Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Pangasius sanitwongsei

Paroon shark

Paroon shark, Pangasius sanitwongseiParoon shark, Pangasius sanitwongsei
Photos by Andy Rapson


Pangasius: The Vietnamese name of a fish.

General Notes:

First and foremost, P. sanitwongsei should not be kept in a domestic fish tank because the fish is capable of growing to 10ft in length. Admittedly most don't get anywhere near that length but this is still a huge fish and too big for almost any aquarium including public aquariums in the long term. The fish's size isn't the only problem, P. sanitwongsei is a very active fish which requires a lot of open swimming space so any aquarium would in fact need to be the size of a swimming pool.

P. sanitwongsei is often seen for sale when just a few inches long, quite often without any information about the potential size of the adult fish.

Relatively easy to keep when juvenile but once the fish grows it will become increasing difficult. Larger fish may be nervous and prone to panic if startled. In a tight space this will invariably lead to injuries as the fish bumps in to things.

No one will offer take large individuals of P. sanitwongsei off your hands


Small individuals will accept a range of food from small live food, frozen food to pellets and even flake food. They become more predatory with age and size. Large individuals prey on other fish and even scavenge for dead mammals.


Predatory and P. sanitwongsei will fight among its own kind. Any tank mates would need to be very robust and almost as large as P. sanitwongsei


There are no visible differences between the genders.


P. sanitwongsei is being bred commercially as a food fish. The fish which find their way in to our shops are thought to come from such captive breeding.

Unsurprisingly this species has not been bred in the home aquaria.

Wild status

The IUCN Red List of endangered species list P. sanitwongsei as 'Critically Endangered'.
Threats over the fish's entire range include - over collection, river damming, increased shipping, pollution.

The wild population has declined by 99% in the last three generations.

Additional information

Worryingly P. sanitwongsei is still a fairly common sight in some fish stores. Almost all my photos used on this site were taken in various fish stores including the ones used for this fish profile.

Information at a glance

pH: 6.5 to 7.5
dGH:6 - 20
Temperature: 24 - 27°C (76 - 80°F)
Lighting: Not critical
Diet: Carnivore
Size: 300cm (120in) usually less
Min tank size: N/A
Difficulty level: (ignoring the size issue) - Difficult
Aquarium type: N/A
Swimming level: Mid water

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Paroon shark, Pangasius sanitwongsei

Origin: Asia: Chao Phraya and Mekong basins

Habitat: Large rivers


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Pangasiidae
Genus: Pangasius
Species: P. sanitwongsei, Smith 1931

Other common names:
Giant pangasius

Synonyms: Pangasius beani