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Blue Panaque Pleco (L-239)
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(Baryancistrus beggini) Moderate Peaceful 4" 30 gallons 75-82° F, KH 6-12, pH 6.5-7.5 Omnivore Venezuela, Colombia, Orinoco River Loricariidae Plecos Community 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. 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. 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.
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Super Red Bushy Nose Pleco
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(Ancistrus sp.) Easy Peaceful 4" 30 gallons 74-80° F, KH 6-10, pH 6.0-7.5 Omnivore Farm bred, South America, Amazon Loricariidae Plecos Community The Super Red Bushy Nose Pleco (Ancistrus sp.) is produced from selective breeding of the naturally occurring red color variant of the Bush Nose Pleco. Through selective line breeding of Bushy Nose Pleco that exhibited more red coloration than brown, the Super Red variant was developed. While the Super Red variant is the product of fish breeders and fish farms, the species originates from the smaller river tributaries and backwaters of northern and central portions of South America. Where their natural coloration of pale yellow or white color pattern helps them blend in with the sand and rock substrate of the streams which they inhabit. The shallow mountain streams of their native habitat typically contain sandy rock strewn substrates along with submerged tree roots. The water is generally well oxygenated with only filtered sunlight making it through the jungle canopy above. It is in these lower light conditions that the Bushy Nose Pleco thrives in as it uses it whisker like appendages to detect food along the rocky substrate. Their ability to detect food in low visibility conditions combined with their ability to blend into their environment has made Bushy Nose Pleco a very successful and abundant species. The flexibility and adaptability of the species makes them well suited for aquariums ranging from river habitat to planted community aquariums. The wide distribution and often shallow water ways in which the Bushy Nose Pleco live have allowed it to thrive in a wide variety of water conditions. This is beneficial in the aquarium hobby, as they should be able to adapt to a fairly wide range of aquarium conditions once properly acclimated. Super Red Bushy Nose Pleco will appreciate aquarium conditions which are at least similar to their natural habitat, but can adapt to a variety of aquarium conditions. The ideal conditions for this species include: well oxygenated water, areas of filtered lighting, some vegetation, tree root or driftwood and some large smooth rocks. They are well suited for both river habitat, planted and tropical community aquarium environments of at least 30 gallons or more. Under these or fairly similar conditions, hobbyists should expect their Super Red Bushy Nose Pleco have live for around 10 years. 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. It is recommended that hobbyists utilize a drip acclimation process for this species and allow them to acclimate for about 30 minutes. It is also best to shut off the aquarium lights when adding the Bushy Nose Pleco to the aquarium and leaving the lights off for about 30 minutes after. In their natural stream habitat the Bushy Nose Pleco feed 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. They will also consume leftovers foods that make it to the aquarium substrate along with any decaying plant material. Super Red Bushy Nose Plecos will 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. 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.
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Demini Leopard Cactus Plecostomus (L-114)
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(Pseudacanthicus cf. leopardus) Easy Peaceful 12" 70 gallons 74-82° F, KH 8-10, pH 6.5-7.0 Omnivore South America, Brazil Loricariidae Plecos Community The Demini Leopard Cactus Plecostomus (L-114) is found within the aquarium trade under a few different common names including: Demini Leopard Cactus Pleco, Leopard Pleco, Cactus Pleco or simply L-114 Pleco. This species is imported from South America where it is found living in river and stream habitats. They are also bred now in captivity, with more and more of the species within the aquarium trade coming from breeders instead of wild collection. Demini Leopard Cactus Plecos have become popular within the aquarium trade due to their interesting looking appearance and compatibility with a range of tank mates from community fish to larger aggressive Cichlids. However, just like many other larger pleco species, they are relatively peaceful when provided enough room to stake out a territory, but they will become defensive if they feel their territory is intruded upon by another Pleco or similarly shaped fish species. In general they should only be kept with others of their own kind if there is enough space within the aquarium for each of them to carve out their own territory. When aquascaping an aquarium to accommodate a larger Pleco, it is best to replicate their natural surroundings as best one can. Given that Demini Leopard Cactus Plecos come from briskly flowing rivers and tributaries of South America, hobbyists should provide them with an abundance of clean well oxygenated water flow, large amounts of submerged drift wood and root structures and fairly dense areas of vegetation. An ideal aquarium setup would replicate all aspects of their natural river habitat, but it is only truly necessary to provide them with some key aspects of their wild habitat. It is important to provide plenty of submerged driftwood and root structures, some areas of the aquarium shaded by vegetation or rock formations and clean well filtered water with at least moderate water flow. Large Plecostomus produce large amounts of biological waste products, which means that it is very important to have very good mechanical and biological filtration to effectively process this waste. Pleco's prefer to have areas of the aquarium where they can retreat from the bright aquarium lights; as well as, areas like rocky caves where they can hide when startled. They do well with most any community or semi-aggressive fish species and can even tolerate some of the more aggressive Cichlid species. Their larger size makes them somewhat