Giraffe Catfish aka Auchenoglanis occidentalis – Profile & Photos

The Giraffe catfish is located throughout Africa in lakes as well as rivers. It is found in many of the larger lakes and rivers such as the Nile and Lake Chad. It generally lives in shallow waters with muddy bottoms. The Giraffe-like pattern does fade with age to a two-tone mottled brown color.

The Giraffe catfish is an important food source in Africa along with being caught for the aquarium trade. The larger specimens will always be eaten while the babies will sometimes be exported to other countries for sale in fish stores. They are not seen on a regular basis in fish stores but can usually be ordered from most suppliers if you ask.

Giraffe Catfish – Care Sheet / Profile & Photos

Scientific Name – Auchenoglanis occidentalis

Common Name – Giraffe Catfish

Regions of Origin – Rivers and Lakes of Africa

Temperament – These guys are mostly peaceful bottom cruisers. They got along well with Bichirs, Oscar, Jaguar Cichlid, and a Niger Catfish. You will need a large tank though, at least a 8′ x 3′ footprint (roughly 360 gallons) for an adult giraffe catfish.

Maximum Size – Up to 2.5′ – 3′ in the wild. Most specimens in captivity are smaller, rarely making it over the 2′ mark.

Diet – In the wild they are bottom feeders, sifting through the muddy lake bottoms for food. The same will happen in captivity, so they can and most likely will uproot plants. You can feed them a high quality sinking pellet along with cut up shrimp.

Water – 72-80 degrees works well in our experience with a Ph of 6.6 – 8.0.


The extended mouth of the Giraffe Catfish is really crazy looking. 

Those are 6″ tiles for scale. The Giraffe Catfish swimming above a Niger Catfish.

Giraffe Catfish

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