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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • River Scout

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in fresh bodies of water in South America, primarily in the Amazon, Essequibo and Orinoco River basins.
  • Found in broad range of habitats such as rapids and flooded forests, but prefers deep pools in rivers.

Physical Characteristics

  • Arrow-shaped body, flattened belly, a strikingly red laterally flattened tail and long barbels for foraging.
  • Has a dark grey coloration on the top of the body and white under the mouth and white stripe on the side.
  • Juvenile is dark grey with complete white belly.
  • Common length of 24 inches (60 cm); Max length of 4 feet (1.35 m).
  • Max published weight of 97.4 lbs. (44.2 kg).

Diet / Feeding

  • An omnivorous species. Diet consists primarily of smaller fish, crabs, crustaceans, fruits and seeds that fall into the water.

Reproduction / Growth

  • An oviparous, or egg-laying, species.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Also known as “South American Red Tailed Catfish” and “Banana Fish.”
  • Non-schooling, solitary and territorial fish.
  • Has been introduced into North American waters, where such bio-invasions have done irreparable harm to native ecosystems.