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These tips have been written by Sam from Acres Aquatics (Warminster)

What is a catfish? Catfish are freshwater or marine fish with whisker-like barbels around the mouth and are typically bottom-dwelling. They are a diverse group of ray-finned fish, named after their prominent barbels which resemble a cat’s whiskers. Catfish range in size and behaviour, from the three largest species - the Mekong giant catfish from south-east Asia, the Wels catfish of Eurasia, and the Piraiba catfish of South America, to detritivores (species that eat dead organic material) and even tiny parasitic species, commonly called candiru.

Feeding. This depends on species and dietary requirements:

Corydoras.  We feed our Corydoras with NT Labs Catfish Pellet; we have found this food to be highly palatable to every species of Corydoras we have had. It’s fast-sinking, allowing the food to sink quickly through the layers, almost undetected by other fish in the aquarium. An added benefit of this food is that it’s packed with amino acids that catfish need to process their food and live a healthy life. 

Herbivorous Plecos.  Once again, this is dependent on the species we are feeding. For example, our herbivorous plecos are fed on NT Labs Algae Wafers and NT Labs Ocean Grazer. We have found that our herbivores are happy to dine exclusively on the Algae Wafers, but we like to provide a varied diet, and though many different plecos are labelled as herbivores, they do benefit from the inclusion of crustacean and fishmeal-based feeds in their diet.

Carnivorous Plecos.  We feed our carnivorous plecos, such as Leporacanthicus, Pseudacanthicus and Hypancistrus on the NT Labs Predator Sinking pellets, Stingray Pellets and Algae Wafers, as we feel it gives them a nice, balanced diet.

Maintenance. We maintain our aquariums on a weekly basis, doing 25% water changes and algae removal. We only remove algae from three sides of the aquariums housing herbivorous catfish, to allow them to graze freely throughout the day, which adds another dimension to their feeding programme. We adapt each tank to the requirements of its livestock, particularly the pH, KH, and GH.

Filtration. We would recommend you have ample filtration in your aquarium as catfish are usually very messy feeders! To check if your filtration is up to scratch, we recommend you test your water with NT Labs Aquarium Lab regularly, as this is a great indicator of the health and well-being of your aquarium.

Parasites. Catfish can develop a number of different health issues and can also pick up a range of parasites. If your fish are showing any sign of illness or a possible parasitic outbreak, we recommend you take a photograph of the specimen and consult your local aquatic centre. There’s a good range of treatments from NT Labs available to treat these problems.

Thanks to Sam from Acres Aquatics for putting together these tips.  Be sure to view their website and visit their store.

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