Acquired: Fish / pet store
Crawley, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Posted Mar 12, 2015
Firstly, these weren't Channel Catfish, but I couldn't find the breed in the drop-down. They were two European Catfish, known as Silure.
I've always loved water, be it rivers lakes or the sea, and therefore I've always loved fish. I began fishing when I was about 7, and I'm still doing it now, more than 50 years later, so it was a natural thing for me to keep fish from an early age. Initially I kept goldfish in a bowl, but soon I progressed to garden ponds and kept koi and carp as well as goldfish, but this review isn't about them.
In Europe, the catfish grows to a huge size, well over 200lb in certain rivers and lakes, and although I've never concentrated too much in fishing for them, I've always found them fascinating. As well as a garden pond, a few years ago I acquired a large fish tank (60x30x12") so I took to keeping a few small carp in there, and watching their feeding patterns and growth rates. Then, purely by chance, I wandered into a pet store and saw that they had some catfish in there. I was immediately smitten and decided to purchase one of them, He was about 6" long and looked menacing, so I christened him Gort, after the robot in 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'. I put him into the tank with the half a dozen carp that were in there and everything seemed fine. So fine, in fact, that I decided to get another! This one was a little smaller and he became know as Isaac, for reasons I won't go into here.
During the day they were not too visible, hiding behind the rocks and weed, but at night they would start to quarter the tank, looking for food. I fed them chopped garden worms, which they wolfed down, and over a few months they started to visibly increase in size. The carp in the tank weren't too small, probably 3 - 4" in length, so it was a bit of a surprise one day when I noticed that one was missing. I couldn't believe that it had been eaten, so came to the conclusion that it had leapt out of the tank and one of our cats had eaten it. A week or so later, the resident carp population had dropped from 6 to 3, and I began to suspect foul play, so I decided to sit and watch. That evening, I turned all of the lights out, apart from a small sidelight, and sat watching the tank. It took a while, maybe an hour, then I saw Gort speed across the tank and smash into the side of one of the remaining carp. Within half hour the carp was severely injured and Gort finished it off, almost in one mouthful. I was stunned, but had to save the other two carp, so netted them out and dropped them in the pond.
Over the next few months everything remained quite placid in the tank, then I noticed that Isaac had a bit of gash along one flank, and it didn't take a genius to know where it came from. Within a few days, I gave my son the task of taking the two catfish to a local park pond, where I hoped they would survive.
Almost a year later to the day, my son was fishing at the pond when he heard a group of boys shouting, so he went to see what it was about. There, in the bottom of their landing net, lay Gort, but he wasn't like the Gort in our tank. Vince estimated that he was about 14- 16" long and weighed about 3lb. It seemed that he was going to survive after all!