Animal Stories - Red-tailed Catfish


Animal-World Information about: Red-tailed Catfish

Big and beautiful, the Red-tailed Catfish is an enormous attraction!
Latest Animal Stories
Leon - 2014-10-16
I got my new red tail about 4 days before. it doesn't eat any food.very sluggish. is this normal behavior or not...

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-10-17
    It sounds like he's not too comfortable with the environment, and it may be that he is just acclimating as you've only had him for 4 days. But if his behavior doesn't change in time, you will want to look at his home. For example, is it big enough for him, and does it have enough places for him to hide, and make sure the water parameters are good and you are offering foods he will accept.
  • Leon - 2014-10-17
    May be he is acclimating slowly.. and this fish has only 1 eye.I didn't notice it wen I'm buy the fish..anyway I can't change the fish again.that fish seller wudnt accept it.. I think my tank size and, temprature is ok to it.. its 4 inch of size.. 1 day I seen its belly is flat next itz bit full that previous day..but I dnt know what was it ate..
  • Anonymous - 2014-10-17
    My tank is a small one. He is 5 inch of size.. I think its size ok for it... 2nd day I saw its belly was flat.then next day I saw its belly bit full.. but it hasn't ate any fish I offered t it .. n I hv kept tha tank in a place where it could get tha direct sunlight in the morning time for 2.or 3 hours.. I don't think my tank is too cold cz of that..
  • Clarice Brough - 2014-10-18
    These fish are good eaters and feeding them is usually not a problem. They will usually start eating within a short period of time, and with a swollen belly  it does sound like he's found some type of food.
  • Anonymous - 2014-10-18
    Thank u for the replies...today I got another RTc as a tank mate to my old one.I'm really love this catfish variety.. now my old one getting his food slowly.so I brought a new one.unfortunatly my old one started to bite the new one.what is the reason for this.this both not much difference of their size.old one is 5inch n new one is 4inch..
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brian - 2011-01-22
Hi I have a red tail cat fish and it won't stop swimming up on the glass rapidly swimming back and forth I don't know what to do he in like in a 56 tank it is a new one just got him in it but he was doing the same in the old one just started doing so I got a new tank 56 and he still is doing it what do I do? Is it the hp of the tank what do I do he barely ever stops swimming on the back on the glass looking like he wont's out of the tank lol ? plez help me

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  • Editor's Note - 2011-01-22
    It sounds like it may be flukes. One of the characteristics of this disease is unusual racing around the tank. See this link: Flukes disease
  • Chris - 2011-05-27
    I have a 14 inch and he swims up and down during feeding time....but my retail shovelnose is smaller and I do notice him doing what you describe...but what worked for me is throwing in some dry baby shrimp and he eats and calms down....but it should be okay these fish are sometimes playful
  • amanda - 2011-11-12
    This is exactly what my lungfish was doing before he died. Sounds like its cotton wool disease. It effects them from the inside out. But not to worry! My etc was in the same tank and he was able to recover from it with the help of medication I bought at the pet store. I used maricyn 1 and 2. Try to get the liquid form it works better than the powder. He will likely lose his appetite for a week or 2. Just give him feeder gold fish he should eat them. Make sure you take everything out of the tank and clean it really well. Best of luck to you and your fish!
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-04-19
    Any other symptoms?
  • Hank - 2014-10-12
    mine did the same thing, i was told by an exotic fish dealer. This is them searching for food they have a voracious appetite. once its lil belly gets filled he'll calm down.
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Tan Hui Chun - 2009-11-26
Hi, I wish to ask some question. How come my red tail catfish easily die? For example, I just buy one today, it die after two or three days? Thanks.

