Farlowella questions

All posts regarding the care and breeding of these catfishes from South America.
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Farlowella questions

Post by MissNoodle »

Inconsistent online info...

Are farlowella twig cats wood eaters?

Or just soft plant eaters?

(Also are they "considered" a pleco?)
Last edited by MissNoodle on Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:48 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by Mol_PMB »

They eat algae and the microscopic creatures in it (‘aufwuchs’).
The staple diet of my adults is repashy gel, I use a mixture of soilent green, morning wood and bottom scratcher.
They also eat courgette and red peppers.
I feed the fry on chlorella and spirulina powder, with an occasional treat of micro-worms.

So not wood-eaters, though they do eat algae off the wood. 90% vegetarians but they do like a bit of protein.
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by Jools »

Inconsistent here or elsewhere?

Cheers,

Jools
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by MissNoodle »

Jools wrote: Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:48 pm Inconsistent here or elsewhere?

Cheers,

Jools
Everywhere. Some sources say they need wood. And the listing here keeps a very minimal list for farlowella, on their profile pages. I know theyre not a super common fish to come by, so that probably factors in to the inconsistencies in information on them.

I feed mine algae wafers, zucchini, cucumber, but he or she also steals shrimp pellets from the cories. Loves those. I also have OmegaOne Herbivore pellets i offer those too. I try to encourage algae growth on my driftwood and large leafed plants as well. And the back wall of the aquarium (though my glass is kept very clean by my twig and the snails)

I just wanted to know, because though my tank has plenty of driftwood, id have gotten more softer pieces as a food source if they were a wood eater.

Mine is a good eater, but i fuss over him. I wanna make sure he eats well. Though hes always pooping and he will butt the cories and loaches off of food he wants, and hes got a well rounded belly, i just worry. Hes my favourite fish.
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by Mol_PMB »

Mine certainly spend a lot of time suckered to branches and twigs. I’d say they need wood, not to eat but to rest on: ideally thinner branches criss-crossing the tank.
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by MissNoodle »

Mol_PMB wrote: Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:24 pm Mine certainly spend a lot of time suckered to branches and twigs. I’d say they need wood, not to eat but to rest on: ideally thinner branches criss-crossing the tank.
This is my set up. A bit cloudy as i just rescaped it the day before this photo.
20191016_152241.jpg
Tank is a 46g bowfront

He does really like the thin branches, he hangs out on those a lot.
20190926_013054.jpg
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by Mol_PMB »

That looks great!
It’s a bit hard to tell from that angle, but I think it looks a lot like my male Farlowella vittata.
If you can get a photo of his underside when suckered to the glass we may be able to identify species and sex.
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by Jools »

MissNoodle wrote: Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:15 pm And the listing here keeps a very minimal list for farlowella, on their profile pages. I know theyre not a super common fish to come by, so that probably factors in to the inconsistencies in information on them.
Maybe some disconnect here. The species page for the common Farlowella, Farlowella vittata proposes some foods (not wood) and some decor for the tank to include wood. There is then a lot more detail in the Shane's World articles linked from the species profile. There are also, unvetted, breeding reports and a CotM article to boot.

I take an interest when folks don't find what they need on the site so that I can improve the layout or vetted information presented. For a site that's been around for more than 20 years, inconsistency can creep and and I am keen to remove it wherever possible. Hence why I was asking where you found the inconsistency.

Just asking here really so I can see if there's something I could do to better the site / information available.

Cheers,

Jools

PS Having collected several species in the wild, kept them and their close relatives in the aquarium for years, I'd say categorically, Farlowella prefer wood to live on but don't need it in their diet. So, for example, fake plastic wood like structures would do just as well (if not my cup of tea).

PPS Mol_PMB really knows his stuff when it comes to breeding them.
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by MissNoodle »

Mol_PMB wrote: Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:28 am That looks great!
It’s a bit hard to tell from that angle, but I think it looks a lot like my male Farlowella vittata.
If you can get a photo of his underside when suckered to the glass we may be able to identify species and sex.
20190921_062723.jpg
Ive had to handle him or her before (got his nose stuck in the fabric mesh over my filter intake tube and i had to manually remove him), the sides of the nose had a sandpaper type feel, not sure if this helps.
20191019_040322.jpg
20190925_061120.jpg
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by Mol_PMB »

Thanks for the extra pics, I think he is a male Farlowella vittata. He looks healthy and I think you're doing the right thing with the tank decor and feeding.
The males have a slightly shorter rostrum (nose) covered in odontodes (they look a bit like stubbly hairs) whereas the females have a longer slimmer nose with a knob on the end, and the nose is much smoother.

