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Growth is relatively rapid, approaching maximum size within a couple of years.
The adhesive eggs stick to submerged vegetation and hatch in 20–60 hours, depending on temperature.
Narrow and angular occipital process; gill openings wide; air-breathing labyrinthic organ arising from gill arches; first gill arch with 24 to 110 gillrakers; cleithrum pointed, narrow with longitudinal ridges and with sharpness. Their culture in modern times follows a similar trend to that of tilapias: first domestication trials by the year 1950 and adoption of the North African catfish Clarias gariepinus as the most desirable catfish for aquaculture in the mid 1970s.
Long dorsal and anal fins; without dorsal fin spine and adipose fin. View SIDP Species fact sheet African catfish are mentioned within traditional capture-based aquaculture (known as wheddos in Benin and Ghana and barochois in Mauritius) for centuries.
This species is found in lakes, streams, rivers, swamps and floodplains, many of which are subject to seasonal drying.
The most common habitats are floodplain swamps and pools where they can survive during the dry season(s) due to their accessory air breathing organs.
Approximately 70 percent of feeding activity takes place at night.