Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

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Pseudoplatystoma tigrinum - (Valenciennes, 1840)
Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

[[caption:=Interesting and popular with aquarists, these catfishes are easily spooked in small aquariums. (Juvenile shown.) Adult]] JJPhoto.dk


Although quite popular, these catfishes are highly excitable and often injure themselves when they ram into obstacles in the undersized tanks in which they are typically housed.

Note their large adult size and the scale of the aquarium required before bringing one home.

They grow very large, are predatory and need to be kept with appropriately sized tankmates.

Family: Pimelodidae

Other common name(s):

  • Tiger Sorubim

Native range:

Habitat: Riverbeds, moving into the flooded forests during the rainy season. In the aquarium, provide sheltering aquascapes with large, tough plants, driftwood and rocks to help give it a sense of security.

Maximum length: 130 cm (51 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 1135 L (300 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom.


Nocturnal carnivore. This fish feeds mainly on smaller fishes, crabs and other prey items that cross its path.

Aquarium Compatibility

Keep only with fishes too big to fit into its open mouth.

Special Care

Do not keep this fish in a tank near a heavily trafficked area.


This is an important food fish in its native waters.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW