The Four-lined Pimelodus Pimelodus blochii is a very handsome and hardy fish. When young its color is a pretty silver gray striped over with a darker gray which aptly gives them their name. While the term Pimelodus literally translates into “fat tooth”, the first part of its common name comes from the four lateral stripes on the flanks. Though this is there appearance when young, they often loose the striping as adults and becoming a more dusky gray. Other common names it is known by include Four-lined Pimodella, Dusky Pimelodid, and Bloch’s Catfish.
The Bloch’s Catfish has a flat-fronted nose and long flowing barbels. These characteristics lend themselves to the more generalized common names of Antenna Catfish and Flat-nosed Catfish. Like the other long-whiskered catfishes of the Pimelodidae Family, it locates its food by smell and by probing with its antennae. The Four-lined Pimelodus especially likes worms of all kinds and some of its favorites are bloodworms and earthworms.
The dorsal fin of the Four-lined Pimelodus has a strong, rigid spine with saw-edged tips that act like barbed hooks. It used to be thought that the spine was poison, as it is on a number of catfishes. But more recently several authors have said this is probably not true.
The Four-lined Pimelodus is moderately hardy, but needs an aquarium of at least 55 gallons or more. They swim in the lower portion or bottom of the aquarium and should be provided places to hide during the day. They are nighttime feeders but are not fussy about their food. They will eat most anything though have a preference for meaty foods, especially worms. In oxygen depleted waters, the Four-lined Pimelodus can change almost entirely to surface breathing. In the aquarium it will occasionally go to the surface to breath air through its intestinal respiratory system. These fish can also be kept in brackish water.
Four-lined Pimodella catfish are generally peaceful and can be kept in a community aquarium. However they are hearty feeders and will snack on any fish small enough to fit in their mouths. Larger active tetras, most barbs, gouramis, rasboras and other similar fish will be fine. Graceful fish types, like angelfish, may be bothered by the prodding of their barbels, especially after dark when these catfish are searching for food. They can be kept singly or in a group of their own kind, as well as with other catfish species like Plecostomus, Loricaria, Corydoras, Acanthodoras, and even larger cichlids.
The Four-lined Pimodella is often confused with its relative the Pictus Pimodella or Pictus Cat Pimelodus pictus. However the Four-lined Pimelodus doesn't have the spotted patterning of the Pictus catfish. Also it is a much larger catfish, reaching about 8 inches (20 cm) in the aquarium while the Pictus Pimelodus only reaches only about 4 1/2 inches (11 cm) in the aquarium.