This is certainly one of the most peculiar loaches ever. The genus Vaillantella – at present three species are distinguished – has a band-shaped dorsal fin running over the entire back, while all other loaches have relatively short, triangular dorsal fins.
Vaillantella are black-water-inhabitants and become 12-15 cm long, usually remain however clearly smaller; V. maassi is widespread in the peat-swamp-areas of Malaysia and Borneo, a habitat extremely endangered through destruction for oil palm plantations. Unfortunately, therefore all fish (and other living beings), that occur there, must be classified as highly endangered. The catch of ornamental fish can help to preserve at least parts of these biotopes as economic areas and is therefore an active environmental and species protection.
Vaillantella maassi has so far only very rarely been kept in aquariums. One should care for it analogous to the well known Kuhli loaches (Pangio). The very large, forked tail fin enables Vaillantella an explosive propulsion; the aquarium must be covered therefore absolutely gaplessly, so that the animals do not land on dry land, if they are grabbed by the well-known wandering instinct, which many loaches show temporarily in the aquarium.
For our customers: the animals have code 473053 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer