Tiger Shovelnose Catfish: #1 Care Guide (You’ll Ever Need)

Are you looking to add an exotic and impressive fish species to your freshwater fish aquarium? The Tiger shovelnose catfish is a unique and beautiful type of large catfish found in rivers and murky waters throughout South America’s flooded forests.

With its distinct patterning, peaceful temperament temperament tiger shovelnose catfish, hearty appetite, and ardent breeding habits.

It’s no wonder hobby aquarists are drawn to this magnificent active species!

In this informative tiger shovelnose catfish care guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about shovelnose tiger catfish natural habits.

tiger catfish

From their native habitats, ideal tank mates, and water parameters necessary for their health, dietary needs & more. So let’s dive right in!

Are Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Aggressive?

Tiger Catfish (also known as Tiger Shovel Fish, TSN, and Megalechis Thoracata) is a catfish native to South America.

While they can be peaceful in the right environment, these highly active fish demonstrate an aggressive streak once they reach maturity. 

Unlike some other tropical fish, Tiger Shovelnose fish tend to become increasingly territorial as they grow older. These fish have an expansive home range and will defend their area when confronted by intruders.

While they may get along with other tank mates during their juvenile stage, aggressive behaviors could likely develop once the sharks reach adulthood. 

When attempting to introduce a new species or individual into a tank containing adult tiger shovelnose catfish, it’s essential to do so slowly and gradually over time — preferably in tanks with plenty of hiding spots for those needing space from one another.

It’sIt’s also essential for all tank dwellers to be around the same size. Otherwise, quarrels are more likely due to conflicting resource interests, especially when introducing other bottom-dwellers like plecos or loaches into the mix. 

Despite their aggressive tendencies towards intruding aquatics and potential companions alike, experienced aquarists find these unique creatures fascinating due in part to their beautiful silver coloration patterns, which often mimic sand-looking stripes on them

this camouflage further contributes towards some of these fishes’ defensive capabilities, adding yet another reason why it’s recommended that extreme care be taken when deciding whether one should purchase this particular species for any aquarium setting!

What is the Ideal Tank Setup for Tiger Shovelnose Catfish?

Tiger shovelnose catfish are hardy fish, so they don’t require any unique or overly complicated tank setup. A 20-gallon tank is sufficient for a pair of these fish.

Tank décor should be kept minimal to avoid overstimulation, but you can introduce some driftwood and rocks to create some hiding spots and provide visual interest.

A fine sandy substrate should be used since these fish like to dig around in the substrate. Ensure the substrate is not too coarse, as this could damage their barbels.

As previously mentioned, these fish can be territorial, so they should only be kept with other species of similar size tank mates and temperament.

Good tank mates include the beautiful Silver Dollar Fish, pencil fish, hatchet fish, and some small cichlids.

You should also ensure that all tank mates are compatible with the water parameters preferred by Tiger Catfish.

What are the Water Parameters for Tiger Shovelnose Catfish?

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish thrive in a tropical natural environment, so the water temperature should be maintained between 75-82ºF.

PH levels should also be kept slightly acidic, between 6.5-7.5. Ammonia and nitrite levels should always be held at 0 ppm, while nitrate levels should remain below 25 ppm.

A good aquarium filter is essential for these fish since they can be sensitive to water conditions.

Consistent water changes are also recommended to maintain good water quality.

How Big Do Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Get?

Tiger shovelnose catfish size in captivity can range from 2 – 4 feet, though they can grow much larger in the wild.

These fish generally reach their full size by the time they are 3-5 years old.

However, it’s important to remember that their growth rate will depend on the tank size and water conditions.

How Fast Do Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Grow?

Tiger catfish growth rate can vary from one fish to the next, depending on tank size and water quality.

Generally, these fish grow steadily for the first two years, and then their growth rate begins to slow down as they mature.

These catfish can reach between 2-4 feet in an optimal environment at full maturity. It’s always best to provide a larger tank size, “180 gallons, “to accommodate their growth rate and prevent overcrowding.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Max Size:

The max size of a Tiger Shovelnose Catfish depends on the environment they are kept in.

In the wild, these fish can grow up to 6 feet. In captivity, they can reach up to 4 feet in size.

It’s essential to provide a large enough tank to accommodate their growth rate.

Overall, Tiger catfish pseudoplatystoma fasciatum is a unique and hardy species that can bring plenty of personality to any aquarium setting.

These highly active fish can thrive in captivity and live for several years with suitable tank mates and water parameters. They may require a bit.

How Many Gallons Does a Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Need?

The minimum tank size for tiger shovelnose catfish is 20 gallons, so there is enough space for them to move around and be comfortable.

However, they can grow up to 4 feet in length, so it is best to provide a tank size that is four or five times larger than their length.

This will allow them to reach full maturity and help prevent overcrowding. A tightly covered aquarium size of 70-100 gallons is ideal for a pair of this picky eater fish.

How Do You Breed Tiger Shovelnose Catfish?

Breeding Tiger Shovelnose Catfish can be a rewarding experience, though it does require some patience and skill. These fish are egg layers, so the first step is to create a spawning tank.

This should be separate from the main aquarium and include plenty of hiding spots such as caves, plants, and driftwood. The mouth is exquisitely adorned with very long whiskers, giving it an unmistakably long and flat shape.

The water parameters should also be optimal, and the temperature should be between 75-82ºF. Once the conditions are right, the male will perform a courtship dance to entice the female to lay her eggs.

Once the eggs are laid, the parents should be removed from the tank to prevent them from eating them. The eggs will hatch within 3-7 days, and the fry should be fed small amounts of food, such as baby brine shrimp or other appropriate fry foods.

How Do You Care for a Shovelnose Catfish?

How do you take care of a shovelnose catfish? Well, you don’t have a clue if you’re anything like most people. Most people need to learn how to take care of large fish.

This video provides all the information you need to know to take care of your shovelnose catfish properly. From diet to tank size, we cover it all.

What Do Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Eat?

Tiger shovelnose catfish are omnivores, meaning they eat fish, plants, and animals. In the wild, their diet consists of assorted worms and insects, Also eat smaller fish and crustaceans.

In captivity, they will happily accept a variety of foods such as Sinking catfish pellets, dry foods, flakes, frozen foods, shrimp, worms, and even vegetables. It’s essential to provide a balanced diet of both plant-based foods and animal-based proteins.

Feeding a few times a day with small portions of proper nutrition is recommended. It’s also important to keep their environment clean and free of debris and uneaten aquarium feed. This will help keep water quality optimal and ensure the health of your fish.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Temperature Requirements:

Tiger shovelnose catfish prefer water temperatures that range from 72-82ºF. These tiger catfish are tropical species, so it’s crucial to maintain a consistent temperature in their tank.

It’sIt’s also essential to keep the pH levels between 6.5 and 7.5, as these fish prefer slightly acidic waters. A good water filter is necessary for maintaining optimal water parameters.

Additionally, it’s important to perform regular water changes of at least 25% per week. This will help keep the tank clean and prevent the build-up of toxins. 

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Lifespan:

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish have an average lifespan of 10-15 years when properly cared for. These fish can live even longer if provided with the proper care.

Providing adequate diet, tank size, and Traditional maintenance keeps them healthy and happy. Proper tank maintenance includes regular water changes, filter changes, adequate aeration, and optimal water parameters.

Tiger Shovel Nose Catfish Tank Mates

Potential larger tank mates for the tiger shovel nose catfish include Arowana, redtail, giant Gourami, pacu, and even Oscar fish. Each tiger catfish has different temperaments and dietary needs, so it is essential to research before adding any new members to your aquarium hobby.

