Twig Catfish Care: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you’re a catfish enthusiast like me, you’ve probably heard of the Twig Catfish. These unique fish are known for their slender, twig-like appearance and are a popular choice among aquarium hobbyists. However, caring for Twig Catfish can be a bit tricky if you’re not familiar with their specific needs.

Twig Catfish require a well-planted aquarium with soft, slightly acidic water. They are peaceful and should be kept in groups of at least six. They feed on small invertebrates and algae, and their diet can be supplemented with high-quality flakes and pellets. Regular water changes and maintenance are essential for their health.

As an avid fish keeper, I’ve had my fair share of challenges when it comes to caring for Twig Catfish. But with the right knowledge and approach, these fish can be a delightful addition to your aquarium.

In this article, I’ll be sharing everything you need to know about Twig Catfish care, from their dietary requirements to their preferred tank conditions.

Whether you’re a seasoned fish keeper or a beginner, you’ll find valuable information that will help you provide the best possible care for your Twig Catfish.

Twig Catfish Care Pet people blog

Species Summary


The Twig Catfish, scientifically known as the Farlowella Acus, originates from the Amazon River Basin in South America.

These fish are commonly found in the rivers and streams of Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador. They are also found in other South American countries such as Colombia and Venezuela.


The average lifespan of a Twig Catfish is around 5 years. However, with proper care and a healthy environment, they can live up to 8 years.

It is important to note that their lifespan can be affected by various factors such as water quality, diet, and stress levels.


The Twig Catfish has a unique and interesting appearance. They have a long, slender body that resembles a twig or stick.

They have a flattened head with a small mouth and eyes located towards the top of their head. Their coloration varies from light brown to dark brown with black spots.

They also have a series of bony plates along their body that provide protection.


The Twig Catfish is a relatively small fish, with an average length of 5-6 inches. However, they can grow up to 8-10 inches in length in the right conditions.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of a Twig Catfish is relatively slow. They can take up to a year to reach their full size.

It is important to provide them with a healthy and balanced diet to ensure proper growth and development.

Behavior & Temperament

The Twig Catfish is a peaceful and shy fish. They are not aggressive towards other fish and prefer to hide in plants or other hiding spots.

They are also nocturnal and are most active at night. It is important to provide them with plenty of hiding spots and a peaceful environment to ensure they feel safe and comfortable.

Male vs Female

Distinguishing between male and female Twig Catfish can be difficult. However, females tend to be slightly larger and wider than males. Males also have a more pointed genital papilla, while females have a rounder one.

Personally, I find Twig Catfish to be fascinating creatures. I remember the first time I saw one in an aquarium, and I was immediately drawn to their unique appearance and behavior.

They are a great addition to any aquarium, and with proper care, they can thrive and live a long and healthy life.

Tank Setup

When it comes to setting up a tank for your Twig Catfish, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are the key factors to consider:

Tank Size

The Twig Catfish is a relatively small fish, but they still need plenty of space to swim around. I recommend a tank that is at least 20 gallons for a single catfish, and an additional 10 gallons for each additional catfish. This will give them plenty of room to move and explore.


Twig Catfish prefer dim lighting, so it’s best to avoid bright lights that can stress them out. You can use a low-wattage bulb or an LED light with a dimmer switch to create a more natural environment for your catfish.

Filtration & Aeration

Twig Catfish are sensitive to poor water quality, so it’s important to have a good filtration system in place.

A hang-on-back filter or a canister filter is a good choice, as they provide both mechanical and biological filtration. You should also have an air pump to provide aeration and keep the water oxygenated.


Twig Catfish are tropical fish and require a water temperature of around 75-80°F. A submersible heater is a good choice, as it will maintain a consistent temperature in the tank.


A fine sand or gravel substrate is best for Twig Catfish, as they like to burrow and hide. Avoid using sharp or rough substrates that can damage their delicate barbels.


Twig Catfish are shy and reclusive fish, so it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places in the tank.

You can use caves, rocks, and driftwood to create a natural environment for your catfish.


Live plants are a great addition to a Twig Catfish tank, as they provide hiding places and help to maintain good water quality. Java fern, Anubias, and Amazon sword are all good choices for a Twig Catfish tank.

Personally, I like to add a few small terra cotta pots to my Twig Catfish tank. They provide great hiding places and blend in well with the natural environment.

Water Quality

Proper water quality is essential for the health and well-being of your Twig Catfish. In this section, I’ll cover the key factors you need to consider when it comes to water quality.

Water Temperature

The ideal temperature range for Twig Catfish is between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. I personally keep my aquarium at 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which seems to work well for my Twig Catfish.

