10 Best Pictus Catfish Tank Mates

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What makes the Pictus Catfish unique is its slender, black dotted and silverish body and its exceptionally long barbels. Once you see one, you can unmistakably name it.

They are one of the most popular fish among aquarists who like to keep them in schools of 5 or 6, as recommended.

They are outstanding fish for community tanks as long as you pick equally sized or bigger fish. There are plenty of different species to choose from for the 5-inch size of the Pictus Catfish.

In general, they are easy to take care of, easy to breed and their diet is not complicated either. This is true for most of their potential tank mates as well.

Best Tank Mates for Pictus Catfish

Although, Pictus Catfish are not aggressive they tend to chaise smaller fish to the point of eating them. If you don’t keep them together with fish that can fit in their mouth, however, then they are going to keep a peaceful temperament. The rule of thumb is to make sure that he is the smallest fish in the aquarium.

By following this advice, you can set up a diverse community of colorful and interesting fish species. Besides that, we have some further advice for you right here.

We are about to show you the 10 best Pictus Catfish tank mates, saving you the precious time that you would otherwise need to spend on research.

1. Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

The fact that Bristlenose Plecos can become as long as 2 feet shouldn’t hold you back from getting one. In captivity, 4-5 inches is pretty much their maximum size. If you need an algae eater as a Pictus Catfish tank mate, then this one is a great alternative.

In order to complement their regular diet, they are constantly on the lookout for algae. Besides that, Bristlenose Plecos are rather peaceful and can be kept together with many other species. Since they are bottom dwellers, they won’t bother other fish.

It is best to choose a tank that provides plenty of space for them to swim around in that bottom level.

2. Angelfish



We must recommend you the Angelfish too because of its particularly interesting appearance.

No wonder it’s on the top of the buying list of countless fish hobbyists. It is one of the most decorative fish you can get.

You can even choose from dozens of different types, each of them more unique than the other.

This eye-catchy species requires a lot of driftwood to be placed in the tank. That is one of the main elements he encounters out in the wild.

Furthermore, since Angelfish are nocturnal species, you will need to make the lighting a bit dimmer than the usual.

3. Rainbow Shark


Rainbow Shark

The Rainbow Shark is one of the most interesting tropical fishes out there.

Its elongated, plain black or dark brown body is complemented with beautiful red fins.

It is not exactly one of those peaceful community species because this one can get quite territorial with its tank mates.

However, this behavior only manifests itself if you put them together with small and shy fish. They get along quite well with a lot of freshwater fish and we have mentioned plenty of them in this article. The Rainbow Shark likes to occupy its own territory, which includes rocks and small caves.

4. Clown Loach

Clown Loach

Clown Loach

The Clown Loach is widely popular among beginner fish keepers and more experienced aquarists alike. It is not demanding at all and has a peaceful temperament, allowing you to keep it with many other fish.

With their black and orange triangular stripes and slim, oval shaped body, they are a delight to look at.

By keeping the Clown Loach in a group of 3 or more, you can pretty much guarantee them having a great time. Since they are shy, there have to be plenty of hiding places in the tank.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about them that they don’t have scales. This makes them a bit sensitive as well. 

5. Ram Cichlids

Ram Cichlids

Ram Cichlid

If you are into super colorful fish, then you are going to like this one a lot. The Ram Cichlid can flourish in a wide palette of vivid colors, making it a decorative addition to your community aquarium.

They will spend most of their time swimming around in the bottom and middle area of the tank.

Now this species is quite delicate so it will definitely require more of your attention. Not to mention that fish stores often sell Ram Cichlids when they are very little.

You might want to raise them in a separate tank before mixing them with the adults. You will need to pay particular attention to the water quality and frequent water changes are also required.

6. Siamese Algae Eater

Siamese Algae Eater

Siamese Algae Eater

The name says it all, the Siamese Algae Eater spends most of its time eating all the algae it can find in the tank. What signifies this species is the horizontal black line that runs through each side of its elongated body.

Yet another fish with peaceful temperament that drifts around looking for food.

It fits well into any community, be it a single species one but does well as a standalone pet too. There is really not much to think about when it comes to the diet of a Siamese Algae Eater.

It is an omnivore and you can give him literally anything you want as long as it contains the necessary nutrients and vitamins.

7. Rummy Nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetra

The Rummy Nose Tetra is one of the most spectacular fish you can keep together with a Pictus Catfish.

You literally can’t find another species that has a black and white striped anal fin and a red nose at the same time. Despite the fact that it looks very special, you can easily get one at the fish store.

They appreciate the companionship of other species, being calm and peaceful all the time. This little beauty has a life span of approximately 8 years.

It is also an outstanding choice for beginner fish keepers. The Rummy Nose Tetra is one of the typical omnivores that live on a very simple diet.

8. Tiger Barbs

Tiger Barbs

Tiger Barb

The Tiger Barb has absolutely no problem living in the same tank with other species, including the Pictus Catfish.

They are peaceful and also quite eye-catchy with those vertical black stripes and vivid red fins.

Just like the Pictus Catfish, they are also schooling fish that should be kept in a group of 5 or 6.

It is important not to keep them in lower numbers because they can get stressed about it to the point of getting sick. The Tiger Barb has an incredible life span of 5 to 10 years depending on how you contribute to their general life quality. Fortunately, they are very demanding so even beginner aquarists can easily take care of them.

9. Three Spot Gourami

The Three Spot Gourami is a magnificent looking fish that has three horizontal dots on its body. Don’t even bother looking for the third dot, as it’s simply his eye.

This species flourishes in shades of blue and opaline, making it a beautiful specimen to add to your community tank.

You will mostly see him swimming in the top and middle levels of the aquarium. Since the Three Spot Gourami is used to densely planted environments, that is what you should mimic in the fish tank as well.

This species is going to be one of the most peaceful tank mates for your Pictus Catfish.

10. Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danio

The Zebra Danio is rather small, yet you are going to spot it right in the moment it leaves its hiding place. You simply can’t miss it because of its vivid colors and unique striped pattern.

Keep this schooling fish in a group of 6 or more and you are going to be pleased the visual experience it introduces to your aquarium.

Keeping them in schools also makes them feel more secure and ensures that they thrive in the tank.

Be careful, as these little fellas are very agile and if they become restless, they can jump out of the tank. It is best to apply a lid to the top after you let them in the tank.

Fish to Avoid Keeping with Pictus Catfish

Fishes smaller than the Pictus Catfish are definitely going to be eaten by this breed. Once they get hungry, they show no mercy toward fish that can fit into their mouth. Furthermore, they are quite active throughout the day. Small and slow-moving fish are, therefore, completely out of the question.

They are either going to get irritated by them or eaten. Since the Pictus Catfish is a predatory fish, it is best to ensure that it’s the smallest one in the aquarium. Species that you should avoid include Guppies, Shrimp, Cichlids, Goldfish, Betta Fish and pretty much any other fish that is smaller or too slow.


As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives when it comes to potential Pictus Catfish tank mates. In fact, there are even more species that you can lightheartedly keep together with them in a community tank. In this article, we have shown you the 10 very best tank mates in case you want to keep things as simple as possible.

This list allows you to cherry-pick some interesting fish for your aquarium and set it up according to your taste. We can absolutely recommend each and every fish on the list for beginner fish keepers as well.

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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