Why Channel Cats Make a Good Starter Fish
Channel Catfish – also known as Ictalurus punctatus or Graceful Catfish – is North America's most numerous catfish species. It is the official fish of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Tennessee, and is informally referred to as the "Channel Cat."
In the United States, Channel Catfish are the most fished catfish species with approximately 8 million anglers targeting them per year. The popularity of Channel Cats as food has contributed to the rapid expansion of aquaculture of this species in the United States.
A Hardy, Fast-Growing Fish
The Channel Catfish is a beautiful, hardy bottom feeder. It is a great fish to start with in aquaponics. Catfish in general are very similar to Tilapia, but they are slightly hardier. Channel Catfish can survive in temperatures ranging from just above freezing to 100˚ F; optimal temperatures range from 75˚ - 86˚ F. In lower temperatures, catfish will continue to grow, but Tilapia's growth will slow down. Overall, catfish will grow just as fast, if not faster, than Tilapia in most situations. Similar to Tilapia, catfish can survive in somewhat poor conditions, but they will do far better if their environment has good aeration, filtration and water flow.
Catfish are an assorted group of ray-finned fish that vary greatly in size. They are a tasty choice and are definitely worth considering if you plan to raise fish as food. Channel Cats are omnivores; in nature, they eat crickets, minnows, freshwater drum, crawfish, frogs, and sunfish.
Channel Catfish mature between three and eight years of age. To reproduce, the male typically finds a cave or hollow where he will invite the female to lay her eggs. The male then stays and guards the eggs, using his tail to fan water over them to keep them oxygenated.
To learn more, visit the Channel Catfish page on this website. Live Aquaponics sells two varieties of Channel Cats, regular and albino. If you have any questions while making your selection, feel free to contact us. We love to talk with our customers.