Datnioides is a small genus of freshwater to brackish water fishes found across a broad swath of tropical Southeast Asia. But what they lack in diversity they more than make up for with their robust size, hearty nature, and stately good looks. The members of this group are widely known as tigerfishes, owing to the beautiful combination of yellow and black stripes that run obliquely down the body, and they are amongst the most popular of larger predatory aquarium fishes, particularly within the Asian aquarium scene.
Datnioides campbelli is a species native to portions of New Guinea, with records extending as far as 900km out to sea. These waters are typically on the hard and alkaline side (and sometimes salty too), so acidic conditions are best avoided in captivity. This requires some diligence when keeping such a large fish, as it’s not uncommon for a tank full of massive predatory fishes to become increasingly acidic if water quality is neglected. And Datnioides are most certainly a large fish, with mature specimens capable of reaching at least a foot in length and nearly as much in height. They are roughly the dimensions of a dinner plate and an impressive sight to behold.
The five species in this group are tricky to separate from one another, and this is even truer for commercially bred aquarium specimens, which could potentially originate from mixed-species pairs. The various taxa occur in non-overlapping ranges across the region, from Indonesia up into the Mekong River. The closely related D. microlepis of Indonesia is easily confused, but those from New Guinea are reported to be a brighter shade of yellow, and the number of scales is far lower ( ~40 vs 70+). The number of dark bars is somewhat variable within and between species, and is not always a reliable indicator when identifying a specimen.
Feed a mixed diet of meaty foods and be sure to select robust tankmates. Though Datnioides are not necessarily aggressive fishes, they are certainly not meant to be housed with anything that might be considered small or timid. Some popular choices are arowanas, bichirs, gar, as well as larger catfishes and cichlids. Just be sure to have an especially large aquarium, as this is truly a monster fish.