The clarias catfish fingerlings have given a great boost to aquaculture and impacted the livelihoods of many catfish farmers. The Clarias spp. can adapt to a wide variety of environments and is very tolerant of extreme water conditions.
- You will recognize the Clarias gariepinus by their cylindrical body with scaleless skin, small eyes, elongated spineless dorsal fin, and flattened bony head. The adult males are easily recognized by their distinct sexual papilla just behind the anus.
- They appear greyish black in color with a creamy-white underside.
- The Clarias spp. (African Catfish) are cannibals. Hence, farmers need to properly sort them into different sizes and put them in the appropriate ponds.
Handling catfish fingerlings
- Handling live African catfish is easy because, as long as the skin remains wet, they can stay alive for many days out of water.
- Depending on fish size and market demand, the fish may be steaked; filleted; or sold headed, gutted, and skinned.
- Male African catfish exhibit the best dressing and fillet percentage.
- Compared to other species, C. gariepinus is low in lipid and consequentially has no intense flavor (smell and taste).
- Smoked African catfish are also in high demand be because they can be stored for longer periods without power while retaining nutritional quality.
- These fish are remarkably resilient.
Morphological characteristics of catfish
Body elongate. Head large, depressed, and bony with small eyes. Narrow and angular occipital process; gill openings wide; air-breathing labyrinthic organ arising from gill arches; first gill arch with 24 to 110 gill rakers; cleithrum pointed, narrow with longitudinal ridges and with sharpness. Mouth terminal, large. Four pairs of barbels are present. Long dorsal and anal fins; without dorsal fin spine and adipose fin. Anterior edge of pectoral spine serrated. Caudal fin rounded. Colour varies from sandy-yellow through gray to olive with dark greenish-brown markings, belly white.
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