Iridescent Shark Care Guide & Species Profile

Iridescent Shark Care Guide

Iridescent sharks are a type of catfish native to Southeast Asia and Thailand. They are favored in aquariums due to their beauty. If you are planning to keep this specie in your aquarium, then you must know how to care for them. Here is a complete guide on how to care for this specie.

Iridescent Shark Species Profile

Scientific Name: Pangasianodon hypophthalmus

Physical appearance

These fish are iridescent, as the name implies. As juveniles, they have shiny skin on their sides. In addition, they feature two black stripes on and below their lateral line. This line is a sensory organ made up of nerve tissue that detects changes in the water.

When they reach adulthood, though, they begin to turn a uniform grey color. Another characteristic of adults that you must have noticed by now is their size.

One distinguishing feature of these fish is that they are “naked catfish,” which means they lack bony plates covering their bodies. They do have skin, though, and prefer to live in the center of the water column.

They have long, whisker-like barbels that let them detect their surroundings.


The iridescent shark is found in Southeast Asian rivers. It is not a shark, despite its name. It can be found in the Mekong basin as well as the Chao Phraya River, where it is extensively planted for food.

Conservation status

The known threats to this specie are causing its number to decline, thus its conservation status is considered Endangered.

Iridescent Shark Care Guide

  • Care Level: Moderate, needs a huge tank
  • pH: 6.5 – 7.5
  • Temperature : 72°F – 79°F (22°C – 26°C)
  • Water Hardness : 2° to 20° dH,
  • Life span: 10 years, maybe much longer
  • Behavior: Shy, Do not bother tank mates as juveniles. May eat smaller fish as it starts to reach adult size.
  • Breeding: Not common in the home aquarium. Breeding has taken place at aquaculture farms and ponds.
  • Aquarium Size: 300 gallons, preferably much larger


Iridescent sharks will consume any animal or plant matter they come upon. They are generalist omnivores that eat more animal protein while they are young. As the plants develop, they will be replaced with other aquatic plants.

Prepared foods provide a wonderful foundation for their diet. When they are young, feed them flakes before transitioning to a high-quality pellet formula. Look for brands that employ entire ingredients such as fish meal, squid, spirulina, and so on.

Supplement with a wide variety of fresh and frozen foods. When they are young, brine shrimp and bloodworms are among their favorite foods.

As they grow, you can feed them fresh fish and shrimp bits. Along with a variety of soft aquatic plants such as elodea and Cabomba.

The Bottom Line

Iridescent sharks are beautiful organisms to be kept in aquariums but they do require care without which they cannot survive. However, it shall be kept in mind that their population is endangered, and to conserve this specie, it is imperative to put a limit on its capture.

About the author

Yumna Ahmad

An experienced content writer, photographer, and avid reader amazed by the sea world and its creatures. I am lettin people become fascinated with the ocean planet through my writings.