'Black Bullhead' grows to the same size in the aquarium
as Ameiurus nebulosus, the 'Brown Bullhead'.
In the early days of my fishkeeping they were abundant
in coldwater sections of the aquatic shops, small
specimens in amongst Goldfish! I lost count
of the times I was contacted, to be asked if I would
take a large Bullhead which had eaten or was about
to eat their Goldfish, but they are not so common
now in the U.K. shops.
A good fish to
house on its own in your fishhouse/room, to take culled
and deformed fishes (but not diseased.) As I recall
I had to house two in the same tank and one killed
the other during the night! ( you live and learn.)
One thing they
do have in common with catfish from the Asian continent
is that they possess 4 pairs of barbels (chin barbels
grey-black or spotted) unlike the catfish forms of
South America who in the whole have three pairs. This
can be a good way to identify your catfish if you
are not too sure from where it originates from.
is now moves afoot by the U.K. Government through
the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAAF)
to impose restrictions on some coldwater species like
the above mentioned Black Bullhead, due to the dangers
of introduction to native waters and the threat to
its occupants through disease and predation. In other
words you could be paying up to £30 for a license
to keep them.
In the future
due to the exporters having to implement new guidelines
on matters such as health records for each fish, they
could become quite rare in the U.K.
As of November 1998 in the U.K.you must have a licence
to keep the above species. This licence is now issued
free, but does take a few months to process. For more
information log on to the DEFRA
Great Lakes in Canada and U.S.A. to northern Mexico.
Dorsal 1/6; Anal 17-21; Pectorals;
1/8. Ventrals 8; Hind edge of pectoral spine rough,
but without serrations. Caudal peduncle short, moderately
deep, caudal fin emarginate. Head large, rounded above;
eyes small; mouth terminal, short, wide. Adipose fin
greenish, yellowish, brownish or slaty-olive, sides
lighter, underside bright yellow, yellow or milk-white.
Fins normally conspicuously darker than the adjacent
parts of the body. Anal base pale, distal two-thirds
between the rays black; in young fishes less than
10cm. in length the entire fins may be black.
Care & Compatibility
The North American ' Black
Bullhead' adapts well to aquarium conditions but do
bare in mind that it does grow big along with the
capable size of its mouth! so if housing with other
temperate fish you would be better going for larger
stock such as yellow perch or the larger sunfishes.
Putting them in with goldfish is not a good idea,
not for the poor goldfish anyway!. They adapt well
to most aquarium conditions as long as you give them
a cave of some sort and to keep the lighting down
to a minimum for viewing purposes.
In its natural
habitat in early spring the females lays its eggs
in the substrate and one or both parents guards them,
the eggs can number into the thousands. The resulting
fry are protected by both parents. Difficult to distinguish
between sexes but the female is noticeably fuller
in the breeding season.
Adults eat just about everything,
pellet food, tablet food, frozen bloodworm, earthworms,
shrimps and prawns.
A reference to the tail. melas: Black.
David M.North American Fishes for
the Home Aquarium. The Audubon Society, Field guide
to North American Fishes, Whales & Dolphins.