How to Care for Datnoid Fish?

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Few things are more exhilarating than owning a tank filled with massive predatory fish. And it’s even rarer to find a handsome and peaceful predator that combines the scary killer appearance with the temperament of a sweetheart. That’s Datnoids for you.

You may know these fish by their popular name of Siamese Tigerfish or Siamese Tiger Perch, which stems from their striped color pattern.

But what you probably didn’t know is that the Siamese Tigerfish is critically endangered in the wild, coming from Asia, which makes it even more valuable.

This fish is larger in the wild but grows to respectable sizes in captivity too.

So, if you’ve decided you love Datnoids, what should you know about their care requirements? Are they easy to care for, or should you look for more welcoming species?

Let’s have a look!

Datnoid Species and Types

A lot of people are familiar with Datnoids, but few actually know that there are multiple subspecies falling under this category.

The Siamese Tigerfish is the most popular one, but you should also consider:

  • Indonesian Tigerfish – This one is similar in appearance and requirements to a true Siamese Tigerfish with only minor differences. The Indonesian Tigerfish has a slightly longer and sharper snout and displays 3-4 black vertical body stripes.
  • New Guinea Tiger – This species tends to be smaller but packs a meaner look overall. The New Guinea Tiger displays duller colors, closer to a light grey, compared to the Siamese’s brighter yellow. Its body is also longer and not as wide as other species.
  • American Tiger – This species displays a lighter grey or silvery body, which is atypical compared to the normal yellow hues present in most Datnoids. This fish’s snout is concave, giving it a unique appearance and a more threatening look.

All Datnoids look pretty much similar and display almost identical environmental requirements.

So, choosing the one, you like the most comes down to personal preference, rather than aspects like cost of maintenance, food preferences, or other factors.

Datnoid Fish Requirements

Datnoids aren’t particularly difficult to care for, but they do have some strict requirements to consider.

These include:

– Tank Size

This is the biggest challenge when setting up the perfect environment for your Datnoid fish.

This fish can grow up to 16 inches in optimal conditions and requires a lot of space to live comfortably and at peace.

A 14-inch adult Datnoid will most likely require at least 150 gallons or even 180 gallons of space, depending on the fish’s temperament.

Many people will recommend 125 gallons, but this is typically insufficient due to the fish:

  • Extensive territorial behavior – Datnoids are generally peaceful fish, but they can be quite territorial. They will be exceedingly aggressive towards their tank mates if they lack the necessary space. Keeping your Datnoids in a small or overcrowded setting will stress them out, leading to aggression, irritability, and even weaker immune systems. Your fish will fight among each other more often and fall victims to parasites and bacterial infections as a result.
  • Need for a proper tank layout – Most Datnoid owners keep their fish in barebone tanks with little-to-no vegetation or any other tank decorations. This is great if you don’t have time to clean the fish’s environment too often. A bare tank is easier to clean and maintain in the long run. The problem is that Datnoids require a natural-looking setup to remain comfortable in their habitat. So, rocks, wood, and plants are necessary, which will take up extra space.
  • Potential tankmates – Many people will have more than one Datnoid, and finding the ideal tank mates for this fish can be a pain. Not because they aren’t welcoming of other fish, but because they are predators. So, you will only need to pair Datnoids with other predators or, at a minimum, with larger fish species that also require a lot of space. Pairing them with smaller fish will turn one side into the aggressors and the other into meals. And we all know the position Datnoids will occupy.

So, you’re only qualified for growing Datnoids if you have the resources necessary to invest in a large tank, preferably in excess of 150 gallons.

You might consider a larger one, even double in size, seeing how Datnoids are rather peaceful fish that will welcome the company of other fish.

– Water Parameters

Water parameters are pretty standard for a tropical fish like the Datnoid.

The water temperature should remain in the neighborhood of 78 to 84 F, and pH should revolve around 6.5 to 7.5. One important aspect to mention is water salinity.

Not all Datnoid species are freshwater fish. In fact, most of them aren’t.

Datnoids rank as brackish water fish with favorite salinity between 1.005 to 1.018. The interesting part is that even brackish-water Datnoids can adapt to a freshwater environment, but not for long.

They can’t live there for years since their biology isn’t accustomed to a freshwater environment.

You should always consider the Datnoid species you’d like to buy and assess its water requirements. If your Datnoid is a freshwater species, you don’t need to add any salt to its environment, although I recommend doing so anyway.

