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Last update: January 16, 2023

15 Best Pictus Catfish Tank Mates

If you’re a fish lover, there is no doubt you have either considered purchasing the adorable wonder that is the pictus catfish, or you’ve done it already! Perhaps now you are looking for the best possible companions to liven up your tank.

If this is the case, you should check out our 15 Best Pictus Catfish tank companions!

Pictus Catfish Tank Mates – What You Need to Know

Most important things you need to know when having a different fish as a tank mate

Temperament

The temperament of your fish is perhaps the most important thing to consider when building an aquatic community. If your fish do not get along, or if one fish is territorial while the other is simply shy, you could have a terrible result on your hands.

Pictus catfish are so calm and docile, keeping mostly to themselves, that they get along with most breeds of other fish. However, they can sometimes decide that tiny fish are part of a nutritious diet instead of their neighbors, so the one thing to keep in mind is that tank mates should be large enough to avoid this, or fast enough to stay out of the catfish’s way.

Size

Speaking of size, your pictus catfish needs 55 gallons just by itself, thanks to a roaming habit. They also reach 5 inches in length, which is important to note when avoiding the risk of your catfish eating other fish nearby.

Competition

When you notice someone talking about competition between fish, they normally don’t mean a swimming race! Instead, competition refers to how both fish might try and compete for the same food during feeding time. When this happens, the weaker, slower, or shier fish could starve.

Get tank mates for your pictus catfish who are not at risk of this, either due to temperament, or a change in diet, or feeding times that contrast with the catfish!

A pictus catfish normally eats sinking pellets on the bottom of the tank, usually including bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia.

Parameters ; Tank Setup

Finally, the parameters and tank setup should be equally good for all the fish in your tank. Your pictus catfish requires a spacious living environment, plenty of vegetation to weave through, and some rock fixtures.

Additionally, their water should be between 75 and 80 F, with a hardness level between 5 and 15 dH. As long as these ideals work out best for the tank mates, too, you’ve picked the right fish!

15 Best Pictus Catfish Tank Mates

Now let’s grab a look at our 15 best pictus catfish tank mates!

  1. Giant Danios
  2. Rainbow Sharks
  3. Opaline Gourami
  4. Bucktooth Tetra
  5. Rubber Pleco
  6. Blue Gularis Killifish
  7. Tiger Barb
  8. Zebra Danio
  9. Angelfish
  10. Silver Dollar Fish
  11. Blue Gourami
  12. Glass Catfish
  13. Discus Cichlid
  14. Red Irian Rainbowfish
  15. Jack Dempsey Fish

Below you’ll find a deeper dive into what each of these tank mates requires and what they have to offer your aquarium habitat.

You will also like:

1. Giant Danios

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  • Scientific Name: Devario aequipinnatus
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 81 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Nepal, Sri Lanka, India

If you love your pictus, chances are you’ll also love the Giant Danios! This fish is large, as its name implies, enough to avoid being considered a snack. It will also make a nice literal change of pace, swimming quickly around the tank, from the sleepier pictus.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • No aggression
  • Large enough to avoid getting eaten

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • None

2. Rainbow Sharks

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  • Scientific Name: Epalzeorhynchos frenatum
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 79 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 50 Gallons
  • Care Level: Medium Difficulty
  • Origin: Asia

Rainbow sharks have an odd name considering their most striking color is the red near their tail. However, they make great tank mates for Pictus Catfish because they do not occupy the same zone as the catfish and are large enough to think twice about a conflict.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • No infighting likely.

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Semi-aggressive with other fish in its territory.

3. Opaline Gourami

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  • Scientific Name: Trichopodus Trichopterus
  • Adult Size: 6 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 73 to 82 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Asia

The opaline gourami is a beautiful mottled color with an angular shape. It is peaceful in temperament and very unlikely to cause trouble for your Pictus.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • No Food competition
  • Non Aggressive

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • None!

4. Bucktooth Tetra

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  • Scientific Name: Exodon Paradoxus
  • Adult Size: 4 to 5 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 73 to 82 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
  • Care Level: Difficult
  • Origin: Brazil

The bucktooth tetra is named for the front-facing fangs it possesses in addition to it’s clear, missile-like body. Though they can be housed with Pictus catfish, be sure you have at least 12 of them in a large group! Otherwise, they may become aggressive without cause.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • No diet competition

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Can become aggressive without 12 of its own kind.

5. Rubber Pleco

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  • Scientific Name: Chaetostoma Milesi
  • Adult Size: 7 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature:
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: South America 70 to 78 F

This spotted fish really enjoys swimming coolly around any kind of environment and is generally pretty easygoing, much like the Pictus Catfish! However, they can become sort of grumpy and more prone to start fights as they get older.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Normally not aggressive
  • Easy to Care For

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Can become aggressive in old age

6. Blue Gularis Killifish

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  • Scientific Name: Fundulopanchax sjoestedti
  • Adult Size: 5 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 73 to 79 F
  • Minimum Tank Size:
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Nigeria, Cameroon

If you are looking for a fish to liven up the drab color of your pictus, look no further than the blue gularis killifish! This swimmer is long, lovely, and colored more like a bird of paradise than an aquatic creature!

It is large enough to avoid being eaten, but must be kept with one or two of its own kind of the opposite sex for the most peaceful outcome.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Not competing for food
  • Too big to be mistaken for food
  • Non Aggressive

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Must be kept with a few of its own kind of the opposite sex.

