Holoptychius was streamlined predator about 50 centimetres (20 in) long (though largest specimen could grew up to 2.5 m), which fed on other bony fish. Its rounded scales and body form indicate that it could have swum quickly through the water to catch prey. Similar to other rhipidistians, it had fang-like teeth on its palate in addition to smaller teeth on the jaws. Its asymmetrical tail sported a caudal fin on its lower end. To compensate for the downward push caused by this fin placement, Holoptychius's pectoral fins were placed high on the body.