destructive to less hardy plants, so it is recommended to keep them with large, sturdy and hardy plant species that can handle the bulk of the Pleco hanging on it or brushing up against it. Lastly, they attain a relatively large size and will need plenty of room to move about the aquarium, this means that a minimum of a 70 gallon aquarium should be used to keep an adult specimen. Aquariums of 120 gallons or more (24 inches from front to back) are even more suitable as they provide a better layout for the long body of the Pleco to move about. Being an omnivore, they should be fed a diet consisting of both meaty foods and vegetable or plant matter. They will readily consume all manner of commercial foods designed for substrate feeding carnivores and omnivores like sinking pellets or wafers. They will also aggressively feed on the leftover foods fed to other fish that make it to the aquarium substrate. Good meaty foods include: commercial pellet or frozen foods, chopped shrimp, prawns or krill. They will also need to be offered blanched or parboiled vegetables like romaine or green leaf lettuce, cucumber, zucchini or peas. It is best to determine feeding frequency by monitoring the overall girth and health of the fish. Direct feeding can be adjusted based on the amount of scavenging opportunities the Pleco has within the aquarium. Be sure to offer vegetable matter at least once or twice a week. This species is bred in aquaria, both at the fish farm level and hobby level aquarist. Adult specimens are easy to sex, as the male posses a considerably broader head and more extensive odontode development as compared to the female. They reach sexual maturity at around 8 inches in length, with males showing interest in females around this time. They are cave spawners, thus they will should be provided with multiple cave spawning locations within the aquarium in order to facilitate spawning. The male will choose the cave and entice the female to the chosen location, where she will deposit her eggs. The male will then take over the responsibility of guarding the brood.
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Royal Pleco
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(Panaque nigrolineatus) Easy Peaceful 16" 125 gallons 74-82° F, KH 6-10, pH 6.5-7.5 Omnivore South America, Amazon Loricariidae Large Plecos Large-Bottom-Dweller The Royal Plecostomus "Royal Pleco" is a very popular large species of Pleco that has been a hobbyist favorite for a long time due to its unique striped pattern and attractive coloration. The Royal Pleco also exhibits an interesting body type that features a bulky top heavy appearance. While they appear stubby due to their large bulky looks, they actually attain sizes upwards of 16 inches in length within the aquarium environment. Their body shape and color pattern is a direct result of the environment in which they live in the wild. The fast flowing streams and rivers of their South American origins have dictated that they have a body shape that allows the quickly flowing river waters to pass over them while they feed on submerged drift wood and plant matter. However, for aquarium hobbyists the unique body shape and overall appearance of the Royal Pleco make for a solid contrast from many of the other Pleco species commonly available within the hobby. Royal Pleco's have a peaceful demeanor and can make excellent additions to any large freshwater community aquarium or semi-aggressive New World Cichlid aquarium. Due to their large size, they may not be suitable for community aquariums with intricate aqua-scaping or densely planted tanks that do not have adequate room for a fish that reaches the large size of the Royal Pleco. When aquascaping an aquarium to accommodate a Royal Pleco, it is best to replicate their natural surroundings as best one can. Royal Pleco's come from briskly flowing rivers and tributaries of South America, which provides them with an abundance of clean well oxygenated water flow, large amounts of submerged drift wood and root structures and fairly dense areas of vegetation. An ideal aquarium setup would replicate all aspects of the Royal Pleco's natural river habitat, but it is only truly necessary to provide them with some key aspects of their wild habitat. It is important to provide plenty of submerged driftwood and root structures, some areas of the aquarium shaded by vegetation or rock formations and clean well filtered water with at least moderate water flow. Large Plecostomus produce large amounts of biological waste products, which means that it is very important to have very good mechanical and biological filtration to effectively process this waste. Pleco's prefer to have areas of the aquarium where they can retreat from the bright aquarium lights; as well as, areas like rocky caves where they can hide when startled. They do well with most any community or semi-aggressive fish species and can even tolerate some of the more aggressive Cichlid species. Their large size makes them somewhat destructive to less hardy plants, so it is recommended to keep them with large, sturdy and hardy plant species that can handle the bulk of the Pleco hanging on it or brushing up against it. Lastly, the Royal Pleco attains a relatively large size and will need plenty of room to move about the aquarium, this means that a minimum of a 125 gallon aquarium should be used to keep an adult specimen. Aquariums of 180 gallons or more (24 inches from front to back) are even more suitable as they provide a better layout for the long body of the Royal Pleco to move about. Royal plecos and others of the Panaque species have evolved to feed on submerged wood and the various organisms and detritus that are found living on the wood. Their teeth are shaped to cut or shave off thin pieces of wood, which is then consumed. It is important to note that the Royal Pleco will not simply flourish by eating wood alone, but instead needs the nutrition provided by the fungus, algae and various organisms found living on submerged wood in the wild. Thus plenty of submerged wood needs to be provided; however, will also need their diet supplemented with other foods as well. Royal plecos will eat algae-based foods such as wafers and flakes but will also accept meatier foods in the form of pellets, tablets, wafers, frozen, and flakes. Offering a varied diet is one of the real keys to success over the long haul with royal plecos.
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Sailfin Pleco
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(Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps) Easy Peaceful 18" 125 gallons 74-80° F, KH 6-10, pH 6.5-7.4 Omnivore Amazon, South America Loricariidae Large Plecos Large-Bottom-Dweller Sailfin Plecos (Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps) are wide spread throughout the Amazon basins many rivers, tributaries and flood plains, where it can be found scavenging for food both on the river bottom and on and around the numerous submerged trees and logs. The Sailfin Pleco is truly a "monster" fish species that reaches a very impressive 18 inches in length as an adult. While this species is not a very active swimmer, it does still require a large aquarium to give it room to move about comfortably and to support the large amount of biological waste they create. With their larger size and thick "armor" scales on their back, the Sailfin Pleco makes a great addition to aquariums containing large aggressive fish species. Ideally the home aquarium should be setup to as closely mimic the natural conditions of the Amazonian streams and flood plains of the Sailfin Plecos native habitat. They will do well in a larger aquariums with a sandy or smooth gravel substrate, larger pieces of driftwood, large rocks and some hardy plants. They will also appreciate if some of the plants, wood or rocks are positioned to create a covered or shaded area within the aquarium so that they can escape the bright aquarium lights when needed. Sailfin Plecos will eat decaying plant matter and meaty foods, but are not harmful to live plants and fish that are alive and moving. However, their large adult size can be destructive to aquariums that are heavily planted as they may uproot or damage sensitive plants when the swim around. It is for this reason that the hobbyists should take the large size of this Pleco species into consideration when designing the aquascape for an aquarium housing this species. Sailfin Plecos are not aggressive towards other species, but will squabble with one another for territory and the best feeding spots. Overall the Sailfin Pleco is a very versatile species that is well suited for a range of aquariums ranging from tropical community tanks to aquariums housing large aggressive Cichlid species. Sailfin Plecos spend their time scavenging the substrate and aquarium walls for a variety of foodstuffs ranging from algae and detritus to vegetable and plant matter, and even leftover meaty foods. They are not picky eaters and will readily accept a large range of both plant based and meaty foods. Sailfin Plecos will also consume decaying wood, plants and even fish carcasses that are left in the aquarium. However, it is best they receive a balanced nutritional diet consisting of left over flake or pellet foods, naturally occurring algae or algae wafers, sinking carnivore pellets and other various flake, freeze-dried and pellet foods that are fed to other tank mates.
