Tiger Shovelnose Catfish: Things You Never Know

tiger shovelnose catfish

Freshwater fish keepers have long been fascinated by the tiger shovelnose catfish, which is a very interesting species. They are one of our favorite large fish to keep because of their distinctive appearance.

Due to its impressive size, this freshwater species is quite popular among fish keepers, so there is a need for reliable information regarding its unique care needs. Please continue reading if you want to learn more about tiger shovelnose catfish.

What Is Tiger Shovelnose Catfish?

The Shovelnose Tiger Catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) is also known as both the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish and the Barred Sorubium. Both fishermen and aquarium enthusiasts enjoy this catfish. It is indigenous to the Amazon Basin and is present in places like Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, and Paraguay. It is regarded as a sport fish in the Amazon and is rumored to be quite tasty.

Basic Info About Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

Growth Rate

The Tiger catfish’s rapid growth rate is yet another factor making it a difficult species for novice anglers.

These not-so-little guys can grow up to six inches per year if they receive all the nutrients they require and have the best possible living conditions. Accordingly, in just five short years, your Shovelnose catfish will have realized all of its potentials.

Once these fish are fully grown, it’s safe to assume that you’ll need to upgrade your current tank to a larger one unless you already have a 250-gallon fish tank lying around the house. This is the main cause of why most people tend to return these fish at the three- or four-year mark: they lack the space for a large enough tank.


A shovelnose catfish has an average lifespan of 18 to 25 years. The genetic make-up of an individual and the level of care they receive in captivity can have a significant impact on this range.

These fish rarely live to the very top of their lifespan in captivity. Large freshwater fish frequently exhibit this behavior, but you should be aware of it before purchasing one.


The first thing that distinguishes tiger shovelnose catfish is their appearance.

These fish have long, wide, and flat mouths, as you might guess from their name. This is a fantastic design that enables them to gulp down prey and skim the riverbed when necessary.

They have rather long barbels that extend from the front of their mouth and are slightly angled forward. These assist them in navigating the hazy waters.

These fish have average-sized, shell-shaped dorsal fins that fan outward in a backward direction. The forked caudal fins of tiger shovelnose catfish have black spots on them. Their anal fins share a similar pattern and have smaller pectoral fins.

Large black stripes running vertically (typically) from front to back make up their body’s coloring and pattern, which is dark silver in color. These fish are also spotted, so spots are frequently visible in various locations between the stripes.


In captivity, tiger shovelnose catfish are typically 2.5 to 3 feet long. While these fish can reach even greater lengths in the wild, they hardly ever do so in their native environment.

When it comes to their growth rate, there is a lot of false information available. You’ll need to be equipped to handle the fish’s rapid growth. No matter how little food you give them or how little space their tank has, they will grow quickly and become quite large.

Are Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Aggressive?

tiger shovelnose catfish

The Tiger shovelnose is a solitary and nocturnal hunter. Due to the murky waters they live in, this species lacks 20/20 vision, so they primarily use their barbels for swimming and prey capturing.

That implies that these fish will generally keep to themselves. That does not, however, imply that Tiger catfish remain anchored to the substrate of a tank. As active deepwater swimmers, you can observe them darting around the tank’s middle and bottom levels.

Additionally, they occasionally exhibit aggression. They need a lot of space to move around because they are known to grow to great lengths, even in captivity.

Tiger catfish may exhibit aggressive behavior if the tank you use to house them is crowded with various decorations and overrun with other species. Furthermore, if the Tiger catfish feels a bit cagey, their predatory nature could cause problems for their smaller tank mates.

It is best to keep this species in a long, wide tank that provides them with the space they require and to keep tank companions who are large and aggressive enough to defend themselves.

Taking Care Of Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

What Do Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Eat?

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is not a picky eater, so feeding them is not at all challenging. This fish will consume native small fish and crustaceans in its natural habitat.

The right nutrition will be provided by the aquarium feeding them a variety of worms, frozen foods, large sinking catfish pellets, and dry foods at home. Fresh fish slices are another option for feeding them.

Do not overfeed your catfish; although it is exhilarating to feed a huge catfish, it is also possible to overfeed them. The primary contributor to poor water quality is overfeeding fish.

How To Choose A Good Tank For Catfish With A Tiger Shovelnose?

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is a huge predatory monster of a catfish that ought to only be kept by a skilled aquarium hobbyist with a really sizable aquarium.

Because any fish small enough to fit in the Tiger’s mouth is prey, tank mates must be carefully chosen. They pursue local fish in the wild as well as any crustaceans that will fit in their mouths.

These fish occasionally experience extreme anxiety, which causes them to react by splashing around and becoming very animated. They do this to mock other fish. It is advised to house them with hardy species or fish of a similar size because they can harm and hurt other smaller fish in this display.

They obviously require a large 180+ gallon tank to house them in, but they also require good filtration because their diet can be messy.

What Should You Put In The Tank?

Although tiger shovelnose catfish require little upkeep, it’s crucial to set up their tank in a way that keeps them content and enriching. If kept in an uninteresting or bare tank, these fish may become stressed out or aggressive.

As close as you can, put things in their tank that would be found in their natural habitat. This generally refers to a mixture of vegetation, driftwood, and rocks.

When setting up their tank, you can experiment with a number of different plants. We particularly like the adaptability that hornwort and water wisteria provide.

What Water Quality Is Good For Tiger Shovelnose Catfish?

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures because it is native to more temperate regions of the world. For instance, the species can survive quite well in temperatures between 75 and 81 F.

The pH range for Tiger catfish water is 6.0 to 8.0, and the carbonate hardness range should be 6 to 20 KH.

In addition, it’s advisable to change the water frequently to guarantee that the pH and KH levels stay within the proper ranges. Large tanks require weekly water changes of at least 20%.

Aquatic animals’ lifespans can be negatively impacted by excessive levels of ammonia, nitrate, or bacteria in the water, which can also cause health issues and stress.

Common Possible Diseases

The tiger shovelnose catfish are not particularly susceptible to any particular illnesses or diseases. Instead, you need to monitor their health on a more broad scale.

The tiger shovelnose is susceptible to common illnesses like ich, just like other freshwater species. This is frequently brought on by bad water quality or the introduction of a fish into the tank that has ich.

Overall, sticking to the fundamentals of fish care is your best bet. Watch out for the quality of their water, give them a balanced diet, and lessen their stress. There’s a good chance your tiger shovelnose will live for a long time if you follow these instructions!


Now that you know more about the tiger shovelnose catfish, you can take better care of them. These fish make impressive specimens and are fascinating to watch in your aquarium. Due to their rapid growth, tiger catfish require fishkeepers to use tanks with a minimum capacity of 180 or 250 gallons, depending on their age.

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