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Old 11-13-2005, 06:55 PM   #1
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Channel Catfish - Submitted by Poppab02

Submitted by: poppab02

Scientific Name: Ictalurus punctatus

Common Names: Channel Cat, Albino Channel Cat, Graceful Cat

Region: North America

Maximum Size: 30+ inches in captivity, larger in wild

pH Range: 6-8

Environment: River rock and sand are the preferred substrate. Hiding places are an absolute must as channel cats are nocturnal and need somewhere to reside during the day. They prefer a moderate current as they are river fish but do fine in ponds as well.

Feeding: Omnivores; they will eat absolutely anything that fits in their mouth with the exception of algae. They are primarily carnivorous and thus once they are large enough, feeder fish are their preferred diet.

Distinguishing Sex: Unknown

Breeding: Requires enormous amounts of room. They will breed in the spring once the temperature hits 75F. They search out debris and other structures that provide a large enough area and suitable protection for spawning. The male catfish will guard the eggs until they hatch.

Lifespan: 15 years

Behavior: Relatively peaceful, especially when young, and a suitable size for aquariums. However, they are predatory fish, so always be aware that any tank mate that will fit in the channel cat’s mouth will vanish. They will become less tolerant and more aggressive as they increase in size and age. They are absolute vacuums and eat anything that reaches them. Being nocturnal, they are pretty well inactive during the day, with the possible exception of feeding time, for which they will usually come out long enough to eat a large amount of food. This is usually when tank mates small enough to fit in their mouths will disappear.

Price: $1-4 for Albino variety, $3-7 for regular variety

Suitable Tankmates: Large South American cichlids mainly, and anything that will be large enough not to fit in the channel cat's mouth. They do not do well with African cichlids, though, because the cichlids relentlessly harass the catfish unless the catfish is significantly larger than them, in which case the catfish will usually be large enough to eat the cichlids.

Handling: Although the whiskers are harmless to touch, the dorsal fin and pectoral fins have sharp spines which can inflict an extremely painful wound.

Other Info: Very adaptable fish; they can tolerate nearly anything. They can sometimes be confused with the Ictalurus Furcatus of the Blue Catfish. However, if you are buying them in a pet store, you can be about 99% sure it is the Ictalurus Punctatus.

Personal Experience: The main reason I wrote this review is because of what I continually hear from people regarding buying this fish: “I know they get huge but when he outgrows my tank I’ll just sell him back to the LFS.” I thought this as well and had no idea of their tremendous growth rate despite doing quite a bit of research. I had an albino channel cat for one year. I knew how large they became but planned on starting a large pond for it within a couple years. So I bought one of those 1-inch guys they have at every pet store for $1.49. At first he lived in my community tank, in which he coexisted with all types of tetras, otos, danios, and a pleco without problems. Within a month he was around 2.5 inches and so I moved him to my 30 gallon tank -- this was when I started to worry about the growth rate. He lived in the 30 gallon for about five months, until he hit about 6.5 inches and I started seeing tank mates disappear. He then was moved to my 55 gallon where within the next six months he grew to the size of 13 inches, and although he was absolutely gorgeous, I could no longer keep him, as he could barely turn in the tank. He went to a good home. Moral of the story--They grow incredibly fast; mine grew at the rate of an inch per month. Therefore, you better have something large enough to house it as an adult when you buy this fish.
If you have enough room for the full grown fish, you cannot go wrong with this fish. They are extremely easy to keep and adapt to various water conditions. However, if you don’t have room to house a 30-inch fish, stay away because they grow very quickly.

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