Cat-eLog Right Arrow Loricariidae Right Arrow Loricariinae Right Arrow Farlowella

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameFarlowella acus  (Kner, 1853)
Common NamesTwig Catfish
Aguja (Venezuelan), Almindelig Grenmalle (Denmark), Gemeiner Nadelwels (Germany)
Type LocalityCaracas, Venezuela.
Synonym(s)Acestra acus, Farlowella scolopacina, Loricaria scolopacina
Pronunciationfar LOW ella - ah kuss
EtymologyNamed after W. G. Farlow, from Harvard University. This specific epithet literally means needle (acus=needle) and refers to its long, thin appearance.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 163mm or 6.4" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationReadily identifiable by its short blunt rostrum. No other Farlowella species share the same habitat/range of F. acus.
SexingMales develop fairly long breeding odontodes along the sides of the rostrum.
General RemarksThis fish is highly endangered and could easily become extinct in the next twenty years. Although numerous aquarium books show photos labelled as Farlowella acus they are most likely all incorrect. It is very doubtful that this fish has ever been exported for the aquarium trade.
The holotype’s origin is listed as Caracas, Venezuela 8 August 1850. Reitzer and Page, 1996 state, “The type locality of Caracas probably refers to the general region of Venezuela.” However, I have encountered F. acus within the Rio Tuy drainage. The Rio Guaire, a tributary of the Rio Tuy, flows through Caracas and it would not be impossible that 150 years ago F. acus swam in the Rio Guaire. Thus the holotype may have actually come from the Rio Guaire or one of its feeder streams in the valley of Caracas.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionOriginally plentiful throughout the Lake Valencia and Rio Tuy drainages. It may have existed in the Rio Guaire (which is part of the Rio Tuy system) that runs through downtown Caracas in the past or the holotype location above may represent where the holotype was shipped from. Now restricted to handful of small rivers that feed Lake Valencia such as the Rio Aragua and the uppermost headwaters of some Rio Tuy feeder streams.
Tuy (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Valencia (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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pH6.8 - 7.6
Temperature23.0-26.0°C or 73.4-78.8°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersWater should be clear and high in dissolved oxygen.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingCaptive feeding is easy and this fish quickly adapts to live, frozen and dry foods. Algae wafers should form the bulk of the diet and be supplemented with proteins twice weekly.
FurnitureSubstrate should be fine sand and rounded stones. This is a reophilic fish that rarely leaves the substrate. Driftwood is mostly absent from their natural habitat but they congregate where bamboo stalks hang into the water. It is only found in cool rivers and streams with a fair amount of current.
CompatibilityAll Farlowella spp. are peaceful fish that do not compete well with aggressive tankmates. Large robust loricariids, medium to large cichlids and fast swimming shoaling fishes do not make good tankmates as Farlowella cannot compete with them for food.
Suggested TankmatesOther small peaceful loricariids such as Otocinclus, Parotocinclus, and other Farlowella spp.
BreedingAssumed to be the similar to the rest of the genus with the male guarding the eggs but has never been spawned in captivity. Any published reports have turned out to be for misidentified species.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesDenkschr. Akad. Wiss. Wienv. 6 - pp93 [29] - Pl. 8 (fig. 1)
Registered Keepers(1) crazy4bettas (k: 4), (2) Mountain (k: 4), (3) yuran, (4) Mariska (k: 2), (5) Vestyxe, (6) JonathanReid, (7) menno1988, (8) Jdreal21, (9) Healingeagle.

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Breeding ReportsNone.
Article - Shane's World Geography The Venezuelan Diary Series, Pt 15 - The hunt for Farlowella acus
Article - CotM 2008 July
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Last Update2013 Jul 19 18:46 (species record created: 2002 Jan 11 00:00)