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Pictus Catfish Tank Mates: Top 10 Compatible Fish Species, Care Guide & FAQs

Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus pictus)
<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pimelodus_pictus.jpg">Claire H.</a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus pictus) is an interesting fish that makes a great addition to many home aquariums. Its scientific name comes from the Latin words “pimelodus” meaning “fat” and “pictus” meaning “painted”, referring to the catfish’s spotted pattern.

Pictus catfish are part of the Pimelodidae family, which contains over 100 species of long-whiskered catfish. Some of their close relatives include Raphael catfish, three stripe catfish, and sailfin catfish. In the wild, pictus catfish are found in the Amazon River basin in South America.

An interesting fact about pictus catfish is that they are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. During the day, they often hide among plants or decorations in the aquarium. They are mid-level to bottom dwelling fish that prefer dim lighting.

When it comes to diet, pictus catfish are omnivores and not picky eaters. In the wild, they eat insects, crustaceans, worms, plant matter, and detritus. In aquariums, they readily accept most prepared foods like flakes, pellets, and frozen foods. To keep them healthy, offer a varied diet and feed small amounts 2-3 times per day.

Pictus catfish are generally peaceful fish but may eat very small fish that can fit in their mouths. Good tank mates include other peaceful, medium-sized fish like tetras, rasboras, gouramis and other catfish. A school of at least 5-6 pictus catfish is ideal. They grow to about 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) long.

In addition to their spotted pattern, pictus catfish have long barbels (whiskers) that help them find food in dark or murky water. They also have an adipose fin, which is a small fleshy fin located between the dorsal fin and tail.

Pictus catfish have been popular in the aquarium hobby since the 1950s. They are hardy, undemanding fish that adapt well to a variety of water conditions. This, along with their peaceful nature and interesting appearance, makes them an appealing choice for both beginners and experienced fish keepers.

Overall, pictus catfish are fascinating fish that are fun to observe and make great additions to community aquariums. By providing them with a proper environment and diet, they can thrive and bring joy to their owners for many years.

Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus pictus)
Claire H., CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pictus Catfish Key Information

The Pictus Catfish is a striking fish with a unique spotted pattern that sets it apart from other catfish species. Its body is covered in small, dark spots that contrast beautifully against its silvery-gray background. The spots are more concentrated on the upper half of the body and gradually become sparser towards the belly. The fins are transparent with a slight yellowish tint, and the barbels are white or pale yellow.

FamilyPimelodidae
OriginAmazon River Basin in South America
Price$5 – $10
Common NamesPictus Cat, Angel Cat, Pictus Cat Shark
VariantsNone
Ideal Tank Size55 gallons or larger
Water ParametersTemperature: 75-81°F (24-27°C), pH: 6.5-7.5, Hardness: 5-15 dH
Lifespan8-10 years
Full Size4-5 inches (10-13 cm)
Natural EnvironmentRivers and streams with moderate to strong currents
BehaviorPeaceful, nocturnal, schooling
Habitat PreferenceMid-level to bottom dweller, prefers hiding spots and dim lighting
Aquarium DecorationDriftwood, rocks, caves, live or artificial plants
Ideal Tank MatesOther peaceful, medium-sized fish like tetras, rasboras, gouramis, and other catfish
Fish to AvoidVery small fish that can fit in their mouths, aggressive fish
Best Foods/DietOmnivorous, accepts most prepared foods like flakes, pellets, and frozen foods
DiseaseSusceptible to common aquarium diseases if water quality is poor
Sex-SwitchNo
Gender DifferencesDifficult to distinguish, females may be slightly larger and more rounded
Care LevelEasy
Breeding LevelModerate, requires specific conditions and hormone injections

Ideal Tank Mates for Pictus Catfish

Choosing the right tank mates for Pictus Catfish is of utmost importance. Consider their peaceful nature, size, and habitat requirements when making your selection. Pictus Catfish flourish when paired with non-aggressive fish that are similar in size and share similar water preferences. Discover the ideal companions for your Pictus Catfish from our curated list of 10 perfect tank mates, complete with compatibility information.

1. Black Skirt Tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)

Black Skirt Tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi): Comprehensive Care Guides, Tank Mates, FAQs

Black Skirt Tetras make excellent tank mates for Pictus Catfish because they occupy the upper levels of the aquarium, while Pictus Catfish stay in the middle and lower levels. This helps create a balanced and visually appealing aquarium. Black Skirt Tetras are also peaceful schooling fish that won’t harass or nip at the Pictus Catfish’s long fins.

