FAQs on Pictus Catfish
Related Articles: Pimelodid Catfishes,
Related FAQs: Pimelodid Catfishes
Cats 2, & FAQs on: Pimelodid
Selection, Pimelodid Systems,
Pimelodid Feeding, Pimelodid Disease, Pimelodid Reproduction, & Red Tail Cats (Phractocephalus), Shovelnose Catfishes (Pseudoplatystoma,
Sorubim, Sorubimichthys...), &
Catfish FAQs: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction,
Pictus, kuhli loaches <in>compatibility.
Hello, thanks for answering my earlier message.
I have started gathering what few knowledge there is about the fish told you
about. ill get to you on that again in a few weeks, when i have done some
<Okay.... likely Neale Monks.... you don't include prev. corr.>
This time its a very straightforward question:
Can i have pictus catfish and kuhli loaches together?
<No; not compatible.... really the Pimelodelids will "over-run" the loaches....
eating all food; traumatizing them. Should be kept in separate systems>
do you have any experience with the combination or have you heard about it
<You can see/read our bibliographies on WWM. Have a bunch of experience w/ these
The lfs has brought in some pictus and i would like to get a pair,
<Better in larger groupings>
i have read they reach about 11 cm, and my Kuhlis right now range from 6 cm to
about 12 (15 or so of them....lost count really... i have myersi, oblonga and
the spotted type). They are around the same size but im asking because when i
got my spotted Raphael,
<Not compatible either>
at about 6 cm, it killed 3 of my Kuhlis in one night, this happened in the 40
gal planted tank and im sure it was the Raphael as it was added 3 days prior and
the Apistogrammas in there don't really pay attention to anything but each
other. The Kuhlis looked like they had been scratched on their faces and had
their tails bitten.
Can i expect the same result with the pictus?
I wanted to add them to the planted tank first while they grew a bit, since they
are about 6 cm, very small, and then i would add them to the catfish tank
housing a 11 cm spotted Raphael, 15 cm stripped Raphael and the 8 cm or so
bumblebee catfish. Will the pictus, at their current size, be ok to be added
with the rest of the catfish then?
<Keep reading; better to consider a biotope for keeping these and all other
Thanks again, Rob.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pictus, kuhli loaches compatibility.
Oh yes, sorry, i just checked the earlier response and it was you who answered
Bob, in fact, it is you who has answered my many emails.
I asked information on breeding various fish on a new 125 gal planted tank i was
Hmm, in a previous conversation i told you i have my current 40 gallon tank with
the Kuhlis and Apistogrammas and also an 80 gallon for "catfishes",
<Heeeee! Some Siluiiforms are amongst the largest of fishes. See Siluris glanis>
sorry for not giving out these details again. This catfish tank is housing
Raphaels, bumblebees, ghost catfish, boesemanni rainbows and an African
butterfly fish, this is the tank the pictus is really intended to go, is it ok?
<Should go in here; with attention to make sure the other catfishes are getting
food, that they have sufficient habitat (likely hollow faux logs, what have you>
It is a slightly black water tank sparsely planted with crypts, Aponogetons and
Anubias and many caves.
At the time i thought the Raphael would not attack the Kuhlis as they were about
the same size long and the Raphaels seemed peaceful... So far my Raphaels and
bumblebees get along well but are they really aggressive to other bottom
dwelling fish or is it just that he mistook the Kuhlis for worms or something?
<Doradids are often mistaken... being sedentary, inactive by day... they are not
slow cleaner-uppers; but able competitors, meat seekers and eaters by night>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pictus, kuhli loaches compatibility. Neale's addn.s 10/16/15
<<Will somewhat echo Bob's comments that Pimelodus pictus is, at best, an
untrustworthy member of most community tanks. They can and will eat any
bite-sized prey (including juvenile Kuhli Loaches) and their restless activity
(especially at night) makes it difficult for slow-moving fish to compete for
food. Much better companions for medium-sized tetras, barbs, and things like
Anostomus that wouldn't be good choices for the average community tank. You
could combine them with similar sized Botiine loaches (Botia almorhae for
example) as well as Horseface Loaches, and they also do well with Clown Loaches.
But I'd reserve Pangio spp. for life alongside the smallest, most gentle
community species: Cardinal Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, Cherry Barbs... that
sort of thing. Would also caution you that most Pimelodidae prefer brisk
currents and moderate temperatures (22-25 C) whereas Pangio species are mostly
fish for slow-moving water environments and do well at middling to warm
temperatures (24-28 C). Pimelodidae appreciate deep, open tanks and sandy
substrates, while your Pangio prefer shallow tanks with dense tangles of bogwood
roots and thickets of plants. Not much overlap between the two in terms of
biotope, so would plan accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Pictus, kuhli loaches compatibility. And now, used tank purchase
Yes, thank you both for answering. So i discarded the pictus for the time being,
i will probably get one of the Ancistrus varieties to expand my collection of
catfishes. However, i brought home to the 40 gallon planted tank (Apistogrammas
and Kuhlis), 5 Otocinclus, they look silvery-blue, probably vestitus? and also
Sturisoma aureum and Farlowella vittata. I figured these small, delicate
suckermouths would make good additions and be comfortable in the densely planted
aquarium with plenty of algae to eat, i have added blanched cucumber and romaine
lettuce but so far none of them have tried the vegetables. They don't look
malnourished and in fact have seen them poop (they must be eating something hu?).
Will keep adding vegetables on a regular basis as Ramshorn snails eventually get
Now, on a different question, as i told you a few messages before i am planning
on a new planted tank. I want something between 100 and 140 gallons. There is
someone who is selling his 125 (145cmx60cmx60cm) with a base of 12 mm glass, but
the rest of the panels are 6mm...
<Mmm; is this a commercially made aquarium? For Americans, this is quarter inch
nominal.... NOT what I'd use... 3/8, like 8, 10mm would be much better; perhaps
it's tempered plate>
it has 3 braces and it has reinforcements on the bottom, like braces too but on
the bottom panel and also some kind of diagonal reinforcement on each corner,
and has an extra piece of glass in and out of the corners, which makes it
thicker at the corners.
<Custom, DIY, home-made>
I don't have a camera right now but i will attach a photo in my next message (i
hope!). Anyway, he is selling the tank very cheap, he said he has used it for 8
months for his pair of Oscars without trouble, but said he would be upgrading
his tank size, and no kidding, he really has a new 200 or so gallon. Anyway,
what do you think of this?
<What little I've read; I'd give it a pass>
i feel it is risky, and that's being generous but im probably exaggerating, i am
somewhat knowledgeable on mechanics of materials and ran a few simulations if i
were to use this tank. All of the simulations (and hand calculations) said the
tank would not break, with a safety factor of around 1.25-1.5 for tempered
I wont be housing any tank busting species and while it may hold water, the
extra stress done on the walls by rocks, wood, other aquascaping stuff etc could
be different, and also i have no sure way to factor in these and the corner
reinforcements in my calculations so im very unsure.
<It's more the periodic shifting... earthquakes and jars; that concern me>
The tank sounds like a deal but i really DONT want to deal with cracks, leaks or
worse...sudden bursting of the tank... So i may just save money for a tank made
with the right thickness (8mm simulations threw out 1.8-1.93 in safety factor...
am i good here?), which may be 3x the price i would be paying for this one...
<I'd go commercial; new>
Anyway, thank you very much for your time, keep up the good work.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Pictus catfish having trouble swimming 9/14/13
Greetings. Two weeks ago, I purchased four Pictus catfish for a
55-gallon aquarium. The aquarium is well-established and the
water parameters are good: ammonia & nitrites = 0, nitrates = 30. Our pH
= 7.5. GH = 6.
<All sounds okay. Do watch the temperature though -- like most
Pimelodidae, Pictus Catfish should be kept towards the lower end of the
range, 22-25 C/72-77 F. Warmer temperatures will stress these catfish
and could make minor problems worse.>
They share the tank with a red-tailed black shark and a
<Do watch the RTBS closely; 55 gallons is the absolute minimum, and they
can be holy terrors towards fish that don't respect their territorial
boundaries. They're better with barbs and characins rather than
bottom-dwelling fish such as loaches and cats.>
The catfish all seemed very healthy until this morning. When I turned on
their light, one of the Pictus cats was lying on his back on the
His breathing appears normal and I don't see any swelling, injuries or
marks on him. His stomach doesn't look concave either. He looks pretty
normal, only his behaviour is not. So I decided to move him to the
hospital tank in case he has something infectious.
He was able to make some effort at swimming away when I tried to catch
him, but it was obvious that he was having trouble swimming upright and
kept wanting to sink to the bottom. I just did a water change two days
ago (7 gallons) and treated the water with API Stress Coat and let it
set for about 1/2 hour before adding to the aquarium. They also get API
Stress Zyme once a week and Weiss Garlic Boost a couple of times per
<Not a fan of routine additions of chemicals to aquaria. Better/best to
stick with plain vanilla water changes and water conditioner.>
All the other fish seems fine. They haven't had any drastic water temp
changes and I haven't changed anything else in the tank lately. I have a
Penguin bio-wheel filter running and there is plenty of aeration since I
know that catfish like that.
<Like all river-dwelling fish they're best kept in spacious tanks with
vigorous water flow; aeration isn't in itself all that useful, though it
may add extra water movement, especially by drawing water up from the
bottom of the tank.>
Does this sound like it possibly could be swim-bladder disease?
<Not really any such thing. What aquarists often call "Swim Bladder
Disease" is about as precise as saying someone has a runny nose or a
sore throat. When fish have problems swimming, the causes can be many
and varied: poor diet (esp. lack of fibre/greens); poisoning (e.g., use
of copper-based medications); and reaction to sudden environmental
changes (including pH and temperature). Bacterial infections can also
cause swimming problems, especially serious ones that cause fluids to
accumulate inside the body.>
Is there any way to treat that?
As the above should imply, there's no single treatment for a fish that
loses swimming ability. Review the environment, diet, and other external
factors for a start. If you suspect bacterial infection, then suitable
treatment with a reliable antibiotic (a combination of Maracyn 1 and
Maracyn 2 would be a good approach).>
If not, do you have any other ideas about what this might be?
Blood Parrots, Senegal Bichirs, and Pictus Catfish; Compatibility;
Frozen foods 4/16/12
First off, I’d like to say thank you to all the volunteers who take time out of
their days to help people with their fish; it’s greatly appreciated.
I have a few questions (well five) that I hope you could answer, or direct me to
the link for the information? (I did search your site for a few hours, so I
apologize if my questions or similar questions have been asked before. ) But
first, a little back ground information.
I have an approximately 3” Senegal bichir
that after a month of QT currently resides in my driftwood, sand, Anubias
planted 29 gallon with a single male Betta and 8 black Kuhli loaches. (I am
aware that when he gets bigger, he’ll eat my loaches, but for the time being,
they are much bigger than he is, and he’ll only be in there 1-2 months tops)
The water is about 80F and the pH is approximately 7.4. I do about 30% water
changes every 5 days or so.
Tomorrow I am picking up a 75 gallon aquarium. I am planning on having a 1” sand
substrate, with MTS to help keep it aerated, lots of large rocks and probably
some driftwood, along with Anubias sp. attached to the driftwood/rocks, maybe
some crypts as well. After it is completely cycled (I plan to use filter media
from my 29
gallon to help speed it along) I plan on moving Nim (my Senegal bichir) to it.
My first question, my friend currently has my peaceful 5” Blood Parrot (I had to
sell my 55 awhile back, she kept my BP so I could eventually get her back, my
Blood Parrot was with cherry barbs, blue tetras, gold and moonlight gouramis,
and an angelfish before, with no problems), would a Blood Parrot be an okay tank
mate for a Senegal Bichir in a 75 gallon?
Are there any temperature/major pH/compatibility issues?
(I bought the Senegal when I was told by a few people they’d be good together,
but now I am hearing different from other people, so I would like your expert
My second question, (if one Blood Parrot is compatible with a Senegal), do Blood
Parrots do best kept when kept singly, or should I get another Blood Parrot?
<Best in groups>
I just don’t want my Blood Parrot to be lonely, she is quite shy and when I
move her to the 75 gallon, her marbled angelfish buddy will be staying behind.
My third, for my stock, I was planning on 1 Senegal Bichir,
1 or 2 Blood Parrot(s).
Then these are the fish species I am interested/plus the number I planned on
getting (not ALL the species though of course), could you please give me your
opinion as to the compatibility with senegals and blood parrots? (I am so sorry
if this has been asked before, please just direct me to the link if that’s the
case, I don’t want to waste your time)
<Again, most likely fine together>
~ FOR SURE 4-5 Peruvian/Columbian Pictus Catfish (the Pictus catfish I am
interested in getting are sold at about 4” long, and MUCH bigger then my tiny
Senegal, I know they are riverian, south American catfish, while bichirs are
more from slow bog-like areas, and Blood Parrots, well I don't know what would
be their "natural" habitat, but I figure in a 75 gallon, it could possibly
<Possibly... though it will be very hard to get food to the Bichir... the Pictus
will eat it all>
~ Pair of Opaline Gouramis (the one’s I want are sold at
~1 or 2 Leopard Ctenopoma (Ctenopoma acutirostre, the one’s
I like are sold at about 2”, are they better off alone or in a pair?)
~1 Striped Raphael Catfish (sold at about 2")
<And hard to feed, even find this in a 75 w/ decor>
~1 African Feather fin catfish (syno eur., sold a about 3-4")
<Most likely will blend in though hide during the day>
Any other fish that you recommend that would go well with Blood Parrot(s), a
Senegal bichir, and a school of Pictus catfish? (if they are compatible of
<I suggest adding the new stock over months time...>
My fourth question, I have issues feeding other LIVING insects/ fish/creatures
(i.e. meal worms, earth worms, crickets, shrimp, etc) to my fish, and I am a
vegan, so I don’t buy/refuse to buy beef heart, tilapia, etc.
