The “Funky Stickfish” (No, not a serious suggestion for a popular name) is one of the highlights among newly discovered Loricariidae species in the last decade. Originally described in 2011, we had to wait for about 7 years to welcome it to our hobby. So, in 2018 we finally had the pleasure of seeing it in our aquariums. Johann Forsthuber (Zierfisch Zentrum Austria) did a lot of the groundwork to bring them in (after taking part in an expedition to find them), assisted by Luis E.Tenazoa at Green Fish Aquarium in Peru. As far as I know, he is the only exporter down there offering them. Luckily, a few specimens found their way to Norway as well. In real life the fish is quite amazing, although it has proven to be a bit sensitive during the initial phase after import. Because of the seasonal availability (around August), remote habitat and difficulty to keep, this species is certainly going to stay a true rarity in our hobby.
Name: Fonchiiloricaria nanodon (Rodriguez, Ortega & Covain, 2011)
Origin: Rio Huallaga, Peru
Maximum size: 20 cm / 8''
F.nanodon is found in swift flowing white- and clearwater streams in the upper Rio Huallaga, Peru. This means it appreciates well-oxygenated, clean water with some current in the aquarium. The temperature should be set at approximately 25-27 C, other preferred parameters are pH 6.5-7.5, hardness 0-10 GH. In the wild, they graze for small organisms living on and between on as well as in the bottom layer. F.nanodon is an omnivore with preference for meaty (small) foods such as Artemia and insect larvae. Unfortunately, they have proven to be difficult to feed in captivity. This is a challenge that we are yet to really overcome, so long-term keeping is mostly unsuccessful so far. They are perfectly camouflaged for life on a sandy, pebbled river bottom, so this type of habitat should be replicated in the aquarium. They thrive better in dim lightning. The colours of F.nanodon can vary a bit, from a base colour of yellow, grey and even slightly rusty. I haven’t been able to confirm if there are any colour differences between the genders, but they can be told apart by different head shapes. As far as I know, there is not much odontodal (“spikes”) growth on the heads of the males. So far, no breeding reports exist. F.nanodon is closely related to Spatuloricaria and Dasyloricaria, so it’s not unlikely that the eggs will be laid hidden under a rock or in a tube, and guarded by the male.