Hydrocynus goliath, also known as the goliath tigerfish, giant tigerfish, or Mbenga, is a huge African predatory freshwater fish of the family Alestidae.

Goliath Tigerfish

When your name is Goliath, you’d better be one humongous, ferocious creature, and the Goliath tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath) lives up to its moniker. A native of the Congo River basin, the Lualaba River, Lake Upemba, and Lake Tanganyika in Africa, it’s the largest member of the tigerfish clan, a genus of fierce predators with protruding, daggerlike teeth. The biggest one on record was nearly 5 feet long and weighed 154 pounds, the equivalent of a super-welterweight prizefighter. And it outclasses other African game fish in speed and power.

Local people say it’s the only fish that doesn’t fear the crocodile and eats smaller ones. It’s also been known to attack humans in rare instances. It’s so lightning quick and forceful that not only will it snap an angler’s line, but it will sometimes make off with his or her tackle. No wonder one fishing safari promoter requires clients to read a cautionary treatise on the Goliath before agreeing to a fishing trip.


African tiger fish In Aquarium

A strict carnivore, the Goliath Tigerfish sports a mouthful of prominent, large teeth used to grab hold of prey. They are aggressive towards tankmates, and with an adult size of well over 30-40″ should only be kept by experienced hobbyists with an enormous aquarium or ideally an indoor pond. African Tigerfish are sensitive to water quality and require clean, well-oxygenated water with a moderate to strong current.
African tigerfish can be up to 41.3 inches (105 cm) long and weigh up to 62 pounds (28 kg) in the wild. They are unlikely to reach a size of much more than about 30 inches (75 cm) and have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years in captivity.

Aquarium Care 

Tiger Fish are large, messy fish that require extensive filtration. 50% is needed every two weeks, depending on the bioload, to keep this fish healthy and happy – water changes of around 30. Water changes: Bi-weekly – Make a 30 – 50% water change every two weeks. 

Aquarium setting 

Goliath fish is a vast, predatory fish. Because of its large adult size and propensity for schooling with other fish of a similar size, it needs a large aquarium. When first obtained as a young juvenile, it can be kept in a large home aquarium, but as it grows, it will need a much larger tank. As it reaches its adult size, at least 650 liters will be required to keep it healthy and happy, with upwards of 1000+ gallons or more being even better. These fish will occupy all parts of the aquarium, so they need a large open space for swimming and decoration of plants, roots, and driftwood to provide them with some hiding places. They need good, clean water and a moderate flow of water, so filtration is essential.

Adult Size: 30″+
Behaviors: Tiger Fish are usually very aggressive fish, so they should probably be kept alone.
Compatibility: These fish should be kept in a species only tank because they’ll attack any other fish in the aquarium with them. Some catfish with prickly fins may be able to survive with this fish. Predator, extremely aggressive towards most tankmates. May attack and kill even larger fish.
pH: 7.0 – 7.8
Temp: 76-82 °F, 25-27 °C
Water Conditions: They’ve adapted to a wide range of water conditions throughout Africa, so they can quickly adapt to most types of water in aquariums, and as usual, it’s best not to try to change the pH or alkalinity.
Feeding: It is a piscivore by nature, and many sources state that it will only feed on live fish. But This is not true, and it can be weaned onto whitebait and other dead foods reasonably easily. Premium Fish Food Pellets is best to feed to Tiger Fish. Smaller sized pellets, when they’re small, and larger sized pellets when they’ve grown larger, is the ideal food for these fish.
Aquarium Size: even young small Tiger Fish need a large aquarium and eventually need to live in a huge aquarium. Recommended Tank Size: 1000+ gallons
Decor: Tiger Fish do not need gravel, and a layer of gravel more than 1/4″ thick will usually fill with bits of uneaten food that will contaminate the water.
Life Span: Tiger Fish can live for several years. Keep the water conditions excellent and feed them premium foods, and they may live even longer lives.
Gender: we don’t know how to tell males from females.
Breeding: There are no known reports of this fish breeding in captivity.

Goliath tigerfish Keeping Difficulty

African tigerfish are large predatory fish. They are not demanding on the quality of the water and eat promptly, but their size alone limits which will be able to keep them. When small, these fish will seem an exciting and exotic addition to your tank. But they grow to an alarming size and have incredible bursts of speed, both of which make providing a suitable environment throughout their very demanding life.
Juveniles can initially be kept in a large home aquarium, but eventually, they will need a large tank. In their adult size, they are truly more suitable for public aquariums or kept by fish farmers with experience with space and financial ability to take care of these giants.

12" Goliath Tigerfish
12″ Goliath Tigerfish

African Tiger Fish are usually kept in species aquariums. They will school with their species, and more than one can be kept if the aquarium is large enough. They will also school with fish of similar temperament. However, any tankmates need to be appreciably larger. As they age and grow even larger, however, these African Characins tend to become less tolerant of their tankmates and need to be housed singly.

By fishexp