Pictus Catfish


Common Name: Pictus Catfish
Scientific Name: Pimelodus pictus
Adult Size: 5 inches
Life Expectancy: 8 years
Tank Size: 55 gallons minimum

The Pictus Catfish is a popular aquarium fish known for its distinctive appearance, with a silver body covered in black spots and long, flowing barbels. They are native to the Amazon and Orinoco river basins in South America and are often appreciated for their active swimming behavior.

A 55-gallon tank is considered the minimum size for housing Pictus Catfish, as they are active swimmers and need plenty of space to roam. The tank should be well-filtered and include a soft substrate to prevent damage to their barbels. Decorations and hiding places are also recommended to provide a sense of security.

Pictus Catfish are omnivorous and should be fed a varied diet that includes quality sinking pellets, frozen foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp, and occasional live foods. They can be kept with other similarly sized fish, but their barbels can be delicate, so tank mates should not be fin nippers. Additionally, due to their active nature and potential size, care should be taken to ensure that the tank is securely covered, as they can be prone to jumping.

Origins and Natural Habitat

The Pictus Catfish, known scientifically as Pimelodus pictus, is native to the tropical freshwater environments of South America. Your exploration into their world will lead you to the vast network of the Amazon and Orinoco river basins. Here, they have adapted to life along the riverbeds, thriving in areas with fast-flowing water.

In their natural habitat, you would observe these fish skillfully navigating the complex underwater terrain. They seek refuge among plant life, rocks, and submerged logs, which are abundant in these regions. Their presence is often subtle, as they blend with their surroundings, but their silvery bodies with distinctive black spots are designed for such dynamic ecosystems.

You should be aware that Pictus Catfish are well-suited for the variegated environments these rivers offer. The strong currents do not hinder them; instead, they employ their barbels to sense and search for food sources in the substrate. Their natural habitats are a testament to their resilience and evolutionary success in such specialized conditions.

Aquarium Setup

Setting up the correct aquarium environment is crucial for the health and well-being of Pictus Catfish. It includes choosing the appropriate tank size and ensuring ideal water conditions.

Tank Size and Environment

Your Pictus Catfish requires ample space to thrive due to their active swimming nature. You should provide at least a 55-gallon tank for proper accommodation. Within this environment, fine sand or small smooth gravel makes the best substrate, mimicking their natural habitat. They also appreciate having plenty of hiding spaces—consider adding aquatic plants and decorations to provide shelter and replicate the complexity of a river ecosystem.

Water Conditions and Parameters

To maintain a healthy aquarium for your Pictus Catfish, adhere to the following water parameters:

  • Temperature: Keep the water between 75°F and 81°F.
  • pH: The ideal range lies between 7.0 and 7.5.
  • Hardness: Aim for a general hardness (GH) of 5-19 dGH.

Regularly test the water to ensure these conditions remain stable. Utilize a high-quality filter system, such as a canister, sponge, or HOB (Hang On Back) filter, to efficiently process waste and maintain clean water. A consistent cleaning routine, coupled with a reliable heating system and thermometer, will support the perfect aquatic environment for your Pictus Catfish.

Behavior and Social Dynamics

Your Pictus Catfish are inherently semi-aggressive but can exhibit peaceful coexistence with other species when in a suitable environment. These fish are active and enjoy having ample space to swim. In captivity, they commonly grow to about five inches long and are easily identifiable by their silver skin with black spots, as well as by their barbels, which resemble whiskers.

In terms of social dynamics, these fish are not loners; they prefer to live in groups. A minimum grouping of three is recommended to ensure they have social interaction, which is crucial for their well-being. When considering tank mates, it’s essential to pair them with similarly sized non-aggressive fish to maintain harmony in your aquarium.

Your Pictus Catfish require hiding spots such as caves and other dark areas where they can retreat, as they appreciate environments that simulate their natural habitat. Despite their active nature, they still need these refuges for rest and to feel secure within the aquarium.

Feeding your Pictus Catfish involves a varied diet, as they consume a mix of fruits, insects, snails, and smaller fish in their natural setting. Regular and balanced feeding will support their health and reflect in their overall behavior, allowing these social creatures to thrive in your care.

Compatibility and Community

When setting up an aquarium that includes Pictus Catfish, it is crucial for you to consider the compatibility and community dynamics of your tank inhabitants. Pictus Catfish are peaceful, and their active, scavenging nature makes them suitable for many community aquariums. However, they have specific requirements that must be met to ensure a harmonious environment.

Tank Size: Ideally, your tank should be at least 30 gallons to provide ample space for Pictus Catfish to thrive. Larger tanks are beneficial as they allow for more stable water parameters and more room for the fish to swim. Temperature Range: Keep the water temperature between 72-82°F to accommodate your Pictus Catfish and their tank mates.

When choosing tank mates for your Pictus Catfish, select species that are peaceful and of a similar size to avoid predation or intimidation. Schooling fish such as Congo Tetras can be a good choice, as they prefer to be in groups and are less likely to get stressed by the active nature of Pictus Catfish.

Examples of Compatible Tank Mates:

  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Loaches
  • Bristlenose Plecos
  • Rainbowfish
  • Giant Danios

In summary, the key to a thriving community aquarium with Pictus Catfish is choosing compatible tank mates, providing a suitably sized environment, and maintaining proper water conditions. Remember to avoid aggressive or much larger species that may view Pictus Catfish as prey.

Health and Maintenance

Proper health and maintenance are crucial for the well-being of Pictus Catfish. Regular upkeep of their environment and awareness of potential health issues ensure these active swimmers thrive in their aquatic home.

Cleaning and Maintenance Routines

Weekly Maintenance:

  • Water Testing: Check the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels to ensure they are within safe ranges.
  • Water Changes: Replace 10-15% of the tank water to keep it fresh and reduce toxin buildup.
  • Filter Check: Inspect and clean your filter as necessary to maintain adequate water flow and filtration.

