The genus Spatuloricaria comprises currently 11 accepted species. Members of this genus are large, splendid whiptail cats. There is probably no species that stays smaller than 30 cm in length, some become definitely larger. This means that the fish have to be kept in large aquaria. Spatuloricaria are sensitive against poor water quality. Thus a good working, large filter is indispensable for a successful keeping.
Males of Spatuloricaria develope impressive “beards” during the breeding season, which are reduced afterwards again. Spatuloricaria are cavebrooders which prefer to spawn under flat stones. Breeding reports can found in the German magazine Amazonas, No 12 (7/8, 2007).
Spatuloricaria are omnivorous, but they prefer meat (bloodworm, cyclops, artemia etc.). Additionally flakes basing on plant material can be offered. The long, curved fangs in the upper jaw indicate that this species mainly eats snails in the wild, as such teeth only make sense in this context: to pull the soft body of the snail out of the shell. Aquarium observations on this subject are still pending.
The Spatuloricaria we were able to import from Peru probably represents a scientifically undescribed species. Besides the spectacular black-and-white-coloration a unique feature of this species is that it has only three (instead of four in most other species) broad black bands on the back posterior to the dorsal fin. Spatuloricaria sp. “Black-White Peru” has been assigned the code number LDA 115.
We have also made a small film about these fish, which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDYopr1O69Y
For our customers: the fish have code 293785 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale market.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer