Four Line Pictus Catfish 101: A Comprehensive Care Guide!

If you are a fan of freshwater aquariums and looking to add a unique and exciting fish to your collection, then the Four Line Pictus Catfish might be the perfect addition for you.

With its striking silver body and distinct black lines, this catfish species is not only visually appealing but also a joy to watch as it gracefully swims through the water.

In this comprehensive care guide, we will explore everything you need to know about Four Line Pictus Catfish, including their natural habitat, ideal tank setup, diet, behavior, and breeding.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced aquarium enthusiast, this guide will provide you with all the necessary information to ensure the health and happiness of your Four Line Pictus Catfish.

So, if you are interested in learning more about this fascinating and beautiful freshwater fish and how to care for it properly, keep reading to become a Four Line Pictus Catfish expert! 

Four Line Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus blochii): An Overview

The Four Line Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus blochii) is a species of catfish found in South and Central America, particularly in the Amazon River basin. It is known for its striking appearance, featuring a silver body with four distinctive black lines running from its head to its tail.

This species is highly sought after by aquarium enthusiasts due to its unique markings and peaceful nature. In the wild, Four Line Pictus Catfish are generally found in slow-moving rivers and tributaries, where they feed on small crustaceans and insects.

In captivity, they require a spacious tank with plenty of hiding places and water of good quality. They are easy to care for and can coexist with a variety of tankmates, making them a popular choice for community aquariums.

When properly cared for, the Four Line Pictus Cat can live up to 10 years in captivity, bringing joy to their owners with their beautiful appearance and peaceful behavior. 

Similar size fish: four line pictus catfish

Here are some fish similar in size to a Four-Line Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus blochii), which reaches an adult size of around 5 inches:

Peaceful fish:

  • Giant Danios: These active schooling fish grow up to 6 inches and are compatible with peaceful tankmates.
  • Rainbow Sharks: Growing up to 6 inches, these peaceful but territorial fish do well in larger aquariums with ample hiding spaces.
  • Other catfish species: Several catfish species reach around 5 inches, including the Bristlenose Pleco, Clown Pleco, and Upside-Down Catfish. They are mostly peaceful and can share the bottom of the tank with the pictus.
  • Gouramis: Some larger gourami species, like the Pearl Gourami and Blue Gourami, can grow to 5-6 inches and are generally peaceful towards other aquarium fish.
  • Barbs: Tiger Barbs, Rosy Barbs, and Cherry Barbs are active schooling fish that reach around 2-3 inches and can be good tankmates for pictus cats.

More active or semi-aggressive fish:

  • Severum Cichlids: These colorful fish can grow up to 8 inches and are generally peaceful but can be territorial towards other cichlids.
  • Jack Dempseys: These popular cichlids reach 8-10 inches and require a large tank with plenty of hiding places. They are territorial but can be kept with other large, peaceful fish.
  • Silver Dollars: These schooling fish grow up to 6 inches and are active swimmers. They need a large tank with plenty of open space.
  • Black Ghost Knifefish: This unique fish grows up to 12 inches and is nocturnal. It needs a large, dimly lit tank with plenty of hiding places.

Recommended four-lined pictus catfish Tankmates

Recommended tank mates for the four-lined pictus catfish include peaceful, non-aggressive fish that are of similar size. Good tank mates can include other catfish species, such as Corydoras, or other peaceful bottom dwellers like loaches.

Additionally, small to medium-sized neon tetras, danios, and Rasboras can also make good companions for the four-lined pictus catfish. However, it is essential to avoid pairing the pictus catfish with overly aggressive or large predatory fish, as they may stress or even harm the pictus catfish.

4 line pictus catfish

Also, it’s important to avoid keeping them with smaller fish that can easily fit in the mouths of the pictus catfish, as they may become prey.

Overall, when selecting tank mates for the four-lined pictus catfish, it’s essential to consider their peaceful nature and their need for habitats that mimic their natural environment. By choosing suitable tank mates, aquarists can ensure a harmonious and stress-free community tank for the four-lined pictus catfish. 

Setting Up Your 4 line pictus catfish Aquarium

The South America four-line pictus catfish is a beautiful and fascinating fish species that can make a great addition to your community tank. Here are some tips for setting up an aquarium that will keep your four-line pictus catfish happy and healthy:

Tank Size:

  • minimum tank size of 55 gallons of water is recommended for a single four-line pictus catfish. However, if you’re planning on keeping a group of them, you’ll need a larger tank. 
  • As they grow larger, they may become territorial, so providing ample space is crucial.

Water Parameters:

  • Ideally, your aquarium water should have a pH between 6.6 and 7.5, a water hardness of 5-15 dGH, and a temperature of 75-82°F.
  • It’s crucial to maintain stable water parameters to avoid stressing your fish.


  • A fine sand or gravel substrate is ideal for four-line pictus catfish. They enjoy sifting through the substrate for food, and sharp rocks or gravel can injure their delicate long barbels. 


  • Four-line pictus catfish are nocturnal fish, so they appreciate having plenty of hiding places. You can add driftwood, rocks, caves, and plants to your aquarium. 
  • Live aquatic plants are not only aesthetically pleasing but also help to maintain good water quality. 


  • powerful filter is crucial for keeping your aquarium water clean. As these fish are relatively large and produce a lot of waste, a strong filter will help to keep the water parameters stable.


  • Four-line pictus catfish are sensitive to light, so you should use a dim light in your aquarium. A blue or green light is ideal, as it will mimic the natural light conditions of their habitat. 


  • Four-line pictus catfish are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods. You can give them pellets, flakes, frozen food, and live food. It’s essential to offer them a varied diet to ensure they get the nutrients they need.


