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Clarias batrachus
Clarias (Walking) Catfish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Walking Catfish - Clarias batrachus

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I was given a clarias as a little baby, but he soon grew to be quite a monster. He was like a cow, white with spots. He was very friendly and I held him on many occasions. I definitely recommend this fish.

Contributed by Sarah

I have one of these in a rather small 96 L tank. Mine is growing too fast, it was only 5-6 cm when I bought it, now it is about 20 cm after 3 months. It is a meat eater fish, with an immense appetite. I can see it only when it is dark and I suddenly switch on the light for only 30 seconds and then it digs the stones and gets in or hides behind the filter. I suggest to have one to clean the food after feeding the fishes.

Contributed by J. Rashed

I have had my 2 clarias catfish for 2 years now, they are just a little under 60 cm long. They are living with 2 oscars 28 cm, red tail catfish 70 cm and a clown knife 40 cm. They are all getting on fine, although they are a little aggressive when it comes to feeding time. They are all living in a 3 meter tank. This is the best tank ever, everyone getting along fine, eating well and all healthy.

Contributed by Martin Mannings

Clarias batrachus is a common food fish in eastern India. It is called 'Magur' in Bengali and Hindi. As available in the fish markets it is a dark olive color, though occasionally one sees darker/lighter colored specimens. Kept in large tanks, the fish tend to lie immobile at the bottom. If a pipe or similar hiding place is available, it will stay in that and remain out of sight all day. It becomes active after dark, swimming around the tank with a catholic taste in food. Any hole or overflow pipe is investigated and I have lost many a fish through these, as the fish is an escape artist. One specimen I had as a boy survived over six months on very little food, though it became distictly thinner. The fish has a strong spine on each pectoral fin and if carelessly handled gives a very painful injury. One such spike on my thumb caused acute pain and swelling which took a week to clear. The presence of a hollow passage along the centre of the spine and the extent of pain suggest that some poison is also involved.

Another relative of C. batrachus, the African catfish C. gareipinus is common in Bengal markets. This cat grows much larger, looks very similar but has a nearly black upper body while the underside is whitish. It grows faster and has a ravenous appetite for fleshy matter. Here it is normally fed offal and chicken entrails in culture ponds. Here the Walking catfish does not have the bad reputation it has acquired in the United States. The reputation of a fishy hooligan goes to the African catfish. Leave a few in a pond and soon there are no other species left except some hungry C. gareipinus. The walking catfish is traditionally caught with wicker/split bamboo traps. They are also caught in terra-cotta pots filled with twigs and left immersed in the tank. The catfish breeds in them and is collected by suddenly yanking up the pot. They are also partial to snail meat, used as a bait on a hook and line.

Contributed by Debashis Ray

I recently obtained one of these walking catfish, it was intended to be the next meal for my Snakehead, but as it turns out, it is a pretty hardy fish and it sure can hold its own ground. My Snakehead is about 40 cm and the Catfish is around 30 cm, they seem to get along now that things have settled a bit. I find that this catfish is a strange one, constantly perching itself on its fins, not to mention its strange obsession to squish into spaces smaller than itself.

Contributed by James

I have 7 Piebald males. They are great and play around with each other a lot. They have eaten everything I have tried to keep them with though, including a full grown Oscar! I wouldn't give up these fish for anything and have made a custom looking tank for them. I am also using them in an indoor aquaponics project as they seem to make LOTS of waste!

Contributed by Chris Dalla-Vicenza

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