Clarias Batrachus: Walking Catfish Facts & Care Insights

Scientifically Known As Clarias Batrachus
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: March 7, 2024
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Native to Southeast Asia, Clarias batrachus is a distinctive species that holds plenty of intrigue. This captivating water dweller possesses the impressive skill to withstand periods outside of its aquatic environment, thereby providing a compelling subject for research. The particular look of this fish, along with its adaptive survival tactics, make it a creature worth exploring. We invite you to accompany us on our quest to reveal the fascinating secrets of Clarias batrachus.

Article Summary

  • Clarias batrachus, or the walking catfish, is a unique species native to Southeast Asia.
  • It has the remarkable ability to survive out of water for short periods, making it an intriguing subject of study.
  • To keep these catfish, a spacious tank with proper hiding spots and specific temperature, pH, and water hardness levels is essential.

Species Overview: Clarias Batrachus Linnaeus (1758)

Clarias batrachus linnaeus belongs to the family Clariidae freshwater fishes. This species is commonly found in warm, stagnant waters such as muddy ponds, canals, ditches, swamps, and flooded prairies. It thrives in environments that are often hypoxic or low in oxygen levels.

One distinct characteristic of C batrachus is its long and eel-like body shape. It possesses four pairs of barbels near its mouth that help it navigate its surroundings and locate food. These barbels are sensory organs that aid in detecting prey and potential threats.

Being an aquatic species, C batrachus has a wide variety of plants on its menu. It feeds on aquatic vegetation like water hyacinths and other submerged plants found in its habitat. This diet contributes to the ecological balance by controlling excessive plant growth.

This is a type of air-breathing fish. It goes up to the water surface every now and then to take in air. The time between each breath can be different, usually ranging from 2 to 20 minutes. This depends on how much oxygen is in the water and in the air.

Species Distribution: Introduced Walking Catfish

The range of Clarias batrachus linnaeus extends across multiple countries due to human intervention. The species has been introduced into new areas for various reasons, such as aquaculture or ornamental purposes. However, this introduction has led to the spread of C batrachus beyond its natural range.

In some countries that introduced walking catfish intentionally or unintentionally, C batrachus populations have established self-sustaining stocks. This expansion can sometimes negatively impact native fish populations by competing for resources or preying on smaller fish.

Despite being primarily adapted to aquatic environments, C batrachus possesses a unique breathing organ called a labyrinth organ that allows it to survive in oxygen-deprived conditions or even out of water for short periods. This adaptation gives it an advantage over other fish species when faced with challenging environmental conditions that require survival out of water for extended periods of time.

Ecological Role in Native Habitat

These catfish play a crucial role in their native habitat. Let’s explore how this species contributes to the ecological balance. One of the important roles of C batrachus is controlling mosquito populations. These fish are known to feed on mosquito larvae and pupae, helping to reduce their numbers. By doing so, they contribute to minimizing the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

Maintains Ecological Balance

C batrachus helps maintain the ecological balance within its native range by consuming small aquatic organisms. They feed on various invertebrates like crustaceans and insects, contributing to the regulation of these populations. This ensures that other species dependent on these organisms have enough food resources available.

Prey for Larger Fish and Birds

As part of the natural food chain, C batrachus serves as prey for larger fish and birds. Their presence provides a vital source of food for predatory species higher up in the food web. This interaction helps sustain biodiversity by supporting the survival and reproduction of other native fish and avian species.

Walking Catfish Appearance

These catfish is a unique catfish species that has some interesting physical characteristics. Let’s take a closer look at its appearance.

One notable feature of these catfish is its coloration. These catfishes typically have a brown or grayish-brown body color, which helps them blend in with their surroundings in muddy water. They may also have dark spots or stripes scattered across their body, adding to their camouflage abilities.

Maximum Size

These catfish can reach an impressive length of up to 24 inches. That’s about two feet long! This makes them one of the larger species of catfish out there. Their elongated bodies allow them to move swiftly through water and even on land.

Extended Dorsal Fin

Another distinguishing feature of these catfish is its dorsal fin. This fin extends along most of its back, starting from the head and continuing towards the tail. The dorsal fin plays an essential role in maintaining stability and maneuverability while swimming.