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  • Fishman - 2010-03-26
    All specimens of this fish are wild caught and they don't fair well being shipped if you absolutely have to buy one then buy them from a place with an arrive alive guarantee. Also how big is the tank they're in these are messy fish and a juvenile has a 50 gal minimum but they will grow and they will grow fast it probably got stunted and died or it had parasites when you got it.
  • Nick T. - 2010-07-23
    It could be many things, but it is probably the water temperature or the PH level. The temperature for a Red-Tailed Catfish should remain between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit(21 to 26 degrees Celsius), although it may vary a few degrees either way. The PH level should also remain between 6.5 and 7.5. I hope this has helped some!
  • Josh - 2011-07-18
    No way dude most 55 gallons are 48 inches long, and that is 4 feet and a redtailed catfish can grow 5 feet but grows 3 feet at a minimum 3 feet= 36 inches, that would mean your catfish could not even turn around, not only that but he wouldnt even fit in the tank
  • Jerry j - 2013-03-24
    I have a large redtail catfish about 51/2 inch. I put him in a 125 gallon tank with my blue channel catfish which is about 6/7 inch. But noe my red tail has white spots all over him and he don't really move around much. Wat can I do to save him before its to late
  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-03-24
    Jerry, I would raise temp and treat with a little aquarium salt.  Or can treat with ich medication.
  • Clarice Brough - 2013-03-24
    Generally if the spots look like it is sprinkled with salt, then it could be ich, but if they are larger it could be fungus. Be very careful when treating catfish as they are scaleless. They can be treated with pimafix or melafix but should not be treated with potassium permanganate or copper based medications. (Many ich medications have copper, so be sure you check the ingredients before you treat.)  Malachite green or formalin can be used at one half to one fourth the recommended dosage. All medications should be used with caution.
  • Anonymous - 2014-09-05
    I had a redtailed shovel nose catfish in a 20 gal for 3 months and he was just fine he is now in a bigger tank and growing
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curtis - 2014-07-21
Hello, I purchased a red tail catfish that is very small at the moment (1 inch). When I put him inside my 120 gallon tank he immediately swam to a corner and tried to bury himself in the gravel. Is this normal? I also have 5 bala sharks, 3 clown loaches and a african catfish. I put him in a breeding container for now so he can actually get food. He doesn't move to much but occasionally swims frantically like he's trying to escape. The water quality is good and there is plenty decorations and hiding places but he kept trying to bury himself forcing me to place him in the breeding container within the tank. I do plan on upgrading tanks as he gets bigger and willing to build a pond.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-07-22
    I'm guessing he's getting acclimated. Your pond idea sounds great. I've used indoor ponds for large freshwater fish (as well as large marine fish) with great success. I currently only have an outdoor pond (1300 gallons) for my koi and Red-eared Sliders however, but it is working great too. So good luck to you and keep us posted!
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carl cooper - 2009-01-02
I have 3 very large redtails in a 12ft by 3ft tank they are very active and they are eating very well. I have just noticed recently that on two of them their gill plates seem two be curling, back on them selves. I've tested the water and the water is spot on. I don't want to lose them, I've had them a long time. Has anybody had this problem or does anybody know what could be wrong with them, or know anybody for some advice? thanks to anybody who can help me. carl

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  • Joel Viets - 2014-05-26
    I've had the same issue with mine. Only one gill seems to be curling, or looks inverted just at the top. It's not affecting the whole gill. Did yours improve? I've been looking for answers and had no luck so far. My fish is not distressed from what I can tell and my water quality is great.
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Khai - 2014-02-20
Hey I have 2 red tail catfish. One of them is doing great but another one didn't even move and eat. I just wanted to get any advice and what to do to make it active? Please help!

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-02-20
    Sounds stressed, like its sick or its unhappy. Things that come to my mind... is the tank big enough for these two huge fish to be comfortable? it could be a housing issue, And how long have you had it, if its new, has it been this way since you got it? if so, it may have had problems, and you should talk to your fish store right away
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alex - 2014-01-09
I have a RTC about 8' long in a 4 foot 22' wide tank and he hasn't been eating. I fed him anchovies and earth worms but he spits it back out what can I do to make him eat?

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-01-09
    He may just be bored, perhaps you could try varying his diet. For example you could try some frozen bloodworm cubes, shrimps, or silversides to name a few. Maybe look for some pelleted food for carnivores too.
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daniel strenke - 2014-01-01
I just bought two red tailed catfish. l put them in my 10 gallon tank for now will they be Ok in it or should I put them in my big tank right away? My big tank is 220 gallons with really big oscars .

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-01-04
    I love these fish, but I see some serious problems ahead. The Red-tailed Catfish might be fine in the 10 gallon for a couple of weeks (I'm assuming they are just 3-4' right now), but they grow very quickly. They can eventually get to be as much as 53' in length, and a 2000 gallon tank is recommended. Most aquarists simply can't accommodate them because of their necessary tank size.  Putting them in the Oscar tank is another problem. Oscars are great fish, very personable and fun to keep, but they simply aren't community oriented. They will kill other tankmates so are best kept singly, or as a pair.
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Aimee - 2013-12-24
I have a redtail catfish. He was in 1 of my outside ponds, i live in New Orleans, this past week the weather got pretty cold, i just noticed the heaters broke, he was barely breathing but still alive i brought him to 1 of my inside tanks with my south american fish, can he be saved? or is it too late?? please help!!! he is too big and beautiful for me to give up on!

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  • Clarice Brough - 2013-12-26
    The Redtailed catfish is a really beauty and it sounds like you've rescued him just in time. Still only time will tell if he will be fine, but you did the right thing. Let us know how it goies!
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EFFER - 2013-04-10
I have 14inches RTC (5 months) and for the last 4 days he is not eating, his last meal was last Sunday - 2 gold fish, after that he don't eat at all. his color is remained like before black with spots, im just worried coz I already put Tetra General medicine, change water on a daily basis and yet no good progress. Should I change the water again and put Melafix? is aquarium salt is good for RTC? coz I read so many forum some said it is ok, some said it is not. I really appreciate your help. thanks.

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-04-11
    Not advisable to add salt to their water.
  • Anonymous - 2013-04-29
    feed it blood worms
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