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Tandanus tandanus (Mitchell, 1838)

Image contributors to this species:

Barrie Gill (1) Charles Thoms (1) Mecodsout (1) Allan James (1)

ScotCat Sources:

Factsheet Art Gallery Etymology = Genus

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory


Relevant Information:

Head large; thick and fleshy lips; nostrils tubular. First dorsal fin high, with a strong serrated spine and 6 rays. Skin tough and smooth. Body coloration in adults vary from olive-green to brown, black or purplish dorsally and white ventrally. Urogenital papilla triangular in females; longer and cylindrical in males. Adults inhabit slow moving streams, lakes and ponds with fringing vegetation. They swim close to sand or gravel bottoms. More abundant in lakes than in flowing water. They are usually solitary but juveniles sometimes form loose aggregations. Aquarium Care: It may come as a surprise that for such a large fish (90cm) they are quite suited for an aquarium as juveniles and can become quite tame in captivity. I would of course not house them with small fish and you would be looking for a larger tank of 4ft and above to accommodate them. The size of 90cm is of course the size they grow to in their natural habitat and they will grow only to about half (45cm) this size in an aquarium, so housing them with larger Characins and or Cichlids could work but I would be more inclined to house even a pair of them by themselves. They are not overly territorial but I would include some retreats for them with safely constructured rockwork. These fish are great escape artists so make sure you have a properly constructed lid for your tank. Diet: Mainly bottom-feeders and feed on insect larvae, prawns, crayfish, mollusks, and small fishes. Breeding: Occurs between spring and mid-summer when water temperatures rise to between 20° and 24°C. One word of warning with these fish, as with most cats of the Plotisidae family, is their very sharp dorsal and pectoral spines. Remarks: Update April 2013: Tandanus tandanus are now protected in South Australia and Victoria and NSW fisheries has recognised the Murray-Darling Basin population to be endangered.

Common Name:

Eel-tailed Catfish, Jewfish, Tandan


Plotosus tandanus




Australia, in the Murray-Darling basin in North Western Victoria and Western New South Wales. Type locality: Lagoon near Tangulda, Namoi River, New South Wales; river between Gwydir River and MacIntyre River, New South Wales.


90cm. (36ins)


15-30°C (57-87°F)




ScotCat Factsheet no. 49. July 2000.
Allen, G.R., S.H. Midgley and M. Allen 2002 Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth, Western Australia. 394 p.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Rogers, Louissa; pers comm. April 2013.



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