<I encourage you to seek out, use a good pellet based staple... Spectrum, Hikari
are my favorite brands>
I feed my Kuhli loaches San Francisco Bay frozen brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp,
and blood worms right now (along with shrimp pellets/algae wafers), would that
be a good diet for bichirs and the above fish (I’d throw in some fresh veggies
for the more herbivorous fish)? Would adding “freshwater frenzy-containing Brine
Shrimp, Bloodworms, Cyclops, Daphnia, Watercress and more” be a good idea as
<All except the Bloodworms... see WWM re... and they may not take much to the
Thank you very much for all your time! Danielle
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Pictus catfish addition to tank, comp.
First of all thank you for the great website. My question centers
around Pictus Catfish and if they would be a good addition to my South
American themed tank. My current set up is a 120 gallon with a Fluval
FX5 canister filter that is stocked with 4 eartheater cichlids, 6
Silver Dollars, 5 Severum Cichlids and one Rhino Pleco. I would like to
add 5 Pictus Catfish but reading thru the FAQ I saw there might be an
issue with Pictus whiskers and Cichlids. Would this also be the case
with my collection of cichlids?
<Mmm, the Severums might prove problematical, but I give you good
odds (I would go ahead if this were my system, stock) given the size,
shape of your tank. I think the Pimelodelids will make a superb
addition here, adding motion and splashes of silvery colour>
Both Eartheaters and Severums seem pretty laid back compared other
cichlids I have kept in the past. If Pictus are not an good addition
are there any other fish that would fit in or should I just stick with
the fish I have now? Once again that you for your time.
<There are MANY possible choices of S. Am., Amazonian Siluriiforms
that would go here... take a stroll through the excellent Planet
Pimelodus pictus with enlarged belly 3/31/2011
We recently cycled an empty (livestock/plant free) 55gal FW tank. We
purchased 3 pictus cats and 3 minor Serpae tetras. The pictus were
supposed to be the only ones going in the 55gal and the tetras were
going in a ten gal. that had already been established. We decided at
the last minute to put the tetras in the 55gal too. One of the tetras
was pretty small and disappeared. I believe he died and was
<Or was killed and eaten'¦ Serpae Tetras are fairly nasty
fish, notorious fin-nippers among other "endearing" features,
and they will kill one another if kept in insufficient numbers. Equally
likely, small tetras are part of the diet of Pimelodus pictus, and
there's no reason at all not to expect your P. pictus to eat any
small fish they can overpower. Even if they are too small to do so now,
they will do so eventually.>
The pictus are not even 3" yet though pretty close so I don't
think they killed it. Water parameters were zero with nitrates slightly
elevated but I tested a few days ago and need to test again. Temp is
<A trifle warm for both species; 24 C/75 F would be optimal. Very
few of the Pimelodidae catfish appreciates warm water. They mostly like
coolish temperatures, 22-24 C/72-75 F, as you'd expect for catfish
that live either in streams or in deep river channels.>
The water is a bit high on the hard and alkaline side but I have read
that most fish adapt fairly well to that.
<Indeed they do.>
I don't know if pictus are one of those fish though. (Sorry I
don't have exact numbers with me but I can get them if needed.) I
can mix rainwater if that is not adequate.
<Shouldn't worry for now. P. pictus should do fine even in water
as hard as 15 degrees dH, pH 7.5. Anything above that won't be
ideal, but shouldn't cause health problems.>
Ok the problem is all 3 pictus have enlarged bellies and I don't
know what I should be looking for as far as if it is overeating, air
bladder, or dropsy.
<With Pimelodidae, overfeeding can be a major problem, and
they're all prone to both bloating and regurgitating uneaten food.
Offer meals no more often than once every OTHER day, and even then,
feed moderately. Favour high-fibre content foods, such as krill, and
leave solid chunks of meat, like tilapia fillet, to occasional treats.
Catfish pellets are fine, but use in moderation, because they're
super-concentrated. Avoid freeze-dried foods if at all possible because
these do tend to cause constipation. Once a week is fine, but
that's it. Otherwise use wet-frozen or fresh foods.>
We have had them for a week and symptoms started the day after we got
them. Two of them have slightly enlarged bellies and are active though
mostly at night for obvious reasons. The third is not very active at
all and has a very large belly. I fed them when I got them (perhaps a
bit too much). All are eating well though the one that is pretty
inactive seems to only eat if the food is near him. When I saw their
bellies I didn't feed them for a full day, then fed them lightly
after that. They get a few shrimp pellets, or half a cube of frozen
food (variety packs), or two algae wafers all rotated plus whatever
flakes the tetras don't eat which isn't much. I feed the fish
twice a day, when lights come on and when lights go out.
<Way too much food for all concerned!>
I have read some stuff but can't find anything concrete. Some
people automatically say its dropsy and say put down everything, some
say it could be the air bladder.
<Dropsy is very specific: the scales rise, but since catfish lack
scales, that isn't apparent. But usually fish with Dropsy stop
eating because their organs have failed. If the fish is eating, Dropsy
isn't likely, and a whole bunch of fish having Dropsy at once seems
unlikely. As for "swim bladder disease" that's a largely
made-up thing beginners and ill-informed retailers talk about.>
Are there other symptoms I should be looking for other than a fat fish?
Other than the one that is fairly inactive they seem fine and the
tetras haven't had any problems except the tiny one who died.
<Feed the tetras equally sparingly. A meal about the size of their
eye is adequate, once or perhaps twice per day. Nope, that isn't
I greatly appreciate your assistance and also wanted to say that you
guys are an excellent resource for aquarists of all experience
Re: Pimelodus pictus with enlarged belly 3/31/2011
Neale, once again you guys have proved to be invaluable and I thank you
<Glad to help.>
I will go and drop the temperature a few degrees.
<Sounds like a plan.>
Honestly I never thought smaller fish could go without food that
<Oh boy, yes! Your little friends, even Neons, can easily go 2-3
weeks without food -- one of the great things about them when it comes
to summer vacations. Letting them starve a little does them some good,
replicating what happens in the wild, and has far fewer risks than
having a neighbour feed them (and often overfeed them!).>
I guess they have a metabolism closer to reptiles than mammals which
for some odd reason I often forget.
I just automatically assumed the active pictus would require a higher
caloric intake but seems silly now that I think about it since they are
not warm blooded critters.
<On the contrary, predatory fish are adapted to eat one or two big
meals a week, and that's it. Some Amazonian catfish will have to go
weeks, even months, without feeding during the dry season when small
fish are scarce. During such times they'll basically sit and wait,
switching their metabolism down a bit by not expending any
I will definitely cut back on their food then. I did read that they
were omnivorous and did not realize they required more meaty foods so I
will definitely add more meat in their diet.
As for the Serpae tetras, they are pretty but I am seeing that they are
a bit aggressive toward one another.
<Yes, they have a true feeding frenzy, much like we hear for piranha
In very big groups they may be fairly peaceful, but in my experience
they often look tatty around the fins, and personally, I don't
think they're particularly good fish. Very hardy and very pretty,
so perhaps a good
choice for their own planted aquarium, maybe an Amano style one in a 20
gallon tank. A dozen Serpae tetras might be fun there. But that's
More will be added in the future but I don't want to overload that
tank too quickly.
<P. pictus is easily kept with tankmates. Ideal choices including
Bleeding Heart Tetras, Rainbowfish, Swordtails, and medium-sized Barbs.
Mr. PICTUS HAS ? Like a game-show...
Hi Crew !
Mr. Pictus, here, has come down with something. This does not
look like run - of - the - mill Ick, to me.
<But it is... in a very high density stage... You need to
raise the water temperature very high, now... IF the other
livestock can take it to the high 80s F>
This appears more like he was dipped and rolled in cream of
wheat. It is raised and tan in color. And he is loaded
with it. This is the best pic I was able to get.
Most likely this has been stress induced. Last week I moved him
to a different tank. Tank mates were 4 Checkered Barbs and a pair
of Jewel Cichlids...The infamous Rhett and Scarlett. The Barbs
were the first to go in...left for two days, then Mr. Pictus was
put in and left for two days, then Rhett for two days, then
When Pictus was put in he never quite settled in. Instead of
cruising he was zooming. I had him in there for a week and
couldn't take it anymore so I put him back in the other tank.
He zoomed for a day then went in his log and seemed ok but
yesterday he looked exhausted. He just rested his head in a
branch opening and had short but rapid breathing...not right for
him. Last night I moved his log to have a look see and found him
covered in this.
I moved him to the med tank. He had also broken his long whisker.
The whisker looks like he snagged it on something because it is
slightly bent at the point of the break. If he makes it will it
<If not rotted too far back, yes>
I heard these Pictus are sensitive to meds
<This is so>
so how should I proceed.
I was trying to re-create the original conditions of when Rhett
and Scarlett were breeding.
BTY, New 55 gallon, Carib Sea Instant Aquarium substrate,
Established Emperor 400 HOB filter. Params ammonia and nitrate -
0, nitrate - trace, PH - 8.
<Too high for a Pimelodid>
Thanks again ! You guys are the best !
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwichsenslvstk.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mr. PICTUS HAS ?
Mr. Pictus's whisker doesn't appear to have any rot but
is just bent slightly at the point of the break.
<Evidence of decomposition... call it what you will>
I kicked up the heat in the med tank where he is by himself.
Though I am still unclear as to do I use salt or not...just heat
<No salt on Pimelodids... read>
There is sooo much to read and Mr. Pictus is in such bad shape.
He already went belly - up while I was waiting for your reply. I
turned him right side up where he still is. This advanced stage
came up very fast as he was clean when I first put him in the new
tank and clean when I put him back in his old tank. ( I would not
have put him in the main tank if he showed any signs of Ick !
<Do take extreme care NOT to move anything wet from this
system to your other tanks... hands, arms included>
He just wouldn't settle in the new tank. Bam during the
course of a day he looked like this ! I'm glad I checked
him last night ! One of the Checkered Barbs is now showing little
icks on his tail (in the new tank ). Everyone in the old tank
seems to be doing business as usual. The Checkered Australian
Rainbows even mated -again- this morning. ( and a feast of caviar
was had by all ! LOL )
All of these fish had been together last fall ( Pictus ,
Checkered Barbs and the Jewel Cichlid pair ) until the Cichlids
babies hatched on New Years Day. I took Mr. Pictus out a few days
after the babies started coming out.
I pulled the carbon and put some QuICK Cure in the tank with the
Jewels and Barbs. I am going to hang loose with the main tank but
will watch it very closely.
Thanks a Bunch !
<Do keep us updated Sooz. Cheers, BobF>
Re Sick Pimelodid 4/9/2010
> Hello Bob,
> I read your reply with interest. I was going to answer that
one, and felt it looked like Costia. Guess I'd have been
<Actually... I/no one can/could be sure here... as usual w/o
microscopic examination... The symptomology are similar for
both... and some other Protozoan parasites of fishes... I really
wish there was a simple method of our describing, illustrating
the more common species, get more folks to purchase a cheap USB
> I am confused by your comment about not using salt with
Pimelodids. How can you treat Ick with just heat?
<Have done so many times... perhaps analogous to folks staying
in bed, elevation of their body temperatures effecting cures for
I didn't think that worked. For what it's worth, quite a
few Pimelodids enter brackish water in parts of their range,
including Pimelodus blochii and Brachyplatystoma vaillantii, so I
don't think the necessarily low salinity is likely to cause
<Mmm, how to put this Neale... Between you and I, and knowing
each of our backgrounds, I would choose to make "less
general" statements on a daily basis; but I have found on
the Net that it is very important to make "hard and
fast" statements to keep hobbyists out of trouble. I would
not expose Pimelodus/Pimelodella spp. to salts... particularly
the likelihood that many would/do choose NaCl... I assure you,
the high temp. suggested here, if applied in time, will effect a
Certainly no more so than with clown loaches or Mormyrids, where
you'd use salt rather than copper.
> Cheers, Neale
<And you, BobF>
Re: Mr. PICTUS HAS ?
Hello Bob and Crew,
More observations on the broken whisker. It has been changing
rapidly in the last 24 hours. I can clearly see the rot now and
earlier this morning the other whisker began to rot as well.
Sorry to report Mr. Pictus has expired around noon today.
On a side note to Neale (and a much happier one ) My Banjo Cat
was put in with the Guppies and a trio of Kuhli Loaches when last
he and I wrote. The Banjo Is really cool. He eats from my finger
now. Actually comes down
seeking the pellet. He has a good appetite and appears to be
doing fine. He has a very small territory. Seems to be no more
than a 6 " range from his shady plant. Of course I don't
know what he does when the lights go out but he's close to
his plant the rest of the time and not afraid to come out at chow
Thanks once again for your input.
<Will share w/ Neale Sooz. Cheers, BobF>
What does my pictus catfish have? &
Costia/Protozoan FW dis f' 3/1/10
Hi Guys! I love your site...lots of good information. I have a well
established 55 gallon freshwater community tank (1 giant Pleco, Danios,
3 Goramis, 1 upside down catfish, 2 clown loaches and 2 pictus catfish)
Everybody seems very content, but I have noticed in just the past two
days that one of my pictus is not doing too well. His typical shiny
skin has become dull and his markings are not as vivid.
<Do check he isn't bullied, and that the aquarium conditions are
optimal for the species. They can become a little duller with age, but
should always look silvery and alert. Excessive slime production can
dull their colours, and this is often a sign of stress, whether social
or environmental. Diet needs to be sufficiently varied too, with
particular importance placed on balance. Pimelodus pictus is a
predator, but this doesn't mean live fish should be used. Feeder
fish are a great way to introduce all sorts of bacterial and parasite
problems. Thiaminase is another issue with predators, and if you've
used too many prawns and mussels, and not enough foods that don't
have thiaminase, you can create problems in the long term with vitamin
B1 deficiency. It seems fairly apparent that this is a big problem with
I have been looking carefully for any kind of fuzziness or
"soft" look, thinking it may possibly be a fungal infection,
but his skin appears to be smooth, just cloudy and dull looking.
<Difficult to say, though I'd be aware of Costia ("Slime
Disease") as this tends to cause excessive mucous production.
It's contagious and difficult to cure once established. But still,
I'd nudge my thoughts towards stress, particularly if this fish is
otherwise in good health.>
I am very hesitant to use any kind of medication in the tank for fear
it will do more harm than good. Do you have any recommendations? As
much as I would hate to do it, I would rather euthanize this fish than
jeopardize the rest of my tank (many of these fish are 7+ years old).
