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Down Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Pimelodus pictus  Steindachner, 1876
Common Names Pictus Catfish
Engelwels (Germany), Pictus, Pictus Pimelodus, Pimpictus, Plettet Trådmalle (Denmark)
Type Locality Rio Hyavary, Peru-Brazil border.
Synonym(s) Pimelodella picta, Pimelodella pictus
Pronunciation pim ee LOW duss - PICK tuss
Etymology pimele, fat; –odes, having the form of, i.e., fatty, referring to their adipose fins (at the time, this was a catch-all genus for many catfish species, most of which possess a “fatty” or adipose fin) [note: many online references report that –odes is derived from odous, meaning teeth, but this is incorrect]. This specific epithet literally means painted(pictus=painted) and refers to the spots on its body.
Article Link - CotM Right 1997 Right March
Down Species Information
Size 110mm or 4.3" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Two colour forms appear for sale. The first, Peruvian, variety has large ''dalmatian'' style spots all over its body with smaller spots around the head. The other, Colombian, variety (which reportedly grows larger) has many more spots that are smaller, less clearly defined and almost pin-prick size on the fish's head. This differentiation should only be used when comparing fish of a similar size as both patterns change with age.
Sexing Unknown.
General Remarks Pimelodus pictus have small hooks on the dorsal and pectoral fins that are notorious for getting stuck in nets. It's best to use a plastic container to catch the fish, rather than a net.
Down Habitat Information
Distribution South America: Amazon and Orinoco River basins.
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Not Evaluated
pH 5.8 - 6.8
Temperature 22.0-25.0°C or 71.6-77°F (Show species within this range)
Down Husbandry Information
Feeding An unfussy general carnivore. Most prepared are taken and the fish will gorge itself on live or frozen foods to a point where the aquarist must be careful not to feed too much in one sitting. Bloodworm induces a feeding frenzy and is good for acclimatizing new acquisitions. The fish will eat huge amounts in one day, its belly swelling to resemble a marble and can happily live off this for up to a week.
In nature the diet consists largely of invertebrates (such as insect larvae and crustaceans), but also found to eat fish. User data.
Furniture Swimming space is needed as this fish likes to swim especially around feeding time. You will see much more of this fish during the day if you have relatively dim lighting.
Compatibility Peaceful, but will soon eat smaller fish, such as neon tetras, but otherwise harmless. It is considered good to keep these fish in a group of at least five fish. When kept alone, they do not appear quite as happy and active as when kept in a group.
Suggested Tankmates Larger active fish such as tetras and gouramis. Most barbs are no good company as they tend to nip fins and barbels. They should be kept in (small) groups. Most singly kept specimens will pine away eventually. Angelfish and other ''graceful'' fishes may be bothered by this species' barbels particularly during lights-out.
Breeding Unreported.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Down Further Information
Reference Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe v. 74 (1. Abth.), pp 144 [96].
Registered Keepers There are 251 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
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There are 8 wishes to keep this species, see who wants what.
Spotters Spotted this species somewhere? Click the binoculars!
There are 35 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
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Last Update 2020 Sep 19 01:53 (species record created: 2001 Apr 28 00:00)