From Brazil we received beautiful whiptail catfishes, which we thought at first sight to be Rineloricaria lanceolata, a species with a very wide distribution. The high proportion of reddish animals was striking. The majority of the fish are small, 3-4 cm long and marked like R. lanceolata, but there are a few adult specimens among them. These fish have a conspicuous dot pattern on the head. Consultation with loricariid specialist Ingo Seidel and review of the original description revealed that it is probably Rineloricaria heteroptera. This whiptail catfish was described from the Manaus area in 1976; the paratype shown in the original description is spotted exactly like our adult fish.
According to Evers & Seidel (Welsatlas Vol.1), R. heteroptera was often bred in the former GDR, but was later displaced by the similar and more productive R. lanceolata. The popular Red Whiptail Catfish, a breeding form, probably originates from the old strains of R. heteroptera.
This whiptail catfish grows to about 13-15 cm in length and is very suitable for aquarium care and breeding. The clutches are relatively small with 40-60 eggs. Rineloricaria are mixed feeders, eating both plant and animal foods. They appreciate free bottom areas with sand and gravel. They breed in relatively narrow burrows (bamboo tubes or the like), the male guards the spawn and larvae until they swim free. The water temperature should be between 24 and 30°C, for breeding usually soft and slightly sour (pH 5,5-6,5) water is necessary. Without breeding intentions the water values are of secondary importance.
For our customers: the fish have code 288352 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer