Iridescent Shark Catfish, Asian Shark Catfish, Siamese Shark Pangasius hypopthalmus
Physical description: An elongated fish whose body resembles the body of a shark. The body is elongated and
the tail is deeply forked. This fish has large eyes and a small mouth. The body is silver to blue with a silver
iridescence. The back is darker than the main body color. A slender, horizontal, white stripe extends from the
base of the tail to the gill cover. The fins are light gray to transparent.
Size/Length: To 40" (102 cm) in nature, Usually not more than 12" (30 cm) in captivity
Similar species: Other Pangasius
A similar-looking species
is reportedly smaller in size. A strong, powerful fish. This fish is
commonly kept in aquariums in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Southeast Asia; found in large schools swimming in rapid areas of large rivers near Bangkok,
This catfish has been distributed throughout Southeast Asia as a food fish.
Aquarium: A 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallon (209 L) tank is only suitable for young individuals
under 6" (15 cm). They grow quickly and need a large open area for swimming.
Does best in substantially larger tanks
Likes to have morning sunlight.
The tank should be well-planted with well-rooted plants.
a filter that provides a strong current.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7.8 (7.0), 2-20 dH (8), 72-86°F (22-30°C)
Social behavior: An active fish that usually will not bother smaller tank mates that it cannot swallow.
to school while young.
Suggested companions: Gouramis, Knifefish, Asian Catfish, Loaches, Cyprind sharks, larger barbs
FOOD: Young-live; Brine Shrimp,
Tubifex , insect larvae; flakes; pellets.
lettuce, spinach, frozen peas; pellets; large flakes.
Sexual differences: Males have darker stripes and are more slender.
Breeding techniques: Bred in ponds in native lands for food and export.
Breeding has not been successful in
an aquarium, because of the necessary tank size.
Breeding potential: 10.
This fish cannot be bred in aquaria.
Remarks: Many professionals feel that this fish should not be kept in a private aquarium because
of its size. This species can only be kept as a juvenile.
The Shark Catfish have very bad eyesight and
Try not to tap on the glass, turn on light when it is dark, or startle this fish in any way.
species has been introduced throughout Southeast Asia as a food fish.
Older Shark Catfish lose their teeth
and thus will not harm even small tank mates.
An albino variation has been developed in Bangkok and is now widely
Difficulty of care: 4.
Young fish are hardy and live foods on a regular
Adults become very large and must be kept in a large tank.
They are vegetarians.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from mongabay.com operations (server, data transfer, travel) are mitigated through an association with Anthrotect, an organization working with Afro-indigenous and Embera communities to protect forests in Colombia's Darien region. Anthrotect is protecting the habitat of mongabay's mascot: the scale-crested pygmy tyrant.
"Rainforest" is used interchangeably with "rain forest" on this site. "Jungle" is generally not used.