Catfish lay eggs to reproduce. Typically, the water must be at least 66 degrees Fahrenheit before catfish spawn. After the adult female lays eggs, the male fertilizes them. One female is able to produce thousands of eggs at a single spawning.

The mother catfish does not remain with her brood after laying eggs. Instead, the male watches over them after fertilization, protecting the eggs from predators. He also continually moves water with his fins to keep the eggs aerated and clean. Eggs hatch 6 to 10 days after being laid. Once the young hatch, the father continues to guard them until they become independent.