The Clarias juveniles 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 clarias juveniles
- 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.