Cat-eLog Right Arrow Ictaluridae Right Arrow Ictalurus

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Ictalurus punctatus  (Rafinesque, 1818)
Common Names Channel Catfish
Getuepfelter Gabelwels (Germany), Plettet Dværgmalle (Denmark)
Type Locality Ohio River, U.S.A.
Synonym(s) Silurus punctatus
Pronunciation ick tal oo russ - punk TAT uss
Etymology Ictalurus: From the Greek ichthys, meaning fish, and ailouros, meaning cat; literally "fish cat" (=catfish). punctatus meaning spotted alluding to the smattering of back and lower body black spots on primarily younger fish.
Article - CotM 1998 January
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 700mm or 27.6" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification The albino variety is more often encountered for sale than the normal colouration. Often confused with Ictalurus furcatus In juveniles the blue generally has a darker body with a whitish belly while the channel is silvery with few small dark spots. The channel cat averages 27-30 anal fin rays while the blue has 33-35. Ictalurus furcatus has a head that is wedge shaped, consistent with a blue cat's wedge shaped head is a noticeable dorsal hump in front of the dorsal fin, a channel cats head is more rounded or cigar shaped. Barbels on a blue cat are reduced in relation to I. punctatus. Also in comparison to channel cats which have a rounded anal fin the anterior margin of the anal fin is truncate in I .furcatus.
Sexing It is almost impossible to distinguish between sexes with individuals of around 10 pounds or less. Generally, the easiest way to sex a channel catfish is by the head. Mature males have a broad, muscular, kind of spade-shaped head, while the female's head is smaller and more rounded. Also, between the pelvic fins, the female has two openings. The male has just one (the anus) and a small fleshy flap (genital papillae) that sticks out a bit. The larger the fish, the easier and more distinct these differences become.
General Remarks For aquaculture these are sometimes kept at a higher temperature for maximum growth, they can also withstand extremes in temperature, but in the home aquarium or pond the temperatures suggested on this page are for long term comfort.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Native in Southern & Western USA, introduced in other areas, for example, Massachusets.
North American Atlantic Drainages, Great Lakes (click on these areas to find other species found there)
North American Atlantic Drainages, Saint Lawrence (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Gulf Coast Drainages, Mississippi (click on these areas to find other species found there)

Log in to view data on a map.
IUCN Red List Status Least Concern
pH 6.0 - 8.0
Temperature 12.0-21.0°C or 53.6-69.8°F (Show species within this range)
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding All prepared foods, youngsters can be grown very quickly on bloodworm or more cheaply on commercial fish meal. Will eat constantly, but care should be taken not to pander to this tendency as the strain on filtration becomes immense. Large individuals can be fed weekly.
Furniture An active catfish when young, becoming less active with age. A large swimming area is necessary to get the best from this fish. The water column need not be more than 30cm if dimly light.
Compatibility Peaceful but predatory.
Suggested Tankmates Large central American cichlids fit the bill both in terms of size and water conditions.
Breeding Commercially farmed in large ponds and so breeding is easily accomplished on the correct scale. This scale however does not encompass the home aquarium.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Jump to next section Further Information
Reference American Monthly Magazine and Critical Review v. 3 (no. 5) (art. 3) (Sept.), pp 355.
Registered Keepers Keeping this species? Why not .
There are 53 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
Wishlists Love this species? Click the heart to add it to your wish list.
There is no wish to keep this species.
Spotters Spotted this species somewhere? Click the binoculars!
There are 7 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
More on Ictalurus punctatus
Look up Look up Ictalurus punctatus on
Look up Fishbase Look up Ictalurus punctatus on Fishbase
Get or print a QR code for this species profile, or try our LFS label creator.
Hits 12328 hits.
Last Update 2019 Sep 14 02:52 (species record created: 2001 Apr 19 00:00)