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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the

South America


farlowella cat

Farlowella acus (SP)


    One of the oddest looking fish we see available today the Farlowella tries to mimic its surroundings by blending in with the twigs and plants it rests on. There are many different species of Farlowella and identification can be difficult. This species can be hard to keep and should not be kept by new hobbyist

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: up to 7" (17cm)
    Tank: 30 inches +
    Strata: Varies
    PH: 7.5-85
    Hardness: Soft to hard
    Temperature: 70 - 77°F (24 26°C)


    Order: Siluriformes
    Family: Loricariidae
    Genera: Farlowella
Typical Habitat


Common name:

    Farlowella, Twig catfish

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum
Farlowella cat

    Amazon basin, Venezuela

General Body Form:

    Very elongate and slender. The Most distinguishing feature is the fishes nose. It is long and shaped somewhat like a needle.


    This fish is not surprisingly colorful. It relies on camouflage for protection so it will not advertise itself. The basic colors are molted shades of brown. If you look real close you can see elaborate patterns on their body.

    Although a very interesting fish, they are not the easiest to keep. The tank set up should include long roots and plants that are placed horizontally. The roots are needed as they rasp the wood and it helps in their digestion. The tank should also have some slight water circulation. Often called an algae eater the Farlowellas do well if feed peas, lettuce and spinach they also will eat other types of food, including live , flake and frozen. They are always grazing and a constant food supply is a necessity. They are very timid in nature and starvation due to food competition is common, try feeding at reduced light levels and not only during the day. If you can meet their food needs they are an ideal community fish that gets along with all other species. It is best to keep only one pair as the males are territorial and will not allow rival males the chance to eat.

    Shallow water areas that contain a lot of driftwood or plants. Usually found near the shore


    The females are slightly more robust than the males and the males nose is thicker and is said to have whiskers. Spawning occurs at night or in the very early morning. Around 40 - 60 eggs are produced. The eggs will hatch in about a week and the yolk sac absorbed five days later. The fry now will have to be fed baby brine shrimp, fine vegetable matter or sinking pellets. The male guards the eggs until the fry are free swimming. The breeding aquarium should have dim lighting, a slight water current, very mature water and a neutral pH.
Farlowella cat fry

