Whiptail Catfish Care Guide For Beginners – Fishinaquarium

whiptail catfish

What are your thoughts about a catfish? Weird yet wonderful, right? Thus, adding a whiptail catfish, the dwarf member of the Loricariid family, will be the best choice for any aquarist.

The Whiptail Catfish belong to the Rineloricaria genus and come with a unique appearance. These types of fishes are too easy to care for in a 10-20 gallon tank by keeping them in a group of 4 specimens. They live for about 5-8 years with proper care in the aquarium.


Category Rating
Level of care Easy
Appearance Grey-brown colored body with a pattern of various lighter and darker shades
Temperaments Territorial, yet harmless
Life expectancy 5-8 years
Size 4-inches
Diet Omnivorous
Family Loricariids
Tank size 10-20 gallon
Tank environment Hard and acidic water with sand substrate
Tankmates Small and peaceful

About Whiptail Catfish


Whiptail Catfishes are pretty popular among aquarists with their simple yet different appearance and tank-friendly temperament.

Their grey-brown color and a classy pattern of various light and dark shades make them distinct from others.

In terms of length, their conspicuous anus part serves to be the largest body part.

This form of fishes typically belongs to the genus of Rineloricaria and the family of Loricariid catfish.

Thus, other catfish can easily be considered as their cousins, and you can find quite a bit of similarity in their temperament and preferences. Dasyloricaria filamentosa is the common name for this fish species.

Whiptail Catfish usually originates from South America and are easily found in streams or flat sandbanks with strong water flow and currents.

Their natural habitat is the La Plata region, where they love to hover around in the narrow torrential streams, which are no deeper than 10 cm.

These catfish feel very comfortable staying on the sandbanks in clear water. However, you can easily keep them in your home aquariums as they are not at all problematic.


Whiptail Catfish Temperament


This species of catfish is very peaceful. These fishes’ gregarious nature makes them do well in groups. The male fishes can show a little bit of aggression to defend their nest. Hence, you can consider them to be territorial to some extent.

But their aggression is only limited to frightening other fishes; these catfishes do not harm others. This mild territorial behavior of these fishes helps them to defend themselves from their rivals smartly.

Thus, the Whiptail Catfish species makes an excellent companionship in a community tank with their funny and quirky yet harmless behavior.


Whiptail Catfish Tank Requirement


These Whiptail Catfishes can be very easily cared for in a community aquarium.  They do not require a too big tank size; a moderate one is fine. Also, the tank needs to have top-notch decoration.

Besides, whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria are relatively hardy. Though whiptails are dwarf, they need proper space in the tank as they are slightly territorial by nature.

If you want to do proper caring of your Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria, you need to be extra careful regarding the tank’s bottom area. The substrates for them need to be soft enough.

Also, these fishes are not at all regular algae eaters. So, make sure the algae build-up is limited or almost zero in the fish tank. Also, add such tank decors that are pretty easy to clean.

As these catfishes tend to hide a lot, you must ensure the proper addition of sturdy plants and spacious caves.

Incorporating lots of plants and driftwoods will let them have plenty of happy time in captivity.

Also, for the well-being of this fish species, you need to adorn a large part of the tank with wavemaker reefs.

This popular form of catfish usually prefers the tank water to be a little bit hard. Also, the water quality needs to be slightly acidic to let them have a healthy life.

Whiptail Catfish Rineloricari prefers a lot of oxygen in the water. Also, make sure there is a good source of current in their tank water.

Besides adding a powerhead for facilitating proper filtration in the tank, you can also add other pumps to make the water move more powerfully, producing sufficient current.


Whiptail Catfish Tank Set-Up


Do you know Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria do not thrive well in insufficient tank water? And this is why you must ensure a proper tank set-up to maintain their good health.

So, here are some tips that you can follow to facilitate a top-notch aquarium set-up for your catfishes.

  • Catfishes are not very large. So, housing them in a 10-20 gallon tank will be pretty suitable. If you are keeping a pair of male and female fish, you can easily pick a 10-gallon aquarium. But in the case of a group, keep them in 20-gallon tank size.
  • Keep the water temperature of the aquarium between 25-28℃. These fishes will adapt well to a bit of high temperature.
  • Also, the tank water needs to be very clean. Thus, you should keep a convenient tank filter replicating whiptails’ original fields of habitat.
  • The pH range of the aquarium water needs to be within 6-7.5.
  • Make sure the general hardness of the water for these catfishes lies in between 2-15 DH.
  • It is better to maintain the carbonate hardness in between 2-10 dKH.
  • Ensure the addition of plenty of plants in the aquarium to provide these tiny catfishes have proper places to hide. You can incorporate plants like Indian almonds or Terminalia catappa to create a lovely leaf litter. The Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria will do great with low-lying plants like the Cryptocoryne and dwarf lilies.
  • To offer them enough space to rest and hide from other tankmates, you can add driftwood to these fish’ tanks.
  • The substrate for this fish needs to be sand, which will not harm their barbles or dorsal fin. Also, you can add smooth silica, which is readily sold for horticulture use to replicate their original fields.


whiptail catfish

Whiptail Catfish Tank Mates


As whiptail catfish is quite popular as a Loricariid member, they gel well in a community fish tank.  Instead of keeping one Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria, you can keep them in a pair or group.

However, while housing this type of fish with other tankmates, you need to remember a few things.

Whiptails are usually slow feeders. As a result of such nature of theirs, it becomes easy for these catfish to become a target of other nippy or aggressive fishes. Thus, don’t keep them with fin nippers or large, aggressive fishes.

Peaceful fishes that are not at all territorial will serve to be the best tankmate for whiptail catfishes.

Besides, this species does not go well with other fishes like tiger barbs, pufferfish, serpae tetras, etc. So, house them with the following community cuties.

