The goliath tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath), also known as the giant tigerfish, is a ray-finned fish that is prized as a game fish because of its size and ferocity. It is extremely difficult to catch. Goliath tigerfish belong to the order Characiformes, or characins, which also includes the piranhas of South America and the tetras of Africa, Central America and South America.

Like piranhas, goliath tigerfish are carnivores and hunt in packs. There are reports of goliath tigerfish attacking humans, but these reports have never been verified.

Goliath tigerfish are much larger than piranhas. They are the largest of the characins.

A goliath tigerfish can grow to over 4 feet long and weigh up to 110 pounds

Goliath tigerfish are gray on top. Their undersides are a lighter, silvery gray. Some of them have black bands running down their bodies. Their fins may be red or orange.

The teeth of a goliath tigerfish are large and sharp.

A goliath tigerfish's teeth will protrude through its mouth when its mouth is closed. The top and bottom teeth interlock.

The goliath tigerfish is known as a tigerfish because of its ferocity and because its black bands resemble a tiger's stripes.

There are many fish called "tigerfish" which belong to different orders. They are known as tigerfish because of their coloration or because are very vicious.

This is an example of folk taxonomy, in which unrelated animals are given similar names because they look alike or behave in a similar way.


Goliath tigerfish live in large rivers and lakes in central Africa.

They can be found in Lake Tanganyika and the Congo River basin.


Goliath tigerfish migrate in groups to lakeshores or flooded riverbanks in order to lay their breed.

The females lay their eggs on plants.

A female may lay thousands of eggs.

The parents do not care for the young. The large number of eggs helps to ensure that at least some of the young will survive.

A newly hatched goliath tigerfish goes through a larval stage in which it lives on animal plankton. As it grows larger, it begins to hunt bigger prey.