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Catfish in general

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      29.07.2001 02:58
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      The title is purely because there is not a freshwater tank set-up that cannot incorporate at least one Catfish. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX CONTENTS XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Introduction What Makes a Catfish Special General Breakdown of Catfish Types (Update to Loricariidae family) Water Conditions Breeding What is the Right Catfish for Me? Reference Conclusion ***UPDATE***-WORDS TO FIND PICTURES WITH at bottom of op. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX INTRODUCTION XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX I have kept tropical fish for many years. Throughout my time in the hobby, my favourite type of fishes is catfish. They have a unique character and I find that I am a lot closer to the catfish in my tank than the other fish. I keep several different plecs as well as Corydoras and Brochis catfish. In this opinion, I am going to look at some of the different types of Catfishes along with general requirements and the methods used to breed them. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX WHAT MAKES CATFISH SPECIAL XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX The predominant feature of catfish is their ability to breathe air as well as use their gills. They do this by coming to the surface and spend maybe a second expelling the old air and compressing new air into the swim bladder. As catfish are naturally very “skittish”, they will shoot to the surface and spend as little time as possible in this vulnerable position. If you see your catfish come to the surface for air, there is no need to worry, but if they spend more than a few seconds at the surface or keep coming to the surface every few minutes, you should use this as a pointer to poor water quality. This is because there may be low oxygen content in the water. The
      filter or air pump may not be up to the job of aerating the tank. If the filter and pump are working effectively, there may be too much pollution in the tank that is reducing water quality, a water change may improve matters. You may notice that if you have a lid on the tank and the water level is close to the lid, the catfish may bash their heads as they surface with quite a thump. This should not harm them too much but lowering the water level by an inch or so will prevent the fish harming themselves. By lowering the level a bit you also give more room for air under the lid as well, which can help increase oxygen availability to the water. Do not forget though that it is the surface area of the water that ultimately decides how much oxygen can be absorbed by the water, not how much air is in the tank top. I am merely saying that by having a larger volume of air if you have a sealed lid, there is more oxygen available to be absorbed into the water. If this confuses you, e-mail me and I will try to explain in another way. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX GENERAL BREAKDOWN OF CATFISH TYPES XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Some people may mistakenly bunch catfish into one group of catfish amongst groups called Tetras, Barbs, Cichlids, etc. This is a mistake as there are several families of catfish that can come from different areas of the world and have different shapes and characteristics. I will run through the main families and tell you a little about each. Aspredinidae or Banjo Catfishes. These catfishes are found in South America, they are generally peaceful fishes that are active only at night and are carnivorous, so they should not be kept with mouth sized company. They are suitable fish for the experienced connoisseur who is looking for an oddball catfish. Bagridae or Naked Catfishes. These catfish are found in Africa and Asia. These fish are generally ter
      ritorial and predaceous fish that should be kept alone or with a larger tank mate. These fish are also active by night and will not be seen during the day. Callichthyidae or Armoured Catfish. This is the largest and most kept family of catfishes. They are found in South America and the majority of the fish in this family belong to the Corydoras Genus. They are generally peaceful omnivores that are active during the day and night (Whenever they smell food really). Chacidae. This is an Asian catfish family that is nocturnal and although generally peaceful, may become a predator over time. They are carnivores and require live food. These fishes are only recommended to an advanced aquarist and should not be kept in community tanks. Clariidae. These have no real common family name and are generally referred to as Clarius catfish. They are known as “Walkers” as they can lock their gills closed and wriggle across expanses of land to find new feeding areas during the dry season. For any Americans reading this opinion, these fish are banned in the States as it can survive in the water and will eat all living animals in the water it infests. These fish are from Africa and Asia and grow to over one and a half feet in length. Doradidae or Thorny Catfishes. These fish are found in South America and are nocturnal omnivores that err towards carnivores. They will accept tablet foods but prefer things like frozen bloodworm or live food. They may come out at dusk if food is present. This family is also known for some species being able to "Talk”, that is they make audible clicking or growling noises. Due to their thorny nature (they have spines), you should not use a net to catch them in the tank as they may become entangled and injury themselves. You should use a clear plastic or glass container to catch them. Ictaluridae or Horned Pouts. Found in Central and North America, these fish are predators and should not b
