Iridescent Shark Fish

The Iridescent shark is a species of shark catfish which is native to the rivers of Southeast Asia. It is also known as Siamese shark, Sutchi catfish, Tra, Striped catfish, Pangasius catfish, Thailand catfish and marketed under the common name Swai.

It is named for the glow or iridescence exhibited in juveniles, as well as for the shark-like appearance. It is not actually a shark, but is called so mainly for it’s shark-like appearance.

It is mainly found in the Mekong basin, as well as the Chao Phraya River. And the fish is heavily cultivated there for food.

Along with the availability in native area, the Iridescent shark fish has also been introduced into other river basins as a food source.

It is very popular with fish keeping hobbyist, mainly for it’s striking appearance and iridescence. Read some more information about this fish below.

Iridescent Shark Fish Characteristics

The Iridescent shark is similar in body shape to the blue and channel catfish. But they are easily distinguished by the number of pairs of barbels around the mouth.

They have only two pairs of maxillary barbels at the corner of the mouth, while the channel and blue catfish have four pairs of barbels including chin and nasal barbels.

Common color of the mature, large fish are uniformly grey. Their fins are of dark grey or black color. The juveniles have a shiny, iridescent color and have a black stripe along the lateral line and a second black stripe below the lateral line.

The females are generally stockier and larger in size than the males, and have lighter patterning or striping.

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The Iridescent shark can be very big. The mature fish can reach up to 130 cm in length. And they can reach up to a maximum of 44 kg live body weight. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The Iridescent shark is an omnivores fish species. These fish are known to consume generally anything that it can find. They are known to consume more live and meaty foods, as they grow larger.

They generally loose their teeth as they get older. And then they become more and more vegetarian. They are fed on high quality pellet food in commercial production system.


The Iridescent shark is a migratory fish species. They travels upstream to spawn during late spring and summer months.

They require special environment for breeding, and they have not been successfully bred in aquariums due to spawning habits and the massive size of the adults. They are generally bred in large ponds in their native range.


The Iridescent shark is economically a very important catfish species. It has great market demand, and used mainly for food.

Special Notes

The Iridescent shark can be quite skittish, nervous and may not bother other fish as juveniles. But they mature fish may eat smaller fish.

Today the fish is available in many countries. It is raised mainly for food, and produced commercially. But it is also popular as an aquarium fish.

However, review full breed profile of the Iridescent shark in the table below.

NameIridescent Shark
SpeciesP. hypophthalmus
Binomial NamePangasianodon hypophthalmus
Other NamesAlso known by some other names such as Siamese shark, Sutchi catfish, Tra, Striped catfish, Pangasius catfish, Thailand catfish and marketed under the common name Swai
Breed PurposeMainly food, also ornamental
Special NotesQuite skittish, mature fish may eat smaller fish, raised mainly for food, cultivated commercially, very popular as an aquarium fish
WeightCan reach up to 44 kg
Breeding MethodNatural
Climate ToleranceNative climates
Body ColorUniformly grey
AvailabilitySouth Asia

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