Tiger Shovelnose Catfish: Care, Size & Tank Mates

The tiger shovelnose catfish is a fascinating freshwater fish that has long piqued the interest of aquarists. Their distinct appearance has made them one of our favorite large fish to keep! If you desire one of your own, there are a few things you should know:

Beginners should avoid these fish until they’ve gained some experience due to their size and temperament. Tiger shovelnose catfish care necessitates a deeper understanding of their requirements than the usual fish.

Thankfully, this guide will teach you everything you need to know. You’ll discover about their height, weight, development rate, and food, among other things!

Summary Of The Species

The tiger shovelnose catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) is found in South American waterways. They are usually found in the deepest parts of major rivers, where they have plenty of room to move around and find food for each other (primarily other fish).

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish: Care, Size &Tank Mates

The shadier the environment, the better for these fish. There will usually be a lot of flora in these waters, and it’s not uncommon to locate them in flooded forests for the same reason.

The tiger shovelnose navigates in the dark and dirty waters by using its barbels. Local fishers seek out these fish because of their size and flavor.

Pseudoplatystoma

All of the Pseudoplatystoma species are huge, striped, or spotted catfish. They’re well-known for their striking color patterns. A depressed head and occipital process that extends backward to reach the predorsal plate and a very lengthy fontanel distinguish them.

Females tend to grow faster than males after gonadal maturation. They have a huge, sunken head with a mouth that can enlarge. The teeth and eyes are also relatively small.

They have dorsal and pectoral fin spines, with a smaller dorsal spinel preceding the dorsal spine in P. fasciatum. They have characteristic catfish barbels, with the maxillary barbels, especially in youngsters, being rather lengthy.

Fasciata 

It features 10–11 black vertical bars that are greater than those found in other Amazon species, with fewer white vertical bars than dark ones.

Pectoral and pelvic fins are darker with few or no spots, and the skull is at least one-sixth narrower than those found in other Amazon species. It has a maximum total length (TL) of 90 cm (35 in).

Tigrinum

The presence of loop-like bands that connect or extend to the dorsal area and continue to the other side of the body distinguishes it; loop-like bars create cells.

The adipose fin also possesses some loop-like bands and patches, but there are no definite black spots on the sides of the body. Its maximum size is 130 cm (51 in) TL.

Metaense

There are no more than five straight, black vertical bars on the body’s side, and it has randomly dispersed dark spots across his darkish region.

In comparison to P. tigrinum, the adipose fin has fewer spots (five to seven) (eight to 10). There is no dark coloration on the pelvic and pectoral fins. It has a maximum documented length of 53 cm (21 in) TL.

Orinocoense

It has straight, vertical bands extending to or connecting dorsally on its body, making it longer than P. factum and P. punctifer.

Underneath the dark dorsolateral area, the anterior region bars expand. Below the lateral line, there are usually no spots, though some persons may have two or three. Its largest documented length is 49 cm (19 in) TL.

Magdaleniatum

P. magdaleniatum has broad, straight, black vertical bars on its sides. There are no loops on the nape and associated places.

The pectoral fin has no spots, the dorsal fin has few or no spots, and the adipose fin has six or seven huge spots. To date, it has been measured at a maximum length of 100 cm (39 in.) TL.

Reticulatum

P. reticulatum possesses loop-like black bars that form a reticulated pattern, unlike P. fasciatum and P. orinocoense, which have straight dark bars. Its dark, loop-like bars connect those in the dorsal portion of the body that create separate cells.

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It also features lengthier loops that run well below the sideline, resembling dark bars. Spots or loops can be seen on the head. Spots are always present on the anal fin. The lower jaw is indicated. It has a maximum documented length of 60 cm (24 in) TL.

South American waters gave birth to the tiger shovelnose catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum). They are usually found in the deepest parts of major rivers, where they have plenty of room to move around and find food for each other (mostly other fish).

These fish like a slightly shadier environment. Because these waters generally contain a large number of plants, they are also commonly seen in flooded woods. The tiger shovelnose navigates in the dark, murky waters by using its barbels.

This enables them to comprehend where they are heading and where they are likely to encounter their prey. Local fishers are attracted to these fish because of their size and flavor.

Size

In captivity, the average size of a tiger shovelnose catfish is 2.5 to 3 feet. These fish can reach even greater lengths in the wild, but their natural environment rarely exceeds 4 feet. When it comes to their growth rate, there is a lot of misinformation out there.

You’ll need to be ready to handle the rapid growth of these fish. They will grow quickly and get quite a large no matter how little you feed them or how small their tank is.

