his picture depicted below of the 'Brown Bullhead'
is of a 20" individual owned and coveted by coldwater
catfish enthusiast, John Henderson of the Northern
Area Catfish Group of Great Britain, now renamed the
Study Group (UK).
This fish has won numerous awards in the coldwater
When small the
'Brown Bullhead' is quite tolerant of other species,
but in a short matter of time when it starts growing
you would not be able to keep any other fish in the
same tank as they would be viewed as lunch!. Warning!
do not put in with your prized goldfish, or
prized goldfish no more.
is raised commercially in the United States and widely
stocked in ponds and Lakes. The flesh of this catfish
is orange-coloured. Ameiurus nebulosus prefers
deeper and clearer parts of lakes than A.melas,
the "Black Bullhead", and is therefor more
susceptible to falling water conditions in the aquarium
than the latter.
One thing they
do have in common with catfish from the Asian continent
is that they possess 4 pairs of barbels (chin barbels
dusky or black) 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 Brown 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.
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
and Gulf Slope drainages from Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick in Canada to Mobile Bay in Alabama
in USA, and St. Lawrence- Great Lakes, Hudson
Bay and Mississippi River basins from Quebec west
to Saskatchewan in Canada and south to Louisiana,
USA. Introduced into several countries. Several countries
report adverse ecological impact after introduction.
Asia: Iran and Turkey (introduced).
Dorsal 1/6; Anal 1/(21-)22-23(-24);
Pectorals;1/8; Ventrals 8. Hind edge of pectoral spine
toothed, serrations becoming blunter with age. Caudal
fin very slightly emarginate. Adipose fin short, inserted
above the hinder end of the anal. Lateral line complete.
Dark brown, with a green,
violet or bronze luster by reflected light, often
with cloudy blotches. Belly whitish to grey. Iris
yellow. Anal fin variously marked, usually mottled
or darkest on the basal third or half of fin, but
never as in A.
Care & Compatibility
Bullheads adapts well to aquarium
conditions but do bare in mind that they 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 female lays her eggs in the substrate in
shallows that are warmed by the spring sun, or under
an overhanging bank, the eggs are laid in balls and
adhere firmly to the bottom, they can number into the
thousands. The black young hatch out after 8 days and
are cared for by the male.
Adults eat just about everything,
pellet food, tablet food, frozen bloodworm, earthworms,
shrimps and prawns.
A reference to the tail. nebulosus: Clouded,
dark or mottled.
Freshwater fishes of the World Vol.1 197.