Giant Pikehead Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Giant Pikehead is an absolutely massive freshwater fish that can reach lengths of up to 4 feet!

They’re native to South America and are found in slow-moving rivers and streams.

These fish are definitely not for beginners. Not only do they require a very large tank, but they’re also very aggressive and need to be kept with other aggressive fish.

But if you’re up for the challenge, then read on! We’ll teach you everything you need to know about Giant Pikehead care.

Species overview

Giant Pikeheads (scientific name: Luciocephalus auritus) are a species of fish that is found in the freshwater rivers and lakes of Borneo.

They have a very wide and flat head, which is where they get their name. This unique feature gives them a very distinct look that is unlike any other fish in the world.

Giant Pikeheads are a relatively new species to the aquarium trade, but they have quickly become a popular choice for many fish keepers.

One of the things that makes them so popular is their large size. They can grow up to 2 feet in length, which is much larger than most other freshwater fish.

Another reason why they are so popular is because of their unique appearance. As we mentioned before, their wide and flat head is something that really sets them apart from other fish.


Giant Pikehead

The Giant Pikehead is an absolutely massive freshwater fish. Fully grown, they can reach lengths of up to 10 feet (3 meters) and weigh over 200 pounds (90 kg).

Their bodies are long and slender with a jaw that extends outwards quite a bit. This gives them a bit of an underbite which looks pretty funny.

The Giant Pikehead’s dorsal fin is large and starts about halfway back on their body. This fin is similar in shape to the dorsal fin of a shark.

Their anal fin is much smaller and located closer to the end of their body.

The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical.

The Giant Pikehead’s body is covered in large, scales that have a rough texture. These scales are a dark brown or black in color.

The Giant Pikehead is an apex predator and their diet consists mostly of other fish.


The lifespan of a Giant Pikehead is around 10 years. This is a pretty long time for a fish, especially one that gets as big as this species can.

Like all other fish, though, there are a number of things that can impact the Giant Pikehead lifespan. Poor water quality, for example, can cause a number of health problems that can lead to an early death.

Stress is also a big factor. If these fish are constantly harassed by other tank mates or don’t have a good place to hide, they can get very stressed out. That stress can shorten their lifespan considerably.


Giant pikeheads can grow to be quite large, upwards of 2 feet in length! As a result, they need a fairly large tank to accommodate their size. They also require plenty of hiding places and places to swim.


Tank Size

The recommended tank size for a Giant Pikehead is 120 gallons. This is for a single fish, so if you’re looking to keep more than one you’ll need to accommodate for that additional space.

You might be able to get away with a smaller tank if you have a good filtration system and do regular water changes, but we don’t recommend it. These fish are messy eaters and will produce a lot of waste. The larger the tank, the easier it will be to keep the water quality high.

Water Parameters

The Giant Pikehead is a freshwater fish that is native to the Amazon River basin.

In the wild, they are found in slow-moving waters with a sandy substrate and plenty of hiding places.

They are a relatively peaceful fish but can be territorial with their own species.

The Giant Pikehead is a hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. However, for optimal health, it is best to maintain the following water parameters.

  • Water Temperature: 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 6.5-7.5
  • Water Hardness: 2-20 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to setting up the inside of an aquarium for Giant Pikeheads you can be as creative as you want. There aren’t any specific things that this species NEEDS to have, which gives you plenty of options.

We recommend some of the standard decorations that you find in a lot of freshwater tanks. There are a ton of great plants you can include (like hornwort or water wisteria). You can even throw in some floating aquarium plants too!

Rocks, driftwood, and caves are all suitable as well. It’s important to avoid going overboard with this since these fish like some room to swim.

Also, if you’re keeping your Giant Pikeheads in a smaller tank then it’s going to be difficult to include a lot of this stuff anyway.

A classic gravel substrate is always a good choice, but you can do with something soft and sandy if needed too (use other species you keep as a guide with this).

Common Diseases

The Giant Pikehead is a pretty hearty fish, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sick. Just like any other animal, they are susceptible to disease and infection if they are not in a healthy environment.

One of the most common diseases that affects this species is Ich. Ich is a pretty well-known fish disease and it’s pretty easy to spot. The most obvious symptom is the presence of white spots on the body of your fish.

If you notice this, it’s important to take action immediately. Ich is pretty easy to treat if it’s caught early, but it can be fatal if it’s left unchecked.

Another disease to look out for is Hole in the Head. This is another pretty common disease that can affect a variety of fish species. It’s caused by poor water quality and is characterized by, you guessed it, holes in the head of your fish.

This disease is also pretty easy to treat if it’s caught early. However, it can also be pretty damaging to your fish if it’s left untreated.

As always, the best way to prevent these diseases is to maintain a high level of water quality in your tank. A healthy environment is the key to happy and healthy fish.

Behavior & Temperament

The Giant Pikehead is a peaceful fish that is perfect for a community tank. It is not an aggressive fish and will not bother other fish in the tank. The only time you will see this fish become aggressive is if it is protecting its fry.

The Giant Pikehead is a shy fish and will often hide among the plants in the tank. It is important to provide this fish with plenty of hiding places.

The Giant Pikehead is a slow swimmer and does not require a lot of space to swim. It is important to provide this fish with a tank that has plenty of plants and hiding places.

Tank Mates

Giant pikeheads are peaceful fish that can get along with most tank mates. They’re not aggressive and tend to leave other fish alone.

The only time you might have issues is if you keep them with smaller fish. Pikeheads are known to eat small fish, so it’s best to avoid any that will fit in their mouth.

Other than that, these fish are compatible with most community tank fish. Some good tank mates for a giant pikehead include:


The Giant Pikehead is an egg-laying fish. The female will lay a large number of eggs (around 500), which the male will then fertilize. After that, the male will guard the eggs until they hatch.

The fry are tiny when they first hatch, so you’ll need to be very careful when you’re feeding them. They’re not able to eat much, so you’ll need to start with very small meals. As they grow, you can increase the size of their meals.

One thing to be aware of is that the Giant Pikehead is a slow-growing fish. It can take up to two years for them to reach full size.


The Giant Pikehead is a beautiful fish that is sure to make a statement in your tank. They have a unique look that will definitely turn some heads, but they’re also relatively easy to care for.

As with any fish, there are some things you’ll need to be aware of to make sure they stay healthy and happy. But overall, we think they’re a great choice for anyone looking for a new and exciting addition to their aquarium.