Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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heyhi 05-09-2008 11:30 PM

are picyus and upside cat fish compatible
I'm a new fish hobbyist and i took over a 10 gal tank that wasn't being taken care of.there was 1 upside down catfish and a pictus cat fish that where both hidden in a small skull together for at least a month. the water wasn't being changed and fish where barley fed... i took it over and changed the water a few times and went and got 2 more fish from pet smart that resembled the pictus i don't think they are pictus but they are semi aggressive.and i also got 1 more upside down fish so the other one can have company.the first pictus is about 3 in and the other 2 are half the size. the 1 catfish is also half the size of the newer one.. Ive had them for a week and they seem to get along but the upside down fish stayed in the skull the whole time. i took the skull out so they can get used to be in the open .. am i gonna have any problems with them all getting along?this is my first tank so I'm a beginner.any 1 have any input im also planning on getting a bigger tank when i get a better understanding can i mix these with semi aggresive sharks and stuff like that?

bettababy 05-10-2008 12:41 AM

For starters, that's a lot of fish in a 10 gallon tank, so I wouldn't expect them to survive long. When healthy those fish grow very rapidly, and they now have no room for growth spurts.
Can you post your water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH please?? The first signs of trouble will likely show up there.

With that said, they will need a much larger tank asap, those fish get pretty decent size. The upside down catfish average about 4 inches, and the pictus average 5 - 7. The problem is that these fish are prone to stress, competing for food, and very prone to illness due to stress and poor water quality. All of these fish you have listed are scaleless fish, and the minute the water quality gets bad, they are prone to open sores and burning of the skin from ammonia and nitrites, or very high nitrates (over 40). Pictus are one of the harder cats to keep because of this reason, the upside down cats are a bit more sturdy.

At their current sizes they should be in at least 75 gallons to be able to find enough territory away from each other, and lots of decorations and enough caves to account for each fish. Please do not expect them to share cave territory, this is highly unlikely and usually turns into a fight for it instead. The fact that your upside down cats are already hiding is evidence of the lack of territory.

As for what to mix them with, that will depend on the size of the tank they end up in. If you're thinking of at least 125 gallons, yes, they could mix with bala sharks. I have seen them mixed with irridescent sharks, but that is not a fish I suggest to a beginner or anyone with a small pocketbook. Irridescent sharks top out around 3 - 4 ft, and are also very sensitive to water quality and stress. They are also known to be prone to injuries from smashing into the sides of tanks due to lack of needed space. They are very active and need a lot of length/area in the tank to be healthy. For just 1 you could expect to need about 900 gallons if you're planning to mix it with anything... 500+ just for the shark to find enough area.
Red tail sharks are going to be competition for territory and food, and are a lot more aggressive, so I wouldn't mix those in either. The common black sharks or black fin sharks are also not an option because they would need brackish water.

Please be aware that the fish you have currently will require softer water (pH of 6.5 - 7.0) and warm enough temperatures (78 - 80). Even without knowing your water parameters yet, if you're not doing daily water changes yet, you do need to. 20% every day without digging down into the gravel more than once or twice/wk. It would be a good idea to keep them on that water change schedule until you get them into a much larger tank where the waste levels will be more managable with just filtration and weekly water changes.

I hope this helps you, please ask if you have anymore questions. I am very familiar with both of these species of catfish, and their needs. There are other fish to consider mixing them with besides sharks, so once I know how large of a tank you're planning, I can give you more options.

heyhi 05-10-2008 06:58 PM

nitrite is .5 nitrate is safe water hardness is 75 but the alklinity test shows high and the ph shows about 6.4 . im changing the water once a week and vaccuming the bottom every week and a half.and im planing on getting a 35 gallon soon. im not to experienced with what to get n stuff like that but i already got these fish and have no choice but to keep them.after i get the 35 gallon in a week or so im gonna get a 55 in about a year.the 1 pictus and upside down shared a cave for well more then a month so hopefully they will keep getting along

aunt kymmie 06-03-2008 12:58 PM

Pictus/Upside Down Cat
I also have a pictus and an upside down cat, along with
a pleco in a ten gl. They are still pretty small (about 2 1/2")
and I have a 100 gl that is currently cycling and when it is
ready will transfer them to their new home. I'm still considering
my options for tankmates. I've received a few suggestions
(great, helpful members here on this forum!) and was also
wondering what you'd suggest. Thanks!

iamntbatman 06-10-2008 01:31 AM

I was just thinking about this earlier possible suggestion (since you've got the tank big enough to house it) is a black ghost knife fish. These fish can apparently work in large groups but don't do very well in small groups or pairs. They work best as single specimens. Very interesting fish.

Not to mention the fish you already have are generally nocturnal in nature, so by adding another nocturnal fish like the ghost knife to the mix, you'd be further justifying adding some moon lights to your tank to watch your fish in action.

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