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FAQs on Clariid Cats

Related Articles: Clariid Catfishes

Related Catfish FAQs:  Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction

FW Catfish id   9/13/10
Hi bob,
I have attached a picture of a catfish variety (probably albino cat fish) which I have at home in my aquarium, I have a doubt that it's a electric catfish. Please clarify.
<... is Clarias batrachus, "albino walking catfish"... still illegal in the U.S.... BobF>

Catfish fishery in Zimbabwe  11/13/09
There's an interesting message in the FW in box about a catfish fishery in Zimbabwe. I'm not really sure how to answer this question; what would work for an aquarium might not be relevant where health and safety, food production, and environmental management issues are at stake. Would you want to handle that question? Is there a better website or form for aquaculture questions to be fielded?
Cheers, Neale
<Mmm, will take a look. BobF>
Catfish hatchery  11/13/09
Hi WetWeb Crew
How is every one doing? Well i hope? I have a rather interesting conundrum for you this week. lets start off with a bit of background.
I live in Zimbabwe which as you know is not the richest of countries.
<Mmm, yes... am decidedly an anti-fan of Mugabe>
My story starts like this I would like to start a catfish hatchery in the northern part of the country in a place called Chirundu, I would like it to be a small to medium scale hatchery. breeding Clarias gariepinus or the African sharptooth catfish. I have done extensive research on the means and the methods and have done some experimenting and I have successfully have produced fry. which is have the battle won, my problem comes however in the actual design of the hatchery itself, I have see some guidelines in some papers I've read and have come up with a few drawings (see attachments)
<Nothing attached here>
but these are the drawing of the holding units for single catfish and for eggs and fry. The water we are using comes straight out of the Zambezi river and is full of silt,
<This will likely have to be simply treated, the sediment taken out, and any predators screened out as well, before use>
i haven't been able to monitor any other parameters such as nitrates, nitrites and ph. but i would like to put a sump system in place before water reaches any of the holding tanks.
<A very good idea>
After water has
circulated through the system once it can either return to the river or reenter the sump system. What do you think?
<I would try to arrange all this w/ a minimum of pumping if you could. If there are no enforced laws re returning the water to the river, I would do this... via gravity if at all practical>
i would also like the fry holding tanks to run on a separate sump system with maybe added uv filtration to kill any pathogens in the water?
<Mmm, if the cost isn't too much. My experience with the congener Clarias batrachus, makes me think that the young should be very tough>
again im not sure of my self here. Chirundu is hot at all times of the year,
<Yes... my roommate of many years, has visited there. I've asked him re>
although there maybe cold snaps during winter. Heat during summer maybe a problem how would i go about building a housing facility for my hatchery that stays cool in summer and warm in winter?
<As this fish is native, I would not be so concerned... other than using shading, keeping the water moving, I think you'll be fine>
I would appreciated any and all help you could give me.
Cheers Yasi
<I take it, or want to encourage you to think re other aspects/issues, like foods, how you'll process and market this catfish product. Have you "done a spreadsheet" for costs, revenue for this project? If so, please send a draft along and I will gladly take a look over it. Bob Fenner, whose academic background is actually fisheries biology>