Make sure to use a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust the heater as needed.

Water pH

The pH level of your aquarium water should be between 6.5 and 7.5. Twig Catfish are sensitive to changes in pH levels, so it’s important to keep it stable.

I recommend testing the pH level regularly and making adjustments as needed using a pH adjuster solution.

Water Hardness

The ideal water hardness for Twig Catfish is between 5 and 12 dGH. Hard water can stress out your Twig Catfish, so it’s important to keep it within this range.

You can use a water hardness test kit to monitor the levels and make adjustments as needed using a water softener solution.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential for maintaining good water quality in your aquarium. I personally do a 25% water change every two weeks.

However, the frequency and amount of water changes you need to do will depend on the size of your aquarium and the number of fish you have.

Make sure to use a dechlorinator solution when adding new water to the aquarium.

By paying attention to these key factors, you can ensure that your Twig Catfish have the best possible water quality to thrive in your aquarium.

One thing I’ve learned from my experience with Twig Catfish is that they are quite sensitive to changes in water quality.

When I first got my Twig Catfish, I didn’t realize how important it was to maintain good water quality. As a result, my Twig Catfish started showing signs of stress and illness.

After doing some research and making some changes to my aquarium setup, I was able to improve the water quality and my Twig Catfish made a full recovery. Now, I make sure to regularly monitor and maintain good water quality to keep my Twig Catfish healthy and happy.

Tank Maintenance

Maintaining a clean tank is crucial for the health and well-being of your Twig Catfish. As a responsible Twig Catfish owner, I always make sure to keep my tank clean and tidy.

To start, I recommend doing a partial water change of about 20-25% every week. This helps remove any excess waste and debris that may have accumulated in the tank.

I also make sure to vacuum the substrate during water changes to remove any uneaten food or waste that may have settled there. In addition to regular water changes, it’s important to keep an eye on the filter. I check my filter every week to make sure it’s running smoothly and not clogged with debris.

If I notice any buildup, I clean it out to ensure the filter is working at its best. Another important aspect of tank maintenance is checking the water parameters regularly.

I use a test kit to check the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in my tank. If I notice any levels are off, I take action to correct them right away.

Lastly, I like to add live plants to my tank to help absorb excess nutrients and provide a natural environment for my Twig Catfish.

Not only do they look great, but they also help maintain a healthy balance in the tank. Overall, keeping up with regular tank maintenance is essential for the health and happiness of your Twig Catfish.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure your Twig Catfish has a clean and healthy environment to thrive in.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

When it comes to choosing tank mates for Twig Catfish, there are a few things to consider.

Twig Catfish are generally peaceful and can be kept with other peaceful fish that won’t nip at their long, delicate fins. Some good choices for compatible fish species include:

  • Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Otocinclus Catfish

Incompatible Fish Species

While Twig Catfish are generally peaceful, there are some fish that should be avoided as tank mates. These fish can be aggressive, territorial, or may nip at the Twig Catfish’s long fins. Some incompatible fish species include:

  • Cichlids
  • Barbs
  • Gouramis
  • Angelfish

How Many Twig Catfish Should be Kept Together?

Twig Catfish are social fish that should be kept in groups of at least three. Keeping them in larger groups of six or more is even better.

When Twig Catfish are kept in groups, they are more active and display more natural behaviors. I personally keep six Twig Catfish in my tank, and they are always swimming around and exploring together.


Twig Catfish are omnivorous fish, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. Proper diet is essential to keep them healthy and happy.

In this section, I will discuss what to feed, how often to feed, and some tips to help you maintain a healthy diet for your Twig Catfish.

What To Feed

Twig Catfish are not picky eaters and will eat almost anything you offer them.

However, it’s important to feed them a balanced diet to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients. I feed my Twig Catfish a variety of foods, including:

  • Algae wafers
  • Bloodworms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Spirulina flakes

These foods provide a good mix of protein, vitamins, and minerals that Twig Catfish need to thrive.


Twig Catfish should be fed once or twice a day, depending on their age and size. Younger Twig Catfish need to be fed more frequently than adults.

I feed my Twig Catfish once a day, in the evening, and give them a break from feeding once a week. Overfeeding can lead to health problems, so it’s important to monitor how much you feed your Twig Catfish.


Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy diet for your Twig Catfish:

  • Offer a variety of foods to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.
  • Feed them in small amounts and remove any uneaten food after 5-10 minutes.
  • Don’t overfeed them, as this can lead to health problems.
  • Monitor their weight and adjust their diet accordingly.
  • Provide them with a balanced diet to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your Twig Catfish gets the proper nutrition it needs to stay healthy and happy.

