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Lima Shovelnose Catfish

(Sorubim lima)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 18"
• Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons   • Water Conditions: 73-84° F, KH 10-12, pH 6.2-7.3
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Amazon, South America   • Family: Pimelodidae
• Species: Large Catfish   • Aquarium Type: Large-Bottom-Dweller

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Species Information

Lima Shovelnose Catfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Lima shovelnose catfish (Sorubim lima) is a species of shovelnose catfish that is common throughout the Amazon and parts of South America. Their name originates from their flat rounded heads, which they use like a shovel to dig in the substrate for various food items. In the wild, the Lima shovelnose catfish spends much of its time moving about the bottom of rivers and tributaries looking for small crustaceans and fish species to consume.

Lima shovelnose also position themselves vertically near tree roots and similar structures waiting for unsuspecting fish to swim nearby. While they are an aggressive predatory species, the Lima shovelnose is one of the smaller Pimelodidae family species reaching between 14 to 18 inches within the aquarium environment. While this is still a large sized fish, it is much smaller than the 36 to 48 inches of length that other members of the Pimelodidae family reach.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Lima Shovelnose Catfish in the home aquarium.

Hobbyists looking to keep Lima shovelnose Catfish will need to have a large aquarium of 180 gallons or more, as an adult specimen can reach up to 18 inches in length; however, juveniles can be raised in smaller aquariums ranging from 55 to 125 gallons.

They are an active fish species that is known to jump out of uncovered aquariums, thus well covered aquariums are highly recommended. Lima shovelnose will do best in aquariums that resemble their natural surroundings as close as possible, thus a sand/gravel mix substrate, driftwood or tree root and Amazonian plant species will all be highly desirable additions to a Lima shovelnose tank.

While not overly sensitive to overall water quality the Lima shovelnose does put out a large bio-load, which means aquariums housing this species should have strong biological filtration and good water movement in order to keep high quality water conditions. Lastly the Lima shovelnose should be housed with other large aggressive fish species that it cannot fit in its mouth, as smaller fish species, shrimp, crayfish, etc. will all be seen as food items.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Lima Shovelnose Catfish and provide a healthy diet.

In their native habitat, Lima shovelnose catfish consume a wide variety of small crustaceans, fish, insects and worms. They will readily accept these same foods within the aquarium environment, or they can be fairly easily weaned from these foods to more economical pellet foods, crickets and earthworms. An added benefit of pellet foods, crickets, earthworms and similar foods is that they do not spread diseases like feeder fish can and provide a more nutritious and balanced diet for the Lima shovelnose.

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