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Wolf fish

Picture of Wolf Fish Picture of Wolf Fish, close up

Above left: Photo courtesy of Esteban Falcato from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Above right: Close-up of adult, © Sean Evans

Common name:Wolf fish, Tiger fish, Wolf tetra, Tiger tetra, Mud characin, Trahira, 'Piranha Eater'
Scientific name:Hoplias malabaricus
Size:Up to 20" (50cm), usually a bit less in aquaria.
Origin:Central and South America.
Tank setup:Use a tank with a fairly large footprint - height is not as important. For an adult, a base size of no less than 3ft (92cm) by 20" (50cm) would be recommended. This species is not overly active, so very large tanks are unnecessary. A few robust (or artificial) plants and pieces of bogwood can be used for decor.
Compatibility:Highly predatory, keep alone or with larger fish. Can be very aggressive.
Temperature:21-25oC (70-77oF), though not critical as this fish will tolerate a wide temperature range.
Water chemistry:Not critical: pH 6.0-8.0, fairly soft to medium hard.
Feeding:Carnivore: live and dead meaty foods, such as baitfish, mussel and prawn/shrimp.
Sexing:Males are slimmer and have a less curved ventral profile.
Breeding:Has been bred in captivity on rare occasions - difficult due to aggression.
Comments: Make sure the tank has a strong tight-fitting cover, as this powerful fish may jump. In the wild, these fish may hibernate in the mud over winter, and can move over land if necessary, making use of an additional breathing organ.
This is the most commonly seen of the Hoplias species. There are currently 10 other species, but they are much less likely to be encountered in the aquatic trade.




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