Personally, I have found that my Twig Catfish are happiest when they are fed a variety of foods and given a balanced diet.

I enjoy watching them eat and seeing how quickly they grow. Twig Catfish are fascinating fish to keep, and proper diet is essential to their well-being.

Common Diseases


I have been keeping twig catfishes for years, and I have learned that they are generally hardy fish.

However, like any other fish, they are susceptible to diseases. Some of the most common diseases that affect twig catfishes include:

  • Ich
  • Fin rot
  • Columnaris
  • Parasites


It is important to keep an eye on your twig catfishes for any signs of illness. Some of the most common symptoms of disease in twig catfishes include:

  • White spots on the body or fins
  • Fins that are frayed or appear to be rotting away
  • Redness or inflammation around the gills or mouth
  • Difficulty breathing or gasping at the surface of the water


If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to take action quickly to prevent the disease from spreading to other fish in your tank. Some of the most effective treatments for twig catfish diseases include:

  • Medications specifically designed to treat the disease
  • Isolating the affected fish in a quarantine tank
  • Improving water quality by performing more frequent water changes
  • Adjusting the temperature or pH of the water to make it less hospitable to the disease


Preventing disease in your twig catfishes is always easier than treating it. Here are some tips to help keep your fish healthy:

  • Quarantine any new fish for at least two weeks before adding them to your main tank
  • Perform regular water changes to keep the water clean and healthy
  • Avoid overfeeding your fish, as excess food can lead to poor water quality
  • Monitor your fish for any signs of illness, and take action quickly if you notice anything unusual

Overall, with proper care and attention, twig catfishes can be healthy and happy fish that will provide years of enjoyment.

By following these tips for preventing and treating disease, you can help ensure that your fish stay healthy and thrive in your aquarium.

Personally, I have found that keeping a close eye on my fish and performing regular water changes has helped to prevent disease in my twig catfishes. By taking a proactive approach to fish care, you can help prevent disease and keep your fish healthy and happy.

Signs of a Healthy Twig Catfish

I’ve been keeping twig catfish for a while now, and I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes them healthy and happy. Here are some signs to look for in a healthy twig catfish:

  1. Active and Alert: A healthy twig catfish will be active and alert, swimming around and exploring its environment. If a twig catfish is lethargic or hiding all the time, it could be a sign of poor health.
  2. Good Appetite: Twig catfish are bottom feeders, so they will spend a lot of time scavenging for food. A healthy twig catfish will have a good appetite and eagerly eat the food you offer it.
  3. Clear Eyes: The eyes of a healthy twig catfish should be clear and bright, without any cloudiness or discoloration. Cloudy or discolored eyes could be a sign of disease or poor water quality.
  4. Healthy Skin: A healthy twig catfish will have smooth, unblemished skin. Look for any signs of lesions, ulcers, or other abnormalities on the skin.
  5. Normal Breathing: A twig catfish breathes through its gills, so you should observe its breathing to ensure it’s normal. Rapid or labored breathing could be a sign of poor health.
  6. Good Water Quality: Twig catfish are sensitive to poor water quality, so it’s important to maintain a clean and well-filtered aquarium. A healthy twig catfish will thrive in a well-maintained aquarium with good water quality.

In my experience, twig catfish are hardy and relatively easy to care for, as long as you provide them with a healthy environment. By observing these signs of a healthy twig catfish, you can ensure that your fish is happy and thriving in its home.

Signs Your Twig Catfish Is Sick

If you’re a twig catfish owner like me, you know how important it is to keep your fish healthy and happy. Unfortunately, even with the best care, twig catfish can still get sick. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy and lack of activity
  • Clamped fins
  • Abnormal swimming behavior
  • Visible parasites or growths on the body
  • Discoloration or abnormal markings on the body

If you notice any of these signs in your twig catfish, it’s important to take action quickly. Sick fish can deteriorate rapidly, and early intervention can mean the difference between life and death.

Personally, I once noticed that my twig catfish was not swimming as actively as usual and was spending a lot of time hiding in its cave. I also noticed that it wasn’t eating as much as it usually did. I immediately checked the water parameters and found that the ammonia levels were too high.

I did a water change and added some beneficial bacteria to the tank, and my fish made a full recovery within a few days. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your pets!


Breeding Setup

Before breeding Twig Catfish, you need to set up the breeding tank. I recommend a 20-gallon tank, with a sponge filter and a heater set to 78°F. You should also add some plants, rocks, and caves to provide hiding places for the fish.

When it comes to lighting, I prefer to use a dim light for the breeding tank. This helps to mimic the natural environment of the Twig Catfish and encourages spawning.

