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Catfish / Loricariidae / Needle Catfish

Needle Catfish, Twig Catfish
Farlowella acus


Synonyms: Acestra acus
Physical description: The body is covered with small plates. This catfish is elongated and it has an extended snout. The sucking mouth is located on the underside of the fish. It has a straight belly profile. This fish is extremely slender. The body coloring is light brown and the belly is white. On both sides of the body is a dark brown line which extends the length of the body. The tip of the snout is turned upwards.
Size/Length: To 10" (25 cm)
Similar species: Other members of the Farlowella genus, Rineloricaria, and Sturisoma species.
Habitat: Shallow shore areas of slow moving or standing water with heavy vegetation and waterlogged wood in southern tributaries of the Amazon.
S: bottom (substrate dependent)
Aquarium: 32" (80 cm) or 30 gallons (114 L). This catfish prefers a deep tank that has bright lighting. Provide hiding places with wood, roots, and rocks. Allow for the growth of algae. Farlowella species will eat plants.
Water chemistry: pH 5.8-7 (6.5), 2-8 dH (5), 75-82°F (24-28°C)
Social behavior: A calm, peaceful fish that can be kept in a community tank as long as there are no fish competing for food on the bottom. Keep in pairs. Males will establish territories and if two are combined together, the weaker will succumb and starve to death.
Suggested companions: Discus, tetras, Hatchetfish, Apistogramma, Corydoras
FOOD: A picky eater-usually algae. Some readily take live food and may overeat. Also try vegetables and food tablets. Some do not readily take any foods and starve to death. Feed at night, because if fed during the day it may starve. This fish will not compete for food.
Sexual differences: Males have whiskers and are more slender.
Breeding techniques: Difficult. Fish always spawn in same place. usually on glass walls. Spawning occurs at night or early in the morning. 40-60 eggs are laid, but they take a long time to hatch-usually 10-12 days. The eggs are susceptible to fungus, so treat the water accordingly, being careful not to overdose. The male guards and fans the eggs and helps remove the egg casings. Remove the female, so she does not interfere with male's brood care. The breeding tank should have good aeration, and the water should be neutral. The fry are hard to rear. Try feeding them vegetables, tablets, and Artemia.
Breeding potential: 9. Breeding Farlowella Catfish is difficult.
Remarks: There are 60 described Farlowella species and correct identification is difficult. This species is very difficult to care for and is sensitive to fluctuating water conditions. Has lots of problem when acclimating to the tank. Fish may indicate poor water conditions or low oxygen content by poking its snout above the surface of the water.
Difficulty of care: 7. This catfish is difficult to feed and to care for.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com