As you have discovered, they tend to get stuck in mesh or netting and the best way to move them is generally to handle them rather than to use a net. They're quite comfortable out of the water for a minute or two, as long as they are suckered to something damp (your hand is fine - they don't bite!)

My group spawn quite regularly and sometimes I set up a nursery tank and raise the young - they tend to starve if just left to their own devices but if target-fed in a nursery it's not that hard to raise them. They can breed again at 1 year old and about 4" long. Full-grown adults are up to 8" long. I think I'm on the 3rd or 4th generation now, from the original wild-caught group. If you were a bit closer I'd offer you a female to go with him!
Cheers,
Paul
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by MissNoodle »

Mol_PMB wrote: Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:43 am Thanks for the extra pics, I think he is a male Farlowella vittata. He looks healthy and I think you're doing the right thing with the tank decor and feeding.
The males have a slightly shorter rostrum (nose) covered in odontodes (they look a bit like stubbly hairs) whereas the females have a longer slimmer nose with a knob on the end, and the nose is much smoother.

As you have discovered, they tend to get stuck in mesh or netting and the best way to move them is generally to handle them rather than to use a net. They're quite comfortable out of the water for a minute or two, as long as they are suckered to something damp (your hand is fine - they don't bite!)

My group spawn quite regularly and sometimes I set up a nursery tank and raise the young - they tend to starve if just left to their own devices but if target-fed in a nursery it's not that hard to raise them. They can breed again at 1 year old and about 4" long. Full-grown adults are up to 8" long. I think I'm on the 3rd or 4th generation now, from the original wild-caught group. If you were a bit closer I'd offer you a female to go with him!
Cheers,
Paul
Say i went and looked for a female, what would i look for? This guy was the largest and most active at the store i got him from. Thats why i picked him. The others didnt look so good, hanging around the filter not moving.
The stores here usually only have small 2-3 inch ones. This guy was 4" when i got him, hes now about 5.5"
But ive been on the fence whether i should get a second one or if the bioload would be too much on the tank, or if itd be too much competition for food.

This guy is more active than we were expecting. Everywhere says theyre timid and dont move much, but hes on the go almost as much as our cories and hes not very shy. He butts other fish out of the way with his nose, or tail swats them if theyre bothering him. He will belly flop over food he wants and hoards it from the others.

I avoid netting him. Hes too big for our net and hes so thin i worry hes too delicate for it lol but i can gently hold him if needed. But i dont like to handle my fish unless necessary. Like pulling him out of mesh lol i removed the mesh from the intake tube and put nylon window screen on the inside instead (its to keep my kuhli loaches out of my filter)


But hes goofy. This is as lazy as he really gets.
https://youtu.be/EPsEmJV3Uug

And hes got beautiful green hues in his iridescence. It only shows in some light, but its really pretty.
20190923_152914.jpg
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by Mol_PMB »

Hi, sorry for the delay in responding, life is busy!

There are a couple of threads here about my Farlowellas, the first one was about ID and the second one about breeding and raising the younsgters. They're a bit old, some of those fry are now grandparents!:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=40473
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=40912

Of particular interest from those threads, here is a side-by-side ventral (belly) view of male and female Farlowella vittata:
download/file.php?id=13974&mode=view

And here is a dorsal view of a gravid female and a little twiglet together:
download/file.php?id=14600&mode=view

In my experience it's possible to identify the sex once the fish are about 3 inches long.

Hope that helps.
Cheers,
Paul
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by MissNoodle »

Mol_PMB wrote: Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:01 pm Hi, sorry for the delay in responding, life is busy!

There are a couple of threads here about my Farlowellas, the first one was about ID and the second one about breeding and raising the younsgters. They're a bit old, some of those fry are now grandparents!:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=40473
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=40912

Of particular interest from those threads, here is a side-by-side ventral (belly) view of male and female Farlowella vittata:
download/file.php?id=13974&mode=view

And here is a dorsal view of a gravid female and a little twiglet together:
download/file.php?id=14600&mode=view

In my experience it's possible to identify the sex once the fish are about 3 inches long.

Hope that helps.
Cheers,
Paul
I picked up a second farlowella today... thinking vitatta. Small little one.

Not possible to sex this one at this size?

Long story short, the store just got this single one in, and they said they dont last longer than 2 days at the store before they just die, so i bought it so i didnt have to see it waste away.
20191206_121040.jpg
20191206_120717.jpg
One photo has my older guy nearby as well.
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by bekateen »

MissNoodle wrote: Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:47 pmI picked up a second farlowella today... thinking vitatta. Small little one.

