The Pictus Catfish are found in the warm rivers and streams of South America; generally in sandy riverbeds. It is one of the most popular catfish and can be a standout in any tank.
They have an unmistakable white body highlighted with black spots and huge barbels which reach all the way down to their caudal fin.
You will notice it is a very active and fast fish and does well in larger aquariums (400+ litre tanks).
As a word of caution, it should be noted that their pectoral fins are extremely sharp, so when transporting you need to be very careful. Don’t use a regular fish net as they will get their fins stuck and this can cause significant damage. Instead, you should use a plastic container.
One of the most distinguishing features of the Pictus Catfish is its ‘whiskers’. They are actually called barbels and all catfish have them. These barbels can reach all the way down to the caudal fin. In the wild catfish use their barbels to help navigate in muddy waters.
They are also known for having sharp spines and fins which have been known to damage other fish. Similar to most Catfish the Pictus also has a forked tail, and a large, downturned mouth.
The differences between male and female are incredibly slight, with females being slightly larger and rounder when they reach sexual maturity.
The filtration system is crucially important with Pictus Catfish because they create a lot of waste. So a healthy amount of filtration helps keep water parameters stable as they are extremely sensitive towards nitrates.
Next up is plants and ornaments. As Pictus Catfish are found in dense rivers throughout the South America forests, you should include lots of hiding places for them such as driftwood, river rocks and caves. In addition it will also need large open spaces to swim and exercise in.
Pictus Catfish are scavengers and will eat pretty much anything that they can find. By nature they are omnivorous, so they will eat both meat and plant matter.
In the warm waters of South America they will be found eating insects (dragonfly larvae), snails, small fish and algae.
This makes keeping and feeding Catfish very easy. They will consume pretty much everything you put into the aquarium.
As always the core of your Catfishes diet should be a high quality sinking catfish pellet. To provide them with some variety you can always use food such as frozen Bloodworms and Brine Shrimp.
They will also spend some periods of time foraging in the substrate of your aquarium, so you can leave any algae growing because your Pictus will try and eat it.
As a rule they will ignore most top dwelling live food as they don’t like to venture away from the bottom of the tank.
Finally, it should be repeated that they have a large appetite. You should ensure you keep them full to prevent aggressive behavior to smaller fish in the tank. In addition, because they produce a lot of waste, you should ensure you do at least bi-weekly water changes (25%).
- Species – Pimelodus Pictus
- Common Name – Pictus Catfish
- Origin – South America
- Diet – Omnivore
- PH Range – 7 – 7.5
- Temperature – Cold and Tropical 24°c – 27°c
- Breed Type – Egg Layer but very difficult to breed in the aquarium
- Maximum Size – approximately 15cm
- Sex – Un-sexed