So first off, great site. Can't say i've been on a forum with quite this layout and I like it :) I've been doing a TON of research (like most) about designing and building an aquaponics system here in (soon to be) auburn WA state. I've decided for my first batch i'm going to run Channel catfish due to their ability to tolerate a wide range of water temps so I can see where my temps are going to run during the year as my system will be in my green house (currently 12'x35' but soon to be expanded to 20'x50') Where is a good place to purchase the fingerlings? I've been hunting all over the net trying to find a source as i'm not opposed to shipping them having a tremendous amount of experience getting shipped livestock in the aquarium trade. I've been for the most part unsuccessful in finding some. Any of the hatcheries around here just do salmon and rainbow trout which dont like the temps that my greenhouse gets even during the spring (been known to go over 110deg F).
Tom, did you ever find your cats? There's a couple suppliers in Oregon a little south of Portland that are licensed to sell in Washington State but shipping is $75 and $90. I'm in Bellingham and have been kind of waiting to maybe take a trip down there because at that price I'm a bit reluctant... unless... You maybe want to combine an order?
Problem is, my greenhouse is also 20x50 and as big as cats get, they can grow a pound and a half per year I don't think I'd want more than 20 in a 500 gallon tank which is plenty for a 20x50 greenhouse. That makes the shipping pretty expensive.
A better alternative might be Koi. We're never going to make money on the fish anyway, their just a source of fertilizer. Koi are good to eat but if you happen to get one with outstanding coloration they can sell for hundreds which is WAY better than catfish and you can buy them at any pet store.
Tom, check with Phil Slaton, this site, member section. He is a fish dealer in your area.
I have personally had both blue and channel and both can reach 100 pounds and up however blue do grow a little faster, but not much plus they eat all my other fish.
My experience with Channels is much like the Wiki article - a specimen greater than 20 pounds is spectacular. World record 58 pounds.
A member of the Ictalurus genus of American catfishes, channel catfish have a top-end size of about 40–50 pounds (18–23 kg). The world record channel catfish weighed 58 pounds, and was taken from the Santee-Cooper Reservoir in South Carolina, on July 7, 1964. Realistically, a channel catfish over 20 lb (9 kg) is a spectacular specimen, and most catfish anglers view a 10-lb (4.5-kg) fish as a very admirable catch. Furthermore, the average size channel catfish an angler could expect to find in most waterways would be between two and four pounds.
Channel catfish will often coexist in the same waterways with its close relative, the blue catfish, which is somewhat less common, but tends to grow much larger (with several specimens confirmed to weight above 100 lb).
As channel catfish grow longer, they increase in weight. The relationship between length and weight is not linear. The relationship between length (L, in cm) and weight (W, in kg) for nearly all species of fish can be expressed by an equation of the form:
Invariably, b is close to 3.0 for all species, is the length of a typical fish weighing 1 kg. For channel catfish, b = 3.2293, somewhat higher than for many common species, and cm.