Are there any catfish available for the coldwater aquarium, and is it a good idea to add one?
Lots, but many cannot be kept legally and most do not mix well with other coldwater fish.
North American Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) are one of the most common. They reach up to 90cm/3’ and are also available in albino form.
They are predatory, so must not be mixed with goldfish or small coldwater fish.
For the unheated aquarium, Scleromystax barbatus is a wonderful fish which would otherwise suffer if held at tropical temperatures. They develop wonderful patterns as they grow and should be kept in groups in spacious aquaria. Their ideal temperature range is 16-19°C/61-66°F.
Don’t mix with fancy goldfish though. Keep in a species tank.
This item was first published in the September 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.