Blue Whale Catfish: Cetopsis Coecutiens Facts & Care Tips

scientifically known as Cetopsis coecutiens
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: October 10, 2023
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Native to the vast and enchanting Amazon River Basin, the Blue Whale Catfish is a captivating species that never fails to leave observers in awe. With its sleek silvery-blue coloration and elongated body, these catfish commands attention wherever it swims. This article delves into the intriguing world of this remarkable fish, exploring its habitat, physical characteristics, and behavior. Join us on this journey as we unravel the mysteries surrounding these catfish and gain a deeper understanding of one of nature’s most extraordinary creations.

Article Summary

  • The Blue Whale Catfish is a captivating species native to the Amazon River Basin, known for its sleek silvery-blue coloration and elongated body.
  • Proper tank conditions for Blue Whale Catfish include a large tank size (at least 70 gallons), well-oxygenated water, and soft, slightly acidic water conditions.
  • Cetopsis coecutiens can live for 10-15 years with proper care but are susceptible to stress-related diseases if kept in poor water quality.

Species Overview

The blue whale catfish, scientifically known as Cetopsis coecutiens, is a fascinating species that belongs to the family Cetopsidae. This unique fish is also commonly referred to as the Baby Whale Catfish, Blue Dolphin Catfish, Blue Shark catfish or Blue Torpedo Catfish.

Blue dolphin catfish has widespread natural range and can be found in various regions across South America. They inhabit the Amazon Tocantins and Orinoco river basins. These fish prefer open water in large and flowing rivers.

Role and Importance in The Ecosystem

These catfish play a vital role in maintaining the balance of aquatic ecosystems in the Amazon Tocantins and Orinoco river basins. These fascinating creatures act as scavengers, helping to keep the environment clean by feeding on dead organic matter.

Blue shark catfish are like nature’s garbage collectors, cruising along the riverbeds and consuming decaying plants and animals that would otherwise pollute the water. By doing so, they prevent the accumulation of waste and help to maintain a healthy and clean natural habitat for other species.

As blue torpedo catfish feed on organic matter, they break it down into smaller particles that can be easily decomposed by bacteria. This process aids in nutrient cycling within aquatic ecosystems. The nutrients released from the decomposing matter are then available for other organisms to utilize, promoting overall ecosystem productivity.

They also serve as an important food source for larger predators in rivers of the Amazon Tocantins and Orinoco, such as dolphins or sharks. Their presence ensures a balanced food chain. Without these catfish as prey, larger predators may struggle to find sufficient food resources, leading to potential imbalances within the ecosystem.

Blue Whale Catfish Appearance

The Blue Torpedo Catfish, is easily recognizable due to its distinctive elongated and streamlined body shape. It has a very rounded head that adds to its unique appearance.

One notable feature of the Blue Shark Catfish is the presence of prominent barbels on its lower jaw. These barbels are sensory organs that help the catfish navigate and locate food in murky waters. They also play a role in detecting potential predators or prey.

In terms of size, the average measure is around 10 inches in length. However, some individuals can grow even larger, reaching lengths up to 15 inches or more. Despite their size, these catfish are relatively peaceful and pose no threat to humans.

The Rounded Head of The Blue Whale Catfish
The Rounded Head of The Blue Whale Catfish

Tank and Water Requirements

To ensure the well-being of these catfish, it’s crucial to provide them with suitable water conditions and dimly lit tank. These magnificent creatures need spacious tanks that accommodate their size and swimming habits. Here are some essential points to consider when setting up their aquarium:

Large Tank Size

Cetopsis coecutiens require ample space to move around freely. A tank size of at least 70 gallons is recommended to meet their needs adequately. This allows them enough room to swim and explore their environment comfortably.

Water Conditions

It’s important to maintain well-oxygenated water (DO – Dissolved Oxygen) in the tank for the health of these catfish. They thrive in an environment with moderate water flow, which helps simulate their natural habitat. Consider using a filtration system or air stones to ensure proper oxygenation.

They prefer soft, slightly acidic water conditions similar to those found in their native habitats. Aim for a pH level between 6.0 and 7.4, along with a temperature range of 72-79°F (22-26°C). Conduct regular water tests and make necessary adjustments to maintain optimal conditions.

Cetopsis Coecutiens Health

They are generally hardy fish, meaning they can adapt well to different conditions as long as their needs are met. When provided with suitable tank conditions, these fish can thrive and remain healthy.

Susceptible to Stress-Related Diseases

However, they are susceptible to stress-related diseases if they are kept in poor water quality. It is crucial to maintain good water parameters such as temperature, pH level, and ammonia levels to ensure the well-being of these fish.

Prone to Bacterial Infections

Neglecting tank maintenance can lead to bacterial infections in Cetopsis coecutiens. It is important to regularly clean the tank, remove any uneaten food or waste, and perform partial water changes. By doing so, you can reduce the risk of bacterial infections and keep these catfish healthy.

