Severely stressed catfish - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-16-2008, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Severely stressed catfish

Hello. We have an outdoor pond and somehow ended up with a catfish living in it. Over the past year and a half we became very attached to the catfish. Earlier in the year our goldfish mysteriously disappeared and, we believed, the catfish along with them. Before that he would come to the surface when we were at the pond, but we didn't see him at all for months. Last week we decided to drain and expand the pond since most of the fish in it had vanished. The pond has had just a foot or so of dirty, slludgy water in it for several days and today when we went to get the last bit out we discovered the catfish was still in the pond. We immediately put him in the aquarium we had set up as a temporary home for the minnows and tadpoles we removed from the pond. Since we put him in, he's been laying on his back at the bottom on the tank and seems to be gasping. We don't know if there's anything we can do for him, but we are so attached to this catfish and would hate to lose him again after finding him. I've been looking for information on the internet but haven't found anything for this kind of situation.

If anyone has any suggestions or input it would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-16-2008, 04:07 PM
willow's Avatar
hello and a warm welcome aboard.
i know your not going to be in the mood for questions,
however it will help members here to hopefully help you.
do you know what kind of catfish he is.
did you use dechlorinated water for the tank,or was it
pond water.if not pond water had it been cycled first.
how big is it,(the tank)
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-16-2008, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Hello, Willow. Thank you for responding. I have no idea what kind of catfish he is. He's a plain black, flatish catfish with a white belly. He's about 6 inches long. The aquarium is about a 10 gallon that's full of dechlorinated water, with a filter on it. I'm not really sure what you mean by cycled. It's been set up for a few days.

Right now he still looks awful. He flipped right side for about 15 minutes this evening but now he's back on his back, still kind of gasping. He's not all the way on the bottom of the tank now; he's hovering kind of in the middle. I worry that he's on his way out.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-17-2008, 01:43 AM
willow's Avatar
does he look like this but darker
then he is an armoured plecostomus,easy to find in google :)
cycled is when the water has matured,usually between six to eight
weeks,sooner if you can get some old stuff from a friends tank.
do you have or know anyone with a mature tank ?
(one that's been set up for 6 + months ?)
if you have rush over to their house if you can and beg for :)
some stuff from their filter.
toxins will build up very quickly in a 10gll with a catfish in it,
and because the filter does not have enough bacteria in it,there is nothing
to comsume the waste. perhaps add an air stone if you have one,don't over feed him,you don't want tonnes of uneaten food in there too.
ok enough waffel for the moment for you from me.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-17-2008, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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No, he doesn't have any markings or that large fin on his back. He's very flat black. He looks more like the one here:, only smaller. We don't know how he ended up in the pond.

I'll see if I can an air stone; off the top of my head I can't think of anyone I know who has an established tank but I'll see what I can do.

He's off his back this morning, so I hope that's a good sign.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-17-2008, 10:08 AM
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Yeah, you've probably got a lot of toxins building up in that tank. I'd recommend getting a test kit so you can see exactly what they are. In the mean time, you should be doing daily 50% water changes, as this tank is not cycled, and toxins will build up quickly.

(ps, your goldfish probably disappeared because something ate them like a hawk or a raccoon)
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-17-2008, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, Okiemavis. I'll get a test kit and check the water.

Assuming he makes it, any advice on when we put him back into the pond, to minimize any more shocks to him? We expanded the pond and have treated the water, but I'm not sure if I should leave it for awhile before putting him back in there.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-17-2008, 02:48 PM
iamntbatman's Avatar
Actually, how big were the goldfish in the pond?

What you've got there is a channel catfish, or a close relative. They usually make good pond inhabitants and mix well with equal-sized goldfish or koi, but they are predatory and will eat fish small enough to fit in their (sizable) mouths. So, if your goldfish were smaller than that catfish, he could be your culprit.

Channel catfish are also a very hardy species, but no fish can survive the buildup of ammonia levels. Doing those 50% daily water changes will be a big help until you can get him back in the pond.

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post #9 of 9 Old 08-18-2008, 04:37 AM
willow's Avatar
thanks okie.
hope he'll be ok.
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