Angel catfish

The angel catfish sets special accents in the aquarium with its interesting appearance. Its size cannot be compared with the classic catfish, but it can be compared with other ornamental fish.

Data sheet for Angel Catfish

Scientific name: Pimelodus pictus
Origin / area of origin: South America Peru, Colombia
PH value: 6 to 7.5
Total hardness: 6 to 10
Carbonate hardness: 3 to 6
Food: Omnivores
Breeding: not known
Ideal swarm size: From a group size of 5

What distinguishes Angel Catfish

The origin of the angel-catfish lies in South America, specifically in the Amazon-area. Beside it one finds it in the Central American area or in Argentina.

The appearance of Angel Catfish

© Monika Schreiber

The most striking feature of the catfish is its iridescent surface. The fins are provided with dark spots. Angel catfish have an elongated body shape, on the dorsal fin there is only a slight elevation. Towards the caudal fins the shape becomes increasingly flatter.

Just as characteristic as their bright colours are the beards on the fish’s mouth. The remaining fins appear transparent, sometimes stripes can be seen on the caudal fin. Adipose fins are also present in angel catfish.


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  • Magnificently shiny exterior
  • Dark coloured spots on the fins
  • Narrow body shape with a slight elevation at the dorsal fins
  • Whiskers
  • Glass-like fins, furthermore adipose fins
  • Striped colour gradients on the caudal fins

Housing conditions

© Holger Hilt

For angel-catfish, only an aquarium with a high capacity comes into question. At least 250 liters should have place in it, because the fish are very eager to move.

In general the catfish are considered to be social. Occasionally they behave defensively towards other Angel Catfish. Therefore the tank should have enough free space. Keeping in groups is appropriate, it even works with other breeds that are not catfish. When feeding, the amount should not be too small: Angel catfish often proceed too fast when feeding other fish and devour the food in front of their eyes. Sometimes they consider dainty fish as food. Therefore they should preferably be kept with fish of the same or larger size.

Since angel catfish become more lively with increasing darkness, the tank must not be too brightly illuminated. Completely darkened niches are also optimal.

A weekly water change helps to keep the fish healthy. On this occasion, half of the water is renewed by refilling with fresh water.

  • Voluminous aquarium with at least 250 litres capacity, so that the animals can swim around freely
  • Angel catfish = basically balanced, but defensive behaviour towards other fish may occur
  • Group housing is possible, also together with fish breeds of the same size or larger
  • Economical lighting, dark niches
  • One water change per week
  • Do not feed too closely rationed food, smaller fish sometimes pass as food for the catfish

Gender differences

Between male and female angel-catfish, there are hardly optical differences.

Water values for Angel Catfish

An average temperature between 22 and 25 degrees is ideal for this catfish breed. The pH value should be 6 to 7.5, the water hardness about 5 to 16 dGH. Too hard water is not a suitable condition for catfish in the aquarium.

Food and nutrition for Angel Catfish

With regard to food, there are no specifications for angelfish catfish, because they eat everything. For this reason, they can be given both live and dry food.

The ideal aquarium for Angel Catfish

In order to protect the aquarium from too much light, floating plants can be placed on the water. Moreover, the catfish should find enough possibilities to hide. Water plants, stone structures and/or roots offer them places to rest. (Pebble)sand is suitable for the ground stocking. On the sides of the tank plants can be placed. However, you must not restrict the space for the fish too much.

Characteristics of angel catfish

Under species-appropriate conditions, the angel-catfish can lead a long life of up to twenty years.

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