L Number Catfish

L Number Catfish main image L Number Catfish image

L Number Catfish

L Number Catfish are a part of the Loricariidae family and have over 80 genera and more than 560 species.

Natural Habitat

L Catfish originated from South America, particularly in the Amazon Basin and surrounding lakes. L Catfish like to live in either rock or sand bed rivers with cool (20 – 24 degrees celcius), fast flowing, and oxygen rich water or muddy lowland waters that are generally warmer (24 – 27 degrees celcius) and tolerate lower oxygen levels and still water.

Maximum Size and Longevity

Due to the vast range of species sizing greatly varies with some species maximum length at 4cm whereas others can grow up to 46cm. Lifespan is also varied, some of the larger species can live up to 15 years.

Water Quality

These fish prefer to live in soft slightly acidic water over neutral water although it is pertinent to research the species and choose the best water for them. A generalised water quality for L Catfish is below;

Temperature: 23 - 28 degrees celcius

pH: 6.5 – 7. 5

General Hardness: 100 – 250 ppm


 L Catfish are mainly herbivorous and thrive on algae and plant-based foods. Shrimp and sinking fish pellets are also suitable. They use their sucker mouth to suck algae and food particles off the surface. They will greatly contribute to your tank with their ability to remove algae from your aquarium. L Catfish need supplements as well such as algae wafers, zucchini, cabbage and lettuce and broad beans. This is especially important as they get older as they may not eat as much algae as before.


Although L Catfish are generally peaceful and make an excellent addition to a community tank, they can be aggressive towards others of the same species. As they grow, they may become too aggressive for the small fish in the tank.

Colour and Varieties

With the diverse range of species, you will find that L Catfish come in an assortment of colours and patterns. Most tend to be a darker colour with lighter spots or patches of colour to assist in camouflage, although there are species whose colouring makes them stand out. L Catfish also don't have scales rather they have bone plates which act as an armoured skeleton.


The L Catfish is dimorphic although the extent varies between species. Most of the differences are more prominent in the spawning season and include differences such as tentacle like appendages and long spines on the body or around the head. There are certain species such as Whiptails and Bristle Nose Catfish which are relatively easy to breed in captivity, there are many that are quite difficult and have not been able to be successfully bred in captivity. Before trying to breed these fish, it is important to do your research of their natural environment as this will give you an idea of what conditions are required for successful breeding such as water quality conditions, water flow and caves.




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