of all this is not an aquarium care sheet for this
species as the "Mekong giant catfish" does
not belong in the home aquarium, as this is one of
the worlds largest freshwater fish and as such should
be admired from afar!
It was reported in 2003 that
Pangasianodon gigas is in itself getting to
a critical point of extinction due to the growing
pressure by fisheries, damming, and habitat destruction
along the banks in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
This is also true of a lot of other species that
exist in this great river as more and more people
rely on the Megong for their livliehood.
Like many species in the
Mekong, the giant catfish needs great stretches
of the river to migrate seasonally—and it
must have specific water quality and flow to move
through its lifecycles of spawning, eating, and
shows one of the greatest growth rates for any fish
in the world, reaching 150 to 200kg in 6 years.
The "Mekong giant catfish"
has been re-listed as Critically Endangered because
there is information which indicates that populations
of the fish have declined significantly over the
past several years.
There are game fishing trips
for catching this large species (above) but these
are rereleased back into their habitat and the records
that they record can help to identify what condition
and numbers there are at that present moment in
gigas , Pangasius paucidens
Endemic to the Mekong basin where it has become rare
due to overexploitation. International trade
banned (CITES I, since 1.7.1975; CMS Appendix I).
Dorsal spines (total): 2 -
2; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7 - 8; Anal soft rays:
35; Vertebrae: 48. Body without stripes; posterior
nostril located near anterior nostril; 7 branched
dorsal-fin rays; gill rakers rudimentary or absent.
The center of the eye above the horizontal line through
the mouth angle in juveniles; eye totally below the
level of mouth angle in subadults and adults. The
maxillary and mandibulary pairs of barbels well developed
in juveniles; mandibulary barbels become rudimentary
in subadults and adults. Gigantic size; oral teeth
and gill rakers present in small juveniles, absent
at about 30-50 cm SL; dorsal, pelvic and pectoral
fins without filamentous extensions.
Silver to grey body. Fins grey,
never black. Yellow underbelly and same colour to
Care & Compatibility
Not an aquarium specimen.
Little is known
on its general pattern of life and migratory journeys
Females are fuller in the body.
Feeds on vegetation and insect
larvae in the river but takes other food in captivity.
Structure on the upper portion of the gill arches. Mandibularybarbels:
Pertaining to the lower jaw. (mandibular barbels).
Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels).
Pangasianodon: Pangasius +
an (Greek for without)+odon (Greek for tooth); in
reference to the toothless state of the adult fish. gigas:Latin meaning
R. and D. Pauly.
Editors. 2006. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic
publication. www.fishbase.org, version (05/2006). National Geographic: Giant Catfish
Critically Endangered. Ryan Mitchell and David Braun
National Geographic News November 18, 2003. Rainboth, WJ, 1996. Fishes of the
Cambodian Mekong. FAO Species Identification Field
Guide for Fishery Purposes. FAO, Rome, p153.