Saturday, November 8, 2008

Iridescent Shark Catfish, Pangasius Catfish

The Iridescent Shark is also known as the Pangasius Catfish, the Sutchi Catfish and the Striped Catfish. There is also an albino iridescent shark. As you may have guessed from some of the other common names, this really isn't a shark, it's a catfish. They originate from Asia and this is one of the species that is completely unsuitable for most hobbyists in our opinion. This fish can grow to be almost 4 feet in length (120 cm) and sometimes larger in the wild. They are very active swimmers as well. Who out there has the tank big enough to adequately keep this monster?

They are quite skittish and can be easily frightened by sudden movements in front of the tank. Their nervous behaviors can lead to damage of themselves and for their tank mates. Keeping them in a school of 5 or more may help calm them down. Floating plants may help make them feel secure too. They have been known to jump from tanks, so a good tight fitting hood is a necessity for this fish.

They are omnivorous and should go after all fish food that you place in the aquarium. Some feel that the irridescent shark should be given more carnivorous type rations as juveniles and to mix more greens into their diet as the get bigger. Aim for a varied diet of flake foods, frozen foods, algae wafers and catfish pellets.

Seriously, this is a tank buster. They are very active swimmers, may eat smaller fish and will outgrow most tanks. If you've already purchased this fish and it is in a smaller tank, please consider returning it to the petstore and getting something smaller.

Scientific Name : Pangasius hypophthalmus

Common Names : Iridescent Shark, Pangasius Catfish, Sutchi Catfish, Striped Catfish, Thailand Catfish

Care Level : Moderate, needs a huge tank

Size : 47 inches (120 cm) - almost 4 feet in total length!

pH : 6.5 - 7.5

Temperature : 72°F - 79°F (22°C - 26°C)

Water Hardness : 2° to 20° dH,

Life span : 10 years, maybe much longer

Origin / Habitat : Asia, Thailand

Temperament / Behavior : Can be quite skittish, nervous and may not bother tank mates as juveniles. May eat smaller fish as it starts to reach adult size.

Breeding / Mating / Reproduction : Not common in the home aquairum. Breeding has taken place at aquaculture farms and ponds.

Tank Size : 300 gallon, preferrably much larger

Compatible Tank Mates : Not many, similar sized species perhaps.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet / Fish Food : Omnivorous, meaning that they should go after whatever you place in the tank. Give them a well balanced healthy diet consisting of both meaty and green foods. When they are smaller you should give them flakes and occasionally Algae Wafers that sink to the bottom of the tank. Catfish pellets can be used as they start to grow into adults.

Tank Region : All over, mostly middle of the tank though.

Gender : Females are larger or more full bodied than males.

1 comment:

Patrick F. Creeden said...

Pangasius Sutchi Restoration Act

Greetings from Chambersburg, PA!

I have been in the Tropical Catfish hobby for about two years now and am tired of the bad press for keeping Pangasius Sutchi catfish as pets. All over the internet-so much negativity labeling them "Tank Busters" and poor pets because of their skittishness and large growth potential.

My philosophy is-if you have a strong desire to be a good pet owner for these catfish and will go to any length to give them the best life possible-they can make great pets in a home aquarium.

I have discovered through trial and error, research and dogged persistence that with certain accommodations they can make great pets.

Certain tips I can give in my progress as a keeper of this species is:

1)Buy them small in a school of five to reduce their skittishness

2) Minimum 75 gallon rectangular tank with the knowledge before purchase that the time may come for you to A) Have to upgrade to a bigger set-up to accommodate if they live long enough to outgrow your tank or B) You will have to reduce them in number after they reach a certain size in a 75 gallon set-up

3) Buy a Power head. This propeller-like device creates a simulation of river currents that helps them excercise, stay busy and accommodates some for being cramped as they grow

4) Don't use bright lighting. Use night-time lighting or blacklight. They are sensitive to bright light and having either no lighting (other than natural light) or darker lighting reduces their skittishness

5) Don't put them with aggressive fish. They are not aggressive. I reccommend putting them with other peaceful tropical catfish like Sun Cats. They are not sharks-they are catfish.

6) Keep the water on the warmer end of their natural temp ranges to reduce their succeptibility to ick. I lost several sets of schools of five to disease until I finally got a set to stick and stay

7) Use aquarium salt, prime (water conditioner) & Neutral regulator or pH down (keep the p.h between 6.5 and 7.0)