Common/Market NamesBlack Widow Tetras, Petticoat Tetras
Price Range$2 – $4
Care LevelEasy
BehaviorPeaceful, schooling
Life Span3-5 years
Max Size2.5 inches (6 cm)

2. Corydoras Catfish (Corydoras spp.)

Corydoras Catfish (Corydoras): Complete Care Guides, Tank Mates, FAQs

Corydoras Catfish are another great choice for Pictus Catfish tank mates. They are peaceful bottom-dwellers that help keep the substrate clean by scavenging for leftover food. Corydoras Catfish also have a similar size and temperament to Pictus Catfish, making them compatible tank mates.

Common/Market NamesCory Catfish, Cories
Price Range$3 – $10
Care LevelEasy
BehaviorPeaceful, schooling
Life Span5-7 years
Max Size1-3 inches (2.5-7.5 cm)

3. Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi)

Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi): Complete Care Guides, Tank Mates, and FAQs

Neon Tetras are a popular choice for community aquariums due to their peaceful nature and bright colors. They occupy the upper levels of the aquarium and are too small to be considered food by adult Pictus Catfish. Neon Tetras prefer similar water conditions to Pictus Catfish, making them ideal tank mates.

Common/Market NamesNeons
Price Range$1 – $3
Care LevelEasy
BehaviorPeaceful, schooling
Life Span5-8 years
Max Size1.5 inches (3.8 cm)

4. Harlequin Rasboras (Trigonostigma heteromorpha)

Harlequin Rasboras
Mariusz Dabrowski, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Harlequin Rasboras are another peaceful schooling fish that make great tank mates for Pictus Catfish. They occupy the upper levels of the aquarium and have a unique triangular shape that adds visual interest to the tank. Harlequin Rasboras are also hardy fish that can adapt to a wide range of water conditions.

Common/Market NamesHarlequin Fish, Red Rasboras
Price Range$3 – $5
Care LevelEasy
BehaviorPeaceful, schooling
Life Span5-8 years
Max Size2 inches (5 cm)

5. Dwarf Gouramis (Trichogaster lalius)

Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster lalius): Comprehensive Care Guides, Tank Mates, and FAQs

Dwarf Gouramis are colorful and peaceful fish that make great tank mates for Pictus Catfish. They occupy the upper levels of the aquarium and have a unique labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air from the surface. Dwarf Gouramis are also relatively small, so they won’t compete with Pictus Catfish for food or space.

Common/Market NamesDwarf Gourami, Flame Dwarf Gourami, Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami
Price Range$4 – $8
Care LevelEasy
BehaviorPeaceful, territorial
Life Span4-6 years
Max Size3.5 inches (9 cm)

6. Cherry Barbs (Puntius titteya)

Cherry Barb (Puntius titteya): Complete Care Guides, Tank Mates, FAQs
Brian Gratwicke, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cherry Barbs are peaceful and active fish that make great tank mates for Pictus Catfish. They occupy the middle levels of the aquarium and have a bright red coloration that adds a pop of color to the tank. Cherry Barbs are also hardy fish that can adapt to a wide range of water conditions.

Common/Market NamesRed Barb, Cherry Barb
Price Range$2 – $4
Care LevelEasy
BehaviorPeaceful, schooling
Life Span4-6 years
Max Size2 inches (5 cm)

7. Platies (Xiphophorus maculatus)

Platy Fish (Xiphophorus): Complete Info, Care Guides, FAQs
Wojciech J. Płuciennik, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Platies are colorful and peaceful livebearers that make great tank mates for Pictus Catfish. They occupy the upper levels of the aquarium and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Platies are also hardy fish that can adapt to a wide range of water conditions and are easy to breed in captivity.

Common/Market NamesSouthern Platyfish, Mickey Mouse Platy
Price Range$2 – $4
Care LevelEasy
BehaviorPeaceful, active
Life Span3-5 years
Max Size2.5 inches (6 cm)

8. Bristlenose Plecos (Ancistrus spp.)

Bristlenose Plecos (Ancistrus): Complete Care Guides, Tank Mates, FAQs

Bristlenose Plecos are peaceful bottom-dwellers that make great tank mates for Pictus Catfish. They help keep the aquarium clean by grazing on algae and leftover food. Bristlenose Plecos are also relatively small and have a unique appearance with bristle-like appendages on their nose.

