Name: Pimelodus pictus
Origin: Colombia, Peru
A strikingly patterned fish, especially when young, this is one of the nicest and, because of its smaller size, more manageable pimelodids. Two specimens can be housed in a 36" (90cm) long tank as long as plenty of hiding places are provided. I have found it to be fairly widely available, and young specimens have fewer, more distinct spots, which gradually shrink and move closer together as the fish ages. The fish pictured above is about 8 years old. A semi-noctural scavenger, it will eat most foods, including sinking tablets, leftover flake food, earthworms, shrimp, and live foods. A peaceful species, it generally will not harm other fish in the tank, although it may swallow very small fishes at night. As it ages, it becomes somewhat territorial towards its own species. Although rarely do they harm each other, the fish makes audible croaking/chittering noises that can be heard throughout the room as it squabbles. It is not overly particular about its water parameters, however in poor water quality, the long, elegant barbels will erode away. This fish has very sharp, serrated pectoral and dorsal fins. Do not use a net to catch, but rather a glass. The fins are also reputed to be poisonous and have been known to inflict painful wounds, so use caution when handling this fish!
I currently have two of these little guys in my tanks and what a joy they are! They are the most active catfish I have ever seen. I have a bubble wall tube across the back of the tank and these two fish like to roll over and over in the bubbles. They are voracious eaters too!
I also have two of these. Mine enjoy the bubble wall as well but most of the time hide in the corners of my tank and sit on the bottom. Any others I have seen in pet stores are always very active. Mine are only active early in the morning, late at night and for about 30 minutes after feeding.
I have a Pictus that has eaten at least 20 fish that were supposed to be for the community tank. The biggest one eaten was about 8 cm long. If you have a tetra community tank, do not get one of these.
I do have to agree with John Hutzan. One month after my tank (100 L) was cycled with 10 Zebra Danios, I purchased 2 Spotted Pims. The result: after 4 nights, I am down to 3 Danios and 2 fat Pims. They are great to watch, even my 1 year old likes to look at them. So now I need to come up with other fish to put in the tank that will not get eaten.
My two cats only eat Feeder Guppies and African Cichlids when they are young. They love to dart in and out of my caves I have built. Every once and a while you will see them swim to the top and jump. They are my favorite fish in my tank.