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What Do Catfish Eat?

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Catfish do have an interesting name even though they are bottom feeders. Their diet can also vary quite a bit. No matter if you are talking about channel catfish, blue catfish, bullhead catfish or any species of catfish, they have similar diets depending on where they are located. Some locations are rivers while others are ponds. While they do spend a lot of time on the bottom of the aquatic surface, their diet could surprise someone. They feed at night and on the bottom of whichever body of water they are located in. Here are some considerations for catfish diets.

The Channel and the Blue CatfishThe channel (I. Punctatus) and the blue catfish (I. Furcatus).

Aquatic food

No matter what the species of catfish is, they can consume the following aquatic food: aquatic plants, other fish, decaying vegetation, fish eggs and crayfish as well as snails, aquatic bugs and minnows. The diet is varied in the water and they can eat a lot, growing to a very big size depending on where they live.

Carrion and crayfish

Catfish are also carrion eaters eating many types of dead things that come into the river or pond. They can eat carrion such as dead fish, dead bugs, or anything else that is dead quite handily. There is quite an advantage to being a “bottom feeder”.

Worms and leeches

Part of the diet will include leeches and worms. They have an excellent sense of smell and their whiskers can help them to find the food that they are looking for. Feeding at night helps keep predators away, and also means that many of the catfish’s prey animals will be asleep or dormant.

Main diet

The main diet of a catfish consists of insects, small fish and vegetation. However, once the adult stage is reached, then they will go more into a fish mode if they are a specific species such as the flathead catfish. This species can eat other catfish as well as bass. So it will be very dependent on the species and where it lives in order to determine the diet of a catfish. Some will have more access to food than others.