Wallago Leerii: Striped Wallago Catfish Facts & Care Tips

Also called striped wallago catfish, and its scientific name is wallago leerii
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: April 22, 2024
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The striped wallago catfish, an intriguing species native to Southeast Asia, has captured the attention of aquarium enthusiasts globally for its unique size and striking appearance. The individualistic stripes that adorn its body make it a remarkable part of any aquatic display. The catfish’s natural habitats of rivers and lakes further underscore its allure, highlighting its adaptability in freshwater ecosystems.

Article Summary

  • The Wallago Leerii, also known as the Striped Wallago Catfish, is a fascinating species native to Southeast Asia.
  • The catfish has a distinctive appearance, including a long and wide head with sharp teeth.
  • It requires large tanks with a minimum capacity of 200 gallons for adequate space.

Species Overview

Also called Wallagonia leerii and sometimes referred as the helicopter catfish, is a species of catfish that belongs to the Siluridae family found in Southeast Asia. These majestic creatures can grow up to an impressive length of 6 feet and 7 inches. With their elongated bodies and predatory nature, they are truly a sight to behold.

These catfish have a long lifespan, averaging around 10 years in the wild. They can be found in various freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in Southeast Asia. Their adaptability allows them to thrive in different environments.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Wallagonia leerii is its ability to swim like a helicopter. This unique swimming style has earned it the nickname “helicopter catfish.” The fish uses its pectoral fins to propel itself through the water with incredible agility and speed.

Conservation Status

While Wallagonia leerii is not currently listed as an endangered species, overfishing poses a threat to its population. As a large fish and predatory species, these catfish are highly sought after by anglers. Sustainable fishing practices and regulations are crucial for maintaining healthy populations of this species.

Wallagonia Leerii Appearance

A Wallago Leerii Caught in The Wild
A Wallago Leerii Caught in The Wild

The Wallagonia Leerii has a distinctive appearance that sets it apart from other fish. Its short, rounded body is complemented by a long, broad tail. Interestingly, the anal fin of this fish is about as long as its tail and ends in a forked caudal fin. You won’t find any dorsal spines on this catfish either; instead, it possesses a noticeable hump atop which sits its small and almost elliptical dorsal fin.

Moving on to its head, the Wallagonia Leerii has quite an impressive one. It is long and remarkably wide with a huge lower jaw that extends beyond its maxilla. This feature gives the leerii catfish a unique look. But what makes this fish truly fascinating are its teeth. The mouth of the Wallagonia Leerii is inlaid with several rows of sharp teeth that enable it to grip prey effectively.

Tank and Water Requirements

To provide a suitable habitat for Wallagonia Leerii, it is crucial to meet their specific tank and water requirements. Here’s what you need to know:

Wallagonia Leerii requires large tanks with a minimum capacity of 200 gallons. This species is a large fish, reaching lengths of up to 6 feet, so they need ample space to swim around comfortably. A spacious tank will also help reduce stress and aggression among multiple fish.

Water Conditions

These catfish prefer soft, slightly acidic water conditions resembling their natural river drainages. Aim for a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5, with a temperature range of 75-82°F (24-28°C). Maintaining stable water parameters is essential for the health and well-being of your Wallagonia Leerii.

Filtration System

An adequate filtration system is crucial for maintaining good water quality in the aquarium. The filter should be powerful enough to handle the size of the tank and efficiently remove waste products, excess food, and other pollutants from the water. Regular maintenance like cleaning or replacing filter media is necessary to ensure optimal functioning.

Hiding Spots

Striped Wallago catfish (found in Southeast Asia) are nocturnal creatures that appreciate hiding spots during the day. Provide them with driftwood or caves where they can retreat when feeling stressed or threatened. These hiding spots also serve as territories for individual fish if you have multiple individuals or other species in your tank.

Remember, creating an environment that closely mimics their natural habitat will promote their overall well-being and minimize stress-related issues.

Striped Wallago Catfish Health

Regular monitoring of the health of your striped wallago catfish is crucial to ensure their well-being. These fish are prone to bacterial infections, especially if the water quality in their tank is poor. It’s important to keep a close eye on them and watch out for any signs of stress or disease.

Signs of Stress or Disease

Stressed or sick striped wallago catfish may exhibit various symptoms that indicate an underlying issue. Look out for the following signs:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy or abnormal swimming behavior
  • Changes in coloration or skin condition
  • Abnormal breathing patterns
  • Sores, lesions, or other visible abnormalities on the body

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to take immediate action to address the problem.

