Origin: Datnioides pulcher, popularly known as Datnoids or Siamese Tigerfish is a popular variety for fish lovers and hobbyists. This species has its origin from the Southeast Asian tropical waterways. Found widely in the rivers of Indonesia, Thailand and neighboring countries, this fish can be bred easily in aquariums and fish tanks.
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Datnoids Max Size and Age
A full-grown Datnoid can grow up to two feet in the wild. However, in an aquarium, the growth is usually limited to 18 inches maximum. The average age for Datnoids would be 15-25 years and with growing age, their growth slows down significantly.
Types of Datnoids
Datnoids are a common choice for aquarium owners for their resplendent looks and tiger-like stripes on the body. However, based on the origin and features, Datnoids can be broadly categorized as given below:
Siamese Tiger Fish or Wide Bar Datnoid: These are the most common varieties of Datnoids. Most people confuse Siamese Tigers with the Indonesian Tigers as they look almost same. Siamese Tiger Fish have three main stripes on the body and two uneven stripes at the tail fin.
Indonesian Tiger Fish or Indonesian Datnoid: To a novice, Indonesian Tigers are not easily distinguishable from Siamese Tigers. The only difference is that unlike Siamese Tigers, Indonesian Tiger Fishes will have three or four stripes on the body and two identical stripes on the tail fin. The two stripes on the tail are of exactly same size.
Northern Thailand Tiger Fish or Thin Bar Datnoid: This species is found in the river ways of Northern Thailand and are famous for the broad straight stripes on their body. Also, the bright golden hue can be yellowish at times.
American Tiger Fish or Silver Tiger: Silver Tigers got their names from the silver tone on their body.
New Guinea Tiger Fish or New Guinea Datnoid: This variety is mostly found in the freshwaters of New Guinea islands. They are easy to identify with the wavy pattern of gold and black on their body.
Datnoids Tank Size and Setup
To ensure comfortable living conditions, the minimum tank size to keep Datnoids should be minimum 150 gallons (as an adult). If you choose to add more tank mates of same or different species, then you must consider a larger tank.
They can adjust to several water conditions and other external factors so a moderate-level care would be enough. A pH level of 7.0-7.5 and temperature of 24-28 degrees Celsius would be ideal for keeping Tiger Fishes. A good filtration system will ensure the water is clean as these Tiger fishes leave a good amount of waste.
Best Food for Datnoids
Tiger fishes in the wild prefer eating on live foods like worms, small fishes and insects. However, you can also give frozen foods or commercial fish food. Due to the wild instinct, they will prefer live foods more than pellets or frozen foods any day. But you can train them to feed varieties of food from a young age. The frequency of feeding will depend on you. But you should feed them once daily or twice if you want.
Please keep in mind that datnoids may be difficult to wean off of live foods. From personal experience, I’ve had datnoids that were trained on pellets and made the mistake of feeding them live once. I then had to starve them until they were back on pellets.
If you still have trouble trying to get them to eat pellets or eat at all, add a tank mate. This promotes competition which is natural in the wild.
Datnoid Tank Mates
Datnoids are semi-aggressive in nature as they may or may not be compatible with the other tank mates. Arowanas, stingrays, large catfish, gars, peacock bass, or other larger species would be good as tank mates but smaller fishes are not recommended as Tiger fishes might attack and suck them up.
It is good to keep an even number of datnoids together as if two of them make a pair the odd one does not feel left out, also so there is no competition between them.
How to Keep Datnoids Healthy
Tiger fishes are voracious eaters and you must be careful with what you feed them. If you choose to feed live foods then make sure the worms or fishes are quarantined so they don’t cause any kind of infections to your fishes.
Also, you must invest in a good filtration as unlike other aquarium fishes, Tiger fishes defecate more. Apart from cleaning the water crystal clear, the filter will also maintain a steady water flow that is important for healthy growth of the fishes.
Datnoids or Tiger fishes prefer to live in groups in the wild. So, it is best to keep them in groups like 4 to 6 of them clubbed together with more females than males. This will help them to remain happy and healthy that would lead them to live longer.
It is best to keep a bare tank as it will be a lot easier to maintain. But some fishes might seek shelter and a hiding place so in that case, you can put some stones or driftwood in the tank. You should also not use harsh lighting as Tiger fishes are ambush predators and prefer a darker climate.