Pimelodus pictus



    One of the most active fish I have seen the Pictus cat needs a large tank as it can suffer from lack of exercise In smaller aquariums.

Quick stats:


Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: up to 5″ (12cm)
Tank: 48 inches
Strata: Bottom-middle
PH: 6.5 to 7.5
Hardness: Soft to hard. dH range: 2.0 – 15.0
Temperature: 73°F to 82°F (23-26°C)


Order: Siluriformes
Family: Pimelodidae
Genera: Pimelodus
Species: Pictus



Common name:


Pictus cat

    , Pimelodella, Pim


    South America, The Amazon and Orinoco river basins.

General Body Form:An elongated catfish that has long barbels extending from the mouth. It has a large head and a wide mouth.

Coloration:The basic body color is sliver spattered with many black spots. These spots are also seen on the transparent fins. The three pairs of barbels that extend from the mouth area are white.

Maintenance:The tank should be fairly large as the Pictus is an active swimmer and needs plenty of open spaces. Although a 36 inch may suffice I believe the standard 48 inch, 55 gallon would be better. Generally an easy to care for fish the Pictus cat should present few problems. Preferring to be kept in schools when young, they tend to form smaller groups when mature. When kept in small groups this nocturnal fish will be seen out and around more often during the daylight hours. Feeding is not an issue as the pictus will accept all types of food, being an insect eater it is beneficial to feed live food on occasion and frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp when live is not available. The tank should be planted toward the rear and include large areas of open space for swimming as well as areas for hiding such as caves, driftwood and roots. The substrate should mimic its home and consist of fine sand or gravel. Clean, soft and slightly acidic water with strong filtration and a good current is ideal. They are great tankmates for the larger community cichlid aquarium, smaller species such as neons will be eaten. A note of caution, the spines are very sharp and can cause injury to you and the fish if mishandled. It is better not to use a net but rather some sort of plastic container (or bag, watch for leaks) when buying or moving this fish.

photo courtesy of Aqualand pets plus

The spikes are very sharp!


Biotope:Found swimming above all types of bottom substrates: muddy, sandy and even small pebbles of shallow small tributaries of its home range.


Unknown, may be do to not reaching sufficient size or sexual maturity in the home aquarium. It is thought that the females are larger and more plump than the males.

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