The Australian Shark Catfish (Cnidoglanis macrocephalus) got is name for its prominent barbells (feeler-like tentacles) around its mouth, which resemble a cat’s whiskers. It is also known as the Cobbler, or Eel-Tail Catfish. The head of an Australian catfish looks like a catfish, but it has one long fin that went from its back, around its pointy tail, to its belly like an eel, and therefore the name Eel-Tail Fish. Despite the fact that the fish grows quite large, its growth in an aquarium is somewhat very slow.
The Australian Shark Catfish fish is mainly found along the Burnett River near Bundaberg, western draining rivers on Cape York Peninsular, and the Dawson River in Central Queensland. It has also been seen along the central coast of New South Wales Australia. Most Australian Shark Catfish are yellow to dark brown in color with some pale mottling over their backs and sides.
The Cobbler has a flattened head with continuous dorsal, anal and caudal fins. A fully grown Cobbler can attain a maximum of up to 90 cm in length, the reason why it is most people consider it not suitable for aquarium life. It has a broad mouth and venomous serrated spines located at the front part of its dorsal and pectoral fins, which has the ability to inflict a seriously painful wound. These sharp pectoral and dorsal spines are also covered in mucus that can irritate the skin. So care needs to be taken when handling it.
The Australian Shark Catfish can live in fresh or brackish water with a temperature range between 67ºF to 87ºF and a pH range of 6.5 to 8. If kept in an aquarium, it may require salt to be added to provide it with the optimum health. The sheer size of the adult ones makes breeding in aquarium quite hard.
The Australian Shark Catfish is a generally a peaceful schooling fish. However, it has been spotted eating smaller specimens. They are omnivorous, and therefore do well sinking pellet foods which need to be supplemented with fresh vegetables and fruit. Frozen foods and shrimp can also be added as a special treat.