Down arrow Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Wallago attu  (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
Common Names Helicopter Catfish
Freshwater Shark, Helikoptermalle (Denmark), Mully Catfish, Pla Khao (Thailand), Tapah (Indonesia), Trey Sanday (Cambodia)
Type Locality Malabar, India.
Synonym(s) Pinniwallago kanpurensis, Silurus attu, Wallagonia attu
Pronunciation wall AH go - ah two
Etymology Wallago: After its Telugu and Tamil names Walaga (Telugu and Tamil are both Dravidian languages of South India). attu: After its Malayalam name Attu Vaalay (Malayalam is another Dravidian language South India).
Down arrow Species Information
Size 2400mm or 94.5" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification 1) Mouth extends back beyond eye.
2) maxillary barbels longer than pelvic fin.
3) 24-30 gill rakers on the first arch.
4) 77-96 anal-fin rays.
2000mm is the maximum recorded length, due to over fishing and habitat destruction, specimens over 1800 mm are nowadays very rare.
Down arrow Habitat Information
Distribution Asia: Pakistan to Viet Nam and Indonesia. Reported from Afghanistan. Lower risk - near threatened status in Western Ghats, India.
Pakistan Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Indian waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Bangladesh Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Myanmar Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Nepal Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Sri Lanka Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Thailand Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Vietnam waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Laos Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Cambodia waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Pacific, Malaysia Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Indonesian Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Vulnerable, range map and more is available on the IUCN species page. Last assessed 2019.
pH 6.0 - 7.6
Temperature 19.0-29.0°C or 66.2-84.2°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters Not important, a large migratory fish found everywhere but highland streams. Resistant to poor water quality, including high levels of heavy metals.
Down arrow Husbandry Information
Feeding According to Smith (1945) in his Freshwater Fishes of Siam, ''Their great size, large mouth, and formidable teeth enable them to kill and devour almost every kind of fish.'' Their diet in the wild is consists of mainly cyprinids (barbs, Rasboras, etc).
Furniture Not a suitable aquarium fish. In nature, inhabits grassy margins of deep, still or slow-flowing ponds or pools with a mud or silt substrate near the banks of rivers.
Compatibility See feeding. Handle with care : this species bites strongly if handled!
Suggested Tankmates None.
Breeding In nature, spawns during the pre-monsoon season, from June to August. Normally a bottom dweller, it rises to the surface to breed. Unluckily for the fish, the courting pairs are so absorbed in each other that they readily fall prey to fishermen.
Has been bred commercially in fish farms in Malaysia.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Down arrow Further Information
Reference M. E. Blochii, Systema Ichthyologiae, pp 378, Pl. 75.
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There are 4 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
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There are 4 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
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Last Update 2020 Sep 19 05:34 (species record created: 2001 Jun 10 00:00)