o many non-catfish hobbyists
or to people who have not kept fish at all, the members of the
Pimelodidae family are usually recognisable as being "oh
yes these are catfishes" category, having the typical catfish
shape and the long barbels associated with the "cats".
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 genus.
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 body.
Pimelodus: Adipose fin short, high, with a straight
or sloping margin. Humeral process broad, triangular. Body
variously patterned, usually quite deep, like Synodontis.
Dorsal 1/6; Anal 10-14; ventrals; 6. Pectoral
fin spine is strong, pungent and serrated on both margins.Caudal
fin deeply forked with the lobes pointed. Dorsal fin with a strong
spine with teeth on the posterior margin.
Water parameters are not too critical with this species as they
are quite hardy, along with the other members of this genus,
as long as it is not too way out of course. I do find that
if the nitrate values drop the barbels will very quickly wear
away, but a few water changes will have them looking their
best again. If you keep your normal tank maintenance up with
regular water changes ( to keep the nitrates down) and good
filtration ( power filters) you should have this catfish living
for a good number of years. A planted aquarium can sometimes
be a problem with Pimelodus as they can be quite boisterous
and can dig up the plants in their night -time forays. Strong
plants like Java Fern tied to bogwood or rockwork usually work
out the best bet, but you can try the trial and error method
with planting to find the best solution.
Another thing to point out are the hard rays of the dorsal and
pectoral fins can give you a nasty sting if you are unfortunate
enough to come in contact with them. The results of this jab
vary from individual to individual, but the pain can usually
last for a full day after it draws blood but it is not a common
Upper part of body dark blue/grey with some
slightly paler indistinct wavy lines. A broad white band runs
along the lateral line from operculum to base of caudal fin, below
this white band is a slightly broader dark blue/grey band of equal
length. A short blue/grey band runs from the operculum to the
ventral base. Base of dorsal fin and dorsal spine with dark pigment,
including the caudal, which also has spots on the top lobe (which
are not always present). Adipose fin with spots and blotches and
a dark margin. Remaining fins only slightly pigmented.
can of course be predatory along with most of the members of this
family, so they must be kept with species larger or compatible
with it. An aquarium 36" long would accommodate one individual
but over this size you can house two or more, as I have been keeping
two together now for a number of years in a 4' x 18" x 15"
tank with no problems apart from a few skirmishes, which don't
amount to much. Give them pipes or rockwork to create their
own territory to make them feel comfortable in their surroundings.
Mostly live foods such as earthworms, whiteworms
and frozen foods such as bloodworm and tubifex. Will also accept
catfish pellets and tablet food.
Pimel = fat; odus = tooth.
albofasciatus : With white bands
process : Bony
extension of the pectoral girdle.
Operculum : The bony covering of the gills
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.