Native to the Mekong delta, in Southeast Asia, this species has long been popular in home aquariums, though, with a potential of reaching four feet in length, it outgrows most of them and is often offered to public aquariums as a “donation”. More recently, it has become an important food fish around the world, exported in vast amounts from Vietnam. In US markets it is sold as “Swai” or “Basa”, due to pressure from American catfish farmers.
No relation to sturgeons, this huge relative of the little “talking catfishes” (popular with aquarists) possesses similar looking bony scutes along its side, giving it a prehistoric appearance. One of its other aquarium shop names is in fact “Prehistoric catfish” and another is “Ripsaw”. Though exceeding three feet in length, they feed almost entirely on invertebrates and detritus, as one might deduce from their small mouths.