he "Pictus cat" is the
most popular member of the 300 or so species of the Pimelodidae
family and as such is well recommended for a community tank of
mid-sized fish as long as they are not "Neon Tetra"
size as they will be picked off when they are enjoying their night-time
They use their very long barbels
for rooting around the bottom for food and they may cause a bit
of disruption in their quest for a bite to eat! Another point
to take into consideration is their sharp pectoral and dorsal
spines as they can puncture your skin if handled carelessly and
of course they can easily puncture the fish bags that they are
transported in from the aquarist shop to your home, so a plastic
container would probably be best for this task. I found out first
hand of the difficulty of transporting "Pims" from Peru
when on a collecting trip last year (2000) as they were constantly
piercing the sides of the plastic bags and I lost the specimens
that I was transporting due to this trait.
You can sometimes see this fish captioned in the aquatic outlets
as "Angelicus cats" which is a bit of a misnomeener
as Synodontis angelicus from Africa is usually given this
common name and it would seem that this name was given when they
were first imported in the 1960's with the invalidated scientific
name of "Pimelodella angelicus".
The picture above shows you the extreme lengths
of the maxillary barbels which can sweep back to the end of
the caudal fin.This genus has been in confusion for a good number
of years now especially with another close member of the family,
Pimelodella, below are the following characteristics
from the two genera.
Pimelodella : Adipose fin long, low with a curved margin.
The humeral process is long and spikey.
Body usually plain with a dark lateral stripe; rather depressed
Pimelodus: Adipose fin short, high, with a straight
or sloping margin. Humeral process broad, triangular.
Body variously patterned, usually quite deep, like Synodontis.
Surface of head covered with thin skin.
The occipital process has a broad base then tapers posteriorly
where it comes in contact with the predorsal plate. The frontal
fontanel does not extend posteriorly beyond the level of the eyes.
The barbels are long and cylindrical, the maxillary barbels extending
to the base of the caudal fin. Dorsal fin has a strong spine and
6 rays. The caudal fin is large, deeply forked and the lobes sharply
Silver body with black spots and reticulations.
Spots smaller on head. Black stripes to caudal fin. Black spots
in dorsal and adipose fins.
They do make a nice addition to a mid-sized
community tank. A few journals quote that you can keep them singly
but in my experience they are never very happy in this scenario
and do prefer a few of their own companions , at least 4 should
suffice. They apparently don't take too kindly to hard water,
as my own supply is very soft I don't have that problem. Not
recommended for a community tank of mid-sized fish as long as
they are not "Neon Tetra" size as they will be picked
off when they are enjoying their night-time cruises.
No instances have been recorded as yet.
Not a problem as they will eat just about
anything. They do like earthworms and other meaty foods such as
whiteworm, and frozen bloodworm. Tablet food is also greedily
Pimel = fat; odus = tooth.
pictus : Painted
: Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels)
Humeral process : Bony extension of the
Occipital process : A median bone on the
upper surface of the back of the head; pertaining to the
Fontanel : The space(s) between the bones
on top of the skull covered by skin.
A Note on Pimelodella and Pimelodus, C.A.G.B.
Baench, Aquarium Atlas 2, 1993.
Burgess E.Warren Dr. Atlas of Freshwater &
Marine Catfishes 1989.
Amazon and Orinoco River basins
| 11.5cm. (4½ins)
|up to 10° dGH
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