Tank and Water Requirements

To provide a suitable habitat for C batrachus, it is essential to meet their tank and water requirements. These fish require a spacious aquarium with ample hiding places to mimic their natural environment.

This catfish needs plenty of room to swim and explore. A tank size of at least 100 gallons (379 liters) is recommended for a single adult catfish. Adding rocks, driftwood, or PVC pipes can create hiding spots where they can retreat when feeling stressed or threatened.

Temperature, pH, and Water Hardness

Maintaining proper water parameters is crucial for the well-being of these catfish. The ideal temperature range for these freshwater fish is between 68-78°F (20-26°C). It’s important to monitor the water regularly using an aquarium thermometer to ensure it stays within this range.

In terms of pH levels, C batrachus can tolerate a wide range from 5.5 to 8.0. However, maintaining a slightly acidic to neutral pH around 6.5-7.5 is generally recommended.

Water hardness refers to the mineral content in the water and is measured in degrees of hardness (°H). For these catfish, a hardness level between 2-25°H is suitable.

Adequate Filtration

These catfish are known for their messy eating habits and produce more waste compared to other fish species. Therefore, adequate filtration is necessary to keep the water clean and free from harmful toxins that could affect their health.

By employing efficient mechanical and biological filtration systems in your aquarium setup, you can ensure that waste products are effectively removed while beneficial bacteria help maintain optimal water conditions.

Remember that regular testing of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels along with routine maintenance such as partial water changes will help keep these catfish healthy and thriving.

C Batrachus Health

Regular maintenance and proper care are crucial for ensuring the health of your C Batrachus. This section will discuss some key aspects related to their health.

Prone to Skin Infections

C Batrachus can be susceptible to skin infections if they are kept in poor water quality conditions. It is important to maintain clean and well-filtered water in their tank to minimize the risk of such infections. Regularly monitor the water parameters, including temperature, pH levels, and ammonia levels, and take appropriate measures to keep them within the recommended range.

Susceptible to Parasitic Infestations

These catfish are also prone to parasitic infestations such as anchor worms or ichthyophthiriasis (ich). These parasites can cause discomfort and harm to your fish. To prevent these infestations, it is essential to quarantine any new fish before introducing them into the main tank. Regularly inspect your C Batrachus for any signs of parasites and promptly treat them if necessary.

Regular Water Changes

To maintain good health, regular water changes are crucial for these catfish. Changing a portion of the tank water on a weekly basis helps remove accumulated waste products and toxins that can negatively impact their well-being. Aim for replacing approximately 25% of the tank water during each change while ensuring that the new water matches the temperature and pH levels of the existing tank water.

Average Lifespan

The average lifespan of C Batrachus is around 8-10 years when provided with proper care and a suitable environment. By following best practices in terms of tank maintenance, feeding habits, and disease prevention, you can help ensure that these catfish lives a long and healthy life.

Clarias Batrachus Diet

These catfish, is an omnivorous species that has a varied diet. It feeds on both plant matter and small animals. Their food consists of zooplankton, insect larvae, fish larvae, small shrimps, and organic debris.

Omnivorous Feeding Habits

The feeding habits of c batrachus are quite diverse. They have a wide range of options. These catfish are not picky eaters and will readily accept different types of food.

Natural Food Sources

In their natural habitat, c batrachus primarily feed on zooplankton, which includes tiny organisms floating in water. They also consume insect larvae and small shrimps that they find in their surroundings. These catfish scavenge for organic debris present in their environment.

Commercial Sinking Pellets, Live or Frozen Foods

C batrachus can easily adapt to eating commercial sinking pellets designed for them. These pellets provide a balanced diet and contain essential nutrients required for their growth and development. Apart from pellets, they also enjoy live or frozen foods such as bloodworms and brine shrimp.

Avoid Overfeeding

It’s important to note that overfeeding clarias batrachus can lead to obesity and digestive issues. Like any other living being, these catfish require a proper balance in their diet to maintain good health. It’s crucial to provide them with appropriate portions of food to prevent any potential health problems.

