Big Cats Sticky

All posts regarding the care and breeding of these catfishes from South America.
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Big Cats Sticky

Post by Shane »

Probably one of the most common, and controversial, topics discussed in this forum is the maintenance of large catfishes in the aquarium. These are typically large predators of the family Pimelodidae that reach adult sizes exceeding 24 inches. There are also a few species of the families Doradidae, Loricariidae, Ictaluridae, Claroteidae, Clariidae, Pangasiidae, Bagridae, and Siluridae imported for the aquarium trade that mature at more (sometimes much more) than 24 inches (60 cm) standard length.

The proper housing and maintenance of very large catfishes, if they are to live out their captive lives in relative comfort, requires much, much more space than any aquarium available at your typical pet store could provide.

Sadly, a great number of these giants are sold to unsuspecting aquarists who are told, "It will only grow as large as your tank." Nothing could be further from than the truth. These fish will continue to grow as long as they are physically able. Large catfishes kept in small tanks eventually develop a host of deformities and health problems that lead to their early demise.

The second myth is that, when the fish gets too big for your tank, a public aquarium will take it. This is also untrue and many public aquariums (I have actually checked) have policies that preclude them from taking "donation" fish. Public aquariums are professional institutions and have no desire, nor funding, to become the aquatic equivalent of an animal shelter.

Planetcatfish's stance is that it is the responsibility of every aquarist to provide adequate care for any catfish that they take on the responsibility of maintaining. Since only a tiny fraction of aquarists can provide adequate housing for giant catfishes, some have come away with the incorrect belief that Planetcatfish is "anti-big catfishes." Nothing could be further from the truth. We are just as enthralled by the biggest pimelodid as the smallest Corydoras. The difference is that we accept which one of the two we can actually care for as an aquarium specimen. A poster may be unhappy to learn that their 150 gallon tank is an unsuitable home for a red tail catfish, but that does not make the person pointing this fact out wrong or anti-big catfish. It simply makes them a caring and knowledgeable aquarist.