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FAQs on Pimelodid Catfish Compatibility

Related Articles: Pimelodid Catfishes

Related FAQs: Pimelodid Catfishes 1, Pimelodid Cats 2, & FAQs on: Pimelodid Identification, Pimelodid Behavior, Pimelodid Selection, Pimelodid Systems, Pimelodid Feeding, Pimelodid Disease, Pimelodid Reproduction, & Red Tail Cats (Phractocephalus), Pictus Cats, Shovelnose Catfishes (Pseudoplatystoma, Sorubim, Sorubimichthys...), & Catfish FAQs:  Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction


Ragged Angelfish Fins, beaten       8/18/12
Hello all!  I am a novice fish enthusiast and am having trouble. I have searched the website and it has terrific information, but I am really wanting to have confirmation on what is going on with my tank.  I started out at my locally owned fish store and bought a 20 gallon tall tank, had many difficulties with cycling and losing fish, and also with the types of fish I was keeping together.  I was ready to throw the towel in when I found an out of town pet store, family owned, not the big box store, that helped me greatly!
Sorry for the tout but I feel its very important for people to realize the difference in a place looking to earn a buck and a place that is concerned with educating its customers.  Anyhow, after the cycling problems, I emptied the tank completely, left the rocks unwashed, and refilled and since my water quality has been greatly improved.  That was two months ago.  I am using a Aqueon on the tank filter with a carbon insert,
<Carbon is largely useless in your sort of aquarium; instead, concentrate on biological media. Remove the carbon and replace with filter floss or sponge or ceramic noodles.>
and a Terra Easy Strip tester kit.  According to the tester strips my Nitrate is just below 20, I assume this because the color it turns is slightly less pink than the color it should be if it is 20ppm, Nitrite is 0, Hardness is 150 GH ppm, Alkalinity is 80 KH ppm, and pH is 6.8.
<All sounds fine for Angelfish.>
I am thinking I need to invest in a good quality vial test kit, and wonder which one is worth my investment.
<Possibly; I use the strips and they're quick and easy. But as/when they run out, and you really want the accuracy liquid test kits provide, be sure to get a nitrite test kit and a pH test kit, as these give you the best "quick look" tests for water quality and water chemistry.>
Onto my fish problem.  Once I felt my tank had stabilized I ended up with 4 small juvenile Angelfish, 2 Pictus Cats,
<These are restless, predatory fish that do better in schools and need much more space than 20 gallons (and to make matters worse, a "tall" 20 gallon tank provides even less swimming space than a plain vanilla 20 gallon tank!)>
2 White Tip Sharks,
<Do you mean the catfish? What used to be called "Arius jordani" but is properly called Ariopsis seemanni? You do understand this isn't a freshwater fish? It needs brackish
conditions when young, and preferably marine conditions as an adult. Even in a 20-gallon marine aquarium you wouldn't keep these catfish -- they get HUGE, easily 20-30 cm/8-12 inches, and sometimes a bit more than that.>
and one algae eater.
<What sort of "algae eater"? A common Plec, i.e., a Pterygoplichthys species of some sort? Again, a huge fish -- 30 cm/12 inches within the first year, and 45 cm/18 inches within two; barely viable in a 55 gallon aquarium, and really needs 75-100 gallons unless you happen to like murky, faeces-ridden aquaria. Trust me, if defecating were an Olympic sport, Plecs would win the gold!>
Everyone seemed very happy and I was doing 20% water changes every week to week and a half.  After about a month I noticed one morning that one of my Angelfish was barely swimming on its side near the bottom of the tank, it died later that day.  Within 48 hours I lost a total of 3 angels to this problem.  They still looked healthy except for some ragged fins.  The one pictured attached had ragged fins but persevered and other than the fins was acting normally.  I did a 50% water change and tested the water before and after and the water did have a low level (.5) of Nitrate, after the water change, none.  Since then the survivor seemed to be doing well, eating vigorously, but his rear fin hasn't grown back, and his top fin is ragged this morning.  I checked the water quality and those are the stats I gave you above.
<I don't trust those values. It's not necessarily the test kit is inaccurate (though dip strips are, at best, approximations) but you can easily detect no nitrite or ammonia when you test the water at a certain time of the day, but at another time of the day the nitrite and ammonia are well above zero. Try testing every half-hour for 2-3 hours after giving the fish a good feed and see what happens. But I do believe this fish is suffering from some sort of bacteria-mediated Finrot, perhaps caused by stress, including water quality problems. If one fish has ragged fins, then aggression of nipping may be an issue. But if multiple fish have ragged fins, then you have to suspect the environment as well.>
I also turned the heat up a bit this morning because I keep reading that 80 degrees is best, and on my stick on thermometer (which I will be replacing because it doesn't give me a specific reading) was hovering between 76-79 degrees. So what now?  I'm wondering if I should treat him for fin rot.
<Yes, but do bear in mind some medications (copper, formalin especially) can be toxic to catfish. Antibiotics should be safe though.>
I am terribly upset that I took 4 healthy Angelfish from the store where they breed them, and have caused 3 of their early demise!  Am I on the right track?
<No. You're doing a great deal wrong. Neither catfish species belongs here, and it's not entirely out of the question they're attacking the Angelfish at night -- after all, both species are predators, and while the Pimelodus pictus can be combined with Angels of similar size, they may go for small/weak specimens. The Ariid catfish simply don't belong at all, and though they are total pussycats when kept with brackish/marine fish of appropriate size (Monos, Scats or large Damselfish for example) large specimens view much smaller fish as food.>
Also the sharks and cats are aggressive eaters but the Angelfish holds his own.
<For now. Angelfish aren't adapted to fight for food.>
I am feeding a combination of dried ocean plankton and flake food, is this sufficient?
<Let's assume you're getting rid of the two catfish species -- neither species has any long-term future in this tank, so this isn't even something to delay or argue about. It's a done deal. You made a CAT-a-strophic mistake if you'll pardon the pun. A "tall" 20 gallon tank is adequate for a mated pair of Angels. Since you can't sex Angels, you can't buy a pair, so you need to buy six, rear them together, then remove the surplus fish. Realistically, you need 40-55 gallons for a group of six Angels up to the size when they'll pair off (around 8 cm/3 inches). So, what we're talking about is a single Angelfish here, perhaps with a 5-6 Corydoras sterbai (a good warm water-tolerant Corydoras) at the bottom and 6-8 medium-sized tetras (such as X-Ray Tetras, a very reliable, easy species) in the middle. All these would thrive on a mix of good quality flake and small sinking pellets (mostly at night, for the catfish). Augment with freeze-dried food if you want, but occasional live daphnia and/or brine shrimp are really useful for avoiding constipation.>
Once this problem is solved I would like to get another Angelfish so I at least have a pair, is it wise to do so?
<Keeping a pair is fine. Getting a pair is hard work. Two random Angels will likely fight, the weaker one being bullied. Has been tried many, many times. Unless you happen to get two females or a male/female duo that happen to pair off, this isn't a reliable approach. If it's any consolation, Angels can't always sex themselves either, and "homosexual" pairs are quite commonly reported, usually two females, each laying eggs on a leaf assuming the other was a male!>
Thank you for your input!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone
<Oh gosh, another of these ridiculous "from my phone" messages… when will they stop? Who cares? Who's bright idea was this nonsense?>

Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)     8/19/12
I confirmed that the suggested fish were in fact what I have in my tank.
<I see.>
They will be going back tomorrow.
I'm hoping the out of town store will take them in since the local store didn't care enough about them to give me complete and accurate information.
<"Caveat emptor" I'm afraid. Welcome to capitalism. It's up to the buyer to make sure the thing on sale is what he/she needs -- the seller is under no obligation to sell you what you need!>
I will then treat the Angelfish for fin rot and follow through with the other things you mentioned.
I have read I need to remove the carbon filter before I treat with medication, is it okay to replace it with  the filter floss during or before treatment or should I just remove the carbon filter insert and leave it empty until I am done medicating the tank?
<I would remove the carbon and replace with filter floss.>
How often and how much of a water change is needed during treatment?
<Usually, none during treatment, but a good-sized (25-50%) water change a day after the last dosage is a good idea. Check with the instruction leaflet that comes with the medication you use.>
How long after treatment should I consider purchasing the other fish?
<As a rule of thumb, wait at least a month after any sickness before buying any new fish. That gives you chance to [a] make sure the sick fish is better and not contagious; and [b] to make sure the filter has recovered from any troubles that might have caused the fish sickness in the first place.>
Thank you for your time and expertise!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)(Bob, does Melafix actually harm filters?)<<can>>     8/21/12

Good morning from Michigan!
All the catfish have been rehomed.