Arowana is an aggressive species and should only be kept with other large, aggressive fish. They are omnivorous and prefer a diet of both meat and plant matter.

Redtail is a peaceful species that can be kept with other freshwater fish. They are herbivorous and prefer a diet of vegetable matter.

Giant Gourami is also peaceful fish that can be kept with other non-aggressive fish. They are omnivorous and prefer a diet of both meat and plant matter.

Pacu is an aggressive species that should only be kept with other large, aggressive fish. They are picky eaters and prefer a meat and plant-based diet.

Oscars are an aggressive species and should only be kept with other large, aggressive fish.

Types of Shovelnose Catfish

Leopard Shovelnose Catfish (Hemiancistrus Subviridis)

Leopard Shovelnose Catfish is one of the most popular types of catfish. They have a colorful pattern of spots and stripes that make a tiger-like appearance stand out in any aquarium.

These tiger catfish are relatively hardy and do well in various water conditions. They should be housed in an aquarium for at least 30 gallons, as they can reach up to 10 inches in length.

Royal Shovelnose Catfish (Glyptoperichthys Gibbiceps)

Royal Shovelnose Catfish are a unique species with an elongated body and long pectoral and anal fins. They have a beautiful pattern of spots and stripes that make them stand out in any aquarium.

These highly active fish are relatively hardy and do well in various water conditions. They should be housed in an aquarium for at least 30 gallons, as they can reach up to 12 inches in length.

Redtail Tiger Shovelnose Catfish (Hemiancistrus sp.)

Redtail Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is an eye-catching large freshwater fish species with a bright red tail.

Their yellow and black striped pattern makes them stand out in the aquarium.

These very interesting freshwater fish are relatively hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.

They should be housed in an aquarium for at least 30 gallons, as they can reach up to 10 inches in length.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Hybrid (Bagropsis sp.)

The Tiger Shovelnose Hybrid Catfish is a unique species bred by combining the Leopard and Royal shovelnose catfish.

This hybrid has an elongated body and a beautiful pattern of black stripes and spots, making it stand out in any aquarium.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Price

Tiger Catfish for Sale can range in price from $30 to $100. The exact price depends on the size and type of fish and where you purchase them.

Generally, more prominent, colorful specimens cost more than smaller, less colorful fish.

It is important to purchase fish from a reputable source to ensure you get healthy fish.

Additionally, it is always best to research the type of fish you buy and ensure it is compatible with your tank setup.

Commonly Asked Questions about Catfish Shovelnose (FAQ)

How Long Do Shovel Head Catfish Live?

Most Tiger Shovelnose Catfish can live up to 10-15 years in a well-maintained aquarium.

Why Does My Tiger Shovel Nose Not Want to Eat?

Several factors can affect your fish’s appetite, such as poor water quality, tank setup, and stress. It is vital to ensure that the water parameters are correct and the tank is clean to prevent stress. You can also offer a variety of high-quality frozen foods to see if it entices your fish to eat.

Are My Corydoras Catfish Playing Dead or Dying?

Corydoras Catfish are known to “play dead” when they feel threatened or stressed. While this behavior is usually harmless, it can indicate that the fish is not feeling well and should be monitored for any changes in its behavior or health.

Can a Shovelnose Catfish Live with African Cichlids?

Tiger Catfish can live with African Cichlids in the same tank. However, ensuring that the tank is large enough to accommodate both species and that the water parameters are optimal for both species is crucial.

How Big Do Lima Shovelnose Catfish Get?

Lima Shovelnose Catfish can reach up to 20 inches in length, so it is vital to provide a large enough aquarium to grow and thrive. A tank size of at least 70 gallons is recommended for a single fish, with larger tanks needed if you plan on keeping multiple fish.


The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is a unique fish that is an excellent addition to any aquarium. These fish are relatively easy to care for and can live appropriately for up to 15 years. If you’re looking for a new and exciting addition to your aquarium, the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is a great choice!

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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