Electric Catfish Questions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 03:50 AM Thread Starter
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Electric Catfish Questions

Has anyone out there kept an electric catfish? I might be about to do something that could potentially be very stupid. I might rescue one. At one of my LFS, there is an 8 inch electric catfish. They keep it in a 6 inch compartment and in all the many months that I have been frequenting this store, I literally have not seen it turn around. It is always in the same position, nose pressed against one side of the compartment, tail against the other. Only its gill movement indicates that it is alive. I'm beginning to feel extremely sorry for it, to the point where I'd like to give it a better home, at least until I find a better place for it.

I know they have the potential to get very, very large, roughly 49" according to one of my fish profile books. Somehow, I doubt this one will reach that maximum size but I would still expect it to get quite large. For the time being, I have a spare 55gal that I was going to put cichlids in but it can easily be converted to house this catfish for some time. I have driftwood and other than that, I've read that it is not fussy about decor.

My biggest concern is tank maintenance. Would these gloves:

Aquarium Maintenance & Cleaning: Heavy Duty Aqua Gloves
be enough to protect me from electric shock when I clean the tank? If not, what kind of rubber gloves would work best?

I know the catfish will have to be solitary and I'm also aware it might require feeder fish initially (thank goodness I have guppies). Are there any other things I need to consider before I make a final decision? Any advice would be most appreciated.

EDIT: I do plan on talking to the employees too, about what care/food they've been giving it.

Last edited by Sakura8; 06-06-2012 at 03:54 AM.
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post #2 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 06:08 AM
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Ohhh Lordy. Only you. :p
Well on Wikipedia it says big ones can produce around 300 volts. 70 volts is when it enters your body, with dry skin. A website I don't totally trust says the little ones make your hand tingle. O.o

However, those gloves are not rubber from what I can tell and I don't know how much protection they offer.
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post #3 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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:P Yup, only me. I'll ask a few questions at the LFS too and look into rubber gloves. I think as long as I don't startle it, it shouldn't be scared into shocking anything.
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post #4 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 05:18 PM
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Yea. I can't imagine the range of the shock to be that big otherwise it'd kill everything around it.
What an odd fish.
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post #5 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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It's no beauty queen, that's for sure.
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post #6 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 09:55 PM
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I don't think there's too many oddball/monster fish people on here. :/
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post #7 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Doesn't seem like it, does it? *thread dies ignoble death*
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post #8 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 10:13 PM
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No those gloves will not be sufficient, they are not thick enough. You need to get very specialized gloves to handle an electric catfish and even then, many people us heavy duty tongs.

A fully grown adult is capable of killing a fully grown human in about 1.3secs, the jolt they give off stops your heart immediately if you are not fully insulated.

Just watched an episode of River Monsters and they caught a Tiger fish as described here, now if I had the money and a big tank, that would be a cool fish to have

10g Fry / Hospital / QT tank (as needed)

75g Saltwater Reef, Ocellaris Clownfish, Lyretail Antias (baby), Lemon damsel, Longtail Fairy Wrasse, purple dottyback, snails, crabs and a few LPS corals.

220g Still sitting empty (come on Lottery I need the numbers to come up!)

Last edited by Tazman; 06-06-2012 at 10:16 PM.
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post #9 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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I love River Monsters. I do remember when he was fishing for electric eels. Now those are scary.

Would I be able to get a pair of gloves like that at a home improvement store or is it time to pay a visit to my best friend google? I'm hoping I don't need to handle it very often, I'm mostly concerned about when I clean the tank.
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post #10 of 73 Old 06-06-2012, 10:43 PM
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Easier option would be a large net, that way you dont need to touch it.

Another thing to consider is earthing the tank, I believe they give off a low level electrical jolt all the time but only ramp it up when scared or threatened.

10g Fry / Hospital / QT tank (as needed)

75g Saltwater Reef, Ocellaris Clownfish, Lyretail Antias (baby), Lemon damsel, Longtail Fairy Wrasse, purple dottyback, snails, crabs and a few LPS corals.

220g Still sitting empty (come on Lottery I need the numbers to come up!)
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