A bit of salt will always prove helpful, promoting the healthy production of mucus, improving the fish’s ability to breathe, and contributing to gill and skin health.

– Substrate

Most people rely on bare-bottom tanks, avoiding any type of substrate when it comes to Datnoids. And it makes sense.

This predator doesn’t really need any form of substrate since it will spend its time in the tank’s medium area.

A bare-bottom tank is lower maintenance, as you can clean the fish waste and food residues far easier.

However, not everybody likes the minimalistic look coming with that. If you dislike how your tank looks without substrate, go for some rocks.

A Datnoid tank will most likely be larger than 150 gallons, which ensures enough room for plenty of rocky elements. Use larger pieces with open space between them to make it easier to clean the tank bed.

Your Datnoids will hide near the rocks occasionally to scratch their predatorial itch. After all, these fish display some ambush-oriented hunting behavior, which is evident from their camouflaging color pattern.

– Vegetation

While Datnoids aren’t ones to hide constantly, they don’t enjoy constant exposure either.

They can survive in a bare tank, but they won’t live a quality life. I advise decorating their tank, even sparingly, with some rocks, driftwood, and plants whenever possible.

A sandy substrate will work just fine, especially since it allows you also to add some plants to beautify the tank a bit.

Fortunately, Datnoids express no interest in eating, unearthing, or destroying plants, unless it’s by accident. These are large, snappy predators that will often dart through their environment, despite their impressive size.

So, it’s not unheard of for some Datnoids to break their environmental plants occasionally.

To prevent extensive damage to your plants, rely on grassy types, lacking the sensitivity of the leafy ones.

Your Datnoid will feel more comfortable in its environment since it likes ambushing its prey.

– Equipment

You absolutely need a filter and a heater. Both these pieces are essential for a Datnoid tank since this tropical fish requires temperature stability and a clean and stable environment.

They hate fluctuations in water parameters since these can affect their immune system and leave them vulnerable to disease.

Datnoids are messy fish, which is typical for carnivorous predators since protein-rich foods will foul the environment fast. They also produce a lot of waste due to their shorter and more effective digestive system.

A potent filtering system will keep the water cleaner and more well-oxygenated, but you shouldn’t rely on the filter to clean the environment.

Since they are large fish, Datnoids will produce bigger poop which the filter won’t be able to suck in. So, you either remove the poop manually or break it down a bit so the filter will remove it easier.

When it comes to heating, you will most likely require 2 heaters placed on opposite sides of the tank.

These will heat up the water uniformly to avoid too hot and too cold pockets that could make your fish uncomfortable. It all depends on your tank’s size.

Datnoid Feeding and Diet

As a carnivorous animal, the Datnoid will consume a variety of foods, preferably low in fat.

Seafood, live food, and even chicken breast are great options in this sense.

When it comes to feeding your Datnoid, you should consider the following points:

  • Avoid flakes and pellets – Few aquarists have had success feeding their Datnoids flakes and pellets. This is an unnatural food for them since Datnoids haven’t been domesticated for a long time compared to other fish species. Most Datnoids will avoid foods like these, given that they are not only carnivorous but predators as well. They need live food to get the thrill of hunting and eating it. It’s what keeps them active, healthy, and happy.
  • Source your live food carefully – I believe that one of the best meals a Datnoid could have consists of a feeder fish. In fact, most aquarists provide their Datnoids with copious amounts of feeder fish for obvious reasons. They are nutritious, allow the Datnoids to exercise their hunting capabilities, and put on a spectacle for you to enjoy. The problem with poorly sourced feeder fish is that they can contain a variety of parasites and diseases. I suggest breeding and growing your feeder fish yourself to avoid that. Keep 1 or 2 feeder tanks to control the quality of your fish. The initial tank investment will be worth it long-term as it translates into cheaper and healthier food for your Datnoid later down the line.
  • Low-fat food only – If you’re out of fish food, you can provide your Datnoid with other types of meats as well. Just make sure they contain as little fat as possible. Chicken breast is the most obvious choice, preferably in low amounts, since it’s harder to digest compared to normal seafood. Avoid beef, pork, or other fat-rich food sources that could affect your fish’s digestive system.
  • Variety is a must – Never use one food source when feeding your Datnoid. Worms, insects, seafood, fish meat, crustaceans, and snails, all these are necessary to provide the Datnoid with all the essential nutrients. You can feed them to your fish by rotation or mix them together for a more nutritious meal.

Also, remember to avoid protein paste since your Datnoid will most likely ignore it.

