find the American name "Channel Catfish" much more
appropriate than our German name for this species "Getüpfelter
Gabelwels". This catfish anyway is known to be a challenge
for every experienced catfish keeper.
I. punctatus in his juvenile colour dress
It is difficult to get the Channel
Catfish here in Germany but was lucky in June 2007 to get one specimen
at “Köllezoo” in Stuttgart, there my friend Wolfgang
Ros had him reserved for me. The mite was only about 6 cm long and
I already feared problems for the long drive to Hanover where I
live. The kind employee of this shop however packed the catfish
into a gigantic plastic bag and filled it with oxygen. So everything
turned out all right anyway.
The animal has grown until today, approx. 9 cm. I know what is
coming to me as the final length should reach 70 cm later or perhaps
longer, however since I’m also keeping other big catfishes
in big aquariums I am already used to it. Of course for a normal
society tank this fish is not the right one. He only can be kept
in a species tank. Probably this species can be kept with other
Ameiurus catfishes or other big fish species. My Ictalurus
punctatus is swimming in a 300 litre tank and he is used
to following a swarm of Silver catfish (Schilbe intermedius).
The colouring and and the kind of fins are a little similar but
though not the same. He seems to feel quite settled.
Again and again you can see
Ictalurus punctatus swimming in the swarm with
The Channel Catfish is native from the USA
like all blue catfishes (Ictaluridae). His habitat is indicated
in the German literature with the Rio Grande and Southwestern
USA. however today he has spread much further. Finally this catfish
is a popular fish for sports angling or is spawned with thousands
in aquacultures and then eaten as a fish for everyday consumption.
Such a Catfish meal tastes very delicious. I have a few times
already fished for blue catfishes with my relatives in Kentucky
and of course the catfishes were put straight back into the water.
Fishing in Kentucky, getting a big
Although in the specialist literature shaded
tanks are recommended my fish swims in an aquarium well planted
with quite normal light. Of course one must offer caves and hiding-places.
The tank is without a heater and the temperature is about 22°
c. A great “Juwel Jumbo” filter keeps the water crystal
clear. The water is changed every 14 days around about one third.
Ictalurus punctatus eats great flakes and food tablets
without any problems, frozen mosquito larvae is also taken. This
catfish however is also quite greedy like my other blue catfishes
(Ameiurus nebulosus) if there are given fresh earthworms.
Different frozen fish fillets, divided of course into pieces,
are also not disdained.
The "Happy German Catfishfreaks"
when they buy their I.punctabus baby.
There is an albino form besides the wild
colour which is kept with pleasure in garden ponds in the USA
and Great Britain. The trend could come towards Germany once too.
The bright colour variant is taken with pleasure because one can
hardly find the natural colour in a pond.
This fish can be recommended to everyone
who has a sufficiently big tank, but it doesn’t really thrive
and prosper in too small tanks; therefore one should consider
the purchase of such an animal with great thought.
Text (status: October 2007) and
pictures: Copyright Reinhold Wawrzynski
Translated by Wolfgang Ros.
Edited by Allan James.