I picked up a bottle of Melafix to use for treatment.
<Hmm… have you kept the receipt? This isn't a very reliable medication. At best (and I'm being generous) it has a mild antiseptic quality, so it's rather like dabbing a cut with antiseptic lotion. But it isn't an antibiotic, and once the bacterial infection is established (i.e., your fish are showing symptoms of Finrot) it isn't terribly effective.>
I'm curious though about the carbon filter insert.
<Junk it. Provides little value in freshwater systems.>
Carbon is supposed to be changed every few weeks from what I read, so I wondered if its even active now.
<Good analysis. The reality is that carbon works for around 2-4 weeks from new, and after that point it becomes so clogged with bacteria and detritus it's basically a biological medium. While it might be useful in that capacity, there are better media, such as high-quality ceramic noodles. There's some debate about whether "old" carbon can release toxins, but it can certainly mess up dosing medications, removing at least some of each dosage, so overall effect of the medicine isn't as expected.>
I haven't changed it out for 3 months. I am curious though, if I remove the foam insert that has the carbon inside it, won't I also be removing the good bacteria that is keeping my tank chemistry stable?
<Bacteria don't really affect water chemistry; their job is water quality, which is a much different thing. Anyway, you can remove up to 50% of the live media in a mature filter and have no impact on its working efficiency. Add some new media, and within days that new media will be fully matured. It's remarkable really, and an example of why bacteria are so useful in those applications where we've learned to "tame" them.>
Since the tank stabilized I haven't changed this insert out of this fear.  Will the Melafix harm my biological system?
<Doesn't normally, but it's a scattergun antiseptic, so there's always the potential.><<Can indeed destroy biological filtration. RMF>>

Also I've considered adding live plants to the tank to enhance the biological filtration, what plants would you suggest?
<The easiest plants are floating plants, especially Floating Indian Fern (sometimes called Water Sprite, Ceratopteris thalictroides). This plant grows in most situations, doesn't mind being under an aquarium hood (some other floating plants do), and its long roots bring plenty of helpful bacteria! It also happens to be hands-down the plant most loved by aquarium fish. You only need a bit -- it grows fast!>
Thank you again for taking the time to indulge all of us novice fish keepers!
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)     8/21/12

I think I may have just had an epiphany, should I cut the bottom of the insert and just remove the carbon and leave the insert in place????
<If that works, sure! Cheers, Neale.>

Large Fish Compatibility I have recently bought a striped shovelnose and a black ghost together and the pet store said they were compatible, which they are. they don't bother each other. later on I bought a gold Severum and 2 clown loaches, which the pet store said that the Severum and clown loaches would go good with the black ghost knife fish and the shovelnose. nothing has happened yet because they are all pretty small. but I was telling someone what I had in my tank and they said that I shouldn't have listened to there advice because the black ghost knife fish would be fish food sooner or later. so I was wondering is that true? I do know that the Severum is compatible with all the other fish but I couldn't find any information on the black ghost fish. if you can help I would much appreciate it.         thank you          sincerely, Lindsey <Hi Lindsey, I am scared to ask what size tank you have.  These are all fish that get really large.  The shovelnose can get close to 2ft, and the Ghostknife will not be too far behind.  In a large enough tank you might be ok, I personally do not trust large catfish with smaller tank mates, they have a tendency to eat them.  You can find more on the Ghostknife at the links below.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/knifefishfaqs.htm http://www.mongabay.com/fish/knifefish.htm  >

