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

Updated: November 29, 2022

The Indonesian tigerfish is a freshwater fish that is native to Indonesia. It is a predatory fish that can grow to be quite large, making it an impressive addition to any aquarium.

This fish is relatively easy to care for, but there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to Indonesian tigerfish care. In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know in order to keep your Indonesian tigerfish healthy and happy.

Species overview

The Indonesian tigerfish (Datnioides pulcher) is a freshwater fish that is native to Indonesia. It is also known as the false datnioid, the tiger datnoid, and the Sumatran tigerfish.

This fish is found in slow-moving rivers and streams with a sandy bottom and plenty of vegetation. It is an ambush predator, meaning that it lies in wait for its prey before attacking.

The Indonesian tigerfish is a popular aquarium fish due to its unique appearance. It is silver-gray in color with black stripes running down its body. It can grow to be about 12 inches long.

This fish is not recommended for beginners, as it can be aggressive toward other fish and is difficult to care for.


Indonesian tigerfish

The Indonesian tigerfish is a freshwater fish that is native to Indonesia. As the name suggests, this fish has black stripes that run vertically down its body.

These stripes are a bit wider at the fish’s head and taper down as they reach the tail. The background color of the fish can be anything from light brown to almost black.

The fins on this fish are relatively small compared to the rest of its body. The dorsal fin is slightly taller than the anal fin and both of these fins have a black margin.

The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical. The Indonesian tigerfish also has a pair of barbels near its mouth that it uses to help find food.

This fish has a long and slender body that is built for speed. The Indonesian tigerfish is a predatory fish that preys on smaller fish and invertebrates.


In the wild, the Indonesian tigerfish lifespan is only about 3 years. This is due to the fact that they’re constantly under threat from predators.

In captivity however, they can live up to 10 years with proper care. This is a huge difference and highlights the importance of providing them with a good home.


The average fully-grown Indonesian tigerfish size is between 24 and 36 inches long. Some tigerfish have been known to grow even larger than this, but it is not common. Females are typically smaller than males and can reach a length of about 30 inches.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for an Indonesian tigerfish is 150 gallons.

This fish is a predator and will need a lot of space to swim. They also grow to be quite large, so make sure you have a tank that can accommodate their full size.

Water Parameters

The Indonesian tigerfish is a freshwater fish that is native to the island of Sumatra. It is a tropical fish that prefers water temperatures between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH level of the water should be between 6.5 and 7.5 and the water should be soft to medium in hardness.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to the Indonesian tigerfish is that it is a predatory fish. This means that it will need a lot of space to swim and plenty of hiding places. It is also important to remember that this fish will eat smaller fish, so be sure to only keep it with fish that are too large to be eaten.

  • Water Temperature: 77-82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 6.5-7.5
  • Water Hardness: Soft to medium
  • Alkalinity Levels: n/a

What To Put In Their Tank

Indonesian tigerfish are one of the most aggressive freshwater fish you can keep. They’re also one of the most beautiful.

These fish come from fast-moving rivers and streams so they’re used to a lot of water movement. Because of this, you’re going to need a pretty powerful filter.

We recommend something along the lines of a canister filter with a flow rate of at least 400 GPH. This will help keep the water well-oxygenated and provide a good amount of water movement.

As for the substrate, these fish don’t really care. You can use gravel, sand, or even bare-bottom if you want.

When it comes to plants, you might be better off avoiding them. These fish are known to uproot and eat vegetation, so unless you’re okay with replacing plants on a regular basis we recommend avoiding them.

Rocks, caves, and driftwood are all great choices for decorations. Just make sure they’re securely in place so they don’t get uprooted (and potentially hurt your fish).

Common Diseases

There are a few diseases that you need to watch out for if you’re keeping Indonesian tigerfish.

The most common one is Whitespot Disease, which is caused by a parasite called ich. This will show itself as white spots on the body, fish, and gills of your fish.

We won’t do a full ich treatment guide here (there are plenty of those online) but it’s something you need to take very seriously if it affects your Indonesian tigerfish.

The other disease you need to be aware of is Hole-in-the-Head Disease. This is a rather gruesome looking illness that stems from poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in your tank.

This will present itself as one or two pits/holes in the skin of your fish’s head. While it’s almost always curable (fixing your water quality and removing activated carbon is usually all you need to do), it will usually leave some scarring on your poor fish!

Behavior & Temperament

The Indonesian tigerfish is a predatory fish that is known for being aggressive and territorial. In the wild, these fish live in rivers and lakes where they hunt for smaller fish to eat.

In an aquarium setting, they can be just as aggressive. They are known to attack other fish, and they may even try to eat smaller fish than they can fit in their mouths.

For this reason, it’s best to keep Indonesian tigerfish with other fish that are too large to be seen as prey. They are also known to be aggressive towards other tigerfish, so it’s best to keep them in pairs or groups.

When it comes to their temperament, Indonesian tigerfish are not the easiest fish to get along with. They can be aggressive and territorial, and they need a lot of space to swim.

Tank Mates

The Indonesian tigerfish is a predatory fish that is not recommended for the home aquarium. These fish grow to be large, and they are known to be aggressive.

They are also known to eat smaller fish, so it is important that you choose tank mates carefully.

Some good choices for Indonesian tigerfish tank mates include:

  • Catfish
  • Plecos
  • Tetras
  • Barbs
  • Danios
  • Rainbows
  • Gouramis
  • Cherry Shrimp


The Indonesian tigerfish is a beautiful and unique species that is native to the island of Java. While not the easiest fish to breed in captivity, it can be done with some patience and knowledge.

The first step is to set up a breeding tank. This should be a large tank, at least 100 gallons, with a sandy bottom. The water should be clean and well-filtered. The temperature should be kept between 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, you need to add some plants and hiding places. Indonesian tigerfish like to have a lot of places to hide. Driftwood, rocks, and caves are all good options.

Once the tank is set up, you can add the fish. You will need at least one male and one female. These fish can be aggressive, so it’s best to keep them in a group.

The next step is to trigger spawning. The best way to do this is to lower the water level by about 10 percent. This will trigger the fish to start breeding.

Once the fish start breeding, you will see the female lay eggs in a hidden area of the tank. The male will then fertilize the eggs.

After the eggs are fertilized, the male will guard them. The eggs will hatch in about two weeks.

Once the fry have hatched, you can remove the adults from the tank. The fry will feed on small insects and larvae. You can also give them commercial fry food.

As they grow, you can start to introduce them to live food.


The Indonesian Tigerfish is a beautiful and intriguing fish that is sure to add some excitement to your aquarium.

While they may be challenging to care for, we think it’s worth the effort to have such a unique and stunning fish in your collection.

As long as you are prepared to provide them with the proper care, we think you’ll be very happy with these fish.