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Canadian Fish 02-21-2012 06:49 PM

Questions about Cycling and choosing tankmates for pictus catfish
Hi! I am cycling a 55 gallon tank. I added Tetra Aquasafe Plus, which I think is basically just to remove chlorine, and added some liquid bacteria from the LFS. How long should I cycle before I can bring some water for them to test and add some fish if it all checks out? One store told me two days, another said a week, and another said a month.

I have a 20 gallon tank I set up a year ago and I think I cycled it for a week. I was impatient that time because it was our first tank.

I would like to stock an active, entertaining tank.

I plan on keeping a group of pictus catfish. Does anyone know how large they usually get in aquariums? I have read anywhere from 4" to 10", but 5 inch seems to be the consensus.

They seem to be entertaining in groups. I'm wondering if I should try a school of 5, or if I should only have 3, as I hear they produce a lot of waste. I only have an Aquaclear 70 filter.

Also, what are some middle and top level swimmers I can keep with the pictus? I know if fish are too small the pictus may eat them, but I want larger fish anyway. Our 20 gallon houses twin bar platies and julii corys so we want larger fish in the 55 gallon.

Ideally I'd like a school of active fish that are happy in a group of 5 or 7 and get to between 4 and 6 inches at maturity, and that will cohabitate nicely with the pictus.

OR, if there is no ideal schooling fish of the size and temperament I am looking for, I could try 3 or 4 different species of fish that range in size from 4" to 8" at maturity (just one of each fish), that all get along, and will get along with the catfish.

The platies and corys in our 20 gallon tank are super active and we'd like to replicate that sort of environment on a larger scale in our new tank.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. The hardier the fish (or the easier to maintain) the better. The only experience we have with caring for fish is the platies and corys and they're easy.

Maxillius 02-21-2012 07:00 PM

Hi! about your cycling all your questions can be answered here!
as for stoking an aquarium it all depends on the ph of your water and tank dimensions and here is another article about it! :)
hope this helps :)

Byron 02-22-2012 11:41 AM

Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D

In addition to the articles linked by Maxillius, I wold mention our fish and plant profiles section, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. If the name is used the same in a post as in the profile, it will shade as it did previously for Pictus Catfish and you can click that for the profile.

This fish attains 5 inches, and should be in a group as is explained in the profile. It is predatory to smaller fish. A group of 5 would be nice in your 55g. I won't mention tankmates as I don't like telling others what to have in their tanks:lol: but you should not combine them with cichlids or nippy fish. Medium characins, larger rasbora, rainbowfish are suitable.


Canadian Fish 02-22-2012 11:52 AM

Thanks for the info.

I've read using filter media from an established tank in a new tank can aid cycling.

My established tank has a Topfin 20 filter, the new tank has an Aquaclear 70 filter. Do I just cut up the old filter media and put the pieces in the new filter? The aquaclear has 3 levels of filter material in the filter structure. Do I just add the cut up media from the established filter on top of the stuff in the Aquaclear filter?

I have to change the water in my 20 gallon tank today or tomorrow. I've read I shouldn't change the water and the filter at the same time. I assume if I change the water today I'll be able to change the filter in a week or so, at which time I will add it to my cycling tank.

AbbeysDad 02-22-2012 12:39 PM

zzzz ....was there a question in the original post? ;-) lol

When you study up on cycling it all becomes clear... ammonia to nitrites to nitrates to nitrogen - natures N2 dance.
Right now you need time and an ammonia source in order to cycle your tank...and even with a bio-seed it takes 3-6 weeks to cycle a tank and establish enough bacteria colonies to effectively/safely support fish...and then you should only ever add a couple of fish at a time (AND maintain good tank/filter maintenance and WEEKLY PARTIAL WATER CHANGES).

In answer to your question about adding used filter media to your new AC. I would add it right after the initial sponge, before any chemical and bio-media. Also, the activated carbon is somewhat optional. The consensus agreement here is to only use activated carbon in special cases to remove meds our other known impurities.

Welcome to the hobby and the forum. This is a great place to share our passion, learn, share ideas and at times debate the merits of this or that.


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