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 Post subject: Channel Catfish
PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 01:49 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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I didn't see a thread dedicated to Catfish or Channel Catfish so thought I should start one as they are what I have right now.

They are pretty darn cheap to get down here in Florida! I got pretty big ones too!

They got cute whiskers :lol:

They seem to be a warm water fish but not so adverse to cool water as tilapia. I don't know specifics but I know we got a few catfish specialists out there who can improve this thread way beyond my newbie observations.

I have a few specific questions in relation to catfish.
1-are they overeaters? As in, will they eat too much and hurt themselves if I feed too much? (this is a water quality aside sort of situation as the water quality is still great and they seem to be cleaning up all the food or the pump is.) I only ask this because as I fed some today, I noticed some fish with really, really fat bellies! I have been careful to slowly increase the amount they are being fed (I have only had them a week.)

2-What are the most important things to watch for with catfish and how will I know what to look for? I noticed a few of the fish have dorsal fins that the tip of the spike is rather white and visible, is this from other fish attacking or is it a sign of something else.

3-Flashing, is it a sign of stress in catfish the same as in other fish? There hasn't been a huge amount of flashing but I'll see a fish do it perhaps a couple times a day. I think it may be mainly a medium size fish I tend to catch doing it.

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 Post subject: Re: Channel Catfish
PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 03:08 
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I know a little about channel cats because I was interested in raising them myself. Only two things kept me from doing so... I can't breed them in my 300 gal. tank, they need a lot of room for breeding. I can't catch them in the wild easly (like, with my cast net). It's also illegal to remove channel cats from the wild here in Texas until they reach a certain size.. I think it was 12". I could have bought them from a lady here outside of Austin for 50 cents a piece but I really wanted something 'sustainable'. Still, I think about buying a bunch of channel cats at least once a week.

Apparently they have great food to weight conversion and they eat just about anything. They grow fast. They can tolerate living in the southern US without expensive temp. regulation.

Hmmm... that's all I can think of for now. Plus, I'm at a clients office 'fixing their computer'.

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 Post subject: Re: Channel Catfish
PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 03:17 
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1. they will eat until they can no longer shove food down their gullet. It can be quite humourous to watch one grab a pellet and loose several that are in its mouth already then grab those drop another and so on. They will stop feeding regularly when it gets below 60f. You can expect 9-12 inches of growth and about 3/4 to 1-1/2 pounds the first year in channel cats.

2. Varies from fish to fish I have seen the dorsal spines solid black to solid white. Usually they will look reddish and a bit torn up if they are using them. Watch for quick loss of weight, lose of fins from other fish attacking, and white looking gill area. Check larger fish for tumors

3. What do you mean by flashing?

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 Post subject: Re: Channel Catfish
PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 03:20 
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TCLynx wrote:
I didn't see a thread dedicated to Catfish or Channel Catfish so thought I should start one as they are what I have right now.

They are pretty darn cheap to get down here in Florida! I got pretty big ones too!

They got cute whiskers :lol:

They seem to be a warm water fish but not so adverse to cool water as tilapia. I don't know specifics but I know we got a few catfish specialists out there who can improve this thread way beyond my newbie observations.

I have a few specific questions in relation to catfish.
1-are they overeaters? As in, will they eat too much and hurt themselves if I feed too much? (this is a water quality aside sort of situation as the water quality is still great and they seem to be cleaning up all the food or the pump is.) I only ask this because as I fed some today, I noticed some fish with really, really fat bellies! I have been careful to slowly increase the amount they are being fed (I have only had them a week.)

2-What are the most important things to watch for with catfish and how will I know what to look for? I noticed a few of the fish have dorsal fins that the tip of the spike is rather white and visible, is this from other fish attacking or is it a sign of something else.

3-Flashing, is it a sign of stress in catfish the same as in other fish? There hasn't been a huge amount of flashing but I'll see a fish do it perhaps a couple times a day. I think it may be mainly a medium size fish I tend to catch doing it.


Hi TC,

I'm not sure what kinds of rapid temperature fluctuations they can survive but we have them in ponds here which freeze over solid in winter so they will survive the cold pretty well.

