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Blue Panaque Pleco (L-239)
(Baryancistrus beggini)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Maximum Size: 4"
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Water Conditions: 75-82° F, KH 6-12, pH 6.5-7.5
Diet: Omnivore
Origin: Venezuela, Colombia, Orinoco River
Family: Loricariidae
Species: Plecos
Aquarium Type: Community
Species Information
The Blue Panaque Pleco (L-239) (Baryancistrus beggini) is found living in the fast flowing steams and river tributaries of the Orinoco River, where it works its way around the rocky bottoms and tree root lined banks foraging for small crustaceans, microorganims and algae. Their small 4" (10 cm) size and brilliant blue / gray coloration has made the L-239 a very popular Pleco species for many aquarium hobbyists.
They make a great addition to aquariums designed to replicate Amazonian river habitats or even in well aqua-scaped planted aquariums that maintain excellent water quality and utilize plenty of wood, root and areas of dense plants. Additionally, they require at least moderate water flow to keep the substrate free of built up decaying matter or detritus.
In nature this species prefers locations that have large numbers of smooth rocks and boulders. They will both forage on the algae and microorganisms living on the rocks, and will use the caves and crevices they create for shelter when they feel threatened.
Aquarium Care
While not suitable for the average community fish aquarium, that typically has lower water movement, some level of detritus build up on the substrate and often few pieces of wood and rock. While they do not require a full blown flowing river habitat like their native Orinoco River, they do require some of the key aspects of this environment in their aquarium habitat.
When keeping the L-239 Pleco in the home aquarium it is important to provide additional water flow in order to keep detritus from building up on the aquarium substrate. High quality water that is low in dissolved nutrients and maintains low nitrate levels is also critical for the long term health of this species.
The aquarium decor should provide plenty of wood, root and smooth rocks, along with proper lighting intensity and color temperature, in order to provide plenty of opportunities for the Blue Panaque Pleco to forage for microorganisms living on the surfaces of the wood and rock. Areas of the tank should have diffused lighting or areas shaded by wood or plants in order to provide the L-239 with places to retreat from the bright aquarium lighting.
Lastly, tank mates should consist of community fish species or more peaceful Cichlid species that won't bully or try to eat the moderately sized Blue Panaque Pleco. This species is not suitable for tanks with very large fish species like large Catfish, Peacock Bass, Oscars or other large predatory fish species.
They can be kept with other Pleco species in larger aquariums that will allow for each Pleco to have their own territory within the aquarium. Be sure to provide plenty of suitable territory in the form of submerged wood and rock piles, caves and crevices so that each Pleco specimen in the tank has multiple areas in which to hide without having to contest another Pleco for the cave or crevice.
Feeding & Nutrition
In their natural stream habitat the Blue Panaque Pleco feeds on a variety of small crustaceans, worms and decaying plant matter. They will readily adapt to commercial aquarium foods like sinking pellets and wafers that are designed for bottom feeders. Additionally, they will also consume leftover foods that make it to the aquarium substrate along with some decaying plant material. Although an omnivore, the Blue Panaque Pleco consumes more crustaceans, microorganisms and leftover meaty foods than it does plant matter or algae.
Ideally the Blue Panaque Pleco should be provided plenty of driftwood, wood root and rocky caves and crevices on which microorganisms can live, which will provide feeding opportunities for Pleco species. Even with a proper environment, the small size of an aquarium compared to their native river habitat will mean that hobbyists should provide direct feeding in the form of sinking bottom feeder foods 4 to 5 times per week. Direct feedings combined with leftover foods that the Pleco will scavenge from the substrate should be sufficient.
However, it is always 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. Blue Panaque Pleco are known to have a fast metabolism, thus will need more direct feedings than most Pleco kept within the aquarium hobby.
Additional Photos