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Black Wolf Fish Care ( What Do You Know About This Black Beauty ? )

Are you a risk-taker? Or else do you love to accept challenges? Today I come with a new and wonderful challenge in the aquarium world. They are Black wolf fish and they are one of the amazing creations of nature. Actually, they just like their name, because they look like actual wolves that live underwater. 

Black Wolf Fish

What Is Black Wolf Fish?

They are completely matched for their name. Unique and mysterious look, predatory and dictatorial behavior will color up this fish in the wild habitats and aquariums all around the world. Actually, what is this amazing fish, Black wolf? There are thousands of fish in freshwaters like rivers and lakes. So, the Black wolf fish is one of the golden secrets of the freshwater fish world. Scientifically, the Black wolf is known as Hoplias curupira and is a member of the family Erythrinidae. 

So, why did I  say They have a unique and mysterious look? Did you see a Black wolf fish before? Of course, if you know this fish species’ appearance, you definitely grabbed my point. There are about 16 types of wolffish in the aquarium world. So, in comparison to these curupira, Hoplias curupira is pretty bulky in build with a blunt head and broad body. The name “Black wolf fish” comes from the fact that the colors vary greatly from light brown patterning to an almost solid coloring, depending on the mood. 

Plus, if you research Black wolffish, it can seem some color difference between capture locations with respect to the upper coloration of the fish. Another unique feature of them is that there are four patches of tiny pores along each side of the underside of their jaw. This defining characteristic of Hoplias curupira can be categorized as very unique because all other Hoplias have singular pores along the jaw 

Apart from that, Black wolf fish has 34 to 39 scales along their lateral line. In addition to that, Black wolf fish are predators. So, when hearing “predator,” what do you remember? What is the common feature of this type of fish species? Yes, as usual, there are big teeth. But these teeth are visible when they become adults, not in small ones. However, where can we find out them in the wild?

 In the aquarium world, Black wolf fish can be found all around the world. But in the wild, there is an extensive distribution of them across the north of South America, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam. Plus, they can find out Brazil in the Orinoco, Rio Negro-Amazon and its tributaries, Rio Xingu, Tocantins, and Rio Negro. 

How does Big Do Black Wolf Fish get?

Generally, there are reported cases of the sizes of Black wolf fish in the wild. These wild species’ maximum size has been reported at up to 75 cm in length. But this is pretty different when it comes to captivity. Healthy fish can grow up to 40 cm or 15 to 16 inches in captivity. However, mostly medium-sized Black wolf fish close to 30 inches. But you can help your fish reach their maximum size by offering quality and nutrient-rich foods and an ideal environment.  

Is Black Wolf Fish Aggressive?

Yes, of course, they are aggressive without any doubt. Not only that, this fish species is more territorial. They will tend to attack most tankmates because they may not be ready to share their kingdom with any other fish. Also, keeping small peaceful fish species with Black wolf fish is not a good decision. They can be a meal of them. But when compared with some wolf fish species, luckily, Black wolf fish are less aggressive. However, my recommendation is to add them to your tank with extreme care if there are any tankmates. However, Black wolf fish is usually not like fish that chase their prey. They are ambush predators. It means that this fish species waits for the prey to come to them. 

Black Wolf Fish Behavior

They are aggressive fish but not like some other wolf fish species that show high aggressiveness. However, the aggressiveness gradually improved when they gradually grew. So, adult Black wolf fish is more aggressive than juveniles. They are fish eaters, so keep away your beautiful small peaceful fish species from them. You already know, these fish predators. But they do not usually tend to chase and catch their prey.

Also, it can be noticed that Black wolf fish appear to live as pairs, and both are defending their territory together. But they work well as singly. Generally, if you already have a Black wolf fish, most probably they will swim on top of the tank. I think this habit comes from them naturally. Because in the wild, since their juvenile stage, they fulfill a portion of their diet on insects in the river water. So, here they have to come to the river’s surface area. 