Re: Catfish hatchery  11/15/09
<Hello again Yasfir>
Thanks for the feed back, it was helpful. i now need help setting up the sump as i have the vaguest idea of how to do this. If you could show me a diagram of one that would meet my needs.
<Mmm, unfortunately I don't know where one is to reference, but basically this is a large basin/container, with sloping bottom, with a mechanism (a simple drain or even just a removable standpipe), where new water (after it has been screened to omit/leave out undesirable life... predators) can pass through, possibly with mechanical media (brushes, most anything not too fine) to "drop out" particulates, before being further processed. Here one MUST pay attention to costs. Water will need to be available continuously, but you don't want to suffer electrical/pumping expense any more than necessary>
i would set my sump up for basically biological and mechanical filtration.
im looking at the formulation of feeds for the larvae, juveniles and adults.
<Good... see what others are feeding this species, that results in good growth, is locally available and inexpensive>
i will
also have a cost sheet available by the end of the week.
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Sump/Filter for Clariid Catfish Farm  -- 01/29/10
Dear WetWeb Crew
How are you? Hope all is well.
<Can't complain.>
I need some help I'm stuck I've never designed a sump before and I would appreciate some help. I am building a catfish hatchery (Clarias gariepinus) so it needs to be fairly heavy duty and handle lots of organic waste products produce by the adult female cat fish while they are in their spawning tanks.
<Indeed! These are very messy fish, and to have acceptable growth rates to be economically viable, Clarias ponds need to be well filtered.>
And I also need one for the eggs to keep the water at optimum levels. I am pushed for space so I am sending you a drawing which I had in mind which may or may not work you are the best that can advise me. I have 2 separate 5 metre by 5 metre rooms to work with, so a separate sump for each.
<Yes, you will need some sort of cover to stop catfish getting out. Clarias are "jumpy" and well known for escaping from their tanks. In Florida they are called Walking Catfish because of this. You will also need to make sure the overflow into the sump has suitable covers, otherwise the catfish WILL wriggle into it and down into the sump.>
Any advice would be appreciated
<I can't speak for Bob Fenner, but I'm certainly not qualified to talk about fish farming.>
Kind regards
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sump design... Clariids...  -- 01/30/10
Erm I was hoping for some sort of help with my diagram, maybe a few pointers on how to actually build a sump? This Sump will not be linked to Ponds But to breeding tanks in which females are isolated so they can receive a hormone injection and then produce eggs which will then be moved to separate tanks were they will hopefully hatch. I need to filter about 8 cylindrical tanks all linked in series with a diameter of 50cm and a length of 1m. I hope this gives an idea of the volume of water in the system I had hoped to build a 2m by 50cm by 50cm sump.
with a trickle tower but I am not sure if this is possible.
<Are all possible. Much background for you here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm
Though the files specify saltwater/marine, the principles apply to fresh. Bob Fenner>

About a pond -- 09/03/09
Please I would like some information on building a concrete pond for African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) farming and breeding on scale of 2000 fish. please don't hesitate to contact me for any information you may
Thanks for your time.
<Please peruse/read here:
Bob Fenner>

15 yr old albino cat fish eating problem  11/15/07 We own an Albino catfish indoors. He's approximately 28 inches long. <... a Clarias batrachus? This is still the only illegal fish in the United States...> PH is good, water is good. He is unable to hold the food down. It comes out of his gills. I gave him larger food. He was able to keep the food down for a while. He now can't keep any size food down. Several months ago I put Mosquito dunks in pond to get rid of midges. <Yikes> I don't know if this has something to do with this. He keeps trying to eat, but he can't keep the food down. Please help ASAP... Please contact me. Steve Spinelli <You may have to force feed this animal for a while... a bolus/food ball... see the Net re "catfish bait", pushed down the gullet, into, past the restriction/constriction at the back of the throat... while holding the fish in a plain, white, wet towel... Bob Fenner>

Re: 15 yr old albino cat fish eating problem  11/21/07 I tried to locate the information stated below and I'm not able to. Please call me as soon as possible. <... I don't "do" calls... This tool is my avenue for sharing... Try writing your concerns, observations... BobF> Steve Spinelli

Responding to an email regarding "15 yr old albino cat fish eating problem 11/15/07" -11/27/2007 I was unable to find the information regarding "You may have to force feed this animal for a while... a bolus/food ball... see the Net re "catfish bait", pushed down the gullet, into, past the restriction/constriction at the back of the throat... . while holding the fish in a plain, white, wet towel... Bob Fenner." I'm not sure what a "bolus/food ball" is. I would greatly appreciate it if someone would be able to contact me via phone. Thank you for your help. Steve <A bolus is a food ball. When you chew the food up in your mouth so it becomes a wet lump, that's a bolus: a round, wet lump of food. I'm afraid the cost of telephoning you in the US from my home in England is rather high, so that's not going to happen. But do feel free to reply to this e-mail if you need further help. Here at WWM we handle all enquiries this way so they can be published online and shared with others. Cheers, Neale  <<Thank you Neale. BobF>>

