Bulldog Pleco (L187b) Aquarium Care, Feeding and Native Habitat Information
Bulldog Pleco (L187b) (Chaestostoma thomasi) originate from the streams, river tributaries and floodplains of northern South America and the Amazon. They are widely collected for the aquarium hobby as they are easy to care for and have an attractive pattern and coloration. They are sold under a variety of common names including: Thomasi Pleco, Striped Bulldog Pleco, Rubber Pleco, Rubbernose Pleco, Rubber Lip Pleco and L187b Pleco. Bulldog Pleco reach a modest size of about 6 inches in length and generally exhibit a docile personality. Both of these traits make them ideally suited for tropical planted aquariums and community aquariums. Bulldog Pleco are adept at blending in with their environment and are often rarely seen in well planted aquarium environments. Many hobbyists will keep a group of 3 or more in order to have a better chance to view them as they move about the aquarium scavenging for decaying plant matter and excess foodstuffs.
Bulldog Pleco (L187b) (Chaestostoma thomasi) are generally collected from higher elevation mountain streams that populate the northern portion of South America. Their natural environment is one of fast flowing streams containing highly oxygenated water and lush plant vegetation. While strong water currents are not essential for their well being, they have evolved to need high levels of dissolved oxygen. Hobbyists will need to ensure that plenty of dissolved oxygen is introduced into the water either via a powerhead or wet/dry trickle filter. Their native environment is also very low in dissolved nutrients as they live in streams with a large volume of water moving through. Housing Bulldog Pleco in planted aquariums with supplemental water movement via a powerhead or spray bar return works best; however, they will also do well in non-planted community aquariums provided quality filtration via a canister or wet/dry filter is provided. Hobbyists should test the water for any buildup in nitrates (greater than 80 ppm) and perform partial water changes in order to lower nitrate levels. The Bulldog Pleco will coexist with similarly sized Pleco species and others of their own kind, but they will jockey for territory within the aquarium until they settle down in a particular area within the tank. However, once they are established they are generally peaceful and tolerant of a variety of tank mates.
The Bulldog Pleco will readily consume algae from wood, rocks, plants, aquarium substrate and walls along with decaying plant and meaty matter found on the substrate. This species is also more likely than many Pleco species to include more plant matter in their diet, especially plants with large leaves. Ideally the Bulldog Pleco should be offered a wide range of vegetable based foods consisting of high quality algae wafers and sinking pellets designed for Plecos. Overall Bulldog Pleco are not picky eaters and will happily consume a wide variety of plant material and excess meaty foods. When housed in planted aquariums they will generally find all the food they need between plant matter and excess foods from feeding the other fish. When kept in aquariums with no live plants it is recommended that a supplemental sinking plant wafer or blanched fresh vegetables are fed a couple of times per week.