Big Fish, Big Tanks.... Hello <Hi, Richard> I have a rather large Tiger Shovelnose catfish, about 18 inches. <Hate to break it to yah, but that's still a rather small tiger shovelnose....  with an ultimate size of three and a half feet....> He is currently in a 150 gallon tank with a 12 inch Pleco which he doesn't bother. I had 2 large(10 inch) Tinfoil Barbs in with him but had to remove them from the tank because the shovelnose was attacking them when the lights went out.   <They certainly have quite an appetite, but attacking 10-inch Tinfoils is a bit extraordinary!  Wow!> Knowing that the tiger will grow some more I'm in process of getting a 300 gallon tank for him, and I was wondering what would make good tank mates for him and the Pleco? I would like maybe 3 more fish to add to the 300 with the tiger and the Pleco. <A favorite fishy haunt of mine in Wichita, KS held a 2000 gallon (give or take - HUGE) tank in which lived a large (really, a full three feet) tiger shovelnose, an even larger planiceps shovelnose, a couple of two foot Plecos, a couple Pacu, and three (monstrous) Arowana; everyone lived with some semblance of peace - or, rather, I never saw any grave injuries on any of the fish.  Perhaps for a tank of 300 gallons, you might be able to consider a few good sized Pacu?> Any advice would be greatly welcomed.  Thank you,  Richard <Just be aware that your lovely beastie does have the potential to get *really* big!  Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina>

Big Catfish... Platystoma nee... Sorubimichthys Hello, I was wondering if a 4in planiceps catfish would coexist with a 3 and a half inch tiger shovelnose in a 55 gallon until they get big enough to put in a 300 gallon. Thanks! < As long as one does not get much bigger than the other and try to eat the other one they should be fine. They will grow quickly so start shopping for that bigger tank soon.-Chuck> http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?ID=12145&genusname=Sorubimichthys&speciesname=planiceps

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 <Jason N.>

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 welcome. Jorie>

Sorubim lima 1/11/07... Leporinus aggression   1/12/06 Can you give me an idea of what to do? I Just purchased 1/10/07 a Sorubim lima 6" at my local ps. I have him housed in a 100 gal tank with a 7" Leporinus. As soon as I put in the catfish the Leporinus has been all over him. <Yes... some large Pencilfish species, individuals can be pure territorial terrors> I have had the tank covered with a blanket all day to try to give the cat time to adjust to the his new surroundings. <I'd remove, at least physically separate the Pencil> I notice a couple of small bite marks from the Leporinus near the cat's tail and the cat has a cloudy eye. Should I treat for ick now? <I would not...> I see no other signs of ick but I don't want to wait until it is too late! Should I remove this catfish now? Is there anyway to get the Leporinus to leave him alone? Please help- Mike <I'd remove the Leporinus... try re-acquainting them in a few weeks when the Pimelodid cat is better situated. Bob Fenner> P. orbignyi compatibility with Redtail Catfish? fdg., comp.... A large S. Am. Ray and VERY large Catfish... in a 29?!  Need to read...  02/17/07 Hi, <Kev... we'll skip the epaulettes> I currently have a 29 gallon tank with a  6 inch Redtail Catfish and a few small fish that are there just to take up a little space. <?...> I can assure you that I have no plan on putting any size ray in a tank that small.  I will be buying a all-glass 210 gallon tank(72Lx24Wx29H) within 2 months. <Oh. This will still be too small in time> I will be running 2 Fluval FX5's and sand for substrate.   <I'd use other... posted...> I read that the P. orbignyi and the Redtail Cats are both native to the Orinoco river Basin. <With spelling improvement, yes>   That leads me to believe that they are compatible. <In terms of water quality at least> Here's my question. Would it be advisable to house these animals together? <Mmm, not really> From what I read, my tank will be large enough and I don't think that the filtration will be a problem. <Will be inadequate> I already feed my Redtail Cat bloodworms, feeders and ghost shrimp (at least 10 in the tank at all times).   <The feeders are an exceedingly poor idea... see WWM re> Lastly, where can I find the stingray.  Price doesn't really matter.  I'm just looking for a baby.  I've tried to find them online and I haven't seen them in any local pet stores. Thanx, Kevin from Az <Go to the Internet, Go to the Internet... Bob Fenner>

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 helps.>

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 fiancé 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 fiancé 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 fiancé'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 fiancé. 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 fiancé. 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>>

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