Black Lancer Catfish: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Black lancer catfish facts are interesting.

Are you fascinated by catfish? Then here we have the black lancer catfish. Bagrichthys macracanthus, black lancer catfish belongs to the Bagridae family. It is a peaceful species of catfish that is native to Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand, Java, Indonesia, and Peninsular Malaysia. These fish like to live in muddy rivers and freshwater water bodies. They can be seen living in Kayan, Rajang, Music, Rokan, Barito, Pahang, Bernag and Kapuas rivers. They have dark brown to black-colored bodies and a long dorsal fin that touches the base of their caudal fin. They have a white stripe on their lateral line as well. They eat aquarium food like any dried food as well as bloodworms, brine shrimp, or slugworms. You should keep plants in the tank with these fish as they love to hide and they need shade to survive. Read on to know more facts about the males and the females of the black lancer catfish.

For more relatable content, check out these giant oarfish facts and monkfish facts for kids.

Black Lancer Catfish

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Brine shrimp, bloodworm, small fish, slugworm

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

9.8 in (25 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Dark brown to black

Skin Type

Smooth skin

What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Freshwater rivers, blackwater peat swamps


Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand, Java, Indonesia, and Peninsular Malaysia





Scientific Name

Bagrichthys macracanthus





Black Lancer Catfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black lancer catfish?

Bagrichthys macracanthus, black lancer catfish is a species of fish. It is a type of catfish.

What class of animal does a black lancer catfish belong to?

The black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus, Bleeker 1854) belongs to the family Bagridae and class Actinopterygii of animals.

How many black lancer catfishes are there in the world?

These fish are pretty abundant in their natural habitats, but due to lack of research, the exact population of black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) in numbers is not known. Although there are a few threats, their population trend also seems to be stable.

Where does a black lancer catfish live?

The Bagrichthys macracanthus, black lancer catfish is native to Borneo, Sumatra, and Peninsular Malaysia. In Borneo, these fish are found in Kayan, Rajang, Barito, and Kapuas river drainages. In Sumatra, they can be seen living in the Musi river to the Rokan river drainages. In Peninsular Malaysia, they are found in the Pahang and Bernam river drainages. They are also found in Indonesia, Java, and Thailand. In total, from Indonesia to Thailand, these fish are thought to occupy about an area range of more than 772.2 sq mi (2000 sq km).

What is a black lancer catfish's habitat?

Black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) are known to inhabit large freshwater water bodies. They prefer cloudy or muddy water, so they can be seen mostly in blackwater peat swamp forests. The water in these freshwater bodies is positively brown due to the high availability of mud. These fish require water that has below 6.0 pH level, ideally 5.5-7.0 pH level. They also live in a tank or aquarium in many households around the world.

Who do black lancer catfishes live with?

Black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) is a shy and peaceful species. Although it can live with other fish, it can still get a little territorial with other fish of its own species. Hence, if you have these fish as a pet, you can keep them with others of their own species, but the tank should be large enough to let them have their own space. They will live peacefully with other small fish as well.

How long does a black lancer catfish live?

The exact lifespan of the species of black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) is not known. Bagrid catfish, in general, live for many years if they are cared for properly.

How do they reproduce?

Due to a lack of research not much is known about the reproductive process of the species of black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus). The fish are not bred in an aquarium by many. The ones that live in the wild, move to a flooded zone during the breeding season. The breeding season between the black lancer catfish male and female usually occurs during the rainy season. Females lay eggs and young fry can be seen around the month of August.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Bagrichthys macracanthus, black lancer catfish according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is listed as Least Concern. These fish live in blackwater peat swamps, and many are getting destroyed due to land conversion and moving the water for agricultural purposes. However, their population continues to be stable despite these factors.

Black Lancer Catfish Fun Facts

What do black lancer catfishes look like?

The shape of the Bagrichthys macracanthus, black lancer catfish, is the same as the shape of most bagrid catfish. They have a dark brown to the black-colored body. They have a broad and large mouth. The lateral line of these fish has a white stripe on it. The most distinguishable feature about them is their dorsal fin, which is elongated and reaches the base of the caudal fin. They also have 18-29 serrae on the dorsal fin spine.

Both male and female black lancer catfish have long dorsal fins.
*This is a picture of a catfish, of the same species. If you have an image of a black lancer catfish, let us know at

How cute are they?

Black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) has a majestic look to them. They are also shy and peaceful, which has made them a favorite for many people. A lot of people keep them as pets in their homes in the aquarium.

How do they communicate?

All fish communicate visually, by sound, by touch, and by vibrations. They get a sense of their surroundings by the vibrations in the water around them with their lateral line. Black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) communicate the same way as well.

How big is a black lancer catfish?

Bagrichthys macracanthus, black lancer catfish size is about 9.8 in (25 cm) in length. An adult black lancer catfish is two times bigger than a cory catfish. An adult cory catfish grows up to about 2.5-5 in (6.4-12.7 cm) in size.

How fast can a black lancer catfish swim?

The speed at which the black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) swims is not known, but it moves at a moderate pace. They like to live in slow-moving water bodies, and even in an aquarium, they move at a slow to moderate pace.

How much does a black lancer catfish weigh?

Although black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) are medium-sized fish, their exact weight is not known.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males and females don't have any specific names. Males are called male black lancer catfish and females are called female black lancer catfish.

What would you call a black lancer catfish?

The baby of Bagrichthys macracanthus, black lancer catfish would be called a fry.

What do they eat?

Black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) eat ground-dwelling aquatic animals, organic debris, brine shrimp, worms like the slugworm, and bloodworm. They also do well with aquarium foods like high-quality commercial dried food. This dried food can be made up of vegetables as well. They are known to eat some small fish, but not all like they are not known to eat smaller fish of the tank.

Are they dangerous?

No, black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) is not aggressive or dangerous at all. They are a rather shy and peaceful species. They can live well with other smaller fish species in the same tank.

Would they make a good pet?

They make excellent pets. These are a nocturnal species, so the light of the aquarium should not be strong, and there should be enough shade by plants to block the light. There should be enough place for them to play and hide in, and keeping plants in the aquarium helps with that as well. The pH level should be 5.5-7.0, and the perfect black lancer catfish temperature is 75.2-82.4°F (24-28°C). These fish like a slow water flow. You can also keep smaller fish in the tank with them.

Did you know...

Bagrichthys macracanthus, black lancer catfish have four pairs of barbels on their head. They also have whiskers like the channel catfish or any other species of catfish.

How did the black lancer catfish get their name?

The origin of the common name of the Bagrichthys macracanthus, black lancer catfish is its long dorsal fin spine. Origin of the 'Bagrichthys' says it comes from 'barge', which means catfish in South America, but this common name is only used for catfish of Asia and Africa. Whereas the origin of the second part of its name 'macracanthus' says it means 'long spine'.

How do black lancer catfish protect themselves?

The young fry of the catfish is known to often make a group or school and move forward by rolling on the floor of their habitat. Adult catfish are known to be solitary and they usually have venomous spines which they often use to protect themselves. There are no records of the peaceful species of black lancer catfish (Bagrichthys macracanthus) having any venomous spine like other catfish, but they have a long spine, which can be assumed to be used by them in order to protect themselves.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these koi facts and spotted sunfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable catfish coloring pages.

*This is a picture of Hemibagrus nemurus, a species of the same family as the black lancer catfish.



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