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Violent Catfish Battle caught on tape!!!!

Updated on January 8, 2013

Intruder stirs the pot!!!

These two Sun Catfish (Horabagrus brachysoma), grew up together in my 100 gal aquarium. The fish are about 4 years old and are 9.5" and 10.5" in length each. When purchased they were just 2.5" each. They have always lived together peacefully, save for the occasional squabble over food or shelter. That is until the new arrival entered their world!!! On the day that this video was taken I had received a new fish which was a, North American Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris). I really wasn't expecting what would transpire right before my eyes.

For a little background. When you order a fish online it is packed in a Styrofoam box with chemicals added to the water to keep the fish calm and healthy during it's long journey. The Flathead Catfish spent 26 hours in one of these containers on the way to it's new home. So when it arrived I expected that it would be pretty exhausted and ready to relax. What I didn't know was this fish had other plans in mind! I added this fish in after first acclimating it to the water of my tank. At first it did what any fish does when you add it in. It sat on the bottom breathing heavy trying to regain itself.


Even best friends sometimes fight!
Even best friends sometimes fight!

Within ten minutes he was seeking shelter. He really didn't like what was available at the time and decided to go after the digs of my Sun Catfish. They immediately acted as a team to try and keep out this intruder. I expected that since they were much larger, two fish instead of one, and pretty aggressive at times, that they would come out the victors. Leaving the new Flathead Catfish to find his own hiding spot. Boy, was I ever wrong! He plowed right into their hole and started taking a beating from them. One bit onto his head, while the other bit onto his tail and they proceeded to drag him out. He wasn't having any of it and viciously attacked both of them at one time! So this much smaller, and very tired catfish successfully ousted the two larger and healthier Suncats!



The Intruder
The Intruder

I was in shock, but never expected what would happen next. Since the Flathead had succeeded in overthrowing the Suncats, they were in turmoil. The whole pecking order of the tank had been thrown off, and there was about to be a battle over new dominance unlike any I had seen before in my 14 years of keeping catfish. What ensued is in the video above. This went on for several hours and the Suncats were pretty well beat up. The Flathead never allowed either one come back into the hole until after the battle was over. Eventually they started on daily battles like this. So I decided to move them to my 400 gal pond. I had to treat the minor wounds they had both received as well. For artificial and small open wounds on the skin I highly recommend treating with a broad spectrum antibiotic. The Suncats now live there together peacefully, or at least until I add another intruder!!!

From below the Suncats snuggling in their home before their eviction notice was served!
From below the Suncats snuggling in their home before their eviction notice was served!

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