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This profile was written by Chris an active contributor to the site.
General Body Form:
A long and slender shaped fish, with the classic sucker mouth, flat belly, and curved back of most in the Loricariidae family. This fish has no barbells, but does have an adipose fin unlike Otocinclus.
A generally grey-brown to yellow-green fish, with dark spots along its body, subtle red hues along the pectoral, pelvic, dorsal, anal and tail fins, and a red spot near the tail on either side, giving its common name. The belly is lighter than the arched back.
So long as they are kept in heavily planted tanks of clean, cooler flowing tropical freshwater these fish can be kept rather well. They are calm, peaceful, and keep to their own species generally—they should be kept in groups whenever possible. They do prefer the cooler end of the tropical temperature range, being from south east Brazil rather than the warmer north western rivers. Keep up on your water changes and protect them from drastic changes in pH or temperature slightly more than you would with most fish. They may cause some damage to plants as well.
These fish are actually omnivores, preferring other foods to algae whenever they can get them. They will eat flakes, blanched vegetables (zucchini, cucumber, lettuce), bloodworm, grindal worm, tablets and algae wafers.
In order for them to lay their eggs they need plants to stick them to. Breeding may take place in very clean water around 75°F (24°C) with a slightly acidic pH. They are rather popular in England and shown in aquarium competitions.
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