Various drainages of the Rio Paraná basin in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. It’s also known from the Rio Uruguay, Uruguay.
Tends to be found away from the main river channels, in sluggish tributaries and creeks.
A biotope setup would consist very simply of a sandy substrate, perhaps with some driftwood branches and twisted roots added for effect. Aquatic plants are not a feature of the species‘ natural habitat, and would doubtless be uprooted by its sand-sifting activity anyway. The use of sand as a substrate is essential to allow it to feed naturally. The fish take in mouthfuls of the substrate, ejecting it through the gills whilst retaining any edible morsels they find. It is this behaviour which gives rise to the common name of ‘eartheaters’ for this and related species. Gravel is therefore not a good choice, as the fish can ingest it and it can become trapped in the delicate gills. The tank should be very well-filtered as Geophagines are susceptible to both hole in the head disease and neuromastic pitting. Regular large water changes are a must for similar reasons.
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