Common/Market NamesBushynose Plecos, Bristlenose Catfish
Price Range$5 – $10
Care LevelEasy
BehaviorPeaceful, solitary
Life Span5-7 years
Max Size5 inches (13 cm)

9. Rummy Nose Tetras (Hemigrammus bleheri)

Rummy Nose Tetras (Hemigrammus rhodostomus): Comprehensive Care Guides, Ideal Tank Mates, and FAQs

Rummy Nose Tetras are peaceful schooling fish that make great tank mates for Pictus Catfish. They occupy the upper levels of the aquarium and have a unique red and white coloration on their nose. Rummy Nose Tetras prefer similar water conditions to Pictus Catfish and are sensitive to changes in water quality, making them a good indicator species.

Common/Market NamesFirehead Tetra, Red-Headed Tetra
Price Range$3 – $6
Care LevelModerate
BehaviorPeaceful, schooling
Life Span4-6 years
Max Size2 inches (5 cm)

10. Zebra Danios (Danio rerio)

Zebra Danios (Danio rerio): Comprehensive Care Guides, Tank Mates, FAQs
Credit: Marcin

Zebra Danios are hardy and active fish that make great tank mates for Pictus Catfish. They occupy the upper levels of the aquarium and have a unique striped pattern that resembles a zebra. Zebra Danios are also easy to care for and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them a good choice for beginners.

Common/Market NamesZebra Fish, Striped Danios
Price Range$1 – $3
Care LevelEasy
BehaviorPeaceful, active
Life Span3-5 years
Max Size2 inches (5 cm)

FAQs about Pictus Catfish

How many Pictus Catfish should I keep together?

It’s best to keep Pictus Catfish in groups of at least 4-6 individuals. They are schooling fish and feel more secure when kept with others of their own kind. Keeping them in larger groups can also help reduce aggression and stress.

Can Pictus Catfish live with shrimp or snails?

Pictus Catfish are generally peaceful towards most tank mates, but they may prey on small shrimp or snails. If you want to keep shrimp or snails with Pictus Catfish, choose larger species like Amano Shrimp or Mystery Snails that are too big to be eaten.

How often should I feed my Pictus Catfish?

Feed your Pictus Catfish small amounts of food 2-3 times per day. They have small stomachs and benefit from frequent feedings rather than one large meal. Avoid overfeeding, as this can lead to health problems and poor water quality.

Do Pictus Catfish need a heater?

Yes, Pictus Catfish are tropical fish that require a heater to maintain a stable water temperature between 75-81°F (24-27°C). A heater is essential to keep your Pictus Catfish healthy and prevent stress or disease.

How often should I do water changes for my Pictus Catfish tank?

Perform a 25-30% water change once a week to maintain good water quality for your Pictus Catfish. Use a gravel vacuum to remove debris and waste from the substrate, and be sure to treat the new water with a dechlorinator before adding it to the tank.

Can Pictus Catfish be kept in a planted tank?

Yes, Pictus Catfish can be kept in a planted tank. They won’t harm or uproot most aquarium plants, and the plants can provide hiding spots and help maintain good water quality. Choose hardy, low-light plants like Java Fern, Anubias, or Cryptocoryne species.

Are Pictus Catfish sensitive to noise or vibrations?

Pictus Catfish have sensitive hearing and can be stressed by loud noises or vibrations. Keep their tank away from speakers, televisions, or other sources of loud noise, and avoid tapping on the glass or creating sudden movements near the tank.

How can I tell if my Pictus Catfish is stressed?

Signs of stress in Pictus Catfish include hiding more than usual, loss of appetite, rapid breathing, and abnormal swimming behavior like darting or rubbing against objects. Poor water quality, aggressive tank mates, and sudden changes in environment can all cause stress in Pictus Catfish.

Can Pictus Catfish be trained to eat from your hand?

While it’s possible to train some fish to eat from your hand, Pictus Catfish are generally too shy and skittish for this type of interaction. They prefer to forage for food on their own and may become stressed if approached too closely by humans.

How can I provide enrichment for my Pictus Catfish?

Provide your Pictus Catfish with a variety of hiding spots like caves, driftwood, and plants to explore and feel secure. Offer a varied diet with both sinking and floating foods to encourage natural foraging behaviors. You can also add gentle water currents with a powerhead or air stone to mimic their natural river habitat.

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Michelle

Michelle

Total posts created: 127
A long-time freshwater fish enthusiast with a passion for sharing knowledge about this fascinating hobby. Over the years, Michelle has dedicated countless hours to studying, learning, and experiencing firsthand the joys and challenges of fish-keeping.

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