Spoon Face Whiptail, Maulbruetender Hexenwels (Germany) - Planiloricaria cryptodon (Isbrücker, 1971)
Article © Shane Linder, uploaded January 01, 2002.
I found my specimen in a mall pet store of all places. I paid US $7.99. S/He was just a hair under six inches. I was VERY lucky to have been able to ID the fish. A couple of weeks before I found it (just by pure chance) I had received a reprint of Isbrücker and Nijssen's original description ("Rhadinoloricaria gen. nov. and Planiloricaria, two new genera of South American Mailed Catfishes (Pisces, Siluriformes, Loricariidae). Beaufortia No.290 Vol.22 July 31, 1974). A friend of mine was in Austria checking holotypes and Isbrücker gave him a box of old reprints. Knowing my fondness for these fishes, my friend sent me a good share of the reprints. Like I said, pure luck.
Once I got the fish home I immediately set to work trying to ID it. Imagine my surprise to find a photo of my fish in one of the newly acquired reprints! After the fish died I was able to compare it very closely to I+N's description. All the counts and measurements matched exactly so I can say with confidence that these observations are of P. cryptodon.
The fish adapted fine to my hard alkaline water even though it comes from soft acidic waters. My pH was 7.4 and DH 110ppm. The fish would bury itself in the sand for the first few weeks. Eventually he spent his time under the shade of a large Anubias sp. A fine sand substrate seems important to this fishes well being.
The fish did not like plants. Two-thirds of the tank are heavily planted and these parts of the tank were avoided. The fish likes to stay on the bottom and is distressed when plants are too thick and it can not rest on the bottom. The fish never "hangs" on the side of the tank like many Loricariids. The mouth is adapted to sifting and not sucking. I also never saw the fish rasp on driftwood or eat any veggies.
An ideal tank would have lots of bottom area a couple of swords or Anubias for shade and a few smooth flat rocks for them to "perch" on and "hide" next to. Actual caves are avoided.
Diet should be mainly "meaty" foods. Mine ate blooworms and frozen brineshrimp along with Tetra Bits and pieces of algae wafers. The fish had a great disposition and never scuffled with anyone else in the tank.
All of these things led to the fishes death. I am quite sure that he starved to death. The thick armor masked the signs. In most Loricariids you see the signs of starvation when the "hang" on the side. The hollow belly is a give away. But since this fish never showed its belly, I could not see that it was getting hollow. The fish will also eat food only if it is on the bottom. In my case this meant that it had to first sink past a school of six hungry Congo tetras and not much did. Furthermore, since he would not enter the planted ends of the tank, he missed any food that made it to the bottom in those areas. This gave the fish a rather small area in which to find food.
I am sorry that my P. cryptodon is gone since I was fairly attached to him as specimens go (with 13 tanks I do not have much time to think of individual fishes as pets). Hopefully the fish's death was not in vane as one of you will take this information and provide an even better home for any P. cryptodon you may eventually keep.
Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.
|Cat-eLog Data Sheet|
|Scientific Name||Planiloricaria cryptodon (Isbrücker, 1971)|
|Common Names||Spoon Face Whiptail
Maulbruetender Hexenwels (Germany)
|Type Locality||Río Ucayali, near Pucallpa, Peru.|
|Pronunciation||PLAN ee lorry KAR ee ah - krip toe dawn|
|Etymology||(Latin)Planus=Flat + (Latin)lorica, loricare=cuirass of corslet of leather(a suit of armour made of leather).|
|Size||215mm or 8.5" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.|
|Distribution||South America: Upper Amazon drainage, Ucayali, Purus, and Mamoré River basins.
Amazon, Upper Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Upper Amazon, Marañón, Ucayali (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Middle Amazon (Solimoes), Purus (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Middle Amazon (Solimoes), Madeira, Mamoré (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Log in to view data on a map.
|IUCN Red List Category||Not Evaluated|
|pH||6.0 - 7.2|
|Temperature||22.0-28.0°C or 71.6-82.4°F (Show species within this range)|
|Other Parameters||dH 2-10.|
|Breeding Reports||There are 2 breeding reports, read them all here.|
|Reference||Bonner Zoologische Beiträge v. 21 (no. 3/4) (1970), pp 278, Figs. 3-8.|
|Registered Keepers||Keeping this species? Why not .
There are 29 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
|Wishlists||Love this species? Click the heart to add it to your wish list.
There is but a single wish to keep this species, see who wants what.
|Spotters||Spotted this species somewhere? Click the binoculars!
There are 14 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
|More on Planiloricaria cryptodon|
|Look up Planiloricaria cryptodon on AquaticRepublic.com|
|Look up Planiloricaria cryptodon on Fishbase|
|Look up Planiloricaria cryptodon on Encyclopedia of Life|
|Look up Planiloricaria cryptodon on Global Biodiversity Information Facility|
|'||LFS label creator.|
|Last Update||2019 Sep 22 06:12 (species record created: 2002 Jan 01 11:22)|
Back to Catfish of the Month index.