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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Total newbie, so forgive my ignorance and impatience: Got my first fish tank for Christmas, went through all the prep, testing, etc., waited a week before adding fish. I fell in love with the Pictus Catfish at the petstore because they were so active, I planned my habitat around them. I got 2 one week ago. They won't leave the left wall of the tank. Up and down the left wall all day, they rarely swim around the bottom, never swim across the center of the tank, pretty much stay within 1" up & down the left wall; they don't act at all like the ones at the store (the store where I bought them or where I've seen them elsewhere). I tried shining a flashlight in the left side of the tank, which they clearing didn't like, but they have apparently decided to live with the light on the left wall of the aquarium rather than move to another part of the aquarium. I'm rather disappointed because I can't really see them, and I certainly am not enjoying them the way I did watching them at the store. Any ideas from experienced fishkeepers?
 

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geril, welcome to PTF;

I would speculate he's distracted by his reflection.
you may want to experiment with black paper
and a small mirror to see if that's the case.

he may be too small for your tank if its under 20g-30g

he may not find your tank hospitable.
they prefer soft not sharp gravel or sand.
try to post a photo of your tank.

pictus are a nervous fish that needs
plant cover, and spots under and between
rocks and/or driftwood to feel comfortable.

if you bought them for their activity level
you may be disappointed since once they are
comfortable in your tank, they may not move much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
thanks

Thank you for your prompt reply! Here's a photo of my tank.


The sides are very reflective; would black paper on the outside work, or is it special aquarium paper that goes on the inside? There are 2 pictus catfish on the left wall, which barely show in the photograph (hence my disappointment and frustration). They are very active; they just won't stray from the left-hand wall, which they zip up and down constantly.

The gravel is round epoxy-coated, no sharp edges. The plants are fake; I tried moving the large plant to the center to see if they'd follow the plant, but it made no difference. The heater and filter are on the left hand side; I also installed a bubble bar along the back (thinking perhaps the water circulating around the filter was the attractant), but it made no difference.

Additional info: 10-gallon aquarium, which I let cycle for 3 days before adding fish. Temp is 75F, pH 6.8 (down from 7.6 before I added fish 5 days ago), chlorine 0, nitrite 0, hardness 120 (I think that's 6.7 dGH).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
update

Actually, last night a few hours after I posted, one of the catfish finally came off the left wall. Not much, only about 2", but he kept "flashing" his belly onto the front glass. This morning and now, they're swimming around the tank -- mostly the left half of the tank, but they're getting to the middle anyway, and they've even strayed all the way to the right-hand side!
 
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