How Long Do Catfish Live Out of Water? Things You Should Know

How Long Do Catfish Live Out of Water? Things You Should Know

Keeping your catch alive and well is very important. Here is the time catfish can live out of water.

You catch a catfish while out fishing. Do you want to know how long a catfish can survive without water and how much time you have left before it perishes? Most people wouldn’t think that a fish can only live for a certain amount of time out of the water, but it’s an essential question if you want to keep your catch alive.

How long do catfish live out of water? A catfish can survive outside of water for up to 15 or even 18 hours thanks to a special organ called the suprabranchial organ, but there are restrictions.

Continue reading as we describe some amazing abilities of catfish.

How Long Can Catfish Live Out of Water?

Most fish can’t stay out of water for more than a minute before they suffocate. Catfish, however, can remain dry for several hours without dying from suffocation. In general, some species of catfish can survive out of water for ten hours, while others can last fifteen to eighteen hours and it depends on the conditions outside.

In order to survive for hours without water, catfish have a unique organ called the suprabranchial organ.

Further Reading: How Long Can a Fish Survive Out of Water?

Catfish are able to survive for a few hours outside of water, but they can also easily absorb atmospheric oxygen. also, The catfish’s skin takes in oxygen and it is easily adaptable to dry land. Catfish can survive for a very long time without water because of this.

How Long Do Catfish Live Out of Water? Things You Should Know

Can Catfish Live in Stagnant Water?

Contrary to popular belief, there are numerous species of catfish that can be found in a variety of habitats, not just the murky, stagnant waters where most people associate them with living.

Catfish can live in freshwater, brackish water, or saltwater. And while some catfish prefer still water, others feel more at ease in moving water.

Catfish all share a few common characteristics, regardless of the type of water they reside in. They have whiskers (called barbels) around their mouths to sense their surroundings and locate food. They also have scaleless skin that is covered with mucus. They become slimy and are protected from parasites by this mucus.

What is the Best Way to Keep Catfish Alive After Catching Them?

  • By taking them out of the net, you can keep the catfish in clear water. Once you’ve caught them, put them in a bowl of fresh water.
  • The best method for keeping catfish alive is to use a sizable, roomy tank. Catfish can thus maintain excellent health for an extended period of time.

And as was already mentioned, there are some key considerations for keeping these fish.

  1. Monitoring the water temperature is necessary to ensure that your catfish live a long time. If the water is too hot, you can add an ice cube.
  2. In a clean cooler filled with water, catfish can be kept. For the fish to climb on, you can dangle rocks, sticks, and stones from the surface of the water. Change the water whenever it becomes dirty to keep the catfish healthy.
  3. . Fish can be kept alive by immersion in stringers, which are made specifically for this purpose. The thread can be fastened to the catfish’s lips or gills. By allowing your catfish to breathe easily after they have been caught, stringers aid in maintaining their life.
How Long Do Catfish Live Out of Water? Things You Should Know

Why Can Catfish Live Out of Water?

A special organ called a suprabranchial organ is primarily responsible for a catfish’s ability to breathe outside of the water, but there are other factors at play as well.

A Lung-Like Organ

This is a sizable organ with a paired chamber and numerous branches that are situated above the gills’ arches. Similar to our lungs, which we used to breathe oxygen from the air, this organ is somewhat akin to a pair of lungs.

Although it isn’t quite as efficient as our lungs, it still allows a catfish to breathe out of the water for a considerable amount of time, which is very convenient since catfish frequently experience droughts that force them to travel over land in search of more water or even to stay in muddy conditions for an extended period of time.

That said, even if the catfish remains wet, this organ can only do so much, and it won’t be able to take in enough oxygen to survive for more than 24 hours at the very most.

Oxygen Absorption Via the Skin

In fact, catfish are among the most unique fish, and this is due to the fact that they can breathe out of the water using methods other than the special organ we just discussed.

A wonderful characteristic of catfish is that their skin is permeable and can take in oxygen. Catfish have the ability to bury themselves in moist mud and take in oxygen through their skin during dry periods, keeping them alive for up to a year.

The catfish, however, is doomed if that mud dries up. The reason for this is that catfish, although they can absorb oxygen on dry land, their skin needs to stay wet.

How Long Do Catfish Live Out of Water? Things You Should Know

A catfish will lose the ability to absorb oxygen if it dries out, which will also cause that unique organ to stop working. Therefore, if you simply dump a catfish onto dry land after removing it from the water, it won’t survive for more than an hour.

Why Does a Catfish Die When Removed from Water?

Now you know how long can catfish live out of the water, and how to increase their lifespan, but, why does a catfish die when removed from water?

Fish use their gills to extract oxygen from the water, including catfish. They breathe in this manner. Although some fish may breathe through their skin, their primary breathing mechanism is through their gills.

Fish cannot use their gills to take atmospheric oxygen from the air due to their anatomy and biology. Fish will suffocate and die when you remove them from the water.

Mammals experience the same thing when submerged because their respiratory systems have evolved to breathe air. Even fish species that are able to take in a certain amount of oxygen through their skin will perish when they are out of the water, despite living longer.

How Long Can a Catfish Live?

Wels catfish have an average lifespan of 60 years. They have also been said to grow longer than an adult human and to eat people. The reports did not say whether the catfish consumed already-dead humans or if they killed the humans before eating them.

How Long Do Catfish Live Out of Water? Things You Should Know

Wels catfish have been known to attack humans before drowning them. The oldest channel catfish is 24 years old, but many feel that channel cats can live much longer.

People believe that flathead catfish can live much longer than 24 years because, like channel cats, the oldest known flathead catfish was 24 years old.

Because both species of catfish can grow large, people believe that both can live longer. How about on ice? If you put a live catfish on the ice, it would probably die in just a few minutes. It would perish from the abrupt shock of landing on ice after leaving a pond or lake.

If you have a catfish in a five-gallon bucket half full of water, and you felt the water was getting too warm, you could add about a cup of ice to the water. When the water temperature had cooled to a suitable level, you could add another cup of ice after letting the first cup sit for a few minutes.

If the water’s temperature was changed too quickly, the fish would perish. The same advice would apply if you wanted to place the catfish in a pond. Until the water in the bucket matched the water in the pond, you would soak it in the body of water.

Conclusion: How Long Do Catfish Live Out of Water?

Knowing how long can catfish live out of water is important for several reasons. You have to be aware of factors that influence this time when you are practicing catch and release.

Just keep in mind to practice compassion on all of your fishing expeditions and to treat every fish you hook with the utmost respect.


Can Catfish Breathe Out of Water?

Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect solution: Air-breathing catfish can only survive out of the water as long as their skin stays moist, so it’s important for them to get back in the water again as soon as possible. But their remarkable biology proves that being a fish out of water isn’t always a bad thing.

How Long Can a Catfish Live Without Oxygen?

An aquarium fish can stay up to two days without oxygen (in still water) but they still need some more amount of oxygen to breathe and do their essential daily work.

Can Catfish Live on Land?

The walking catfish, as its name suggests, can move quite well on land. It has a 1.2 km range and an 18-hour survival time in the absence of water.

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