The Complete Guide to Catla Fish: Habitat, Characteristics

Catla Fish

Catla fish, also known as Indian Carp, is one of the most popular freshwater fish species in India. It is a major food fish and is widely farmed for commercial purposes. Catla is a member of the carp family and is known for its high nutritional value, delicious taste, and large size.

It is an important source of protein and essential nutrients for the Indian population and is also exported to other countries. Catla fish farming is an important industry in India, providing livelihoods to many people and contributing significantly to the economy.

Catla is a significant species in Indian aquaculture due to its high demand in the market and its suitability for farming. It is one of the major freshwater fish species cultivated in India, along with rohu and mrigal. Catla is known for its fast growth rate and high reproduction capacity, making it an attractive species for commercial fish farming.

Moreover, catla is a hardy species that can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, which makes it suitable for farming in different regions of India. The production of catla has played a vital role in meeting the demand for fish protein in India and has contributed to the country’s food security.

Characteristics of Catla Fish

Physical appearance, size, and weight:

Here are some of the characteristics of Catla fish:

Physical appearance:

Catla has a deep, compressed body with slightly arched heads. They have a silvery color on their body and scales, with a yellowish tinge on their fins. They have a broad and slightly concave forehead, and their eyes are relatively small. Their mouth is terminal, and they have two pairs of barbels, one pair of which is located at the corner of their mouth.

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Catla can grow quite large, with some specimens reaching up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) in length. The average size of a Catla is around 60-70 centimeters (24-28 inches).


Catla can weigh up to 45 kilograms (100 pounds), but the average weight of an adult Catla is around 5-10 kilograms (11-22 pounds).

Nutritional value and health benefits:

Catla is a good source of several essential nutrients, including:

  1. Protein: Catla is a rich source of high-quality protein, which is essential for the growth and repair of tissues in the body.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids: Catla contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation in the body.
  3. Vitamins and minerals: Catla is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, iron, and zinc.

The consumption of Catla has several health benefits, such as:

  • Improved heart health: The omega-3 fatty acids found in Catla can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and improving cholesterol levels.
  • Boosted brain function: The omega-3 fatty acids found in Catla can also improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
  • Reduced inflammation: The omega-3 fatty acids found in Catla have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Improved vision: Catla is a good source of vitamin A, which is essential for eye health and can help prevent vision loss.

Life cycle and breeding habits

Catla fish have a life cycle that typically lasts for about 3-4 years. They are egg-laying fish that breed during the monsoon season, which occurs between June and September in South Asia.

During the breeding season, mature Catla migrate upstream to shallow water bodies, such as ponds and lakes, where they lay their eggs. The female Catla fish can lay up to 300,000 eggs, which are then fertilized by the male Catla. The eggs hatch within 24-36 hours, and the young Catla start feeding on plankton within a few days.


Catla grow rapidly in the first year of their life, and they can reach a length of 30-35 cm within six months. They feed on plankton, small fish, and other aquatic organisms. As they grow older, their diet changes to include larger fish, insects, and plant material.

Catla can reach sexual maturity at around 2-3 years of age. In captivity, Catla can be bred using hormone injections, which stimulate the release of eggs and sperm. This technique is commonly used in aquaculture to produce large numbers of Catla for commercial purposes.

Ideal conditions for catla fish farming, including water quality and temperature

Catla fish farming requires suitable conditions for optimal growth and reproduction. Here are some of the ideal conditions for Catla fish farming:

  • Water quality: Catla prefers clean, oxygen-rich water with a pH range of 6.5-8.5. The ideal water temperature for Catla is between 25-32°C. The water should be free from pollutants, chemicals, and harmful microorganisms that can affect the health of the fish.
  • Pond size and depth: The pond size and depth should be sufficient to accommodate the size and number of Catla being reared. The recommended depth of the pond is around 2-3 meters, which allows for proper circulation of water and oxygenation.
  • Feeding: Catla are omnivorous and can feed on a variety of food sources, including plankton, small fish, and insects. In commercial Catla fish farming, they are typically fed a high-protein diet consisting of pellets or mash made from fishmeal, soybean meal, and other ingredients.
  • Water management: Proper water management is essential for Catla fish farming. The pond should be regularly drained and refilled to maintain water quality and prevent the buildup of waste and toxins.
  • Disease prevention: Catla are susceptible to various diseases, and preventive measures such as maintaining proper water quality, feeding a balanced diet, and regular health checks can help prevent disease outbreaks.