My brother feeds his pond fish twice daily and always has. Fat bellies...I thought all catfish had fat bellies :lol:

No thoughts on the white fin tips...never really paid that much attention to them. If you happen to get stuck by one though it will hurt as the slime has some sort of something that well, hurts! Local remedy for catfish fin stick is to put some chewing tobacco on it to draw the poison out. Others say to rub the belly of the fish that stuck you on the finned place and it is supposed to stop the stinging but I never tried that one.

I caught a huge Flathead Catfish in the Arkansas River some years ago, about 50 pounds. It had a two pound channel cat in it's belly :shock:


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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 04:19 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Flashing, like swimming around the bottom and then suddenly turnning sidways or more so that the lighter underbelly flashes. My understanding was that it is a sign of stress in many types of fish. I was just wondering if that sort of behavior can have other meanings?

So I'm gathering that they won't actually injure themselves by gorging until they burst or anything like that?

I have been kinda feeding the amount they ate the day before plus a little extra till they slow down a little eating. Then I leave them alone under cover for a while and when I check again later, they have cleaned up the pellets that were floating off in the corners so I guess I haven't reached the quota yet.

It isn't so much white fin tips but that I seem to be able to see the top little bit of the spine like perhaps another fish nipped at it or the spine got used. They seem to be bright white on any of the fish I've noticed this on. It only seems to be a few of them.

I haven't actually handled any of the fish. I was carefully watching how the guy at the fish farm picked up the fish by hand to put them into the transport bags but I'm not sure I am willing to try the same.

So does anyone know how closely weight on a channel catfish can be related to it's length? (fat belly not withstanding.)

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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 05:58 
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Then flashing is not a big deal when they are in groups they do it frequently.

I think a little bit of the fin tips showing is not a big deal unless they look raw.

When handling catfish use caution it can hurt like hell and if you are allergic in can kill you.

I have something at home on weight length relationship but it may be fishing related

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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 06:02 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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In any case, all info about channel catfish, this is a good place for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Channel Catfish
PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 06:38 
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Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

Commonly known in your grocery store as U.S. Farm Raised Catfish.
Don't eat it unless its U.S. Farm Raised-

China and Vietnam commonly use carcinogens and illegal antibiotics when raising catfish or anyfish actually.

I am from Mississippi- need to put a plug here-
Mississippi has 90,000+ acres of U. S. farm raised catfish ponds. MS is the largest producer of catfish in the U.S.A.

I have grown a several millions myself.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

The wiskers are cute, they also contain taste buds. This helps them feed in muddy dark waters.


Your questions:
Quote:
1-are they overeaters? As in, will they eat too much and hurt themselves if I feed too much? (this is a water quality aside sort of situation as the water quality is still great and they seem to be cleaning up all the food or the pump is.) I only ask this because as I fed some today, I noticed some fish with really, really fat bellies! I have been careful to slowly increase the amount they are being fed (I have only had them a week.)


Catfish are overeaters. They will eat much more than they need to live and will grow very quickly. Catfish will not hurt themselves by eating too much. At some point they stop.

One of the most common feeding strategies on a commercial catfish farm too maximize growth is to feed to "satiation". That means all they can eat within a given period of time. Usually fifteen minutes. And if you have never seen a 100,000 fish eat several tons of feed in fifteen minutes it is truly amazing. Catfish feeds have been developed for years. They pretty well have the formulations for good growth worked out. Mostly soybean meal, corn and fishmeal. The fishmeal actually comes from the offal by product of catfish processing plants.

Let me get on track. Feed should be 25-32 % protein. Excess feed will spoil and hurt your water quality. In an AP system I would definetely remove whats left after fifteen minutes.
The catfish bellies will get huge and not be a problem.

2 pounds of feed will grow 1 pound of catfish in good conditions
which will ? grow 6 pounds of vegetables.
Nah, don't really know about the vegetable part, but TC will tell us some day. Feed conversion is 2 to 1.

