Bagridae. Subfamily: Claroteidae
Very widely distributed throughout much of the African continent. It’s been recorded in Egypt, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Mali.
It inhabits large lakes and rivers.
Maximum Standard Length
32″ (80cm), although it’s unlikely to achieve this in captivity.
Aquarium SizeTop ↑
60″ x 24″ x 24″ (150cm x 60cm x 60cm) – 565 litres as a minimum for a subadult fish. This may need to be upgraded as the fish grows.
The choice of decor in the aquarium is not critical, particularly as this fish has a habitat of shifting any moveable items around with its sheer bulk. Large water-worn rocks and big chunks of bogwood are probably the best choices. It does like dim lighting, however, and a soft, sandy substrate is also preferable. Any plants added should be placed into heavy pots. The filter should be large and efficient as this cat produces a lot of waste.
Temperature: 68-78°F (20-26°C)
Omnivorous and unfussy. Feed a varied diet including live, frozen and dried (pelleted) foods.
Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑
This is a large and predatory species and tankmates must be chosen with care as it is capable of swallowing surprisingly large prey items. Try to ensure that tankmates are larger than the catfish in order to avoid any mishaps. In a suitably large tank, possible choices could include giant gouramis, arowana and large cyprinids.
There are no successful captive breeding reports for this species.
This is not a particularly common species in the trade, probably as it’s not especially attractive to look at and grows very large. It’s unsuitable for all but the biggest aquaria.