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FAQs on Pimelodid Catfish Systems

Related Articles: Pimelodid Catfishes

Related FAQs: Pimelodid Catfishes 1, Pimelodid Cats 2, & FAQs on: Pimelodid Identification, Pimelodid Behavior, Pimelodid Compatibility, Pimelodid Selection, 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

 

Fins deteriorating. Pimelodid        9/24/16
Hello, I have a tiger shovelnose cat fish and currently he is passing away.
<Nice fish; sorry to hear you're having problems.>
Two days ago I noticed my tank had Ich. I believe it came from one of the 3 blue Acara I recently bought.
<Likely so. Be very careful about using anti-Whitespot medications. Catfish can react badly to these. I'd suggest using the old salt/heat method.>
Anyways I noticed my shovelnose fins becoming very thin and hair like, rotted away. As soon as I got home from work I went to check on him and saw that all his fins are gone, tail is gone. All he can do now is float at the top of the tank. I treated the tank with Kordon Ich attack, and put half the dose of API stress coat, and his fins are literally gone.
<See above about the Kordon Ick Attack product. I would not use with this/these fish.>
His tank mates are 4 blue Acara (one large, three small), a red tail catfish, a tiger track eel, and a Raphael catfish. I did not know if that will also affect my other fish or not. And what's the best thing I can do for them while treating the Ich?
<Salt/heat for the Whitespot; antibiotics for the Finrot.>
The tank is also a 40 gallon

<Forty gallons?! That's the big problem here! 400 gallons more realistic for this collection of fish. Not messing about here, or trying to be aggressive or rude. If your catfish (the Red Tail and the Tiger) are more than, say, three inches in length, a 40-gallon tank is ABSOLUTELY not acceptable. This/these fish need a MUCH bigger world. Adults of both
species are around 3-4 in length under aquarium conditions. Let me direct you to the PlanetCatfish website. They have an excellent forum. PLEASE join, describe your aquarium and the fish you're keeping, and let those good folks give you some specific advice with regard to tanks, filters and so on. As things stand now, you have zero chance of keeping these MONSTER catfish alive for much longer in 40 gallons. Good luck, Neale.>
re: Fins deteriorating     9/25/16

Thank you for that I have neem trying to tell my boyfriend that he way over crowded his tank. But he had not believed me for months now.
<Understood. But just make sure he understands these catfish should reach a well over 12 inches in length (30 cm) within a year or so, and twice that size within two years. Growth rate slackens off a bit as they age, but still, within 4-5 years they should be fully grown, 90-120 cm/3-4 ft, and such catfish are essentially impossible to house in commercial aquaria. The
lucky specimens end up at zoos, but many wind up stunted, sick, or dead.
Cheers, Neale.>

