Pictus Catfish: Full Care Guide, Diet & Tankmates

Pictus Catfish is one of the most favorite freshwater fish among the most aquarist. They are not aggressive, easy to take care and also they are cute. It has popping colors and an energetic personality. Care can be challenging for new keepers because of their unique characteristics.

Care Level:Easy.
Color Form:Black, White.
LIfespan:8+ Years.
Size:Up to 5 inches.
Minimum Tank Size:55 Gallons.
Tank Set-up:Freshwater, Driftwood, & Cave.

Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus Pictus) is also known as Pictus Cat and Angel Cat. They are members of the Pimelodidae family. It is the most popular catfish among aquarists. It was first described by Franz Steindachner an Austrian zoologist in 1876. They are found in the warm rivers throughout South America.

They have a white body highlighted with black spots. The huge barbels reach all the way down to their caudal fin.

Please keep in mind, their pectoral fins are extremely sharp. When you transport them you need to be very careful. Do not use the regular fishnets as they will get their fins stuck and this can cause significant damage. Instead of a regular fish net use a plastic container.

The appearance of Pictus Catfish

The body color is silver covered with lots of black spots. Its body is long and slender and in captivity, it will generally grow to 5 inches in length. The most beautiful feature of the catfish is its whiskers. They are called barbels and all catfish have them. Their barbels can reach all the way down to the caudal fin. In the wild catfish use their barbles to help navigate in muddy waters.

Like other catfish, the Pictus also has a forked tail, and a large downturned mouth. Their sharp pectoral fins are known for damaging other fish.

It is hard to identify the difference between males and females. There are incredibly slight differences between males and females. The females are being slightly larger and rounder when they reach sexual maturity.

Tank Requirements for Pictus Catfish

Try to match the natural conditions of your fish species. Pictus Catfish are found in the warm rivers and streams of South America. They generally found in sandy riverbeds.

To make a suitable aquarium for your Pictus fish. Add sandy substrate to your aquarium. Use a good-quality hang-on-back filter to create the current. They create too much west so the filtration system is crucially important. They are highly sensitive to nitrates. You should keep your eyes on nitrates parameters.

They are found in dense rivers throughout the South American forests. This is why you should include lots of hiding places for them such as driftwood, river rocks, and caves. It will also need large open spaces to swim and exercise in.

The Pictus Catfish is primarily nocturnal, its tank should be dimly lit. You can also add low-light requirement plants such as Hornwort and Java Moss.

Tank Conditions

In the wild, you will find them in shoals so keep in mind when planning your aquarium. If you want to keep a shoal you should have at least a 150-gallon tank. You can keep 3 to 4 Pictus Catfish in this tank. If you are planning to keep a single of them then a 55-gallon tank is the minimum size required.

They are active swimmers so the more space they have the healthier and happier they will be. They are more vulnerable to common aquarium diseases, so you should pay strict attention to the water parameters.

You should keep the water temperature between 75 – 81oF, and the pH should be between 7.0 – 7.5.

Diet of Pictus Catfish

Being omnivorous they will eat both plant and meat. In their natural habitat, they will mostly eat insects, snails, small fish, and algae. They will consume everything you put into the aquarium. Your catfish diet should be a high-quality pellet. They spend most of the time hiding near the bottom of the tank. For this reason, you should make sure to use sinking pellets.

You should also provide variety food such as:

  • Fresh Food (Brine Shrimp and Beef Heart).
  • Frozen Foods (Bloodworms and Blackworms).
  • Vegetables.

Tankmates for Pictus Catfish

They are known for being non-aggressive and non-territorial, There are still some things to keep in mind.

  • They will eat smaller fish if they get hungry. If the fish is small enough to fit inside their mouth they will probably eat the small fish. So do not keep small fish in the same tank with Pictus Catfish.
  • Sometimes they are sold as bottom dweller community fish, This is wrong. If your community tank is full of popular community fish like, guppies and neons then avoid this fish.

Some good tankmates such as:

  • Giant Danios.
  • Opaline Gourami.
  • Other catfish (Loricariid, Doradidae)

Hey, I am Shuvradeb Biswas a content writer. Fishkeeping is my hobby. There are many problems I faced during my first fishkeeping. So, I made the KeepingWorld.com blog to help new fishkeepers.

Leave a Comment