Can Redtail Catfish Live In a Pond?

A massive and rapidly growing freshwater fish, Redtail fish can live for more or less 15 years depending on the care provided, outreach 2 ft. in a span of 2 years. In fact, the largest red tail reached 63 inches (1.6 m) seen on the Amazon River. 

Among all the other kinds of catfish, this is the most appealing in the eyes. They are colorful mainly brown or dark gray with blotches spots all over and adding its alluring red tail. They are not picky eaters though being watchful to them is a must for overfeeding is common to this species where proper digestion of food is needed. 

A pond, unlike other bodies of water, consists of freshwater surrounded by land making it an ideal place for different fishes to grow. Even though fishes naturally live and can be seen in a pond, you can transform a pond into a habitat for fishes and there are multiple ways to make it a healthy environment for them.

Sometimes, ponds are the most desirable for species to grow for algae will develop naturally and the presence of insects will help junior fishes. 

Aquariums are invented and renowned for indoors that need frequent maintenance and can be costly. On the contrary, in ponds, when it comes to filtration and habitat, it can come naturally most of the time but still needs things to be planted.

Can red tail catfish live in cold water?

Red Tail’s natural habitats are large rivers, streams, and lakes. When they lay eggs, a high temperature is crucial for them to hatch.

Though since Red Tail fishes originate in South America, a tropical country, it won’t be able to survive in cold temperatures. If it is placed in a pond, keep in mind to transfer them to different places when the winter season is about to come.

Can red tail catfish live with koi?

Apparently, a red tail can’t live with Koi because they will fight with each other. Plus, there’s a high percentage that the red tail will eat the koi, particularly that RTC (Redtail catfish) is bigger. RTC is known for being a predator mainly to small fishes.

A male RTC, by contrast, has the odds to live with koi but it is a risky thing to do. Strong supervision is needed from time to time. 

If ever the koi is bigger than the Redtail catfish, you can put them together but for a short period only for RTC grows day by day. With the observation that the Redtail catfish didn’t touch nor fight with the koi, it will eat the koi eventually and if failed to do so, it will just try again and again.

Redtail catfish tank mates

Species that have the same size as Redtail catfish are the best tank mates for them. Aside from being a large species, they are also territorial and a predator.

Here are some of the Redtail catfish tank mates:


Gars are bony fish that live in freshwater. They hold out up to 20-30 inches perfect to be teamed up with RTC. There are seven species of Gars and the most enormous one was called Alligator Gar, all had needle-like heads.

Freshwater stingrays

A wide fish, the Stingrays, never have been little and challenging to taking care of. If you’re thinking of placing it in a pond, place in mind that it loves to swim in the bottom resulting in plants being uprooted. Plus, it carries a lot of parasites so watch out for symptoms. 


The same with Redtail catfish, Datnoids grow easily reaching at least 1 ft. (30.48 cm) in size. They can’t live in cold waters for it originates in Singapore. 


Unlike other species, Bichirs have poor eyesight due to their habitat having musky waters and lungs resulting in them having a need to go to the surface. Their average life is up to 15 years however with proper care, they can live for a maximum of 20 years.

Black pacu

Pacu is a large fish that reach a maximum of 2 ft. (60 cm). It might be a handful to manage for it needs clean and warm water but too much exposure to warm water can cause damage to the heart and immune system. Checking water temperature from time to time is needed.

Giant gourami

Among all the other large size species, Giant gourami is the easiest to handle that is ideal for beginners and good for a community tank for it is peaceful. Similar to Bichirs, they breathe air from the surface. They grow at least 16-18 inches long.

Iridescent sharks

It is a species of catfish making it related to RTC. They are both aggressive that Iridescent sharks will eat any species that can fit in its mouth.

Other species that are not aggressive can be placed together with Redtail catfish as long as they are introduced at a young age.

How deep does a catfish pond need to be?

The pond should have a water depth of 3 ft. that is essential to be maintained at all times with appropriate drainage. If you aim to conserve water and longer life of the pond, the deeper the pond gets – the better.

The depth that reaches 5 to 6 ft. long gives more room for the large fishes that will also result in a healthy environment.

The depth of the pond still varies in size when it comes to season, like winter, adding more depth is necessary to avoid the pond from freezing.

How many red tail catfish can you have in a pond?

Each red tail catfish needs a 1000 gallon of water requirement. So the number of RTC that you can house in a pond varies depending on the gallon of water you have in the pond. Or for your pond size to be 10x5x4 ft. which can house a pair of Redtail catfish. 

Do catfish reproduce in a pond?

Catfish have a need of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for them to spawn and at least 10 years old to be ready. The absence of water’s right temperature will hinder their reproduction.

The female catfish will create a flat nest that is surrounded by bubbles from the parent in either weeds or rocks in an area that is safe and away from harm like predators.

In the nest, the male catfish will now drizzle them with sperm to undergo fertilization. 10 days are needed for the eggs to grow and ready to hatch. A female catfish can lay eggs for over 21,000. To identify the number of eggs it can lay, it can be identified regarding its age and size.

Regarding spawning of RTC, even though they are seized for reproduction, there are no recorded success rates.

In conclusion, can you add redtail catfish to your pond?

If you have at least a 1000-Gallon pond and you live in a country with sunny and rainy seasons, then yes, Redtail catfish can stay in your pond.