Red Tail Catfish Care: How to care red tail catfish in your home aquarium

Red Tail Catfish Care: How to care red tail catfish in your home aquarium

Red Tail Catfish care for beginners

In this article, we will talk about the red tail catfish. The aspects of its content, feeding, the possibility of neighborhood and breeding in captivity will be discussed in detail. Be sure to read the necessary information before deciding to purchase such an unusual specimen for your home collection.

1 General Information

2 Appearance

3 Red-tailed catfish: captive content

4 Feeding

General information

Red Tail Catfish Care: How to care red tail catfish in your home aquarium

Red tail catfish is a large predatory fish that lives in the hot climate of South America and in the Amazon valley. In natural conditions, it reaches a truly huge size, up to 1.8 meters. The weight of an adult reaches 80 kg.

There are cases when adult red tail catfish dragged small mammals and birds that came to the watering place from the shore. Among the locals, there are also legends that such a monster if desired, can also drag a child.

But we will not delve into folklore. In the modern world, despite the size, red tail catfish is popular with aquarium keepers. Of course, more often it is bought for buildings like zoos, but not always.

It should be noted that in the closed space of the aquarium the catfish grows to smaller sizes than in the natural environment. But despite this, he still needs a very large aquarium with a volume of 300 liters to 6 tons, so that he can move freely and do not deny himself anything.


Red tail catfish is looked pretty interesting. Has a gray stained back and white belly. The body of fish oblong, head large and flat. Has 2 large eyes, located on the sides.

Red Tail Catfish Care: How to care red tail catfish in your home aquarium

The catfish has 3 pairs of mustaches. Two of them are located on the lower jaw of the fish, and one is on top. What is remarkable is that the third pair is much longer than the others.

The caudal fin has a bright coloration from light orange to bright red. Thanks to this fish and got its name.

It should be noted red tail catfish grows very quickly, therefore in aquariums usually contain young individuals. It is noteworthy that such fish are also breed as a source of meat on farms, and their meat is considered very tasty.

Red tail catfish: captive content

Since the fish is a very voracious predator, it can not be placed in one aquarium with smaller neighbors, because it will simply eat them. Nevertheless, it is not recommended to keep it alone.

Excellent neighbors for the red tail catfish will be large cichlids, other types of catfish and any fish that do not fit into his mouth. And in any case, you should not underestimate the possibility of eating your neighbor’s catfish.

Catfish leads a predominantly nocturnal lifestyle, so the aquarium should have shelter for daytime pastime. Lighting must be diffused, catfish do not like bright light.

A large gravel, sand is suitable as a primer. It is noteworthy that catfish like to burrow into the shallow soil.

Red tail catfish tank

Red Tail Catfish Care: How to care red tail catfish in your home aquarium

The aquarium should not have small unstable objects. The fish can break them or split its dwelling with their help, wagging its tail unsuccessfully.

The water temperature should always be kept within 22-28 ° C, moderate flow, rigidity 3-13 degrees, pH 5.5-7.2.

In the aquarium, where the red tail catfish lives, aeration is necessary, daily water substitution (due to the abundance of waste) and good water filtration.


If we talk about the nature of red tail catfish, then it is rather slow, leading mainly to bottom life. The older the individual, the less mobile it becomes.


Red Tail Catfish Care: How to care red tail catfish in your home aquarium

As already mentioned above, the fish has a very good appetite. In fact, she eats everything that climbs into her huge mouth: invertebrates, shrimps, mussels, insects, pieces of fruit. More adult individuals are preferably fed white fish fillets. Some can be feeding  beef liver, poultry, but still, it is not recommended. In view of the unnaturalness of such food, these products can not be properly digested, which, in turn, can lead to illnesses.

Young fish need to be feed 1 time per day. More adults are much less likely, up to 1 time per week. The frequent problem of red-tailed catfish is overeating and obesity, so it is important to try not to overfeed the fish.


Red Tail Catfish Care: How to care red tail catfish in your home aquarium

It should be noted that the breeding of such fish within the aquarium, although possible, but extremely problematic. Due to the huge size of the aquarium must be truly gigantic. Red tail is usually found in zoos and aquariums. In our latitudes, you can sell a red-tailed catfish under the guise of a decorative catfish.


Red tail catfish is breed not only beauty, also for meat. Most of this fish farms are located in Colombia and Brazil. But there are lovers of exotic animals, settling such animals at home. If you still decide to have a red tail catfish, then be sure to observe all the above conditions for its content. I wish you success and good luck!

Roman Walker

Author: Roman Walker

Roman Walker has been obsessed with fish since he can remember. From his first goldfish to his current elaborate saltwater setup, Roman loves learning about and caring for aquatic creatures. He's excited to share his passion and knowledge through this blog.

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