      e kept in a community tank. It is also a food fish in North America, they grow to a size of more than two feet in length in the right conditions. Loricariidae or Armour Plated Catfishes. You will find the majority of sucker mouth catfishes in this family. They are found in South America and are mostly nocturnal. My plecs become active at dusk and throughout the night. They are herbivores that search the tank for algae but they will accept tablet foods and frozen live food occasionally. Cucumber is a favourite of my fish. ***UPDATE 29/07/01*** I have been asked a question about plecs. I apologise as this was an oversight by me for assuming that everyone would know what they are. When I refer to plecs, it is a generalised name given to suckermouth catfish, although it is the shortened version of "Hypostomus Plecostomus" which is just one species, plec is often used as a term to describe any suckermouth, ie. I refer to my Ancistrus catfish as a plec, although it isn't in the true sense of the word. I hope this clears up any confusion. ***END OF UPDATE 29/07/01*** Malapterruridae or Electric Catfishes. As you can probably guess, these are not fishes for the community aquarium. Found in African waters, these fish are active by night and stun their prey with an electric shock. These fish can only be kept in a species display tank and it is strongly recommended that you wear strong rubber gloves when maintaining the tank as the shock can be nasty although not fatal for a human. Mochocidae or Naked Catfishes. These are African fish and the family contains the beautiful Synodontis species of catfish. They are called naked catfish, as they have no armour plating. Instead, they have various patterns for camouflage. They are mostly nocturnal and omnivorous. They enjoy being fed live food such as insect larvae as well as tablet food. Pangasiidae. Known commonly as Pangasius catfish, although regularly
      found in shops they are not a good choice for an aquarium fish. It is an Asian fish and they are kept in paddies with the rice so the area provides fish for eating as well as rice. They are generally seen in the shops at around 3 inches in length and although they only often grow to 8 inches in an aquarium, they grow to 39 inches in the wild. They are very nervous and the slightest tap on the tank can send them crashing round the tank to get away and they often get injured. Omnivorous, they eat live food when young, but older fish lose their teeth and become vegetarian. Pimelodidae or Flat-hosed Catfish. Found in South America, these fishes are generally nocturnal predators. They generally grow quite large and shouldn’t be kept in small communities as the fish may start disappearing in the night. Schilbeidae or Glass Catfishes. Found throughout Africa and Asia, these are one of the few catfishes that are active during the day. They are omnivores and will take both flake and small live foods. They are generally schooling fishes and should not be kept alone. Siluridae or Old World Catfishes. These are similar to the previous family with glass catfish, the difference is that these fishes have travelled into Europe from Asia instead of Africa. These fish are nocturnal and are also predaceous. They should not be kept with small fish. You will tend to see the previous family in the trade as they are more peaceful and are active by day. Trichomycteridae. This is a very strange family of catfish. They are found in South America and are tiny. They are strange because they have a habit of living symbioticallyin the gill hollows of larger fish (generally larger catfish). It occasionally finds it’s way into the urethra of mammals which urinate underwater hence the warning in some holiday brochures that tight fitting swimwear should be worn if venturing into certain rivers in South America. These fish are very rarely imported and a
      re only kept by true enthusiasts who have kept most other types of catfish. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX WATER CONDITIONS XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Catfish are predominantly fresh water fish. There are a few salt water catfishes but they return to river estuaries to breed. The majority of catfish found in the hobby through retailers are happy to live in a P.H . of between 6.0-8.0. To keep fish like Corydoras, the various testing kits are not necessary if you carry out regular water changes and use a good water conditioner such as Tetra Aquasafe, as they are very hardy. The temperatures required by catfish vary widely between 22 and 28 degrees Celsius. This means that when selecting the fish to keep, you should pick ones that share temperature requirements. Generally, you can do this by keeping the catfish that occur in the same region, e.g. South America or Asia. This also makes sense as you will make a more natural display by keeping fish from the same area. My tanks are set to 24.5 degrees Celsius and the fish are fine. The only problem I have is that in the summer heat, the temperature has risen to 26.5. The fish are more lethargic but are coping and I have fully opened the lid to allow heat to escape. DO NOT try and lower the temperature by dumping some cold water in the tank. The shock will doubtless kill the fish. If the temperature rises above 27 degrees, you can carry out small water changes every hour to bring the temperature down by a quarter of a degree each hour. The best thing you can do though is try and ensure that the room has a good airflow and close the curtains to block the sun so the temperature doesn’t get that high in the first place. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX BREEDING XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX I have found that breeding catfish can be a game of chance but if you
