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Hemiloricaria lanceolata  (Günther, 1868)

ormerly of the Rineloricaria genera this months factsheet (August 2014) boasts one of the prettiest members of the Hemiloricaria/Rineloricaria complex. Alongside
H. formosa these two stand out from the run of the mill brown and beige specimens that we are all accustomed to in the hobby and in our local LFS.

Hemiloricaria lanceolata

This very nice looking species is still listed in Fishbase and the Catalog of Fishes as Rineloricaria lanceolata but the name is currently accepted in some quarters as Hemiloricaria lanceolata. Issbrücker (Issbrücker in Issbrücker et al, 2001) declared the synonymity of Rineloricaria and Hemiloricaria as no longer valid, and the latter again as an independent genus. The differences between the two genera are based on the positions of the males bristles and the top caudal filament on adult Hemiloricaria which is absent on Rinelolricaria.



Hemiloricaria lanceolata = head view


H. lancelota is cataloged as coming from the upper Amazon basin in Peru but the truth of the matter is that it is found in various guises all throughout South America and as such the colouration is highly variable.

Depending on the origin of catchment, temperature values would differ from the upper Amazon to the more southerly specimens which would require lower values. The species depicted in the images is the species from the Rio Huacamayo in Peru which in my mind is the most striking of the varieties.




Male showing the mouth and bristles

Typical species specific slim shape. Ventral area covered with scutes. Upper caudal fin ray greatly extended.

Colour pattern highly variable. Ground colour pale tan. Dorsum of head with medium tan area from tip of snout to base of dorsal fin spine. Two thick chocolate coloured lines run on either side of this tan area running through the eyes and terminating at the base of the dorsal fin. This line resumes and is thinner and may reach the full length of the body depending on the species. There is a thick chocolate band to the front of the dorsal fin.

Aquarium Care
Reported as quite an easy species to keep and breed although it is prone to eating the eggs, so the eggs would need to be hatched separately.They can be bred in pipes in the aquarium with a 5-7cm diameter.


Peacefull species which can be kept with most unagressive fishes in a mid to large aquarium. Best kept in pairs although two males will get along fine with each other.

The males have cheek, head and pectoral bristles. The females lack them and tend to have a more pointed head.

Orange eggs are laid in pipes. The males tend the spawn over a 12 day period. Sometimes the males will eat the eggs. If successful the fry can be raised with good water hygiene and the feeding of Artemia nauplii.

Omnivore. Vegetable food such as cucumber and other various foods such as tablet, flake and frozen.

lancelota: Lance-like, spear-like; armed with a pointed weapon. 

Glossary of Terms:

Dorsum: The upper (dorsal) surface of the head or body.

Dorsal: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body

Scutes: Bony covering.
The tail.

Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl 1985 Aquarien atlas. Band 2. Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde GmbH, Melle, Germany. 1216 p.
Evers, H.-G. & I.Seidel: Mergus, Baensch Catfish Atlas Volume 1, 1st English edn., 2005. Pp.944.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Catfish Study Group (U.K.) Information sheet no.10. 2000.

Photo Credits

Top and middle images: © Jim Makin

Bottom image: © Karsten Schönherr

Factsheet 218

Rineloricaria lanceolata, Loricaria lanceolata
Common Name:
Chocolate coloured catfish
South America: Peru: Upper Amazon River basin. Type locality: Xeberos.
13cm. (5ins)
22-29°c (71-85°f.) (depending on origin)
6.0 - 7.2.
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                                                                                                                                  Factsheet 218 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top