August 15, 2014

August 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

August 15, 2014

Happy Friday, folks! I found my way out of the forest and back to the office and man, we’ve received some amazing fish while I was away! There’s so many that, as usual, I can’t write about them all, but I’ve tried to include as many as possible in our New Fish List to the right of your screen.   In the meantime, however, let’s talk about some of our unique Loricariids fresh off the plane.

Baryancistrus xanthellus “Gold Nugget Pleco” is a very popular specimen in the hobby thanks to its striking appearance. I must admit that I was a little surprised to learn that there is more than one distinct color morph of the species, each with their own L-numbers. We received two of the different L-numbered B. xanthellus this past week – our usual L018 “Gold Nugget” from the Rio Xingu, as well as L177 “Iriri Gold Nugget ” from the Xingu’s tributary, the Rio Iriri.

BaryancistrusxanthellusL018Baryancistrus xanthellus "Gold Nugget" L018

BaryancistrusxanthellusL177Baryancistrus xanthellus "Iriri Gold Nugget" L177

With a basic color of dark brown to black, both of the Gold Nuggets are decorated with a dramatic splattering of sunny yellow spots and accented with yellow borders at the rear of the dorsal and caudal fins. The yellow spots of the typical L018 Gold Nugget are small and delicate compared to the larger polka dots of the L177 Iriri Gold Nugget. As the fish grow towards their nine and a half inch adult length, these spots grow more numerous and intricate in pattern. With looks like these, it’s not surprising that aquarists love the Gold Nugget Pleco and the Iriri Gold Nugget looks to be no exception.

This grazing species of pleco eats aufwuchs – microorganisms and algae that grows in a film on submerged surfaces – and will appreciate a diet heavy on vegetables with treats of meaty fare such as bloodworms, blackworms, or frozen prawns when they are larger. B. xanthellus can be very territorial with other bottom dwelling fish and quite aggressive to other members of its own species, but with so much color, just one of either of these beautiful Gold Nuggets will make an excellent centerpiece for a large aquarium.

Another beautiful centerpiece plecostomus for your larger aquarium is either of the gorgeous Pseudacanthicus species we just got in, L024 “Red Fin Cactus Pleco” of the Rio Tocantins and L025 “Scarlet Cactus Pleco” found in the Rio Xingu. Their shared common name of ‘Cactus Pleco’ is due to the extensive odontodal and denticular growth on both their fin rays and scales. Males show extensive odontes than females, particularly on their pectoral fin rays. Females, on the other hand, grow to be much more full-bodied than the fairly slender males.

PseudacanthicusspL024Pseudacanthicus sp. "Red Fin Cactus Pleco" L024

L024, the Red Fin Cactus Pleco, is a lovely brown olive green in body color with orange to red fins. Some specimens appear to show spotting in their dorsal and anal fins and some show significant red coloration on their pectoral and ventral fins while others show none. Ours are still young so we are not entirely sure what colors their bodies will be when they age, but they do show brilliant red coloration in their pectoral and ventral fins. They are the smaller of the two species, reaching just less than 12 inches in length.

PseudacanthicusspL025Pseudacanthicus sp. "Scarlet Cactus Pleco" L025

In contrast, L025, the Scarlet Cactus Pleco, grows to over seventeen inches in length for the largest specimens. They are significantly bolder in pattern than their Red Finned cousins, with deep chocolate body coloration marked with black spots over their heads. These spots organize into lateral stripes down the entirety of their body and tail. The center of the caudal fin and the rear of each other fin carry this coloration with bold spots, while the leading and outside edges are all scarlet red. Their eyes are also slightly hooded in form, giving them a bit of a scowling expression that I find quite endearing.

Both species enjoy moderate temperature values neither over 80 degrees nor below 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Shady rests should be provided as both species, especially L025, may be quite shy during the daytime. Pseudacanthicus spp. are carnivores and seem to particularly relish shrimp, prawns and mussels. A bit of vegetable matter to balance their diet is a good treat for these beautiful fish. Both species are very territorial from a young age and other bottom dwellers, especially those that are nocturnal, should be avoided.   The Cactus Plecos’ array of spines and hooks can do quite a bit of damage if they decide to quarrel with another fish!

PseudacanthicusspL354Spectracanthicus sp. "Large Spot Pleco" L354

Finally, we’ve gotten a very unusual pleco worth mentioning – Spectracanthicus sp. “Large Spot Pleco”, L354. Until recently this was known as a member of the Oligancistrus genus but its conjoined dorsal and adipose fins indicate it belongs to another genus altogether. Other diagnostic criteria have set it apart from Baryancistrus by their teeth and from Parancistrus due to its comparatively small gill opening. This is an unusual fish to see in the hobby and is not kept by many aquarists. With a maximum length of around four inches and a preference for temperatures between 75 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, this little carnivore is suitable for a wide range of aquaria, unlike the very large Pseudacanthicus spp. mentioned above.

That’s all for today! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about these wonderful and unusual Loricariids or any of our other fish. Thank you for reading!

Jessica Supalla


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