Large specimens of H. malabaricus need very
careful handling because they have strong teeth, very
powerful jaws and they are highly aggressive. A bite from
one could inflict a serious injury. Despite their size
H. malabaricus doesn't as much space as most other
similar sized fish because it is a fairly inactive species
which doesn't require a lot of open swimming space.
Wild adults prey on other fish which are eaten whole, juveniles prey on insects, crustaceans and worms. In captivity feed them with a mixture of shell fish, prawns, earthworms, whole frozen fish such as lancefish, sardines, whitebait. Use a variety of food to ensure a healthy diet.
When adult females are said to be larger and have more rounded abdomens.
Breeding has been achieved by hobbyists but it is extremely difficult to maintain a pair of adult fish in the same aquarium. The pair will spawn in a prepared pit and post spawning the male will guard the eggs and he will continue to guard the brood for some time after the eggs have hatched.
The wild population of H. malabaricus has not been evaluated but the species is very widespread and facing no immediate threats across its entire range. All specimens of H. malabaricus offered for sale will have come from the wild.
There are eight other known species of Hoplias but H. malabaricus is the most likely one to be seen in the aquatic trade.
pH: 6 - 8
dGH: 4 - 25
Temperature: 22 - 28°C (72 - 82°F)
Size: 50cm (20in)
Min tank size: 675 litres+
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Specimen
Swimming level: Bottom
Origin: Central and South America: Costa Rica to Argentina in most rivers basins.
Habitat: Occurs in diverse habitats from free flowing clear water streams, well up into the valleys, to slow turbid waters, water courses, irrigation and drainage ditches, and ponds on the plains
Species: H. malabaricus (Bloch, 1794)
Other common names:
Wolf tetra, Tiger fish, Trahira
Synonyms: Esox malabaricus, Macrodon malabaricus, Synodus tareira, Synodus palustris, Erythrinus trahira, Erythrinus macrodon, Macrodon tareira, Macrodon ferox, Esox tararira