By Rhett Butler


The Pangassidae Family is a small family that is found in Southeast Asia. The family includestwo genera, Helicophagus and Pangasius and some 21 species .

Iridescent Shark Catfish, Asian Shark Catfish, Siamese Shark [
Pangasius hypopthalmus
SYN : Pangasiussutchi
PD : An elongated fish whose body resembles the body of a shark. The body is elongated andthe tail is deeply forked. This fish has large eyes and a small mouth. The body is silver to blue with a silveriridescence. The back is darker than the main body color. A slender, horizontal, white stripe extends from thebase of the tail to the gill cover. The fins are light gray to transparent.
SIZE : To 40" (102 cm) in nature, Usually not more than 12" (30 cm) in captivity
SS : Other Pangasius species. A similar-looking species P. pleurotaenia is reportedly smaller in size. A strong, powerful fish. This fish iscommonly kept in aquariums in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
HAB :Southeast Asia; found in large schools swimming in rapid areas of large rivers near Bangkok,Thailand. This catfish has been distributed throughout Southeast Asia as a food fish.
S : middle
TANK : A 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallon (209 L) tank is only suitable for young individualsunder 6" (15 cm). They grow quickly and need a large open area for swimming. Does best in substantially larger tanks(exceeding 60"). Likes to have morning sunlight. The tank should be well-planted with well-rooted plants. Usea filter that provides a strong current.
WATER : pH 6-7.8 (7.0), 2-20 dH (8), 72-86°F (22-30°C)
SB : An active fish that usually will not bother smaller tank mates that it cannot swallow. Likesto school while young.
SC : Gouramis, Knifefish, Asian Catfish, Loaches, Cyprind sharks, larger barbs
FOOD : Young-live; Brine Shrimp , Tubifex , insect larvae ; flakes; pellets. Adults-vegetables;lettuce, spinach, frozen peas; pellets; large flakes.
SEX : Males have darker stripes and are more slender.
B : Bred in ponds in native lands for food and export. Breeding has not been successful inan aquarium, because of the necessary tank size.
BP : 10. This fish cannot be bred in aquaria.
R : Many professionals feel that this fish should not be kept in a private aquarium becauseof its size. This species can only be kept as a juvenile. The Shark Catfish have very bad eyesight andare nervousfish. Try not to tap on the glass, turn on light when it is dark, or startle this fish in any way. Thisspecies has been introduced throughout Southeast Asia as a food fish. Older Shark Catfish lose their teethand thus will not harm even small tank mates. An albino variation has been developed in Bangkok and is now widelydistributed.
DC : 4. Young fish are hardy and live foods on a regularbasis.6. Adults become very large and must be kept in a large tank. They are vegetarians.