7. Tiger Barb

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  • Scientific Name: Barbus tetrazona
  • Adult Size: 3 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 68 to 79 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Borneo, Sumatra, Indonesia

The tiger barb is a fantastically exciting fish to have. In addition to being an interesting pattern, they school together in groups that play tag. They are very peaceful, and though they are smaller than the pictus catfish, they are generally fast enough to avoid being eaten if it makes a mistake.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Non aggressive
  • Fast enough to avoid being catfish food

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Slightly smaller than a catfish: there is still a chance it could, in a freak accident, be eaten.

8. Zebra Danio

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  • Scientific Name: Cyprinidae
  • Adult Size: 2 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 64 to 74 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: India

The zebra danio is another fish that is marked not only with dashing stripes and a fun schooling habit, but a peaceful nature. This is another type of fish that, while small enough to be mistaken for food by your catfish, is fast enough to avoid it.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Fast enough to avoid being eaten
  • No dietary competition
  • Not aggressive

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Still small enough to be eaten in freak accidents.

9. Angelfish

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  • Scientific Name: Pterophyllum
  • Adult Size: 6 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 82 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: South America

An angelfish is aptly named, looking like something too pretty to exist! It is full of bright colors overlaid by black stripes and even spots along the fins. Angelfish are large enough to avoid becoming Pictus chow, and peaceful enough to avoid starting fights.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Not aggressive

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Could start fights with others of its kind.

10. Silver Dollar Fish

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  • Scientific Name: Metynnis Argenteus
  • Adult Size: 6 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 82 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons
  • Care Level: Difficult
  • Origin: South America

The silver dollar fish is big and shiny, but not small or interesting-looking enough for your pictus to try and take a bite. The only downside to this tank mate is that it requires quite a large tank for everybody within to remain healthy and happy.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Too large to be considered food by catfish.

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Needs a big tank

11. Blue Gourami

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  • Scientific Name: Trichogaster trichopterus
  • Adult Size: 5 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 74 to 82 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: South Asia

While it is true that blue gouramis can fight with other fish species, it is important to note that this is because the pretty blue fish is territorial. As long as your pictus has plenty of room, it won’t venture into the pictus catfish zone to start trouble!

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Can be kept from fighting with pictus in a large enough tank.

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Can be territorial and aggressive with other fish.

12. Glass Catfish

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  • Scientific Name: Kryptopterus vitreolus
  • Adult Size: 5 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 80 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Care Level: Medium difficulty
  • Origin: Thailand

If you love one catfish, why not add another type to your aquarium? Especially if it is the beautiful, nearly-transparent glass catfish! Unlike the Pictus, a glass catfish is content to swim around in many different parts of the tank, avoiding any conflict.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Not aggressive
  • Will not compete for food

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Needs plenty of plants in the tank.

13. Discus Cichlid

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  • Scientific Name: Symphsodon
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 82 to 88 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Care Level: Difficult
  • Origin: South America

Although discus cichlid provide a nice contrast to your flat-laying pictus catfish, and will not cause any fights in the tank, they are difficult to keep for one reason. This reason is that you may have to play around with the hotter water temperature of the tank to accommodate them.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Non Aggressive
  • Will not compete for food

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • Needs to be in a very warm tank

14. Red Irian Rainbowfish

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  • Scientific Name: Glossolepis incisus
  • Adult Size: 6 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature:72 to 77 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Origin: Papua New Guinea

Red Irian Rainbowfish are absolutely striking, like a fireball somehow living underwater! Luckily, this fiery color doesn’t translate to their temper as long as they are kept with other peaceful fish, like the Pictus catfish.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Non Aggressive

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • None

15. Jack Dempsey Fish

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  • Scientific Name: Arcocentrus octofasciatum
  • Adult Size: 10 inches
  • Compatible With: Pictus Catfish
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 86 F
  • Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
  • Care Level: Medium Difficulty
  • Origin: North America, Central America, Guatemala, Mexico, Yucatan

Although this fish is named for it’s aggression, it is actually not a problem when put with Pictus catfish! This is because Jack Dempsey’s often do not occupy the lower zone of the tank, and see a larger fish like the Pictus and decide not to pick such a silly fight.

Pros of keeping with Pictus Catfish:

  • Stays in a different zone from the pictus

Cons of keeping with Pictus Catfish :

  • May become aggressive with other fish.

In Conclusion

To sum it all up, the 15 Best Pictus Catfish tank mates that should be kept with a pictus catfish’s sweet, sleepy nature are ones that are similarly peaceful. Even if they do have a more boisterous attitude, they should not bother the Pictus Catfish as long as they are prone to occupying higher levels of the tank.

Additionally, these tank mates should not be bottom feeders who might compete for your catfish’s sinking food, nor should they be so small that the Pictus accidentally winds up thinking his neighbors are food, themselves! If all of these things check out, you’ll have a beautiful tank community with your pictus at the heart.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pictus Catfish Get along with other fish?

Absolutely; Pictus Catfish are mild-mannered and stay in their own zone. The only time they may have trouble with tank mates is if those tank mates are so small that they look like snacks!

Are Pictus Catfish aggressive?

Typically, Pictus Catfish are not aggressive. They only wind up eating other fish if those other fish are too small.

Can Pictus Catfish live with Cory Catfish?

A pictus catfish and a cory catfish should not be kept in any normally-sized tank. If the tank is incredibly large, it may be possible; however, usually, a Pictus Catfish stays on the bottom of the tank. Cory catfish are much larger and would probably take up too much of the Pictus catfish’s space for comfort.

Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

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