he month of July 2012 brings us back to one of the prettiest member
of the Pimeloidae family, namely the 'Ornate pim' Pimelodus
As you can see from the image above this
is indeed a smart looking catfish which has been imported into
the U. K. and Europe on and off since 1979, initially from Paraguay,
and has proved a favourite amongst dedicated predatory catfish
Keeping the 'Ornate pim' is not too difficult
as long as you stick to a few golden rules such as the size of
tank which should be around 100 gall. (500 litres) mark due to
its eventual size and the fish constantly on the move as a group,
as single specimens are never happy alone and will spend a good
amount of time hiding away and sulking in the aquarium.
Since the species originates from flowing
waters, the water should be clear and with a high oxygen content,
good filtration and a substrate of a rounded gravel or sand with
plenty of hiding places with pipes or rockwork/stones. If there
are plenty of places to hide they will lose their initial shyness
and come out more often.
Since they roam the aquarium at night with
their long feeling barbels they can upset other tank inhabitants
so other inmates would have to be chosen carefully. South American
Cichlids, L-number cats and other catfish from the Doradidae family
are good choices.
ornatus can devour quite large pieces of fish
The above image shows the mouth of Pimelodus ornatus
and the gape which can take small fish if it needed to so once
again careful consideration of tankmates are a must.
If at all handled they secrete a toxic
mucus and the wounds caused by its pectoral spines are very painful.
There spines can also be tangled up in a net if catching so best
to do it with an open ended container.
Slender and elongate body and the head is
depressed. Upper jaw projects beyond the lower jaw. The maxillary
barbels when laid back reach beyond the adipose fin and sometimes
reach the tip of the caudal fin.
Upper part of head and body dark blue/grey,
the belly region is whitish. A light horizontal band above the
lateral line from below the dorsal fin to the caudal peduncle.
Two light vertical bands, one behind the operculum (slightly darker),
the second below the dorsal fin spine. The dark horizontal band
in the ventral region from the ventral fin to the caudal fin disappears
in the adult fish. Dorsal fin with a large black blotch. Caudal
fin with a black band in each lobe. Pectoral, ventral and anal
fins with dark pigment in the rays (more so on the pectoral fins),
whitish on the tips. Adipose fin with light pigment. Maxillary
barbels with darker pigment on the top edge, lower half white,
mandibular barbels white.
Not suited to be housed with smaller species
but should fit in with South American Cichlids, L-number cats and
members of the Doradidae family.
Allegedly the species breeds by internal
fertilisation and the female places the fertilised eggs on stones
and plants. As this is a migratory breeder you would need to be
very lucky to achieve this.
Not reported but I
would imagine that the females would be more rotund.
Gregarious feeders in the aquarium and
are not fussy eaters. Earthworms, white and black worms, Tilapia
filets, or trout pieces, tablet and pellet foods and frozen foods
such as bloodworm. When adult you do not need to feed this fish
every day, every second day would suffice on the diet of the above
Pimel = fat; odus = tooth.
(2008): Ein Schmuckstück
im Aquarium: Der Raubwels Pimelodus ornatus, Aquaristik- Aktuell
Lambourne, Derek: Catfish Association of
Great Britain; Information Sheet, April 1978.
Sands, David: Catfishes of the World, Volume
Three: Auchenipteridae & Pimelodidae.Dunure Publications
Anal fin: The
fin forward from the anal cavity.
Caudal fin: The tail.
Ventral fin: The paired fins, between the
pectorals and the anal fins.
Pectoral fin: The paired fins after head
and before anal fin.
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection
without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on
top of the body
Lateral line: A sensory line, along the
sides of the body.
Caudal peduncle: The area between the dorsal
fin and the tail.
Operculum: The bony covering of the gills
Maxillary barbels: Pertaining to the upper
jaw. (maxillary barbels)
Mandibular barbels: Pertaining to the lower
jaw. (mandibular barbels)
© Wolfgang Ros @