So, you come from the aquarium store with a handful of tiny fish for your new aquarium. They take to their new home swimmingly and begin growing in your tender loving care… but they keep growing, and growing, and growing. Wait, hold on a second! Are these fish ever going to stop growing? Yeah, eventually. After they’ve reached a massive four foot length and weight upwards of 60 pounds. That, my friend, is a tankbuster.
What are tankbusters? No, they aren’t military-grade anti-tank weapons — tankbusters are what aquascapers call fish that have a tendency to undergo a massive transformation in size. Your fish might start off cute and nonthreatening, but if you’re not careful you could end up with a massive fish that dwarfs everything else in your aquarium. In fact, it’s entirely possible that that your fish might outgrow your aquarium, forcing you to get rid of the fish or upgrade to a bigger tank. This can be inconvenient at worst and prohibitively expensive at best, so it’s important that you have a good understanding of how big your fish can become. Today we’re going to take a look at a few of the notorious troublemakers so that you don’t accidentally get a fish that becomes too big for its britches.
Ugly? Kinda. Big? Definitely. These massive black fish are notorious for their sharp teeth and their ability to breathe and move outside of water. The snakehead in this video set the world record for the largest snakehead ever caught, so that should give you a rough idea of how big these monstrous fish can become.
3. Red Bellied Pacu
Pacu are popular because they look similar to piranha, so they can add an element of excitement to your Amazonian aquarium. But the danger of pacu doesn’t come from their teeth — it comes from the fact that these South American fish can grow several feet long and completely dominate your tank.
Arowana wouldn’t be so troublesome if not for the fact that they’re so beautiful. They’re incredibly eye-catching with their unique scales, elegant body, and upturned face. Be careful, though, because these fish can grow to be up to four feet long. That’s more beauty than most tanks can handle.
Here’s a young tiger shovelnose catfish. Not too bad, right?
Here’s an adult.
And if you think a huge catfish in a tiny aquarium would be stressed out, just imagine how freaked out all of its neighbors would be! You’ve really gotta be careful when it comes to catfish. Catfish have a tendency to start off small and gradually grow until they’re three or four feet long. Not every species of catfish grows that large, mind you. Just be sure to read the fine print and remember that with catfish, what you see is not always what you get.
The moral of this article is to do your research. Don’t ever just pick a fish because you think it looks good, plop it into your aquarium, and hope for the best. Not only is there a fairly good chance that your new pet will be incompatible with your aquarium’s older inhabitants, it’s also possible that tiny fish buddy will eventually outgrow the tank. Don’t let a poorly researched impulse buy ruin your whole aquascape!