Photo: Haakon Haagensen
Whiptails are usually quite colourless and anonymous bottom dwellers trying to blend in with the sand they live on or nearby. Some however show a slightly more interesting pattern, and among them are the so called “Prachthexenwelse” mostly found in the black waters of the Rio Negro region, Brazil. H.formosa is the biggest of these, and a rariety in our hobby.
Name: Hemiloricaria formosa (Isbrücker & Nijssen, 1979)
Origin: Orinoco, Colombia. Rio Negro, Brazil.
Maximum TL: 16 cm / 6”
It has a quite nice pattern of dark spots all over it’s body, and a characteristic black eye spot right in front of the dorsal fin. Males develop short “beard” on thir cheeks. These fish should be given calm surroundings with both open sand areas and shelter under roots and some hardy plants that will survive in the dim environment preferred by H.formosa. Breeding is rare, and since it’s a black water species it will need nutrient-poor, acidic water to thrive enough to enter breeding mode.