How Fast Do Channel Catfish Grow In A Pond? All Your Answers Here!

Last Updated on January 14, 2022 by Fabiola L.

A channel catfish is an exciting fish to add to your aquaponics system.  Read this article to find out how fast do channel catfish grow in a pond and all other details about raising catfish.  

Many people stock their ponds and aquaponics system with channel catfish.  This is because they grow quickly and are easy to raise.  

The catfish gets its name because of the cute whiskers found stemming from the tip of their nose.  Catfish can live a long time.  In fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the oldest catfish found in history was 24 years old! 

Catfish can be found all around the world, in many different water systems.  Whenever starting an aquaponics system, you must consider how many fish can fit into your tank.  This is why we want to answer the important question: How fast do channel catfish grow in a pond?  

Read on to find out all you need to know!

Catfish For Aquaponics

If you want to put catfish in your pond, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.   As with any system, you need to think about the size and space available for your project.  This needs to be determined prior to making other decisions, such as which type of fish to raise.

Once you have a clear idea of what you are working with you can get started. 

Channel catfish prefer warmer water to grow properly.  The best temperature to optimize catfish growth is around 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  In order to produce eggs, they need a temperature between 75 and 80 degrees.  

If you live in a colder climate, you will need to ensure the water temperature stays within a good range.  You can do this by installing an aquarium water heater.  Read our other article to find out everything you need to know about water heaters!

Channel catfish can start to produce babies when they reach 3 or 4 years old.  So if you purchase small catfish fry, you will have to wait quite a long time until you can start breeding.  Keep this in mind when making your decisions.  

Females spawn once a year and will seek out a male to fertilize them.  The males usually create a nest in a dark area that is quiet.  Once the female is impregnated she will then use this nest to lay her eggs into.  

The male will stay and protect the nest from outside predators.  The eggs take around 8 days to hatch and an additional 8 days for the babies to swim away from the nest.  Throughout these 16 days, the male will not leave.  

Catfish Growth Rates

As with every fish, the growth rate is heavily impacted by feeding patterns and tank conditions.  The more you feed your fish, the faster and larger they will grow.  

The more you feed your fish, the faster and larger they will grow

Learn more about: What To Feed A Fish When Out Of Fish Food

With regular feeding and good conditions, a six-inch catfish can put on one pound of weight for half a year.  On average, catfish are 22 inches long.  However, the longest recorded catfish was 52 inches long! 

If you do not provide supplemental feeding, a catfish can put on a pound of weight over the course of three years.  This means letting the fish in your pond forge for food on their own.  

In nature, channel catfish are found in rivers and streams.  They really like to have water that has a lot of oxygen.  Keep this in mind when designing your pond.  

Oxygen can come from plants in your pond or create artificially with an air pump.  They will forge their food from whatever is in the natural ecosystem.  

In the river systems, Channel catfish will eat other smaller fish, crayfish, insects, and small creatures.  They are omnivores and will eat both plants and animals.  

However, in a manmade pond, you will need to provide the proper ecosystem in order for them to have access to adequate food sources.  One way you can do this is to create a biodiverse ecosystem in your pond.

This means, add local aquatic plants into your pond when setting it up.  The pond will then naturally attract insects, beneficial microorganisms, algae, and more.  Once the ecosystem is developed, you can add your catfish.  

Alternatively, you can buy man-made food to feed your catfish on a regular basis.  If you want to be in complete control of your catfish growth rates, this is the best option.  This is because you can measure and track the exact amounts of food your fish are getting.

For those who want to be a large-scale producer of catfish, this will be your best option. 

Catfish Characteristics

You may have heard stories about a catfish who eats other fish in the tank.  This is because certain varieties are quite vicious predators.  It really depends on the variety you choose.

The scaleless catfish are known as bottom feeders and are used to clean your tank.  The Channel catfish is a much larger species.  If you are worried about it eating some of your small fish, it is best to keep them separate.  

Channel catfish are also known as spotted cat, willow cat, and ladycat.  Be sure which variety of catfish you are purchasing.  For the most part, catfish will be peaceful and easy to raise.

Make sure you keep your water temperature high enough and feed them enough.  You can determine their feeding patterns by observation.  Be sure to not overfeed as this causes a lot of problems for your tank water health.

Catfish are a tasty treat for the dinner table and totally worth raising.  If you do not want to buy catfish fry from the store, you can even catch them from your local river and put them into your pond.  

Now you know the important answer to the questions: How fast do channel catfish grow in a pond?  This guide should help you determine whether channel catfish is the right species for you.   Experimenting with different fish is always interesting and a great learning experience.  Don’t be afraid to try.  

Feel free to comment and ask questions below! 

Read more about: The Incredible Facts On How Fast Trout Grows!