This tank has good aeration (bubbler, 60G filter, and a powerhead),
temp runs @ 79 degrees, nitrate less than 10ppm, nitrite 0, hardness
(GH) 75 ppm, alkalinity and pH chronically run a tad low..KH 60ppm and
pH about 6.5.
Any advice you have would be great!
<The low pH and low hardness, does make me worry that instability
with regard to water chemistry might be a factor. Your tank is also far
too warm for this species. Like most Pimelodidae, Pimelodus pictus
prefers fairly cool water, around 22-24 C/72-75 F, much like things
like Neons and Corydoras. This is a general issue with South American
fish, far too many people overheating them, and in the long term, this
can cause problems. So, without a photo can't say anything
specific, but hope there are a few things for you to think about.
Re: What does my pictus catfish have? 3/1/10
Thanks so much for your quick reply!
<Happy to help.>
This pictus seems to otherwise be healthy...eating well with no
I think you are right; this probably is due to the water pH and
hardness being a bit low.
I am currently treating the tank to bring those up a bit and he is
already looking a little better.
As far as the Costia, what are the preferred methods to try to treat
it? I know that scaleless fish like the pictus and loaches are super
sensitive, and if I ever had to treat for it I would like to know how
to go about it.
<Either salt (a combination of dips and constant exposure in the
aquarium) or some proprietary medication. The former is perhaps best
Also, in regard to food, what foods do you recommend to prevent the B1
<Do read here:
In general, if your catfish is mostly eating pellets and wet-frozen
bloodworms, this isn't going to be an issue. But predatory fish
that just eat seafood and fish need to be handled with a bit more
I am so glad your website is out there...it is astounding how hard it
is to get the right information for maintaining healthy tanks...even
the companies that manufacture the goods don't seem to be sure
about what is actually good for fish!
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Barb Tank, Tiger and Pictus cats --
Hey Guys, love the site. Anywho, onward with questions of my new tank.
I'm on my second tank and it's been years since my first. I
moved so I gave away my mollies away in my old tank years ago. So I
grabbed a 20 gallon
Long and bought some small tiger barbs. Three to be exact.
<Bad number. Keep in groups of six or more.>
After the third day of my tank running the store said my PH was just a
bit high but if I acclimated them for 30-40mins they should be
<Define a "high" pH. For standard community tank
fishkeeping, the optimal pH is 7.5. Filter bacteria are happiest
between 7.5 and 8.2, and as the pH drops below that level, filtration
rate slows down. Now, it's also crucial
to understand that pH doesn't matter to your fish. Tiger Barbs will
do perfectly well in anything from 6.0 to 8.0. What matters rather more
is hardness. For general, casual fishkeeping you want moderate general
hardness (so both soft and hard water fish can be kept) but the
carbonate hardness (sometimes called alkalinity) should not be too low.
Very low carbonate hardness creates unstable water chemistry
conditions. Do read here:
So I bought Four 1" barbs and introduced them. One of the barbs
became ill suddenly, skinny, would not eat, and had what appeared to be
mouth fungus, barely swimming.
<Do review water quality. In particular, Barbs are sensitive to
nitrite and ammonia levels that aren't zero.>
The other guys were fine, seemed happy, hungry, and chased each other
around a lot :-). Long story short, I had not yet got a hospital tank.
He's gone. Monitored the water for the next eight days everything
No Ammonia spike, no illness, and I planted a Wendtii on my fifth day.
On the eighth day I picked up two more tiger barbs and a pectis catfish
figuring this should do it for the fish in my tank even though the
sales clerk said I could get more later.
<"Pectis" catfish? Never heard of that. Do you mean a
Pictus Catfish, Pimelodus pictus? This is a SCHOOLING and PREDATORY
South American catfish. Tolerant in terms of water chemistry, but
doesn't like very warm
water. Indeed, like virtually all of the Pimelodidae, it's best
kept between 22-24 C (72-75 F) and certainly no higher than 25 C (77
F). Since it reaches a length of 15 cm/6 inches, it obviously can't
be kept in a 20 gallon tank for long. A group of three or more will
need a tank at least twice that size.>
From my research 5 barbs and a pectis should max out a 20L tank.
<In your dreams! Pimelodus pictus is a highly active, riverine,
schooling species that needs masses of space. Look at how streamlined
it is! Look at that huge tail fin! That's a fish made for swimming.
It wants a strong water current (turnover at least six times the volume
of the tank, and ideally eight or ten times). Lots of oxygen!>
Anyway, not five hrs after introduction one of my fish had a rather
rapid development of cotton on his mouth AGAIN. Quarantined the fish.
Water reads as follows on the 10th day. N03, maybe a tad above 0 but
practically white on my tests strip. N02, none. Hardness is too high at
around 150 ppm.
Alkalinity too low at about 100 ppm. PH perfect at 7.2.
<The way you're talking about "too high" or "too
low" suggests you don't
actually understand anything about these parameters. Read the article
mentioned above, and also this one:
Don't think about what conditions a fish would experience in the
wild, but instead think about what conditions would be most stable in
I'm using Mardel test strips if that helps. No apparent illness in
any more fish as of yet. But my barbs do seem to congregate around the
heater staring at the element doing bows to it when the lights out and
my pectis is out of hiding quite often when lights are on, I believe I
read they like to hide.
<They are SCHOOLING fish, and singletons spend their (brief) lives
in terror until for one reason or another just die.>
Water has been kept at a balmy 80 degrees and I also added two
tablespoons of salt before introducing first barbs.
<Again, why do you think either of these things help? The tank is
MUCH too warm for either species. As temperature goes up, oxygen
concentration goes down. This is a bad thing. As for salt, do either of
these species come from brackish water? No. So why add salt? Why would
Fish store said Pectis would do fine at this temp.
My friend who's owned fish for a while suspects the store does not
quarantine new barbs and that's where the infections are coming
from and that maybe I caught the new fish infections quick enough.
<Possible, though difficult to rule in or out.>
What are my next steps?
<Read, read, and then read some more. Lots of beginner's
Re: Barb Tank -- 12/15/09
Thanks for the tips!
I've learned to do much more research and perhaps switch stores due
to their recommendation of 78-82 for barbs, 78-80 for pictis, I lowered
temp to 77.
<A good temperature for most tropical fish.>
I've researched a lot of your site and will do things much
differently if I have to start a new tank up.
I got the pictus some sinking carnivore tablets but I do not see him
<They're somewhat nocturnal. They prefer small chunks of
wet-frozen or fresh seafood. A little white fish, a little chopped
mussel and prawn, the odd earthworm, a cube of frozen bloodworms or
krill... all these will work well. As with all predatory fish, the key
is variety. Catfish pellets will be taken, and make good vitamin
boosters, but I'd tend not to rely on them unless you really had no
The barbs picked off the two that I dropped. Hopefully I can find a new
home for the pictus. Behavior wise he seems better. He was very active
against the wall like he was swimming to get out the first 24 hrs.
<Yes, in keeping with species.>
Now he's staying at the bottom but still active and sometimes
hiding under the Wendtii, never uses my cave though.
<Not a cave-dwelling species. In groups these fish are super-active,
almost like wolves, constantly pacing the aquarium.>
I bought a new 6500k bulb a week ago, and the one things that's
great is my Wendtii looks healthier than any in the stores tank and
sprouted a lot of new growth.
<An excellent plant species, C. wendtii. There are some very hardy
and attractive varieties to choose from.>
My ammonia levels crept up from 0 to .25 mg/L after ten days of
Hmmm.. they said to wait two weeks for water change.
<Nonsense, do water changes! You don't need non-zero ammonia
levels for the filter to mature. Any ammonia you detect is ammonia the
bacteria aren't using. It's surplus. Since the fish add more
ammonia all the time, you're free to dilute the surplus ammonia
through water changes as often as you want.>
Should I change 10% or 20% today (10 days) or wait the full 14?
<Would do a 10-20% change every day or two until you keep having
zero levels of ammonia and nitrite. Cheers, Neale.>
Pictus with health problems - 10/06/2009
I really would appreciate some help with my one remaining Pictus
<Sure, fire away!>
I had 4, but 3 of them have died, with very generic symptoms.
<In which case, reviewing the environment is often a good first
I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 5 nitrate.
The pH is high, not sure what, but I have been working on bringing it
down gradually with the regular water changes, using an increasing
percentage of RO water.
<Do remember here that these catfish are fine between pH 6 and 8.
There's no advantage to altering water unless you have to, and
changes in water chemistry can be stressful for your fish.>
Anyway, I originally bought 3 pictus. These fish did fine for about 3
weeks, I believe. At that time, I bought a 4th pictus and kept him
quarantined. He had a net caught on his fin from a local store.
<Common problem. In itself, not a disaster.>
The other three fish were in their regular tank. One evening, they
stopped eating and they were breathing heavy. This was the first clue
anything was wrong.
<Indeed. Check the pH hasn't changed suddenly, that the water
isn't too warm, and that the filter is working properly. If there
are tankmates, check there's nothing overly aggressive or nippy.
Finally, think about potential poisons: copper and formalin in
particular are particularly toxic to catfish, but widely included in
medications for whitespot/ick and things like Finrot and fungus. Other
poisons include paint fumes and bug spray.>
The next morning, I noticed that their coloring was off. Almost like
the dark spots had faded. At this point, they were very clearly
<When this happens, do a 50% water changes. If the fish perk up,
it's a good sign environment was the thing.>
But with virtually no symptoms to go on, I had no idea what to do. I
went to the one store that caries actual antibiotics and bought Furan
2, because it seemed like the most likely option at the time. After a
little more research, the closest thing I could come up with was gill
flukes. I bought the API General Cure, with metronidazole and some
Praziquantel in it. I wasn't sure what else to do because the
symptoms were so vague.
<Hmm... do be careful with these. Besides copper and formalin,
there's no certainty medications won't work badly in
After adding the second medicine, the fish seemed almost immediately
better, they even resumed eating. The following morning, the 4th pictus
<Treat with salt/heat.>
I was very concerned about over-medicating in his small tank, so I
medicated the large tank for ich, and added the 4th pictus. I followed
the directions for the medicines. All fish appeared to be doing better.
Then I finished the dosage. At that time I increased the aquarium salt
(I found out I didn't have enough in there to treat ich) to 2.5 tsp
per gallon, per Neale's instructions to others, as the 4th pictus
still had some ich spots on him, and the other fish each had about 5-7
ich spots as well. (How they got ich with medication in the water is
<Usually comes with new fish.>
At this time, all 4 fish stopped eating again. I tested the water. No
ammonia, and no nitrite. I did a water change. The next day all four
fish looked worse. Their barbels had gotten very weak, instead of
almost straight out like they were. The pictus with ich died that day.
I did another water change, and did not add salt for the water that I
removed, because I had no idea what else to do (the water is now about
1.75 tsp per gallon). The following day, the smallest pictus got very
weak, and died. Then, the day after that, the largest pictus became
very weak and died. The final pictus is still not eating.
<API Quick Cure contains formalin, and that could easily be killing
(He may have taken a couple of bites the last 2 days, but I don't
think he ate anything today). I have remedicated the tank, this time
with Prazi-Pro, and another dose of the Furan-2.
<This battery of medications without any particular rationale behind
them could be causing the problems. This point cannot be stressed too
When fish are sick, they shouldn't be subjected to medication after
medication -- it almost never helps. It's much better to step back,
do a water change, review water chemistry (specifically, water
chemistry stability), and try and diagnose the problem. If all else
fails, write to us!>
I didn't want to use the metronidazole again, because I read that
it builds up in the fish, and eventually poisons them.
<Don't know about this. It should metabolise pretty
And really, I don't know how much remedicating will help anyway, I
just am at a complete loss as to what else to do. I'm beginning to
think that there is no hope. So to sum it up, the only symptoms I have
seen is a loss of appetite, loss of color, heavy breathing, lethargy
and soon afterwards, death.
<All these things sound "environmental" to me, as outlined
I'm sorry for my novel, I just want to help this fish. I don't
know what else to do. Thank-you so much in advance for your help, and I
really appreciate everything you guys do.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Pictus with health problems - 10/06/2009
The reason I am adding RO water is that our pH is somewhere above 8.4,
which I understand is too high.
<Indeed. But be sure and mix the RO water with some hard water. At a
guess, a 50/50 mix should do the trick. That's easy to remember,
which is why I do this with my fish. One bucket of rainwater to one
bucket of tap water.
Can't really go wrong. But by all means experiment and see what
There is nothing else in this tank currently, other than the pictus.
All of the pictus got along fabulously, other than the one that was a
little more shy (the remaining one), and he wasn't being picked on.
I don't believe the pH had any sudden changes, although I can't
be sure, as even the high range pH test kits I have seen don't go
as high our tap water is.
I have been making the change to adding some RO water VERY gradually,
just increasing a little bit with the regular water changes. The filter
has been good the whole time. We have a power head for extra aeration
and current for the fish. Before we started having the health problems,
there was nothing added to the tank, other than water conditioner.
There are also no poisons in that room, as that is our bedroom, and we
haven't used any in that house at all.
I am having trouble remembering, but I believe we didn't do a water
change after the fish became sick, because we had just done one
(without RO water) 2-3 days before that.
<Understandable. But still, would have been a good idea.>
We did do a water change after we finished medicating, and added the
carbon back in the filter.
<Carbon will remove some things, like formalin, but it won't
remove others, like copper. As you may recall, activated carbon adsorbs
specifically organic chemicals, not inorganic salts.>
That was when the fish became worse again. When I bought the
medications, I checked that they didn't have any of the same
ingredients, and I attempted to research online as to whether or not
those medications would be okay in conjunction with one another.
<"Researching online" is a bit hopeless here. If you'd
have called a vet, he or she would have said "No idea. Could be
safe, might be dangerous." To expect fishkeepers do any better is
optimistic. The reality is that there are *so* many variables here,
that no-one would be able to give you a reliable answer.>
Some other people had used them together with success.
At the time, I was very concerned that if I had chosen the wrong med,
the fish would be dead by the time I could start the right med after
the first one.
