Goliath tigerfish Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: November 2, 2022

The Goliath tigerfish is a freshwater fish that is native to Africa. It is the largest member of the genus Datnioides, reaching a length of up to 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) and a weight of up to 70 kilograms (150 pounds).

The Goliath tigerfish is a predator that is known for its large size, ferocious appetite, and sharp teeth. It is a popular game fish and is also kept in aquariums.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Goliath tigerfish care. You’ll learn about their diet, size, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The Goliath tigerfish (scientific name: Hydrocynus goliath) is a freshwater fish that’s native to the Congo River basin in Africa.

As their name suggests, these fish are absolutely massive! They can grow up to six feet long and weigh up to 180 pounds.

Due to their size and ferocity, Goliath tigerfish are apex predators in their native habitat. They have been known to attack and eat animals as large as crocodiles!

In the aquarium trade, these fish are much sought after by collectors. However, they are very difficult to keep in captivity and are not recommended for beginners.


Goliath tigerfish

The Goliath tigerfish is an absolutely massive freshwater fish that is native to certain parts of Africa. These fish can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh over 200 pounds!

The body of the Goliath tigerfish is long, thin, and torpedo-shaped. This helps them cut through the water with ease and gives them the speed they need to hunt down their prey.

The coloration of these fish can vary quite a bit depending on where they come from. In general, they are a dark brown or olive color with tiger-like stripes running down their sides.

These stripes can be quite light or very dark and really stand out against the background color of the fish.

The fins on the Goliath tigerfish are relatively large and provide them with a lot of maneuverability. The dorsal fin is tall and starts about two-thirds of the way back on the body.

The caudal fin is forked and extends back quite a bit. The anal fin is also tall and starts just behind the dorsal fin.

The Goliath tigerfish has a large mouth that is filled with razor-sharp teeth. These teeth are so sharp that they have been known to cut through steel wire!


The Goliath tigerfish is a large and aggressive predatory fish. It is native to the Congo River basin in Africa. It is the largest member of the tigerfish clan, a group of closely related African freshwater fish.

The Goliath tigerfish is a voracious predator, feeding on a wide range of smaller fish, including other tigerfish. It is known to hunt in packs, using its sharp teeth to tear flesh from its prey.

The Goliath tigerfish has an average lifespan of 10 years in the wild.


The Goliath tigerfish can grow up to 5.9 feet (1.8 m) long and weigh up to 154 lb (70 kg).


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for a Goliath tigerfish is 500 gallons. This is due to their large size and their active swimming habits. If you want to keep more than one Goliath tigerfish in the same tank, you’ll need to add at least another 500 gallons for each fish.

Water Parameters

The Goliath tigerfish is a freshwater predator native to the Congo River basin. It’s a large and powerful fish that can grow up to 5 feet in length and weigh over 100 pounds.

In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving rivers and lakes with murky water. The water is typically warm, between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.5.

In captivity, you’ll need to provide similar water conditions. That means a large tank with a good filter and plenty of hiding places.

You should also aim to replicate the Goliath tigerfish’s natural diet as closely as possible. That includes live fish, frozen fish, and commercial pellets designed for carnivores.

  • Water Temperature: 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: Not applicable
  • Alkalinity Levels: Not applicable

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to setting up the inside of an aquarium for Goliath Tigerfish 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 Goliath Tigerfish 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

Goliath tigerfish are definitely a tough breed. They’re not immune to disease, but they don’t seem to fall ill as often as other freshwater species.

The most common illness that these fish experience is probably ich. This is a parasites that can affect any fish, but it seems to be particularly common in tigerfish.

The good news is that ich is usually fairly easy to treat. You can find a variety of ich treatments at your local pet store (just make sure to get one that’s safe for use with tigerfish).

The other disease that you might see in your Goliath tigerfish is hole-in-the-head disease. This is another fairly common freshwater disease, but it seems to be particularly prevalent in tigerfish.

This disease is caused by poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in the tank. It will present itself as one or two pits/holes in the skin of your fish’s head.

While hole-in-the-head disease is almost always curable, it will usually leave some scarring on your poor fish.

The best way to prevent diseases in your Goliath tigerfish is to maintain a clean and stable tank. This will go a long way in keeping your fish healthy and disease-free.

Behavior & Temperament

The Goliath tigerfish is a large, aggressive, and predatory freshwater fish that is native to the rivers of Africa. It is the largest member of the tigerfish family, and can grow to be up to six feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds.

Goliath tigerfish are known for their voracious appetites, and will eat just about anything they can fit into their mouths, including other fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

These fish are not for the faint of heart, and are only recommended for experienced aquarists who are comfortable with large, aggressive fish. If you are thinking about keeping a Goliath tigerfish, be sure to do your research and be prepared for a feisty fish that will need a lot of space.

Tank Mates

The Goliath tigerfish is a top predator in the wild. As a result, it’s not compatible with most species. In fact, there are very few fish that can coexist peacefully with a Goliath tigerfish.

The good news is that the Goliath tigerfish is mostly a solitary creature. In the wild, it’s not often that you’ll find them in groups. This is also true in the home aquarium.

For the most part, the Goliath tigerfish will stick to itself. It’s not an especially active fish, so it won’t swim all over the place and bother other fish.

The only time you might have an issue is if you have other top predators in the tank. These fish are known to be highly territorial. If two Goliath tigerfish meet, they will most likely fight to the death.

Other than that, the only real tank mate options are other Goliath tigerfish. If you want to keep more than one, it’s best to introduce them to the tank at the same time. This will help reduce the risk of aggression.


The Goliath tigerfish is one of the most feared and respected predators in the world. These massive fish can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh over 200 pounds!

Despite their size and reputation, Goliath tigerfish are actually pretty easy to breed in captivity. Here’s what you need to know:

Goliath tigerfish reach maturity at around 3 years of age. Spawning usually occurs during the wet season in their natural habitat (which is the Congo River basin).

In captivity, you can trigger spawning by making some changes to the water conditions. The first thing you need to do is lower the water level by about 20 percent. Then, raise the temperature to around 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

After a few days, you should start to see the female lay her eggs. She’ll deposit them on any available surfaces, including the glass, plants, and decorations.

Once the eggs have been laid, the male will fertilize them and start to guard them. He’ll stay with them until they hatch, which takes about 2 weeks.

Once the fry have hatched, you can start to feed them live foods. Baby brine shrimp and bloodworms are a good place to start. As they grow, you can switch to larger foods like live fish and frogs.

Goliath tigerfish can be a bit tricky to care for, but they are well worth the effort. These amazing fish make a great addition to any freshwater aquarium.


The Goliath Tigerfish is a truly impressive fish. They can grow to be over 4 feet long and weigh over 100 pounds!

Despite their size, they are actually relatively easy to take care of. Of course, you’ll need a pretty large tank to accommodate them, but other than that they are relatively low maintenance.

If you’re looking for a fish that will really make a statement in your tank, the Goliath Tigerfish is a great option. Just be sure you’re prepared for their size before you commit to one!