Production Techniques and best management practices


Here are some of the production techniques and best management practices for Catla fish farming:

  • Site selection: The selection of an appropriate site for Catla fish farming is essential. The site should have access to clean water, good-quality soil, and adequate land for the construction of ponds.
  • Pond preparation: The pond should be properly prepared by removing any unwanted vegetation, leveling the land, and constructing an embankment to prevent water from flowing out of the pond.
  • Water quality management: Regular monitoring of water quality parameters such as pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and alkalinity is essential for the health and growth of Catla. Proper aeration and circulation should also be maintained to ensure optimal water quality.
  • Feeding management: Catla requires a well-balanced diet to achieve optimal growth and health. A commercially available fish feed with a high protein content should be fed to the fish in appropriate quantities.
  • Disease management: Disease outbreaks can occur in Catla fish farms, and preventive measures such as regular health checks, proper water quality management, and timely vaccination can help prevent disease outbreaks.
  • Harvesting: Catla can be harvested when they reach the desired size, which typically takes around 6-8 months. Harvesting should be done carefully to minimize stress and damage to the fish.
  • Marketing: Catla can be sold in local markets or exported to other countries. Proper packaging and transportation should be arranged to ensure the quality and freshness of the fish.

Feeding and nutrition requirements for catla fish

Catla fish are omnivorous and have a high protein requirement for optimal growth and development. Here are some feeding and nutrition requirements for Catla fish:

  1. Protein: Catla requires a diet that is high in protein, which should account for around 25-30% of their total diet. Good quality fishmeal, soybean meal, and other protein-rich sources can be included in the feed to meet the protein requirement of Catla fish.
  2. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates can be included in a diet of Catla to provide energy for growth and metabolism. Corn, wheat, and rice bran are good sources of carbohydrates that can be included in fish feed.
  3. Fats: Fats are an essential component of the Catla diet and should account for around 5-10% of their total diet. Fish oil, vegetable oil, and other sources of fats can be included in the fish feed.
  4. Vitamins and minerals: Catla require a variety of vitamins and minerals for optimal growth and development. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B12 are important vitamins that should be included in the fish feed. Calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are important minerals that should also be included in the fish feed.
  5. Feeding frequency: Catla should be fed 2-3 times a day, depending on their age and size. The amount of feed should be adjusted according to the growth rate of the fish.

Profitability of Catla Fish Farming

Market Demand and price trends for catla fish in India

Catla is one of the most popular fish species in India and has a high demand in the market. Here are some market demand and price trends for Catla fish in India:

  • Market demand: Catla is in high demand in India due to its taste and nutritional value. The demand for Catla is high in states like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Karnataka.
  • Price trends: The price of Catla varies depending on the size, location, and season. The price of Catla can range from INR 150-200 per kg for small-sized fish to INR 250-300 per kg for larger-sized fish.
  • Seasonal variations: The price of Catla can also vary depending on the season. During the monsoon season (June to September), the price of Catla may increase due to lower supply and higher demand. However, during the winter season (November to February), the price of Catla fish may decrease due to higher supply and lower demand.
  • Export demand: India is also a major exporter of Catla to countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and Singapore. The export demand for Catla fish can affect the domestic market prices.

The Role of catla fish farming in promoting sustainable aquaculture in India


Catla fish farming can play a significant role in promoting sustainable aquaculture in India. Here are some ways in which Catla fish farming can contribute to sustainable aquaculture:

  1. Diversification: Catla fish farming can promote the diversification of aquaculture practices in India. Diversification of aquaculture can reduce the risk of disease outbreaks and increase resilience to climate change.
  2. Nutritional security: Catla is a highly nutritious food source that can help improve the nutritional security of the population. The cultivation of Catla can increase the availability of affordable protein-rich food, which can contribute to reducing malnutrition and improving public health.
  3. Income generation: Catla fish farming can provide an additional source of income for small-scale farmers. Small-scale farmers can benefit from Catla fish farming by diversifying their income streams and improving their livelihoods.
  4. Environmental benefits: Sustainable Catla fish farming practices, such as proper waste management, reduced use of chemicals and antibiotics, and proper pond management, can help reduce the environmental impact of aquaculture.
  5. Reduced pressure on wild fish stocks: Catla fish farming can reduce the pressure on wild fish stocks, which are already overexploited in many areas of India. By promoting the cultivation of Catla, farmers can reduce the demand for wild fish and contribute to the conservation of wild fish stocks.

In conclusion, catla fish farming is an important industry in India, providing food security, creating employment opportunities, and contributing significantly to the economy. Catla is a major freshwater fish species that is widely cultivated due to its fast growth rate, high reproduction capacity, and tolerance to a wide range of environmental conditions.

The demand for catla fish in the Indian market is high due to its nutritional value, delicious taste, and large size. The profitability of catla fish farming can be increased by adopting best management practices and sustainable production techniques. Moreover, sustainable catla fish farming practices can contribute to environmental conservation and promote the long-term viability of the industry. Overall, catla fish farming has played a significant role in meeting the demand for fish protein in India and has contributed to the socio-economic development of the country.

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