False spotted catfish Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The false spotted catfish is a beautiful and unique freshwater fish that is perfect for the beginner aquarist.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about false spotted catfish care. You’ll learn about their diet, size, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The false spotted catfish (scientific name: Pseudomystus siamensis) is a species of freshwater fish that is native to Thailand.

They are most commonly found in slow-moving rivers and streams with a lot of vegetation. This provides them with plenty of places to hide and forage for food.

False spotted catfish are very peaceful and make good tank mates for other similarly sized fish. They are not aggressive and will not bother other fish in the tank.

The false spotted catfish is a popular choice for aquariums because of its unique appearance. It has a brown body with black spots and a long, barbels. It can grow to be about 12 inches long.


False spotted catfish

The false spotted catfish is a very large and unique looking fish. These fish can grow up to 2 feet long and are very stocky and muscular.

The body of the false spotted catfish is covered in large black spots. These spots are encircled by a thin white line. The belly of the fish is a light cream color.

The fins of the false spotted catfish are very large and prominent. The dorsal fin is tall and starts about halfway back on the body. The anal fin is also tall and starts just behind the dorsal fin.

The caudal fin is forked and very tall. The pectoral fins are large and rounded. The false spotted catfish also has two pairs of barbels on their face.


The false spotted catfish has a lifespan of around 10 years. This is a long time for a fish and it’s one of the reasons why they’re such a popular choice for aquariums.

Of course, there are a number of factors that will impact the lifespan of your false spotted catfish. Things like water quality, diet, and stress can all shorten their lifespan.

But if you take good care of them then you can expect them to stick around for a long time.


The average false spotted catfish size is between 4 and 6 inches, with some reports of them reaching up to 8 inches. These fish are definitely on the smaller side, but they make up for it in personality!


Tank Size

The minimum recommended tank size for a false spotted catfish is 50 gallons.

Ideally, you want to give them even more room to swim and play if you can. A 75-gallon tank would be even better and provide them with plenty of space to grow and explore.

As with most fish, the more space you can give them the better. If you have the room, a false spotted catfish would love to have a 100 gallon tank all to themselves.

Water Parameters

The false spotted catfish is a unique and beautiful freshwater fish that is native to Thailand. It is a member of the Loricariidae family which contains over 700 different species of armored catfish.

For the most part, they are a peaceful community fish that gets along well with other tank mates. They are a bit shy though and do best in a tank with plenty of hiding places.

The false spotted catfish is a hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. However, to ensure a long and healthy life, it is best to maintain the following water conditions.

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 2 to 12 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to setting up the inside of an aquarium for a false spotted catfish, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

The first is that these fish need a lot of hiding places. We recommend using a lot of rocks, driftwood, and caves to achieve this.

The second is that they need a soft substrate. This is to protect their delicate barbels (feelers) from being damaged.

Other than that, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to decorating their tank.

Plants are always a nice addition, but be aware that these fish are known to nibble on them from time to time. If you want to include plants we recommend something that can withstand a little abuse (like Hornwort or Java Moss).

Common Diseases

The false spotted catfish is a very hearty and disease-resistant fish. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t get sick from time to time.

The most common illness that affects this species is ich. This is a parasitic infection that will show itself as white spots on the body, fins, and gills of your fish.

If left untreated, ich can be fatal. However, it’s relatively easy to treat if you catch it early.

Another thing to look out for is any cuts or scrapes on the body of your catfish. These can easily become infected, so be sure to keep an eye on them.

As long as you maintain a clean and healthy environment for your false spotted catfish, they should remain healthy and happy for many years to come.

Behavior & Temperament

The false spotted catfish is a nocturnal fish, so it’s most active at night. During the daytime, it rests in hiding spots or burrows in the substrate.

This fish is a peaceful creature that gets along with most other fish. It’s not territorial and won’t attack other fish unless it feels threatened.

The false spotted catfish is a scavenger that will eat just about anything. In the wild, its diet consists of insects, small crustaceans, and plant matter. In captivity, it will gladly eat pellets, flakes, and freeze-dried foods.

This fish is a hardy creature that is relatively easy to care for. It’s not picky about water conditions and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

Tank Mates

There are a few things to consider when choosing tank mates for false spotted catfish.

First, these fish come from slow-moving waters in the wild. As a result, they do best in tanks with similar water flow.

You’ll also want to find fish that occupy different parts of the water column. False spotted catfish are bottom dwellers, so look for species that stick to the middle or top.

Finally, these fish are on the large side. They can reach up to 18 inches in length, so they need plenty of room to roam.

With all of that in mind, here are a few compatible tank mates for false spotted catfish:


The false spotted catfish is a beautiful fish that’s fun to watch and care for. They’re also not too difficult to breed in captivity.

As with most fish, the first step is to sex them. Females are typically larger than males and have a more rounded body shape. Males have a sharper, more streamlined body. They also have longer fins.

Once you’ve sexed your fish, you’ll need to set up a breeding tank. It should hold at least 30 gallons of water and have a sandy bottom. The water should be well-filtered and have a moderate flow.

You’ll also need to add some plants and driftwood for the fish to hide in. Finally, make sure the temperature is between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

When everything is ready, add two females for every male. Then, feed the fish plenty of live foods.

After a few days, you should start to see the females getting larger. That’s a sign that they’re full of eggs.

The female will lay her eggs on the leaves of plants or on the driftwood. After she lays the eggs, the male will fertilize them.

Once the eggs have been fertilized, the male will guard them until they hatch. This usually takes about a week.

Once the fry have hatched, you can remove the adults and start feeding them baby brine shrimp.


The false spotted catfish is a unique and beautiful fish that is perfect for the intermediate to experienced fish keeper.

While they are a bit more high maintenance than some other fish, they are well worth the effort.

These fish are active and curious, and their striking appearance is sure to turn heads.

If you’re looking for a fish that is a little bit out of the ordinary, the false spotted catfish is a great choice.