Dwarf Sucker Catfish

The Dwarf Sucker Catfish is also known as the witch catfish. Its original home is the South American La Plata region in Uruguay and Argentina. There it colonizes very low streams even with extreme current conditions.

What distinguishes the dwarf loricariid catfish?

The Dwarf Sucker Catfish (Rineloricaria fallax) is a rather rare but worth seeing fish in the aquarium. It is available in different colour drawings and breeds. Many witch catfish are nocturnal and dig themselves into the ground during the day or rest well camouflaged in hiding places. If kept in a species-appropriate way it can reach an age of up to 14 years.


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The appearance of the dwarf catfish

Blauer Zwergharnischwels
Rare blue pygmy catfish © Alexandra Prickartz

The classic dwarf catfish has a grey-brownish basic colouring and a predator-like net pattern of darker shades. In the trade also reddish to orange species are offered. The body is wedge-shaped and tapers significantly with the long tail fin. Head and eye area are angular. As it is almost exclusively near the bottom, the body is laterally flattened and the fish can adapt to the ground. The dorsal fin is only moderately pronounced in the dwarf catfish. All the more beautiful are the paired fins, with which it can move elegantly and flatly. At the mouth it carries two distinct barbels, which serve to search the ground. It reaches a length of about 12 cm.

  • grey-brown with net-like patterns
  • also orange to reddish varieties
  • has a more flat build
  • Total length about 12 cm

Housing conditions for the dwarf loricariid catfish

The South American catfish is a very peace-loving inhabitant for the aquarium. It can be combined well with free swimming and current-loving fish species. It should be kept in pairs, even if males and females like to avoid each other outside the mating season. Disputes between the sexes rarely occur. Other fish are left alone by the Dwarf Loricariid Catfish, but it should be the only fish species living near the bottom in the aquarium. An exception are shrimps, which it accepts as another close inhabitant.

  • Keeping for advanced fish
  • lives almost exclusively near the ground
  • in pairs with a fish of the opposite sex
  • in the community tank with free swimming fish or shrimps

Sexual differences in the dwarf catfish

Differentiation between the sexes is best achieved when a female and male animal can be directly compared. Then the male will notice small bristles on his mouth, which the female does not have. In addition, the head of the female is somewhat more pointed and has a triangular shape.

Water values for the Lesser Sucker Catfish

The witch catfish is demanding in terms of water quality. It needs a strong current and very oxygen-rich water. The water should be changed more often.

Water type: Fresh water

  • Temperature: 15° to 26°C
  • PH value: 5.8 to 7.8
  • Total hardness: 15° to 26°dGH

Food and nutrition for the Dwarf Loricariid Catfish

The dwarf-catfish is a herbivore and grazes with its suction-mouth gladly woods, stones or also the disks of the aquarium. Small cut, grated and scalded vegetables and salads are suitable as supplementary food. Special algae tablets are also available in the trade, which this cozy fish also likes to take. As a nocturnal fish, it should definitely be fed in the evening hours.

The ideal aquarium for the Dwarf Sucker Catfish

Sucking catfish like to dig themselves into the ground and need space to dredge and graze natural decorative elements. Best suited are pools from an edge length of 80 cm, more is also possible. Sand and gravel are regularly stirred up and searched by this fish on the surface. The flooring should therefore be thick enough to provide some aquatic plants with enough substance to take root. The Dwarf Sucker Catfish does not attack plants when fed well, but can damage them when searching for food and burying them. Root elements made of wood are suitable as hiding places. A strong current must be present in the tank.

  • from 80 cm edge length
  • powerful flow
  • thick floor covering and robust plants
  • Roots or other natural elements as a hiding place

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