Cat-eLog Right Arrow Malapteruridae Right Arrow Malapterurus

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameMalapterurus electricus  (Gmelin, 1789)
Common NamesElectric Catfish
Elmalle (Denmark), Zitterwels (Germany)
Type LocalityRosetta, branch of the Nile R.
Synonym(s)Silurus electricus
Pronunciationmah lah TERR oo russ - ell eck trick uss
EtymologyMalapterurus: From the Greek malakos, meaning soft, pteron, meaning fin and oura, meaning tail; presumably in reference to the adipose fin, which appears all the more prominent in the absence of the rayed dorsal fin. 
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 900mm or 35.4" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
SexingMales are more slender.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionCentral Africa North of the River Zambezi - Found in the Nile, Niger, Volta and Lakes Chad & Tanganyika
African Waters, Nile (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Nigeria Waters, Niger (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Volta (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Western Rift Valley Lakes, Tanganyika (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Chad (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Nigeria Waters, Agulu (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Show it on a map (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
IUCN Red List StatusLeast Concern
pH6.5 - 8.2
Temperature23.0-30.0°C or 73.4-86°F (Show species within this range)
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingLive fish, earthworms (bloodworm for smaller fish), chopped meat or seafood. Care must be taken not to overfeed as this fishes is a real glutton.
FurnitureA dimly lit tank with a suitably sized retreat - appears to prefer stone over wood.
CompatibilityA loner, adult fish must be kept alone.
Suggested TankmatesNone, for reasons that should be obvious!
BreedingUnknown although it is reported that (a) the fish spawn in burrows and (b) that they may be mouthbrooders.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesSystema Naturae Linnév. 1 (pt 3) - pp1354
Registered Keepers(1) arapaima, (2) Lornek8, (3) Silurus, (4) JAYcarreon, (5) Attu, (6) amazonfishman, who also notes: "This specie was kept successfully with 3 synodontis multipunctatus and 2 flavitaeniatus for 6+ months. I believe the synodontis are immune to the e-cats discharge. ", (7) Plunt, (8) Mike C, (9) Djthomas, (10) Viktor Jarikov, who also notes: "Named Plumpy. Fun to watch, though comes out only during feeding. Eats all. Elusive. Gentle.", (11) djechoskittykat, (12) Yellowpieslinger, (13) cbudz, (14) arapaimag (k: 3), (15) lethalcustoms00 (p: 2), (16) pinsonja (p: 2, k: 4), (17) Shipmonkey, who also notes: "A model community tank dweller in a 240 gallon West African community tank. It was introduced to the tank as a small 3" specimen and now, as of 8/20/15, is currently over 14" in length.", (18) chewy922, (19) Toolsforfish, (20) faxling, who also notes: "Loves Hikari® Algae Wafers™", (21) cowturtle, (22) dmcat, (23) Billyc, (24) Lycosid, (25) Valk176, (26) Electrocat, (27) porinocoense, who also notes: "Very sociable, you can stick your hand in the tank and they will come and just check your hand out. Though I would not recommend doing this with large specimens... For obvious reasons...".

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Breeding ReportsNone.
Article - CotM 2000 May
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Last Update2005 Dec 11 00:00 (species record created: 2001 Apr 20 00:00)