Reddened Clarias Catfish, Env.  4/18/07 Hello and thank you for your help with my previous unrelated questions. Unfortunately, I need advice again. I have searched your site for information on this problem without luck (but, I have learned much in the process: the best resource I've found so far. Thank you for that and all the inspiration you guys/gals provide!).    <Thanks>   The problem is with a ~12-14 inch Clarias catfish (Clarias batrachus is legally kept where I live in Canada). <Yes... likely too cold to survive outside... is still the only nationally illegal fish species in the U.S. I believe> Normally this fish lives with a mate in a 75 gallon tank. I separated him/her to a 30 gallon tank about six weeks ago because I thought there was an aggression problem. This catfish appeared to be stung by the other's venom spine (yes they have one, I've been jabbed too; like the worst bee-sting ever!). <Yes... have experienced this a few times... many years ago> I saw the wound at the base of the pectoral fin. Also, there were missing whiskers on this fish. <Yikes!> The pair have spawned before but I guess they are outgrowing the 75 gallon. The whisker stumps and wound were reddened, and I also noticed the roof of "his" mouth was fiery red.    <Secondary "infection" post high trauma... You were prudent to separate them>   After moving this fish to the 30 gallon, <Needs much more room... diligent water quality testing, change-outs, stepped-up filtration> and doing every other day water changes (has a large HOB filter with sponge and Zeolite/carbon, small amount gravel substrate, water parameters listed below). I waited about ten days expecting the redness to diminish, when it didn't, I treated him with Kanamycin for ten days (removed carbon/Zeolite). He was also doing some food spitting. I cut back on feeding, then stopped feeding, for about five days, then offered some earthworms which he gobbled.       The situation now is: six weeks later I'm still doing every other day water changes, I've continued feeding earthworms every other day alternated with chopped squid (with some powdered human multivitamin added) and OSI sinking pellets on the other days. He's eating very well and is active in the tank. While the wound near the pectoral fin has healed, the whisker stubs and the roof of the mouth remain very red. The whiskers show no sign of regrowing. When these fish have lost an occasional whisker in the past it has always regrown. <Not if bitten "too far back"> Also, I don't no if it's significant, but "he" has very visible capillaries all along his underside which I don't see on the healthy fish. The healthy fish has rapidly outgrown "him" as well in the last few months despite his eating well. I've had these fish for 2 years since they were fry. I'm starting to think this fish was becoming ill in the 75 gallon and the aggression was a secondary insult. <Maybe...> There are no signs of illness in the 75; water changes there are 35% every five days. Any suggestions as to why this fish is not healing, or anything else I should do/change? <Mmm, if you have no other system, I'd move the sick individual into the 75, the healthy one into the 30... but really, both need more room... like at least a 125 to be together... pipe or other to hide in...> Tank water: PH 7.5, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and about 5-10 nitrate. Temperature is 75F. I attempt to keep the parameters the same in the 75g too (fanatical about water quality in my tanks, despite irritation to my spouse.....). Thank you and best regards in advance, Anna. <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Catfish young... needs proofing I finally know what my baby catfish are! They're not babies anymore as you can see its been 5-6 months. They're walking catfish, <Clarias batrachus? Illegal in the U.S.... and for good reason... very invasive> which explains breathing air and crawling up the net whenever I catch them. The catfish are with my 2 cichlids, Venustus (I explained it like a figure 8 puffer) <?> and Red Zebra, in a ten gallon tank. <... what?> I know 2 walking catfish (11-9=2) and 2 cichlids and one pleco wont co-exist in just a 10 gallon aquarium with a terrible filter, so how does a 29 or 30 gallon eclipse with an under gravel filter sound? <Do read on WWM, Fishbase.org re this catfish... what species is this?> I hope to get that for my birthday so we'll see. I feed them mostly cichlid food mixed with a lot of other foods and occasionally an ice cube with veggies and cheese (I read the cheese thing in a fish book). <... a poor idea. Can mal-affect water quality...> I had a female Red Zebra but somebody (a catfish) ate her, as you can see this is a problem. Another problem is that my "babies" are getting bigger but my male red zebra is staying the same size ( catfish 5" and 6" cichlid 3 1/")  how can I prevent the same thing that happened to my female, from happening to my male? <... I have no idea what you're referring to... Hello!>      I cant wait for your response seeing I haven't asked you guys anything in a while. <Read... a much larger tank... Bob Fenner>

Clarias batrachus... for?  9/25/06 I am doing a project on preparing a bioassay determining effects of detergents on freshwater catfish tissues viz. hepatic, renal. I would be grateful for any advice or suggestions as material on this particular topic is very scarce really to make a project out of it. thank you very much, I would be really pleased if you could get back to me with some feedback, Abhishek Sharma <Umm... what specifically are you looking for here? I would use a smaller test animal/species myself... Bob Fenner>