But it does not mean that they do not prefer other aquarium areas. You can notice that they swim and hover in mid-water. Do you believe me? Wolffish are great jumpers. So, you have to set a lid tightly to your aquarium before adding Black wolf fish to your tank. It is a must. In addition to that, they can adapt to a new environment or place too quickly. But the conditions should be ideal. 

Also, they are diurnal, so mostly you can see them actively swimming during day times. However, if Black wolf fish start a battle, they will fight until one fish is dead. Therefore, it is a must to be aware of their behavior before you add to the tank. 

How Long Do Black Wolf Fish Live?

Generally, nobody knows the exact maximum lifespan of this fish. But different hobbyists have different opinions and experiences regarding the lifespan of the black wolf fish. Some people say they live around 10 years, while some are saying Black wolf fish can reach 20 years of age. But in the wild, they may live more than these mentioned years. So, who knows? The exact lifespan is the secrete of nature. However, here we can conclude that Black wolf fish cane lives long, even the captivity. But you have to care for your wolf fish well. 

One Look Care Guide

Scientific nameHoplias curupira
Common nameBlack wolf fish 
Native toNorth of South America,
SurinamBrazil in the Orinoco,
Rio Negro-Amazon and its tributaries,
Rio Xingu, Tocantins, and Rio Negro
Type Freshwater 
Color Dark brown and black 
Tank size150 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm or
60 x 24 x 24 inches large tank
Preferred temperature23 to 30 Celsius
Other water parameters pH level – 6.5 to 8
Growth rateNo exact growth rate
Maximum size In the wild – 70 cm In captivity – 40 cm 
Temperament Aggressive 
Recommended tank matesbetter to choose fast swimming same sized fish species with caution
Preferred foodShrimps
Lancefish fillets
Cockles fillets 
Tilapia fillets 
Feeding frequency2 to 3 times per day 
breedingUnknown in captivity 

Black Wolf Fish Care

Here, care is the most important thing, no matter what fish species you rear. Even though the fish is in captivity, always try to give your fish a natural feeling because it will make it comfortable for the fish and keep them healthy and happy. So, there are basic and important factors that you should consider when caring for your black wolf fish. 

Black Wolf Fish Tank Size

Compared with other Hoplias species, Hoplias curupira, or Black wolf fish is medium-sized. So, it is better to keep them in a medium to large tank setup. So, the minimum size can be defined as 150 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm or 60 x 24 x 24 inches large tank. But I am recommended to go upward of this amount. The larger tank will be caused activate your fish. In addition to that, it will be easier to keep your wolf fish away from their tankmates in the larger tank. But if your fish is a larger one or reaches the maximum size, you should go for another tank. 

How Many Black Wolf Fish Should Be Kept Together?

Generally, single Black wolf fish works well in the tank. Because they are very territorial, you can keep them in pairs. Here you should make sure that your tank has enough space for pair. Also, if you wish to go with a pair, it is better to introduce them at the juvenile stage. It will help to build a good company. Most probably, wolf fish pairs defend their territory together. 

Tank Setup

It is a must to remember to set your tank to mimic the natural habitats of this fish. So, let’s see one by one of the factors that you should consider when setting up the tank of wolf fish. They come from lakes, rivers, and other forest water sources. So, they live in relatively open waters with some flow in the wild. Therefore, it is important to give them an open area in your aquarium. Because they prefer to enjoy hovering and often swimming in open spaces, the bigger the tank. However, they are more likely to swim rather than hover. 

Because of that, do not try to decorate the fish tank heavily. Actually, fewer decorations are better. But you can add a large piece of bogwood because it will provide some cover. Or else adding a large pipe can also be an alternative to bogwood. But why do we add bogwood or a pipe to your Black wolf fish tank? It provides great hiding spots and a place to rest your fish. 