This will cause the paste to dissolve into the water and spread everywhere on the substrate, poisoning the environment.

Regarding the feeding frequency, your Datnoids will most likely be satisfied with 1-2 feeding sessions per day.

This naturally depends on how large they are, the quality of food, and how many of them share the same space.

Datnoids can become quite competitive when it comes to eating, in which case you might need to feed them more frequently to make sure everybody gets to eat.

Hungry Datnoids tend to be more irritable, which could put them in a foul mood, ready to attack their tank mates.

Datnoid Tank Mates

Fortunately, Datnoids are pretty peaceful fish which is kind of peculiar-sounding. You don’t often see ‘peaceful’ and ‘carnivorous predator’ in the same phrase, but it works here.

Datnoids don’t mind the presence of other fish, with one exception – if they’re too small. And, technically, they won’t mind their presence in that scenario either. It’s just that they will eat them.

So, smaller fish species are taboo.

However, there’s another problem to consider as well. Datnoids are pretty voracious beasts and are capable of consuming unusually large prey compared to their own size.

In many cases, Datnoids are even capable of killing and eating fish as large as they are. Granted, this is typically rare, but it is worth mentioning.

Knowing these aspects, which are the ideal tank mates for a Datnoid. The ideal tank mate should be large, preferably larger than the Datnoid, and exhibit some predatorial traits.

Datnoids won’t eat fish that they perceive as predators. In this sense, some good examples of compatible tank companions include:

  • Other Datnoids – It goes pretty much without saying. Datnoids can live in peace with one another, provided they have the necessary space and environmental layout for that. Their dynamics work similarly to that of cichlids. Keep Datnoids in a slightly larger group (at least 5 individuals), and their aggression will spread out among all members. This will diminish the risk of bullying or repeated violence targeting one Datnoid.
  • Arowanas – There isn’t a better tank mate for your Datnoid than a large Arowana. These 2 species even share the same space in the wild, so they are as compatible as they come. The only problem here is that Arowanas can grow to obscene sizes, often in excess of 35 inches. So, if you’re bringing in an Arowana, make sure to upgrade the tank. One Arowana requires around 200 gallons of space as an adult.
  • Large Cichlids – Avoid overly aggressive cichlids which can bully your Datnoids. I would recommend the Oscar or Jack Dempsey’s cichlids. Both of these species can grow upwards of 12 inches, and they can take care of themselves without being too aggressive.

You have a variety of other compatible tank mates to test, including stingrays, catfish, Dinosaur Bichir, Peacock Bass, etc.

Just keep in mind that some fish species can be vastly larger than your Datnoid and can be quite aggressive as well.

The Peacock Bass, for instance, is an extremely energetic eater, so its presence may cause some food competition as a result.

Overall, your Datnoid tank mates should present some (preferably all) of the following characteristics:

  • Be large enough to prevent the Datnoid from seeing them as food; so, avoid species like guppies, danios, mollies, swordtails, barbs, and other small and prey-like species
  • Be aggressive enough to hold their ground, but not overly aggressive, not to bully the Datnoid
  • Be fast eaters to compete with the Datnoid to prevent starving
  • Rely either on their size or their numbers to force the Datnoid to respect their presence

Datnoid Diseases and Treatments

Datnoids are pretty hardy fish with strong immune systems. However, they are not impervious to common fish problems stemming from poor water conditions, improper diets, and weaker immune systems.

Ich is one of the most relevant but also fairly easy to treat with the right approach.

Your Datnoid may also deal with fin or tail rot or even eye problems, usually due to poor water conditions.

The treatment is generally straightforward, so long as you identify the disease in its starting phases.

To cope with any disorder effectively, I would recommend:

  • Keep the Datnoid’s water in optimal conditions
  • Provide the fish with a nutritious diet to preserve its health and physical prowess
  • Identify early signs of disease or parasitic infections since Datnoids will typically display specific symptoms early on
  • Quarantine the Datnoid to ensure optimal care in a hospital tank without affecting the fish’s tank mates; quarantining the sick Datnoid will also prevent the disorder’s spread
  • Treat the fish’s condition adequately, depending on its profile and severity
  • Your Datnoid should live in a clean hospital setup with daily partial water changes, thorough tank maintenance, and a stable diet

Remember, your Datnoid may not eat for a couple of days, especially if its condition causes it a great deal of discomfort.

This isn’t a reason for concern since the fish’s normal appetite should resume shortly.

How Big do Datnoid Get?