Ideas for tankmate? Walking and African Cat Standoff addn.   6/1/06 Hello crew! <Zack> I've been using your awesome site for a couple years now on both the marine and freshwater side of things. I'm so grateful for the vast amounts of info available on WetWebMedia as well as the one on one help I received through emails such as this in the past. <Welcome> I've always loved keeping fish. I've had both freshwater and Marine setups with great success. But I'm curious to see what suggestions I can get for my 75g (4'lx20"hx18"w) freshwater tank. The pH is 7.2-7.4, the ammonia is 0ppm, and the temp is always close on 75 degrees. I have two large filters (one with a BioWheel), rocks to provide plenty of hiding spots, and I always have 2-4 large (about one inch) snails in there to help with waste and algae. Currently, I have a 8" Synodontis Eupterus Catfish and a 10-12" Walking Catfish (Clarias batrachus). <! Still the only illegal species of fish nationally... I take it you're outside the U.S. A tough, predaceous species> When I first introduced the Clarias, the two used to fight frequently but thanks to changing around the decor they have been pretty good for the better part of a year. The two catfish spend almost all their time on opposite ends of the tank and aren't overly active except while feeding. This means that I have a huge amount of open space in the tank just screaming for an addition! This is where I'm hoping for a little guidance. I'm looking for suggestions. I'm looking for one single large fish that can be housed permanently with the two cats in the current setup. I would like a predatory fish with some aggression that doesn't have to have only live food. The more unusual/interesting the better! Thank you so much! Zack Rousseau Newfoundland, Canada <Mmm, would have to be something smart, and/or fast... Perhaps a pair of Neotropical Cichlids, north American Centrarchids, some very large barbs... Bob Fenner> Re: ideas for tankmate? Clarias/Plu Dac Dam   6/3/06 Thank you for your quick reply! <Welcome> I'm sorry to ask again but there seems to be little info available online with regards to a tankmate for my walking catfish especially. I assume this is due to the fish being illegal in the U.S. <Mmm, related no doubt... as very few people have this animal nowadays.> I am wondering about one of the following as a tankmate: a Red Devil (Amphilophus labiatus), a Managuense Cichlid (Nandopsis managuense), or a Surinam Geophagus (Geophagus surinamensis). <These should all go, started large enough...> Are there any types of piranhas/Pacus I could consider? <Mmm, not the "real toothy ones/species"... these would all "take chunks" out of your cat. There are numerous other serrasalmines that might go though. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/serrasalminae1.htm The various "Silver Dollars", Pacus... if started large enough... and your Clarias fed sufficiently so it didn't predate them...> Again I thank you for your help. I'm looking for your opinion because the last thing I would want to do is get a fish that would clash with my two catfish, my tank setup, and/or my water parameters. Thanks! Zack Rousseau Newfoundland, Canada P.S. You mentioned north American Centrarchids as a possibility. Do sunfish fall into that group? <Oh yes... these are pretty much latter day, northward neotropical cichlids. Bob Fenner> Clarias batrachus I have recently bought a juvenile Clarias batrachus for my 350L community of 2 Firemouths, 2 Severums, 1 Cichlasoma salvini, 6 Aurulius barbs, 2 Sciaenochromis ahli, 1 Chinese algae eater, 1 banded loach, 1 Armoured catfish.  All are fully grown at 5 to 6 inch apart from the Severums which are only 2 inch and the barbs are 3 inch adults. I have received mixed info on this catfish, some saying it will eat all my fish, some saying it will be alright as long as its well fed.  If any which fish should I remove as I understand this fish will attain 18 inches, plus any other sound advice on keeping this interesting fish ... Kind regards, Marc. <Is a wonderful animal... very intelligent... and yes, you can likely keep it with what you list for a good while... Provided you keep the cat fed (daily). You may not be familiar with some of this species history in the trade, U.S. and might enjoy reading this link: http://www.bio.utexas.edu/courses/bio354l/Projects/2000/john_dunn/ Bob Fenner> 

Clarias batrachus - breeding / mating Hi, I refer to the following web page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/clariids.htm For current pictures and a short report of Clarias batrachus - breeding / mating, please take a look under: http://community.forenshop.net/forums/index.php?mforum=predatortalk&showtopic=124 Please put this link to your Website. Thank you, Wolfgang Ros <Will do. Thank you for this. Bob Fenner>

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