Photo: Haakon Haagensen
With it’s black-bordered orange spots against a pale yellow background H.melini is probably one of the most eye-catching members of Loricariinae. It’s a member of the so-called “Prachthexenwelse”, a group of unusually nice Whiptails hailing from black water habitats in Rio Negro, Brazil and lower Orinoco, Colombia. H.melini is a rare species in the hobby, and is currently not allowed for export from Brazil.
Name: Hemiloricaria melini (Schindler, 1959)
Trade names: Apache Whiptail
Origin: Rio Manacapuru, Rio Negro, Brazil.
Maximum TL: 15 cm / 6”
The black caudal fin is a trait found in juveniles, who also show less striking body pattern. But as they age, the beautiful spot pattern gradually reveals itself. Males develop short “beard” on their 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.melini. 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.