Sorubim Lima Question, sys. mostly  2/25/13
Greetings Crew! I had a small inquiry regarding transferring a large (12") Sorubim Lima into a larger system. He currently resides alone in a 55 gallon aquarium, which I realize is far too small. I want to move him to my 75 gallon as a temporary fix, but wanted some advice on whether it would be safe. The 75 gallon contains 4 small Sorubim Lima, ranging from 6 to 9 inches in length, one 10 inch tire track eel, a 5 inch Crenicichla lepidota, a 7 inch black ghost knife, and 3 decent sized pictus cats. I recognize that most of these fish get quite large, and I'm planning on purchasing a 180 gallon come summer, but do you think it would be safe to move him into the 75 for now?
<Mmm, I wouldn't; Sorubim cats can be argumentative w/ each other, the largest individual might just try to eat the pictus cats, and it really needs a larger system than the 75 period; more like a 125 gallon minimum>
I know Sorubim Lima are fairly sociable with members of their own species, but two of them are definitely small enough to be eaten and I would be quite disappointed if he ate any. Thank you for your time,
Cameron
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Redtail Shovelnose Cross... mis-stkg, sys., fdg., reading    /BobF      5/11/11
Hi, I have a red-tail shovel nose hybrid catfish and I bought him about 5 and a half months ago. He started out in a 37 gallon aquarium so he could get big enough to go into my 75 with a 13 inch brown bullhead catfish.
<Mmm, these two "like" very different water quality... soft/acidic and tropical, vs. hard/alkaline and cool temperature. Not really compatible>
The 75 is linked to a 40 gallon reservoir tank using an overflow box in order to increase the volume of the tank so that it can handle the catfish producing their heavy waste. In the forty gallon is a small 6 inch bullseye catfish. I do about 50 gallons worth of water changes every week on the system. I know that a 75 is way to<o> small for him but since he is only about 8.5 inches and the levels are fine
<What levels? Numbers please>
I figured it is okay until I get him into the tropical pond in about a week and a half. The levels are fairly good in the system. The pH is usually between 6.5 and 7.2 and the ammonia never gets above 0.25.
<Toxic! Has to be 0.0>
The nitrates are about 30
<Too high as well; should be kept under 20 ppm. Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwnitrates.htm
and the linked files above>
and the nitrites are 0. I recently have started hand feeding the hybrid every other day frozen beef
<... a very poor idea. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TerrAnimalsAsFWFud.htm
hearts until his stomach is somewhat bulged. I am wondering if I am doing something wrong because some places on the internet have said their growth rate should be faster than his is. When I got him he was about three inches and now he is about 8.5 inches so that's like an inch a month. Is that a slow growth rate?
<Not in my experience, no>
Within about a week and a half I am transferring him to an outdoor heated tropical pond in my backyard.
<Wow! Where do you live? How will you heat, pay for heating this volume throughout the year?>
The pond is about 350 gallons and it is 8 feet long, 5 feet wide at the top, and at the deepest point of about 17 inches about 18 inches wide.
<Mmm... do cover this system. These Pimelodid crosses can launch themselves out>
It is going to have heating on it for up to 500 gallons and filtration on it for up to a 1600 gallon pond along with 2 to 3 heavy power heads and a UV sterilizer. I know once he gets into that pond he will probably be good for a long time. Thanks, Alex
<Mmmm. Do learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM ahead of writing us... Bob Fenner>
Redtail Shovelnose Cross   /Neale   5/11/11
Hi, I have a red-tail shovel nose hybrid catfish and I bought him about 5 and a half months ago. He started out in a 37 gallon aquarium so he could get big enough to go into my 75 with a 13 inch brown bullhead catfish. The 75 is linked to a 40 gallon reservoir tank using an overflow box in order to increase the volume of the tank so that it can handle the catfish producing their heavy waste.
<For a few months, anyway. These catfish get gigantic. Expect at least 120 cm/4 ft, and quite likely much more than that, perhaps as much as 180 cm/6 ft. Adults weigh about as much as German Shepherd Dog. So realistically, we're talking about a 400 gallon aquarium, quite possibly rather more, 750 gallons being about the minimum for humane, sensible maintenance. Your 75 gallon tank has no long-term value here at all.>
In the forty gallon is a small 6 inch bullseye catfish. I do about 50 gallons worth of water changes every week on the system. I know that a 75 is way to small for him but since he is only about 8.5 inches and the levels are fine I figured it is okay until I get him into the tropical pond in about a week and a half.
<I see. Now, the thing with saying levels are "fine" is that it doesn't tell me much. In any case, even if fine today, it might not be tomorrow, and there's a delay between water quality problems and health problems.>
The levels are fairly good in the system. The pH is usually between 6.5 and 7.2 and the ammonia never gets above 0.25.
<This is too much ammonia.>
The nitrates are about 30 and the nitrites are 0. I recently have started hand feeding the hybrid every other day frozen beef hearts until his stomach is somewhat bulged.
<Beef heart is okay now and then, but shouldn't be the staple. Mix things up with earthworms and whole river shrimps for their indigestible matter, much the same as fibre helps us keep healthy. Use good quality catfish pellets at least once a week for their vitamin content. Strips of tilapia fillet are good too. Remember, these fish shouldn't be fed as much as they want! A healthy catfish will have a very gently rounded belly, but shouldn't look "full". It's safer to offer daily small meals than to gorge them on big meals every 2-3 days, even though the latter is what happens in the wild.
Why? Because catfish are prone to regurgitating food if overfed, messing up water quality.>
I am wondering if I am doing something wrong because some places on the internet have said their growth rate should be faster than his is.
<Growth rate is difficult to predict with these fish.>
When I got him he was about three inches and now he is about 8.5 inches so that's like an inch a month. Is that a slow growth rate?
<Not really. An inch a month is about right if given a moderate diet. The aim isn't to grow the fish too fast, but to keep it healthy.>
Within about a week and a half I am transferring him to an outdoor heated tropical pond in my backyard. The pond is about 350 gallons and it is 8 feet long, 5 feet wide at the top, and at the deepest point of about 17 inches about 18 inches wide.
<That should be adequate for the first year or so.>
It is going to have heating on it for up to 500 gallons and filtration on it for up to a 1600 gallon pond along with 2 to 3 heavy power heads and a UV sterilizer. I know once he gets into that pond he will probably be good for a long time. Thanks, Alex
<Sounds like you have a good idea of what you need to do here. So basically stick with what you're doing, don't worry too much about growth rate, and instead focus on ensuring your catfish receives a healthy, balanced, moderate diet. Don't use those foods likely to introduce parasites, such as live feeder fish, as internal parasites such as tapeworms can indeed cause slow growth rates alongside various other problems. Move the catfish to the bigger tanks or ponds as soon as practical; the bigger the home, the healthier the fish will be. Cheers, Neale.>