  • Four-line pictus catfish are peaceful fish and might be kept with a variety of other community fish. However, it’s vital to choose tankmates that are similar in size and temperament. 
  • Avoid keeping them with aggressive fish that may harass them.


  • Like any other aquarium, your four-line pictus catfish tank will require regular maintenance. This includes water changes, gravel cleaning, and filter cleaning.
  • It’s essential to test your water parameters regularly and make adjustments as needed.

By following these tips, you can create a beautiful and healthy aquarium for your four-line pictus catfish. With proper care, they can live for many years and provide you with hours of enjoyment.

four line pictus catfish care: Fish Keeping Difficulty

The four line pictus catfish is relatively simple to care for, making it a great option for beginner fish keepers. These catfish thrive in aquariums with plenty of hiding spaces, such as caves or driftwood, as well as a sandy substrate to mimic their natural habitat.

They are also somewhat sensitive to water quality, so it is vital to maintain a well-filtered tank with regular water changes.

As omnivores, they require a varied diet consisting of high-quality sinking pellets, frozen or live foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp, and occasional vegetable matter. They are peaceful by nature and should be kept in groups of at least three to prevent stress and much aggression.

Overall, the four line pictus catfish is a hardy aquarium fish and low-maintenance fish that can add both beauty and activity to a freshwater aquarium. With proper care and the right tank environment, these catfish can live for up to 8-10 years in captivity.

four lined pictus catfish Fish Diseases

The Pictus catfish (Pimelodus pictus) is a popular freshwater catfish species in the aquarium trade. Like any other fish, Pictus catfish can be susceptible to various diseases. Here are four common fish diseases that may affect Pictus catfish:

  • Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich): This is a common parasitic infection that causes white dots to appear on the fish’s skin, fins, and gills. 
  • Oodinium (Velvet): This is another parasitic disease that causes gold or velvety dust to appear on the fish’s skin and gills. 
  • Columnaris: This is a bacterial infection that might cause lesions on the fish’s skin and fins. 
  • Fin rot: This is bacterial infection that causes the pectoral fins to become frayed and eroded. 
  • Dropsy: This is a condition that causes the fish’s abdomen to swell. A number of factors, including bacterial infection, kidney disease, and malnutrition, can cause it. 

If you think your four-lined pictus catfish has a disease, it is essential to quarantine it from other fish and treat it as soon as possible. Treatment will depend on the specific disease, but it may include medication, water changes, and changes to the fish’s diet and environment.

Here are some expert tips for preventing fish diseases:

  • Quarantine new fish: Before adding any new fish to your aquarium, quarantine them for at least two or three weeks to make sure they are not carrying any diseases.
  • Maintain good water quality: Keep your aquarium’s water clean and at the correct temperature and pH level.
  • Feed your fish a healthy diet: Feed your fish a variety of high-quality foods.
  • Avoid overcrowding your aquarium: Overcrowding can stress fish and make them more susceptible to disease.
  • Monitor your fish regularly: Watch your fish for any signs of disease, such as changes in their behavior, appearance, or appetite.

How big does a four line Pictus catfish get?

The Pictus catfish typically grows to about eight inches in length. However, individual sizes may vary based on factors such as diet, tank water conditions, and genetics.

Are 4-line Pictus catfish aggressive?

Four-line pictus catfish are generally peaceful fish, but they may occasionally eat smaller fish that fit in their mouths. They are not territorial and can be kept in community aquariums with other peaceful fish.

How do you take care of a 4 line catfish?

Four-line pictus catfish are relatively easy to care for. They require a spacious aquarium with plenty of hiding places and a diet of sinking pellets and live foods.

How many Pictus catfish do I need?

Four-line pictus catfish are social fish and should be kept in groups of 3 or more. A 150-gallon tank is recommended for a group of 3-5 pictus catfish.

What fish can live with Pictus catfish?

Four-line pictus catfish are peaceful fish that can be kept with a variety of other peaceful community fish, such as tetras, danios, and gouramis.

What is the temperament of the four line Pictus catfish?

Four-line pictus catfish are generally peaceful fish that can be kept in large community aquariums with other peaceful fish. They are not territorial and are not known to fin-nip.

What size tank does a 4 line Pictus catfish need?

A 4-line Pictus catfish requires a tank of at least 50 gallons to provide ample space for swimming and hiding. Adequate tank size ensures their well-being and reduces stress.

What do 4 line catfish eat?

Four-line pictus catfish are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including sinking pellets, live foods, and frozen foods. They prefer meaty foods, such as worms and shrimp.

What is the ideal 4-line pictus catfish temperature?

The ideal temperature for 4-line Pictus catfish is around 75 to 82°F (24 to 28°C). Maintaining this temperature range in their aquarium mimics their natural habitat, promoting their well-being, metabolism, and overall health.

Where can you buy the four-lined pictus catfish?

Four-lined pictus catfish are available at a variety of pet stores, both online and offline. Some popular online retailers include PetSmart, Petco, and Live Aquaria. You can also find them at local fish stores, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead to make sure they have them in stock. 


In conclusion, the world beneath the water’s surface is a captivating realm brimming with extraordinary creatures. From vibrant corals to elusive sea dragons, each species holds its unique allure. Among these aquatic wonders, the four line pictus catfish stands out with its mesmerizing stripes and graceful movements. As aquarists, we have the privilege of bringing a glimpse of this underwater marvel into our homes. By caring for these beautiful creatures, we not only create a visually stunning display but also gain a deeper appreciation for the elegant balance of nature. So, dive into the world of aquariums and let the four line pictus catfish be the star of your aquatic masterpiece.

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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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