The Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) can get up to around 50 inches (130 cm) or larger in size when fully grown! The more commonly seen sizes are around half that - 25 inches (65 cm) or so. They are considered fast growers and will outgrow 99 percent of home aquariums so it's best to not buy this catfish unless you have a large backyard pond to put them in. The redtail catfish can live for many, many years so putting one in a small tank that they can quickly outgrow is not a good idea at all.
The Redtail Catfish is a good eater and it's recommended to feed them a couple of times per week with meaty type freshwater foods or catfish sticks or the larger pellets. They will eat smaller tank mates.
Redtail Catfish Video
Redtail Catfish Care
Scientific Name : Phractocephalus hemioliopterus
Common Names : Redtail Catfish
Care Level : Moderate (needs a huge tank or pond)
Size : Up to 53 inches (134 cm)
Water Parameters : pH 5.5 - 6.8 | Temperature : 68°F - 82°F (20°C - 28°C) | Water Hardness : 5° to 10° dH
Lifespan : many years, decades
Origin / Habitat : South America, Amazon and Orinoco River basins
Temperament / Behavior : This catfish eat smaller tank mates.
Redtail Catfish Breeding : Bred on commercial farms but not likely in the home aquarium given their adult size.
Aquarium Size : Think large ponds or best left in public aquariums.
Redtail Catfish Tank Mates : Other large fish species that won't become food for this catfish.
Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Considered quite hardy
Diet / Foods : Whatever it wants. It will eat most any foods put into the tank. Feed them every couple of days or so catfish sticks, meaty pieces of fish. They are well known for swallowing smaller aquarium decorations.
Tank Region : Bottom to middle
Gender : Some think the red colors on the tail fin mark gender differences but to our knowledge there are no known external characteristics to go on.
Photo Credit:Monika Betley
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Author : Mike FishLore
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