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More than 32,000 types of living fish species are available in the world, and catfish is one of the most popular fish among them. Various types of catfish species are available in North & South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

How many catfish are in the world? More than 3,000 species of catfish are available in the world. Forty types of catfish have been generally discovered till now. Out of 40, 30 types of catfish are found in the USA. One catfish can be found in every 20 fish.

How Many Catfish Are In The World?

More than 3,000 species of catfish are available in the world. Forty types of catfish have been generally discovered till now. Out of 40, 30 types of catfish are found in the USA.

The best part is catfish are so huge in numbers that you will find at least one catfish in every 20 fish in the water. In fact, ichthyologists believe more number ray-finned fish are yet to discover.

How Many Catfish Are In The World

What are the Giant-Sized Catfish In The World?

How larger catfish have you watched in your lifetime?

Generally, two main giant-sized catfish are available in the world. Their short description is given below.

01. Wels Catfish

When it comes to giant-size catfish, very few options are as big as Wels Catfish. Their body has a pale brown color

This special catfish can be as large as 15 feet (4.6 meters). Their weight can be anywhere from 300 to 660 lbs. They have an average lifespan of 60 years.

Wels Catfish are mainly found in central, southern, and Eastern Europe. You can also see some of the presence of Weld Catfish in the Baltic, Black, and Caspian Seas. 

Besides, a few options might be available in lowland rivers, weed-covered lakes, backwaters, and well-vegetated lakes.

02. Mekong Giant Catfish

Can you guess the largest freshwater fish? Let me make it easier for you. The giant fish is the official freshwater heavyweight champion in the world.

Can’t you still guess? Well, it is the Mekong Giant Catfish. They have a mixture of grey to white body colors. These large catfish be up to 10 feet in length and  330 to 440 pounds in weight.

However, a 646-pound Mekong giant catfish was found in northern Thailand in 2005.

They can live up to 60 years. This special fish is mainly available in Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

They generally prefer cool, clean water to live in. The temperature range should be between 70 to 78 °F.

What are the Big-type Catfish In The World?

Apart from giant species of catfish, many large catfish are available globally in various locations.

These are three common big-type catfish most anglers try to catch.

01. Blue Catfish

One of the biggest catfish is the blue catfish. Their body has a silvery-blue color with a white belly and smooth, scaleless skin.

Their average size is 25–46 in (64–117 cm), and their weight is 20 to 50 KGs. But options can be up to 5 feet and weighs more than 70 KGs.  

Blue catfish are available in 51 species. Their average lifespan is 20 years.

Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Rio Grande River basins are top locations to find native blue catfish.

However, USA, Mexico, and Guatemala have several types of blue catfish. You can find them in both coastal and inland areas.

02. Channel Catfish

Do you know around 8 million anglers target channel catfish each year? Many people get confused by channel catfish with blue catfish.

They have a combination of olive-brown /slate-blue and silvery-white colors on their body. Their average weight ranges from 18 to 23 kg, and their size ranges from 20 and 30 inches.

However, an angler from South Carolina has caught a channel catfish weighing around 58 pounds (26.3 kg) in Lake Moultrie.

North America is one of the best areas to catch channel catfish. A few options are also available in southern Canada and northeastern Mexico.

Channel catfish are fond of living in freshwater rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds where low or moderate currents are available.

03. Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish is one of the tastiest catfishes. They have pale yellow to light brown body color. But their tail fin is dark brown.

The average size of a flathead catfish ranges from 2 to 4 feet. They can be up to 100 pounds or more.

The Mississippi River and Lower Great Lakes have various types of flathead catfish.

You can find this type of catfish in lakes, streams, reservoirs, canals, and rivers, especially in deep pool areas. The currents of the water need to be slow.

Plus, a higher number of flathead catfish is likely to be presented in the water during the turbid (cloudy) water conditions.

What are the Medium-type Catfish In The World?

How many mid-range catfish have you seen? Here is a brief description of two common species.

01. Bullhead Catfish

Bullheads are mainly one type of North American freshwater catfish. They have a yellowish-brown-colored body.

This chubby catfish has smooth and slimy skin. Its average body length is 8–14 inches (20–36 cm). A few options might be 20 to 24 inches long in some cases.

Their average weight is 5 to 9 pounds. This small fish has an average of five years of lifespan. But some catfish may survive for up to ten years.

Bullhead catfish are mainly available in coastal rivers, ponds, and reservoirs.

You can find them in many lakes, rivers, and streams in Minnesota. They prefer to live in clear, slow-moving waters with a lot of vegetation.

02. White Catfish

White Catfish is another popular catfish. It has a combination of light/dark gray and brownish body appearance.

Their average size is 8 to 17 inches and their weight ranges from 1 to 2 pounds. However, some options can be as big as ten pounds.

White catfish have a maximum lifespan of 14 years. They generally take 3 to 4 years to become adults.

