Tiger Shovelnose Catfish 101: Best Detailed Guide (April 2023)

By: Martin McAdam
Updated: February 23, 2022

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish, also called the Chiselnose Catfish, are nocturnal species of catfish that inhabit the Ganges River basins of India and Bangladesh.

This is a rare fish that has only been known from three preserved specimens found in museums worldwide. Informally they are called Tiger Shovelnose Catfish because of the markings on their heads, which resemble the stripes on a tiger's nose.

These fish have a broad, flat head with a long, narrow snout. They are brown or olive and have light markings on their sides. These are bottom-dwelling fish that feeds mainly on insects and other invertebrates. They are schooling fish and live in fast-flowing rivers and streams.

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is a freshwater fish that is found in the United States. This catfish is also known as the Painted Catfish and the Striped Catfish. These are also members of the Ictaluridae family and are related to the Bullhead Catfish and the Channel Catfish.

To know more in detail about this unique creature, let's dig in!

Facts And Characteristics Of Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

This species can be found in the Ganges river basin of India and Bangladesh. Given below are a few essential characteristics of shovelnose catfish.

How do Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Look?

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish has a deep, cylindrical body and a broadhead. They are brown or olive with black spots on their body and fins. They have a long barbel on each side of their head that they use to feel around for food on the bottom of the river.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

They also have a pair of adipose fins (fins without scales that are located between the dorsal fin and the tail) that help them to stay in control while swimming. They have a fork-shaped tail with rounded lobes.

The pectoral fins are large and rounded. They have barbels located near the mouth, which act like feelers. They help the fish to sense its food in the darkness of the rivers where they live.

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish also have two pairs of barbels on their chin, which are similar to the ones near the mouth.

These fish have three sets of paired fins: pectoral, pelvic, and adipose fins located between the dorsal and caudal fins. The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish has a long, slender body and a forked caudal fin.

They have markings on their heads that resemble stripes on a tiger's nose. In addition to this, they have barbels near the mouth that help them in sensing their prey in the river.

The male and female Tiger Shovelnose Catfish look very different from each other. The male has a broad head and a long, narrow snout. His body is deep and elongated. His coloration is brown or olive with light markings on his sides.

He has a large, dark spot on the dorsal fin and a black stripe that runs along his back. The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish male also has a long and slightly curved dorsal and pectoral fin spine that he uses during breeding to hold the female in place while she lays her eggs.

The female looks are very different from the male. She has a flat head and a short, broad snout like an upside-down shovel. Her body is deep and wide. Her coloration is brown or olive with light markings on her sides. She has a small, dark spot on the dorsal fin and a black stripe that runs along her back.

Growth And Lifespan Of Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish lifespan is about ten years in the wild. In captivity, Tiger Shovelnose Catfish have been known to live for up to 15 years. The female lives are longer than the male.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

If given the right conditions, they can live for a long time. The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish can get up to 60 cm (24 in) long, but most are much smaller. They can weigh up to 2 kg (4.4 lb).

Habitat Of Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is commonly found in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains; however, recently, they have managed to migrate into California and other areas west of the Rocky Mountains.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish prefers quiet water with lots of vegetation which makes its home in creeks, swamps, ditches, and sloughs. However, they can be found in these habitats. They also tend to wander out of this habitat and into the bottom of rivers and reservoirs during certain times of the year.

These are insectivorous fish that lives in fast-flowing rivers and streams. Tiger Shovelnose Catfish are not currently classified as an endangered species, although they are very close to being threatened.

Their population has been decreasing due to the destruction of their habitat from deforestation, water pollution from pesticides and industrial waste, and the construction of dams. This fish is currently under review for being classified as threatened or endangered.

This catfish is a schooling fish and is most commonly found in groups of 10-20 fish. They are very social and have been known to school with other species of fish.

It to stay in the top one foot of the water, where they can find the most food. They are timid fish and will usually hide when they see people or other animals.

They like to stay in groups that are made up of the same species, although they will sometimes school with other catfish. When in groups, they have a social order where the largest and most aggressive fish is at the top.

Females will stay in groups with other females, while males will school in a hierarchy system with other males.

