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Family: Clariidae

Common Name: Walking Catfish

Origin and Habitat: The walking catfish is a native of South East Asia including Malaysia, Thailand, eastern India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Indonesia, Singapore, and Borneo. It was probably introduced into the Philippines.


Walking Catfish Diet

In the wild, the natural diet of this creature is omnivorous, it feeds on smaller fish, mollusks and other invertebrates as well as detritus and aquatic weeds. It is a voracious eater which consumes food rapidly and this habit makes it a particularly harmful invasive species.


Water parameters for Walking Catfish

The Walking Catfish should be kept in an aquarium with the temperature ranging from 50 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and a Ph of around 7.5.


The walking catfish, Clarias batrachus, can be found primarily in Southeast Asia. Although known in English as walking catfish, its walk is more like a sort of wriggling motion with snakelike movements, as well as using its pectoral fins as legs. This fish normally lives in slow-moving and often stagnant waters in ponds, swamps, streams and rivers (Mekong and Chao Phraya basins), flooded rice paddies or temporary pools which may dry up. When this happens, its walking skill comes in handy for moving to other sources of water.

Walking catfish are around 30 cm in length and have an elongated body shape. This catfish has long-based dorsal and anal fins as well as several pairs of sensory barbels. The skin is scaleless but covered with mucus, which protects the fish when it is out of water.

In the United States it is a nonindigenous invasive species, which is now established in Florida and reported from California, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Check the thread for importation rules and regulations in USA in General section under Freshwater Species and Compatibility forum.

In Florida, walking catfish are known to have invaded aquaculture farms, entering ponds where these predators prey on fish stocks. In response, fish farmers have had to erect protective fences to protect ponds. Authorities have also created laws that banned possession of walking catfish.

This fish needs to be handled carefully when fishing it out due to its hidden embedded sting or thorn like defensive mechanism hidden behind its fins (including the middle ones before the tail fin).

Certain snippets were retrieved from for reference purposes.

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