The catfish is one of the best looking fish in the hot water aquarium and is also known by its scientific name, the silurid fish. With respect to its common name, it receives its particular name, due to the resemblance it has to the cat due to the extension of its whiskers , which give it a friendly character and ends up being easily recognizable among the rest of the fish.
In addition to being a fish recognized for its ornamental character, it also has a very important function within the aquarium, since they are very good cleaners . Let’s see a little more in depth what these little animals are like.
The most characteristic feature of the Siluridae are the tentacles or barbels that extend to each side of the upper jaw, similar to the whiskers of a cat that are what give it that name. Also, in some species, they also have whiskers on the lower jaw.
The catfish has dorsal and pectoral fins, which are usually provided with pointed spines that act as a defense where in some species, they can be poisonous. As a peculiarity, to say that unlike other fish, these do not have scales, which means that the fish does not have the typical shine that other fish may have. Its color is dark gray in the upper part of it , which becomes lighter on the belly.
Distribution and habitat
Silurids are native to most of North America (1200 different species) and were introduced to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century where today, we can find them in practically all the rivers of Europe. It is a species that lives in fresh water and can easily adapt to life in the aquarium, obviously some species, since others can measure up to four meters.
Thanks to their ease of adaptation, it is possible to find them throughout several continents. Catfish can inhabit environments with low oxygen levels or stagnant waters,where if there is little water it can live without problems hidden in the mud, where it can spend many months waiting for it to rain again and the pond where it is found to fill with water again.
It is a fish that flees largely from cold temperatures, preferring waters that are around 16 and 20 degrees so if we want to fish it, it would be advisable to look in swamps, ponds and channels, shallow and if possible, full of algae and plants.
In order to enjoy a catfish in your aquarium, it is advisable to provide the necessary habitat. For this, it is important to have logs and other accessories, with which it can be easily hidden.
The gravel at the bottom has to be fine, since these fish spend a lot of time on the bottom and digging and with this, we will avoid damaging their tentacles. For the rest, the temperature of the aquarium should be hot water.
Depending on the species, the diet changes. This is usually quite varied and we have from herbivorous species, to others that prefer some aquatic invertebrates , others will even feed on other fish and others on zooplankton, so it is important to be clear about the species we have in our aquarium.
Behavior and compatibility
They are fairly calm fish that will like to hide among the aquarium vegetation , although as they gain confidence, they will come out of their hiding places. Their activity is nocturnal and as a general rule they will parasitize other fish.
Once they reach maturity, they can adopt a more territorial and lonely attitude.
If you want to get baby catfish, you should not worry too much since they alone take care of their reproduction very well, since the male can protect the eggs in his mouth, until they reach maturity, hatch and they already come out. themselves to find food on their own.
Enjoying a catfish in your tank can bring many benefits to it. By acting as a cleaner, it can collaborate with its development, since it can feed on many debris from the bottom or the walls, which will make the environment much more viable for the rest of the species.
Due to the morphology and behavior of the fish, it is an ideal species to offer a little more variety within your tank, so in addition to having an assistant in cleaning it, you will be able to improve the variety within it.