Amazon Redtail Catfish
Phractocephalus hemioliopterus

Care Level




Reef Compatible


Plant Safe


Max Size

18" +

Minimum Tank Size

150 gallon


Black, Brown, Orange, Red, White



Water Conditions

Soft (3 to 12 dGH), slightly acidic (6 to 7.2 pH), 68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit


General: The Redtail Catfish can reach a length up to 5 feet and a weight of 120+ pounds. This species may have a lifespan of up to 20 years and is called the "Banana Catfish" because of the yellow tint they develop on their ventral half. The species also has uncommonly long, white barbels (whiskers). A fast grower, this catfish is best left to advanced aquarists with exceptionally large (1000 gallons plus) tanks with superior filtration. Do not release outgrown aquarium species into the wild.

Fecundity (Reproduction): The Redtail Catfish is not known to reproduce in captivity.

Habitat: The Redtail Catfish is widely distributed throughout the Amazon and Orinoco River basin main channels. They prefer to sit up-river of rapids, actively anticipating the current to deliver vulnerable fish to them.

Diet: This largely carnivorous fish gains the nutrients it requires from fish and other frozen, meaty products.

Amazon Redtail Catfish Photo Gallery

Amazon Redtail Catfish Videos

Author: Aquatics Unlimited