      give them good water conditions and feed high quality food, nature just takes it’s course. I keep Farlowella catfish (suckermouths) and have bred them successfully on numerous occasions. I actually trigger spawning by making a one-third-water change when a thunderstorm is imminent. The fishes instincts are that the rainy season has arrived and they go into spawning mode. Spawning of this particular fish is a slow process which takes about four hours. My fish form a pair on the glass in the direct flow of the pump and they snuggle together side by side. After a while, the female attaches eggs in groups of four and then the males moves over them and fertilises them. This process continues until the female runs out of eggs and then the male pushes her away. There are around 20-30 eggs when the fish are at their peak and the male will guard the eggs cleaning them regularly. When they hatch, the young drop to the bottom and hide in the gravel, living on the tiny algae and bacteria until they grow a bit larger and then you will see them appearing on the tank glass. The gravel should not be hoovered for a few weeks after breeding to avoid sucking up the babies and also removing their food. Don’t ask what my water conditions are as I have never tested it. I just keep the water clean and feed Tetra Prima along with a daily treat of frozen bloodworm. If the fish don’t breed within about six months then that is OK, as my retailer will take them back and I will try something else. We use another tank for fish that don’t breed but we are too attached to, to lose. I find that juggling water conditions with test kits and chemicals is pointless as it is very expensive and the conditions tend to change daily. With constant fluctuations in water conditions, you are actually hampering your chances of successfully breeding your fish and I recommend that you pick fish that are happiest in your local water conditions. I
      have kept several species of Corydoras catfish and all have bred, but I have a low hatch rate as I believe in letting nature run it’s course so some of the eggs get eaten by other fish. It is just nice to come downstairs one morning and finding a new addition swimming round the tank. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX WHAT IS THE RIGHT CATFISH FOR ME? XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX This question is often asked because there is a catfish that is suitable for any set-up. I will now consider a number of tanks and try to recommend a catfish or two that will be happy in the set-up. SMALL COMMUNITY. This sort of tank generally contains Tetras and small Cichlids and Barbs along with live bearers like Guppies. You can keep almost any Corydoras in this tank. As long as the temperatures are equivalent they will get on fine with all tank mates. If you want something a little different, you can keep a small group of glass catfish or a small plec. If the tank is larger than four feet in length, you may be able to keep two plecs but they will fight over territory. If there are no Cichlids then you can keep Ottocinclus plecs. They are small algae eaters that are frequently visible during the day. The clown plec OR an Ancistrus plec can be kept in the tank. The Clown plec will only come out of hiding at night but I find it amusing to watch mine trundling round the tank after lights out. The Ancistrus will swimm freely during the day while young but becomes shy with age. I also had to put a plastic mesh flowerpot over the under-gravel pipe as they try to get underneath the under-gravel filter-plate (I was using an airstone then, but now have a power head pump). MEDIUM COMMUNITY. You will generally find Cichlids, Silver Dollars and larger Barbs in this set-up. Corydoras catfish will be intimidated (if not eaten) by these fish and are not recommended. You may be able to keep Brochis c
      atfish as they are armoured and are a little larger than Corries. You can also keep some of the Doradids (talking catfish) that grow to around six inches in length. If you can find them anywhere, the Corydoras Barbatus may fit in but would prefer to be in the smaller community. LARGE COMMUNITY. There are few large fish that will live together peacefully, But if you have an Oscar or suchlike, You can normally keep a Gibbiceps plec with them. They will stop growing if the tank is relatively small but have the ability to grow to around 20 inches and can look quite stunning if well looked after. To get the most out of this fish, a 5 foot tank is the minimum. SPECIES TANK This are for the more advanced hobbyist who wants to re-create nature. You will only stock fish that live in the same locale, or sometimes the same river. I cannot really suggest fish to put in this type of set-up as it is completely down to personal taste. LARGE EXPERT TANK. You must have in depth knowledge and the right facilities for this type of set-up. This is not one for the hobbyist. If you have a huge tank and are looking for something spectacular, the Shovelnose Catfish (2 feet long) or the Red Tailed Catfish (2 feet +) become an attraction that will dominate any room. If you don’t have an 8 foot tank or larger, dismiss this idea immediately. You have to be more than a serious fish keeper to successfully look after these monsters, you have to be a fanatic. You should join a catfish club and talk to the experts on the subject. The chances are that you will have to import the fish specially and it will need a lot of organising. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX REFERENCE XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX My knowledge of keeping Catfish has come from many areas. I have talked to many other hobbyists and traders and I have a large collection of books on fish keeping.