Average Lifespan

Cetopsis coecutiens have a relatively long lifespan compared to other freshwater fish species. On average, they can live for 10-15 years when provided with proper care and a suitable environment. However, it’s worth noting that individual lifespans may vary depending on factors such as genetics and overall health.

A Blue Whale Catfish Caught in The Wild
A Blue Whale Catfish Caught in The Wild

Cetopsis Coecutiens Diet

They are omnivorous feeders, which means they consume both plant matter and meaty foods, and eat smaller fish. Their diet consists of a variety of foods such as shrimp, mussels, cockle, lancefish, and earthworms. However, it is important to note that live fish are not necessary for their diet.

One of the key aspects of a blue dolphin catfish’s diet is the inclusion of vegetables and fruits. While they can thrive on a diet primarily composed of meaty foods, they benefit greatly from a varied diet that includes plant matter. This ensures that they receive all the necessary nutrients for their overall health and well-being.

Temperament and Tank Mates

The Cetopsis coecutiens is best kept alone in a tank due to its temperament. This fish has a reputation for being aggressive towards other tank mates, especially smaller ones. It will not hesitate to eat smaller fish if given the opportunity.

In fact, the Cetopsis coecutiens has been known to bite chunks out of larger fish as well. In nature, it has even been observed ripping pieces of flesh from much bigger fish than itself. This behavior makes it unsuitable for sharing a tank with other fish.

When considering tank mates for these catfish, it’s important to prioritize their safety. Avoid placing them with any small or delicate species that could become prey. Even larger fish may not be safe from the aggression of the Cetopsis coecutiens.

Potential Tank Mates

However, some species can potentially coexist with the Cetopsis coecutiens without issues. These include large, robust fish that can hold their own against its aggressive tendencies. These species have similar temperaments and sizes that can withstand potential confrontations with the Blue Dolphin Catfish. Some suitable tank mates might include:

  • Arowanas
  • Oscars
  • Bichirs
  • Armoured Catfish (Suckermouth Armoured Catfish)

Remember, when introducing new tank mates, always monitor their interactions closely to ensure everyone’s well-being. If you notice any signs of aggression or stress, it may be necessary to separate them immediately.

Breeding Blue Whale Catfish

Breeding Cetopsis coecutiens can be quite challenging due to their specific requirements. These magnificent creatures require large breeding tanks with appropriate hiding places to mimic their natural habitat.

To successfully breed blue dolphin, it is essential to simulate rainy season conditions, as this triggers the spawning process. This can be achieved by adjusting the water temperature and introducing changes in lighting and water flow.

Challenging Requirements

Breeding Cetopsis coecutiens in captivity poses several challenges due to their unique needs. They require large tanks with ample swimming space and hiding spots. Maintaining pristine water conditions is crucial for successful breeding. Additionally, providing a well-balanced diet that replicates their natural food sources is essential.

Simulating Rainy Season Conditions

To induce spawning, several environmental cues of the rainy season need to be replicated. First, the water temperature should be gradually increased by a few degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature adjustment can help stimulate the spawning process. Secondly, the lighting schedule should be adjusted to mimic longer daylight hours, which is another important cue for spawning. By manipulating the lighting, the catfish can perceive the changes in day length and respond accordingly.

Lastly, water flow modulation is crucial to simulate rain-driven currents. Gentle currents or a wave-maker device can be used to create the desired water flow, providing the catfish with the sensation of rain-driven currents. By combining these simulated conditions, it is possible to create an environment that closely resembles the rainy season and increase the chances of successful spawning of these catfish.

By recreating these conditions, you provide an environment that encourages blue whale catfish to breed successfully.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big do blue whale catfish get?

Blue whale catfish typically reach a maximum size of about 10 to 11 inches (25 to 28 centimeters) in length. These freshwater catfish are known for their small size compared to other catfish species, making them a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts. While they may not grow as large as their aquatic namesake, the blue whale, they are valued for their unique appearance and peaceful temperament, making them suitable for home aquariums.

How often should I feed my Blue Whale Catfish?

Feed your Blue Whale Catfish once or twice a day, offering an amount of food they can consume within 2-3 minutes. Remember to provide a varied diet that includes high-quality pellets and occasional live or frozen foods.

Can Blue Whale Catfish be bred in captivity?

 Breeding Blue Whale Catfish in captivity is challenging due to their specific breeding requirements. It often requires large tanks with proper water conditions, the presence of males and females, and specialized breeding.

Image Reference

  • Featured Image – Kios Ikan Nusantara (2018, September 05). Blue Whale Catfish [Photo]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/KiosIkanNusantara/photos/blue-whale-catfish-adalah-salah-satu-jenis-ikan-lele-yang-sangat-unik-bentuknya-/885072758352450/?paipv=0&eav=AfaiMnTzTS-g93jO-wzWN_ZnPTKCdmM9IPWghj9R79CNXgcicT1EAit1wSfdJjcB3nc&_rdr
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