Emerald brochis

Emerald catfish

The emerald catfish (Brochis splendens), emerald brochis, emerald cory, green catfish, or shortbody catfish is a tropical freshwater fish belonging to the Corydoradinae sub-family of the Callichthyidae family. The fish has appeared on a stamp in Brazil. Though this species is sometimes called the emerald cory, it is really not a corydoras catfish at all. It is in another genus of catfishes, Brochis. Brochis catfish can be distinguished from corydoras catfish by their longer dorsal fins with tall spiny first rays. Brochis catfish also generally have longer snouts than coryboras catfish.


It was originally described as Callichthys splendens by François Louis de la Porte, comte de Castelnau in 1855. This species was once also commonly called Brochis coeruleus. W. A. Gosline was the first to suspect that the two species were the same in 1940, but it was actually Njiseen & Isbrücker in 1970 who combined the two, giving sufficient reasons for doing so.

This species has long been classified as Brochis splendens. However, Brochis has been synonymized with Corydoras.


It originates in inland waters in South America, and is found in the upper reaches Amazon River basin. This includes Ucayali River to Pucallpa, Ambiyacu River, and the area around Iquitos in the nations of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Appearance and anatomy

Depending upon the angle of lighting, the fish's body reflects a metallic green, blue-green, or even a bluish color. The ventral area is yellowish with the pectoral, ventral, and anal fins yellowish and the dorsal, caudal, and adipose fins a transluscent brownish. The females are larger and more robust than the males, and have a more pinkish belly as opposed to the more yellowish one for the males. This fish can be distinguished from the green/bronze corydoras catfish by its usually larger size,more stout body, and more pointed snout.

The fish inhabits sluggish waters with dense vegetation along the banks. It occurs in shallow muddy waters and will grow in length up to 7.5 centimetres (3 in). It lives in a tropical climate in water with a 5.8–8.0 pH, a water hardness of 2–30 dGH, and a temperature range of 22–28 °C (72–82 °F). It feeds on worms, benthic crustaceans, and insect larvae. It lays eggs in dense vegetation and adults do not guard the eggs.

In the aquarium

Before buying this fish, beware: Another Brochis species called the hognose brochis/hognose catfish (Brochis multiradiatus) is also available. It is usually much more expensive than the emerald brochis and can be distinguished from the emerald brochis by its having a much skinnier space between the head and the distinct mouth. In the hognose brochis, it looks as though the space between the head and the mouth has been strethced then pinched, giving it an almost proboscis-like look. The emerald catfish is a common species in freshwater aquaria. It is a peaceful, undemanding species and can be maintained under the same conditions as most Corydoras species. They are shy and easily frightened when kept as individuals, so it is best kept in small groups of at least three, with more being recommended. The tank should have only a soft, fine bottom to prevent damage to barbels and should be heavily planted. Feeding is not difficult and they accept almost anything, although live worms are especially appreciated. It does well in a community tank and does not tear up the plants.

Spawning has been achieved in captivity. Typically, the fish are separated into a breeding tank in the ratio of three males to two females, all well-conditioned on live foods. The couple will spawn while sitting on the bottom, not while swimming as many similar species do. In captivity, the female collects the eggs in her pelvic fin basket and pastes them individually to plants and other objects. Eggs will be deposited by the female throughout the tank, but especially on any floating surface plants. According to most reports, the parents do not immediately try to eat the eggs. The eggs hatch in about four days and the fry become free swimming two days later.

See also


  • Burgess, Warren E. (1987). A Complete Introduction to Corydoras and Related Catfishes. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 0-86622-264-2.

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