Appearance

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish has a long, slender body with a magnificent silver and black coloring, as well as black stripes and spots that cover the entire body, giving them a tiger-like appearance.

The appearance of tiger shovelnose catfish is what first draws people’s attention to them. These fish have a large, wide, and flat mouth, as their name suggests.

BABY TIGER SHOVELNOSE CATFISH- FRESHWATER FISH

This is an excellent design since it allows them to scavenge prey while also skimming the riverbed when necessary. Their barbels are rather lengthy and inclined somewhat forward, protruding from the front of their mouth.

These aid them in navigating through muddy seas. Their body is dark silver in hue and pattern, with huge black stripes running vertically (typically) from front to back. Because these fish are spotted, you’ll notice spots in different regions between the stripes.

These fish have average-sized dorsal fins that fan rearward in a shell-like form. Tiger shovelnose catfish have black patches on their forked caudal fins. Their pectoral and anal fins both have a similar pattern and are on the smaller side.

They have huge, flat tongues that they utilize to grasp unwary victims. They hunt in the dark muddy waters of South America and the well-planted and gloomy Amazon rivers by using their long whiskers to detect touch prey.

These fish, which range from 3 to 4 inches, are frequently purchased and seen at aquarium shops for under $50. Don’t be misled by their innocent appearance; these fish are monsters who develop alarmingly.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Care

Certain aspects of tiger shovelnose catfish care are basic, while others necessitate some expertise and preparation. This section will go over all you need to know to help these fish develop and live a long and happy life.

Size and configuration of the tank

Because tiger shovelnose catfish are quite huge, it’s necessary to make sure they have a tank big enough to keep them happy. The optimal tank size for these fish is 180 to 200 gallons for juveniles and 250+ gallons for adults.

If you can’t provide these individuals with this big tank, then these aren’t the fish you want. Making sure tiger shovelnose catfish are comfortable and not cramped is an important component of their care.

This will put them in a stressful state, which will decrease their lives (and isn’t fair to them morally).

Parameters of water

The tiger shovelnose catfish is a robust freshwater fish that can adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. While this allows for some error, you should still aim to maintain things as consistent as possible.

  • 75°F to 82°F water temperature
  • pH range: 6–8
  • The hardness of water: 6-20 KH
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To ensure that everything looks good, make sure to check the water level regularly with a trustworthy test kit. This will enable you to detect any undesirable shifts before they become a problem and negatively affect your fish’s health.

Temperament and Behaviour

Tiger shovelnose catfish are an active species that can become aggressive in certain situations. While this is something you should be aware of at all times, its magnitude makes it even more important.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum)

As previously said, the fish are used in deep rivers. Because they’re catfish, they shouldn’t be confused with pure bottom feeders. These large fish will be active and swimming all over the tank level for a long period.

Unlike passive aquarium catfish, which spend the majority of their time sitting, the tiger shovelnose is always moving. This implies that if you notice them acting drowsy, you should seriously examine the potential that they are ill.

Because tiger shovelnose catfish are aggressive, you should plan ahead of time before purchasing one. They will prey on other fish who are unable to defend themselves and will become territorial (especially when there is not enough room).

Diet and Food

These fish feed largely smaller fish and crustaceans in the wild. They have been known to eat plants occasionally, but they spend most of their time searching for meaty protein-rich foods. As a result, you must keep a large supply of food on hand at all times.

Because these are huge fish, they will consume far more food than lesser freshwater species. To offer them a balanced diet, use a combination of frozen foods, worms, and pellets.

You can also give them fish bits as a special treat. We enjoy doing it on occasion because it is a tasty snack and a terrific source of enrichment (tiger shovelnose catfish-like variety just like we do).

Tank Mates

When trying to find the ideal tank mates for these fish, the most crucial considerations are size and temperament. Because tiger shovelnose catfish are so huge, they can readily damage smaller fish (or even eat them).

TIGER SHOVELNOSE CATFISH | Akvaryum balığı, Balık, Kedi balığı

This necessitates including additional freshwater species that are large enough to defend themselves or are not considered a target. The tank size you’ll require will be affected by this, as two large fish will need space to expand out.

You should also aim to select tank mates who aren’t too aggressive. Any fish that is particularly territorial or feisty will not be a suitable fit.

While your shovelnose will most certainly be able to defend itself, you should never choose a tank that is frequently engaged in combat.

Arowana, other huge catfish like the redtail (if you have enough room), giant gourami, pacu, and even Oscar fish are some examples of fish that make good tank companions. Iridescent sharks have been suggested, but we believe they are too fearful to consider.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Breeding Viability

If you want to try to breed tiger shovelnose catfish, you’re in for a difficult task. While it is certainly conceivable, there isn’t much information about the process available online.

