TOP 10 Best Pictus Catfish Tank Mates for Thriving Aquarium

Are you a proud owner of a beautiful pictus catfish and looking for the perfect pictus catfish tank mates to keep them company? Pictus catfish are known for their peaceful demeanor and active nature, making them a popular choice for many aquarium enthusiasts.

However, finding the proper companions for your pictus catfish can be daunting. 

This article will explore the top 10 best pictus catfish tank mates that will thrive in your aquarium. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced aquarist, choosing compatible species that can coexist peacefully with your pictus catfish is essential. 

From peaceful bottom-dwellers to active schooling freshwater fish, we will cover a variety of options to create a harmonious and thriving aquatic community. 

Choosing suitable tank mates for your pictus catfish enhances the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium and ensures the well-being and happiness of your aquatic pets. So, let’s dive in and discover the best tank mates for your pictus catfish! 

Pictus Catfish Tank Mates – What You Should Know!

Pimelodus Pictus Catfish

Pictus catfish are popular for freshwater aquariums due to their peaceful nature, striking black-and-white coloration, and relatively low maintenance requirements. However, when selecting tank mates for pictus catfish, they must consider their adult size, temperament, and habitat preferences.


Pictus catfish can grow up to 12 inches in length, so it is essential to choose tank mates that are similar in size to avoid predation. Some good options include:

  • Giant danios
  • Rainbow sharks
  • Opaline gourami
  • Bucktooth tetra
  • Rubber pleco
  • Blue gularis killifish
  • Tiger barb
  • Zebra danio


Pictus catfish are generally peaceful fish but can become stressed if kept with aggressive or territorial species. It is best to avoid housing them with cichlids, barbs, or other fish known as fin nippers or bullies.

Habitat Preferences

Pictus catfish prefer well-planted aquariums with plenty of hiding places. They are also somewhat sensitive to water quality, so keeping their tank clean and well-maintained is essential.

Here are some additional tips for choosing good tank mates for pictus catfish:

  • Avoid keeping pictus catfish with other species that occupy the same niche in the aquarium, such as Corydoras catfish or Hoplo catfish.
  • If you are considering keeping pictus catfish with schooling fish, choose an active and not shy species.
  • Introduce new tank mates slowly to avoid stressing the pictus catfish.
  • Monitor the behavior of all fish in the aquarium to ensure everyone is getting along.

Here are some examples of specific tank mate combinations that work well with pictus catfish:

  • A school of giant danios and a pictus catfish
  • A pictus catfish, a rainbow shark, and a group of opaline gourami
  • A school of bucktooth tetras and a pictus catfish
  • A pictus catfish and a rubber pleco
  • A school of zebra danios and a pictus catfish

Following these tips, you can choose tank mates compatible with your pictus catfish and create a harmonious and thriving aquarium environment.

The Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus pictus) is famous for aquarium enthusiasts due to its unique appearance and active behavior. When selecting tank mates for Pictus Catfish, it’s essential to consider their semi-aggressive nature and specific care level. 

Here’s a list of the top 10 compatible tank mates for Pictus Catfish:

1. Silver Dollar Fish

 Silver Dollar Fish make great tank mates for pimelodus pictus fish. They can coexist harmoniously in the same aquarium with their peaceful nature and similar water and temperature requirements. The Silver Dollar Fish’s large size and distinctive appearance add visual interest to the fish tank, while the pictus catfish’s busy and active behavior keeps the tank lively. Both species are omnivores, so they can also share the same diet.

2. Jack Dempsey Fish

Jack Dempsey cichlids and pictus catfish can be compatible tank mates, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure both species are happy and healthy.

Jack Dempsey cichlids and pictus catfish can be compatible tank mates if housed in a large enough tank with plenty of hiding places. The tank should be at least 55 gallons for a single Jack Dempsey cichlid and a pictus catfish, and larger if you want to keep more than one of each species.

Introducing the pictus catfish to the tank before the Jack Dempsey cichlid is also essential. This will give the pictus catfish time to establish its territory and help reduce the risk of aggression.

3. Opaline Gourami

The Opaline Gourami can be a suitable tank mate for Pictus catfish. Gouramis are peaceful and non-aggressive, making them compatible with the active and friendly nature of the Pictus catfish. They also prefer similar water parameters, such as neutral pH and warm temperatures. However, monitoring their compatibility and providing enough hiding spots for the Pictus catfish is essential, as they can sometimes be territorial.

4. Bucktooth Tetra (Exodon Paradoxus)

The Bucktooth Tetra, the Exodon Paradoxus, can make a great tank mate for pictus catfish. These tetras are active and fast-moving, which can add some excitement to the tank. They prefer to be in groups, so keeping them in a small school is best. Just provide enough space to swim and explore, as they can be slightly nippy towards other fish.

5. Discus Cichlid

The Discus Cichlid and pictus catfish can make good tank mates if their tank is large enough to accommodate both. The Discus Cichlid is a peaceful and relatively shy fish that can coexist with the active and social pictus catfish. These two fish species can create a harmonious and visually attractive community tank with proper care and a suitable environment. However, monitoring their interactions and ensuring both fish are thriving is essential.

