Page 512 of the
soft cover Baensch Aquarium Atlas vol. 2 describes Parotocinclus
maculicauda. The hardcover version of the same atlas
may read the same, but lists the fish as Parotocinclus
amazonesis. This mistake is a good indication of
the mis-information available. It may also explain why
retailers dont see it on The List
very often. It was mere co-incidence that I was standing
by as Peruvian suckers were hoisted from
a wholesalers box at Garys Pets n
Things in Cudahy, Wisconsin. Call it fate
luck. These Peruvian suckers
were actually Red Fin Dwarf Ottos and I
knew it. I took the bag from Garys hand and walked
to the checkout. He knew what was up...and smiled.
P. maculicauda is another of the algae eaters
that eat algae only when they have to. My 5 were given
a varied diet of live baby brine, frozen bloodworms
and simple flake. Grazers by design, I made sure they
werent dashing for food at first sight; a sure
sign of underfeeding. Suckermouths or Lories
as the new nickname indicates, get that kind of treatment
as a matter of course as bottom dwelling Loricarid.
Water values are secondary to water quality. It is
not recommended to keep these fish at high temperatures,
but if spawning is a sign of good health; these fish
spawned in temperatures as high as 80 degrees. Once
they began to spawn (at an age Id guess to be
a year or more) they did so regularly through minor
pH and hardness swings. Neutral to slightly acid and
soft seemed best. Spawns of from 11 to 18 eggs were
found every 10 to 14 days in the exact same place:
On the tanks thermometer.
Rarely have I had more than
3 fry from any one spawn survive a month. My best
luck seems to come in rearing tanks loaded with algae.
The fry also seem to do a little better if they can
graze on a sponge filter coated with uneaten food.
Still, the fry grow excruciatingly slow. Those that
I submitted for BAP were well under an inch at between
45 and 60 days. It took two spawns to get the 5 required
fish. I do not know if this is a typical example of
fry mortality or some true bungling on my part...again
there is little reference material.
The Parotocinclus maculicauda
in my tank seem to have two distinctly different color
patterns. One is like the photo in the Atlas. The
other is...not so. I have sent pictures of both to
experts and no one claims to know if this
is sexual dimorphism, possible regional color differences
or a simple living example of why TW claims, Color
If the atlases we use for reference
arent always right and the experts dont
always know, then this article may be the most unscientific
detail youll ever see written about Parotocinclus
maculicauda; the Redfin Dwarf Otto.