<Yes, that's a risk. But it's better to lose one fish
because you didn't diagnose the disease in time, than to poison the
whole tank while trying a scattergun approach.>
That was probably an incorrect choice, but I was desperate.
I did try to research the safety of the meds in question for catfish,
and I didn't find anything about them being unsafe for them.
<Copper and formalin toxicity are well known, and mentioned in both
the fish health books I have sitting on the table right next to me. The
problem with web sites is that they aren't necessarily put together
by experts. Or at least, not by vets or zoologists. Owning at least one
reliable fish healthcare book is money extremely well spent.>
I also was not aware that General Cure has formalin in it. (It
isn't listed on the package. They should probably list it
<I just checked. The General Cure powder doesn't, it contains
metronidazole and Praziquantel. My mistake. It's Quick Cure that
has formalin in it.>
There have been 2 or 3 water changes following the one after
(These were the first water changes using some RO water, I
It has been, I believe, 4 or 5 days since the last water change. I was
planning on doing another one tonight. Thank-you so much for all of
<I'm still concerned that the variety of medications could be
harming your fish. Virtually all (non-antibiotic) medications are
poisons at some level, and work by killing disease-causing organisms
before they kill the patient.
Overuse, or combinations, can be toxic. Catfish generally are
sensitive, so you have to be doubly careful around them. Still, I admit
that I don't have any idea what caused the initial problem, though
it sounds environmental more than anything else.>
Catfish problems, comp. 9/29/2009
Hi crew! I have a 4 1/2 inch Pictus Catfish who
recently was accompanied by a South African Cichlid (species is
unknown, was an adoption fish).
<I see. Do try and send us a photo, and we'll put a name on the
There aren't many cichlids native to South Africa as such, and I
wonder if you mean a South American cichlid? South American cichlids
are generally fairly placid and get along fine with catfish, but East
African cichlids, by which we usually mean Rift Valley cichlids,
usually can't be kept with catfish. They are far too territorial
and aggressive. Moreover, Rift Valley cichlids require much different
water chemistry conditions to South American catfish such as Pimelodus
pictus. One last thing: Pimelodus pictus are schooling fish, and really
shouldn't be kept in groups less than three.>
The Cichlid was fine with the Catfish, didn't bother him at all
until a few days after we received him.
<Often the case. Initially the cichlid was exploring the tank and
figuring out who lived there. With that done, and once the cichlid
feels secure, it becomes territorial, and that's usually when
trouble starts. Juvenile
cichlids are less aggressive than sexually mature cichlids, so
that's another reason why a peaceful cichlid can suddenly appear to
He started to turn on him, chasing him from one end of the tank to
another violently ramming and nipping at my Catfish. The following day
after it had happened I said enough is enough and took the Cichlid back
to the store. My Catfish is now bruised and hurt, and I really hate to
see him like this.
He behaves normally and eats properly, but I was wondering if I could
possibly put an Oscar fish in the tank with him when he is all better?
I know Oscars can be aggressive at times and will eat smaller fish, but
bought one as a teen, maybe 2 inch long, would my Catfish and the Oscar
<Depends on the size of the Oscar. Adult Oscars view catfish as
food: their strong jaws evolved to crack open hard prey, mostly crabs,
crayfish and snails in the wild, but occasionally small catfish as well
(apparently Corydoras!) So I wouldn't risk a small Pimelodus pictus
with a big Oscar. A juvenile Oscar would be fine, I'd just be wary
about a full-grown specimen.
Be careful with Oscars though; they are huge fish, and expensive to
keep properly. Not fish to buy on impulse! Pimelodus pictus actually
work much better with non-aggressive South American cichlids of medium
size, including Angelfish, Severums, Eartheaters, and so on. Medium to
large Gouramis are also good. Of course, Pimelodus pictus are predatory
themselves, so very small (or baby) tankmates would be a bad
I am sorry for my ignorance in this area, I am 13 and have only been
keeping aquariums for 9 months now.
<Welcome to the hobby! Hope everything works out. Cheers,
Poor Pictus Catfish 9/26/09
I (possibly foolishly) bought a Pictus Catfish, from a store in my
We have three others, and he will eventually go in with them. He had a
piece of net stuck on his fin, and I felt that I had to help him. A few
days later the net actually fell off. However, I noticed that he is
missing the spine from that fin (one of his pectoral fins) completely.
He still has the skin from that fin. Will the spine grow back, and if
not, will this affect him in a negative way? Is there anything that I
can add to help prevent infection, or to help the spine grow back? I
should point out that he is currently being treated for ich. (This
store is TERRIBLE to their fish. I have considered reporting them).
Thank-you so much for your help.
<Hello Lindsay. The short answer is that yes, the spine and the fin
membrane should grow back. Assuming water quality was good, I
wouldn't bother adding any medication to the aquarium. Under normal
circumstances, fish repair this type of physical quite quickly. Keep an
eye out on the catfish for the next week, and if you do see signs of
bacterial or fungal infection, then yes, medicate. But do remember
catfish are sensitive to things like copper and formalin, so you need
to be careful what medications you choose. If you had Melafix to hand,
I suppose you might use that right away as a mild antiseptic, but I
personally wouldn't go out of my way to buy a bottle of the stuff.
Jack Dempsey, Convict and Pictus
<Good evening from England!>
I have 1 Jack Dempsey who is approx 5 years and 8" long and a
Yesterday I purchased two Pictus Catfish.
<These South American catfish are incompatible with your Central
American cichlids; putting aside their different water chemistry
requirements, Pimelodus pictus is a fairly peaceful, schooling catfish.
It simply isn't psychologically or physically equipped to survive
alongside violent, territorial cichlids. The species won't learn
about territories, and will continually brush up against the
This morning I found 1 Catfish dead on the bottom of the tank.
The other one seems fine.
Do you think the Jack or Convict killed him/her.
<Yes; my money is on the JD, but there's not much in it.>
And, also do you think the other Catfish will be okay.
He ate his breakfast and right now he is hiding behind a rock.
<Already not normal behaviour: these schooling catfish (keep in
groups of 5 or more, please!) are famous for being active, open water
fish -- the fact this lone specimen is hiding away at all is strongly
indicative of things "not being right". Needs rehoming,
Look forward to hearing from you soon.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Jack Dempsey, Convict and Pictus
Thank you very much. This was helpful.
But one more question, are there any fish I would be able to put in the
tank w/JD. My algae eaters seem fine.
<To be honest, no. I've kept Central Americans with large
Loricariids such as Pterygoplichthys (what I assume you mean by
"algae eaters") and also with large Ictalurus "Channel
catfish". These latter are bigger than the cichlids and extremely
powerful animals in their own right, and they more or less rule the
roost as far as the middle layer of the water goes. I also kept a
Florida Gar with my Central Americans. In this case, sheer size helped,
though the fact Gar stay at the top of the tank doubtless helps by
avoiding territorial issues. These were all in a 200 Imperial gallon
(240 US gallon) system, so my comments should be taken in the context
of maintenance in a very large aquarium.>
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Pictus Catfish disappearance 3/26/09
I have had a ten gallon aquarium with a small pictus catfish and a
small Bala shark for about a month now.
<Completely unacceptable for these fish, and any/all problems you
have will come down to this. Both these fish are schooling species for
a start, so need to be kept in groups. I'd recommend at least three
of each, and ideally 5-6 of each, if you had the space. Pimelodus
pictus gets to about 12 cm in length under aquarium conditions, so it
isn't too big, but Balantiocheilos melanopterus is much bigger,
easily 25+ cm. In other words, you'll need a 115 l/30 gallon tank
for the Pimelodus, and a tank at least twice that size for the
They got along perfectly fine.
<Famous last words.>
I kept them on a diet of sinking shrimp pellets, flake food, and frozen
brine and neither had trouble eating. I noticed both yesterday when I
fed them, but today the pictus catfish is gone. I don't believe
that the Bala shark attacked/killed/ate the pictus catfish overnight,
especially when I've kept them comfortably fed.
<Likely jumped out, or simply died and the corpse was eaten.>
I've read that the pictus catfish doesn't jump, burrow, or
hide, and to check I've searched all around the outside of the
aquarium, stirred up the gravel, and pulled up the fake plants, but it
is nowhere to be found.
<Perhaps it chose suicide over a long, lingering death? I don't
mean to be harsh (though I admit that I am) but there is absolutely no
way either of these fish could be maintained for long in this tank.
They were going to die quickly one way or another.>
Also, it had a habit of circling up and down the wall by the filter,
but I checked the filter (a long shot) and it wasn't there
<Any cats or dogs? Fish-flavored jerky would be gone in no
Thank you for your time, Michelle
<Please do review the needs of your fish PRIOR to purchase. It's
best for all concerned. Do see my article on stocking small tanks,
Return the Bala Shark and select a few small fish viable for the tank
you have. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Pictus Catfish disappearance 03/26/09
Oh. Um, I don't know how it's possible, but I just found the
catfish back in the tank, against all reason. Thank you for the advice;
as much as I love them both, I'll return them both and get more
suitable fish from your article. Lesson learned, I will never listen to
the fish care/tank size labels at Petsmart again.
<Hello Michelle. Well, today you've been [a] lucky and [b] wise,
which isn't a bad way to be. I'm glad you've found the lost
fish, and I'm even gladder you've returned them and are now all
set to stock with some sensible fish. May I humbly suggest that no
matter what you add, add some Cherry shrimps. These are about the most
fun you can have with 10 gallons of water! They're colorful, easy
to keep, active, and best of all, breed readily. Watching the newly
hatched babies is quite the most darling thing! Cheers, Neale.>
Pimelodid Cats One other question and I promise I leave you
in peace.. Whats a pimellid catfish?? I have two pictus catfish (dot
and spot) that I've had for over a year <that's them...
Pimelodus pictus (the scientific name)> and they are about 3-4 in
the white fin shark I've had a little longer than the two pictus
catfish and he is about 6 in in length.. Just curious.. The pictus I
did research and read they would get up to 5-6 in. They love blood
worms and strangely enough love the Plecos algae tablets.. <and they
will eat small live fish, including goldfish when the cats are big
enough!> All of the fish I have now, I've had for 8 mo.s to a
year and a half except the barbs and the Severum.. I may end up having
to give my Severum to a friend of mine that has a 55 gal cichlid tank
if he starts getting too big.. <agreed> <best of luck,
Pictus Cat Questions... beh., sys., comp. Hello Crew...Thanks
for your previous help with setting up my tanks. <Glad we were able
to help.> Now I think I may have made a mistake in buying a 3
1/2-inch Pictus Cat. I've had him in quarantine for about a week. I
read up on him a little beforehand, but I admit I bought him mostly
because I like the way he looks. <They are really neat looking.>
Anyway, I have a couple concerns. I wasn't aware that we would
behave so frantically, swimming constantly up and down. Is he likely to
calm down when I put him in my 75-gallon community (or my 125-gallon
Bala tank--haven't decided)? <Yes, he should. They are pretty
active fish but in a tank that size he should relax considerably.>
My QT has no substrate at all; I've heard the reflection of the
bare bottom contributes to this behavior. True? <Very possible.>
Also, I know he might eat small fish, but I thought my 2-inch Buenos
Aires Tetras would be safe. The other day a woman told me she had a
4-inch Pictus that ate a 3-inch Red-Tail Shark! Is this possible, or is
it likely the shark died and then was eaten? Thanks. --Charlie <My
guess would be that the shark died first and was then eaten although I
can't say for sure. At the size he is now, your Tetras should be
safe for a while. He'd probably go the best in your Bala tank
eventually but I really can't see him eating the Tetras until
he's a bit larger. Ronni>
Pictus Catfish Flashing I just bought 2 pictus catfish
wanted to know if it's normal for them to scrape the bottom of
tank? Thanks. April <<Dear April, no, it's not normal.
Chances are good they have a parasite called Ich. You can find a
medication for it at your local fish store. Tell them it is for a
scaleless catfish. The meds will need to be used at half dosage, so
read the directions carefully. What size is the tank? How often do you
do water changes? You will need to keep your water quality good and
your temperature stable if you hope to keep these fish parasite-free.
Make sure your temperature is at a stable 78-80F. -Gwen>>
Pictus cat health, behavior We have 2 Pictus catfish and
they both stay hidden in each of their own spots. We have several
different kinds of sharks in the 55 gal. tank. I wanted to know
if there is anything we can do to make them as lively as we have
heard of them to be? Thank you, Chad Crawford <Mmm,
strange they aren't active... This catfish does enjoy warmer
water... upper seventies, low eighties F... and your
minnow-sharks should be able to tolerate this... so I would raise
your temp. if it isn't tropical. What are you feeding the
Pictus? They need at least twice daily meaty foods... that get
down to them... Not just flakes or pellets. This will make a huge
difference in their behavior, health... Lastly and least likely,
what's your water chemistry? They like soft, acidic water...
but will tolerate mid hardness, neutral pH... Bob
Re: Pictus cat health, behavior... Uhhh, did you read the
last response? We keep the temperature at about 75-76
degrees. We feed them shrimp pellets. <Could be warmer... and
as stated before, they need more than pelleted food...>
I'm not sure what the water chemistry is, I know it's
hard water. <And what type of water do these fish prefer?>
When we first got them we loved them <<no my friend, you
"loved" only what they did for you>> because they
swam around everywhere and were really fun to watch, but now all
they do is hide in the two caves we have in the tank, guarding
their area. We're wondering if maybe we should get a couple
more of the Pictus Catfish and maybe they would be more active
altogether. The other fish we have in the tank are 3 tiger barbs,
1 black finned shark, 1 silver tipped shark, 1 rainbow shark and
2 red tailed sharks. -Thanks! <Could add more... but your tank
is already going to be overcrowded with growth of what you
have... You need to alter the diet, perhaps change your water
quality here. Bob Fenner>
Pinkish Pictus - 10/20/2005 Dear Wet Web Media <Good
morning, Charlotte.> I am hoping you can help me, we have two pictus
catfish which we have had for just over a year. They seem to
be fine, but the larger one of the two has developed a pink hue to the
tail and fins. Is this normal <Unlikely.> or could it
have joint problems as these are the jointed parts of the body? <Mm,
actually, likelier that this is some sort of
irritation.... likely due to environmental
conditions. With no information on your system, this really
can't be diagnosed.> They live in a community planted aquarium
and get on very well with our four yoyo loaches. They are
fed frozen blood worm and cat pellets in the main as have never shown
an interest in other varieties of live and frozen food we have
tried. I did search your site for a similar question but
couldn't see anything there. Thank you so much for your
time and consideration. <Test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and
nitrate; maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm
with water changes.... and go on from there.> Charlotte
<Wishing you well, -Sabrina> Catfish Dying
Off 12/10/05 I have a dilemma which no one in the local
resources seems to be able to answer. I have had Pictus catfish within
the last year and within a month all three suddenly died. They were
swimming around fairly active and eating well and one morning they died
within 10 minutes of each other. The other fish (red tiger cichlids, 2
Palo shark and 1 common Plecos) did fine and have displayed no strange
behaviours. Then I tried two silver tip (Columbian) catfish. They were
fine for about three weeks then started to die. One this morning. The
other fish are fine. The catfish was fine last night swimming around
between the cave and the open tank (30 gallon). I changed the water
last night and checked the levels based on the testing system purchased
and all levels indicate either "ideal" or "safe"
conditions. Any advice or guidance would be appreciated. I have
not had fish for some time (about 15 years) and maybe I am not doing
something correctly. I hate to bring any other catfish into the
tank until I know what I am doing incorrectly. Thank you, Shauna <
The fish you are having problems with are sensitive to copper. New
copper pipes in the water system may be a cause. Sometimes rocks have
copper in them that can leach out into the water. Check the pH too.
