Fish for really BIG aquariums

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves.

I know someone who once bought a cute “little” puppy which quickly became a small horse – also known as a Bullmastiff. We’ve all probably bit off more than we can chew at one time or another. In most cases it’s a lesson learned – “to count the cost” (Luke 14:25-33). In some cases, however, it can cause suffering for both you and the animal.

I’ve collected some examples of this in the fishkeeping hobby; fish that start relatively small when bought and then quickly outgrow their fishkeeper’s ability to either handle them or have enough space for them. These are fish that require the hundreds of gallons and sometimes thousands that only public aquaria can offer and afford. Here are a few of these to look at but don’t buy fish.

Iridescent Shark‘ (Pangasius hypophthalmus)
If one can find these offered they may be sold as juveniles, but will grow to well over a meter in length. If their quarters are too small it can become like a prison to them, causing them to panic and smash into the glass. Minimum tank size: 300 gallons.

Red Pacu (Piaractus brachypomus)
This is that piranha look-alike which grows to a completely impractical 70 cm plus. Although closely related to piranha they naturally feed on fruit and nuts in their Amazonian habitat. As they grow, they lose the attractive red-belly and gain a jaw strength that allows them to eat Brazil nuts and peach stones. Minimum tank size: 250 gallons.

Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy)
There are certainly some beautiful smallish Gouramis out there, but this is not one of them. The Giant Gourami is capable of growing to a hefty 70 cm and developing a mature face that some say only its owner could love. Minimum tank size: 200 gallons.

Red, or Giant Snakehead (Channa micropeltes)
This is a South-east Asian fish with serious teeth and a bad attitude that can grow to a meter in length. There is no living together for this fish and even a fishkeeper’s fingers are fair game. Minimum tank size: 450 gallons.

Red-tailed Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)
This and the next catfish are often sold as cute babies, but within a very short period of time they outgrow their home and want your home for their home. Minimum tank size: 1000 gallons.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum)

All of these fish could be kept in an aquarium, but perhaps not yours. That doesn’t mean you can’t make room in your home for one of these little guys or girls. It may however, mean that you end up sleeping on the deck. It’s best to always plan your tank around the size of the fish at maturity, not when they’re little cuties. And as Jesus would recommend when following him, “Count the cost.”

Grace be with you,

By PT Graff

A baptized child of God's, called to be a son, husband, father, citizen of Canada and heaven and a pastor.