Pictus Catfish

The pictus cat is also sometimes referred to as the “angel cat”, but nowadays there are a few other “angel” catfish that are very different (some come from the African lakes), so referring to this as the pictus cat is probably best. They are an unmistakable fish, with a silvery streamlined body with large black spots, and long flowing “whiskers” which sometimes can be almost as long as the fish itself.

They are a very fast moving fish, and do better with a fair amount of current in their aquarium. They also do best in groups of four or five, or more. Pictus cats are only suitable with other fish roughly their size, and they are clearly not to be trusted with any small fish. Many an unhappy fishkeeper has, without getting the proper advice from their local fish store, added a pictus cat to a very happy tank that included large neon tetras. Over the course of the next few days, the neons will all become amongst the missing – and the pictus cat will have a noticeably full belly. Pictus are very fast, and they have a very large mouth.

Besides doing best in a group of their own, pictus also do best in the largest, and longest, aquarium that can be provided to them. They are always moving, and the longer the tank the better. Other than snacking on the occasional neon tetra or other small fish they can eat, pictus will do very well on dry prepared foods, supplemented two or three times a week with frozen mysis shrimp or bloodworms.

One final note – the pectoral fins of the pictus cat are essentially very sharp spears. Be careful when handling them, and if you have to move them use a plastic container or sieve, as opposed to a regular fish net. Their spines will get caught in a mesh net, and will probably destroy the net. In all my years of handling fish, the worst injury I received was from a pictus cat. The spine got stuck into my palm between the thumb and first finger, and had to be surgically removed.-David Lass.

Breed Details

Scientific Name:
Country of Origin:
Amazon and Orinoco River basins
5” body, long whiskers
74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
soft to moderately hard water