How Do Catfish Mate?

By Contributing Writer; Updated April 24, 2017

Mating conditions

Raise Cory Catfish

Spring is the catfish mating season. The catfish do their best mating in warm water. Eggs hatch in about a week. The best mating conditions occur when the females are six years old, and weigh more than three pounds. An eight pound female has the capacity to lay thousands of eggs. Generally, water temperature and the age of the female fish are the primary determinants for mating successfully.

Common breeding styles

The type of insemination that is most common tends to be internal. However, the male catfish may place his sperm in the oral cavity of the female catfish, and she may also allow the sperm to pass into her digestive system.


Catfish mate and take care of their young. They do not leave the eggs unattended unless they have hidden the eggs under rocks. Males often carry the eggs in his mouth until they hatch, and even carry the hatchlings in his mouth until they are mature enough to venture out.