he month of July 2012 brings us back to one of the
prettiest member of the Pimeloidae family, namely
the 'Ornate pim' Pimelodus ornatus.
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
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.
- 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
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.
Amazon, Corintijns, Essequibo, Orinoco, and Paraná
River basins. Also in major rivers of the Guianas.
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.
Care & Compatibility
Not suited to be housed with
smaller species but should fit in with South American
Cichlids, L-number cats and members of the Doradidae
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
Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the
rayed dorsal fin.
Anal fin:The fin forward
from the anal cavity. Caudal fin: The tail. Caudal peduncle: The area between
the dorsal fin and the tail. Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s)
on top of the body. Lateral line: A sensory line, along
the sides of the body. Mandibular barbels: Pertaining to
the lower jaw. (mandibular barbels). Maxillary barbels: Pertaining to
the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels). Operculum: The bony covering of the
gills of fishes. Pectoral fin: The paired fins after
head and before anal fin. Ventral fin: The paired fins, between
the pectorals and the anal fins.
Derek: Catfish Association of Great Britain;
Information Sheet, April 1978.
Ros, Wolfgang (2008): Ein Schmuckstück
im Aquarium: Der Raubwels Pimelodus ornatus, Aquaristik- Aktuell
(4): 54-57. Sands, David: Catfishes of the World,
Volume Three: Auchenipteridae & Pimelodidae.Dunure
Publications 1984, 145p.