Quote:
2-What are the most important things to watch for with catfish and how will I know what to look for? I noticed a few of the fish have dorsal fins that the tip of the spike is rather white and visible, is this from other fish attacking or is it a sign of something else.


The most important thing to watch for is feeding behavior-a drastic change can mean disease or water quality change. I have seen the same thing TC. This seems only to occur when catfish have been confined in a tank of some sort. It appears most commonly to be from abrading the tank walls. But it could be a bit of bacterial fin rot. The slim and skin are gone and just the white bone shows on the hard spine of the dorsal fin. Most likely the cause is abrading from the fish guy handling the fish (he propably seined them, hauled them in a tank, dumped them in another tank and then sorted through them then put them in a bag or cooler and then your tank) See what I mean.? Which brings us to number three.


Quote:
3-Flashing, is it a sign of stress in catfish the same as in other fish? There hasn't been a huge amount of flashing but I'll see a fish do it perhaps a couple times a day. I think it may be mainly a medium size fish I tend to catch doing it.


Unless they are wearing trench coats, flashing is the same for all fish.
Flashing most often is when fish turn on their sides and rub against the bottom of a tank. Usually the fish have a parasite or bacteria that they are trying to rub off the skin. Sometimes this is what causes the white dorsal tips. You may find the white tip fish are the ones doing the flashing.

Keep a close watch on the flashers to see if it gets worse. If so pm me and I can figure out the problem and treat it.


Weight-length relationships in catfish have been studied for years and some extremely accurate charts have been developed by the Catfish Farmers of America http://www.catfishfarmersamerica.org/

Okay I better go feed my fish.

Hope this helps someone.


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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 06:54 
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Thanks for all the info.
Keep it coming, here or other fish species threads.

I'll keep an eye on the ones with the white tips and monitor to make sure the flashing doesn't get worse.

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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 07:31 
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Hi TC
Thanks for starting this great thread. I`ve kept catfish for some years though not channel cats.
From jdphish`s very informative posts it does seem that most cats have similar traits. Its very true in the over eating department, i have one that will eat until her belly resembles a tennis ball and then some.

The cute whiskers will grow back if they damage them and i`ve read they can be also be damaged by high nitrate levels in the water (could be a myth) but either way it shouldn`t be a problem with an AP veg forest.

As mentioned do watch out for the spines in the fins (been there done that) and its also worth remembering a good sized fish is capable of delivering quite a painful bite :wink:


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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 12:47 
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I have raised them in a tank, much faster growing and less picky eaters then bluegill. I just cant get them to breed, and the closest hatchery is 8 hours away.

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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 13:27 
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Are there any other fish nearby when your fish are flashing?
Again not sure about channel catfish but my smaller female loves to bait the pleco like this..just to get him to play, much to her mates annoyance :wink:

I guess it could be courtship behavior too but that looks more like intertwined synchronized swimming than flashing :lol:


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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 16:04 
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Hex: what catfish do you have? A clarias specie?

jdphish: Are the channel catfish as sensitive to white spot as it is said?
Could the flashing be linked to that too? Anyway thanks for your post, which is much better because of the real aspect of it than what i could eventually do with a few books.

How do you spawn them? Are the eggs and milt taken out of the fish after hormonal treatment like Clarias catfish?

I wouldn't want to abuse but could you post stuff on bluegill too (maybe another thread) so that we could start a fish information base for the people here since only a few of us have the knowledge about fish farming. I'll be following with great interest and adding my share on european fish and exotics.
And if you've got a few pics of bluegill, i wouldn't mind seeing what they look like farmed wise. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 17:28 
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Hi Amacafish
yep, they are clarias. My first one was a rescue.. she was less than 5" long but sentanced to death by deep freeze for attacking a bumblebee cat in the same tank. That was about 4 years ago, she`s around 20" now and lives alone due to her slightly anti-social nature.
I`ve added a few more since then and they are all friendly in comparison.

Are channel cats available over here? i could be tempted to add a few more :wink:


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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '08, 17:44 
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Channel cats are the catfish you can find in some rivers in Europe, don't know of england. They are considered as pests so be carefull of regulations on transportation of noxious live fish but they are easy to catch and to transport.


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