A BIG Catfish, sys. 1.. We have a South American Redtail Catfish that is about 20" long and has outgrown our 90 gallon tank. We need any advise that you can give us as he really needs a larger environment than a home tank. We can't get any response from the closest fish aquarium. >> Ahh, Phractocephalus hemioliopterus... don't I remember my Pimelodid catfishes... Yes this fish does get at least 80 pounds (have seen them in the wild this big... and at least half that in captivity)... Other than pleading with people to not keep these too-big animals... feed them sparingly (to limit their rapid growth)... And then, at your stage: to call their local BIG fish stores, and public aquariums... to see if they can use (another) Red Tail Cat, Arowana, Pacu... So, I'd either get a humongous tank (with a very sturdy top... most of these cats perish from jumping out), feed the animal sparingly from now on... and/or call those shops, public institutions. Bob Fenner who really likes large fishes... but whose wife won't let him silicone glass over the front door and fill the house up with water...

Red tail catfish Two weeks ago yesterday, I moved a red tail catfish from a 55 gallon tank into a new 125 gallon tank. The fish is approximately 20 inches long and had a great appetite prior to the move. Since the move, it has eaten almost nothing and has made the tank a relatively safe place for the goldfish now swimming with it. Other than the loss of appetite and associated weight loss, the fish seemed perfectly healthy and active until yesterday. While still active, it now has what seems to be a reddish  growth or swollen gland above and to the right of its mouth. The ph is between 7.2 and 7.4. It was higher, but I've been using ph Down to lower it. The water temperature is between 78 and 80 degrees. In addition to the goldfish, I've tried to feed it shrimp, silversides and floating cichlid sticks. I don't know what to do next. Any insight will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Joe Agresti <Joe, this is a large fish (4+ feet), at 20in he has pretty much out grown the 125gal.  This fish may have been/still be suffering from nitrate poisoning, did he ever exhibit any yawning behavior?  Water quality is always going to be an issue with big messy fish in small tanks.  Large weekly water changes and larger tank will be needed.  As far as the feeding issue, he should come around in time, it is not uncommon for large predatory fishes to refuse food after a move.  Best Regards, Gage>

Re: red tail catfish Thank you. What size tank would you recommend? <To live a long happy life it would need over 1000 gallons.  I'd go with a large rubber lined pond in the basement with good filtration.  That way if the neighbors cats get out of line you can make them disappear. -Gage> Thanks Joe Agresti

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>

Setting Up A Tank For Shovelnose Cat  12/5/05 Dear WWM, I am in the process of setting up a new tank, and am interested in collecting two specimens of Sorubim lima. My tank is 75 gallons and is 4foot long and has an Eheim pro 2 external and an internal Juwel standard. I read on planet Catfish that they recommend 3 in a 55 gal tank.  I was wondering if this is accurate just to get a second opinion. I am also considering keeping a humbug catfish Platydoras costatus as well. I would like also to add a mid water species in the tank, and would be very grateful if you could advise an appropriate fish. I was looking at either Severums or torpedo barbs or maybe the glass cat. Thank you for any information you can send me as I'm finding it hard to get info for Sorubim lima regarding other fish. Best Regards Ben < Those guys at Planetcatfish.com know their stuff. If there is any misinformation on that site then they hear about it pretty quickly. When you add fish with these guys it is really a two way street. As long as the tank mates can't be eaten and have the same water requirements then the tank mates will do fine. On the other hand you don't want species that will pick at the whiskers of the catfish. I would go with the barbs. You need to make sure that the cats will get enough to eat. barbs are pretty fast eaters.-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>

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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