Water Quality Maintenance

Maintaining good water quality is vital for the overall health of your striped wallago catfish. Regular testing and maintenance should be carried out to ensure optimal conditions in their tank:

  1. Test the water parameters regularly using appropriate kits. This includes checking pH levels, ammonia and nitrite levels, and temperature.
  2. Perform regular water changes to remove any accumulated toxins and maintain proper oxygenation.
  3. Keep the tank clean by removing uneaten food, waste, and debris promptly.
  4. Ensure adequate filtration system for efficient removal of impurities.

Consulting a Veterinarian

In case you encounter persistent health issues with your striped wallago catfish despite maintaining good water quality, it may be necessary to seek professional help from a veterinarian experienced with fish care. They can provide expert advice, diagnose any underlying problems, and recommend suitable treatments.

By prioritizing the health and well-being of your striped wallago catfish through regular monitoring and maintenance practices, you can help ensure they thrive in their aquatic environment.

Wallagonia Leerii Diet

The Wallagonia Leerii, also known as the Striped Wallago Catfish, is a highly predatory fish that feeds on other species (smaller fish such as Puntius sp. and bagrid catfish) in its natural habitat. It enjoys consuming freshwater prawns. It is likely that they will require a similarly meaty menu.

To ensure optimal nutrition for your Striped Wallago catfish, it is important to provide them with a piscivore diet. This means feeding them small fish, shrimp, worms, and even frogs. Offering a variety of food options will help meet their nutritional needs and keep them healthy.

While it may be tempting to overfeed your Wallagonia Leerii due to their voracious appetite, it is crucial to avoid doing so. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and various health issues in these fish. Therefore, it’s best to feed them an appropriate amount based on their size and activity level.

Helicopter Catfish Temperament and Tank Mates

Striped Wallagonia catfish, also known as the Helicopter Catfish, is a solitary predator that loves to have its own space. With its sharp teeth and voracious appetite, it will attempt to eat any tank mates that are smaller in size. Therefore, it’s important to choose tank mates wisely to ensure the well-being of both the Leerii and other species in the aquarium.

When considering tank mates for Striped Wallago catfish, it is best to avoid smaller fish species, like guppies. They may become easy prey for this large fish with its formidable set of teeth. Instead, opt for similarly sized fish that can hold their own against the Leerii’s predatory nature.

Before introducing new tank mates, it is crucial to observe compatibility carefully. This can be done by researching the temperament and behavior of potential tank mates beforehand. Some fish may be more aggressive or territorial than others, which could lead to conflicts within the aquarium.

Here are some key points to consider when selecting tank mates for Striped Wallago catfish:

  • Avoid smaller tank mates: Choose larger fish that won’t be seen as a potential meal.
  • Best kept alone or with similarly sized fish: The Leerii thrives when given ample space and companionship from fish of similar size.
  • Observe compatibility before introducing new tank mates: Research and understand the temperament of potential tank mates before adding them to the aquarium.

By following these guidelines, you can create a harmonious environment for your Striped Wallago catfish while ensuring the safety of other fish in your aquarium.

Breeding Wallagonia Leerii

Breeding wallagonia leerii or the wallago catfish, can be quite challenging in captivity. It requires specific conditions and large breeding tanks to replicate their natural habitat. Here are some key points to consider if you’re interested in breeding these fascinating fish.

Requires Large Breeding Tanks

To breed wallago catfish (striped wallago), you’ll need spacious breeding tanks that can accommodate their size. These catfish can grow quite large, reaching lengths of up to 6 feet. They require specific water parameters such as temperature, pH level, and water quality to stimulate spawning.

Spawning During Rainy Season

In their natural habitat, striped wallago typically spawn during the rainy season when water levels rise. To mimic this environment in captivity, it’s important to create conditions that simulate the rainy season. This includes adjusting water parameters and providing appropriate lighting conditions.

Seek Guidance From Experienced Breeders

Given the challenges associated with breeding wallago leerii, it’s highly recommended to seek guidance from experienced breeders before attempting it yourself. They can provide valuable insights into the specific requirements and techniques necessary for successful breeding.

Breeding wallagonia leerii is a complex process that demands careful attention to detail and specialized knowledge. While it may be challenging, successfully breeding these magnificent catfish can be a rewarding experience for dedicated aquarists.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big is the Wallagonia Leerii?

The Wallagonia Leerii can grow to an impressive size. These catfish species are known to reach lengths of up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) and can weigh over 50 kilograms (110 pounds). They are considered one of the largest freshwater catfish species in the world.

What size tank is suitable for Wallagonia Leerii?

Wallagonia Leerii requires a spacious tank due to its large size and active nature. A minimum tank size of 200 gallons is recommended to accommodate their growth and provide ample swimming space.

Can I keep multiple Wallagonia Leerii together?

While it is possible to keep multiple Wallagonia Leerii together in a large enough tank, it’s important to monitor their behavior closely. These catfish can be territorial and aggressive towards each other if they feel crowded or if there is competition for resources.

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