Anodus orinocensis (Steindachner, 1887) – What Is It?

anodus orinocensis

Last updated on July 8th, 2022 at 04:53 pm

Anodus orinocensis, Steindachner, 1887 (also known as Labidochromis orinocensis and Paracyprichromis orinocensis) is one of many non-labidochromine cichlids endemic to Lake Orinoco, Venezuela, and Guiana Shield rivers that are part of the upper Orinoco River drainage basin in South America. Anodus orinocensis can reach up to 15 cm and eat small fish (lepidophages), insects, and worms.

Anodus orinocensis (Steindachner, 1887) belongs to the family Alestidae (Cichlids). It originates from the Orinoco River basin in Colombia and Venezuela and can reach up to 17 cm in length. It was first described by Steindachner in 1887 but was renamed to Anodus orinocensis by Vierke in 1992 after finding that the name Anodus vittatus was already used by Günther for another species in 1863.

It has been available in the aquarium trade since the 1980s, but only recently have these fish started to become more popular with aquarium hobbyists. This species originates from Africa and was originally described by German ichthyologist Franz Steindachner in 1887 based on specimens collected in Gabon, Africa.

Anodus orinocensis overview

anodus orinocensis

A group of fish belonging to one genus is referred to as Anodontini. They are a subfamily of Haplochromine cichlids, which falls under a family known as Cichlidae. There are around 200 genera and nearly 1,000 species that fall under Cichlidae family. Other familiar cichlids include tilapia, Oscar, electric blue Jack Dempsey, Kribs, and convicts.

One of these lesser-known but just as unique cichlids is Anodus orinocensis. It belongs to an order called Perciformes which includes more than 15 families with many over 10,000 different species! Some common orders are Cyprinidae (carps and minnows), Characidae (tetras), Loricariidae (plecostomus), and Gobiidae (gobies).

Other orders include Cichliformes — which contains other popular aquarium fish such as angelfish, guppies, and discus; Labroidei — labyrinth fish like freshwater puffers; Siluriformes — catfish belonging to one family called Ictaluridae that make up around one-third of all freshwater fish; Salmoniformes — salmon, trout and char fishes; Tetraodontiformes — boxfish and pufferfishes; Stomiiforme — sea dragon fishes.

Blue Peacock Cichlid Care (Aulonocara Nyassae)

Origin and description

Found in South America, the fish usually resides in freshwater conditions but can adapt to low salinity levels. Reproduction occurs annually in locations that experience seasonal temperature changes. Found close to freshwater outlets and docks (Yambaru).

Species profile

anodus orinocensis

The Orinoco sailfin catfish is one of more than 180 species in Anodontidae family of catfishes, whose members are distributed in western and eastern Africa. There are at least six living members of Anodontidae recognized from African freshwater. Although Anodus orinocensis is closely related to other anodontid genera, a few differences can be seen when looking closely into its body construction.

For example, Steindachner noted that the nostrils were placed nearer to the base of the caudal fin than to the snout (1887). This makes sense considering they live near fast-moving currents; water would easily enter if nostrils were placed closer to the head instead of the tail. In addition, Anodus orenocensis shares several diagnostic characteristics with other anodontids and the absence of chin barbel as shown by Steindacher et al.(1887).

Behavior/Social Organization: Solitary

Length of fish: The overall length of Anodus oriosnensis ranges from 15.7 to 27 cm (Günther et al., 2010).

Lifespan may reach more than 5 years.

Sexual maturity was found to occur at 10 months after birth (Grunert et al., 2015).

Diet: Feeds mainly on crustaceans, insects, and mollusks (Cardoso & Jover, 1998; Günther et al., 2010; Mazzoni & Pinna-Liuccio 2011).


Breeding season for Anodus orinocensis occurs in January through March during springtime temperatures between 21 degrees C and 26 degrees C with a small peak during August among individuals originating from Lake Valencia located near a large river estuary system, feeding into eastern Venezuela’s Caribbean Sea coast.

Orinoco Sailfin Catfish

A Background to Anodus Orinocensis Steindachner, 1887: The Orinoco Sailfin Catfish belongs to a small and little-known genus of fish called Anodus. In fact, you might even be surprised to learn that there are only two other known species in its genus. It’s also extremely rare and very little is known about how these fish live in their natural habitat.

Amphilophus Citrinellus (Midas Cichlid)

What we do know comes from limited observations made by scientists studying them in captivity. So first things first: our own attempt at putting together information on Anodus orinocensis here will probably not exactly coincide with any real information out there!

We believe that further studies should be conducted in order to develop a more complete understanding of these truly unique creatures.

Anodus stictus vs. Anodus orinocensis

The pair of species Anodus stictus and Anodus orinocensis are frequently confused by aquarium hobbyists. In fact, at one point they were considered a single species; however, recent research suggests that these two fish have very distinct diets and behaviors.

The easiest way to tell them apart is by looking at their teeth: Anodus stictus has uniformly small sharp teeth while Anodus orinocensis has much larger molars with serrated edges and pronounced cusps around each tooth on both upper and lower jaws. While both species are omnivorous, Anodus stictus tends to focus more on snails whereas Anodus orinocensis consumes a wider variety of prey including smaller amphibians such as axolotls and tadpoles.

Currently, there is no scientific consensus regarding whether or not these two species should be kept together in an aquarium setting; however, most consider it generally safe to do so unless an individual specimen can be positively identified as either stictus or orinocensis via comparison with scientific literature.

Although most North American hobbyists tend to think of African dwarf frogs as basically all the same (and you will see plenty of them for sale advertised under either name), here in Europe, we believe strongly in species diversity for frog keepers!

Keeping Anodus

anodus orinocensis

Anodus are similar to many other mbuna in that they prefer a sandy substrate, but also require high-quality water to thrive. Although they will eat most prepared foods, if live foods are not available, they are more than capable of fending for themselves once settled in their new home.

Cyphotilapia frontosa (Frontosa Cichlid or Humphead Cichlid)

Newly arrived specimens may take some time to adjust to their surroundings and become shy when handled after settling in, they soon lose their shyness and will follow you around begging for food! They can be housed with larger cichlids such as Labidochromis caeruleus without issue as long as they are given plenty of space within which to swim.