pictus catfish

What Do Pictus Catfish Eat? Diet | Feeding | Foods | Feeding Guide

What do Pictus Catfish eat apart from Tropical fish flake? We were recently asked this question when a fellow aquarist, who is new to the hobby, asked if his Pictus Catfish could eat Bloodworms or any other type of meaty foods.

This got me thinking about how many people who are new to the hobby, maybe feeding their Catfish an unsuitable diet. Let’s get straight to the point in question.

pictus catfish

What do Pictus Catfish Eat? These fish are known as scavengers and will eat just about anything that they can find. By nature they are omnivorous, so they will eat both meat and plant matter. However, Pictus Catfish should be fed a balanced diet of live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp and other meaty foods. Standard flake fish foods do not contain all the nutrients they need. This means you’ll need to supplement their food to ensure they get all the nutrients they need to thrive in a home aquarium.

Here’s a list of suitable foods for Pictus Catfish

  • Bloodworms
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Flake Food
  • Sinking Pellets
  • Algae Tablets
  • Live Daphnia
  • Mysis Shrimp
  • Vegi Matter
  • Frozen Foods
  • Finely Chopped Meaty Foods

Can Pictus Catfish eat debris from the aquarium floor?

Fish keepers new to the hobby are often misled by inexperienced aquarists or poorly trained pet store employees.

People are told that Pictus Catfish will eat debris and snails as well as all the garbage from the bottom of your aquarium. Whilst this is true to a certain extent, this type of food should not be their only source of food.

pictus catfish
Image Credits @Chemmie

My Pictus Catfish can be seen all day, every day rummaging around the bottom of the aquarium in search of food. However, I do ensure that they receive extra foods like algae pellets and live and freeze-dried Bloodworms. They really like the blocks of freeze-dried bloodworms. These are easy to feed to them without the other fish eating it all up before it hits the bottom of the aquarium. 

TOP TIP: Ensure your Pictus Catfish are well fed and full so they leave smaller fish alone. They will eat smaller fish if they are hungry.

Can Pictus Catfish Eat Flake Fish Food?

Like most tropical fish, Pictus Catfish can and will eat flake food. The mix of fish you have in your aquarium will subsequently affect how much flake food your Pictus Catfish will receive at the bottom of the aquarium. Some catfish are brave enough to venture off the bottom of the aquarium and will happily feed at mid water level and sometimes even feed at the surface.

Read our complete guide to feeding not just Pictus Catfish but many species of catfish in our catfish feeding guide.

If you have a large selection of fast-moving, top and mid-level swimmers like Tiger Barbs, your Pictus Catfish may not get its fair share of flake food.

Want to know which food we feed our Pictus Catfish?

Click this link  🔂 to see what which food we feed all our Catfish.

Pictus Catfish will need a meaty diet compared to most of the tropical fish you have in your aquarium. They will not be satisfied with just flake food and a few live bloodworms. These fish require a balanced diet that includes plenty of meaty foods.

Do Pictus Catfish Eat Algae?

Not really, they will eat some algae from the bottom of the aquarium and algae that grows on the gravel, but cleaning the aquarium is down to you. You cannot buy a few algae eating fish and expect your aquarium to be cleaned by these fish.

Other fish such as Siamese Algae Eaters will do a much better job of cleaning up and eating some of the algae in your aquarium.

Pictus Catfish
Image Credits here.

Only regular water changes and aquarium maintenance will keep your aquarium clean and healthy. It is true that Pictus Catfish do help keep the gravel loose and free and by digging in the substrate. They loosen trapped dirt and leftover foods which will then be taken out by your aquarium filter.

Ensuring you have the correct filter for the size of your aquarium is vital. Read our guide of the best filter for a small aquarium and the best filters for larger aquariums.

These will help you keep your aquarium clean. But don’t forget even a filter will not eradicate the need for water changes. 

How often should you feed Pictus Catfish?

Pictus Catfish should be treated no differently to all the other fish in your aquarium. They will need the same types of foods at the same time as others. 

Yes, Pictus Catfish will search throughout the day and night for leftover food, but they still have the same feeding requirements as other fish. You do need to give them every opportunity to feed like all your other fish.

My Pictus Catfish are over 4″ in length, which means they are capable of eating smaller fish like Neon Tetra and Zebra Danios. So be careful what you keep them with. Remember, these fish are fast and active swimmers and can easily stress out other smaller fish if they are not correctly fed.

Below is a simple feeding guide for Pictus Catfish:


FoodHow OftenHow Much
Flake Food3 Times a dayEnough to consume in 90 Seconds
Pellets3 Times a week1-2 Mini Pellets Per Fish
Bloodworms - live2 Times a week3-4 Worms per fish
Bloodworm - Freeze Dried2 Times a weekSmall Pinch
Algae Wafers / tablets2 Times a week1 Tablet or wafer per 10 fish
Brine Shrimp - LiveOnce a week1-2 Brine shrimp per fish
Other supplement foods or Vegatables2 Times per weekEnough to consume in 90 Seconds

Which food do we recommend for Pictus Catfish?

We feed our Catfish the same types of food that we do for all our fish but we also feed the API Sinking Catfish Pellets. These are a slightly bigger food source than flake foods and will allow the catfish to easily grab some before the others eat it all.

The foods below are tried and tested over many years and will provide your fish, including your lovely Catfish, with all the nutrients they need. 

Last updated on July 17, 2019 5:26 am

Conclusion: What Do Pictus Catfish Eat?

Pictus Catfish are amazing tropical fish and will eat just about any type of freshwater fish food. Don’t rely on one type of fish flake to give them all the nutrients and vitamins they need to thrive in a home aquarium.

As responsible fish keepers, we have a duty to feed our fish the correct food source which is healthy, fresh and contains the correct vitamins and minerals.

Imagine eating just one type of food for the rest of your life like Lettuce! Boring right and not very healthy. Well, It’s the same for your fish.

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