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The Colombian Wood Catfish is presumed to be Trachelyopterus fisheri, is also known as the Driftwood Catfish, but there are several similar looking members of the genus. Be aware that they will more than double, and quickly. Typically found in driftwood piles in the wild, they will do quite well in a heavily planted tank. These fish are not even remotely shy, and will constantly swim in the water column, particularly in small shoals of 3-6 (or more fishes).

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Features of Columbian Wood Catfish:

  • Unusual Flattened head and body with a bulging throat
  • Best kept in groups of 3-6
  • Vertically oriented caudal fin, chin whiskers, & long dorsal spine
  • Occupies all levels of the water column 
  • Grows up to 27cm
  • Level of care: Intermediate


The Best Aquarium Size for Columbian Wood Catfish:

Columbian Wood Catfish grow large, and rapidly. Recommended aquarium size is 500 litres for this large growing catfish.

Check out these suitable aquarium brands:

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Tank Mate Compatibility:

Columbian Wood Catfish are a peaceful large catfish. Best kept with other peaceful species that are not prone to fin nipping. Also, do not keep with crustaceans or fish small enough to fit in their mouth which may become a snack. 

Here are some great tank mates to consider:



Columbian Wood Catfish are carnivores and naturally eat insects and small crustaceans in the wild. They have a voracious appetite. In the aquarium they prefer live foods such as crickets, blood worms, and brine shrimp, and will be seen feeding from the waters surface. They can adapt to feeding on frozen foods also.

Check out our extensive range of aquarium fish foods, or live foods. 

Columbian Wood Catfish Tank Setup:

Aquarium Filtration for Columbian Wood Catfish

A good filtration system is necessary as they can be heavy waste producers due to their voracious appetite and size. The Columbian Wood Catfish is also a species that requires high water oxygenation, so ensure your filter has an adequate flow rate with surface water agitation for your aquarium size to effectively remove waste and oxygenate the water. Cannister filters are you best option for large aquariums.

Shop our comprehensive range of aquarium filters here.

Aquarium Heater for Columbian Wood Catfish

This fish enjoy temperatures between 24 - 28° C. If you are unable to maintain this temperature naturally, use an aquarium heater. Aquarium heaters also stabilize water temperatures.  A thermometer is recommended to monitor the water temperature.

Get yourself a new aquarium heater here. 

Aquarium Plants for Columbian Wood Catfish

To mimic their natural habitat, we recommend adding live aquatic plants to your aquarium. Columbian Wood Catfish are a large species and can disrupt plants easily, however they require lots of driftwood in the aquarium for shelter, so we suggest using anubias planted on driftwood. Anubias is a hardy plant with a firm leaf that will tolerate moderate disruption and lower lighting. When planted on driftwood, the plant has no way of being uprooted. It's rooted to the driftwood already, and ready to go. 

Check out our Anubias on Driftwood

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Aquarium Decorations for Columbian Wood Catfish

Columbian Wood Catfish love driftwood and enjoy lots of hiding spots to feel safe in an aquarium environment. Other ornaments large enough to swim around and hide around such as caves and pipes are also great options.

After more nice quality decorations? Check our Aquarium Ornaments.

Aquarium Lighting Columbian Wood Catfish

Columbian Wood Catfish prefer a more dimly lit aquarium. While, plants need sufficient light to grow LED lighting is an excellent choice to provide adjustable lighting as desired. LED lighting is also more efficient and runs cooler than traditional aquarium lights.

Substrate for Columbian Wood Catfish

Aquarium sand or fine smooth gravels are a good substrate to mimic their natural environment.

A variety of Substrates are available at Coburg Aquarium. 

Additional Information

Fish Keeping Snapshot :

Preferred Water Parameters :