Wide changes in pH are tough on catfish.-Chuck>
Catfish Stocking 12/12/05 Hi there, I've been
lurking around your FAQ section to see if I could find any information
about the actual appropriate tank size for the Sorubim lima
(Shovelnose) catfish. The reason why I ask is because I am very
interested as having three or two of these very cool cats, as tankmates
for my Senegal Bichir. As of now I have a
48''x14''x14'' tank that my friend gave me to
get me started in the aquarium hobby. In fact, he has kept four S.
limas in this very tank, and stated that they lived long healthy lives
before he moved into his now smaller home and had to get rid of them.
The S. limas he had were all between 10'' - 13'' and
were about full 'aquarium size', though they can get about two
feet in the wild. I figured I would be fine for at least two years
before I wanted to upgrade to the 120 - 180 gallon tank of my dreams.
Please confirm that I have nothing to worry about. I would hate knowing
that I was subjecting an animal to poor conditions, when everyone I
know that is aquarium wise keep telling me that I'll be fine with
those stock levels (x1 P. senegalus 12in., x3 S. limas 12 in.). I think
I might be just paranoid. Thanks a lot for any information you give me.
- Red <This should work just fine as long as you stay on top of your
water changes. Try to get the Limas small and let them grow together.
And be aware they will eat any fish that will fit in their mouths.
Don> Firemouth Cichlid With Pictus Cat 12/15/05 I just
revisited the post below, from last summer, and saw the additional note
by RMF. So my follow-up question is, if not an Oscar, is there another
SA cichlid you'd recommend? What about a Firemouth? Thanks MJ <
The problem with adding any cichlid to this system is the fact that
they will assume that the whiskers of the catfish are worms and have
them bitten off in no time at all. A keyhole cichlid or festivum might
work, but it would depend on the personality of the actual fish. I
agree with RMF that an Oscar would be a bad idea.-Chuck> Oscar Mix
7.24.05 I'm setting up a new 135, and plan to stock it with 7
Metynnis hypsauchen and three Pimelodus pictus. Do you think a single
Oscar would be a reasonable addition? If so, I'm assuming that I
would want to add it 1) small and 2) last; is that right? If it spends
4 weeks in the Q-tank, is it still going to be small enough to add
without undue problems? How big should the other guys be before I
undertake this (if at all)? <I'd feel ok about an Oscar in this
mix, 135gallons should be enough room. Just make sure no one
is small enough to fit in anyone else's mouth, mainly the
Oscar's. After 4 weeks of quarantine he will still be
small enough to add to the mix. Gage> <<RMF would
not place a pictus catfish and Oscar in the same system>>
Question about goldfish with catfish
4/8/06 Hiya! <Jason N. here.> I love your
site - so much info! <Thank you!> I'm a new goldfish keeper -
I've been keeping tropical fish (mostly tetras and danios, as well
as barbs recently) for quite sometime but just got a pair of common
goldfish. They're currently in a very small tank (the aunt who gave
it to me used to keep goldfish in there, so I figured it was okay to
get a couple for it) - once I learned it was WAY too small I set about
getting a bigger tank. I have a ten gallon I will be setting up to
cycle this weekend for them, and when they're too big for that I
will probably give them to my parents, who have a large pond with a
happy colony of goldfish. Anyway, on to my question! I saw
some pictus catfish at the pet store yesterday and am smitten.
They're beautiful! My friend who works at the pet store said that
catfish and goldfish go well together, but after reading a few horror
stories with algae eaters and catfish attacking the goldfish I am now
not so sure. Can you tell me whether it would be okay to
have a pair of young common goldfish (they're about 1.5" each)
in with a pictus catfish(1.5-2" long)? I know both species can
grow quite large - would they be all right in a 10 gallon tank for a
year or two or will they outgrow that too quickly? My thought was to
have them in the 10 gallon tank here at my office for a year or two,
then move them to a bigger tank either here (if the office is ok with a
bigger tank) or at home when they get bigger. I've been a pretty
laid-back fishkeeper to date - no water testing, once-or-twice-a-month
partial water changes, etc, but I would like to get serious about it. I
have ordered a test kit and am doing a lot of reading. <That's
good. Reading and research really is a aquarist's best
friend.> Many thanks for your very helpful and interesting site, and
thanks in advance for any info you can give me. <I would recommend
against keeping a Pictus w/Goldfish. I have found that
keeping lower stratum fish w/Goldfish is a recipe for
disaster. Goldfish take every opportunity to eat, and
getting a finicky catfish to eat before the Goldfish come around will
prove to be a nightmare for you. Further, 2 Goldies and a
Pictus will be a fantastic squeeze -- in fact, you may want to make the
extra investment for a tank that is 20 gallons or more; your Goldies
will outgrow that 10 gallon in less than a year, and you are left with
MUCH less room for error with so little water. You may find
yourself spending more money as you buy equipment for a 10 gallon, and
then equipment for a 20+ gallon in not too long a timeframe. Some folks
have reported great success keeping Dojo loaches with Goldfish,
although in my experience there are still feeding problems as I
mentioned above. The tank you are suggesting is much too
small to keep Dojos, anyway. Best of luck!> Cheers, Ealasaid
Treatment for a laceration
injury; crayfish compatibility? 11/8/06
Hi-- <Hello Erica - Jorie here> Our pictus cat has suffered
a ~5mm gash on one side of its abdomen, probably thanks to
Pinchy, our resident speckled crayfish. <Probably
so. Pinchy will likely continue to damage your
catfish, as well as other tank inhabitants, depending on what
you've got in there...he will likely need to live in his own
tank if you don't want to hurt your fish...)
I'm wondering whether and how to treat the
wound. The cat has been pacing a bit (swimming back
and forth) and its abdomen is slightly
swollen. Otherwise, its color and appetite appear to
be ok. <I would suggest isolating the injured fish, keeping
water conditions clean and clear, and adding MelaFix to promote
speedy tissue regrowth. Keep a very close eye to
ensure no secondary infection develops at the wound site - if it
does, a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Spectrogram will
help. So long as the fish is swimming, eating, and
otherwise behaving OK, I don't suggest anything but
quarantine, clean water and MelaFix.> Thanks in advance,
-Erica <Jorie. Do try to find an alternative home for
Pinchy.> Re: Treatment for a
laceration injury; crayfish compatibility?
11/12/06 Dear Jorie: Thanks so much for the
information! The cat's doing much better now and
seems to be on the way to a full recovery. <I'm glad to
hear that.> Yes, we're looking into alternate arrangements
for Pinchy. <Love the name!! You must be a Simpsons fan,
also...> She's been rather crabby and
aggressive since having her first set of unsterilized
eggs. Perhaps a new, dedicated home and a boyfriend
will help. :-) <Unfortunately, I know nothing about
keeping crayfish, so I can't advise you here...do read up on
proper conditions, incl. whether or not a mate would be suitable
prior to purchasing...> Thanks again, -Erica <You're
Pimelodid Cat and Neotrop. Cichlid comp. 2/22/07 Hello,
I have a 30 gallon with a pictus catfish, that is about 3 inches, I
would like to have a pair of convicts or a pair of fire mouths. Do you
think these two species will be ok together? Thank you for your time.
Miriam <Mmm... likely either cichlid species would mix, get along
here. If it were up to me, I'd likely choose the Firemouths... as
the Convicts are much more likely to spawn... get feisty with the
Catfish if so. Bob Fenner>
General advice, FW mix of Bettas, Angels, Pictus Cats...
5/12/07 Hi to all the crew at web media,
<Hello.> I have a 47.5 gallon tank and currently have 8 platies
(all pairs), One male Betta splendens, four Angel fish
Genders unknown and 3 pictus catfish (Genders also unknown) could you
tell me whether or not in your opinion there could be
trouble with the community I have described. <Angelfish have been
reported as "fin nippers" with fancy (as opposed to
wild-type) Bettas. Angels aren't otherwise "nippy" but
when kept with fish as unable to swim as fancy Bettas, they're
certainly happy enough to have a nibble. Angels and Pimelodus pictus,
on the other hand, are an old, established combo that generally works
well.> I did research and seek advice from veteran fishkeepers but
would still appreciate feedback from your site and will be
very grateful. <Very good. I'd not keep the Betta in there, and
would instead swap it for something like lace gouramis or some type of
medium-sized schooling fish, like Australian rainbowfish or bleeding
heart tetras. But if the Betta is there now, you may as well persevere
and just be prepared to remove it if it looks nibbled. Your other
problem with Bettas of course is they aren't able to compete for
food all that well. Hand-feeding the Betta (easy enough to do) is one
option here.> Thanks in advance Victor <Hope this
A couple of questions, pimelodid... sys.,
comp. 7/13/07 Hello! <<Good
morning, Meghan. Tom here.>> First I'd like to say that
I love your site. I find it extremely useful and most of my
questions have been answered. <<Very happy to hear this,
Meghan, and thank you.>> That aside, I can't seem to
find much on pictus catfish. I got him about 2 months ago from a
pet store that assured me he would be fine in a 7 gallon tank.
<<Not hardly! These guys need lots of swimming room. Far,
far more than a 7-gallon tank could possibly afford.>> He
was about an inch or two long, and I had no idea just how big
these guys can get. He's now maybe 3 or 4 inches, and I
noticed about 2 weeks ago that he's started swimming in
circles following his reflection. <<Going stir-crazy, no
doubt.>> I went to the store (a different one from the one
I got him in) to ask why he might be doing this and the fish
person was horrified that he was in the small tank he was in. She
said he needed to be in at least a 30 gallon or it could kill
him. <<I'd go even higher than this but the lady was
absolutely correct.>> I don't want to kill him so I
talked to my fiancÃ© and we decided to get a bigger
tank, which we set up yesterday and are in the process of
cycling. It is a 75 gallon with live plants and we were advised
to use stress zyme so that it will cycle faster.
<<Wonderful decision on the tank, Meghan! (Your
fiancÃ© gets credit, too!) As for the Stress Zyme,
there are a number of factors that determine how quickly a tank
will cycle. Depending on how heavily planted the tank is, this
alone may be just as effective at speeding things up as adding
the Stress Zyme. No harm either way, however.>> I plan on
transferring my pictus along with my Chinese algae eater in about
a week to this new tank. <<I'll reserve my comments on
the CAE but I'll confess that I'm not a fan of these
fish.>> I have been researching tankmates since I finished
setting up my system and I can't find anything anywhere that
answers what will safely live with these two. <<Maybe I
won't reserve my comments after all. Your Pictus is a
'natural' predator, insects primarily but not entirely.
Larger South American Cichlids do quite well with these fish as
they'll grow too large for the Pictus to bother with. Smaller
fish like Neons would be on the menu, however. (Just about
anything that will fit in its mouth should be avoided.) Your CAE
is another story. Angelfish, for example, would get along well
with your catfish but would likely become a target for the CAE,
which is well-known to attach itself to the bodies of slower
moving fish and feed on the slime coating/flesh of its
'victims'. Not a pleasant creature and one I heartily
recommend against keeping, by and large. This isn't to say
that some folks don't keep these fish without a problem but I
don't consider it a worthwhile risk, personally.>> I
currently have them with some danios and mollies, which will be
moved to a 30 gallon as soon as my fiancÃ©'s
parents bring it over. <<Good. The Mollies aren't
compatible with the Pictus where water conditions are concerned
preferring alkaline water over the softer, more acidic water that
the Pictus enjoys. The Danios, of course, are less picky about
their conditions but, depending on their sizes, might be viewed
as a challenging "treat" down the line.>> I
really like cichlids and I was wondering how well that
combination will work out. <<As I mentioned, Meghan,
Cichlids would do well with your Pictus but choose appropriately.
Not all Cichlids are 'created equal' and the African
varieties need far different water (hard, alkaline) parameters
than do their South American cousins.>> I also have wanted
to get an Oscar for awhile but I don't know how well these
will work with my pictus since they tend to be aggressive fish.
<<The huge benefit you have working for you here is the
size of your tank. Oscars can, indeed, be aggressive animals but
I don't think they would find your Pictus to be an inviting
target. In fact, a group of Pictus would do very nicely with an
Oscar since Pictus prefer to shoal.>> I was wondering if
you could give me some suggestions as to what would work best
with these two. I was also wondering if I should consider getting
a second pictus once my tank is up and running or if he will be
better as the only one there. <<Rather than getting too
specific, Meghan, I've given you a broader grouping of fish,
i.e. the South American Cichlids, to look at. (Everyone has
his/her own tastes, after all.) My only admonition here would be
to select fish that grow suitably large. As for a second, third
or fourth Pictus, be my guest. As stated, these are shoaling fish
and do fine in groups. Better than alone, frankly.>> Thanks
a bunch for your time! Meghan <<Hope this helps a bit,
Meghan. Congrats on the new tank and best of luck in the future
to you and your fiancÃ©. Tom>> Re: A couple of
questions, pimelodid... sys., comp.