Not possible to sex this one at this size?

Long story short, the store just got this single one in, and they said they dont last longer than 2 days at the store before they just die, so i bought it so i didnt have to see it waste away.

One photo has my older guy nearby as well.
They last only a day or two in the LFS? Yikes! Either (or both) the LFS is getting these from a horrible supplier, or the LFS is putting the fish in tanks that have harmful water conditions (or possibly harassing tankmates). It's difficult to kill an otherwise healthy fish by starvation alone in a few days.

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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by MissNoodle »

bekateen wrote: Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:52 pm
MissNoodle wrote: Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:47 pmI picked up a second farlowella today... thinking vitatta. Small little one.

Not possible to sex this one at this size?

Long story short, the store just got this single one in, and they said they dont last longer than 2 days at the store before they just die, so i bought it so i didnt have to see it waste away.

One photo has my older guy nearby as well.
They last only a day or two in the LFS? Yikes! Either (or both) the LFS is getting these from a horrible supplier, or the LFS is putting the fish in tanks that have harmful water conditions (or possibly harassing tankmates). It's difficult to kill an otherwise healthy fish by starvation alone in a few days.

Best success to you,
Eric
I think its a combo.
No algae or any green at all in the tanks and are fed only flakes. Not acclimated well i do not think for how small they get them. Unsure on tankmates usually, they moved the original placement... this guy was in alone with red tailed sharks and algae eaters (the aggressive ones that get big, not a pleco). Definitely not a good mix for him.
They dont know much about them, they admitted. Caring staff and okay with basic fish care, but specialized fish--not really.

I just know id rather give him a chance than let him waste away. I was sitting on the fence about a second one anyways, then this situation comes up.

They were happy i took him though as they do care about the fish as fish lovers, but they also can only do so much (joys of being an underling of a chain store)
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by bekateen »

MissNoodle wrote: Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:45 pmThey were happy i took him though as they do care about the fish as fish lovers, but they also can only do so much (joys of being an underling of a chain store)
As a chain store, they probably can't dicker on price. But at LFS, I have in the past gotten up to 50% discounts on seemingly unhealthy fish from managers, even at chain stores, under the premise that they'll make more money at 50% than they will if fish dies unsold (although some stores do have some lost merchandise credit on dead fish, or so I've been told, so the cost difference may not be too great).

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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by Mol_PMB »

I’m pretty sure the new one is a female, so you now have a pair :-) She’s still quite small so make sure she has plenty to graze on.

I’ve found my twigs to be pretty robust in response to short-term stress, I once had a big tank disaster when it over-filled to the cover glass and lost all oxygenation surface. Many fish died but the twig cats climbed out of gaps around the filter pipes, and survived in the open air. Several of mine have also been carpet-surfing for a few minutes and survived and gone on to breed. Even the youngsters seem pretty tough once they’re about an inch long.

They can be sexually mature at about 1 year old and 4” long or thereabouts.

Attached a pic of some of my current crop of juveniles, nearly 2” long.
Attachments
Farlowella vittata juveniles
Farlowella vittata juveniles
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by MissNoodle »

Mol_PMB wrote: Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:57 pm I’m pretty sure the new one is a female, so you now have a pair :-) She’s still quite small so make sure she has plenty to graze on.

I’ve found my twigs to be pretty robust in response to short-term stress, I once had a big tank disaster when it over-filled to the cover glass and lost all oxygenation surface. Many fish died but the twig cats climbed out of gaps around the filter pipes, and survived in the open air. Several of mine have also been carpet-surfing for a few minutes and survived and gone on to breed. Even the youngsters seem pretty tough once they’re about an inch long.

They can be sexually mature at about 1 year old and 4” long or thereabouts.

Attached a pic of some of my current crop of juveniles, nearly 2” long.
Im glad if shes female, makes it a bit easier for them to get along. But boy or girl i have room for both.

I am trying to get her used to veggies and wafers, but day 2 just grazing biofilm like crazy on the glass.

Shes not super thin but compared to my bigger boy, shes thin (but hes kinda porky)
20191207_081431.jpg
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by Mol_PMB »

Looking good. Hopefully you’ll have a spawn when she’s grown a bit.
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Re: Farlowella diet question

Post by MissNoodle »

https://youtu.be/Q1nDForOLpI

Day 4 and doing great, shes even gained some more of a belly. Very active little one, all over the tank.

This morning they even shared the same branch, the first time theyve directly interacted
20191210_191021.jpg
20191210_061100.jpg
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