Catfish are scavengers found in freshwater. These fish live at the bottom of water bodies and possess very strong sensory organs. This AnimalSake post tells you about what food do the catfish eat.
Catfish stay mostly near the bed of any water body and feed at nighttime. Hence, they are also called bottom feeders.
Catfish is a type of fish with big eyes embossed on a flat head. It has an overbite and antenna-shaped barbels near its mouth, which it uses for catching prey. Most of them are timeserving in nature. This implies that when it comes to food, they take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way. Its main types include flathead, channel, and bullhead catfish. Few species of this type are omnivores, i.e., they feed on animals as well as plants.
Catfish are very strong predators and can hunt for food at any level of the water body. Be it deep in the water body or on its surface, their well-developed gustatory organs help them detect odors. These organs are called whiskers. They make it easy for these fish to find their prey in regions with very little visibility. As we know, very little sunlight reaches the bottom of the water bodies. This reduces the visibility for most fish, which works to their advantage as they can fetch their prey easily. Catfish eat carrion, such as dead microbes, etc. The other food that they eat are mallard, mosquito larvae, clams, snails, bullfrogs, berries, leeches, algae, meadow vole, and aquatic plants.
Young catfish are moderately small in size and easy to raise. They are reared as pets and are put up in fish aquariums. Young fish usually eat invertebrates. While in captivity or in a tank, their feed can be cockles, trout, and shellfish such as prawns, mussels, or ready-made foods such as flake foods, sinking pellets containing protein, or granular food. Brine shrimp and blood worms are also eaten by them. Some species of this fish, which are herbivores, depend mainly on courgette and vegetables such as spinach, cucumber, potato, and lettuce.
What Bait Do Catfish Eat
Anglers or fishermen catch catfish with the help of baits having a strong odor, because these fish are most attracted to strong smells. They can hardly resist odor. Fishermen thus, make baits using dough balls, organs of chicken or other animals, or food which is odorous. Catfish smell the odor and cling to these baits. Besides this, other odorous substances such as uncooked bacon, crappie, rotten cheese, crawfish, bluegill, sardines, herring, hot dogs, worms, carp, crayfish, chunks of shad flesh, bait dip coupled with cheese are used as a bait to catch fish. Among these, night-crawlers such as earthworm or red worm make for a very good food for these fish. In the fall season, catfish mainly feed on frogs and other amphibians.
Facts About Catfish
✦ Sunlight always penetrates the topmost regions of any water body. Catfish usually live in the dark regions. However, during the winter season when it gets extremely cold, these fish move to that zone of the water body which has good thermal conditions.
✦ Smaller and younger catfish need more food compared to the bigger and grown ones.
✦ Some species of this fish, such as channel, are one of the most consumed fish found in freshwater bodies such as lakes, creeks, and rivers of the U.S. This fish usually mates in late spring. On mating, the male protects the eggs from other aquatic species. However, sometimes the male consumes some of these eggs.
Points to Remember
✦ If you have a pet catfish, make sure you feed only limited or required amount of food. If the food remains uneaten, it can rot and infect the tank or aquarium.
✦ Catfish are very active during the evening or at night. This is the best time to feed them.
Due to their strong sensory organs, catfish have an edge over other predator fish. But what an irony! Fishermen or anglers take an advantage of this characteristic to catch them by using odorous baits.