is certainly one of these catfish that you should
keep "home alone" as it is a voracious predator
when it starts growing from the small cute catfish
that you bought from the local fish shop to the fast
growing predator that you see before your eyes!
- pair of Piebald/Pink
There is a few
varieties of Clarias batrachus, the normal
coloured which is a slate grey to olive colouration
with a white underbelly and an albino variation which
unusual to most fish species, occurs in nature. The
albino is of course white all over with red eye's.
Another much prettier one is is the above image, piebald/pink,
and has normal eye's.
It received its
common name of the 'Walking Catfish' on its ability
to walk overland from pond to pond when their original
habitat dries up or after a heavy rainfall. They possess
a much reduced air-bladder and their gills are stiffened
to prevent their collapse when out of water and in
a special part of the gill chamber are spongy arborecent
(tree-like) organs growing from the upper ends of
the gill arches. These and the skin surrounding them,
are well supplied with blood vessels and operate efficiently
in water lacking in oxygen or when the fish is out
of water. They of course keep their gills closed when
out of water and as long as their body is kept moist
they can stay on land for a considerable length of
features are of course its long dorsal fin ( 62-77
rays) without a spine and its long anal fin (45-63
rays). Both these fins usually have a break before
the small rounded caudal fin but sometimes in odd
specimens the fins of the dorsal and anal fuse to
the caudal. Its pectoral spines are very strong (1
spine 8-11 rays) especially the leading spine which
of course helps its odd lifestyle of moving about
on dry land. It possess 4 pair of barbels, one pair
of nasal, one pair of maxillary and two pairs of mandibular
It is native to
Southeastern Asia but was brought into the U.S. in
the 1960's for fish farming and it was out of one
of these farms in Florida in the mid 60's that the
first escape occurred and the first catch of this
fish was by an angler on the 15th March 1967.
The first escapees originated from wild stock which
was exported from Thailand. It is a threat to the
native fish populations in the Florida and Gulf of
Mexico areas and the only enemy of this fish (apart
from the anglers) is if there is a very cold winter
and they can not survive the long cold spell.
at the start of this factsheet, they are predators
and very good escape artists as well so if you do
fancy keeping them a tight lid is essential with large
hiding places, a soft bottom ( sand or rounded gravel)
and of course a large tank of 4ft or larger and outside
The male of this
species is usually more colourful than the female
with a dark spot on the rear of the dorsal fin, the
female does not possess this. This of course relates
to the normal variety and I'm not sure if this could
be applied to the albino, but the larger girth of
the female in breeding condition would set them apart.
Indonesia. Clarias aff. batrachus from Indochina and
Clarias aff. batrachus from Sundaland
have been misidentified as Clarias batrachus
from Java. Introduced elsewhere. Several countries
report adverse ecological impact after introduction.
60.0cm (24ins) Should grow
to about 18ins in the Aquarium.
Dorsal fin 62-77 rays without
a spine. Anal fin 45-63 rays. Both these fins usually
have a break before the small rounded caudal fin but
sometimes in odd specimens the fins of the dorsal
and anal fuse to the caudal. Pectoral;1 spine 8-11
rays. 4 pair of barbels, one pair of nasal, one pair
of maxillary and two pairs of mandibular barbels.
There is a few varieties
of Clarias batrachus, the normal coloured
which is a slate grey to olive colouration with
a white underbelly. Albino, white all over with
red eye's. Another variety is piebald/pink and has
Care & Compatibility
Very much a predator so would
need to be kept alone or with its own kind as in a
It is reported that they engage
in mass spawning migrations in late spring and early
summer. Adhesive eggs are laid in a nest or in submerged
vegetation and the males guard the eggs. There is
a breeding report published in the German magazine
DATZ (7/04, pages 12-15) by Wolfgang Ros.
Below is a short extract in
English kindly supplied by Wolfgang from his article:
"At least in the breeding
time of Clarias batrachus there seems to
be a kind of pair connection. The mating altogether
takes about 20 hours. Before both partners are digging
a hollow, which has a diameter of approximately 12
inch. In some descriptions also the building of a
nest is described. I cannot confirm that. There are
some hundreds up to a thousand eggs. As soon as the
female delivered all eggs, it avoids the mating hollow.
This part is guarded only by the male, the female
secures the place behind. The embryos slipped out
after approximately 30-40 hours. After further two
days both partners are no more protecting the spawn."
You can access further articles
on ScotCat of Clarias batrachus by Wolfgang
In its native habitat it is
a scavenger and will eat smaller fish and are opportunist
feeders and so will eat just about anything!. In the
aquarium they are not fussy feeders but fish of some
sort should be on the menu but does not necessary
need to be live food.
or shining. batrachus: From batrachus,
a frog; frog-like.