The farlowella (Farlowella vittata) is a medium sized catfish that naturally occurs in the Orinoco river basin in Colombia and Venezuela where it inhabits areas of submerged vegetation, dead leaves and sticks or tangled roots along the banks of gently flowing streams and rivers. This fish grows to an adult size of up to 6 inches long. Farlowellas are fairly easy to sex, as the rostrum or snout of the male is broader and develops rows of odontotes as the fish matures. These are not present in females.
The farlowella should be maintained in an aquarium of 30 gallons or larger. Smooth rocks, driftwood (ZM2000) and live or artificial plants may be used, as well as a sand substrate (CS7538). These fish look great in a heavily planted tank with a dark substrate. Floating plants diffuse light and provide cover.
The farlowella prefers a temperature of 75°F to 80°F, a pH of 6.0 to 87.0, and a hardness of 3 to 10°H. Be sure water is clean and well oxygenated.
The farlowella is a very peaceful fish suitable for a community aquarium containing passive species. Good tank mates include small small rasboras, small tetras, pencil fish, and cory cats. Several farlowellas may be maintained together and while rival males may be somewhat territorial, they rarely damage each other.
The farlowella is primarily a vegetarian and should be offer fresh foods such as zucchini as well as dried foods in the form of algae wafers (HIK6789). They will also readily consume diatoms and common green algae which they will graze of of plants, rocks, and aquarium walls. For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.