Large Hybrid Catfish: Good dreams or nightmare?


    Amazonian or Predatory fish lovers; are you aware that varieties of large catfish available are still expanding? Recently, we’ve seen some new and special hybrid catfish being offered in Thai Market and said to have been exported worldwide.

    These shocking crossbreeds have been and are being developed by a Thai fish farm known as ‘Skyfarm’. They are not a result of an accident or neither a natural hybrids, but these fishes are being hybridized on purpose. The breeder adopted the technique called “artificial insemination”, then put the fertilized eggs in the hatchery. Most of them are hybrids between members of different genus and/or collected from different locality. Some are relatively common such as a cross between Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) and Tiger Shovelnose (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum). This hybrid has been available in the market for many years. They are inexpensive and are can be bought in numbers.

    Pangasius sanitwongsei X Zungaro zungaro
    Pangasius sanitwongsei X Zungaro zungaro

    Some of these cross, however, are just shocking! Let’s imagine a crossbreed between Tiger Shovelnose (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) and Zebra Shovelnose Catfish (Brachyplatystoma tigrinum). Skyfarm named this one a ‘Zebra King’. Offspring of the two gave wide varieties of result. Some look like their mother, some similar to their father, others are somewhere in between. In the ‘Zebra King’ the colorations is darker then the Zebra Shovelnose, but brighter than the Tiger Shovelnose. These fishes look much better in a tank than in a pond.

    The most extreme hybrid that I’ve ever seen is the cross between two Giants. One is the Giant Pangasius (Pangasius sanitwongsei) from Chaopraya and Mekong River in Thailand and another being the Jau Catfish (Zungaro zungaro) from the Amazon basin. No need to ponder whether this cross is a natural hybrid! Even with artificial insemination, the breeder said they requires much luck. There are many factors involved for it to happen. No one can guarantee whether the result will a successful. Sometimes they got lucky only once and had never been successful with the same cross since.


    These fish aren’t for anyone since it will develop into a substantial size. People who brought them back home should be aware of their size when fully mature and make sure they can provide what’s needed to keep a large fish. Some of these cross are still too small to predict how they will turn out as an adult. Some are extremely unusual that it’s hard to guess what it’ll looks like years from now. So let’s keep fingers crossed that these little fish will grow up to be an interesting monster. We will keep you posted!