Sturgeon Catfish: Platystomatichthys Sturio Care Guide

A Sturgeon Catfish is Scientifically Known as Platystomatichthys Sturio
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: July 20, 2024
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The Sturgeon catfish, with its **striking looks** and **interesting behaviors**, has become a big hit with aquarium fans. Its **one-of-a-kind traits** and **curious actions** make it a favorite. **Important to note**: this fish needs **special care** to do well in a tank. Knowing the **proper steps to take care of it** helps keep it healthy and happy. Get ready to dive into the **amazing world** of these **fantastic fish**.

Article Summary

  • Sturgeon catfish are freshwater catfish native to South America.
  • They are known by various names, including Zorro catfish, Sturio catfish, and Fox catfish.
  • Sturgeon catfish should be fed a varied diet of meaty foods, including live and frozen options.

Species Overview: Native to South America

Platystomatichthys sturio, also known as the sturgeon catfish, is a fascinating species with its own unique characteristics. It has adapted to its environment and developed distinct features that help it survive.

The sturgeon catfish, also known as the Zorro catfish, Sturio catfish, or Fox catfish, is a species belonging to the Pimelodidae family. It is endemic to the fast-flowing rivers of the Amazon River Basin in South America. This fascinating catfish is typically found in rivers and streams, where it stands out with its large, broad head and elongated body.

The sturgeon catfish is known for its unique appearance and can grow to impressive sizes. While its life span is reputedly around 7 years, this species is highly adaptable to its environment and can thrive in a variety of conditions.

Sturgeon Catfish Appearance

The sturgeon catfish is a fascinating species with unique characteristics that make it stand out. One notable aspect of its appearance is its size. This species is considered a large size can reach a length of 17 inches (43.2 cm), and when you include the caudal fin, it can be even longer, closer to 30 inches. This elongation is primarily due to the presence of barbels, which extend from the fish’s head and add to its overall length.

In terms of coloration, the sturgeon catfish has a distinct pattern. Its sides are silvery grey, which gives it a sleek and shiny appearance. As you move towards the dorsal side, the coloration becomes darker, creating a gradient effect. On the ventral surface, the coloration transitions to a creamy white shade, providing a contrast to the darker dorsal side.

Tank And Water Requirements

Native to South America, Sturgeon catfish is known for their large size and active nature, require spacious tanks to thrive. It is recommended to provide them with a tank capacity of at least 200 gallons once they reach adulthood. These catfish prefer freshwater environments with cool water temperatures ranging between 65°F and 75°F (18°C – 24°C).

To ensure the well-being of sturgeon catfish, it is crucial to maintain proper water conditions in their tanks. Here are some important considerations:

Water Quality

Sturgeon catfish need clean and well-filtered water to stay healthy. A reliable filtration system will help remove impurities and maintain water quality. Ensuring proper oxygenation in the tank is essential for the fish’s respiration.

Regularly monitoring water parameters such as pH levels, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate concentrations is crucial for maintaining a suitable environment for sturgeon catfish. Testing kits are available that can help you keep track of these parameters and make necessary adjustments when needed.

Spacious Tank Design

Creating an appropriate habitat for sturgeon catfish involves considering their natural behavior and providing enough space for movement. A tank set-up for them would comprise of a sand/gravel or coral/rock rubble, which can be aggregated in flanks or balls on sandy bottoms.

This type of tank setup allows the sturgeon catfish to have ample space to swim and explore, mimicking their natural environment in the Amazon basin in South America. The sand or gravel provides a comfortable substrate for them to rest on, while the coral or rock rubble provides hiding spots and adds visual interest to the tank.

Remember, sturgeon catfish have specific tank and water requirements that must be met to ensure their well-being. By understanding these needs and providing suitable conditions, you can create a thriving environment for these fascinating fish.

Sturgeon Catfish Health

Sturgeon catfish are generally hardy, but like any living creature, they can be prone to certain health issues. It’s important for catfish owners to be aware of these potential ailments and take necessary steps to ensure the well-being of their aquatic companions.

Common Ailments

Bacterial and fungal infections are common health concerns for sturgeon catfish. These infections can occur due to poor water quality or inadequate care. Regular monitoring of water conditions is essential to prevent such issues from arising.

Water Quality Checks and Maintenance

Regular water quality checks and maintenance play a crucial role in keeping sturgeon catfish healthy. This involves testing the pH levels, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in the tank. Maintaining proper filtration systems and performing regular water changes help maintain optimal water conditions for the these catfish.

Sturgeon Catfish Diet: Varied Options With Meaty Foods

Sturgeon catfish are known for being opportunistic feeders, meaning they will eat a wide variety of prey in their natural habitat. Their diet consists mainly of fish, crustaceans, insects, and sometimes even small mammals.