      I referred to the BAENSCH AQUARIUM ATLAS for Latin names for the families and to check that the facts of origin and their feeding method was correct, but I have generalised the information and put it into my own interpretation so it will hopefully make sense to novices. You should own a reference book or fifty as you could always learn more on this vast subject. I have only scratched the surface here. When I say you should have reference books, I am not suggesting that fish keeping can be overly difficult, but the more knowledge you have, the easier things will become and it will become less likely that disasters will occur. Due to this being a group of fish rather than one, the verdict section had to be generalised which may seem odd, so I will explain here. Price: Varies depending on species and rareity. Expense: I am using this to mean expense to look after the fish. Value: Silly question for a "Finatic". How suitable: If it wasn't suitable, I wouldn't have started the hobby. Space: From 3 feet to whatever you can fit in. Care: Needs regular water changes. Exercise: No Comment. Recommend to friends: Only if I thought they could have the patience and are responsible. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX CONCLUSION XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX I hope that you have found this review of Catfish interesting and if you would like me to add anything to this or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail (my addy is on my profile). XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX UPDATE-UPDATE-UPDATE XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX After being asked about pictures by Offy in a comment, I have found a solution. Please go to Google and find the image search function in the advanced menu. Now type thes
      e words in. I have tested these and they get results, there are other words that get few pics or poor quality, so I left them out. BROCHIS CORYDORAS PLATYDORAS ANCISTRUS PANAQUE (this fish is stunning and worth seeing) PECKOLTIA GIBBICEPS SYNODONTIS PANGASIUS FARLOWELLA You can also consider this website: www.goldenline.co.uk It is under construction at the moment but could be a good reference point for fish in the near future. Thanks to wiggglypuff for pointing out this site that has an enormous library of catfish pictures:- http://planetcatfish.com/ilibrary/index.htm

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        11.05.2001 01:36
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        • "not easily bred"

        As stated by others there are thousands of diferent type of catfish.The main fish we are interested in are the affordable community ones. Everybody who keeps Tropical fish will have seen a CORYDORUS.The usual albino cory is seen in most good pet shops.It is an excellent scavenger for the general commuinty tank.PRICED ABOUT £2.00 DO NOT MIX IT WITH BIG CICHLIDS. The more unusual corys have various patterns.White with stripes on back,stripes through the eyes and down to black blotches of the PANDA cory.PRICES FROM £3.00 TO £5.00 The fine spotted cory mainly seen is the JULII AND THE MELANISTIUS. JULII has three rows of spotted stripes through head to tail,while the others have assortd spots/blotches with a black and gold bar through the eye. These fish will eat flake foods,frozen bloodworms,daphnia and brinshrimp.The so called catfish foods are a mixture of these ingrediants.

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        11.10.2000 17:42
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        There are more than 2,000 species of catcfish worldwide and they range from a tiny (but rather nasty) little parasitic catfish that inhabits the urinary tract of larger fish and sometimes humans, to the enormous Pangasianodon gigas of the Mekong delta and the even bigger wels catfish (Silurus glanis) which lives a little closer to home being found throughout continetal Europe and the middle parts of the British Isles.Somewhere in between these are thousands of other species, many of which are suitable for home aquaria. The catfish are probably up there with the large Central American and Rift lake cichlids as being the best fish that you can keep. Many have endearing little characters, such as the numerous Corydoras species, that will liven up any tropical community fish tank. Other such as the Redtail Catfish, become true family pets and recognise their owners. On the whole they are easy to keep and are terribly hardy, some are brightly coloured, but many are just interesting in their own right exhibiting wonderful camouflage patterns and interesting methods of prey capture (see the frogmouth catfishes Chaca sp.). Some are sedentry rarely moving from their favourite spot on the tank floor, others are constantly active swimming all day and night. The diversity of the catfish is immense and there will be at least one species that is suitable for any fish tank. Give them a go and you won't be dissapointed.

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        16.09.2000 07:32
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        I have been breeding tropical fish for the last 14 months and have had many different types. Silver lyre tailed mollies breed extensively like rampant rabbits if the water is above 75 degrees. Orange Mickey mouse platies do the same. I also have a two spot Guarami, leopard spotted danios, red eyed tetras and a striped cory dory. Yet the largest of the fishy brigade is a catfish called a sailfin sucker mouthed plecosaur. His latino name is glyptoperichthys gibbiceps, but we call him Sucker. He is at present kept in a 3 foot tank and is almost a foot in length. Apparently he can grow up to 2 feet in length but that is mostly off the coast of Mexico, his home town! He can be very tempermental and has barbs on his back in the shape of a sharks fin - he often gets angry with the smaller agravating fishes and herds them into a group like a collie. He is my favourite fish with his brown and cream mottled skin and a wicked sense of humour. he tail walks like a dolphin when food is placed in the tank - generally flakes or pellets which when he eats looks like he is smoking a cigarette! We once had to move him from one tank to another but he got very distressed and changed to a much paler colour and shot round the tank like a tasmanian devil.

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