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Basics About Shark Catfish

Shark Catfish
Shark Catfish

General Info

Shark Catfish, also known as Iridescent Sharks or Pangasius, are popular freshwater fish admired for their sleek appearance and playful demeanor. These active swimmers make a unique addition to large aquariums, but their size and requirements should be considered before keeping them as pets.

Distribution & Habitat

Native to the Mekong Basin in Southeast Asia, Shark Catfish inhabit large rivers with strong currents, sandy bottoms, and abundant food sources.


Shark Catfish have an elongated, torpedo-shaped body with a silvery, iridescent sheen. They can grow up to 4 feet in length and weigh up to 44 pounds, making them suitable for spacious aquariums or ponds.

Aquarium Setup Shark Catfish
Aquarium Setup Shark Catfish

Aquarium Setup

  1. Tank size: A minimum of 300 gallons for juveniles, but larger tanks or ponds are required as they grow.

  2. Water parameters: Maintain a temperature of 72-79°F, pH between 6.5-7.5, and a hardness of 2-15 dGH.

  3. Decoration and plants: Provide ample swimming space, along with driftwood, rock formations, and hardy plants for hiding spots.

Diet and Feeding

Shark Catfish are omnivorous and require a varied diet. Offer high-quality, sinking pellets, and supplement with fresh vegetables, fruit, and occasional treats like frozen or live brine shrimp, bloodworms, or insects.

Breeding and Reproduction Breeding

Shark Catfish in a home aquarium is rare due to their size and specific environmental requirements. In their natural habitat, they migrate upstream to spawn in floodplains during the rainy season.

Health and Disease Prevention

  1. Maintain stable water parameters and perform regular water changes to prevent stress and disease.

  2. Quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank.

  3. Monitor for common fish diseases like ich, fin rot, and bacterial infections, treating them promptly.

Social Structure and Tank Mates

Shark Catfish are social, schooling fish that prefer to be kept in groups of 3 or more. They can coexist with other large, non-aggressive fish species that share similar water parameters.

As a treat, you can offer your Shark Catfish insect-based foods such as Promeal's dried roaches or mealworms. Feed a few insects per fish once or twice a week, ensuring that the insects are appropriately sized for your Shark Catfish.

Tips and Considerations

  1. Shark Catfish are sensitive to water quality, so invest in a reliable filtration system to maintain a clean environment.

  2. Be prepared for their potential size and consider the long-term requirements for their care.

  3. Avoid overcrowding and overfeeding to maintain water quality and prevent health issues.


Shark Catfish are fascinating and active pets that require dedicated care and suitable living conditions. With proper planning, a spacious environment, and a balanced diet, Shark Catfish can thrive and provide endless enjoyment for their keepers. This comprehensive guide will help you ensure the best possible care for your Shark Catfish, promoting their health and happiness.

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