Lophiosilurus alexandri – Pacman Catfish

Lophiosilurus alexandri or Pacman Catfish is a catfish from the Amazone river that covers themselves under sand, for ambushing unsuspecting fish. This is species for a specialist’s aquarium.



Lophiosilurus alexandri

Lophiosilurus alexandri is a catfish that is endemic to the  São Francisco River basin in north-east Brazil. It has a specific specialisation: it covers its body under the sand. Smaller fish that swim by unsuspectingly are swallowed.

Lophiosilurus alexandri is very similar to the Asian catfish from the family Chaca, although they are no close relatives but a result of parallel evolution. They also share characteristics with Angelsharks (Squatina squatina) and Monkfish (Lophius piscatorius). The common name Pacman catfish refers to the big mouth that is wider als long, and relates to the monsters of the Arcade game from the eighties.

This is a species for the aquarist with an acquired taste. It will find Lophiosilurus alexandri  covered in sand most of the time.

Lophiosilurus alexandri will grow 50 cm maximum. In Brazil the flesh of this species is valuable, because of its taste and rare catch.


Actually the only requirement to the aquarium is a thick layer of fine sand. Tankmates must larger than at least have of it’s size, otherwise they will be swallowed. 


Fish. Also dead and frozen food is accepted.


There are report of succesful breeding in the aqurium. For reproduction these species digs a burrow with a diameter of 4-50 cm in a flat and shallow area. After courtship the female lays  3.1 to 3.6 mm  sized eggs  in the center that stick to the substrate. The male will care for the eggs. After hatching the larvae stay at the bottom of the nest and will not move. The young will undergo several changes in bodyshape (after 4, 17, 42 and 60 days) before reaching its final form.


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