Are Pictus Catfish Aggressive?

Disclosure: I may earn a commission when you purchase through my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. – read more

If you’re looking to add a pictus catfish to your collection of fish, or if you want to get the catfish for the first time, then you might be wondering whether these fish are aggressive, or will they remain in good spirits most of the time. Are pictus catfish aggressive?

No, pictus catfish are not aggressive, most of the time, and they’ll also not be territorial. They might fight each other (especially males), but they will likely stay friendly with other fish.

When you’re setting up your tank, you should do your research when it comes to which fish you’ll be keeping in your aquarium. It matters more than you might think. The fish that are peaceful and non-aggressive tend to go well with each other.

But the biggest challenge here is to avoid getting the fish that are aggressive. This can ruin the whole ecosystem and upset the other fish and living beings in your tank.

In this article, we’ll take at the typical behavior of pictus catfish and determine whether they are aggressive or not, and if they make for a good tank mate.

Will Pictus Catfish Fight Each Other?

If you’re looking to add another pictus catfish to an already impressive lineup of catfish, then you should consider what sort of fish you’re getting. Most of the time, the catfish will do just fine; they are a shoaling fish, meaning they actually prefer to live in numbers.

However, in some cases, the catfish can chase each other around and fight each other. And that’s especially the case if they’re kept in low numbers. That’s when this aggression can happen, especially between the male specimens.

In more severe cases, they can even injure each other. That’s why you’ll want to avoid this by keeping several fish together, which is when this behavior will likely not happen. Why this happens is not exactly clear; what we do know is that pictus catfish should be kept in numbers, and when they are kept in small numbers, they can get aggressive with each other.

How to Prevent Pictus Catfish from Fighting?

One of the biggest reasons why catfish fight is because we allow them to. It turns out that there are a couple of things that we can do to prevent this sort of behavior, and it’s the very simple fixes that will help you keep your catfish friendly.

  • Pictus catfish feel safe in shoals of 5 – keep them in large numbers. When they are in low numbers, they will start to feel insecure and will start to fight. Aggression is much more likely to happen, and it might even come to fights. If things go out of hand, the fights will get more serious, and the catfish might even get hurt.
  • Provide them enough hiding spaces and enough swimming space. Another important thing you’ve got to keep in mind is that catfish like to hide, especially if they feel endangered. That’s why you should give them plenty of space in their tank to move around and swim a lot, even if you keep them in larger numbers. Also, make sure they have enough hiding spaces – rocks, plants, caves, or other decoration elements that you can set up when you’re buying a new aquarium.

So as it turns out, we’re actually responsible for catfish fights if they happen. These fights are likely to happen within the same species, although it is not unusual to see them fight other species. This is rarer though, and you’ll mostly have to worry about pictus catfish fights.

Are Pictus Catfish Venomous?

It turns out that pictus catfish have a defense mechanism that keeps predators and larger animals at bay. The dorsal spine of the catfish has a venomous sting, which serves them in the wild as a protective measure against larger fish and birds or other predators; don’t worry though, the thing is not venomous to humans, so you won’t have to worry about it too much.

What you will want to make sure is that there are no aggressive fish in the tank that could attack the catfish. This could trigger the venom from the dorsal spine, which can result in tragedy.

Will Pictus Catfish Attack Other Fish?

In their nature, the catfish are not an aggressive species. Most of the time, they will just mind their own business and get along with their life.

However, you should be wary of keeping them together with smaller fish, as they can be predatory towards those fish. This goes especially for fish like guppies, shrimp, and other smaller and slower fish that are likely to get attacked by the catfish.

As long as you have fish that are similar in size to the catfish or even larger, then your fish in the tank should be fine. But please avoid keeping these fish with smaller fish, which can ultimately result in injuries and even death due to their predatory nature against smaller fish.

What Fish Can Live with Pictus Catfish?

Pictus catfish are a strong, energetic species and they will likely need similar types of fish in their tank to make them satisfied. As we’ve already said, avoid smaller fish as the catfish might attack them and prey on them if they get too hungry or too close.

As for the fish you can keep with them, make sure you only keep them with fish that are similar in size and that exhibit a similar type of behavior. These fish include:

  • Giant Danios
  • Opaline Gourami
  • Catfish species
  • More Pictus Catfish (5+)

As long as you make sure all the tank conditions are right and that the fish are compatible with each other, the pictus catfish will get along just fine.


Pictus catfish are one of the most beautiful and sought-after fish species. They are known for their appearance and their barbels. They are a peaceful fish in essence, but can get aggressive if they are too close to other catfish or against smaller fish species.

Featured Image: Wikipedia (sourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *