Pictus Catfish Lifespan – How Long do They Live?

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The pictus catfish are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium species for good reasons. They are relatively unique, they are not aggressive and get along with other tank mates, and they have an interesting appearance. Who could resist their cute, long barbels?

One of the most common questions that potential and aspiring owners of pictus catfish ask is how long they live?

Pictus catfish can live for 8-10 years, depending on the quality of the care you give them.

In this article, we’ll take a look in more detail about the pictus catfish lifespan, and how we can increase it with a few simple but effective methods. We’ll also determine what factors can increase a pictus catfish’s lifespan.

How to Make Pictus Catfish Live Longer?

In some cases, there is sadly not much we can do to increase the lifespan of a pictus catfish. However, we simply have to try some things to improve the quality of their life, which can consequently also increase their lifespan.

Here, we’ll take a look at some of the things that you can do right now to increase a lifespan of a pictus catfish.

1. Feed Them Quality Food

In essence, pictus catfish are omnivores, so they will eat both meat-based and plant-based foods. In the wild, these fish will scavenge the waters for whatever foods they can find, which is usually in the form of algae or other plant foods that they will find on their search.

They will also sometimes eat meaty foods that will provide them with the necessary protein to help them survive.

You will want to provide them with a quality source of food, which is usually the best way to increase longevity. At all costs, avoid the commercial foods that are the cheapest to buy. While this will reduce some costs, you will simply compromise on the quality of life of these fish. And you don’t want to do that if you want to increase longevity.

But them high-quality pellets, for example. This is possibly the best source you can buy for these fish. Also, consider buying them various meat-based treats, such as:

A mixture of pellets, live foods, and frozen foods is probably the best combination to increase longevity. But just make sure the foods you feed the fish are high-quality, and from proven providers.

2. Provide the Right Water Parameters

Having the right water parameters in the tank is extremely important. If you don’t provide the catfish with the right parameters, then you could be losing a few years of their precious lifetime.

Of course, you will want to know what the perfect water parameters even are.

  • When it comes to temperatures, these should span between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, although these fish can survive in different water temperatures also. But we only recommend that you try to stick to these temperatures.
  • When it comes to pH., your goal should be to try and keep it close to neutral, or slightly basic. Ideally, the pH. levels should be anywhere between 7 and 7.5, which is as close to the natural levels that the fish prefer.
  • The water hardness should be between 5-15DH.

It’s easier said than done to keep the water parameters in these ranges, though. That’s why you will need to make sure that you maintain your tank as often as possible, and make sure that these parameters are in the right ranges.

Tank owners also often forget about pH. levels and ammonia levels, so make sure that you keep those in correct ranges. When it comes to ammonia, you can keep it low with a good filter.

3. Reduce the Stress

Reduce the stress as much as possible, whenever you can. These are some of the biggest stress contributors to pictus catfish:

  • Bad tank mates. You don’t want to place these fish next to aggressive fish, which will only increase their stress levels constantly. Instead, you should aim to keep the stress levels as low as possible by placing the catfish next to peaceful fish.
  • Overcrowded tank. Having too many fish in the tank can make them stressful. You want to make sure they have more than enough space to live as comfortably as they can.
  • No hiding spaces. These catfish want to hide around a lot, so give them plenty of hiding spots in the tank. Plants, rocks, and other features will help them.
  • Other stressful factors – bad tank position, your handling of them, too much/not enough light, and other factors.

Do Pictus Catfish Live Longer in a Group?

Yes, pictus catfish want to live in groups, which is why they will usually live longer if they are in groups.

You will want to make sure that you keep them in groups of 3-5, which will require you to maybe get a larger tank, but you’ll make sure they can live for longer. They get a sense of security when they are in a group.

Do Pictus Catfish Live Longer with a Filter?

Yes, that’s true. Filters are absolutely essential for pictus catfish, because they are relatively sensitive when it comes to poor water quality. And a good filter will make sure that the water quality remains at a very high level.

So you will want to buy a good filter which might cost you slightly more, but you will be doing your pictus catfish a lot of good. You will enable them to live longer, and that’s mainly because of the improved water quality, which can decrease the stress massively.


Pictus catfish will usually live between 8-10 years. Most of the fish will live for that long, however, you can do some things to make sure they live for that long or even exceed the lifespan.

A lot of it comes down to their genetic material. However, you can increase their lifespan with these few simple tips that you can incorporate right now.

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.
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