How Long Can A Catfish Live Out Of Water?

Catfish are one of the most common fish in the United States. They can be found in almost any body of water, including ponds, rivers, and lakes. What many people don’t know is that catfish can also live out of water for short periods of time.

This is because they have a special adaptation called a “gill chamber.” The gill chamber allows them to breathe air, which means they can survive in areas where there is not much water. Catfishes can live out of water for about 15 to 18 hours, but it is not recommended.

How Do Catfish Survive and Breathe Out of Water

Labyrinth Organ

Catfish have a specialized organ called a labyrinth that helps them extract oxygen from the air. They also have a high tolerance for low levels of oxygen, which allows them to survive in poorly oxygenated water.

The gill chamber is located on the underside of the catfish’s head. It contains a series of small tubes called gills. The gills allow the catfish to extract oxygen from the water and to breathe underwater. They also help to remove carbon dioxide from the blood.

When a catfish is out of the water, it uses its gill chamber to take in air. This allows it to survive until it can get back into the water.


While it is possible for some catfish to breathe air, they primarily absorb oxygen through their skin. This adaptation allows them to live out of water for short periods of time.

Catfish derive their oxygen from the air and can survive on land for a short amount of time.

How Long Can A Catfish Live Out Of Water?

A catfish can live out of water for up to 15 to 18 hours if it is kept moist. If the catfish is allowed to dry out, it will die within hours. It is important to keep the fish moist by spraying it with water or placing it in a bowl of water every few hours.

If a catfish is out of water for an extended period of time, the scales will dry and flake off, the skin will wrinkle and the fish will eventually die.

Things Should Consider To Keep Catfish Out of Water

When it comes to how long a catfish can live out of the water, there are a few things to consider.

The first consideration is the type of catfish. Some catfish, like the channel catfish, can live out of water for up to three days if kept in cool and shaded conditions. Other types of catfish, like the flathead catfish, can only survive for a few hours if they are out of water.

The second consideration is the temperature of the water. In general, the warmer the water, the less time a fish will be able to survive out of it.

The third consideration is how healthy the fish is prior to being taken out of water. A fish that is stressed or ill will not last as long out of the water as a healthy fish.