Photo: Lars Jamne
LELIELLA sp. L010a
Red plecos are not very common. Among the Whiptail Catfishes of the Loricariinae subtribe though the red or rust colour may turn up. The only well known representative in the trade is the small Red Whiptail Catfish, L10a. It’s a fish that still holds secrets regarding it’s origin, much like the common aquarium strain of Ancistrus. Nonetheless, it’s a very nice little fish that has become well established in the hobby.
Name: Leliella sp. L010a
Trade names: Red Whiptail Catfish, L10a
Maximum TL: 10 cm / 4”
It’s believed that the first Red Whiptails were bred in the former DDR in the 70’s, and that the first ones were imported from Paraguay. This has not been confirmed, and todays aquarium strain could be either a morph of Leliella heteroptera or a cross between this and Hemiloricaria lanceolata. Certainly, crossbreeds are on the market, these grow bigger and get darker as they age. Also, the genus name Leliella (Isbrücker, 2001) is not accepted by all so the most commonly used name for this fish is still “Rineloricaria sp. Red”. Even it’s l-number is controversial, as L10 was given to a different species of whiptail, and later L10a was given to L.sp.”Red”! As an aquarium fish, this is a calm, very peaceful species that doesn’t compete too well with big, aggressive species. It should be fed a varied diet, and given clean, well filtered water. Males develop odontodes on their cheeks and their pectoral fins, and eggs are laid in tight tubes where the male guards them.