Iridescent Shark [Some Interesting Facts]

Iridescent Shark

Iridescent Shark, also known as the Iridescent Shark Catfish, is a type of catfish found in Southeast Asia.

Its scientific name is Pangasianodon hypophthalmus.

It lives in large rivers like the Mekong and Chao Phraya. Even though it’s called a “shark,” it’s not actually a shark.

This fish is often farmed for food and sold under the name “swai.” It has been introduced to other river basins for this purpose.

Iridescent shark’s beautiful appearance makes it popular among fishkeeping hobbyists too.

People sometimes call it Siamese shark catfish or Sutchi catfish. Iridescent Shark eats various things like crustaceans, other fish, and plants.

It moves around throughout the year, swimming upstream to spawn between May and July, then returning downstream when water levels drop from September to December.

In some parts of its range, upstream migration happens from October to February when waters recede after floods.

Downstream migration occurs between May and August when they move into floodplain areas in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Young iridescent sharks are often collected for rearing in floating cages in the lower Mekong River area.

Adults lose their dark coloration and become grey without stripes.

Iridescent sharks are important aquaculture species in Thailand, where one 44 kg (97 lbs) individual was reportedly featured in a magazine.

However, this fish needs large aquariums (over 150 cm or about 5 feet) if kept by hobbyists.

Keeping it at home isn’t recommended due to its large size requirements.

Iridescent Shark Interesting Facts

  • The iridescent shark, a catfish species found in Southeast Asia, is not an actual shark despite its name.
  • Often farmed for food under the name “swai,” it’s also popular among fishkeeping hobbyists.
  • This fish migrates within rivers and requires specific water conditions to thrive (pH 6.5 to 7.5, hardness 2 to 29 dH, temperature 72°F to 79°F).
  • Its reproduction process is believed to be similar to that of Pangasianodon conchophilus.

Iridescent Shark Habitat

Iridescent shark is found in Asia, specifically in the Mekong, Chao Phraya, and Maeklong River basins.

It has also been introduced to other rivers for farming purposes.

The iridescent shark lives in freshwater environments and swims close to the bottom. It migrates within rivers (potamodromous).

The ideal water conditions for this fish are a pH level between 6.5 to 7.5, a hardness range of 2 to 29 dH, and a temperature of 72°F to 79°F (22°C to 26°C).

It inhabits tropical regions located between latitudes 19°N to 8°N.

Water Temperature:72°F to 79°F (22°C to 26°C)
Water pH:6.5 to 7.5 pH
Water Hardness:2 to 29 dH

Iridescent Shark Physical Characteristics

Size: 51.2 inches (130 centimeters)

Iridescent shark grows pretty large, up to 51.2 inches (130 centimeters) long.

The heaviest recorded Iridescent shark weighed 44 kg (about 97 lbs).

Iridescent Shark Reproduction

Iridescent shark reproduces in the same way as another fish called P. conchophilus.

Iridescent Shark Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Pangasianodon hypophthalmus
Also Known As:Iridescent Shark, Iridescent Shark Catfish, Siamese Shark Catfish, Sutchi Catfish
Conservation Status:Endangered

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