The main native of white catfish is found on the Atlantic Coast from New York to Florida.

You can find this small catfish in sluggish, mud-bottomed pools and in open channels.

What Are The Aquarium-type Catfish In The World?

You have already learned about giant-sized, large-sized, and medium-sized catfish.

But what about aquarium-type catfish? The followings are common options:

01. Cory Catfish

Cory Catfish is notorious for their attractive colors and distinctive patterns. They have a long, sleek body.

This special catfish is non-aggressive and friendly in nature. They are generally 2.5 to 12 centimeters long.

Their native region is South America and the Atlantic Ocean. Their ideal pH range is between 6.5 – 8.0. The temperature should be between 70°F (21°C) and 78°F (22°C).

02. Glass Catfish

This type of catfish has a clear or transparent body. Their bones and organs are easily visible from the outside. This makes them one of the most popular aquarium pets.

Their average body length is 2.7 inches (6.8 centimeters) to 3.1 inches (8 centimeters).

They are available in various areas, such as Southeast Asia, the Great Sunda Islands, etc.

Their ideal water acidic level ranges from 6.6 to 7.5 pH, and temperature should be between 72°F to 82 °F

03. Pictus Catfish

This freshwater species has a silvery, smooth body with black spots, which originated from South America.

It is a non-territorial, non-aggressive, and scaleless fish. The long whiskers or barbels of Pictus Catfish make it different from other catfishes.

Their average body length is between 3 to 5 inches. But some may become up to 6 inches. They have an average lifespan of 8 and 10 years if you ensure a good level of care.

Amazon and Orinoco river basins are primary locations to find this particular catfish easily. However, you can find them in Brazil, Venezuela, and Columbia.

04. Otocinclus Catfish

The calm demeanor and cleaning skills of Otocinclus Catfish made them highly popular. They are also notorious for their algae-eating behavior on hard surfaces.

Their average size is 1 1/2 to 2 inches after becoming fully adult. They can survive 3 to 5 years on average.

This specific catfish originated from rivers in South America. However, you can find them in northern Argentina and Venezuela.

Otocinclus Catfish can live well when the water’s acidic level is between 6 to 7.5 pH. But the temperature should be between 70°F to 79°F (21°C to 26°C).

05. Upside Down Catfish

How many fish have you seen with an upside-down swimming posture? The spotted appearance of this special catfish makes it different from others.

Their average body length is between 3 to 4 inches. This beautiful fish has a light brown color with dark brown patches. They can live up to 15 years.

You can find Upside Down Catfish in Central Africa in the Central Congo River basin as well as Cameroon. Their favorite habitat is densely vegetated areas.

Upside Down Catfish thrives best when the water’s acidic level is between 6.8 to 7.5 pH and the temperature level is 22°C to 26°C.

06. Bumblebee Catfish

This special catfish is well known for their durable and hardy nature. Disease or illness is less likely to attack them.

They have a long cylindrical body with black and yellow stripes. Their average size is 3 to 3.5 inches, and their average lifespan is 4 to 6 years.

Bumblebee Catfish mainly originated from Columbia and Venezuela in the Turmero River basin.

But you can also find some of them in Guyana, Thailand, Laos, Ecuador, and northern Brazil.

Bumblebee Catfish can easily live on hard water. The ideal acidic level for this catfish ranges from 5 to 12 pH. And the temperature level should be between 24-28°C (75-82°F).

07. Striped Raphael Catfish

The pleasant temperament and curious nature of Striped Raphael Catfish made them highly popular.

This particular catfish has stripes that run along its body. Those dark-brown or black stripes make them highly attractive.

Their average size ranges from 7.9 inches to 9.4 inches. They can live for 10 to 15 years.

Striped Raphael Catfish originated from Amazon, Paraguay–Paraná, and lower Orinoco basins in South America. You can find them in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.

The ideal water hardness level for Striped Raphael Catfish is 5.5 to 7.5 pH. And they thrive best when the water temperature is between 22°C to 30°C.

08. Julii Corydoras

Are you looking for a peaceful community fish? If so, this small freshwater catfish appears to be a perfect choice. 

They have a silvery gray body with a dark zigzag stripe. Their average size is 2 to 2.5 inches. They can live 3 to 4 years on average. But in some cases, it can be up to 7 years.

 Julii Corydoras originated from the Amazon region, mainly the Parnaíba River or the coastal rivers of eastern Brazil.

The ideal water hardness level for Julii Corydoras is between 6.5 to 7 pH, and the temperature should be between 73-79°F (23-26°C).

Final Words

Thousands of catfish species are available globally. Some are too heavily available, and others are in a moderate range in particular locations.

Many rare catfish are also available. Anglers have to follow strict guidelines to catch them. Sometimes, it might be prohibited to catch them.

Hopefully, the above discussion has given you good info regarding how many catfish are in the world. Let me know if you want to know anything interesting about catfish!

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