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This profile was written by superpap56 an active contributor to the site.  

North America


Channel catfish

Ictalurus punctatus



    Ictalurus punctatus, is North America's most numerous catfish species. They are also the most fished types of catfish, with approximately 8 million anglers in the USA targeting them per year. Often seen when small they are not to be taken lightly and are best left to the most experienced hobbyist who have the room and knowledge to care for them.
Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Roughly 2 feet 4 inches (71cm) and weighing up to 40-50 pounds with 58 pounds being the record .However under 20 pounds is far more the norm. They are mature at approximately 1 foot in length at 2 to 3 years in captivity and perhaps 3-6 years in the wild.
    Tank: Not suitable for most home tanks --if one were to choose to house this fish a very large tank of no less than 250 gallon in this writers mind.
    Strata: All
    PH: PH recommendation 6.0 to 8.0
    Hardness: 4 - 30 dGH (will adapt to a range of specifications.)
    Temperature: 50°F to 90°F (10°-32° C)
    Life Span: Record life span 24 years.


    Order: Siluriformes
    Family: Ictaluridae
    Genera: Ictalurus
    Species: punctatus

Common name:

    Channel catfish , Spotted Cat, Fiddler, Willow Cat

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    North America: These are originally native to the western and southern US the gulf states (although not west of the Rocks Mountains),the Mississippi River Valley north to Canada's prairie provinces, ..Later being introduced elsewhere including Ohio River tributaries and the Ohio River in the United states of America,as well as the great lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway

General Body Form:

    Scaleless cylindrical cross-sectioned body with soft rayed fins with the exception of the pectoral fin and the Dorsal fin which have hard sharp edges. This Cat has a deeply forked tail along with a rounded anal fin. The cat has 4 underjaw barbels plus one upper-jaw barbel on each side .


    Olive-brown to slate-blue on the back and sides, shading to silvery-white on the belly. Typically, numerous small, black spots are present, but may be obscured in large adults . The Albino is more commonly seen for sale .


    Can be housed with large Central American cichlids according to planet catfish..but due to it's large size--this writer does not feel it is a proper candidate for the average home aquarium. I have seen them kept quite successfully in large outdoor ponds. Determining the sex of a particular individual channel cat cannot be done. Although the males guard the nest the channel Catfish is very active when young ,becoming far less so as an adult. They are very fond of low to moderate current mimicking the flow of the streams they love to inhabit .

    Loves bloodworms and grow well on this , and , as they grow commercial fish meal but will accept all prepared foods. They relish night crawlers Adult fish can be fed weekly. Specimens under 4 inches in the wild feed on insects.

    Channel catfish

    A slow to moderate flowing stream .Rocky bottomed low-light with pieces of wood and lots of hiding places.


    Can be bred on commercial farms but not in the home aquarium . egg layers -the eggs in about a week and the fry remain in the nest for about 1 week. They breed at higher temperatures.

    Susceptible to parasitic and associated bacterial infections as well as Channel catfish virus disease,which is shown by slow feeding and erratic swimming in an aimless spiral well as alternating lethargy and hyperactivity. Swollen abdomen ,bulging eyes,bleeding at the fins and hanging upside down in the water.

    Planet catfish .com

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.








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