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Khris DeCapua
Zebra Pleco (L-46)
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(Hypancistrus zebra) Moderate Peaceful 4" 30 gallons 76-86° F, KH 2-15, pH 6.0-7.5 Carnivore Brazil, Rio Xingu Loricariidae Plecos Community The Zebra Pleco L-46 (Hypancistrus zebra) is a wonderfully patterned species of dwarf Pleco found in the Rio Xingu area of Brazil. The sharp contrasting lines of black and white both give this species their common name and make them stand out in the typical freshwater aquarium. Zebra Pleco are very popular not only for their attractive coloration, but also for their ease of care, peaceful temperament and acceptance of a wide variety of commercial fish foods. In fact unlike most Pleco species, the Zebra Pleco is a carnivore who prefers to feed on sinking pellets, flake foods and small worms. This makes them easy to care for as they consume the same foods as most other commonly kept tropical freshwater species. Hobbyists need not provide fresh vegetables, algae wafers or other similar foods. Currently the Zebra Pleco commands a high price tag, but their popularity ensures that they will continue to be imported in ever growing numbers and breeding programs will be attempted in order to supply the demand within the hobby and ultimately lower their cost. Due to the importation of large numbers of catfish from the Loricariidae family who are either taxonomically undescribed or partially described, a number system has been employed in order to identify the various species. Currently, L-numbers are used not only by fishkeeping hobbyists, but also by biologists, who have found them to be a useful temporary system until a new species of fish is given a full taxonomic name. This can often take some time as in some cases, two different L-numbered catfish have turned out to be different populations of the same species, while in other cases, multiple (but superficially similar) species have all been traded under a single L-number. As a result of this situation, hobbyists will often see catfish from the Loricariidae family referenced by their L-number only or in addition to a common name. The ideal aquarium environment for keeping Zebra Pleco will have plenty of areas within the aquarium that have diffused or lower lighting and peaceful tank mates. Zebra Pleco are nocturnal in nature, thus they move about and feed at night. They will adjust to aquarium life and feed during the daytime, but need to have plenty of low light or areas with diffused lighting in order to feel comfortable swimming and feeding during daytime hours. Hobbyists should provide plenty of areas within the aquarium where the decor limits or blocks the bright aquarium lights like rocky caves, large pieces of driftwood or tree root, tall plants with large leafs, floating plants or plants that grow over the surface and reduce the amount of light making to the bottom of the aquarium. Zebra Pleco are somewhat shy and will do best with tank mates that have a peaceful demeanor and moderate overall size. This is especially important with other substrate feeders, who will be in competition with the Zebra Pleco during feedings. Quality filtration via a canister, wet/dry or similar filtration setup is also important in order to maintain quality water conditions in the aquarium. As with most all species of fish that originate from river environments where the volume of water passing through keeps water quality conditions high, the Zebra Pleco is used to good water quality and low levels of dissolved nutrients. In contrast to most Pleco species the Zebra Pleco is primarily a carnivore, whose diet consists almost entirely of meaty foods that it scavenges from the river bed. While most Plecos will consume large amounts of plant matter and decaying wood material, the Zebra Pleco consumes meaty foods with a very small portion of their diet consisting of decaying plant matter. Hobbyists will need to provide the Zebra Pleco with foods like sinking carnivore pellets, bloodworms, chopped prawns or cockels and other similar meaty items. They will also scavenge for leftover foods that are fed to other fish, but make their way to the aquarium substrate.
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Laura
Albino Bushy Nose Pleco
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(Ancistrus sp.) Easy Peaceful 4" 30 gallons 74-82° F, KH 6-10, pH 6.0-7.5 Omnivore South America, Amazon Loricariidae Plecos Community Albino Bushy Nose Pleco (Ancistrus sp.) are naturally occurring color variants of the standard Bush Nose Pleco. They originate from the smaller river tributaries and backwaters of northern and central portions of South America. Their pale yellow or white color pattern helps them blend in with the sand and rock substrate of the streams which they inhabit. The shallow mountain streams in which they live typically contain sandy rock strewn substrates along with submerged tree roots. The water is generally well oxygenated with only filtered sunlight making it through the jungle canopy above. It is in these lower light conditions that the Albino Bushy Nose Pleco thrives in as it uses it whisker like appendages to detect food along the rocky substrate. Their ability to detect food in low visibility conditions combined with their ability to blend into their environment has made the Albino Bushy Nose Pleco a very successful and abundant species. The flexibility and adaptability of the Albino Bushy Nose Pleco makes them well suited for aquariums ranging from river habitat to planted community aquariums. The wide distribution and often shallow water ways in which the Albino Bushy Nose Pleco live have allowed it to thrive in a wide variety of water conditions. This is beneficial in the aquarium hobby, as they should be able to adapt to a fairly wide range of aquarium conditions once properly acclimated. Bushy Albino Nose Pleco will appreciate aquarium conditions which are similar to their natural habitat. These conditions include: well oxygenated water, areas of filtered lighting, some vegetation, tree root or driftwood and some large smooth rocks. They are well suited for both river habitat, planted and tropical community aquarium environments of at least 30 gallons or more. They can be kept with other Pleco species in larger aquariums that will allow for each conspecific to have their own territory within the aquarium. It is recommended that hobbyists utilize a drip acclimation process for this species and allow them to acclimate for about 30 minutes. It is also best to shut off the aquarium lights when adding the Bushy Nose Pleco to the aquarium and leaving the lights off for about 30 minutes after. In their natural stream habitat the Albino Bushy Nose 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. They will also consume leftovers foods that make it to the aquarium substrate along with any decaying plant material. Albino Bushy Nose Plecos will 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. 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.