Monthly Maintenance:

  • Substrate Cleaning: Gently vacuum the substrate to remove detritus and left-over food.

Disease Prevention and Management

Common Diseases:

  • Ich: Look for white spots on the skin and treat with aquarium salt or ich medication.
  • Fin Rot: Identifiable by frayed or disintegrating fins, usually treated with antibiotic medications.

Preventative Measures:

  • Quarantine New Additions: Keep new fish or plants in a separate tank for a couple of weeks to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Maintain adequate space to prevent stress and aggression, which can lower immune function.
  • Balanced Diet: Feed your Pictus Catfish a varied diet to strengthen their immune system.

Diet and Feeding

Your Pictus Catfish’s diet should be rich in variety to ensure optimal health. Focus on a mixture of high-quality sinking pellets or flakes designed for omnivores, as these will cater to their nutritional needs. Augment this with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, or mosquito larvae several times a week, as Pictus catfish show high enthusiasm for these treats.

Incorporate a few algae wafers into their weekly diet to provide plant matter that Pictus Catfish would naturally scavenge for in the wild. Be cautious with portion sizes; overfeeding can lead to obesity and water quality issues. Adult Pictus Catfish typically require feeding once daily, while more frequent feedings are necessary for juveniles, usually twice per day.

Frequency & Amount:

  • Adults: Once daily
  • Juveniles: Twice daily

Food Options:

  1. Commercial Foods:
    • Catfish pellets
    • Omnivore flakes
  2. Supplemental Foods:
    • Live or frozen brine shrimp
    • Bloodworms
    • Algae wafers

Maintaining a balanced diet for your Pictus Catfish is critical for their overall vitality. Monitor your fish’s response to different foods and adjust their diet as necessary, aiming for well-rounded nutrition with appropriate quantities to keep your aquatic pet both happy and healthy.

Breeding and Reproduction

Breeding pictus catfish successfully in a home aquarium is a challenging task. This is primarily due to the complexities involved in gender identification and replicating the natural conditions required for spawning.

Gender Identification and Breeding Behavior

Identifying the gender of your pictus catfish is not straightforward, as there are no easily discernible external differences between males and females. Behaviorally, males may show more territorial tendencies during breeding season. For successful breeding, expert knowledge is typically needed to differentiate between genders, often involving scrutiny of their reproductive organs, which may require professional assistance.

Creating Optimal Breeding Conditions

To encourage breeding, you’ll need to emulate the pictus catfish’s natural habitat as closely as possible. This involves:

  • Tank Configuration: A spacious aquarium is crucial, with a minimum of 55 gallons for a single catfish and at least 150 gallons for a group to allow sufficient swimming space.
  • Water Parameters: Maintain stable water temperatures between 75 to 81°F, pH levels of 7.0 to 7.5, and soft water with consistent hardness to mirror their native riverine conditions.
  • Induced Spawning: In many cases, breeding in captivity requires induced spawning using hormonal injections, which should only be administered by professionals.

Creating these conditions requires a significant commitment and understanding of aquaculture, which can make breeding pictus catfish a considerable challenge for the average aquarium enthusiast.

Growth, Development, and Lifespan

When you introduce a Pictus Catfish to your aquarium, you can expect a fairly rapid growth rate until it reaches its full size. Pictus Catfish, scientifically known as Pimelodus pictus, typically grow up to 5 inches in length. During their growth phase, providing an optimal environment with suitable nutrition is crucial for their proper development.

Your Pictus Catfish’s lifespan generally ranges between 6 to 10 years, given that they are maintained in optimal conditions. To support a healthy lifespan, ensure a balance of fresh and frozen proteins and high-quality pellets as part of their diet. Algae wafers can also be included to mimic their omnivorous feeding habits in the wild.

In the wild, Pictus Catfish are scavengers and will consume a variety of foods, but you should avoid overfeeding them in captivity. They thrive in well-oxygenated water and require ample space to roam, so a larger tank is often necessary to accommodate their growth and activity levels adequately.

Keep in mind that the scale thickness of Pictus Catfish is quite thin, which means they can be susceptible to changes in water conditions. Regular monitoring of water parameters and maintaining a clean tank will support their overall health and longevity.

Feature Details
Maximum Size Up to 5 inches
Lifespan 6 to 10 years with proper care
Diet Omnivorous – including high-quality pellets, fresh and frozen proteins
Tank Requirements Preferably large tank, well-oxygenated with clean water


Where Do Pictus Catfishs From?


What Is the Natural Habitat of a Pictus Catfish?

The Pictus Catfish, scientifically known as Pimelodus Pictus, is a highly energetic species of catfish that typically reaches a size of approximately 4 inches (11 cm). Despite their relatively small stature, it is essential to provide them with a tank capacity of at least 55 gallons or more, ensuring sufficient space for their swimming activities. These catfish can coexist harmoniously with other Pictus Catfish or fish species of similar size. However, it is important to note that they may consume smaller tetras.

Pictus catfish exhibit a versatile appetite and can consume flake fish food, catfish pellets, or sinking catfish wafers without any fuss. However, it is recommended to occasionally offer them live brine shrimp or thawed freshwater foods (cube packs) to add variety to their diet. While introducing them to a new tank, it is important to handle them with caution as they possess long barbels and sharp spines on their dorsal and pectoral fins. These catfish are known to bring a lot of liveliness to your aquarium.



What Do Pictus Catfish Eat?


Are Pictus Catfishs Aggressive?

Tank Size

How Big of a Tank Does a Pictus Catfish Need?


What Are the Best Tank Mates For Pictus Catfishs?


How Big Do Pictus Catfishs Get?