The black eel-tailed catfish was first breed by Ausyfish in 1989. This was probably the first time this species was artificially spawned. Young black eel-tail catfish make interesting additions to an aquarium of Australian native fish. This species grows quite large, although growth in aquariums is very slow. These fish have been collected by Ausyfish from the Burnett River near Bundaberg, the Dawson River in Central Queensland, and most rivers in far north Queensland. We have also seen them in western draining rivers on Cape York Peninsular. Wild fish have been collected as large as 65cm. Preferred temperature in the mid 20s (Celsius), however they will survive for extended periods as low as 15C and as high as 40C. They exhibit an interesting pattern a little like honeycomb. This pattern is displayed by all size classes but sometimes is only displayed under certain conditions. The colours within this pattern are black, and several shades of grey. But the most attractive colour is blue. the same blue colour is also seen at the bass of the eye. Adult fish in spawning condition will display an orange belly. In the wild these fish will spend their days in quiet deep holes. At night they will roam all areas of the river, including fast flowing sections. They can be found in small streams and large rivers.
Fork-Tailed Cat Fish
Very active at night, this is one of the largest freshwater fish found in Australia. Below owner of Ausyfish, Bruce Sambell catches a monster catfish in the Mitchell River in Far North Queensland. These fish have very sharp serrated spines on their pectoral and dorsal fins. this is why this fish is landed by a good firm grip on its lower jaw. The fish is struggling wildly so it is held well away from the body to avoid being speared by the spines. The spines cause a painful sting that lasts for hours. The pain of the sting can be eased considerably by applying a towel or any material which has been wet with very hot water, as hot as you can stand without being burnt.
And yes.......they are also reasonably good to eat.
The babies of this species are a very popular aquarium fish. They will eventually grow big, but this takes many years in the aquarium.
Catfish (Tandanus tandanus) are scavengers, generally bottom feeders, but will eat small fish that will fit in their mouth. Temperature tolerance is wide. Anything your other fish can handle, they will be happy with. The big bonus is, they are top eating. Their flesh is white and delicate. When you are ready to eat them just humanely dispatch them. Before gutting and heading them, pour hot water over the skin. Then the skin can easily be peeled off. The protective coating of mucus will not be slippery once the hot water has been applied. Cook them a bit longer than perch to produce the best texture. Undercooked, they can be a bit too moist.
Another big bonus... they will breed in dams.
Barcoo River Catfish
Below left: Rarely seen in the aquarium trade the golden eel-tail catfish. A Neosilurus Species, probably Hyrtlii.
Yellow Eeltail Catfish
These are the very first "CAPTIVE BREED" yellow eel-tail catfish ever produced ! This species has never been breed in captivity before. The original breeders were wild caught from the Coen River, Cape York Peninsular.