How To Breed

Breeding Twig Catfish can be a challenge, but it is possible with the right conditions. To encourage breeding, you will need to simulate the rainy season.

This can be done by performing a 50% water change with slightly cooler water (around 74°F) and increasing the water flow in the tank.

When the Twig Catfish are ready to breed, the male will chase the female around the tank. The female will lay her eggs in a cave or on a flat surface, and the male will fertilize them.

After spawning, the male will guard the eggs while the female returns to the main tank.


After breeding, it is important to provide proper care for the eggs and fry. The male Twig Catfish will guard the eggs until they hatch, which typically takes around 5-7 days. Once the fry hatch, they will feed on their yolk sac for the first few days.

After the yolk sac is absorbed, you can start feeding the fry with newly hatched brine shrimp or microworms. Keep the water clean and perform regular water changes to ensure the health of the fry.

Personally, I found breeding Twig Catfish to be a rewarding experience. It was amazing to watch the male guard the eggs and see the fry hatch and grow. With the right setup and care, you too can breed Twig Catfish successfully.

Product recommendations for Twig Catfish:

  1. Hikari Sinking Wafers – This is a high-quality fish food that is perfect for twig catfish. It contains all the essential nutrients that your fish need to stay healthy and vibrant.
  2. API Aquarium Test Kit – It is important to keep an eye on the water quality in your aquarium, and this test kit makes it easy to do so. It includes tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.
  3. Seachem Prime – This is a water conditioner that helps to detoxify ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your aquarium. It is safe for use with twig catfish and other fish.
  4. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum – If you plan on keeping live plants in your aquarium, this substrate is a great choice. It provides the nutrients that plants need to thrive, and also helps to maintain a stable pH.
  5. AquaClear Power Filter– This filter is highly effective at removing debris and maintaining water quality in your aquarium. It is also very quiet and easy to maintain.
  6. Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer – This device makes it easy to perform regular water changes in your aquarium. It is designed to be safe and easy to use, and can help to keep your twig catfish healthy.
  7. Marina LED Aquarium Kit – This is another great aquarium kit that is perfect for twig catfish. It includes a filter, heater, and LED lighting, and is easy to set up and maintain.
  8. Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter – This is a small and efficient filter that is perfect for smaller aquariums housing twig catfish. It is easy to install and maintain, and will keep the water in your aquarium clean and healthy.


Overall, caring for Twig Catfish can be a rewarding experience for any fish enthusiast. These fish are hardy and easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginners. They are also very active and playful, which can make for an entertaining addition to any aquarium.

One thing I’ve learned from my personal experience with Twig Catfish is that they love to hide.

It’s important to provide them with plenty of hiding spots in the aquarium, such as caves or plants, so they feel safe and secure. They also enjoy a varied diet, so be sure to offer them a mix of pellets, flakes, and live or frozen foods.

When it comes to water parameters, Twig Catfish prefer slightly acidic water with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. They also appreciate a well-filtered and well-oxygenated aquarium.

Keeping their environment clean and healthy will help them thrive and prevent any potential health issues.

Overall, Twig Catfish are a great addition to any aquarium, and with proper care, they can live for many years. If you’re looking for a fun and easy-to-care-for fish, Twig Catfish might just be the perfect choice for you.


As a Twig Catfish owner, I’ve received a lot of questions about how to care for these unique fish. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

Q: What should I feed my Twig Catfish?

A: Twig Catfish are omnivores, so they will eat a variety of foods. I personally feed mine a mix of sinking pellets, frozen bloodworms, and live brine shrimp. It’s important to vary their diet and not overfeed them.

Q: How often should I clean my Twig Catfish’s tank?

A: Twig Catfish produce a lot of waste, so it’s important to keep their tank clean. I recommend doing a partial water change of about 25% every week. You can also use a gravel vacuum to remove any uneaten food and debris from the bottom of the tank.

Q: Can I keep Twig Catfish with other fish?

A: Yes, Twig Catfish are generally peaceful and can be kept with other non-aggressive fish. However, they may eat small fish or shrimp, so it’s important to choose tankmates carefully. I have had success keeping my Twig Catfish with tetras, corydoras, and other catfish.

Q: How big do Twig Catfish get?

A: Twig Catfish can grow up to 6 inches in length, but they usually stay around 3-4 inches in captivity. It’s important to provide them with enough space to swim and hide, as they are a shy species.

Q: Do Twig Catfish need a heater?

A: Twig Catfish are tropical fish and need to be kept in water that is between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. A heater is necessary to maintain a consistent temperature in their tank.

Overall, Twig Catfish are a fascinating and rewarding species to keep. With proper care and attention, they can live for several years and provide endless entertainment.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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