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Farlowella cf.vittata (Twig Catfish)

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Strikingly elongate and very twig-like in shape, these catfish make an unusual addition to the peaceful South American community tank. Farlowella spp. catfish are difficult to tell apart, all having the same basic shape and colouration. Species are distinguished by ichthyologists using measurements such as the number of scutes on the body. The sexes are similar, though males have a thicker and distinctly bristly snout.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Farlowella are peaceful, inactive fish that hide among the plants feeding on algae from their leaves and stems. Their twig-like shape is clearly a form a camouflage. In the community tank they are easily bullied by nippy or aggressive tankmates, so should only be kept with very docile species such as cardinal tetras or small rasboras. Feeding can be a problem, since they feed almost entirely on green algae. Soft vegetables such as cucumber, courgette and blanched lettuce will be taken as well, but not if these catfish have to compete with more robust species like plecs, so don't keep Farlowella with any other loricariids. They are extremely sensitive to poor water quality. Keep only in a mature aquarium and perform regular water changes taking care to keep the water chemistry as constant as possible. Not a fish for inexperience fishkeepers.

Farlowella have been bred in captivity, though not commonly. Both parents guard the eggs.

Family Group: Catfish
Distribution South America: Colombia and Venezuela, Orinoco River
Temperature 24-26 C
Size 22.5 cm
Water Parameters Soft and slightly acidic water of good quality essential
Water PH 6.0-7.0