Whiptail | Rineloricaria filamentosa
Catfish / Loricariidae / Whiptail
Synonyms: Loricaria filamentosa
Physical description: This is an elongated Catfish that has a flattened body and is covered by several rows of bony plates. Its mouth is shaped like a suction cup and is located on the underside of its head. The body is somewhat shaped like an airplane when viewed from above. 5 to 8 dark bars runs horizontally across the Whiptail's long spine. The main body coloration is a mixture of light brown and darker brown splotches. The fins have the same color as the rest of the body.
Size/Length: To 10" (25 cm)
Similar species: Other Rineloricaria species
Habitat: South America; Rio Magdalena (Columbia) in shallow areas of small creeks and streams.
Aquarium: 24" (61 cm) or 15 gallons (56 L). The tank should be well-aerated and have fine gravel or sand for burrowing. Provide hiding places with rocks, wood, roots, caves, or clay pipes. The tank should be well-planted.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7.5 (6.8), 5-18 dH (8), 70-82°F (21-28°C)
Social behavior: A peaceful fish that can be kept in a community tank with other calm fish.
Suggested companions: Discus, tetras, Hatchetfish, Apistogramma, Corydoras
FOOD: Algae; vegetables; lettuce, spinach; fruit; live; crustaceans, insect larvae; tablets. Feed at night.
Sexual differences: Males are slender and have whiskers.
Breeding techniques: This is a difficult fish to breed, because mature females don't often spawn. The pair should be fed on a good vegetable diet. Provide a pipe or bamboo stalk that is just large enough for the fish to fit into (usually 1.5-2" in diameter and 8" long is sufficient). The 100-200 amber-colored eggs are laid in this pipe. The male guards them and fans fresh water over them. The eggs hatch in 8-12 days, and the male aides the fry by sucking off their egg sacs. The fry grow rapidly if fed small live foods. After 1-2 weeks, start feeding fine vegetable foods.
Breeding potential: 9. Breeding this catfish is very difficult.
Remarks: Very sensitive to changing water conditions and can die thereafter. There are ten imported, similar looking Rineloricaria species and correct identification is difficult. This fish keep the tank very clean as it scrounges the bottom for food. Treat the water with medications carefully, this fish is sensitive to them.
Difficulty of care: 6. This catfish is an excellent community fish, but is sensitive to water conditions and medications.