One of the oddest looking fish we see available today the Farlowella tries to mimic its surroundings by blending in with the twigs and plants it rests on. There are many different species of Farlowella and identification can be difficult. This species can be hard to keep and should not be kept by new hobbyist.
Amazon basin, Venezuela
General Body Form:
Very elongate and slender. The Most distinguishing feature is the fishes nose. It is long and shaped somewhat like a needle.
This fish is not surprisingly colorful. It relies on camouflage for protection so it will not advertise itself. The basic colors are molted shades of brown. If you look real close you can see elaborate patterns on their body.
Although a very interesting fish, they are not the easiest to keep. The tank set up should include long roots and plants that are placed horizontally. The roots are needed as they rasp the wood and it helps in their digestion. The tank should also have some slight water circulation. Often called an algae eater the Farlowellas do well if feed peas, lettuce and spinach they also will eat other types of food, including live , flake and frozen.
They are always grazing and a constant food supply is a necessity. They are very timid in nature and starvation due to food competition is common, try feeding at reduced light levels and not only during the day. If you can meet their food needs they are an ideal community fish that gets along with all other species. It is best to keep only one pair as the males are territorial and will not allow rival males the chance to eat.
Primarily vegetarian, so the bulk of the diet should be composed of vegetable matter in both fresh (cucumber slices, kale, blanched spinach etc.) and dried (algae wafers, spirulina tablets etc.) forms. It will accept small live and frozen foods such as bloodworm or daphnia and these should also be offered occasionally, although never as a main component of the diet.
A dimly lit stream-type setup with a sand substrate, rounded stones and rocks and lots of driftwood branches would simulate its natural biotope. However, it is equally at home in a planted tank. It is essential that the water is well-oxygenated, preferably with a small degree of current running through the tank. Tank maintenance must be of the highest order as the species is super sensitive to poor or deteriorating water conditions.
Very peaceful but unsuitable for the general community due to its rather specialised requirements and retiring nature. Not only does it require pristine water, but it will easily be outcompeted for food by more vigorous or larger species. Possible tankmates could include small characins, danios, devarios and other Loricariids inhabiting similar waters, such as Chaetostoma sp.
Rival males can be somewhat territorial, but rarely is any damage done, and several can be kept in most tanks.
Shallow water areas that contain a lot of driftwood or plants. Usually found near the shore
The females are slightly more robust than the males and the males nose is thicker and is said to have whiskers. Spawning occurs at night or in the very early morning. Around 40 – 60 eggs are produced. The eggs will hatch in about a week and the yolk sac absorbed five days later. The fry now will have to be fed baby brine shrimp, fine vegetable matter or sinking pellets. The male guards the eggs until the fry are free swimming. The breeding aquarium should have dim lighting, a slight water current, very mature water and a neutral pH.
Although often sold as the closely related F. acus (a species that is highly endangered and imported very rarely, if at all), Farlowella vittata is the most common representative of the genus in hobbyists’ tanks. The easiest way to distinguish the two is by comparing the shape of the rostrum, which is longer and more slender in vittata, although there are also differences in the arrangement of the ventral scutes. They are adapted for life among peripheral vegetation and tree roots along the edges of streams and rivers and exhibit amazing levels of camouflage.
Despite their undeniably interesting shape and habits, they’re only recommended to the dedicated hobbyist who can provide them with the conditions they need to thrive. They are particularly sensitive when first imported and sadly losses are common in this initial period. Only buy well-quarantined fish, and check the belly for signs of emaciation before parting with any money.