Max Size: 20cm

Royal Whiptail Catfish (Sturisoma panamense)

The Royal Whiptail Catfish is very peaceful and hardy and will happily cohabit with other fish that won't fight for food and grazing areas, making them suitable for almost any aquarium. However, it would be best to avoid keeping these fish with aggressive, midwater fish to prevent competition for food at the lower levels.

It is possible that more significant individuals might eat very small Dwarf Shrimp, particularly the shrimplets. However, many aquarists keep these Catfish with shrimp colonies with no issues.

It would be best to keep Royal Whiptail Catfish in small groups of 3 to 5 individuals making sure you have a higher ratio of females.

While the Royal Whiptail Catfish is primarily nocturnal, it will often become active during the day if it is housed in an aquarium with plenty of driftwood, rockwork, and hiding places. Unlike some suckermouth catfish, it does not consume wood heavily, but it may benefit from some supplementary wood. Plants will not be bothered by this Catfish, but it will eat plenty of algae in your aquarium.

For these Catfish to remain healthy and active, adequate aeration and filtration are essential.

This fish is unique with its slender, elongated brownish-yellow body, tiny black markings running across its sides, and outstanding fin extensions. One thing distinguishing these Catfish from other Whiptails is the existence of a more extensive, elongated body and fins, unlike the thinner bodies carried by their twig-like relatives.


Royal Whiptail Catfish
Quick Facts
Scientific NameSturisoma panamense
Year Described1889
Other NamesThe Royal Farlowella
GenusSturisoma panamense
OriginsColombia, Ecuador, Panama
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asTrios
Lifespan5 - 8 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
68 - 79℉
20 - 26.1℃


In the home aquarium, the Royal Whiptail Catfish will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is relatively straightforward to distinguish between the male and female Royal Whiptail Catfish. Males have a long first dorsal fin, and their heads have whisker-like extensions. In contrast, females have more rounded heads and lack the whiskers that males possess

Other Catfish of interest

African Glass Catfish(Pareutropius debauwi)
Common Otocinclus(Otocinclus vittatus)
Cuckoo Catfish(Synodontis multipunctatus)
Flagtail Catfish(Dianema urostriatum)
Glass Catfish(Kryptopterus vitreolus)
Marble Sturisoma Whiptail Catfish(Sturisoma aureum)
View all Other Catfish
Date Added: 09/01/2023 16:54:22 - Updated: 09/01/2023 17:16:28