7/13/07 <<Hello again, Meghan.>> After thinking
and talking it over, we have decided to get 2 more pictus and an
Oscar. <<Sounds good, Meghan.>><RMF would NOT do
this... too likely the Pictus will be damaged, end up stuck in
the Oscars mouth.> I was wondering if you had any
recommendations as far as what type of Oscar and where to get
them. <<Oscars (Astronotus ocellatus) come in a variety of
coloration schemes due to selective breeding, Meghan. Once again,
this is really a subjective choice on the parts of you and your
fiancÃ©. The so-called Pink (Albino?) Oscar is rumored
to be about the least aggressive of them but I'm afraid I
have no first-hand knowledge of this. I'm a little biased
toward Red Oscars just for their coloration but that's
me.>> Should we go through the local PetSmart or order them
online? <<Skip PetSmart, Meghan. If you don't have a
local LFS that you trust, a reputable e-tailer is the much better
choice. I have a local LFS that I do business with exclusively so
I'm not the best one to ask regarding online ordering but a
little research should put you on the right track. I know from
other WWM members that there are a good number of very reputable
e-tailers available but I've not, personally, done business
with any of these.>> I doubt it, but I was curious also if
I could fit a few other cichlids in the tank or just leave it at
these fish. <<I would resist the temptation, Meghan. A
full-size Oscar is going to command even your 75-gallon tank, the
Pictus notwithstanding. Better to leave your stocking levels as
you see them now.>> And finally, should I add the 2 pictus
and Oscar at the same time, or stagger it? <<The
rule-of-thumb here is to add the more aggressive fish later. What
you want to avoid, of course, is allowing your Oscar to
'claim' the tank and, then, add new fish afterward. That
said, I would be terribly remiss if I didn't highly recommend
quarantining your fish before adding them to your display tank.
We, too frequently, kind of gloss over this procedure but
it's absolutely the best way to ensure that the main tank is
getting "healthy" additions. I would go with the Pictus
first, in this case, and then the Oscar. If quarantining
isn't feasible, you shouldn't have a problem adding the
three together.>> Thank you again, Meghan
<<You're very welcome. Good luck! Tom>>
helphelphelp... Pimelodelid hlth.
1/28/08 Hi Neale, I don't know why, but today when I was
looking at one of my pictus catfish, I noticed that she was
struggling to swim up and that she kept on going back down to the
surface. <Hmm... usually a sign of acute distress: check
temperature, ammonia/nitrite, potential sources of poisons.>
The other catfish seems fine and is swimming around everywhere.
The sick one does not seem to show any other symptoms - I mean
she is breathing normally and is not gasping. Also, she keeps
rubbing herself against the glass or gravel. What is wrong with
her. I noticed this just now, and she seemed fine when I fed her,
she was racing around everywhere. Now she can't swim as well
as the other and seems to be rubbing herself on the glass thing.
<The rubbing is usually a precursor to Whitespot or Velvet.
Look for small white dots on the fins especially. In the UK, I
have found eSHa 2000 to be safe with catfish and other sensitive
species, so I'd recommend that one. Otherwise you can use the
salt/heat method described in detail in the Clown Loach Disease
FAQs elsewhere on this site.> I'm scared to treat with
anything, as I read on the net that they do not have scales.
<This is a factoid that does the rounds but for the life of me
I can't understand what relevance it has to anything.>
What do I do, I don't want to lose her. Thanking you,
Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: helphelphelp 1/28/08 Hi Neale, I went
to see the lady in the petshop who sold me my pictus catfish and
I explained what I told you in the e-mail, and she gave me
Protozin White Spot and Fungus to use. So I have made a water
change - but when I read the back of the bottle before I used it,
it said not to use the medicine on elephant noses - African
Mormyrids. So I was a bit worried about using it. <Pictus
catfish aren't Mormyrids, so that in itself should be a
concern. In general, catfish will tolerate the use of
copper/formalin medications provided they are otherwise healthy.
It is also important to increase aeration in the aquarium,
because to some degree the harmful aspect of medications is the
irritation they cause to the gills. Simply raising the outlet of
the filter -- to increase splashing -- will help. Also make sure
the filter is operating at full power -- the more circulation,
the better.> Instead, I put two drops of it in the tank
instead of the required dose per gallon (not sure if that helped)
<I'd use the full dose as quote on the packaging. If the
fish appear to be distressed, then do a 50% water change, and
when you do the next dose, only use half the amount. But for
these things to work, there does need to be a certain amount of
copper/formalin in the water.> and I raised the temperature to
30 degrees as it was 26 before - is that ok or too much?
<Temperature increase is fine, especially if you increase
circulation and aeration.> I found two really tiny white spots
on the sick pictus and when I explained it to the lady she said
it could probably be white spot and that I should raise the
temperature so I have. <Fine.> How long should I keep on
doing water changes? I did one last Sunday, and now I just did
one. Will this harm any bacteria I have in the tank? <Water
changes don't do any harm, ever, provided the new water is
similar temperature/chemistry and you use dechlorinator. Normally
you do not do water changes during the period you are adding
medication. So if you need to add 20 drops on Day 1, 20 drops on
Day 3, and 20 drops on Day 5, you wouldn't do a water change
until at least Day 6.> Thanks, Neervana. <Cheers,
Re: I did a water test... 1/28/08 Hey
Neale I did a water test and it is showing 0 nitrite. So why is
the pictus acting this way? The other is fine, swimming around
perfectly. The sick one is still rubbing against glass and not
swimming properly. She has not lost any colour at all, seems fine
apart from not swimming and the rubbing. <Assume
Whitespot/Velvet, and act accordingly.> I don't know what
to do. She does not have any scales does she? <None of the
catfishes have scales. That is indeed true.> So now what? What
medication to use? <See previous e-mail.> She wasn't
like this this morning, first time I have seen her do this. Sorry
to keep on pestering, don't know what to do. Thanks,
Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dosage... Neervana... Neale...
1/29/08 Hi Neale, I didn't add anymore medicine to the
tank as it says not to add more Protozin once you've put it
in, only after 48 hours. Because I only put in two drops, should
I put in the rest of the normal dosage the bottle says for my
tank tomorrow? Or should I wait until Thursday and do it then?
When should I change the water if I put the Protozin in tomorrow?
On Saturday? And should I also be thinking about feeding them
less in the meantime as well? If bits of uneaten food fall on the
gravel and does not get cleaned up quickly, will this pollute the
water, and perhaps encourage the white spot to grow? Thanks,
Neervana. <Did you add *just* two drops, or two drops per
litre/gallon? If the former, that will achieve nothing at all and
you may as well forget about it. Just start again from scratch,
following PRECISELY what it says on the packaging. Don't make
this stuff up as you go along! Protozin isn't a medication I
use, but it's been around for decades so I assume it is safe
and reliable. Feed fish normally while treating them. Dirty
gravel doesn't encourage Whitespot to grow, but of course a
dirty tank with poor water quality won't help your fish stay
healthy. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dosage 1/29/08 Hi Neale, Yes, I very
stupidly only put in two drops of the Protozin...I was just
worried I would be poisoning them. So just to be clear about
this: 1st treatment, I add the required dosage, then 2nd
treatment again (after how many days if I add first treatment
tomorrow?) and then third treatment (after how many days?) and
then after the third treatment when do I do a water change, as I
already did one today? Thanks Neale, Neervana. <Protozin is
added on days 1, 2, 3, and 6. Do NOT DO ANY water changes between
day 1 or day 6, and in fact don't do any water changes until
at least day 8. Let the medicine do its thing. If you keep
diluting the concentration, it won't work! Make sure
there's no carbon in the filter. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dosage -01/30/08 Hi Neale, So
I've added my first dosage today. How do I know whether there
is any carbon in my filter? It came with my tank as a complete
set up - what I mean is its built into the tank so I can't
take it out. <Carbon is usually a bag of black chippings.
Charcoal by another name. Some filters have black carbon covered
sponges or modules. The instructions should reveal this, if you
really don't know.> When I looked in it, all I saw were
two compartments with this foamy woolly thing and another third
one with these round cylinders, that looked cream in colour.
<The wool is filter floss, or if its spongy, it's sponge.
Used for mechanical and biological filtration. The ceramic
cylinders are called "noodles" among hobbyists and are
for biological filtration.> Thanks, Neervana. <Cheers,
Re: Dosage... Pim. hlth. 1/31/08 Hi
Neale, After the first treatment, the sick pictus that was lying
at the bottom is looking a lot better, she is already back and
up, swimming about crazily. So I should proceed with the dose as
the bottle mentions? <Yes!!!! This is how TB Epidemics get
started... people don't finish the course of drugs because
they feel fine halfway through. You MUST finish the course
precisely as instructed.> I am now on day 2. it also says half
dosage for new aquariums, so I have been halving it. <If
that's what it says... then that's what it says!> I
checked the filter, there is no carbon as you have described it.
So far is everything as it should be? <Yep.> Thank you for
your advice! Neervana <Cheers, Neale.>
why?... Ongoing re ich, Pim... 2/1/08 Hello Neale, I
am now on day three of the treatment for my pictus catfish. Both
white spots I saw on one of the pictus are gone - today as I was
looking at her I noticed that both of the pictus' tails are
slightly frayed. I know they weren't like this before. What
is causing this? They hardly ever fight, and they seem to always
be swimming together. Is this another infection? Thanks,
Neervana. <Frayed fins are normally a sign of Finrot and/or
Fungus. Whitespot/Ick can trigger these problems -- when the
cysts burst and the whitespot parasite swims out (to reproduce
and then infect more fish) it leaves behind a hole, and bacteria
can get into the hole and cause an infection. Alternatively, you
may have some problems with water quality, because Finrot and
Fungus are both related to water quality nine times out of ten.
In any case: check the nitrite, to make sure the aquarium is
healthy. When the Whitespot medication is done, do a 50% water
change, and then start a treatment for Finrot and Fungus. I
recommend eSHa 2000 because it treats both equally well, but you
can find alternative brands if you want to. Damaged fins are --
up to a point -- low priority complaints, so don't fret too
much. Yes, you must treat them, but they will heal nicely once
you have added the medication. In the wild fish damage their fins
all the time. It is really only in the bacteria-laden water in a
fish tank that fin damage becomes potentially lethal. Cheers,
Re: why? Doesn't Neale suggest a good FW tome?
2/1/08 Hi Neale, So now I'm on day 4 - which is the one
where I don't add any medication (Protozin). My tank is
starting to smell, and I really don't like it. Also, the
water is getting a bit dirty - when is the earliest day I can
change the water, day 6 or 7 perhaps? Also, I don't know
where to get eSHa 2000 from, my LFS don't have it. Thanks,
Neervana. <In four days after a water change, your aquarium
SHOULD NOT smell! If it smells, then you are doing one (or more)
of the following: - Feeding the fish too much, so that leftover
food is rotting. - Not removing uneaten food (see above). -
Keeping too many fish in too small a tank. - Not providing
adequate filtration for the sorts of fish being kept. Aquaria in
good condition DO NOT SMELL!!! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: why? 2/1/08 Hi Neale, Yes, I have not vacuumed my
gravel since the start of last week. Now what should I do? When I
went to the LFS the lady said that since my tank came with an
in-built filtration/oxygen system I don't need any other
equipment added to it. I only have two pictus catfish in my tank,
so I think it's ok for the meantime for them. So should I
vacuum the gravel then? But I thought this could dilute the
medicine? Thanks, Neervana. <Vacuuming the gravel is really
neither here nor there when it comes to water quality, unless you
are keeping very large, messy fish that produces lots of faeces.
For Pimelodus pictus, you should be able to go for several weeks
without needing to clean the gravel. The only way the gravel
would become filthy enough to smell would be if your were putting
in masses too much food. Which you're not, I hope. For two
Pimelodus pictus, half a cube of wet frozen bloodworms should be
adequate. If you're using dried food, then a pinch about the
size of your little finger's nail. I'm past remembering
what sort of tank we're talking about. How big is the
aquarium? On the filter, look at the pump, and less if it has a
gallons-per-hour (gph) or litres-per-hour (lph) rating -- it
should do. Also what temperature is the aquarium? Cheers,
Re: why? Pim., ich...
2/3/08 Hi Neale, The tank is 10 gallons (which I know is too
small for these fish, but I am currently saving for a bigger one
to move them into, which would be around two months' time)
then I would use the tank I already have as a quarantine tank.
<Hmm... a 10 gallon tank isn't really suitable for these
fish, even for a while. Do check the nitrite level, and I'm
guessing you'll find it isn't zero. This is a bad
thing.> I put the temperature up to 30 degrees - it used to be
26 before, but I raised the temperature to 30, because the lady
in the LFS told me to do that. <This is indeed correct *while*
treating for whitespot/ick. But once the whitespot is dealt with,
reduce the temperature to around 25. These are not fish that live
in very warm water. More heat = less oxygen, and that'll make
the fish less happy and the bacteria less efficient.> I also
noticed that it's only when I first added the Protozin that
there was a weird smell coming out from the tank and that it went
after a couple of hours. Every time I add the medicine the tank
smells. I also wanted to mention that when I raised the
temperature, I did it in one go - when I was reading some of the
messages people had put online they all advised each other on
raising it one degree a day - I didn't do that, I only did it
all at once because I didn't know. Could this be why it
smells? <No.> I have not done the water change yet, so do
you think I should wait until day 6? <If you can, wait. But if
the fish clearly look ill, then you have to do a water change of
50%.> My two pictuses are starting to look a bit sick as in
their fins are turning opaque a bit and do look a bit ragged.
