Pictus Catfish Aquarium Care, Feeding and Native Habitat Information
The Pictus cat is a most popular member of the large Pimelodidae family of catfish that originate from the warm waters throughout South America. They have been present within the aquarium hobby for decades and proven themselves to build both a very interesting species to keep, but one that does very well within the aquarium environment. They have become quite popular due to their bright silver coloration on their bodies combined with black spots and reticulations on their head, body and fins. Pictus Cats are best kept in small groups of 3 or more specimens in large soft water community aquariums with medium to large sized tankmates or with in New World Cichlid aquariums.
Pictus Cats are considered a community species, as they are very peaceful towards other fish species as long as they are not too small in size (Ex. Neon Tetra). While the Pictus Cat will not show aggression towards other fish species, it will eat very small fishes like the Neon Tetra. Pictus Cats are active at night scavenging for food on or near the substrate and will readily consume very small fishes like Neon Tetra while they sleep. Therefore it is important to consider the adult size of 10" and keep this species with other suitably sized fish species. Pictus Catfish are also very active swimmers that should be provided plenty of swimming room within the aquarium, along with some shaded areas like plants, driftwood or rock caves in which to escape the bright aquarium lighting. The ideal setup for the Pictus Cat would be a heavily planted soft water aquarium with filtered light creating shaded areas of the aquarium, along with natural caves formed by driftwood or rocks. In the wild they prefer to stay in small groups and would due very well in an aquarium of 125 gallons or more in size that could support a small group of 3 or 4 specimens. Pictus Cats also prefer a sandy substrate and moderate water currents that closely simulate their natural living conditions in forest covered streams throughout South America.
Pictus Catfish are an egg-laying species in which under suitable conditions the female will lay eggs that are then fertilized by the male. Breeders have found that obtaining the correct environment and conditions to induce breeding in the Pictus Catfish has been very difficult to reproduce, thus this species is considered very difficult to breed in an aquarium setting
Like most tropical catfish species, the Pictus Catfish is not a picky eater and will readily consume a wide variety of meaty foods. They will forage about the lower areas of the aquarium looking for any foodstuffs that have made their way to the aquarium substrate. Pictus Cats will also feed directly from the water column on a variety of foodstuffs including flake, frozen, pellets and small live foods. While they make good scavengers, the Pictus Cat should also be fed some sinking pellet type foods to make sure that they receive a complete nutritional diet.