Temperament Of Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is a nocturnal fish that hides during the day and comes out to feed at night. They are very active predators and use their barbels to feel around for food on the bottom of the river.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

These fish eat a variety of insects, including mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, beetles, dragonflies, and mollusks. They also eat terrestrial insects that fall into the water during storms.

These are generally shy fish but can be aggressive when they are spawning. Spawning occurs between March and August, depending on where the fish lives.

They love to root around in the mud for food, so it is effortless to catch one at night. It is a very common species to catch on a trotline at night during the summer months.

Breeding Of Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

Like most catfish, Tiger Shovelnose Catfish are long-lived and have low reproductive rates. Tiger Shovelnose Catfish reach sexual maturity after three-five years.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

The male Tiger Shovelnose Catfish has a series of tubercles on the anal and dorsal fins that are similar to those on the female. When spawning, the male Tiger Shovelnose Catfish builds a nest of plant debris with his mouth just under an overhanging bank near plants.

He then attracts a female to the nest with a series of loud vocalizations. The pair spawns by pressing their ventral surfaces together, and the male expels his milt over the eggs.

After spawning, the male guards the nest until the eggs hatch, which usually takes six-ten days. The newly-hatched Tiger Shovelnose Catfish are about 2.5 cm long and are entirely dependent on their parents for food and protection.

The female Tiger Shovelnose Catfish will often lay her eggs in several nests made by different males.

When they are in spawning season, which occurs between March and August depending on where they live, Tiger Shovelnose Catfish prefer to find areas that are protected from the current. They will spawn in schools, and the male will guard the eggs until they hatch.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish Care Guide

To have this fish in your aquarium, you will have to take care of many things. The most important things to be kept in mind while taking care of the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish are as follows:

Feeding Of Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is an insectivorous fish that lives in fast-flowing rivers and streams.

They eat a variety of insects, including mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, beetles, dragonflies, and mollusks. They also eat terrestrial insects that fall into the water during storms.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

Their main diet consists of aquatic insects, but they will also eat small fish, tadpoles, and crayfish. These fishes have very sharp teeth that tear their prey into pieces. They use their barbels to feel around for food on the bottom of the river.

They are known to eat the eggs of other fish, so they are not a good choice for a pet fish. These fish are primarily carnivores and will eat a variety of live and frozen foods.

They prefer to eat foods that move, so you will need to provide them with a lot of live food. Some good options include bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and blackworms. You can also feed them frozen foods such as beef heart, brine shrimp, and krill.

In captivity, you will need to supplement their diet with flake foods and pellets. High-quality flake food and sinking wafers, as well as freeze-dried foods such as krill, tubifex worms, daphnia, and bloodworms, work best. You can also feed them some fruits such as apples and bananas.

It is important that you only feed your fish with the proper sized food for their mouth, or they will not get the right nutrients and may become malnourished.

Required Lighting Condition

Tiger Shovelnose catfish prefer dimly lit and heavily planted tanks with many hiding places. They will feel more comfortable when they have a place to hide to rest or sleep at night.

They require a lot of live plants in their tank because they love to eat them. These fish will also do best if you have a dark substrate and provide dense vegetation around the edges of the tank where they can get shade during the day.

Tank Requirements and Water Parameters

This fish needs a tank that is at least 30 gallons in size, with flowing and clean water. The tank should be decorated with driftwood, rocks, and plants.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

You will also want to provide these fish with hiding spots so that they can rest during the day. You need to have a large tank with small gravel or sand substrate. You should have smooth rocks, driftwood roots, and live plants to create shelter.

If you are keeping this fish in a community aquarium, be sure to keep 2-3 catfish per gallon of water so that they will not feel threatened. You can also keep some bottom-dwelling fish in the tank to reduce aggression between catfish.

The tank must have a strong filter with powerful pumps to keep the water clean and provide enough oxygen to your fish.

You will also want some heater in the tank so that the temperature does not drop too low, but you have to be careful because the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish are very sensitive to changes in temperature.

The tank should have a pH level of 6.5-7.5 and a 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit water temperature. The water parameters of this species are considered difficult to achieve for most hobbyists. The pH level of the water needs to range from 5-to 8

You will need a good filtration system to keep the water clean, as this fish likes to live in fast-flowing rivers and streams.

