So far, there’s no known case of anyone successfully breeding pictus catfish at a home aquarium.
What makes this fish so difficult to breed is that it’s hard to tell males and females apart, and achieving the right breeding conditions in a home aquarium is also difficult.
But if you want to give it a try, here’s what you need to know on how to breed pictus catfish.
Do Pictus Catfish Lay Eggs?
The first thing you need to know is how pictus catfish reproduce. They are egg layers.
In the wild, female pictus catfish lay eggs and the males fertilize them.
Beyond that, there isn’t much research on the natural breeding behavior and characteristics of pictus catfish, which makes breeding it at home an almost impossible endeavour.
How Can You Tell If A Pictus Catfish Is Male Or Female?
You cannot, at least not with complete confidence.
Male and female pictus catfish are virtually indistinguishable from each other. The female may be slightly bigger and rounder than the male, but it’s hard to see the difference.
And this is just the first problem you’ll encounter when attempting to breed pictus catfish. If you cannot tell which is male and which is female, you have no idea whether they’ll breed.
The second problem you’ll encounter is that, in an aquarium, pictus catfish usually never reach sexual maturity. This is mostly because of the limited space in most home aquariums.
That means, your fish may never be ready to breed.
If you really want to try breeding your pictus catfish shoal, you’ll need a 200+ gallon tank. That allows the fish to reach sexual maturity and possibly lay eggs.
But even then, it’s hard to simulate the right water conditions for breeding, since we don’t know much about their breeding habits in the wild.
You’ll probably need a separate breeding tank, and maintain strict parameters to support breeding and the offspring.
And even then, chances of a successful breeding are pretty slim.
To be clear, fish hatcheries do breed pictus catfish. But it is a complex process involving hormones and special tools. It’s highly unlikely you can replicate it at home.
Do Pictus Catfish Need To Be In Groups?
If you want to try breeding pictus catfish, then you’ll definitely need to have a group of them. A shoal of 4-6 fish in a 200+ gallon tank is adequate.
Having a group increases the chances that there’s at least a male and female, and thus the possibility of a successful breeding.
But even if you are not planning to breed your pictus catfish, it’s still recommended to keep a shoal instead of just one fish.
Pictus catfish are naturally shoaling fish, as you can see in the video below. They are more active and live longer when they stay as a group.
Pictus Catfish Breeding Behavior
Beyond ‘female pictus catfish and males fertilize them’, little is known about the breeding behavior of pictus catfish.
That’s one of the reasons why it is very difficult to breed it at home.
Even in commercial hatcheries, breeding doesn’t happen naturally. Experts use hormones to get female pictus catfish to spawn eggs. They then extract sperm from male pictus catfish, and mix it with the eggs for fertilization.
So, unless you have the expertise, space, and tools to breed pictus catfish, you probably won’t ever see little baby pictus catfish swimming in your home aquarium.