Introduction to Catfish (Ikan Keli)
Catfish (order Siluriformes) are a very diverse group of bony fish. Named for their prominent barbells, which resemble a cat's whiskers (though not prominent in all members of this order), catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores (species that eat dead material on the bottom), and even to a tiny parasitic species commonly called the candiru, Vandellia cirrhosa. There are armour-plated types and also naked types, neither having scales. Despite their common name, not all catfish have prominent barbels; what defines a fish as being in the order Siluriformes are in fact certain features of the skull and swimbladder. Catfish are of considerable commercial importance; many of the larger species are farmed or fished for food. Many of the smaller species, particularly the genus Corydoras, are important in the aquarium hobby.
A Note to Non-Farmers
residents. Most farmers were born and raised on a farm. Very few learned how to farm as an adult. This puts the non-farmer at a considerable disadvantage.
Non-farmers will need to go through a period of on-the-job training. Are you the kind of person who does most of the maintenance and repair work? Can you put up with outdoor work during bad weather and odd hours? If so, great - these are skills and tolerances you will need on a fish farm. If not, you may wish to reconsider before getting into fish farming. In addition, farming today requires much more than just being able to produce a crop. Successful farmers must have a sound understanding of the economics of their operation, keep good records and work to find the best markets for their product.
• Healthy Large Fingeriings - Six to eight inch long fingerlings must be purchased if marketable catfish are to be produced in one growing season. Good quality 6 to 8 inch fingerlings are 11 or fewer fish per pound. Visit your fingerling supplier’s farm to inspect your order before it is loaded. Be sure no wild fish are mixed with your order.
• Good Feed - Buy a high quality complete feed made for catfish with at least 32% crude protein. Many cheap catfish feeds are intended for use in recreational fishing ponds where fish are stocked lightly and can obtain natural food to make up for anything missing in the feed.