Max Size: 12cm

Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus pictus)

Pictus Catfish make excellent lively additions to an aquarium with communities of Rainbowfish, Characins and Cyprinids that are medium to large-sized, robust and peaceful. Their deceptively wide mouths, however, make them a bad addition to aquariums containing small fish such as neon Tetras because they will pick them off overnight with their very large mouths. As a result of their high activity levels, these Catfish can also disturb slower-moving tankmates, such as many Cichlids.

Catfish are best kept in groups of six or more due to their sociable nature; the more you can keep together, the better.

To protect the long sensory barbels, the aquarium substrate should be soft and sandy. To provide shady areas, the aquarium will need to be decorated with bogwood, rocks and robust plants. However, it also requires a spacious swimming area in the centre.

The water should be well-oxygenated and filtered with a reasonable flow rate, and frequent partial water changes are a must to keep these fish in good health.

Pictus Catfish thrive in an aquarium with subdued lighting. Be sure to provide these fast-swimming fish with the space they deserve; otherwise, their growth will be restricted, and they will suffer if an aquarium is too small


On some individuals, the barbels of the Pictus Catfish extend as far as the caudal fin. There are black spots and stripes on these silver-coloured fish. There are two forms of these Catfish; one with large spots and one with small spots. Only the large-spotted form is commonly found in the aquarium trade; it grows smaller than the small-spotted form.


Pictus Catfish
Pictus Catfish
Quick Facts
Scientific NamePimelodus pictus
Year Described1876
Other NamesPictus Cat
OriginsBrazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela
Aquarium LevelBottom
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan8 - 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
72 - 79℉
22.2 - 26.1℃


In the home aquarium, the Pictus Catfish will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

Although unconfirmed, the only apparent difference between a male and female Pictus Catfish is that females appear fuller-bodied than males.

Other Catfish of interest

Date Added: 10/01/2023 17:38:29 - Updated: 10/01/2023 17:54:07