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Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum
Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Tiger Shovelnose Catfish - Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum

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Pseudoplatystoma_fasciatum_2.jpg (64kb)
Photo Credit: Jenn

Name: Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: Amazon Basin
100 cm 1000 L 6.8 26°C


The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) hails from South America, the Amazon, Corintijns, Essequibo, Orinoco and Paraná basins. They strive in waters where the temperature is 22-26°C and a pH of 6.0 - 7.6. I raised my pair of Shovelnoses from young when they were about 8 cm, I had bought them from the local aquarium because they had a nice contrast of black and silvery white on their bodies and long graceful barbels. Their tiger stripes/patches don’t really grow out until they’re about 13 - 15 cm. I didn’t know Daffy and Dagger were carnivorous until my Tetras started to go missing. I was told they feed on detritus on tank bottoms. That’s why you should never believe everything the shopkeeper tells you. The Shovelnoses then fed exclusively on most feeder fishes, with preference to goldfish, and grew to 30 cm in less than a year. I had to feed them fortnightly to control their size, as wild specimens are known to grow to 1.2 metres. Shovelnoses are easily spooked and should not be housed together with excitable or smaller fishes, tank tops are required as splashing may occur if they get spooked. Whenever it comes to changing the water in the tank, they splash like dogs taking a bath and can really get you wet. They may be big and look tough, but they’re chickens at heart. The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is not recommended for anyone except serious Catfish lovers who possess big tanks or small ponds with strong filtration, and up to the challenge of handling a moderately difficult fish. But if you do decide to keep it, you will enjoy this beautiful and active fish as much as I have.

Contributed by Harry Tan

I bought a Tiger Shovelnose catfish about 3.5 months ago as a small 5 cm baby. Now he is a 26 cm perfect specimen. The one I bought however is brown in colour, has black along the dorsal surface and a white belly. His whiskers are long and elegant and his fins are small. He is a peaceful member of my 280 L tank. I have him housed with a South American Arowana, two 10 cm Silver Dollars, another large catfish, two 20 cm Senegal Bichirs and four 13 cm silver Pacus. The tankmates all get along very well and the tank is actually so peaceful (unless my Pacus get spooked and upset the whole nest for a little while). If you have the space I highly recommend this stunning catfish.

Contributed by Gary

I have had my Tiger Shovelnose for about a year now. I bought it at about 8 cm, it has now grown to an impressive 37 cm beast. It stays resting on the sand when the light is on, however as soon as the lights in the tank are off, it starts so swim about my 240 L tank looking for food. I put about 30 minnows, 30 various tetras and five 10 cm goldfish in my tank every friday for my 22 cm orange pike, 37 cm tiger shovelnose, two 10 cm Shamboke and my 18 cm Redtailed/tiger shovelnose hybrid to consume.

Contributed by Domenico Cattini

This fish is a very respectable species. I've owned one from about 13 cm to the now 30 cm long, taking up space in my tank. He's beautiful and is a joy to watch, but can be a pest if housed with anything small enough for his enormous mouth.

Contributed by Corwin Hyman

I had my Tiger Shovelnose for 3 years and he had attained a size of 80 cm over this period. I figured out that the best food to give them is carnivorous sinking pellets, large goldfish and even koi (pick out the healthiest ones). These fish have the power to break through a glass tank, so it is preferred to keep them in at least a 500 liter glass tank or a fully acrylic tank. Tiger shovelnose are not aggressive, but if bothered enough by a large cichlid (for example my 33 cm blackbelt) it can and will ram it into rocks and decorations causing damage to your cichlid. My tiger died yesterday during a 600 km move, so I thought I would put some information on these wonderful fish to hopefully help someone that doesn't know what they're doing take good care of these creatures.

Contributed by Brandon Garcia

I owned one for two years. At first everthing was OK, until it got large enough to eat two Clown Loaches. I saw the second one being eaten. Mine loved worms, when it was 30 cm long it ate a dozen nightcrawlers at one time. I was trying to feed my Clown Knife and this catfish would not give it a chance. It was eating them as soon as they hit the water. The next day it was ready for more (huge appetite). A good fish if you have the space for them.

Contributed by David Miner

I acquired one of these gorgeous cats as a fluke, my mom was the one who purchased the fish about a 1.5 years ago as a mere 8 cm baby. It has since grown into a very impressive 40 cm specimen, so buyer beware: these fish grow fast and large. They reach an average size in the tank of between 60-75 cm. These fish also require a very good diet to ensure that they don't become ill and stunted. I feed mine Massivore Delite, raw seafood and anything else that hits the tank floor. Feeders and live foods introduce disease and are of poor nutritional value...its best to get your large cats on a dry/prepared diet when theyre small. TSN are delightful fish to own, mine has been nothing but peaceful and a gentleman in the tank.

Contributed by Jenn

I do not have experience relating to the Tiger Shovelnose. I do have experience in keeping the smaller shovelnose species. If you are thinking about getting a shovelnose catfish, I would suggest that instead of the Tiger you would either get the Lima Shovelnose, Sorubim lima, or the Spotted Shovelnose, Hemisorubim platyrhynchos. Both of these species rarely exceed 45 cm in captivity, making it possible to house one of these fish in a 500 L. The Lima Shovelnose is able to be kept in groups, mine get along quite well together.

Contributed by Kevin

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