African Tiger Fish


Fish Crazy
Jan 30, 2006
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Common name(s): African Tiger Fish, ATF, Tiger Fish

Scientific Name: Hydrocynus vittatus, or Hydrocynus forsksahlii (Slimmer and yellowish tail)

Family: Alestiidae

Origin: Africa

Size: 18 - 32 inches in captivity. Between the two species, ATFs can grow to over four - five feet, but in aquariums, less than half to about half of that is expected at the maximum.

Minimum Tank Size: 125 US gallons - 6' long minimum (the longer, the better!)

Care: Let's take in mind the enclosure first; because of this fish's strength, speed, and size, a very large tank is important. I've successfully kept a small one in an 80 Gallon, but when he gets larger, he'll need much more room... I would suggest 125 at a bare minimum. The bigger the better. A 240 or more would be reasonable. The reason such a tank is needed is because these fish can seriously hurt themselves by running into the glass if it is too small of an area. Within your large tank, large plants (like swords) and larger-sized tankmates (bottom dwellers - NOT mid-dwellers) are okay, but rocks, sharp objects, and other hard objects are to be left out. A tiger fish can fatally wound itself if running into objects as hard as rocks or as sharp as, i don't know, a sharp rock. This is especially true when they hunt. When attacking its prey, they're likely to charge at it seemingly full force. Whatever is behind it's prey, the tiger fish will most likely run into. Don't under-estimate the power these fish output. Standard lighting, heating and filtration is clearly necessary. Keep a good cover on the top of the tank. These fish are very gutsy jumpers if they need to be. Substrate type is unimportant, as these fish are mid-dwellers. Keep water chemistry in good quality (common sense). Nitrites and nitrates should be an attempted zero, and try to keep pH steady at 7.2 to 7.6. Never forget water changes weekly and clean out any leftover "fish-bits" that the ATF hasn't eaten. It is recommended here and there to keep them in small shoals - 5 minimum.

Feeding: Guppies, Ghost Shrimp, Rosy Reds... ...etc. Do not dump feeder fish straight in from the store, quarantine them long enough until you can tell they are safe to feed. Some ATF owners have swayed their fish to eat non-live meaty food, but a lot of ATFs will not eat unless their food is "fun" and hard to catch - it seems that they like a challenge, and would get bored eating prepared or frozen foods.

Sexing: No physical determination.

Breeding: Unknown in captivity





See also: Google image search: :sly: ATFs!!!!!! B)



Leader of the Fishes
Feb 8, 2003
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There are actually 6 species within the Hydrocynus genus of which only two are imported with any frequency, these are Hydrocynus vitattus and Hydrocynus forsksahlii though some scientists now believe these could be morphs of the same species meaining H.forsksahlii would be the valid name. Hydrocynus goliath are almost never imported and virtually all specimins of H.goliath turn out to be one of the above fish. Hydrocynus vitattus is by far the most commonly imported species, H.forsksahlii are slimmer and have a more yellow colouration in the tail.

The remaining species are

Hydrocynus brevis
Hydrocynus somonorum
Hydrocynus tanzaniae

none of which are knowingly imported.

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