It should be noted that these fish are not tolerant to changes in water parameters, so you will have to be very careful when making any adjustments.

Tankmates For The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

The tank mates for the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish should be other fish that like to live in a fast-flowing environment.

Schooling fish work best, as they will provide some cover for the catfish. It would help if you avoided aggressive or territorial fish, as they will make life difficult for your catfish.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

The best tank mates for this fish are other Catfish such as the Electric Blue Acara, Neon Tetras, and Serpae Tetras. These fish will not harm your catfish, but they will provide the best cover.

They live peacefully with some types of Cichlids and some types of Barbs. You can also add a Pleco or two to the tank, but they need to be added slowly over time for this to work. If you add them too quickly, your catfish may attack them.

You should avoid adding any bottom-dwelling fish because they will be eaten. You can also add some plants to the tank, but you need to be careful that they are not uprooted by the fast-flowing water.

Yes, these fish tend to be very peaceful when in the right environment. They can be kept alone or with groups of their species. These fish will not harm any tankmates that are small enough to fit in their mouths.

The Tiger Shovelnose catfish can be very territorial and aggressive with members of its species, so keep only one per tank. They also need to be kept in groups of at least 3-5 individuals to feel comfortable.

They can be kept with other peaceful South American species such as the Bristlenose Catfish and Whiptail Cichlids.

Common Possible Diseases And Treatment

This species of fish is very sensitive to water parameters and will be the first to show any signs of disease in your aquarium. They are also susceptible to Ich, so you will need to watch the tank carefully for any signs of this parasite.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

If your fish begins acting differently or stops eating, it may be suffering from a disease. Do not hesitate to treat your fish with medication if you think they are sick. The most common medications used to treat fish diseases are copper sulfate and formalin.

The most common diseases they suffer from are Ich, bacterial infections, and fungal infections.

Ich is a very common parasitic disease that can be fatal if not treated. It is caused by the Ichthyophthirius multifiliis parasite and causes small white spots on the fish's body.

To treat this disease, you will need to purchase a medication that contains malachite green. Copper sulfate is also commonly used.

Bacterial infections cause areas on the fish's body to become red and inflamed and can be very serious if not treated.

The bacteria will grow much faster when the environment in the tank is poor, so it is important to keep the water quality high. To treat a bacterial infection, you will need to use a medication that contains erythromycin.

Fungal infections are caused by a fungus and can be very difficult to treat. The fungus will often form a white film on the fish's body. To treat a fungal infection, you will need to use a medication that contains miconazole.

Other common symptoms to watch for are rapid gilling, lack of appetite, and lethargy.

To protect them from getting infected, you should always quarantine any new fish before adding them to your main tank. You can also keep a few doses of medication on hand in case of an emergency.

Are Tiger Shovelnose Catfish An Endangered Species Of Fish?

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish has many threats that it faces daily. These fish are under review to be classified as either threatened or endangered, but currently, they are considered vulnerable.

Their population has been decreasing due to the destruction of their habitat from deforestation, water pollution, pesticides, industrial waste, and the construction of dams.

There are no specific laws to protect the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish, but they are listed as a species that needs to be monitored. They are currently listed as vulnerable due to their decreasing population but do not have any specific reason for this decrease.

How Can We Protect Tiger Shovelnose Catfish From Being Extinct?

There is not much that we can do at this point except continue monitoring the fish and take steps to reduce environmental impacts. There has been a lot of progress made so far, but this species still needs protection.

The best way to do so is to make sure that we reduce our impact on the environment and preserve their natural habitat. We can also educate people about the importance of these fish and how they are affected by environmental degradation.

Raising awareness is one of the most important things we can do to help protect this species.


If you are looking for an interesting new fish to keep, Tiger Shovelnose Catfish might be a perfect choice. Overall, they are relatively easy to fish to care for and will add a new dimension to your aquarium.

Just be sure to have plenty of vegetation in the tank when you first get them so they can find a hiding spot at night. This way, they will feel safe and comfortable.


AquaMarinePower.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their aquatic friends. However, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

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