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Green Phantom Pleco (L200)

(Hemiancistrus subviridis)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 7"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 71-80° F, pH 6.0-7.0, KH 2-12
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: South America, Rio Orinoco   • Family: Loricariidae
• Species: Plecos   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Green Phantom Pleco (L200) native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

It was a great day for freshwater aquarium hobbyists when back in the mid 1990s a beautiful new Pleco species that we now know as the Green Phantom Pleco (L200) was first discovered in the fast flowing rivers of the Upper Rio Orinoco in Venezuela South America. The Green Phantom Pleco (L200) is one of those breeds that lives up to its cool common name with a distinctive olive green body coloration, accented with yellowish fins and creamy golden spots.

The Green Phantom Pleco (L200) is found in the Upper Orinoco and Ventauri areas of the Rio Orinoco river in Venezuela. The rocky mountainous streams and tributaries that feed into the their Rio Orinoco habitat are known for their fast flowing currents, high levels of dissolved oxygen and clear, cool, clean (low nutrient) waters. The larger Rio Orinoco river habitat where Green Phantom Pleco are collected generally have either a clearwater or mildly blackwater profile, with warm flowing water and neutral to slightly acidic pH, with water temperatures around 78°F to 88°F.

You might notice the similarity between the Green Phantom Pleco (L200) and the Blue Phantom Pleco (L128) and this is for good reason. Both species live in the same river system with the Green Phantom Pleco living in the more northern portions of the river and the Blue Phantom Pleco living in the wider, more rocky downstream areas of the Orinoco River. The coloration differences between the fish reflect the specific habitats within the Orinoco River system in which they inhabit. In fact, there are specimens that are found living in between the different river habitats that have modified colorations of both the Green and Blue Phantom Plecos.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Green Phantom Pleco (L200) in the home aquarium.

Green Phantom Pleco (L200) (Hemiancistrus subviridis) adapt well to aquarium life, provided the hobbyist provides a few key items to make them feel at home. Essentials for keeping the Green Phantom and other fancy ancistrin pleco include: clean water, some rock or wood structures, well oxygenated water and ideally some extra water flow provided by a powerhead or strong circulation pump.

As is common with most river fish, the Green Phantom Pleco (L200) is used to clean, well filtered water. Rivers tend to have large amounts of water flowing through them, often from mountain snow melt or underground springs, that keeps the water clean and free of built up organics and detritus. Hobbyists will want to have strong biological and mechanical filtration, along with good waterflow to keep the substrate free of built up organics and to provide well oxyginated water.

Aquarium decor should ideally provide the Pleco with an environment that mimics or at least has elements of their native habitat. Substrate should consist of sand, gravel or a mix, with lots of rounded stones and boulders that provide both vertical rock faces and plenty of cracks and crevices for the Pleco to move in and out of. The addition of sunken driftwood or bogwood mixed into the rockwork or laying on the substrate will also be very popular with all fancy Pleoc, the Green Phantom Pleco (L200) included. Lastly, if possible use a powerhead or strong circulation pump return to provide stronger waterflow just over the top of the caves and crevices of the rockwork where the Pleco will spend most of their time.

Green Phantom Pleco do great with a variety of tank mates ranging from peaceful community fish all the way to larger semi-aggressive Cichlid species. Typically and community fish that can accept increased waterflow in the aquarium will work well with Green Phantom Pleco. Adult specimens can even thrive in larger Cichlid aquariums as long as they are kept with moderate sized, semi-aggressive species like: Jack Dempsey, Parrot Cichlid, Acara, Oscar and other Cichlids of similar sizes and temperaments. Green Phantom Pleco (L200) are territorial and will compete with other Pleco species for territory within the aquarium, especially when mature. Try to provide more caves, rock crevices and submerged wood areas than their are Pleco in order to give each specimen multiple areas to rest and call home.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Green Phantom Pleco (L200) and provide a healthy diet.

In their natural river habitat the Green Phantom Pleco feeds both on algae and the small crustaceans & worms that live on the algae. They will also consume leftovers foods that make it to the aquarium substrate along with any decaying plant material. In the aquarium environment they of course will feed on algae and will readily adapt to commercial aquarium foods like sinking pellets and wafers that are designed for bottom feeders.

Green Phantom Plecos especially enjoy meaty foods like bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp; as well as, blanched vegetables like spinach and other greens. Hobbyists should provide direct feeding in the form of sinking bottom feeder foods 2 to 3 times per week, which combined with leftover foods that the Pleco will scavenge from the substrate should be sufficient. When kept with larger more messy feeders like large Cichlids, the Green Phantom Pleco may not need as many direct feedings, as they will have ample opportunities for scavenging leftovers.

As always it is recommended to monitor the overall girth and appearance of your fish and make decisions on feeding frequency based on visual cues like stomach girth and overall fish health.

Breeding Information

How to successfully breed Green Phantom Pleco (L200) in the aquarium environment.

The L200 Green Phantom Pleco is a classic cave spawner, where the male will entice a female into his cave and then attempt to keep her there until she spawns. It is at this point that the female will be released from the cave and the male will guard the clutch of usually 30 to 45 eggs until they hatch. The eggs generally hatch in 3-4 days and will stay within the cave for the next 10 days or so while they absorb their yolk sac. It is at this time that they will begin to venture out from their cave in search of food.

Depending on the maturity and make up of the breeding aquarium, hobbyists will most likely need to begin feeding the fry after 10 days. While there should be grazing oppotunities in the form or algae and micro-organisms, fry should be fed crushed flake, blood worms, algae wafers and blanched vegetables like zucchini and squash. Basically they will feed on the same foods that the adult Pleco feed on.

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