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Sandy L.
I recently added a farlowella to mt tank which includes 2 cory cats 1 dalmation guppy,one neon gourami a dojo, yoyo and reticulated hillstream loach an ornate polypterus and 4 fantail guppies. The first day I placed him in the tank,he hid in the back and wouldn't come out,but upon the afternoon feeding(shelled corn and peas,apple and romaine lettuce. He dove right into the middle of the fray and has been out in sight ever since I love his personality and tank antics,he'll even bump my hillstream off the side for grazing space,lol.
From: Kathleen
I found the twig fish in a Pet Smart. He is doing very well in my planted 30 gallon tank with bog wood in it. I've had him about 3 years. He chases & attaches to a very large Angel fish and has done damage to the Angel's fins. He doesn't bother any of the other fish. I still have Green algae on the sides of the tank?
From: Thornapple
I was given a farlowella as a gift when a fellow tank enthusiast noticed I didn't have any bottom feeders. It has been a progressive learning experience for the past week. No idea if mine is male or female. I feed it Repashy Super Foods Morning Wood gelatin mix. It lives in my 37 Gallon female Betta harem with 4 females. The amount of interaction between the bettas and my farlowella is basically none. My bettas are fed frozen blood worms so my farlowella has no competition for food. Until I got one as a gift, I had never seen one. Mine is almost 9 inches long, and I gather that's large for the species, most places say 7 inches. Considering this is my first bottom feeder, it has been very easy to take care of it. The more I learn about his species the more I modify the tank to suit his needs, the more active he becomes in the tank. Much easier to take care of than I have read.
From: Luke
These little guys are also long-lived. I have had a female for ten years now. I would say that they are pretty hardy once established. I bought 5 juveniles (2" long) this last winter and only one made it past the first month... but is now almost a year old and looks great. My 10 year old female has spent most of her life in a 75 gallon with driftwood and live plants. Her tank-mates over the years have included plenty of barbs (currently including tiger barbs, and two 10" tinfoil barbs) convict cichlids, firemouth cichlids, rainbow cichlids, angelfish, pictus catfish, 8" clown loaches, and much more. She still looks very good, despite being caught by hand from time to time to impress visiting children. She is also a good algae-eater, though she gets plenty of competition from a pair of albino bristle-nose and a siamese algae eater. I plan on someday trying to breed this species, as I have had great luck with bristle-nose and with Corydoras catfish... we'll see.
From: Andrew Givens
I have found, at work in a fish store, that these peaceful and tolerant fishes are happy in moderately hard water with a pH of 7.5 - They are fed on plecowafers and flake, with tubifex once a week and have been trouble-free & healthy. They are incredibly placid and seldom move to avoid gravel cleaners! We keep them with Java fern on bogwood, and they certainly enjoy resting on these!
From: Rob
I picked up a Farlowella two months ago and contrary to all the warnings online, I've found it to be an easy fish to keep. Does a fantastic job of keeping the tank algae-free - in fact it's too good, so like some of the others on this board I supplement its diet with slices of zucchini, alternated with algae wafers. Water is pH 8.0, a little on the hard side, but so far it hasn't caused any problems. I keep it in a planted 26 gallon along with a bunch of shrimp. Despite its cryptic coloration, it doesn't spend much time hiding - usually it's a very active forager and only stops moving if I make too much motion around the tank.
From: Kim
I have a male and female f.catfish. I got them at wall mart about one year ago and they thrive in my 55 gal fish tank with algae and algae wafers. I have such an easy time with them. I never had one problem. I do 90 percent water changes with them and they are fine. I keep them with mollies, guppies, plecos of all kinds,bettas ghost shrimp,rapheals,and more and sometimes fresh water puffers and never had one problem. I classify them as hardy.
From: Vicki
I have one of these and its fine I feed it normal tropical fish flake food and its quite happy as it has bogwood and live plats that it likes to hide on.
From: Pat
I've had 2 farlowella's for about 5 months now in a 20g with guppies and a pair of peppered corys. They like to hide on the intake for the filter and in the corners or on a plastic plant and seem to be doing fine. They slowly make there way to the bottom when some algae pellets are dropped in and gradually bounce sideways to them to eat. They seem very aware of what's around them.
From: Rachel
I am relatively new at this hobby. I purchased a Farlowella about a month ago because I thought he was very interesting looking. So far, he's doing excellent in my 30 gal community tank. He eats well on algae, shrimp pellets and blood worms. I have the Ph at about 7.8 with moderate water hardness and the temp at 78-80. He seems to be thriving and is a great addition to our "family".
From: Bill D.
We are 're'newed with the hobby after 25 years and have a 7" Farowella. I feed him Zucchini and he seems to be doing well. I named him Walter. I rubberband the zucchini to a small piece of petrified rock and sink it to the bottom. It seems the longer and flatter the surface, the easier it is for Walter to lie flat and eat. The darn snails like Zucchini too. The tank is 58 gal,6.5ph for Discus and is well planted.
From: Paul
I purchased a farlowella recently, and put it in a separate tank to reduce competition. Also I took the advice of the shop owner and fed it zucchini. It's colors brightened up, it looks like it putting on a little weight, it looks happy. I will see if any other fish eat the zucchini, then introduce it to my large tank.
From: Mike
The profile is all to true. I find that Farlowella acus loves to spend tie rasping on wood and will eat hair algae. The one thing I don't agree with is the pH. I find that they prefer a pH of about 6.5-7.0. I f you have just gotten into the hobby for the first time DON'T BUY a Twig Catfish. Go with something hardier like a Trinidad plecostomus. PS Don't buy fish from Wal-Mart. They die in a day or two.




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