It’s essential to provide them with a well-rounded diet to ensure optimal nutrition. They can be fed a combination of meaty foods, live or frozen foods such as fish fillets, shrimp, worms, and pellets specifically formulated for catfish.

To meet their nutritional needs, it is crucial to offer a varied diet. This ensures that they receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals required for healthy growth. A diverse menu also helps prevent boredom and encourages natural feeding behaviors.

Sturgeon catfish can be fed both live and frozen foods. Live feeder fish like minnows or guppies can be provided occasionally as a treat or enrichment activity. Frozen options like fish fillets or shrimp are convenient alternatives that still provide the necessary nutrients.

Pelleted food designed specifically for catfish is another option for feeding sturgeon catfish in captivity. These pellets are formulated to meet their dietary requirements and often contain a balanced mix of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Feeding Frequency

Sturgeon catfish should be fed once or twice daily. It’s important not to overfeed them as this can lead to health issues such as obesity or poor water quality, causing white fungus in their tank.

Remember that each sturgeon catfish has its own preferences. Observing their behavior during feeding times will help you determine what they enjoy most.

Temperament And Tank Mates

Sturgeon catfish, although generally peaceful, can become territorial as they grow larger. It is important to consider their temperament when choosing tank mates for them.

Compatible Tank Mates

Body of a Redtail Catfish
Redtail Catfish

When selecting tank mates for sturgeon catfish, it is crucial to choose species that can tolerate their size and activity level. Here are some compatible options:

  • Large Cyprinids: barbs, danios, or larger tetras can coexist peacefully with sturgeon catfish. These cyprinids are sturdy enough to handle the presence of the sturgeon catfish.
  • Other Large Catfish Species: Sturgeon catfish can be housed with other large catfish species such as Plecos or Redtail Catfish. These fish species have similar sizes and temperaments, making them suitable companions.
  • Non-Aggressive Bottom-Dwelling Fish Species: Certain bottom-dwelling fish like Corydoras or Bristlenose Plecos can make good tank mates for sturgeon catfish. They occupy different areas of the tank and are less likely to compete for resources.

Prey Concerns

It is essential to avoid keeping sturgeon catfish with smaller or more delicate species that may become prey. Sturgeon catfish have a voracious appetite and may view smaller fish as potential meals. Therefore, it is best to steer clear of small tetras, guppies, or other fragile species when considering tank mates for sturgeon catfish.

By carefully selecting compatible tank mates and avoiding prey-like species, you can create a harmonious aquatic community in your aquarium while ensuring the well-being of your sturgeon catfish.

Breeding Sturgeon Catfish

Breeding Sturgeon Catfish can be challenging due to the limited information available on their breeding and spawning in captivity. If you plan to attempt breeding this catfish species, it is recommended to seek guidance from experienced breeders or aquatic experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big are sturgeon catfish?

Sturgeon catfish, scientifically known as Pangasius, can vary in size depending on their age and species. Typically, they grow to be between 2 to 4 feet (60 to 120 centimeters) in length. However, some individuals have been known to reacha even larger sizes, exceeding 6 feet (180 centimeters) in exceptional cases. The size of sturgeon catfish can also be influenced by factors such as diet, habitat, and environmental conditions. These catfish are known for their potential to grow quite large, making them popular in the aquaculture.

Can I keep sturgeon catfish with other fish species?

While sturgeon catfish are generally peaceful, they may prey on smaller fish or disturb those with delicate fins. It is advisable to choose tank mates that are similar in size and temperament to avoid any conflicts.

How often should I feed my sturgeon catfish?

Sturgeon catfish are omnivorous and should be fed a varied diet consisting of high-quality pellets, frozen foods (such as bloodworms), and occasional live foods like worms, small crustaceans or insects. Feed them once or twice daily, taking care not to overfeed as it can lead to health issues.

Can I breed sturgeon catfish in a home aquarium?

Breeding sturgeon catfaish in a home aquarium is challenging and requires specific conditions, including temperature fluctuations and the presence of spawning sites. It is recommended to seek guidance from experienced breeders or aquatic experts if you wish to attempt breeding.

How long do sturgeon catfish live?

Sturgeon catfish can live for several decades with proper care. In ideal conditions, they have been known to live up to 50 years or more, making them a long-term commitment for fish enthusiasts

Image Reference

  • Featured Image – Aqua Imports. Sturio / Zorro Catfish (Platystomatichthys sturio) [Photo]. Shop’s Site. https://www.aqua-imports.com/product/sturio-zorro-catfish/
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