Red Tailed Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)

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Red Tailed Catfish

Red Tailed Catfish

Phractocephalus hemioliopterus

3785 Litres (1000 US G.)

127-152.4cm (50-60 ")




5.5 - 7.0

21.1-24.4°C (70 -76 °F)

9-10 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

2-10 years



This animal is available captive bred

Additional names

Red Tailed Catfish, Redtail Cat, RTC

Additional scientific names

Silurus hemioliopterus, Phractocephalus bicolor, Pimelodus grunniens


Brazil's Amazon Rainforest


Unknown, it is near impossible to visually sex this fish.

Tank compatibility[edit]

This fish is classed as a monster fish, despite being sold as juveniles at around 20.3-25.4cm (8-10") in pet stores, it will need a massive tank with a massive amount of filtration and will easily grow to about 4ft long with an enormous mouth to match. They can easily swallow smaller fish and are best kept with other similar sized semi-aggressive fish, but only if its home is exceptionally large at over 3785 Litres (1000 US G.).


Not a picky eater, will take most foods including shrimp. Will also accept fruit.

Feeding regime[edit]

Twice a day.

Environment specifics[edit]

Needs a laterally long and wide tank or pond with room for it to turn around. Also needs a secure heavy lid as it can jump. Tank décor should include large solid and stable bogwood.


If kept in a space too small for this large fish it can become highly territorial and is perfectly capable of killing other fish. The Red Tailed Catfish is best kept alone unless an exceptionally large home can be provided for it.


Black body with a white belly, wide head with 3 sets of barbels. The tail is pink/red and the the dorsal and pectoral fins are edged with a white band. Albino or white variations have been seen, but are rare.
This fish has been hybridised with the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish, these will grow even larger than both parents at 152.4cm (60") or larger. The markings will appear similar to the red tailed cat, but have speckled or blotchy flanks and the nose will be longer, like that of a Shovelnose.



"Albino" RTC at Malaysian Zoo:

External links[edit]