Datnoid fish can grow up to 16 inches in optimal water conditions and with an adequate diet. On average, the fish will remain in the neighborhood of 12 inches.

If you want your Datnoid to reach its maximum potential, I recommend:

  • Providing the fish with sufficient space – This is the most important point. The more space available, the larger your Datnoid will grow. This is why Datnoids living in the wild grow vastly larger than those in captivity. There are reports of wild Datnoids reaching 25 inches in size, whereas domesticated ones only grow up to 16 inches. The same goes for pretty much all fish species.
  • Managing water parameters – Don’t be fooled by the Datnoid’s ability to withstand poorer water conditions in the wild. The notion of ‘poor water conditions’ means one thing in the wild and another in captivity. In the wild, it means murky water with a lot of floating particles, dead organic matter, and lower oxygenation. In a tank, the same notion refers to dangerous accumulation of ammonia and nitrites. The Datnoid can easily adapt to the first scenario but cannot do the same for the second one. This means that tank maintenance, weekly water changes, and a heavy filtering system are necessary to preserve your fish’s health and boost its growth.
  • Ensure a healthy and diverse diet – Just because your Datnoids are carnivorous doesn’t mean that they don’t require diversity. These fish will consume a variety of food sources in the wild, including worms, crustaceans, fish, insects, etc. Their diet should replicate this pattern in captivity to keep them satiated and healthy. I recommend having 1 or 2 breeder tanks for feeder fish to serve as live food for your Datnoids. You can also grow bloodworms and shrimp in the same environment if possible.
  • Avoid fish stress – There are several things that could stress your Datnoid. These include poor water conditions, aggressive and territorial tank mates, a barebone tank with no hiding areas, improper diets, and diseases and parasites. Prevent these issues, and your Datnoid will remain happy, healthy, and huge.

Aside from these strategies, I also recommend assessing your Datnoid’s genetic makeup before purchasing the fish.

A healthy Datnoid can cost between several tens to several hundreds of dollars per specimen, depending on the species and its size. At this price, you can’t afford to take a sick or genetically unfit specimen.

So, always get your Datnoid from a reputable and trustworthy source that can guarantee the fish’s genetic prowess.

How Long do Datnoids Live?

The Datnoid has an average lifespan of 10 years in captivity. This means that they tend to live between 5 and 15 years, depending on their diet, water conditions, overall stress, the impact of diseases, and genetic makeup.

When it comes to increasing the Datnoid’s lifespan, consider all of the points that aid in boosting the fish’s size and growth rate. The same applies here.

Are Datnoids Aggressive?

Typically, no, Datnoids are not aggressive. They are rather peaceful fish that like to keep to themselves and patrol their territory in peace.

That being said, they can become violent at times when:

  • Lacking food – A starving Datnoid is a dangerous Datnoid. The lack of food may push the fish to exercise its predatorial capabilities on its tank mates. There have been many instances when one Datnoid managed to kill a tank mate equal in size. To avoid that, always keep your Datnoid well-fed and happy.
  • Lacking sufficient space – This is pretty much self-explanatory. The lack of sufficient space will render the Datnoid more irritable and territorial than usual. It will also stress the fish, causing it to become atypically aggressive towards its tank companions.
  • Dealing with diseases – If your Datnoid is in poor physical and mental condition, it will undoubtedly show it. One way it does that is via aggression and more irritable behavior. When that happens, you need to quarantine your fish and figure out a solution to its problems.
  • Displaying an innate temperament – Not all Datnoids are the same. This fish will come with its unique temperament, depending on the specimen. This means that some Datnoids can be more aggressive, peaceful, playful, grumpier, or lazier than others. There’s little you can do in this sense other than separating the grumpy one from the pack.

If you’re doing everything possible to mitigate aggression in your Datnoid, but nothing works, consider removing the fish from the environment.

It’s better that way than having a tense environment with constant fights and bullying.

Are Datnoids Good for Beginners?

Datnoids rank as moderate in terms of care requirements. They aren’t exactly ideal for beginners, but you can make it work with a bit of know-how and commitment.

After all, Datnoids don’t require much. So long as they have a healthy diet, adequate living space, optimal water conditions, and friendly neighbors, they’re fine.


Datnoids are somewhat unusual tank fish that some aquarists have not even heard of. But you only need to see the fish once to fall in love with it.

If you’re ready to invest in a Datnoid, get a larger tank ready since these fish need space, and they need a lot of it.

As for everything else, like diet, water parameters, compatible tank mates, etc., those are pretty easy to adjust.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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