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Catfish are in the fish order Siluriformes.  To put in perspective what an ‘order’ is in the classification of organisms, in mammals, the Bats make up one order, the Rodents another and Primates another.  As you can see, the classification ‘order’ can include a lot of different animals.  For example consider the difference between the primates, including Humans, apes, lemurs and others.  As with the primates, the Catfish of the order Siluriformes are a diverse group of animals.

Catfish range in length from a couple of centimetres to several metres. In aquariums and ponds there are a lot of different catfish kept.  The name “Catfish” comes from the ‘whiskers’ (barbels) that most Catfish have.

Some of the most popular catfish for aquariums are the corydoras catfish such as the Bronze and the Peppered catfish.  There are hundreds of different species of corydoras catfish. These are mostly tropical but some of them have a range extending well out of the tropics and these can tolerate lower temperatures.  As a general rule, the corydoras catfish are intolerant of very high temperatures and high concentrations of salt.

Some catfish like the Bristlenose Catfish are specialized for eating algae. 

Although most Catfish are bottom feeders there are some midwater catfish like the Glass Catfish.



Loaches are fish of the superfamily Cobitoidea.  These fish come from several continents, but are most numerous in Asia. There are no Loaches from either Australia or Antarctica. They tend to be elongated fish, and include some eel or worm like fish like the Kuhli Loach and the Black Kuhli Loach.