When it comes to the substrate of the fish tank, you can use a thick sand layer. However, some hobbyists go with bare bottom tanks. Actually, it is up to you! On the other hand, filtration is most important. So, install a high-quality filter system in the Black wolf fish tank. It will keep your tank water clean. Plus, you can also use a heater to keep the ideal temperature in your tank.

Water Quality Condition

Water parameters can determine whether you fish live or not. That’s why I always ask to keep the water parameters at an ideal level. 

Water temperature: The ideal temperature level can be defined as 23 to 30 Celsius.

pH level: pH level should be between 6.5 to 8.

GH level or Hardness: the ideal level should be at 3 

KH level: It should be 2 

So, how should we keep the water quality? Regular water change is the answer!  So, it is recommended to perform 30% water changes every week. 

Black Wolf Fish Breeding 

Male Or Female Identification 

Actually, there is no significant information regarding the identification of male fish and female fish. 


Captivity breeding is unknown. There is no significant record of the breeding of this fish. 

Fry Care 

You can provide invertebrates to little Black wolf fish. Also, they happily eat insects. 

Feeding Behavior Of Black Wolf Fish 

They are predators. They will hunt fish. However, they prefer to eat meaty foods. However, they are not fussy eaters. 

What Do Black Wolf Fish Eat In The Wild?

They hunt small fish, insects, and invertebrates in the wild. In addition to that, Curupira eats a small number of fruits in the wild. It is surprising you, right? Most probably in the wild Curupira lives in rivers that flow through heavy forests. So, it is not to wonder that the fruits fall into the rivers. So, that’s how Curupira eats fruits.  

What Do They Eat In In Aquarium?

Feeding your fish is not a big deal; it is easy. Mostly you can give frozen foods while providing live foods occasionally, for instance, once 2 to 3 weeks. 

  • Shrimps
  • Mussel
  • Crayfish
  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms 
  • Crickets 
  • Lancefish fillets
  • Cockles fillets 
  • Tilapia fillets 

In addition to that, you can feed them with prepared fish foods like pellets. But do not provide it bulky. First, put one or two pellets and test whether your fish prefer to eat pellets or not. 

How Often Should You Feed

It is better to feed your fish 2 to 3 times per day. But do not overfeed. Another thing does not to hold food in your hand until they grab the food. Also, do not overfeed because uneaten foods are a way to spoil the water quality of the fish tank. 

When Should You Feed (Time Of The Day)

It is better to provide food in the morning and the evening because they are diurnal. Therefore, this fish species is active in day times. 

How Can Long they Go Without Food?

It is difficult to say the exact time period when they can go without food. But it is highly dependent on the food availability in the tank. 

What Fish Can Live With Black Wolf Fish?

They are aggressive. So, when you should select tankmates for them, you should be more and more careful. They are the worst to deal with other fish species. Hence, I am recommended to keep them singly or in pairs. But if you want to keep tankmates, it is better to choose fast-swimming same-sized fish species with caution. However, do not keep them with small-sized fish because they will eat any fish that fits their mouth. In addition to that, it is better to avoid the below fish species because they can beat your wolf fish.

Is Black Wolf Fish Aggressive?

Yes, wolffish are aggressive fish species. So, are they different from their family members? Impossible, no? Yes, they are also aggressive. But they are less aggressive than some wolf fish species. However, do not underestimate. They are predators. It means that they are fish eaters. So, you do not have the possibility of keeping them with small fish species because they eat any fish that fits their mouth. 

Not only for smaller fish, but they will also tend to attack many of your tank mates. If both are more aggressive, the battle can end up with at least one death. So, please be extremely careful when you choose tankmates for your fish or are willing to add them to your existing aquarium. Because we cannot predict the exact aggressiveness of them!


Rather than fancy colors and vivid looks, some people love to rear some unique fish in their aquarium. That’s why they select Black wolf fish as a pet. Normally Black wolf fish add a bit of chance look to your aquarium. However, whatever the fish species, it is essential to know how to rear and care for them. I hope now you all have a good idea about Black wolf care!

Credit to : Fish Dynamics
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.