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Maximum size : 11 cm

Red Whiptail Catfish - Rineloricaria sp. : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Red Whiptail Catfish (Rineloricaria sp.) gracefully glides through the waters, bringing an air of tranquillity and elegance to any aquarium. With their delicate appearance and vibrant red colouration, these rare and enchanting fish add a touch of allure to their surroundings. 

Despite their slender, twig-like physique, their unique personality shines through in their peaceful nature. Creating a harmonious community for the Red Whiptail Catfish involves providing ample space and companionship. Keeping them in groups of six or more is recommended, fostering a sense of security and camaraderie. 

A mature tank with an abundance of shady hiding spots among carefully arranged plants, driftwood, slate caves, and PVC pipes can create an ideal haven for these captivating creatures. Efficient filtration ensures optimal water quality, while gentle water movement complements their serene disposition.

When choosing tankmates, it is important to consider compatibility in size and temperament. For example, smaller species such as Pencilfish, Tetras, Corydoras, or Dwarf Cichlids like Apistogrammas or Mikrogeophagus can coexist harmoniously with the Red Whiptail Catfish. 

However, care should be taken to avoid boisterous tankmates during feeding times, as these passive Catfish prefer a more tranquil dining experience. A biotope-style setup is highly recommended to enhance the visual impact of the Red Whiptail Catfish. A sandy substrate adorned with a scattering of dried leaves sets the stage for an authentic aquatic habitat. 

Twisted branches and rounded stones add a touch of natural artistry, while rock or wood caves and PVC piping offer potential spawning sites for these fascinating creatures. Whether housed in a well-planted tank or a biotope-inspired arrangement, it is advisable to provide subdued lighting to ensure optimal comfort and well-being.

Red Whiptail Catfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Red Whiptail Catfish is relatively straightforward. However, mature males exhibit a distinctive feature in the form of short odontodes, which are present on both the head and pectoral fins. This characteristic serves as a reliable visual cue for discerning the gender of these Catfish.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameRineloricaria sp.
Other NamesRed Lizard Catfish
Max Size11 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
LifespanUp to 8 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH2 - 15
75 - 84
24 - 29

Natural habitat

The origins of the Red Whiptail Catfish continue to spark intrigue and speculation among enthusiasts. While their exact lineage remains a subject of debate, several theories have emerged to shed light on their enigmatic nature.

One theory proposes that these captivating Catfish could hail from Brazil, Venezuela, and Columbia, representing a potential natural occurrence. However, concrete evidence validating their wild-caught origins remains elusive, leaving room for further investigation.

Another hypothesis suggests that Red Whiptail Catfish may have been selectively bred from the common Whiptail catfish, a commonly produced species. However, this notion is met with scepticism, as no documented reports of mutant red fry have surfaced in the breeding records of the common Whiptrail catfish.

A third intriguing possibility alludes to hybridization between the true Red Whiptail and the common whiptail. This hypothesis suggests that the reproductive efficiency of lanceolata females could have played a role in facilitating the rapid production of commercially viable quantities of the red variant. 

Notably, all Red Whiptail Catfish available in the trade are exclusively tank bred, regardless of their natural or man-made origins. As the mystery surrounding the origins of the Red Whiptail Catfish persists, further research and exploration promise to unravel the secrets behind this captivating species.

How to breed the Red Whiptail Catfish

The Red Whiptail Catfish has successfully bred in home aquariums, demonstrating its adaptability to captive conditions. Well-conditioned individuals are known to readily engage in breeding activities, especially following cool partial water changes. 

During the spawning process, the male assumes an active role, meticulously selecting and cleaning a suitable cave as the breeding site. If the female shows receptiveness, she will deposit approximately 50 eggs within the cave, which are instantly fertilized by the vigilant male. Subsequently, the female ceases her involvement in brood care, leaving the male to guard diligently and tend to the eggs.

The eggs themselves are an unusual greenish-gold hue and are expected to hatch within 6 to 8 days. Shortly after that, around 2 to 3 days post-hatching, the fry will become free-swimming, embarking on their independent journey. 

Providing suitable nourishment for the developing fry is crucial, and options such as baby brine shrimp, crushed tablet foods, and soft slices of vegetables can be offered to sustain their growth and vitality. 

Maintaining optimal water quality throughout this delicate stage is imperative, as the fry exhibit heightened sensitivity to any deterioration in their aquatic environment. Therefore, vigilance in water maintenance is key to ensuring their successful development.

Diet & feeding

Red Whiptail Catfish possess an eclectic palate, making them omnivorous creatures in the aquarium. To ensure their optimal health and vitality, offering them a diverse and enticing menu is recommended. Sinking catfish pellets and algae wafers form a solid foundation for their diet, providing essential nutrients. 

Supplementing their meals with frozen delicacies like bloodworm, daphnia, and cyclops will add excitement and variety to their feeding routine. Additionally, incorporating vegetable matter such as kale and slices of cucumber or courgette regularly will further enhance their well-being. This comprehensive approach to their dietary needs ensures these captivating Catfish thrive in your care.


Red Whiptail Catfish L010A-Rineloricaria Thumbnail

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