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Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameCetopsis coecutiens  (Lichtenstein, 1819)
Common NamesBaby Whale Catfish
Blue Shark Catfish, Blue Torpedo Catfish, Blue Whale Catfish, Blå Vampyrmalle (Denmark), Whale Catfish
Type LocalityRivers of Equatorial Brazil.
Synonym(s)Silurus coecutiens
Pronunciationsee TOP siss - koe cutey enz
EtymologyCetopsis: From the Greek cetos, meaning whale, and -opsis, meaning likeness; in reference to the whale-like appearance. 
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 265mm or 10.4" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationAn uncommon import but commonly encountered in its natural habitat - a couple of hours hook and line night fishing in Peru yielded a dozen or so of these fish. Several other members of the family are imported rarely.
SexingMales are more slender than females and their dorsal fin tapers to a more elegant point in mature specimens.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionSouth America: Amazonas, Tocantins, and Orinoco basins.
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Lower Amazon, Tocantins (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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pH6.0 - 7.4
Temperature22.0-26.0°C or 71.6-78.8°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersAn open water fish that requires strong current and oxygenation. It is a testament to the fishes adaptability that it survives in conditions less than this ideal. Water quality and general husbandry is important, and it is recommended that a minimum of 25% water is changed on a weekly to fortnightly basis.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingWill accept frozen foods and readily adapts to all good sized live foods. Chopped mussels and live earthworms are favourites. Should not be weaned onto feeder fish but attempts to wean onto tablet food (especially shrimp based tablets) should be made from a young age. Be careful not to overfeed as this fish is an opportunistic feeder and will gorge itself given the chance.
FurnitureA sparse, dimly lit tank is required. Provide only minimal cover for the fish to hide in during the day. The provision of a dim actinic light will allow you to observe the fish on its nocturnal prowling where it is an impressive midwater fish and needs room to roam. Substrate is important as although it is a midwater fish, it comes to rest on the bottom frequently. Use aquarium sand or rounded gravel.
CompatibilityNot a fish to be trusted with others. Its natural adult behaviour is to bite lumps out of larger deep river channel fish such as the scaleless Pimelodids. Younger fish in the aquarium do not seem so dangerous, perhaps because they are young or well fed. It will however always eat smaller fish and is an accomplished hunter.
Suggested TankmatesIt is believed these are a shoaling fish, but no data is available on keeping them as such in aquaria. Perhaps armoured catfish are the best bet, but ensure all fishes are well fed.
BreedingUnreported and good luck trying to raise a brood of these things!
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesSelecta Piscium Brasiliam - pp12 - Pl. 10 (fig. 2)
Registered Keepers(1) daniel60, (2) amiidae, (3) brettwms75, who also notes: "The fins on this fish will turn ragged looking with poor water quality. I found out when my filter uknowingly stopped. Becareful mine bites on my hand every water change. It's fearless!! Very cool & very very pricey!!!", (4) Stackdeck, (5) bio1, (6) dmcat, (7) CatWhat, (8) angerygrover (k: 3).

Click on a username above to see all that persons registered catfish species. You can also view all "my cats" data for this species.
Breeding ReportsNone.
Article - CotM 2009 August
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Last Update2013 Jul 19 18:42 (species record created: 2001 Apr 17 00:00)