  • A small school of Corydoras catfish
  • Kuhli loaches
  • Ember and Red Neon tetras
  • Rasboras
  • Gouramis
  • Dwarf cichlids

What Do Whiptail Catfish Eat?


Do you know what is more interesting about these Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria? They can be very easily fed with staple foods, exclusively made for catfishes. These open-water catfishes are omnivores by nature. They will readily accept anything you give them.

You can feed this species with catfish pellets, as Loricariids love to have them. Also, this makes a very nutritious meal for them. Besides, you can supplement their food with fresh and frozen foods, bloodworms, or chopped seafood.

It is better to feed them twice or thrice a day. Also, add some variety in their diet with vitamins and proteins to keep them healthy. To add more nutrition to their diet, you can either add algae wafers or other vegetable matter, which are the most nutritious supplement for a fish.


Care for Whiptail Catfish


Caring for Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria is not at all complex. You can easily do it without requiring any expert knowledge. These whiptails are not much demanding as other aquarium fishes.

So, you must add tubes and slates in the tank for adequately caring for them, which you can easily find at any pet animal store.

You might have heard that adding rocks for them will do a good job. But that’s a complete myth, as this type of fish will not at all thrive well on rocks.

They will often get injured in a rocky aquascape. So, you should add something soft, or you can even incorporate driftwood.

To offer them the proper level of care, a biotope set-up will be good. Add a layer of sand, scattered with dried leaves, to let them enjoy a happy time. Also, you can offer them twisted branches or twigs and other occasional rounded stones to replicate their natural living place.

During the time of breeding, offer them a driftwood cave. Or you can even add lengths of PVC piping to create a potential spawning site.  This Loricariid does not prefer bright lighting. So, it is better to keep the illumination moderate in the fish tank.

Moreover, remember not to house whiptails with plecos or loaches. As the latter fishes are bottom feeders and demanding enough, they can hamper these catfishes’ diet, which, in turn, can affect their health.

Whiptail Catfish Breeding Guidelines


Do you want to breed whiptail catfishes as a hobby? Well, then let us tell you that these Rineloricaria species can be quickly bred in captivity. This small whiptail catfish will easily spawn without requiring any intervention from the aquarists.

To breed them at ease, you need to have a pair. You can start with a group of 6 whiptails for your tank. Since the males are territorial by nature, they will claim their territories in the community aquarium, while the females will mate with them as they find a fit.

They spawn in a very similar way to the bristle nose catfishes. So, if you are familiar with their breeding mechanism, then breeding whiptail catfish Rineloricaria will not at all be a challenging task for you.

Spawning usually takes place in hollow tubes or PVC piping. The female catfish usually lay fewer than 100 eggs at once in the pipes. After that, the males seek the eggs and fertilize them. Post proper fertilization, these males guard the eggs to keep the females away.

Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria fries are anticipated to hatch after a week. At the initial stage, these fries will not consume any food. Instead, they will survive on their yolk sac for a couple of days.

After that, you can offer them algae for eating. They will readily accept any liquid fry food. Besides, you can offer them finely powdered flake foods too.

Whiptail Catfishes usually spawn on a flat surface area. Their brooding sizes are pretty small. Thus, while ensuring proper breeding of these catfishes, you need to facilitate appropriate current and oxygen in the tank water. It will not only ensure the well-being of the eggs but also let the fries stay healthy.

Besides this usual breeding method of catfishes, they also sometimes rely upon an alternative way of spawning through their lips, which is quite predominant among species like Loricaria and Pseudohemiodon.

Interesting Facts About Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria


There are a few pieces of interesting information about whiptail catfish Rineloricaria that you cannot afford to miss out on if you are thinking of petting them.

So, are you excited to learn those fun facts? Well, here you go.

  • They are quite underrated as pet catfish.
  • Whiptails are very hardy fishes and come with brilliant adaptability to a wide range of aquatic environments.
  • They usually have predatory instincts towards worms or insect larvae.
  • Whiptails usually have two tribes -Loricariini and Harttiini.
  • These whiptail catfishes usually come in 30 genera.


whiptail catfish

Where to Buy Whiptail Catfish?


You can easily find Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria at any nearby store for animals and pet fishes. They are available at a very moderate price rate. But if you do not find them in your nearest stores for aquatic animals, you can look for them at a hobbyist store.

Nevertheless, you’ll readily get these catfish specimens at any online store that sells pet animals and fishes.

How Big Do Whiptail Catfish Get?


The maximum size of a whiptail catfish extends up to a length of 4-inches or 10.2 cm. They are usually dwarf and short built than any other catfish species.

How Long Does Whiptail Catfish Live?


Though whiptail catfishes are small, they come with a longer life span. These aquatic animals can live up to 5-8 years if they receive the proper amount of caring in the tank.


Is Whiptail Catfish Suitable for Aquariums?


Yes! Whiptails are usually the most suitable ones to be kept in a community fish tank. As these fishes can be easily cared for, they are entirely suitable for beginners. Being omnivores, they are also effortless to feed with any food type.

Moreover, these aqua animals are not very messy. So, if you have the hobby of collecting various catfishes species in your tank, then Whiptail Catfish Rineloricaria would be the most favorable ones to pet.




  1. Are whiptail catfish aggressive?

No, whiptail catfishes are not at all aggressive. Instead, they are very friendly and go well as a compatible tank mate with other small and peaceful fishes.


  1. Do whiptail catfish eat algae?

Though there is a myth that whiptail catfish eat algae, the truth is, they are not at all an algae eater. Instead, algae build-ups in your tank can be unhealthy for their growth and development.


  1. How big do twig catfish get?

Twig catfishes are usually bigger than whiptail catfishes. They typically grow up to 9-inches with a proper diet.