Guide to popular Catfish for Aquariums
Catfish for aquariums are usually purchased for the purpose of keeping the aquarium clean as they tend to eat up the algae and waste from the other fish. While those are just some of the aspects of aquarium catfish behaviour, there are many species of catfish each characterised by different needs and behaviours. These fish have a habit of touching things around them – other fish, your hand while you feed or clean the tank, which is normal as they use their barbels to gather information from the environment. Catfish do not have scales; instead they are covered with a thick leathery, beautifully patterned skin.
Popular Catfish for Aquariums
1. Corydoras Catfish: Corydoras catfish live comfortably in community tanks when they have about six other fish of their own type in the tank. They are content to remain near the bottom of the tank and eat off what the other fish have let sink to the bottom. These popular aquarium catfish tend to be between two to five inches long.
2. Synodontis/Upside Down Catfish: There is a wide variety of species of the Upside Down Catfish all with varying personalities. Synodontis catfish kept in tanks with other fish need to be of the smaller and more peaceful variety to create a peaceful atmosphere. The more aggressive variety may wreck havoc in your aquarium by nipping at and bullying other fish.
3. Panaque/ Clown Catfish: This is a very attractive and popular catfish for home aquariums. They are very colourful and some tend to grow to be quite large. The clown catfish has a tendency to be territorial and will try to keep other bottom dwellers out of its space. The markings on Panaques range from zebra-like stripes, to colourful spots.
4. Otocinclus catfish: A small and pretty species of catfish for aquariums that do especially well when in the company of their own kind. This peaceful fish eats a lot of algae and does its fair share of reducing the buildup of algae in the fish tank. Ensure that your catfish is acclimated well otherwise it will not do well in your tank.
5. Bristlenose Pelco: This is one catfish for aquariums that is preferred by hobbyists. The Bristlenose Pelco will happily eat all the algae in the aquarium, as well as any other food that drifts down to the bottom of the tank. This does not mean it will not need its own food, but it will do an excellent job of keeping the aquarium clean.
Keeping Catfish in Aquariums
Catfish for aquariums can be quite shy. These bottom dwellers need hiding places, soft substrate, and a few rocks that they can relax on. Much as aquarium catfish are known to be scavengers and can feed on algae in the fish tank, they also need a balanced diet like any other fish. These hardy fish live well as part of a fish community and tend to add character to any aquarium they are introduced to as they go about their duty of keeping the fish tank clean. Catfish come in different sizes and temperaments, and can be easily kept by beginners.