What do Catfish Eat?

Catfish are mostly omnivorous, bottom feeders that eat plant matter, small fishes, and insects. The diet of catfish is very diverse as they can feed on a variety of things. However, some catfish can be carnivores or herbivores depending on the species. Many omnivorous catfish eat things like snails, frogs, algae, seagrass, and shrimp. There is even a specie which is parasitic.

Catfish eating

The diet of catfish

There are many different types of catfish, and some of them are detailed later in the article. This means that the diet of catfish varies greatly. Most are omnivores, but some can be carnivores and strictly herbivores, as well. Some can even be parasitic, which means they feed on the blood of other species.

These fish are opportunistic eaters, which means they adapt to their surroundings and eat whatever they can find. These are the most common food items eaten by catfish all over the world.

  • Small fishes
  • Crayfish
  • Snails
  • Frogs
  • Algae
  •  Aquatic insects
  •  Phytoplankton
  • Sea cucumbers
  • Seagrass
  • Blue crabs
  • Shrimps

They eat a wide variety of food items. However, the diet will always depend on where the fish came from and what is most available in their environment.

Can catfish eat commercial fish food?

Yes, catfish can eat all types of commercial fish food that you find in the supermarket. This is easy bait and an easy food item to feed aquarium catfish. Food items like pellets are not only nutritious for the fish but meet the entire requirement the catfish has in a simple form.

What do catfish fry eat?

Fish fry is the baby catfish, and they have different diets than the adult catfish due to their stomach size. Commercially available fish flakes are a good item due to their being high in protein. The younger catfishes usually eat dead plants and animals in the wild, along with phytoplankton. This is mostly because these foods are easy to digest.

Do catfish eat other fishes?

Since catfishes are omnivores most of the time, they do eat other small fish and fish eggs whenever they can. Some bigger catfish species love to hunt other fishes and eat them as well. Moreover, most catfishes are cannibals, so they will eat other smaller catfish of the same species of catfish when they feel like it.

What insects do catfish eat?

There are many different insects that catfish eat. They feed on dragonfly larvae, water beetles, mosquito larvae, and flea larvae in the wild. Due to its tiny size, this is usually a food item that the fry likes. They will also eat other insects like grasshoppers, crickets, bloodworms, and earthworms in the aquarium. In the wild, blood and blood bait are often used for fishing of catfish by fishermen and works because of the catfish’s attraction to blood.

What is a catfish?

Catfish is a fish that is found in many places, and they are mostly bottom-dwelling. There are several different types of catfish that have different behaviors and different foods they prefer. These are ray-finned fish that get their names from the whiskers or barbels on their mouths and also from the cat-like sounds they sometimes make when caught. The barbels are actually a defense mechanism for this fish to ward off predators as they have sensors to monitor their environment.

Although unassuming, these fish are unique and very hardy as they are found almost everywhere except Antarctica. This means that catfish can survive in saltwater, freshwater, and even brackish water. There are so many different catfish species that only one catfish category: channel catfish, which includes more than 45 species!

Some of the catfish are huge; the top three largest ones are the Mekong giant catfish, the Wels catfish, and the Piraiba catfish. One of the largest ever catfish recorded was around 700 pounds. However, you can also find small catfish that fit into your aquarium, like corydoras, plecos, and Colombian sharks. Even a species of Asian catfish can pick itself up and walk across the land when it wants to which means it can survive in the mud for a period of time. 

What are the catfish?

There are more than 3,000 known species of catfish, and chances are you are around some of these species where you live. They can sometimes be underrated because of how common they are. We have made a list of the top 5 biggest and most interesting catfish ever.

Blue catfish

The biggest ever blue catfish weighed 143 pounds and was found in Kerr Lake in the United States. This fish is mostly found in North America and is famous for anglers who want to show off their skills. These are mostly bottom-dwelling and love to eat small fish and organisms.

Channel catfish

Although the biggest channel catfish caught was not that big compared to other huge fish, it was still impressive. The Channel catfish weighed around 60 pounds and was also caught in the United States like most other fish. You can find them in Canada and Mexico, along with the United States.

Goonch catfish

The biggest Goonch catfish had an all-tackle record of 165 pounds and was found in the Ramganga River in India. This is more of a unique catfish that is not found everywhere, as you can find the biggest ones only in Indian rivers. This is pretty hard to catch due to its huge size as well, so luring with an appropriate bat is important.

Mekong Catfish

This is one of the heaviest catfish caught! The Mekong catfish, caught at the Gillhams Fishing Resort in Thailand, weighed 260 pounds. Since it is the largest freshwater fish found, it is endangered and has been introduced in Bangladesh, China, and other Asian countries. Interestingly, the Mekong catfish has a strictly vegetarian diet, which is rare among catfishes, especially those of this size.

Lau-Lau catfish

It is also known as Piraiba and is the biggest catfish ever caught. The largest recorded Lau-Lau catfish weighed 341 pounds and was discovered in Rio Solimoes, Brazil. Considering the size of this fish, it also eats people if there is danger nearby! Moreover, although the recorded fish weight is below 400 pounds, some people have spotted these fish that are over 400 pounds as well.

In conclusion, not only are catfishes very interesting, but their diets are very versatile, as well. You can find many different food items that fish eat according to the species of the fish.


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