Care Level: Easy
Minimum Tank Size: 220 Gallons
Water Conditions: 72-80° F, KH 5-15, pH 6.0-7.8
Max. Size: 28″
Color Form: Brown, Tan
The Giraffe Nosed Catfish is a large African catfish species that is known as a “gentle giant” because of its peaceful disposition. While their peaceful nature makes them suitable tank mates for a wide variety of other fish, their large size means they are better suited to be housed with other large peaceful to semi-aggressive tank mates. They can grow upwards of 36 inches long in the wild, but tend to reach sizes between 20 to 28 inches in length within the aquarium environment. Their natural habitat extends throughout a massive range that includes much of Africa, which means that they have learned to adapt to a variety of water conditions. This adaptability also makes the Giraffe Nosed Catfish a good aquarium species for hobbyists with very large aquariums. At 2 feet in length and with a large body mass, the Giraffe Nosed Catfish is still a very large fish that produces a lot of bio-load for aquarium filters to process. In the wild they are found living in very large rift lakes and large river systems whose large volume of water is able to properly support large fish species. In the home aquarium it is vitally important to provide a strong filter system capable of processing both the mechanical and biological filtration needs of such a large fish.
Simply put the Giraffe Nosed Catfish is a very large fish that has all of the same needs as other large bottom dwelling species. First off they need to be housed in a large aquarium that will provide them with adequate swimming areas, places to seek cover when threatened and with a sufficiently large water volume to support their filtration needs. Giraffe Nosed Catfish prefers aquarium decors with a soft sandy substrate, areas with rock piles, large pieces of drift or bog wood and plenty of open swimming areas. Their large size makes plants and tall pieces of wood or other similar aquarium decor items impractical, as the Giraffe Nosed Catfish will knock them down or move them about the aquarium with its sheer bulk. Their natural habitat tends to be in murky waters that do not have bright lighting, thus they prefer similar conditions in the home aquarium with medium to low lighting conditions and moderate to low water flow. Filtration needs to be excellent in order to keep up with the bio-load produced by such a large specimen. The aquarium should be turned over approximately 6 to 8 times per hour with a filter containing excellent mechanical and biological performance. Large canister systems, bead / sand filters and wet / dry filters are ideal filtration options as they are well suited for breaking down large amounts of fish waste. While canister, sand and wet/dry filters are efficient biological filters, they produce large amounts of nitrates that will need to be removed from the closed aquarium system. The easiest way to lower nitrate levels is to perform partial water changes, where between 20 to 30 percent of the water is changed every 2 to 4 weeks depending on the overall biological load on the aquarium.
The Giraffe Nosed Catfish is not a fussy eater and will readily consume a wide variety of meaty and vegetable based foods. They should be offered a varied diet to ensure that they receive a balanced diet of vitamins and minerals needed to support a healthy immune system. They can be fed a variety of commercial foods designed for large freshwater fish species, bottom dwellers and catfish, which typically include large pellets, wafers and frozen or freeze-dried pieces. Meaty foods like shrimp, krill, feeder fish and small crustaceans will also make ideal foodstuffs for this and other large bottom dwellers. The Giraffe Nosed Catfish should typically be fed twice a day an amount that they will consume within a few minutes. While they will accept many more feedings per day, this will cause them to grow rapidly and may also adversely effect the aquarium water quality unless the filtration system is up to the task.