How Long Can Catfish Survive Out Of Water? All You Need To Know Now!

Last Updated on May 19, 2022 by Marco C.

Do you want to know how long catfish survive out of water?  As a fish tank hobbyist, I am sure you know that fish must be submerged underwater. 
However, there is a specific period when a fish can be out of water.  It is really important to know how long that is.  If there is an accident, you want to be sure you get your fish back into the tank within this time frame. 

Whenever you decide to raise fish, it is crucial that you do adequate research before getting started.  Do not save this step to the end!  

Prior research will save you a bunch of problems in the future.  Catfish are a great species to raise in aquaponics.  They are very easy to raise and maintain.

On top of that, they are delicious fish to eat.  This guide contains all the key information you need to raise catfish successfully.  

One of the questions we will answer is: How long can catfish survive out of water?

Keep reading this article now to become a catfish expert.  You will be raising catfish in no time!

How To Use Catfish In Aquaponics

Catfish get their names because they have unique whiskers that look like a cat.  This distinctive characteristic makes them hard to miss.  If you are doing aquaponics, it is possible to buy catfish for your tank.

But, if you are looking for an adventure,  you can fish local catfish species to stock your tank.  When you do it this way, you can be sure that you are finding a catfish that suits your local temperature.  

Remember, there are multiple kinds of catfish species.  Be sure that you identify the exact species you are raising.  This will help properly guide you on the care. 

The channel catfish is one of the most commonly used varieties in aquaponics.  This is because they are notoriously easy to raise and can tolerate a wide temperature range. 

How To Use Catfish In Aquaponics

Read more about: How To Breed Catfish In A Tank?

To give you a good picture, they can handle temperatures between 65F to 90F!  This is a huge range.  That means you do not really have to worry about your tank getting too hot.

However, if you live in a colder area,  you still may need to supplement with a tank heater.  This is especially true if your region reaches below freezing every year.  

The best temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  That being said, channel catfish can specifically tolerate low temperatures.

In order to maintain the health of your tank ecosystem, you will need to do weekly or bi-weekly water changes.  This means that you will be taking water out of your tank and adding new water.

It is that this point that you need to understand how long can catfish survive out of water.  If you leave them exposed for too long, they could die.

Can Catfish Survive In A Bucket?

On average a catfish can survive out of water for 3 hours maximum. In fact, after one hour, the chance of them dying greatly increases.  

There are some extreme cases where a catfish survived 18 hours.  Do not count on this happening. 

One scenario that is an issue is when there is a leak or break in your tank.  Water will quickly rush out of your tank.  If you notice this happening, you need to immediately put the catfish into another container with water.

In this case, you can use a bucket.  For short amounts of time, catfish can survive in the bucket.  Do not keep your catfish in a bucket for more than 24 hours.  

It is best if you get the fish back into an aerated tank as soon as possible.  One unique thing about catfish is they can withstand low levels of oxygen.  This means that they can survive longer than other fish in a bucket.

Trout is an example of a fish that requires high amounts of oxygen to survive.  The best way to keep a catfish alive in a bucket is to change the water frequently.  If possible add an air pump and bubbles.

The bubbles created by the air pump will provide crucial dissolved oxygen for your fish.  Remember, it needs to be plugged in.  So make sure your air pump is close to a power source.

Will Catfish Stay Alive In A Cooler?

Catfish cannot withstand low temperatures. They will not stay alive very long in a cooler. It is not advised to do this.  Hopefully, now you know the answer to: how long can catfish survive out of water?

It is not a very difficult concept to understand.  Try to avoid taking your fish out of the water if at all possible.  If they come above water, it will be very shocking to the fish’s system and there is no guarantee they will survive.  

Feel free to comment and ask questions below!

Will Catfish Stay Alive In A Cooler

Read more about: How Fast Do Channel Catfish Grow In A Pond? All Your Answers Here!


What kind of catfish do you use for aquaponics?

There are many different kinds of catfish that you can use in aquaponics. However, some varieties are more favorable than others. One great catfish variety to use in aquaponics is called the channel catfish. It is great because they can tolerate low temperatures and low levels of oxygenation.

How do you keep catfish alive in a bucket?

If you want to keep a catfish in a bucket, you need to make sure you do not leave them there for too long. The best way to safely keep them is to use an air pump to make bubbles in the bucket in the water. You also should make sure the water is frequently changed.

Can catfish be used in aquaponics?

Catfish are some of the best fish to use in aquaponics because they are easy to raise. They are a very hardy fish. Also they are very delicious to eat and grow at fast rates. This is a great fish to try if you are a beginner.

How long can a catfish live in a cooler?

Catfish like warmer temperatures of at least 65 degrees fahrenheit.