Fish to Avoid #1: Red-Tailed Catfish

Once your tank is all set up and ready to go, the hardest and most fun thing to do is pick which type of fish to put in there.

Most people just go to the local fish store and find stuff that looks cool. They do not do much research (especially in they days before the internet) and basically rely on the people working in the fish section for advice or they just take a glance at those little cards on the fish tanks that tell you how big the fish is and how aggressive the fish is and what kind of food it eats. 
The problem? A lot of workers at fish stores are fucking morons. And some of the owners are just looking to make a buck and could give a damn about the animals they sell. So they tell you false information or put bad information on the little cards and you go home with a swimming disaster waiting to happen in your little plastic bag. 
These series of posts is to warn you about the common fish that prowl the waters at your local fish store that look cute and awesome but are actually fish you need to really avoid.
Today’s Fish: the Red-Tailed Catfish
Awww, look how cute he is!
See that little guy up there? Well, this is what happens to him when he is all grown up…
Fry that fucker up!

This fish can get over 4 feet long. And it isn’t an anomaly either. This fish will get at least 3 feet long and with that comes a very large mouth. Large mouth plus predatory catfish equals everything that can fit in its mouth WILL be eaten. Oh, and it has a neat trick where it will eat too much and just vomit it up, destroying your water quality. 

This fish needs a pond to live in to be frank. There are few people out there who have a big enough actual tank to adequately keep this fish. We are talking thousands of gallons. Unfortunately, lots of pet store owners are just trying to make a buck and lie and say they need something like a 50 gallon and “only” get 12″. But in reality it will get that large in like 6 months. It really has no business being sold in pet stores, despite how cool it looks.

Still a baby…

If you have a smaller tank and like the look of the fish, I would suggest looking at the Raphael Catfish. There are both striped and spotted ones. They stay small (under 6″) but have the same type of body shape. I will warn you that they are extremely reclusive though, only coming out to eat after you have trained them to come out during the day. I had one once and he was pretty cool AFTER we got him to come out to eat. Otherwise it just hid. Due to their lack of activity, you could probably keep one in 20-30 gallon tank.

Striped Raphael. 


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