How To Select Male And Female Catfish For Hatching – Identification

How To Identify Male And Female Catfish for Spawning

Are you in dire need of the necessary steps to take on how to select male or female catfish for hatching? Do you need the surefire clues that are tested and trusted on how to select male or female catfish for hatching?

If yes, then your problem is solved as this piece shall untie the hard knot of how to select male or female catfish for hatching. The selection of male or female catfish for hatching is a careful and orchestrated process that needs careful examination.

As stated above, the steps and process involved in selecting male and female catfish for hatching need adequate planning and careful observation. Be informed that the catfish, either male or female, with a big stomach doesn’t mean it is ready for hatching.

This is because it is not by their size and also, it is not all the female catfish with bulging belly has ripe eggs viable for the hatchery. The best way and manner to know, determine and select the male or female catfish ready for hatching shall be highlighted in chronological order below:

Step 1:Identify the Sex of the Catfish

The entire process of selecting either male or female catfish for hatchery begins with the identification of which sex the catfish belong to. To select the male or female ones for hatching, you need to distinguish the two because the male and female catfish possesses some similar characteristics in build although they are entirely different.

The sex of the catfish should be examined through the genitals. The catfish possesses two openings on its belly, the anus is the opening that is nearer to the head and the second opening is the genital opening nearer to the tail of both sexes.

To select the male ones, they usually have a very distinct sexual papilla than the female ones, which is elongated and can be found behind their anus i.e. the opening that is nearer to the head. To identify the female catfish, it’s genital will be swollen and it can be opened.

Step 2: Calculate or Identify the Catfish Age

To select male or female catfish for hatching, it is expected of you to identify the exact age of the brood stock you want to use. Usually, the average age of the male or female catfish for hatching falls between two to three years.

These ages will aid you to have healthy fingerlings that will perform perfectly.

Since selecting male or female catfish for hatching is not something to be done judging by the size of the breed stock, it is however pertinent to identify the age of the catfish before you select it for hatching.

Step 3: Sexual Readiness

Sexual readiness is also one of the inevitable clues you have got to know about how to select male or female catfish for hatching. To select male or female catfish for hatching, it is very important and crucial for you to check for the sexual readiness of the catfish.

Their viability depends largely on the way and manner you manage their brood stock health. In case of the male catfish, you will be able to know the one that is ready for sex through it sexual papilla, it sexual papilla will be red at the edge. While female catfish ready for sex will have a swollen and red genital opening.

Also, if you press the belly of a female catfish it should release ripe eggs, that shows its viability. By this means, you should be able to select either male or female catfish for hatching.

Step 4: Check for the Body Weight

After you might have identified their sex, age and done checking for the sexual readiness, the next thing expected of you on how to select male or female catfish for hatching is to check for the body weight of the catfish.

You need to check for the weight of the female catfish, most especially, so as to have an insight on the quantity of eggs it carries and also, to determine the synthetic hormone– which is used for inducing spawning– measurements to be administered.

From research and findings conducted, it was accumulated that the eggs in gravid female catfish usually weigh around 10-15 percent of their overall body weight, this impliedly means that the gravid female catfish should weigh at least 2.5kg before it can be selected for hatching.

However, the average weight of the catfish brood stock is, usually, 3kg, with the male species weighing almost 4kg at times. So therefore, knowing the weight of the catfish (both the male and female species) is another important step to consider when selecting catfish for hatching.


1. Choose only female fishes that weigh above 1kg.
2. Female fish should have a Well-rounded and soft abdomen.
3. Eggs, showing clearly the nucleus in the centre.
4. Genital opening is swollen and     sometimes reddish or rose in colour.
5. When pressing out the female eggs for “inspecting” choose only the female fish that have eggs that separate from each other and are golden in colour
6. Make sure that the outlet where the egg of the female fish will come out is slightly dark in colour.
7. Make sure that the tummy of the female fish slightly protrudes out, when placed flat-faced down


1. Choose only male fishes that weigh above 1kg.
2. No clear external symptoms to indicate the maturity
3. Elongated and slender in body shape
4. Swollen urogenital papilla
5. Make sure the male organ “crosses” and its pink at the dot end.

These are the basic features to distinguish between a male catfish and a female catfish.

Criteria For Choosing Male And Female Fish Brood Stock For Spawning

It is not every female fish with bulging stomach that has ripe egg for hatchery. The best way to know is through the genital papilla. The genital papilla will be swollen, pinkish or brown in colour. With this, you will know it has mature eggs. Female catfish genital papilla is shorter than that of the male.

Choose only male and female fishes that weigh above 1kg so that the fries will also grow very fast. Some fish hatchers use broodstock of less than 1kg which is not good because the fries may not to grow well.

You may come across green eggs during stripping. They are also good but the golden/light brown eggs are better.

Even better than the pure black ones. Milt size is not weight-dependent in males. Tiny milt has been seen in males above 4kg, so you should understand that it’s not by size.

Download: 15 Practical Guides on Starting a Fish Farm as a Beginner

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