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Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum (Tiger Shovelnose Catfish)

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A big, beautifully marked catfish characterised by its long, flat snout and the bold tiger-like markings on the dorsal surface and flanks. The ground colour is variably, but typically greenish-silver. The fins are yellowy and marked with large dark grey to black spots.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

A big, territorial, and highly predatory catfish that is not easily maintained with tankmates and generally kept alone in its own quarters. Can be combined with large (60 cm+), deep-bodied characins and cyprinids with success.

An open water fish that needs to be able to swim freely. These fish are often kept in relatively small tanks, where they become sluggish and spend most of the time sitting on the bottom of the tank. In public aquaria they have more room to move about and will be seen to be active and far more interesting animals. Before purchasing this giant catfish, think carefully about where it will be housed. The bare minimum simply to keep an adult tiger shovelnose alive is a 900 l (200 gal) aquarium; to actually see this fish swimming about and looking happy requires a tank several times larger.

Feeding not difficult, as this species will consume most meaty foods. Chunky seafood and pieces of white fish are useful staples. Carnivore flake and pellets will be eaten by smaller specimens.

Breeding not reported in home aquaria, and likely impossible given the size of adult fish.

Family Group: Catfish
Distribution South America: wide distribution including the Amazon and Orinoco river systems
Temperature 24-26 C
Size Over 1 metre in the wild, slightly smaller in captivity
Water Parameters Adaptable, but avoid extremes
Water PH 6.0-8.0
Water Chemistry Adaptable
Diet Adaptable
Sociability Aggressive
Care Level Expert only
Schooling Fish No