Batasio travancoria Hora & Law, 1941
Batasio travancoria is found in the Western Ghats area of southern India near to Kerala, and is small to mid sized member of the catfish family, Bagridae. Like most of its congeners is has a small head with large eyes, four pairs of barbels, which include a small pair of nasal barbels. The dorsal adipose fin is moderately long, with the caudal fin being bifurcated.
B travancoria body colour is bluish grey, with a blue stripe running along its lateral line from just behind the gills through to the caudal peduncle. The head is coloured similar to the body, although it is be-speckled with sooty spots and blotches. the ventral surface is creamy white. All the fins are hyaline to soft yellow or light amber in colour, depending upon the individual. When in excellent health the body colour becomes almost iridescent. Determining the sex of B travancoria is relatively easy, as the males have elongated genital papilla, lying just forward of the anal fin; and the females are more rotund around the ventral area of the body, especially if the conditions are conducive to spawning.
This attractive Indian bagrid catfish does better in a well oxygenated aquarium having plenty of water movement. One way to assure a good flow of water is to use a small reliable internal power filter; some types of these filters have an air diffuser built into them. A substrate of rounded gravel or sand with area’s planted with broad-leaved plants along with area's of rocks or bog-wood, would be advantageous as this gives area's into which they can retire to. Feeding is not problematic as it readily takes commercially prepared foods such as granular feeds, pellets or flake; however, regular feeding of live foods such as bloodworms and daphnia is recommended if one wants to observe these at their best. Fish such as Barbus nigrofasciatus, Barbus ticto and Barbus semifascialatus would make excellent tank companions. Consideration should be given to the fact that in the wild they can be found congregating in small numbers, so they will benefit from being kept in groups of five or six.
Main photograph courtesy of Betas Mahatraraj.