<That's likely Finrot.> Also, when I feed them I feed
them about a little less then half a cube of blood worms, a
pellet each (tetra ones) and about half a pack of jellied
daphnia. I feed them a different thing each day like you said,
but perhaps it is too much for them. <Too much. Stop feeding
them completely while they are sick. Once they are healthy,
switch to feeding once every two days, and even then only a small
quantity of food. As I said earlier, about the same amount as
would fit on the fingernail on your little finger.> What do
you think I should do? Thanking you, Neervana. <Cheers,
Neale.> Hi Neale, I have a 200 gallon tank I could move them
into once they are healthy - but I have two bala sharks already
in this tank who are perfectly healthy... <Don't mix sick
fish with healthy fish.> so I don't know if it's wise
to move them in now, as the bala sharks might catch the white
spot? <Perfectly possible.> Anyway, should I do a water
change now? Thing is, I did a water change every week since I got
them, the did two water changes before I put the medicine in.
They really don't look well at all, so I should do the water
change now and then continue with the Protozin and feed them a
little every two days until they look healthy again? <Do the
water change, and don't feed the fish for the next few days
and see if the water clears up.> Thanks , Neervana.
<Cheers, Neale.> Hi Neale, I was wondering about something,
thought I would just ask you quickly. This tank was new and the
pictuses are the first two fish to live in it - so how did they
catch white spot? <Likely had it at the store. This is why we
quarantine fish, to keep diseases from getting into our home
aquaria.> I did read online that apparently it's bad to
mix the water that your fish comes in with the water in the tank,
as it may contain white spot, because some of the fish in a few
tanks in that fish shop are dead on the gravel. <Indeed, you
should put the new fish into a bucket with the water from the
bag. Then add a few cups of water from the fish tank over the
next 30 minutes. Then lift the fish out and put it into the tank.
Ideally, you're putting it into a quarantine tank. This
doesn't stop whitespot if the fish are already infected, but
it does reduce do something to help keep out the motile whitespot
parasites (which swim in the water looking for hosts). But the
tank these two fish were in did not seem like it had any
unhealthy fish. <Most aquarium stores have water that flows
between multiple tanks and one big filter. So even if one tank
seems devoid of sick fish, that doesn't guarantee anything.
The better stores will use UV to reduce the chances of diseases
moving about, but this isn't an 100% fix.> Do you know how
it could have happened? <Not exactly, but I can guess. The
fish had whitespot when you bought them. After a few days the
cysts matured and you saw the spots. In the meanwhile, a
combination of the whitespot itself damaging the skin together
with poor water quality/overcrowding has led to Finrot.> Also,
I did not vacuum the gravel today I just took a small bucket and
took water straight out of the tank, that does not matter does
it? <That's fine for a water change. Under normal
circumstances, the gravel doesn't need to be cleaned every
week. Once a month is fine, perhaps less if the tank has lots of
plants and is otherwise well maintained.> I mean I have just
ordered a gravel vacuum and waiting for it to come, that's
why I can't clean the gravel. <I don't use a gravel
cleaner anyway. Just a stick and a siphon. Stir gravel with the
stick, and use the siphon to suck away any dirt.> But I assume
that it's not important to vacuum the gravel if it hardly
shows any dirt on it? <Visible dirt doesn't directly harm
fish. Dirty tanks tend to be poorly maintained tanks, but in
itself silt is harmless. Check out the "wild" and
you'll see a lot of silt! Fish get harmed by the invisible
things -- nitrite, ammonia.> I mean mine does not look like
there is any mess on it. I am expecting to vacuum the gravel next
week. Should I continue with the Protozin just the same because I
did the water change, does that mean the concentration has been
diluted now? I am on the fourth day now, and you said I should
put the next dosage on day 6. Then water change on day 8. Proceed
with this? <Precisely; carry on as if you had NOT done a water
change.> Thanks and sorry for pestering you so much, but I
just want to be sure. Neervana <I suspect, my friend, that the
time has come to invest in a good aquarium book.
<<Hallelujah! RMF>> A lot of these questions
are fundamental to the hobby, and having a nice book with the
facts laid out fair and square will be very helpful. Visit your
local public library and test drive a few tropical fish books.
When you've found one you like, BUY IT! Trust me, compared to
anything else you will get in the hobby, a good aquarium book is
BY FAR the best use of your cash. Cheers, Neale.>
It's not going away... Pim., ich...
2-4-08 Hi Neale, I've added my
last dose of Protozin to my aquarium now, and today I noticed
that one of the pictuses (who was infected first) is completely
covered in white spot. It's not going away! and I'm on
day 4!!!Now what do I do? This Protozin is not working, they just
seem to be getting worse. There whiskers have gone curly and they
look like they are getting fin rot. <This isn't good.>
Should I finish off the Protozin, and start on another med? I
can't find eSHa 2000 anywhere. <Try online. It really is
the best I've used. In any event, trying an alternate brand
will do no harm. Make double sure you are using correctly,
especially when calculating the dosages, removing carbon,
etc.> What other medicine do you have in mind (that I could
get from my LFS)? <Without visiting your aquarium store, I
can't possibly know what products they have. I would use salt
+ temperature at this stage. Tonic salt ideally. 2-3 teaspoons
per gallon, 28-30 C. Raise the salinity/heat gradually across a
couple of days. Leave running for at least a week. Then do water
changes across a couple more days to reduce the salinity again.
See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm >
And, if there is another alternative to medicating the catfish
again, because it doesn't seem to be doing them any good.
Thanks, Neervana. <Do read Bob's article as linked above.
Cheers, Neale.> <<Raise that dang temperature!!! Thank
Some help! Pim., ich, Neale...
2-05-08 Hi Neale, <Hello again.> So tomorrow I have to
do my 50% water change as the Protozin treatment ends. I went
into my LFS today and the lady there told me to just start the
Protozin treatment all over again. What do you think? <Do the
salt/high temperature plan mentioned last time. Stop with the
Protozin; obviously isn't working. Salt/temperature will
*definitely* do the trick.> Other then making the
Pictuses' whiskers get a bit short, it doesn't seem to
have triggered any bad reactions in them. <Good.> I ordered
eSHa 2000 but the lady said it will take 1-2 weeks for it to get
here, as she only has one person who can get it for her.
<Oh.> So what do you think, should I start the treatment
again, because the catfish do look bad and they are covered in
whitespot. <No.> Also, can I feed them on dried shrimp?
<If they eat it, sure. But I wouldn't be putting too much
food in this aquarium just yet. Enough to keep them healthy, but
no more. The big problem with Whitespot is it allows secondary
infections to get in, and poor water quality makes that more
likely.> I saw them in the LFS today. If I'm going to do
my water change tomorrow, I do 50% in the morning, 50% in the
evening right? <Fine.> Then on Thursday I re-start
treatment? <No. Do the salt/temperature protocol instead.>
What fish book do you think I should get, the LFS don't have
any. <Oh, there's any number. My first book was
"Guide to Community Fishes" by Dick Mills. He's an
old school writer, but very good and easy to read. TFH's
"The Simple Guide to Fresh Water Aquariums" is pretty
good in terms of the basics, as is "A Practical Guide to
Setting Up Your Tropical Freshwater Aquarium" by Gina
Sandford. I get most of my aquarium books second hand in old book
stores, and I'm sure half an hour spend browsing a used book
shop where you live would turn up some gems. The basics of
fishkeeping are really very simple and have been known for years,
and doubtless any fairly modern book would set you right.>
Thanks, Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Some help! 2-05-08 Hi
Neale, <Hello,> Thank you for the quick replies. So how
exactly should I do the salt treatment? <I spelled it out a
couple questions back, and it's described in detail on that
web page about Whitespot (or Ick, as the Americans call it). So
go check your e-mails.> And I need aquarium salt? <Ideally,
yes, plain old tonic salt will do. Don't use marine salt mix,
because that raises the hardness and pH, which you don't
really want to do.> I don't have any of those except for
table salt (which I read is bad on the Internet because it has
anti caking stuff in it but some other people are saying its
harmless concerning treatments). <Yeah, I've heard this
to. Personally, I'd go with what I know, which is plain tonic
salt for treatment. I *have* used cooking salt for dips, where
the fish goes in for a few minutes, but I've never added it
to an aquarium. So I can't confirm whether or not cooking
salt is safe this way. If you MUST use cooking salt, at least get
the "gourmet" rock salt that doesn't have any
additives. I believe Kosher salt also lacks additives, and is
widely sold in gourmet food stores as well as ethnic food
markets.> Thanks, Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Help, fishy help web ppl. Pim.,
ich... 2/8/08 Hi Neale,
The Pictus Catfish are getting worse and worse. The treatment for
whitespot is not working, and they both look like their fins are
being eaten. Most of the fins have nearly gone. I don't want
to do this, but I want to get rid of them I can't stand
looking at them trying to swim around in this way. They look like
they are in pain, but most of their fins are gone, I don't
think they will be able to survive. What should I do? I know the
LFS won't take them. Thanks, Neervana. <Neervana, tell me
what "treatment" you're doing first. Are you doing
the salt + temperature treatment PRECISELY as described in the
article you were directed to? Or are we still messing about with
the Protozin? Have you done water quality tests? Get back to me
on these before you ask any more questions, because without
knowing which treatment you're doing, or what the environment
is like, I can't offer any constructive help. Whitespot is
normally VERY easy to cure; if it isn't going away, then you
are clearly not doing something right. When it doesn't get
cured *despite* using a copper-based medication, it's usually
because the user has put the wrong amount in, or else left carbon
in the filter. If you are doing the salt + temperature thing,
that WILL work, but it doesn't kill the cysts on the fish,
just the free-living parasites. So you add the salt, raise the
temperature, and then wait a couple days until the cysts burst.
The salty water kills the free living parasites that emerge, and
your fish get better. Whitespot doesn't make the fins go
away; if the fins are decaying, that's something else
entirely, likely Finrot. Finrot is often (almost always)
associated with poor water quality, hence my NEED to know the
nitrite concentration in the tank. If you have any nitrite in the
water, that's too much, especially for fish as sensitive as
these. If this was me, I'd do a 50% water change. I'd
make sure the new water had the salt added, at a dose of about
2-3 teaspoons per gallon. I'd raise the temperature to
82F/28C. Then tomorrow I'd do another 50% water change, also
adding salty water. I'd then repeat this, doing at least 25%
water changes every day from now on until things look better. My
assumption is -- and it's only a guess -- that your tank is
inadequately filtered and overstocked, and between messing about
with the medication, you've not put the right dose into the
tank. Between these two things, the fish are fighting Whitespot
and Finrot at the same time. You MUST do PRECISELY what I say
here to stand any chance of saving these fish! Don't be
creative or clever or try to experiment. Follow my instructions.
Re: Help, fishy help web ppl. Pim.,
ich... Hi Neale, <Neervana> I did a 50% water
change in the morning as you said and then a 50% water change in
the morning. I was going to buy aquarium salt tomorrow morning
from the LFS but yesterday night I noticed that the fish had
nearly all of their fins missing and that there was only a few
strands left. since doing two 50% water changes yesterday I have
not added any medication to the tank at all because it says not
to add any anything else to the tank, to wait for 48 hours before
adding any more treatment. <Perhaps true, but this doesn't
refer to salt, merely other MEDICINES. Please, add the salted
water ASAP.> The fish look bad in health. I think there is
algae in my tank because when I did that water change I could see
some kind of white cloud (jelly like) floating around in the tank
and took it out with a net. <Forget about the algae. The white
gunk is probably bacteria or fungus, which tend to accumulate in
small, dirty tanks. It might also be slime from the fish, but I
don't think your fish are big enough for that.> But
it's cleared up now with the water change. I just tested the
water with those Tetra 5 in 1 sticks and for the nitrite its
showing up as colourless to very very light pink (indicating
there is a bit in the water?) on the test. <Any Nitrite --
repeat: ANY NITRITE!!! -- is B-A-D bad. Can't make this any
more plain. Nitrite damages fish. It's like carbon monoxide
to humans. Whether it's a little or a lot doesn't matter
a whole bunch, the fact it's there at all is a bad sign.>
The pH is showing up as 7.6 and KH and GH is showing up as 10.
<Basically fine for this species.> I can get the salt and
do the treatment tomorrow but I don't know if there is any
hope, they look so wretched. <I bet.> Thanking you,
Neervana. <Good luck (to you all!) Neale.>
Re: Help, fishy help web ppl. Pim., ich...
Hi Neale, <Hail.> when I woke up today I was watching the
pictus fish and then one of them died. He was floating at the
surface upside down. I don't know why, but the other seems to
be improving - swimming crazily up and down, but the fins have
turned dark grey - is this fin rot? <Possibly. Finrot is
usually where the fin membrane looks "dead" (grey,
white, often with a pinkish tone especially at the margins). But
one thing at a time. Let's deal with the whitespot, and then
we can address the Finrot (which will require some sort of
medication, e.g. my preferred medication for this, eSHa
2000).> I have started doing the salt treatment like you say.
Shall I raise the temp to 30 degrees? <Hmm... you're at
28C now, right? I'd go up one degree C per day just to make
sure the fish adapt. As you add heat, you lose oxygen.> Fom
Neervana <Cheers, Neale.>
Hi Neale, <Hello again!> I'm adding the
salt a bit at a time just to make sure the fish can adapt to it -
there's only one pictus in the tank now, do you think it can
take the salt and not die from it? <This level of salinity is
very low (about 5-10% that of seawater) and well within the
tolerances of freshwater fish.> it's just that since I
have added the salt it seems to have stopped swimming so fast and
is now at the bottom breathing really hard. <Press on anyway.
It's going to die if you don't [a] fix the whitespot and
[b] deal with the Finrot and [c] improve water quality. So all
you can do is attend to those things, and then hope for the best.
In any case, make sure the water is as clean as possible, doing
regular water changes. Improve the aeration if possible, if only
by ensuring the filter is working properly and circulating the
water in the tank evenly.> I did add it very slowly. I mixed
the salt with aquarium water and added a bit in each hour slowly.
But the fish seems to be getting really affected by it. What if
it dies? <It won't have died because you're adding a
small amount of salt to the aquarium. Look to other issues.>
Should I stop on continue? <Continue.> Thanks, Neervana.
Re: ... Pictus Fish 2/9/08 Hi Neale, <Hello,>
So tomorrow I'm going to do a water change again (is
this too soon or ok?), and just keep on adding bit of the
salt solution every hour that I prepared. <Good.> I
made it today - just added the required dosage in a bucket
of aquarium water and kept it there. I really want to buy
another tank. Even though I just got this 10 gallon I want
it as a quarantine aquarium. I already have a 200 gallon
with 2 big bala sharks but I don't want to risk them
getting infected, so I want to buy a 150-200 gallon again.