6. Tiger Barbs

Tiger barbs can make perfect tank mates for pimelodus pictus because they are active and fast-moving fish that can keep up with the catfish’s energetic nature. Their bright colors and bold personalities can also add a stunning visual appeal to the tank. However, it’s important to remember that tiger barbs can be slightly nippy, so it’s best to keep them in a larger group to spread any aggression.

7. Red Tail Shark

The Red Tail Shark can make a suitable tank mate for the Pictus Catfish in a larger fish aquarium with plenty of hiding spots and territories. Both fish are territorial and can be aggressive, so providing enough space and resources for each fish to establish their own territory is essential. It is also crucial to ensure that both species have similar water parameter requirements to thrive in the same tank.

8. Blue Gourami

The Blue Gourami is a peaceful and beautiful fish that can make a great tank mate for the pictus catfish. Both species prefer similar water conditions and can coexist peacefully in a well-maintained aquarium. The Blue Gourami adds a pop of color and can help create a visually appealing and dynamic environment for the pictus catfish to thrive in. Just provide enough space and hiding spots for both species to feel comfortable.

9. Glass Catfish

Yes, glass catfish and pictus catfish are compatible tank mates. Both species are peaceful and relatively small, making them ideal for community tanks. They also have similar care requirements so they can be easily housed together.

Glass catfish are transparent fish that grow to about 5 inches in length. They are schooling fish, so they should be kept in groups of at least 6. Glass catfish are active fish that spend most of their time swimming in the middle and upper levels of the tank. They are not picky eaters and will eat various foods, including flakes, pellets, and live foods.

10. Rainbow Shark

Rainbow sharks and pictus catfish can be compatible tank mates, but it is essential to consider their temperament and size differences to ensure a harmonious aquarium environment.

Rainbow sharks are semi-aggressive fish that may exhibit territorial behavior, especially towards other bottom-dwelling species. They are known to chase and nip at smaller or weaker fish, so it’s crucial to select their tank mates carefully.

Pictus catfish, on the other hand, are peaceful fish that primarily occupy the bottom of the tank. They are not known to be aggressive towards other species but may be intimidated by overly boisterous or territorial fish.

Fish to Avoid Keeping with Pictus Cats

Pictus catfish are generally peaceful fish, but they can be opportunistic predators and may eat smaller fish. It is best to avoid keeping them with fish that are too small to eat. Here are some specific fish to avoid keeping with pictus cats:

  • Small tetras: Neon tetras, ember tetras, and other small tetras are unsafe to keep with pictus cats. These fish are too small and slow to escape the catfish’s mouth.
  • Guppies: Guppies are another popular aquarium fish too small for pictus cats. These fish are also colorful and active, which may attract the attention of the catfish.
  • Bettas: Bettas are territorial fish that can be aggressive towards other fish, including pictus cats. It is best to keep bettas in their tanks.
  • Angelfish: Angelfish are another large fish that can be kept with pictus cats, but it is vital to ensure that the angelfish are large enough to avoid being eaten.
  • Danios: Danios are active and schooling fish that can be a good choice for pictus catfish tank mates. However, it is crucial to choose a species of danio that is large enough to avoid being eaten.
Can Pictus Catfish Live with Goldfish

In addition to size, you should also consider the temperament of the fish you are considering keeping with your pictus catfish. Pictus catfish are generally peaceful, but overly aggressive or boisterous tank mates can stress them.

Here are some general guidelines for choosing tank mates for pictus catfish:

  • Choose fish that are similar in size to the pictus catfish.
  • Choose fish that are peaceful and will not harass the pictus catfish.
  • Choose fish that have similar water and temperature requirements as the pictus catfish.

By following these guidelines, you can help to ensure that your pictus catfish have a happy and healthy life in their aquarium.

Pictus Catfish Caring tips

When caring for Pictus catfish, providing them with a spacious tank is essential, as they are active swimmers and enjoy exploring their environment.

A tank size of at least 30 gallons is recommended for a small group of Pictus catfish. It’s also important to provide them with places to hide, such as decorations and caves, as they can be shy and may sometimes seek shelter.

Pictus catfish are omnivores and should be fed a diet that includes a variety of foods, such as sinking pellets, frozen or live foods, and algae wafers.

It’s essential to regularly clean the tank and maintain good water quality to keep these fish healthy.

Pictus catfish are generally peaceful but can become aggressive if they feel threatened or overcrowded, so providing them with plenty of space and suitable tank mates is crucial.

Overall, with proper care and attention, Pictus catfish can thrive in a home aquarium. Here are some tips for caring for Pictus Catfish:

Tank Setup

  • Tank Size: Pictus Catfish can grow up to 12 inches long, so they will need a tank that is at least 20 gallons in size.
  • Water Parameters: Pictus Catfish prefer water that is between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and has a pH of 5.8-7.2. They are also sensitive to high levels of ammonia and nitrates, so it is essential to perform regular water changes.
  • Substrate: Pictus Catfish are bottom dwellers, so they need a smooth substrate that will not injure their barbels. Sand or fine gravel is ideal.
  • Décor: Pictus Cat fish like to have plenty of places to hide, so provide them with rocks, driftwood, and plants.


