Red Tailed Catfish info - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-01-2010, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Red Tailed Catfish info

Hello everyone...
I am new member at the forum, but i am very happy being a member of your community!
I come from Greece. I own 3 aquariums and i am planning to make a really huge one in the near future...
Anyway... i have some questions about RTC.

I know that these fish need a huge tank... what about a 200x70x60? About 800 liters.
The other think i have to take care if a decide to get one of these fish is the water conditions that they can afford. I have PH 7,8-8. Is it too high??

And finally, advise me about the tank aquascape. Just a completely empty tank with few stones or wood? Can it be a planted tank??

Thank you in advanced for your answers...
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-01-2010, 04:34 AM
iamntbatman's Avatar
I would say 800 liters is still far too small.

I mean, look at this monster:

I would say at least 1000 gallons would be needed to house this fish, preferably more.

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Last edited by iamntbatman; 03-02-2010 at 04:49 PM.
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-01-2010, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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Xmmmmm..... ok i know that i need a very large tank!! I thought that 800 liters ara OK!!

What about the pH. Around 8 will be ok ??
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-01-2010, 10:57 AM
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Honestly I think the easiest way you could keep a RTC is to dig a pond (1000-2000g) near your house and put a heated greenhouse over top of it. That way you could also keep some monsters like arowanas, bala sharks, etc with it.

I know this fish is sold at a REALLY tiny size in pet stores but they aren't meant to be kept in aquaria in most instances. If you insist on getting this fish I suggest you first visit a local aquarium (they should have one in an amazon exhibit) and get an idea of its sheer size. Another large concern is that they are certainly powerful enough to break the tank.
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-01-2010, 01:11 PM
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I don't often have opportunity to post info and photos on this fish since it is completely unsuitable for any aquarium except a public one (unless you have one the size of a room), so I must take advantage and post a photo to show how these fish live.

The red tail catfish, Phractocephalus hemioliopterus, occurs in the basins of the Amazon and Rio Orinoco, through every country in northern South America. It attains a length of more than a metre (5 feet). It lives in acidic waters that are very dimly lit. This is the only extant species in the genus, the others are now extinct; fossils of this species found in Venezuela are more than 6 million years old, so this fish has been here a long time, since before man.

There are a couple on display at the Vancouver Public Aquarium and Marine Science Centre in Vancouver, BC where I live, and these have been here more than 30 years now. I'm attaching a photo I took of one of them on a recent visit. The other (longest) fish in the photo is an Arapaima gigas, a true living fossil, and the largest freshwater fish in the world at more than 3 metres (12 feet). In the second photo, the "smaller" fish near the top are common Pacu, the largest species of characin at 3 feet in length. And in the back close to the substrate you can see a group of Leporinus fasciatus, another fish often available as 2-3 inch juveniles in stores but they neglect to warn customers that this fish grows to more than a foot in length and needs adequate space. It is an algae eating fish, and the habitat in the photos shows that though the light is very dim, algae (in the absence of aquatic plants) will flourish.

The "tank" housing these fish is a floor-to-ceiling wall of water behind glass that extends for some 25 feet in length. The habitat is authentic and represents one of the most common river aquascapes in South America.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSCN9297.jpg (96.1 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg Amazon Arapaima1.jpg (60.4 KB, 23 views)

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-01-2010, 05:44 PM
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Hey I was hoping someone would post a pic of that.... I have seen the RTC hanging right at eye level near the front, checking out the spectators-- a true monster fish! The tank they have it in has to be some 10,000g, probably far more since I am a terrible judge of space.
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-01-2010, 06:06 PM
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aunt kymmie's Avatar
Here's a pic of a red tail cat I took at our local aquarium. This fish was bigger than me, literally. I can't imagine anyone keeping one in a "home" aquarium.
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File Type: jpg RedTail Cat.jpg (101.0 KB, 20 views)

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post #8 of 15 Old 03-01-2010, 06:35 PM
Mean Harri's Avatar
All I can say is wow. That dude is like 'hangin' out"
Huge fish btw. I'm blinded and outta here

“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors”
Thomas Jefferson quote
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-02-2010, 04:39 AM
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The Pittsburgh Aquarium (or whatever the name of the aquarium that's inside the zoo is) has some absolutely gigantic ones as well. Easily five feet. stdev, you simply will not be able to keep a five foot fish in a tank that's only 6.5 feet long and 2.3 feet wide. That would be like making a human being live in a phone booth.

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post #10 of 15 Old 03-02-2010, 05:03 AM
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The biggest problem I would think, with trying to house this fish is the filtration and maint of filters that would be needed to maintain the quality of water that these fish demand.Never mind the numbers ,or volume of water changes that would be needed in even large aquariums.
As Byron has noted, these are riverine fish that do poorly in stagnant water or water with no movement. They need oxygen rich water in my view with considerable current. I would be curious as to how, or if ,,these two conditions are being provided even in public aquaria.
Folks buy these little fish at three or four inches and then once they reach a foot or longer,,they can't find anyone to take them when they outgrow their tanks.Hardly anyone,has large enough quarters to house an adult properly and thus ,,they should not in my view be offered for aquariums. Just my two cents.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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