Temperament and Tank Mates

Clarias batrachus (Walking Catfish) has a highly predatory nature. It will devour any fish that can fit into its large mouth. So, caution is necessary.

A Small Group of Walking Catfish in a Tank
A Small Group of Walking Catfish in a Tank

During the breeding season, Clarias batrachus can become territorial and aggressive towards other fish in the tank. Therefore, it’s important to select suitable tank mates that can hold their own against this formidable predator.

Here are some key points to consider when choosing tank mates for Clarias batrachus:

Highly Predatory Nature

  • Clarias batrachus has a voracious appetite and will eat any fish that fits into its mouth.
  • Smaller fish are particularly vulnerable and may be seen as prey by this species.
  • It’s crucial to avoid keeping them with smaller fish that could become easy targets.

Suitable Tank Mates

  • Large Cyprinids like the Bala Shark or Tinfoil Barb are good options.
  • Central American Cichlids can also be compatible tank mates for Clarias batrachus.
  • These larger and robust fish have a better chance of defending themselves against the predatory instincts of Clarias batrachus.

It’s essential to carefully consider the temperament and feeding habits of Clarias batrachus when selecting suitable tank mates. This will help ensure a harmonious environment within the aquarium while minimizing potential conflicts between different species.

Remember, maintaining a balanced ecosystem in your aquarium is vital for the well-being of all its inhabitants. By choosing appropriate tank mates for Clarias batrachus, you can create a thriving aquatic community where each species can coexist peacefully.

Breeding Walking Catfish

These catfish, scientifically known as Clarias batrachus, is a fascinating freshwater catfish that exhibits unique breeding behaviors.

Exhibits Parental Care

One notable aspect of these Catfish is its parental care behavior. Unlike many other fish specie, this catfish guards its eggs and fry diligently. The male Walking Catfish takes charge of protecting the eggs from potential threats until they hatch into fry. This display of parental care is quite remarkable and sets them apart from other freshwater fishes.

Triggering Breeding

To encourage breeding these catfish, fish farmers often simulate rainy season conditions. These conditions can be replicated by adjusting factors such as temperature and water level in the breeding tank. By mimicking the environmental cues of their natural habitat during the mating season, induced spawning can be achieved successfully.

Separate Breeding Tank

Breeding these catfish requires a separate tank specifically designed for spawning purposes. This tank should provide suitable spawning substrate, such as aquatic plants or artificial materials where the female can deposit her eggs. It is essential to create an environment that closely resembles their natural habitat to increase the chances of successful reproduction.

Benefits for Fish Farmers

Breeding these catfish in fish farms offers several benefits for fish farmers engaged in fisheries or fish culture systems:

  • Increased fish stocks: Successful breeding allows for a higher number of juvenile catfish to be produced and stocked in ponds or fish farms.
  • Economic advantages: The availability of locally bred fry reduces dependency on external sources and lowers production costs.
  • Sustainable practices: Breeding these catfish contributes to sustainable aquaculture practices by reducing pressure on wild populations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Clarias batrachus also known as?

Clarias batrachus is commonly known as the “Walking Catfish” due to its unique ability to move across land for short distances.

Is Clarias batrachus indigenous in the Philippines?

Yes, Clarias batrachus is indigenous to the Philippines. It is native to Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.

What are the characteristics of Clarias batrachus fish?

Clarias batrachus, or the Walking Catfish, is characterized by its elongated body with a mottled brownish coloration. It possesses a pair of long barbels (whisker-like structures) around its mouth, which are typical of catfish species. One of its most distinctive features is its ability to use its pectoral fins to “walk” on land, making it an amphibious fish.

What was the largest walking catfish?

The largest recorded Walking Catfish (Clarias batrachus) in the United States measured approximately 20 inches long. However, sizes can vary, and individuals in the wild may not always reach this maximum size.

What fish can live with walking catfish?

Walking catfish are relatively peaceful and can coexist with various fish species. They are compatible with other non-aggressive freshwater fish such as gouramis, tetras, danios, and some cichlids. It’s important to consider the size and temperament of the tank mates to ensure compatibility and minimize potential conflicts.

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