Catfish of the Month Right Arrow March 1998


Tiger Shovelnose Catfish, Tsn (Abbreviation) - Pseudoplatystoma tigrinum   (Valenciennes, 1840)

Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded March 01, 1998.

The photo is an 18" specimen. I was a great fan of keeping these large catfish especially when I worked in my LFS and could "grow them on" for a few months and then hand them back. That changed somewher when I visited the Tennessee Aquarium in Chatanooga, USA. They had an enormous Amazon species tank which is remains in operation to at least 2019. The tank was inhabited by, amongst others, a huge tiger shovelnose, an adult red-tailed catfish, shoals of oscars (which were the smallest fish in the tank!), eye spot cichlids (Cichla ocellaris) and arowana. To see a full-grown Tiger shovelnose cruising effortlessly without having to turn round every three seconds made up my mind about keeping these and some other large catfish in anything smaller than a big pond. I remain a great fan.


Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.

Down arrow Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Pseudoplatystoma tigrinum  (Valenciennes, 1840)
Common Names Tiger Shovelnose Catfish
Tsn (Abbreviation)
Type Locality Brazil.
Synonym(s) Platystoma tigrinum
Pronunciation SUE doh plah tee stow mah
Etymology (Greek)Pseudos=False +(Greek)platys=flat +(Greek)stoma=mouth. 
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Down arrow Species Information
Size 1300mm or 51.2" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Vertical to slightly oblique black stripes; often has spots, which are thicker on the ventral side; great variation in stripe and spot patterns. Eigenmann recognized at least 14 varieties or subspecies based on colour patterns; easily confused with other members of the genus.
Sexing Unknown
Down arrow Habitat Information
Distribution South America: Amazon and Orinoco River basins.
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Not Evaluated
pH 6.0 - 7.6
Temperature 22.0-26.0°C or 71.6-78.8°F (Show species within this range)
Down arrow Husbandry Information
Feeding Fish, crustaceans and literally anything that it finds tasty and small enough to eat. I have personally witnessed one of the fish pictured above eat a large freshwater stingray head first!
Furniture Large secured pieces of bogwood and rock.
Compatibility Will eat anything that isn't big enough to avoid being on the menu.
Breeding Unknown
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Down arrow Further Information
Reference Histoire naturelle des poissons v. 15, pp 10, Pl. 422.
Registered Keepers Keeping this species? Why not .
There are 63 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
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There is no wish to keep this species.
Spotters Spotted this species somewhere? Click the binoculars!
There are 7 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
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Last Update 2020 Sep 19 01:47 (species record created: 1998 Mar 01 11:22)

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