This means that you must tolerate a degree of uncertainty other than adhering to the best standards and as closely as possible mimicking their natural habitat.

It’s also worth noting that reproducing your fish will shorten its lifespan, so this isn’t something we advocate merely for fun. You’re up against two major obstacles right away. The first is that you’ll need enough room to fit a huge breeding tank in your home.

Once the process is complete, you’ll probably need to transition the adults out as well, so you’ll need to make room for another tank.

The second difficulty is actually locating fish to mate with. It’s not easy to sex tiger shovelnose catfish, and you’ll probably meet a few roadblocks just attempting to find a male and a female. There’s no assurance that they’ll get along and even try to breed in your tank if you do.

In short, when it comes to breeding this species, there are a lot of “ifs.” It is strongly advised that you do not attempt it at all. Let yourself be enchanted by the beauty of these creatures.

Tiger shovelnose catfish Diseases

 Tigers shovelnose catfish

There are no specific diseases or illnesses that tigers shovelnose catfish are susceptible to. Instead, when it comes to monitoring their health, you should take a more broad approach. The tiger shovelnose, like other freshwater species, is susceptible to illnesses such as ich.

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Poor water quality or the presence of another fish with ich in the tank are common causes. Overall, sticking to the basic principles of fish care is your best bet.

Keep an eye on their water quality, offer them a nutritious diet, and keep stress at bay. If you follow these steps, your tiger shovelnose is likely to live for a long time!

Tiger shovelnose catfish Feeding

Because the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is not a picky eater, feeding them is not difficult at all. This fish will feed small native fish and crustaceans in the wild.

Tiger shovelnose catfish

Aquarium provides them with a variety of worms, frozen foods, Large sinking catfish pellets, and dry foods at home to ensure they have the nourishment they need. Fresh fish slices can also be served to them.

Never overfeed your catfish; we know it’s thrilling to feed a massive catfish, but they can easily become overfed. If you mistakenly overfeed your fish, make certain to replace the water as quickly as possible.

The bulk of these fish feeds smaller fish and crustaceans in the wild. They were known to eat vegetables on occasion, but they spent most of their time looking for meaty protein-rich foods.

As a result, it’s critical to keep a large supply of food on hand at all times. Because these are large fish, they will eat considerably more than your typical smaller freshwater species. You can also leave fish pieces for them to consume as a reward.

These fish are mostly piscivorous nocturnal hunters who eat electric knife fishes, cichlids, loricariids, and characins. Other fish, such as Caballos and bogas, may be eaten. They may also feed crustaceans like crabs or shrimp to opportunistic feeders.

Conclusion

You now have enough information to help you make an informed decision about acquiring one of these incredible fish. The most important thing to keep in mind about these fish is that they grow really quickly.

I don’t want to scare anyone away from maintaining one of these fish, but it wouldn’t be proper to buy one and then fail to provide them with the greatest possible environment. There are several fantastic huge catfish for sale, but these are without a doubt the greatest!

The argument that these fish are simply too large for home aquariums will always be made, and this is a valid worry. As they develop, you’ll need to be able to replace your tank on a regular basis and have a long-term strategy in place for when they overrun your house.

(Which they certainly will!) This argument can undoubtedly be made for a number of fish that are for sale to the general public, and you must decide whether or not to keep them.

They’ll always be for sale to the general public, but should you buy fish that grow to be so large? That’s a question I’ll save for another day.

Forever, Happy Fishkeeping,

FAQs

How big do tiger shovelnose catfish get?

In captivity, the average size of a tiger shovelnose catfish is 2.5 to 3 feet. These fish can reach even greater lengths in the wild, but their natural environment rarely exceeds 4 feet.

Are tiger shovelnose catfish aggressive?

Because tiger shovelnose catfish are aggressive, you should plan accordingly before purchasing one. They will prey on other fish who are unable to defend themselves and become territorial (particularly if there is insufficient space).

Can you eat tiger shovelnose?

These fish, sometimes known as Tiger Catfish, are native to South American rivers and can be found in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, and Paraguay. It is considered a sport fish in the Amazon, where it is fished and eaten by locals who remark that it is quite tasty.

How long do shovelnose catfish get?

These fish, sometimes known as Tiger Catfish, are native to South American rivers and can be found in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, and Paraguay. It is considered a sport fish in the Amazon, where it is fished and eaten by locals who remark that it is quite tasty.

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Gulshan
Hi, I am Gulshan, a pet blogger, and author. I've been working with the local pet groups for the past five years. I have been fascinated by our pets and am here to share that wonder with you.