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Cyclocheilos enoplos (BLEEKER, 1849)

SynonymsTop ↑

Barbus enoplos Bleeker, 1849; Barbus macracanthus Bleeker, 1854; Cyclocheilichthys dumerili Bleeker, 1864; Cyclocheilichthys dumerilii Sauvage, 1881; Barbus enoploides Tirant, 1885; Cyclocheilichthys amblyceps Fowler, 1937


Cyclocheilos: from the Ancient Greek κύκλος (kýklos), meaning ‘circle’, and χείλος (cheílos), meaning ‘lip’.

enoplos: from the Ancient Greek ένοπλος (énoplos), meaning ‘armed’, in reference to the osseous, serrated dorsal-fin spine.


Order: Cypriniformes Family: Cyprinidae


Currently understood to have an enormous natural range extending southwestwards from the Mekong region in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam through Thailand, and into Peninsular Malaysia and the Greater Sunda Islands of Borneo, Sumatra, and Java.

It thus occurs throughout the Mekong, Mae Klong and Chao Phraya river drainages as well as a host of smaller river basins, lakes and reservoirs. It is used as a food fish in some countries and may vary a little in colouration and patterning depending on collection locality.

Type locality is ‘Kalimas River, Surabaya, Java, Indonesia’.


A riverine species exhibiting mid-water to benthic foraging behaviour during the dry season, and is thought to migrate to flooded riparian forests during the wet season in order to reproduce.

In the Mekong, it has been observed to migrate upstream from Phnom Penh to Khone Falls between November and February, returning downstream between May and August. The downstream migration ends in the Mekong delta area in Vietnam, where the fish remain until the floods reach their peak in October and November. These lower Mekong migrations mostly comprise juveniles and sub-adults, whereas above Khone Falls, upstream migrations between April and September are dominated by adult fishes and appear to represent spawning migrations.

Maximum Standard Length

450 – 750 mm.

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

Suitable only for outdoor ponds, public installations or the very largest, highly-specialised private aquaria.


A large, mature filter system, rigorous maintenance regime comprising weekly water changes of 50-70% tank volume should be considered mandatory, but décor is likely to be relatively unimportant.

Water Conditions

Temperature20 – 26 °C

pH: 6.0 – 8.0

Hardness18 – 268 ppm


Young fish can be offered chironomid larvae (bloodworm), small earthworms, chopped prawn and suchlike while adults should accept larger items as well as dried pellets, although the latter should not form the staple diet.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

Relatively peaceful with fishes too large to be considered prey.

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexually mature females are likely to be thicker-bodied than males.


See ‘Habitat’ for some basic information.

NotesTop ↑

C. enoplos is clearly an unsuitable aquarium subject, and it is scarce to non-existent in the ornamental trade.

Cyclocheilos species have been included in the genus Cyclocheilichthys in the past, but can be separated by their larger adult size (typically 600 mm+), more elongate body shape, possession of a large and long dorsal-fin spine, and ramified lateral line tubes.

There have been some nomenclatural issues in recent years, ostensibly because Cyclocheilichthys and the now synonymous Anematichthys were used simultaneously by Bleeker (1859) in reference to the same fish, C. apogon. The issue was addressed by Kottelat (1999) but later misinterpreted by Pasco-Viel, Veran and Variot, 2012, who concluded that Cyclocheilichthys represents a paraphyletic grouping and split the genus into two groups: Cyclocheilichthys (comprising C. enoplos) and Anematichthys (comprising C. apogonC. armatus and C. repasson).

This was corrected by Kottelat (2013), and Cyclocheilichthys currently comprises seven species with the revalidated genus Cyclocheilos including the former members C. enoplos and C. furcatus.

Given the extremely wide range exhibited by C. enoplos, and taking into account patterns observed in other Southeast Asian fishes, it seems logical that this species may also turn out to represent a group of closely-related taxa.


  1. Bleeker, P., 1849 - Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen 23(12): 1-23
    Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Midden- en Oost-Java, met beschrijving van eenige nieuwe species.
  2. Kottelat, M., 1999 - Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 47(2): 591-600
    Nomenclature of the genera Barbodes, Cyclocheilichthys, Rasbora and Chonerhinos (Teleostei: Cyprinidae and Tetraodontidae), with comments on the definition of the first reviser.
  3. Kottelat, M., 2001 - WHT Publications, Colombo: 1-198
    Fishes of Laos.
  4. Kottelat, M., 2013a - Zootaxa 3640(4): 479-482
    The valid generic names for the fish species usually placed in Cyclocheilichthys (Pisces: Cyprinidae).
  5. Kottelat, M., 2013b - Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 27: 1-663
    The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core bibiography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries.
  6. Pasco-Viel, E., M. Veran and L. Variot , 2012 - Zootaxa 3586: 41-54
    Bleeker was right: Revision of the genus Cyclocheilichthys (Bleeker 1859) and resurrection of the genus Anematichthys (Bleeker 1859), based on morphological and molecular data of Southeast Asian Cyprininae (Teleostei, Cypriniformes).
  7. Pasco-Viel, E., M. Veran and L. Variot , 2013 - Zootaxa 3640(3): 483-484
    Comments on 'The valid generic names for the fish species usually placed in Cyclocheilichthys' (KOTTELAT 2013) and a correction of Pasco-viel et al. (2012).
  8. Rainboth, W. J., 1996 - FAO, Rome: 1-265
    Fishes of the Cambodian Mekong. FAO Species Identification Field Guide for Fishery Purposes.
  9. Roberts, T. R., 1989 - Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences No. 14: i-xii + 1-210
    The freshwater fishes of western Borneo (Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia).
  10. Sokheng, C., C. K. Chhea, S. Viravong, K. Bouakhamvongsa, U. Suntornratana, N. Yoorong, N. T. Tung, T. Q. Bao, A. F. Poulsen and J. V. Jørgensen, 1999 - AMFP Report 2/99. Vientiane, Lao, P.D.R.: 1-149
    Fish migrations and spawning habits in the Mekong mainstream: a survey using local knowledge (basin-wide). Assessment of Mekong fisheries: Fish Migrations and Spawning and the Impact of Water Management Project (AMFC).

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