Red-Tailed Catfish

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Species group:

Other common names:

Scientific name: Phractocephalus hemioliopterus

The basics:

The Red-Tailed Catfish is the largest Catfish available in the hobby. They are quite beautiful with a dark, speckled upper body and dark fins. The throat is white and the tail, as the name suggests, is red, though it may border on orange. A large white stripe extends from the tail to the gills. The name has particular significance because the Red-Tail's fin secretes a substance that stains the hands a deep red when touched.

36-60 inches

The fish tend to be quite predatory. However, they do not display much aggression and can be kept with other large tank mates. They tend to stay at the bottom of the aquarium. Older ones will remain still for long periods. Smaller fish will serve as food.

The tank is ideally huge to suit the size of these fish. Minimal robust décor is suitable so that they have maximum mobility. Large ceramic drainpipes may be used to provide hiding places. Once the fish reaches adult size, the tank will have to be large enough to hold 1500 to 2000 gallons. All heating and filtration is ideally kept outside the tank. A pump filter or external thermofilter is used for the purpose. The water is changed regularly at least once a week.

71.00-80.00 °F


100.000-120.000 mg/L


charming fish, beautiful catfish, outdoor pond, hardy fish


aggressive, monster fish, bullet proof glass, home tank, average aquarist


babies, active fish, public displays

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