Cat-eLog Right Arrow Pimelodidae Right Arrow Sorubimichthys

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameSorubimichthys planiceps  (Spix & Agassiz, 1829)
Common NamesFirewood Catfish
Acha Cubo (Peruvian), Cabo De Hacha (Colombian), Doncella (Venezuelan), Guerevere (Peruvian), Paletona (Venezuelan), Peixe-lenha (Brazilian), Spatelwels (Germany), Økseskaftmalle (Denmark)
Type LocalityAmazon R., Solimoes, Rio Negro.
Synonym(s)Platystoma planiceps, Platystoma spatula, Pteroglanis manni, Sorubim jandia, Sorubimichthys ortoni, Sorubimichthys spatula
Pronunciationsaw rue bim ick thees - pla neh seps
EtymologySorubi is the Brazilian local name for this fish (and several other pimelodids) +(Greek)ichthys=fish. The specific epithet, planiceps meaning flathead.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 1600mm or 63" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationBody has an overall cylindrical shape. Very flattened head. Large long caudal fin. In large specimens the upper jaw surpasses the lower. Overall coloration and color pattern varies greatly over the animal's range, but the fish generall has a broad cream stripe reaching from the gill cover to the caudal peduncle. This light colored stripe may or may not be bordered by darker stripes.
SexingUnknown. Overall adults sizes for females are reported as larger than those of males.
General RemarksThe largest specimen reported from the Amazon was 1.5 meters; Puerto Lopez, Colombia 1.6 meters; Rio Caqueta 97 cm. Considered ''Vulnerable'' to extinction due to overfishing by commercial fisheries. Average adult size captured by commercial fisheries has declined in recent years and now averages under one meter. In Puerto Carreno, on the Rio Orinoco, 5.5 tons of S. planiceps were harvested in 2001. Under Colombian law, specimens under 95 cm may not be retained. This would also make the small specimens imported for the aquarium trade illegal. Sadly, this law is rarely enforced.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionFound throughout the Orinoco, Guaviare, Meta, Metica, Guayabero, Amazon, Putumayo, and Caqueta basins. The wide varity of color patterns and reported adult sizes from these different drainages suggest that this is either a vary variable species or S. planiceps represents a complex of similar species and/or subspecies.
Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco, Upper Orinoco, Guaviare (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco, Upper Orinoco, Guaviare, Guayabero (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Middle Amazon (Solimoes), Japurá, Caquetá (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco, Middle Orinoco, Meta (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco, Middle Orinoco, Meta, Metica (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Upper Amazon, Putumayo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Show it on a map (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
pH6.0 - 7.6
Temperature24.0-28.0°C or 75.2-82.4°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersNormally found in whitewaters high in suspended sediments.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingA voracious predator that consumes other fishes.
FurnitureWith an adult size reaching almost five feet, this fish would require a massive tank. The substrate should be sand with large stones and driftwood providing hiding places. The water current should be strong with a high oxygen content.
CompatibilityOther fishes with similar water requirements that are too large to be swallowed whole.
Suggested TankmatesOther large catfishes of the families Pimelodidae or Doradidae.
BreedingUnreported. Juveniles appear during the onset of the rainy season.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesSelecta Piscium Brasiliam - pp25 - Pl. 12
Barthem R. and M. Goulding (1997) The Catfish Connection; Ecology, Migration, and Conservation of Amazon Predators. Columbia University Press.
Mojica et al. (2002) Libro rojo de peces dulceacuicolas de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Romano B. (no date) Peces de Aqua Dulce de Venezuela. Fundacion Cientifica Fluvial de Los Llanos.
Registered Keepers(1) arapaima, (2) Lornek8, (3) amazonfishman (k: 2), (4) Redtailrob (p: 2, k: 2), (5) miles3, (6) allim, (7) Decker504, (8) arapaimag (k: 3), (9) richb, who also notes: "I acquired two fish at about 6 inches. Once they acclimated to the tank, they started taking silversides (switched over from red shiners). They grew pretty quickly. I am surprised at how asocial they are. The large fish beat on the smaller fish in a 6' long 180 gallon tank until I had to remove the smaller to a recovery tank. The larger fish is about 14" SL and 17 or 18 total length. Intersting fish. The smaller fish found his way to the floor. The larger fish is now (2/2013) approaching 30" total length. He is eating 10" smelt twice a week. OMG - this fish grows fast! Do not buy if you don't have a very large tank ready and waiting. As of 6/13, the fish is eating 1/2 pound climbing perch. About 3' long. The fish is 42" as of February 2014. Sensitive. Will go off food if something changes. I added the 2 L. marmoratus and the planiceps hasn't eaten yet. It's been almost a month. I'm not worried yet. September 19, 2014. The fish is a bit over 4' long. So, 6" to 4' plus in less than 3 years. Fantastically cool fish. On being moved to the tub, the fish got tangled in the seine and had to be cut out. It got pretty torn up. However, no visible fungus anywhere. It took about two months for the fish to resume feeding.", (10) Pcpolo111, (11) Igor Hotasi Simamora, (12) TheFishGuy, (13) TheBobbyVee.

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Breeding ReportsNone.
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Last Update2013 Jul 19 14:09 (species record created: 2001 Apr 22 00:00)