Goonch Catfish / Giant Devil Catfish aka Bagarius Sp. – Profile & Photos

Often a hot topic in the fish world these days, whether in the home aquarium realm or searching for one in the wild the Goonch Catfish also known as the Giant Devil Catfish have developed a murderers reputation. They have been featured on River Monsters with Jeremy Wade numerous times now. They have teeth like a Shark and can reach over 6′ long, with some speculating they can get much larger than that. They live in the rivers where dead bodies are often dumped as part of a spiritual belief. The people speculate the Goonch Catfish consume the dead as they float to the bottom.

There have also been reports of the Goonch Catfish attacking and even eating live people and animals. Though no video or actual footage of such an attack exist. We simply have numerous stories from eye witnesses of these tragic events. Either way the Goonch is a formidable Monster, with monster teeth and the size to match. I am sure it could take down something large enough that it would shock most people.

I know of a few people who keep these monsters in aquariums. What they plan to do when the fish reaches 6′, I have no idea. Just feeding such a giant is a large task, I had a couple 2′ sized Amazonian Catfish in the past and they eat like hogs. If you do try to keep a Bagarius species, do not attempt any tank mates that are smaller. These are monsters indeed. They will consume it if they can.

Goonch Catfish aka Bagarius Sp. Catfish

  • Bagarius bagarius – Dwarf Goonch, reaching only 8″ – perfect for a home aquarium if you can find one. Would do well in even a properly setup 100 gallon tank.
  • Bagarius rutilus – Not a commonly seen Goonch, reaches around 40″.
  • Bagarius suchus – The smaller Goonch, better suited for home aquaria. Only reaching 26-28″ adult size, which is .68-.72 meters or so. A 500 gallon tank would do well but bigger would be better.
  • Bagarius yarrelli – The Large Goonch you see on TV most of the time. The one they all talk about getting huge. 6′ plus feet! 2 meters + !!! You’d need a swimming pool sized tank.

——————————————– Goonch Catfish Profile / Care Sheet ———————————————–

Scientific Name – Bagarius Sp.

Common Name – Goonch Catfish, Giant Devil Catfish, Devil Catfish, Crocodile Catfish

Regions of Origin – Asia – Numerous locations.

Temperament – These guys are 100% predators but peaceful most of the time. You’ll want a species only tank or to keep them with perhaps some surface predators, such as a Larger Silver Arowana but it must be way to large to snack on either way. Even if they can’t eat a fish, they will probably try if it’s small enough.

Maximum Size – See the species list above this list.

Diet – Smaller Fish, Worms, Shrimp, Crustaceans. Basically anything they can. They are easy to feed.

Water – 67-70 degrees. They come from cool running rivers and streams. You need water movement via power heads.

Inside the mouth of a medium sized Goonch Catfish…

Jeremy Wade holding a large Goonch. Bagarius Yarelli

Jakub Vagner holding a 6′  plus Goonch Catfish.


  • BK says:

    The above classification of Bagarius is inaccurate. This genus was wrongly revised when the previous classification was correct. B. yarrelli is actually three species. B. bagarius is known as the dwarf species but is in fact the highland giant species that is a man-eater. B. yarrelli is a lowland species that also reaches 8 feet. B. lica is also misclassified as yarelli and is found in Southeast Asia, reaching lengths of 5-6 feet

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