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Pictus Catfish

Author : Efrain Silva


At last we come right down to it — the Pictus Catfish — one of my all - time personal favorites in the aquatic world, and for reasons the likes of which I shall perhaps never come to truly understand, at best. Yet this fish connects with me in a special way, and that’s probably why I own three tanks of it and know all there is to know about it.

Anyways, this fish is technically known as the Pimelodus pictus while some prefer to stick to Pictus Cat (which sounds a bit silly, in my own opinion — do you agree?). It’s small and silver, with long barbels.


This fish ingests a good heaping helping of the omnivorous diet that other fish are known for as well, sticking to any possible thing it can get its fins on in terms of beef hearts, blood worms, black worms, vegetables, algae and much more.

It will be a good idea, if using pellets, to buy sinking pellets at the store as this type of fish likes to spend a lot of time at ocean depths (or, in this case, at the very bottom of the very bottom of its tank, respectively). Top - dwelling live foods are even often ignored by it and will simply float at the top for days. This fish is known to be a nefarious, nocturnal bottom feeder, but who can blame it?


Where does this fish originate, or where is it now found the most? Believe it or not, most of today’s Pictus Catfish are commonly found within the river basins of the Orinoco (or even the Amazons). Yep, that’s right — we’re talking the “tropical of the tropical” here, folks, beautiful regions of South and Central America alike! If you ever take a river tour down to one of these places, you can ask the guide to point these fish out as you pass them by.

To add, countless freshwater aquariums in North America are now beyond blessed to be able to have one (or several schools of these, even) in their homes. You can find some in public aquariums as well. City zoos will also house them.

Roommate Situation

A roommate is as a roommate does, and you have probably heard the expression before, but here is how it applies here — if this fish is hungry enough, it will chow down on smaller fish nearby. It’s a fact, so do what you can ahead of time to prepare for this possibly happening (only keep same - sized fish next to it in your tank). Nonetheless, this fish is peaceful. It’s generally not predatory, in this sense.

Other Facts to Note

When it comes straight down to ideal water conditions for housing, consider 75-81° F and pH 7.0-7.5 ; you can not go wrong there. A good minimum tank size would be no less than one with 70 gallons. And remember : That’s the bare minimum! Pick yourself up a good Pictus Catfish at your local Petco or Pets R Us today!