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Leiarius pictus  (Müller & Troschel, 1849) 

his month (Feb. 2006) we stay in South America and on to the
Pimelodidae  family and a very nicely marked species, the "Sailfin Pim", Leiarius pictus. This genus comprises of two species (Ferraris, 2007), the other being L. marmorates, and they are more closely related to the sub-family Surubiminae, the shovel noses, and that will maybe give you an idea of this catfishes temperament, not to be messed with!.

Leiarius pictus

The juveniles of this species have rounded caudal fin lobes, pointed in adults, and longer maxillary barbels in ratio to body size and the colour is less intense in adults.

Even though this is a stunning catfish, as an adult it is not really a fish for the home aquarium, as it will need to be housed in a huge tank as it will get very nervous and will try to escape the confines of the aquarium if its barbels can touch the both sides of the glass sides at the same time, so it would need to be a least 7' 0" long by 24" in width. If you are able to accommodate these requirements you will need a well covered tank with dim lighting, floating plants may help here, with strong external filtration and caves for cover. Large smooth rounded boulders and branches would complete the aquascape.

Head narrow, flattish above, upper jaw slightly longer than the lower. On adult specimens the maxillary barbels extend to a little beyond the dorsal fin, the inner mandibular barbels to base of pecoral fin and the outer mandibular barbels to the middle of the pectoral fin. Maxillary barbels extend well beyond the tips of the caudal fin in juvenile specimens. Body is heaviest under base of dorsal fin spine. Large sail-like dorsal fin has 9-10 soft rays; caudal fin deeply forked.

Body dark brown with darker spots, lighter on underside. Two pale bands, the first extending from the base of the dorsal fin spine toward the ventral fin, then laterally along the body to the caudal base; the second thinner band lies parallel to the first originating from approximately the base of the third to sixth soft dorsal fin rays. Dorsal, adipose and caudal fins with large round dusky spots. Anal and ventral fins with smaller spots. Barbels ringed with light and dark.

This fish can be very territorial and a predator in aquarium set-ups and as such can only be kept with large cichlids or fish such as the Giant Gourami. It can not be mixed with other members of the Pimelodidae family as they are too aggresive to conspecifics.

Males are slimmer than females.
Not known.

Live fishes, prawns and large earthworms.

Leiarius: Smooth
pictus: Painted

Glossary of Terms:
Maxillary barbels : Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels)
Mandibular barbels : Pertaining to the lower jaw. (mandibualr barbels)

Sands, David; Catfishes of the World Vol.3: Auchenipteridae & Pimelodidae
Catfish Association of Great Britain, Volume 1; p76.
Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl 1985 Aquarien atlas. Band 2. Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde GmbH, Melle, Germany. 1216 p.

Photo Credits
Allan James @ ScotCat

Factsheet 116

Sciades pictus, Bagrus pictus    
Common Name:
Sailfin Pim
South America: Amazon and Orinoco River basins
60cm. (24ins)
22 -26°C (71 -79°F)    
up to 18dGH
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                                                                                          Factsheet 116 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top