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Parotocinclus maculicauda   (Steindachner, 1877)

his is an inoffensive little fish that does well in an aquaria of similar sized fishes, it has also become a popular addition to the tanks of U.K. aquarists. It is a member of the Loricariidae family and is in the sub-family of Hypoptopomatinae which also includes the Hypoptopoma and Otocinclus genera. To differentiate between Parotocinclus and Otocinclus is comparatively easy as the former has an adipose fin
while the latter does not.

There are approximately 18 species of Parotocinclus from Brazil, with Dr.Garavello reviewing this genus in 1977 in the Arquivos de Zoologia, Sâo Paulo in a paper 'Systematics and Geographical distributions of the genus Parotocinclus'. He also stated that the males have a genital papilla and as such it is a good way to sex out this genus.

It is a favourite here in the U.K on the show circuit as you can purchase this fish at nearly show size, and with its good deportment and colour it can do very well.

Below you can see the difference concerning the lack of an adipose fin in the Otocinclus genera to differentiate it from Parotocinclus.


Parotocinclus maculicauda in good condition can possess a golden body colouration with brown blotches, especially along the lateral line, and a blotch on the caudal peduncle ( where the caudal fin meets the fleshy part of the body) hence the latin name of maculicauda ( spot on caudal peduncle) The leading ray to the dorsal, pectoral and caudal fins is red with brown banding.

There have been spawning reports on some members of this genus and for one such report you can go to
Article 20 in the breeding article section of ScotCat.


Dorsal 1/7; Anal 1/5; Pectorals; 1/6; Ventrals 1/5; 24 bony scutes in a lateral series.


Grey-green to yellow-green, also grey-brown, with irregular blotches on the flanks which may unite into vague-edged longitudinal bands. Underside pale yellow to grey. A large dark blotch at the root of the tail, which may be more or less extended into the lower caudal lobe, is characteristic of this species. The leading ray to the dorsal, pectoral and caudal fins is red with brown banding.


Keeping this species is not too difficult as long as you can keep the water clean and don't let the p.H. drop too much. Keep up the water changes and try to keep them in the lower tropical temperatures as they do come from the southern parts of Brazil.


Usually lays its eggs on vegetation in the aquarium ( see Article 20 )


They are omnivorous ( vegetable and meat diet ) and will eat lettuce, cucumber, courgette (zucchini) and also white and grindal worm, frozen bloodworm, flake and tablet food.


Garavello, J.C. (1977): Systematics and geographical distribution of the genus Parotocinlcus Eigenmann & Eigenmann, 1889 (Ostariophysi, Loricariidae). Arq. Zool. S. Paulo 28 (4): 1-37.
Sands, David:
Catfishes of the World vol 4,1984.
Sterba, Gunther: Freshwater Fishes of the World vol.2. 1973.


Photo Credits
© Allan James @ ScotCat
Factsheet 041

Otocinclus maculicauda, Parotocinclus steindachneri
Common Name:
False Sucker
Brazil Brazil, coastal rivers between Santa Catarina and Rio de Janeiro
5.5cm. (2¼ins)
20-24ºC ( 67-75°f)
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                                                                                                          Factsheet 041 = updated October 20, 2004, © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top