Cat-eLog Right Arrow Clariidae Right Arrow Clarias

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameClarias gariepinus  (Burchell, 1822)
Common NamesSharptooth Catfish
Afrikansk ålemalle (Denmark), Barbel, North African Catfish, Skerptandbaber
Type LocalityVaal River, at Smidtsdrift, above confluence with Riet River, Cape Province, South Africa (28°42'10''S, 24°04'29''E).
Synonym(s)Clarias capensis, Clarias depressus, Clarias guentheri, Clarias lazera, Clarias longiceps, Clarias macracanthus, Clarias malaris, Clarias microhthalmus, Clarias moorii, Clarias mossambicus, Clarias muelleri, Clarias notozygurus, Clarias orontis, Clarias robecchii, Clarias smithii, Clarias syriacus, Clarias tsanensis, Clarias vinciguerrae, Clarias xenodon, Silurus gariepinus
Pronunciationklar ee ass - gar ee PINE uss
EtymologyClarias: From the Greek chlaros, meaning lively; in reference to the ability of the fish to live for long periods out of water. 
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 1500mm or 59.1" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationClarias species are characterized by having an elongated body; a soft rayed dorsal fin extending to, or nearly to, the caudal fin base; a soft rayed anal fin extending from just behind the anus to the caudal fin base; pectoral fins each with a serrated anterior bony spine; head depressed, covered largely by firmly sutured, surface sculptured bony plates forming a protective helmet; four pairs of flagellate barbels (nasals, maxillaries, inner and outer mandibulars); air breathing organs derived from the 2nd and 4th epibranchials within a superbranchial chamber.
SexingMale has a distinct sexual papilla, located just behind the anus. See these diagrams.
General RemarksA very hardy fish, tolerant of poor water quality. Can survive in wet mud as it breaths air.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionAlmost Pan-Africa, absent from Maghreb, the upper and lower Guinea and the Cape province and probably also Nogal province. Asia: Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and southern Turkey. Widely introduced to other parts of Africa, Europe and Asia.
African Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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pH5.6 - 8.0
Other ParametersMax Salinity: 10 mg/l.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingEats anything from zooplankton to birds, actively hunts fishes at night. Feeds mainly on invertebrates during the day.
FurniturePipes or other structures for it to hide in.
Suggested TankmatesLarge fishes around its size that can't fit into its mouth.
BreedingBreeds in rainy season, breeding triggered by rise in water level. Spawns in the shallows. No parental care of eggs or young.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesInterior S. Africa - pp425 - Fig. on p. 445.
Registered Keepers(1) arapaima, (2) Silurus, (3) monsterfishkeeper, (4) Redtailrob, who also notes: "Very Nippy.Always active.", (5) agusmeteor (k: 999), who also notes: "Lot of them in my farm..", (6) (k: 6), (7) Alf Alf (k: 230).

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Breeding ReportsNone.
Article - CotM 2007 July
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Last Update2015 May 05 19:23 (species record created: 2001 May 04 00:00)