Twig Catfish (Farlowella Vittata)
The Twig Catfish, known for its slender, twig-like body, is a unique and fascinating addition to any aquarium. This fish is known for its slender, elongated body that resembles a twig found in its natural habitat, hence the name. They have shades of dark to light brown with subtle specks of green that taper down their body, allowing them to seamlessly blend with their surroundings in the wild. The Twig Catfish is a passive species that reaches an adult size of about 6 inches.
Twig Catfish are known for their peaceful demeanor, although they can be a bit shy. They thrive in sizable groups of 4 or 5, provided the aquarium is large enough. They enjoy the company of their own kind and do well in a community setting. Ideal tank mates include peaceful species occupying the tank's middle and upper levels, such as Hatchetfish, Rummy Nose Tetras, Pearl Danios, Pencilfish, Rasboras, Discus, and Angelfish. However, it's best to avoid housing them with large, aggressive fish that may intimidate or harm them.
Twig Catfish are herbivores with a diet mainly consisting of algae. They are excellent algae eaters and spend most of their time grazing on the algae that grow on surfaces within the tank. In addition to algae, they can be fed a diet of vegetable-based foods such as spirulina wafers and blanched vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, spinach, and softened kale.
The ideal tank habitat for the Twig Catfish should mimic a riverbed. Their natural habitat is the Orinoco River basin, where they typically reside in calm to moderately flowing areas filled with submerged roots and riverside vegetation. To replicate this environment in an aquarium, use a soft, sandy substrate that allows them to dig and forage. Incorporate elements like driftwood, terracotta pipes, slate caves, and tall, sturdy broad-leaf plants for grazing. Plants should be robust, as the Twig Catfish may use them for grazing. Broad-leaf plants such as Java Fern, Anubias, Amazon Sword, Nomaphila Siamensis, and Ludwigia make excellent choices. The lighting should be kept moderate to encourage the growth of algae.
The filtration system should be effective, creating zones of moderate water flow while also ensuring there are quieter areas where the fish can rest away from the current. High oxygen levels are crucial for this species. Small, frequent water changes can help maintain low nitrate levels, which is particularly important as the Twig Catfish is highly sensitive to the accumulation of organic waste.
The minimum aquarium size for this species is 30 gallons, but a larger tank would be more suitable for a community setup. The water parameters for the Twig Catfish include a pH range of 6.0-7.5, water hardness within the soft to medium range of 1-10 dGH, and a temperature range of 72-79°F (22-26°C). The Twig Catfish thrives best in aquariums that have been fully cycled and matured.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.