The Amazon River is home to some of the largest freshwater fish in the world. Today we are going to focus on the Catfish of the Amazon, as well as its tributaries. We have a list put together of the Top 5 Largest Catfish in the Amazon. Check it out and let us know if we forgot any in the comments.
Top 5 Monster Catfish of the Amazon
5. Niger Catfish (Oxydoras Niger) – Max Size 4′- 40-50lbs – There may some Catfish bigger than this guy, I tried to find one but couldn’t. If you can, let me know. The Niger is a gentle giant, eating snails and other small prey items from the substrate.
Oxydoras Niger – In Captivity, approx 18-20″ in this photo.
4. Tiger Shovel Nose Catfish – Max Size 4-5′ 125lbs – Covering 3 large subspecies (Pseudoplatystoma corruscans – Spotted Shovelnose) (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum & Pseudoplatystoma tigrinum – Tiger Shovelnose is the common name for both of these)
Giant Tiger Shovel Nose Catfish – Image Source Unknown
3. Red Tailed Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) – Max Size 5.5′ 150lbs – There is a 5.25′ Red Tailed Catfish in captivity in Amsterdam. Here is a quote from the Aquarium, it also shows they have an at least 40 year life span.
Jeremy Wade with a large Red Tailed Catfish
The biggest one is about 160 cm long (5.25 feet). This one was bought in December 1972, about 30 cm (11.8 inches) big. The second one was bought in august 1973, the origin of the smallest one could not be found so quick.
Good question, since also I was surprised how old this catfish already is! Didn’t know that yet myself.
Thanks to very old notes of former former colleagues.
Curator lower vertebrates & invertebrates
Artis Royal Zoo Amsterdam
2. Jau Catfish (Zungaro Zungaro) – 6′ 200lbs – The Jau and the Red Tailed Catfish both reach very large sizes but I believe the Jau can get larger, so it inches out the RTC for the number 2 spot on the Monster Catfish of the Amazon list.
Jau Catfish pictured
1. Piraiba Catfish (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum)- 9.5′ 600lbs+ – The biggest of all the Amazonian Monster Catfish. The Piraiba is a true River Monster, capable of reaching nearly 10′ long and over 500lbs!
8′ + 400+lbs – Record Piraiba Catfish caught by Jakub Vagner, a video of this amazing catch is here.