<Pimelodus pictus and Bala Sharks will mix extremely
well, so I'd keep them together. As you say, you need
to fix the whitespot first. That said, if the water quality
on the 10-gallon tank is bad (i.e., there is nitrite there)
I'd personally move the remaining Pictus to the Bala
Shark 200 gallon tank, where water quality will be perfect.
I'd immediately raise the salinity/temperature in that
tank though, so that the whitespot parasite can't
spread to the Bala Sharks. It's important to understand
how Whitespot works. It isn't a "germ" that
fish catch, but a parasite that lives in one fish for a
while, then swims into the water, where it turns into
hundreds of infective parasites. These look for a host. If
the water is salty, these infective parasites die before
they find a host, and THAT is how you use salt to stop
whitespot. If you do this properly, there's ZERO risk
to the Bala Sharks. If you mess up and don't do what
you're meant to, then yes, the Bala Sharks could get
sick.> Problem is I don't know where to buy one
from, and I don't know which one is best. Would you
mind telling me which one I ought to get, my pet shop does
not help at all, they never know anything. <There's
no "best" tank, though for a school of Pictus
catfish I'd be looking at something around the 180
litre/40 gallon size. But to be honest, I'd think your
catfish would be fine with the Bala Sharks.> I even had
an argument with the owner once because she thought it was
perfectly fine to keep SIX black ghost knife fish in a FIVE
gallon aquarium together. <Hmm...> So I don't
think I can trust her judgment anymore. Unfortunately that
is the only petshop close to me. <Try online. Join a
Tropical Fish Forum of some sort, so you can chat with
other fishkeepers. This is fun, and you'll learn a lot.
They'll also recommend shops. Magazines are always a
good idea too. PFK has a regular "shop tour"
feature where they go around the country looking at
tropical fish shops.> So if you would tell me which
brand or tank I could get online and where to get it I
would be extremely grateful. Thanking you, Neervana.
Help Hi Neale, I'm not sure whether the
whitespot has gone on the pictus or is still here, she
seems better than last time (very active, has stopped
breathing hard, no longer stays on the bottom but swims
everywhere, fins are no longer clamped to her side) -
thanks to you and the salt. <All sounds promising.>
But the thing is the fin rot seems to be getting worse. Her
fins have turned a dark grey now, and seems to be getting a
bit pink-red. Her whiskers seem to be getting shorter and
shorter. Do you think it's a good idea for me to keep
on doing the salt treatment until next Wednesday and then
switch to some other medication for fin rot? <You can
safely use Finrot medication PLUS salt. Won't do any
harm using them together. As ever, make sure you have
removed carbon from the filter.> I will have to order in
the eSHa 2000 then if that's the only one you think
will be safe to use on her, but I will have to know now
because it will take a week for me to get it. <For
Finrot, I've found eSHa 2000 works well.> I've
already medicated her so much with that Protozin that I
would feel better if I knew I was using something mild.
<In my experience, it is safe with catfish and other
delicate species.> As per your instructions, the temp is
now up to 30 degrees c. (did raise it slowly, one degree a
day) Another thing, I have this Aquael heater in the tank,
and it's got some white powder stuff at the bottom of
it. When I took it out to clean it, I saw that some of the
powder has gone dark brown inside the glass. Why is that?
Does this means I need to buy another heater because this
one won't work anymore all that powder stuff's used
up? <The white stuff is likely either salt or lime,
precipitating out of solution. It's quite normal, and
you can wipe it away under a tap. Remember, never place a
warm heater in cold water: it is liable to crack. So
unplug, let it cool down, and then clean. Your fish will be
fine for half an hour without the heater.> Also, tell me
when to start medicating for Finrot and when to stop.
<I'd start at once.> Thanks, don't know what
I would do without you. Neervana. <Happy to help.
Re: Help... Pim...
2/10/08 Hi Neale, I'm worried that the fish
may die before I get the fin rot medicine. Do you
think it will die before Monday? <I have no
idea.> Its fins are nearly black, and is lined in
dark pink now. If I do a water change tomorrow as
well do you think it will survive until Monday
evening? I'm worried because its Finrot condition
seems to have become worse in a day or two. What
should I do? Will the salt and water changes I have
been doing help the Finrot too? <May help to some
degree, but won't cure, and you *do* need to
treat, and soon. You could try doing a short
saltwater dip. 30 grammes salt in 1 litre of water
(taken from the fish tank). Dip the fish for a couple
of minutes, once or twice per day. In theory fish can
be dipped for up to 20 minutes, but let's be
cautious for now. The saltwater will help kill the
bacteria on the fins and cleans up the wounds. Do be
careful: remove the catfish if it shows signs of
losing balance while being dipped. Maybe do a 1
minute dip first, and then 2 minutes a few hours
later. Repeat this until you get the proper
medication, at which point stop.> Thanks,
Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Help... Pim... Interpet? Hi
Neale, When I rang the LFS the lady who I spoke to
said that it was not possible for them to get
esha2000 for another two weeks and that the only
medication they have for Finrot is Interpet Finrot
and Fungus. I asked her if it was ok for pictus
catfish and she said yes. Should I buy it? Advantage
is that I can get it today and start treatment today.
What do you think? Should I wait or get it?
<Interpet products are usually very good. Go for
it! You need to treat the catfish soon, and questions
over which brand the local pet shop has are really
secondary.> update: Catfish seems to be improving,
does not look so stressed and is used to me cleaning
the tank now. Hardly notices. <Good. Sounds as if
things are improving.> Thanks, Neervana.
Re: Interpet? Hi Neale, Well I got the
medication and added it to the tank. It doesn't
say when I should keep adding it to the tank or for
how long, like with the Protozin. Do you know how
long I should be doing it? Should I do a water change
tomorrow then add it again or leave it like that?
Thanks, Neervana <Neervana -- Of course it tells
you how often to add it! Read the instructions!
Interpet products have both [a] instructions printed
on the bottle; and [b] a little booklet in the box
that tells you how to use all of their products. In
most cases you have to mix the "potion"
with some warm water and then evenly distribute it
across the surface of the tank. The instructions will
explicitly state how many doses are required. I am
not familiar with this particular potion so can't
tell you off the top of my head. But a few minutes
spent READING THE INSTRUCTIONS is always time well
spent. I would avoid doing water changes until the
course of medication is finished. But obviously if
the ammonia/nitrite levels are critical, do water
changes. And please, don't try and get creative.
Do exactly the dosing the package tells you. Have
someone else read the instructions if you find them
confusing. Making mistakes with medications can
either have the medicine do nothing or else kill the
fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Pim. Help
2/11/08 Hi Neale, It's day two since I put
that InterPet med in the tank. I can't see any
changes in the pictus. Do you think it's working?
<If used properly, yes.> Also, If my nitrite
levels go high, should I do a 30% change and then add
the medicine again? <Do the water change, but
don't add any more medicine until the next dose
in the treatment described on the leaflet.> I
looked up the fungus and fin rot medicine and some
people say that it can stay in the tank for as long
as a week and that I should wait for a week before
doing a water change. I don't think I will feed
the pictus for another two days. <Fine.> But if
the water does become toxic how much should I take
out? <50%> When will I see changes, if any?
<Assuming the bacteria are killed, fin tissue
should grow back over the next few weeks.> Also, I
am definitely getting another 200 gallon tank and
this time housing a Black Ghost Knife fish in there,
but I heard that they do not like new tank set ups.
<Indeed. They are very delicate.> So how long
do you think I should cycle the new one before its
safe enough to put a black ghost knife in there?
<Six months.> Should I be adding in anything to
cycle it? <Time.> Obviously I would want a
fishless cycle, as that means less heartbreak for me
and a better life for the fish LOL so how long do you
think I would need to let the water stay in there
for? <If you're cycling with a product (e.g.,
Bio Spira) follow the instructions, and then stock
with suitable fish to keep providing ammonia for the
filter bacteria. If you cycle the tank, and then
don't add any fish or feed the bacteria ammonia
some other way, the bacteria obviously die. I'd
cycle the tank, and then add a Plec or something.>
Thanks, Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: White Spot coming back...
Pim... 2/13/08 Hi Neale, I think that the
white spot has come back. I saw the catfish rubbing
itself against the gravel again. I'm worried,
because I can't see any spots, but it can see it
flicking against the gravel. On the other hand, the
fin rot seems to be going away, its fins are healing
nicely. I'm just worried that the white spot is
coming back, if so, what should I do? I have to do a
water change tomorrow. Should I treat the pictus for
white spot with the Protozin and salt? I don't
want it to get white spot like last time again, but
it might not have white spot. I'm not sure. I
also don't want it to get to a stage when it has
spots on it, then gets fin rot again. What do you
think I should do? Thanks, Neervana. <Keep
treating with the Finrot remedy (if required) and the
Salt/Temperature protocol. Do a nice big (50%) water
change when the first treatment for the Finrot
finishes. You probably don't need to use the
Finrot medication *unless* you think the fins are
still infected. If they're clean and growing
back, leave things be. The Salt/Temperature should
take care of the Whitespot, and after a couple weeks
you should then move it to the Bala Shark tank where
water quality is better. I'm worried the TANK is
making this fish sick because it is small/polluted.
Problem, Pim., more
chatting 2-16-08 Hi Neale, I put my
pictus in the bala shark tank and I was observing
her...She seems to be acting weirdly. She darts about
really crazily and then sits on the gravel for a few
minutes then swims in circles and then sits down
again breathing rather fast. <Did you acclimate
her to the new tank properly? Did you check that both
tanks had the same temperature, pH, and hardness?>
I don't know if there is anything wrong with her,
she seems very healthy now, but can't be sure.
<Assuming water chemistry/quality issues are okay,
I'd not be too worried. Turn out the lights, and
don't bother feeding her. Give her the night to
settle in.> Why is she acting like this? <Who
knows.> do Pictus catfish need rest? <Sure.>
Also, I tried to feed her a pea but she just ignored
it. How do I get her to eat it? <She won't be
interested in food for at least 12 hours after moving
tanks. Do please read some general fishkeeping books.
This is a basic aspect of fish care (or indeed animal
care generally). Animals HATE changes and LOATHE
surprises. What they want is routine. When you take
them from 'home' and dump them somewhere
completely different, it takes a while for them to
adjust.> Just trying to keep some veg in the diet.
<Very good.> Thanks, Neervana. <Cheers,
Re: Problem 2-16-08 Hi
Neale, The nitrates and nitrites are both zero in the
tank, (showing up as white on the test strip) and the
pH is 7.6 the pictus is just sitting down, been doing
that for ages now, just breathing a bit fast and
lying on the gravel. <Do check the water isn't
too warm and that their is sufficient circulation to
keep the bottom water mixing with the top.>
Don't know what to do really.. she has been
having these spasms every time she moves and swims
really fast, and then stops and has that spasm thing
again. What do you think this could be? <No
idea.> should I move her back to the other tank?
<Long past remembering the differences between all
these tanks. All I can say is that my advice is to
keep this fish in a mature, large aquarium with good
water current and appropriate water chemistry. Also
make an effort to read and learn about Pimelodidae
catfish.> Thanks, Neervana <Cheers,
Colour change, Pimelodelids 1/27/08
Hello Neale, <Neervana,> My pictus catfishes have changed
colour. <They do this periodically, and as they age. Provided
the fins and skin otherwise look good, don't worry too
much.> I feed them a variety of food everyday, slowly I can
see that they are starting to turn a metallic green - it does not
look like an infection or poisoning, but I was wondering why they
are changing colour. <Most fish can adjust their colours to
blend in better with their environment, or at least not look so
obvious to predators.> Both of them seem healthy, nothing
wrong - but why the colour change? <Because they can.> Also
I did a water change today and it got a little cloudy. Is it
because this is a new tank? <Yes; likely silt left in the
gravel. Harmless to the fish, especially if you notice it settles
down after a day or so. New tanks can also get bacterial blooms.
These look similar (milky/cloudy) but don't go away, however
much you wait/change water. Generally settle down after a few
weeks.> I did let it cycle...but maybe it hasn't fully
cycled yet? <Possibly, but the only way to check is the old
nitrite test kit. Everything else is guesswork.> Thanks,
Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Colour change 1/27/08 Hello Neale,
<Hello,> I have only put an extremely thin lining of gravel
in my tank, which I took from my old tank (200 gallon) does this
matter? <If you don't have an undergravel filter, then the
only substrate you *need* is just enough to cover the glass to
stop reflections freaking out the fish. Whether the gravel is
used or new shouldn't make a huge difference, but obviously
gravel from an old tank can carry snails and potentially
parasites like Whitespot into the new tank. Before you get too
worried about the parasites thing: most parasites don't last
for long outside the fish. So if you had Whitespot a year ago,
treated it, and then everything was fine, then no, there
aren't any hidden Whitespot parasites lurking in the gravel
waiting to jump out.> The lady in the petshop said it
didn't matter whether I put gravel in or not, the bacteria
can grow in the water itself. <Virtually no bacteria either in
the water itself or plain gravel. Bacteria in the filter media
outnumber the bacteria everywhere else in the aquarium by
literally a billion to one. They need [a] flowing water and [b]
lots of oxygen. For this reason, gravel that just sits there (as
opposed to gravel in an undergravel filter) isn't a place
filter bacteria likes to be.> If there is only a little gravel
in there, does this mean not much bacteria will grow?
<Correct; but assuming you have external canister filters,
this couldn't matter less.> The cloudiness is still here,
even after a few hours of cleaning, does this mean it is a
bacteria bloom? <Maybe. Don't worry about it. Normally
settles down in a few days. If the fish are otherwise healthy,
just do your water changes to dilute the problem and check the
nitrite level every day or two to make sure the filter is
happy.> Although, I have to admit I did forget to rinse out
the sponge thing in the filter - maybe this was the cause for
cloudiness? <Certainly possible. When I get cloudy water, I
find changing the filter wool (the "pre-filter") in the
filter helps a lot. Water changes are good, too.> Thanks,
Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.>