  • Diet: Pictus Catfish are omnivores and will eat various foods, including sinking pellets, live and frozen foods, and algae wafers.
  • Feeding Schedule: Feed Pictus Catfish once or twice a day, giving them only as much food as they can eat in a few minutes.


  • Water Changes: Perform a 25% water change every week to keep the water quality high.
  • Filter Cleaning: Clean the filter every two to four weeks to remove debris and maintain good water flow.
  • Algae Control: Algae can be controlled by adding algae eaters, fish, or snails to the tank or manually removing algae with a brush or scraper.

Additional Tips

  • Pictus Catfish are nocturnal, so they are extreme active at night. If you want to see them during the day, you can turn on a dim light in the tank.
  • Pictus Catfish can be territorial, so it is best to keep them in a tank with other peaceful fish that are the same size or larger.
  • Pictus Catfish are sensitive to stress, so it is essential to keep their tank environment stable and avoid sudden water temperature or pH changes.

With proper care, Pictus Catfish can live for 10-15 years. They are rewarding fish to keep and can make a beautiful addition to any freshwater aquarium.

What is the best pictus catfish tank mates for 50 gallon tank?

Ideal freshwater pictus catfish tank mates for a 50-gallon tank include fish like giant Danios, rainbow sharks, opaline Gouramis, and bucktooth tetras.

How many Pictus catfish should be kept together?

Pictus catfish are social creatures and should be kept in groups of at least three to five individuals. This will help to reduce stress and encourage natural schooling behavior.

Can you keep Pictus catfish with angelfish?

You can keep pictus catfish with angelfish, provided the tank is large enough, and the water parameters are compatible. Pictus catfish are peaceful fish that grow to about 12 inches long, while angelfish grow to about 6 inches long. Both fish prefer soft, acidic water at 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

What fish go well with catfish?

The best catfish tank mates depend on the specific species of catfish, but some good options include tetras, barbs, gouramis, and other peaceful fish.

What is the best pictus catfish tank mate for 30 gallon aquarium?

The perfect Pictus Catfish tank mates for a 30-gallon aquarium include Tetras, Corydoras Catfish, Gouramis, Bristlenose Plecos, and Rasboras. Ensure a well-decorated setup with hiding spots for optimal compatibility.

Do Pictus catfish eat small fish?

Yes, pictus catfish are opportunistic omnivores and will eat small fish if they are hungry enough. They have large mouths and sharp teeth well-adapted for catching and eating prey. They will typically eat fish that are small enough to fit into their mouths, such as neon tetras and guppies.

Can pictus catfish live in a community tank?

Yes, pictus catfish can live in a community tank with other peaceful fish of similar size. They are generally non-aggressive fish and will not bother other tank mates. However, providing them plenty of hiding places is essential, as they are nocturnal fish and prefer to spend their days hiding from the light.

Can angelfish live with Pictus catfish?

Yes, angelfish can live with pictus catfish in a community tank. Both fish are relatively peaceful and will not bother other tankmates. They also have similar water parameters to keep them together without problems.

Do Pictus catfish sting other fish?

Yes, pictus catfish have a venomous spine on their dorsal fin that they can use to defend themselves from predators. This spine can also inflict minor stings on other fish, but these are usually not severe.

Are Pictus catfish carnivores?

Pictus catfish are omnivores species, meaning they consume both plants and animals. In the wild, their diet consists of various small invertebrates, such as insects, worms, and crustaceans. They will also eat small fish if they are hungry enough. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of high-quality fish foods and live or frozen foods.

Are 4-line Pictus catfish aggressive?

Four-line pictus catfish are generally not considered to be aggressive fish. Ideal 4 line pictus catfish tank mates include other peaceful and non-aggressive fish. Some good options include Tetras, Danios, Barbs, Rasboras, and Small cichlids.

How big of a tank does a pictus catfish need?

A Pictus Catfish requires a minimum tank size of 55 gallons. Providing adequate space allows them to exhibit their natural habitats and ensures a healthier environment for these active fish.

Where do Pictus catfish come from?

Pictus catfish hail from the tropical realms of the Amazon and Orinoco River basins in South America, where warm waters flow, mirroring their native environment.


In conclusion, choosing suitable tank mates for your pictus catfish is crucial for creating a harmonious and thriving aquatic environment. By considering factors such as size, temperament, and habitat preferences, you can ensure a peaceful coexistence among your fish. Remember to provide ample hiding spots and maintain proper water conditions to promote the well-being of all inhabitants. Whether it’s small tetras, peaceful Gouramis, or bottom-dwelling loaches, research and select compatible pictus catfish tank mates to complement and enhance the fascinating aquarium. Happy fish keeping!

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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