NANFA-- Weird Catfish Behavior

Terri Vance (
Fri, 2 May 2003 09:55:54 -0400

Ok y'all catfish experts,

I realize that hiding is normal behavior for catfish. Not so for my 3 Tadpole least, not till about 3 weeks ago. Before this, they'd ALWAYS come
out & cruise all around the tank for at least half an hour searching for
fallen tidbits each time I fed. However, for 2 of the 3, this behavior has

These last few weeks have found the 2 holed up together in the hollow of a
log. They've even closed up the entrance to the hollow by taking mouthfuls of
gravel from w/in the hollow & stacking it at the entrance (I was lucky enough
to actually catch them in the act!). Occasionally, the 3RD madtom will enter
the hollow, only to be rudely ousted w/in a fairly short period of time.

This 3RD madtom still demonstrates what, since last summer, I've come to think
of as "normal" cruising behavior at feeding time. However, the only time I
see the other 2 these days is when one or both poke the tip of their nose out
the slightest tad to gather whatever food happens to drop just outside the
entrance to their hollow (I now make sure a little lands there each day) or
when the hidey-hole entrance needs maintenance to keep all but a bare hint of
a slit closed off to the world. I know that, in many catfish spp., the male
guards the eggs & fry. If but a single madtom had closed himself into a
hollow & excluded the others, I'd say it was breeding behavior.BUT A DUO?!!

I'm also familiar w/ the communal nesting behavior of a number of mammal spp.
Has anyone heard of this behavior in a catfish sp.?.or were these 2 madtoms
cichlids in their last lives & merely confused at finding themselves in their
current catfish bodies this time around?

They are all in a well-planted tank w/ a trio of Fundulus chrysotus, a small
group of minnows, & a few Otocincus afinis for company. Water parameters have
remained stable since their collection from the Poni River in VA & addition to
this tank last summer. Any idea what's going on w/ this duo?

Thanks in advance for any theories y'all might have,

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