requirements and promote their well-being.

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Sensitivity to Water Conditions: Despite being hardy in terms of water quality, Asian Stone Mini Catfish are quite sensitive to sudden changes in water parameters. It's essential to maintain stable conditions to prevent stress and potential health issues. Rapid fluctuations in temperature or pH can negatively impact their well-being.

Breeding and Reproduction

Breeding the Hara jerdoni in captivity can be challenging due to their secretive nature and specific breeding requirements. However, with meticulous attention to detail and the right conditions, successful spawning can be achieved. Separating a pair into a dedicated breeding tank with subdued lighting and ample hiding places encourages natural courtship and spawning behaviors.

Females deposit their adhesive eggs in secluded areas such as caves or among plant roots, diligently guarded by the male. After hatching, the fry can be raised on a diet of infusoria and finely crushed flake food until they are large enough to consume larger fare.

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Long Lifespan: With proper care and a suitable environment, Asian Stone Mini Catfish can live for several years in captivity. They have a relatively long lifespan compared to other small freshwater fish, with some individuals living up to five years or more under optimal conditions.

Interaction with Other Tankmates

Asian Stone Mini Catfish are generally peaceful and compatible with a variety of other community fish species. However, it's essential to choose tankmates carefully to ensure compatibility. Avoid housing them with aggressive or territorial fish species that may harass or outcompete them for food. Small, peaceful fish like tetras, rasboras, and small loaches make excellent companions for the Asian Stone Mini Catfish.

Asian Stone Catfish available at Aquatic Arts

Compatibility with Bottom-Dwelling Fish: While they are often referred to as community fish, Asian Stone Mini Catfish are particularly compatible with other bottom-dwelling species. They can coexist peacefully with bottom-dwelling fish like Corydoras catfish and dwarf loaches, as they occupy different levels of the aquarium.


The Asian Stone Mini Catfish, or Anchor Catfish, adds charm, intrigue, and a touch of the exotic to any freshwater aquarium. With its diminutive size, peaceful nature, and unique appearance, this species captures the hearts of aquarists worldwide. By providing them with a suitable environment and proper care, enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty and wonder of these captivating creatures for years to come.


Q: How many Asian Stone Mini Catfish can live in an aquarium together?

A: Asian Stone Mini Catfish are social creatures and can be kept in groups. A general rule of thumb is to provide at least 5 gallons (approximately 19 liters) of water per fish. However, given their small size and relatively low bioload, multiple specimens can thrive in a properly sized aquarium. Aim for a minimum of three to four individuals to ensure they feel comfortable and exhibit natural behaviors.


Q: Could Asian Stone Mini Catfish live with small invertebrates like Neocaridina shrimp or Caridina shrimp?

A: Yes, Asian Stone Mini Catfish can coexist peacefully with small invertebrates like Neocaridina and Caridina shrimp. These catfish are generally peaceful and pose no threat to shrimp. However, it's crucial to provide sufficient hiding places and vegetation to ensure the shrimp feel secure, especially during molting periods.

Q: What is the best substrate for Asian Stone Mini Catfish?

A: The best substrate for Asian Stone Mini Catfish is a smooth, fine-grained substrate such as sand or fine gravel. Avoid coarse substrates that may damage their delicate ventral fins. The smooth substrate allows them to exhibit their natural foraging behaviors without risking injury.

Q: What fish do you recommend not housing with Asian Stone Mini Catfish?

A: While Asian Stone Mini Catfish are peaceful, there are certain species that may not be compatible due to differences in behavior or size. Avoid keeping them with aggressive or territorial fish, as they may intimidate or harass the catfish. Additionally, large or fast-swimming species may outcompete them for food, leading to potential stress or malnutrition.

Q: Asian Stone Mini Catfish have barbed fins; could I get sick if I'm stuck?

A: While the barbs on the fins of Asian Stone Mini Catfish can cause irritation if handled improperly, they do not pose a significant health risk to humans. However, it's essential to handle these fish with care to avoid injury to both yourself and the fish. If accidentally stuck, carefully remove the affected area and clean it thoroughly.


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