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Bushy Nose Pleco
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(Ancistrus sp.) Easy Peaceful 4" 30 gallons 74-82° F, KH 6-10, pH 6.0-7.5 Omnivore South America, Amazon Loricariidae Plecos Community Bushy Nose Pleco (Ancistrus sp.) originate from the smaller river tributaries and backwaters of the Amazon and northern portions of South America. Their mottled color pattern helps them blend in with the leaf littered substrate of the jungle waters which they inhabit. The shallow blackwater streams in which they live typically contain leaf covered substrates and plenty of submerged tree root. The water is stained a darker color from the leaves, which combined with only filtered sunlight making it through the dense jungle canopy makes for low light conditions. It is in these lower light conditions that the Bushy Nose Pleco thrives as it uses it whisker like appendages to detect food in the dense river leaf litter. Their ability to detect food in low visibility conditions combined with their ability to blend into their environment has made the Bushy Nose Pleco a very successful and abundant species. The flexibility and adaptability of the Bushy Nose Pleco has caused them to spread over a large portion of South America. This in turn has led to a variety of color variants ranging from tan / orange to brown or black, depending on the exact region from which they are collected. The wide distribution and often shallow water ways in which the Bushy Nose Pleco live have allowed it to thrive in a wide variety of water conditions. This is beneficial in the aquarium hobby, as they should be able to adapt to a fairly wide range of aquarium conditions once properly acclimated. Bushy Nose Pleco will appreciate aquarium conditions which are similar to their natural habitat. These conditions include: well oxygenated water, areas of filtered lighting, some vegetation, tree root or driftwood and some large smooth rocks. They are well suited for both planted and tropical community aquarium environments of at least 30 gallons or more. They can be kept with other Pleco species in larger aquariums that will allow for each conspecific to have their own territory within the aquarium. It is recommended that hobbyists utilize a drip acclimation process for this species and allow them to acclimate for about 30 minutes. It is also best to shut off the aquarium lights when adding the Bushy Nose Pleco to the aquarium and leaving the lights off for about 30 minutes after. In their natural stream habitat the Bushy Nose 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. They will also consume leftovers foods that make it to the aquarium substrate along with any decaying plant material. Bushy Nose Plecos will 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. 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.
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Blue Phantom Pleco (L128)
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(Hemiancistrus sp.) Easy Peaceful 7" 30 gallons 72-78° F, pH 6.0-7.0, KH 2-12 Omnivore South America, Rio Orinoco Loricariidae Plecos Community The Blue Phantom Pleco, L128 (Hemiancistrus sp.) is found in the northern most portions of the Rio Orinoco river in Venezuela. The rocky mountainous streams and tributaries that feed into the northern Rio Orinoco are known for their fast flowing currents, high levels of dissolved oxygen and clean (low nutrient) and clear waters. As beautiful as their native river habitat is, the Blue Phantom Pleco is equally beautiful with its bluish / grey body and white spots. Specimens from the northern most areas of the Rio Orinoco valley tend to be the darkest in color, with specimens from further down river having an appreciably lighter body coloration. Many hobbyists consider the Blue Phantom one of the most attractive species of Loricariids available within the hobby, and anyone who has seen this Pleco species in person would agree that they have a strong argument. While the Blue Phantom Pleco is considered easy to care for, they do need to be acclimated slowly to new environments and fair much better in well established aquariums. Community aquariums with adequate aqua-scaping, planted aquariums and Amazon biotope aquariums will all make for a suitable home for this species. Blue Phantom Plecos do best in aquariums that replicate the conditions of their natural tropical stream habitat. These conditions include: sand or rounded pebble substrate, stable warm water temperatures, highly oxygenated water, live plants or tree root and moderate water currents. Blue Phantom Pleco do well in community aquariums, Amazon biotope setups and South American Cichlid aquariums containing smaller semi-aggressive Cichlid species. While a stream biotope aquarium setup is not required to keep this species, hobbyists should include elements like plants, driftwood, wood root, large smooth rocks and areas within the aquarium that are shaded or receive only filtered lighting. As with most all Pleco species, the Blue Phantom Pleco will appreciate some dark or shaded areas in which to seek refuge from the bright aquarium lights. They can be kept with other Pleco species in larger aquariums that will allow for each conspecific to have their own territory within the aquarium. This species is known for having some problems acclimating to new aquariums, but is hardy once settled in. It is recommended that hobbyists utilize a drip acclimation process for this species and allow them to acclimate for about 45 minutes. It is also best to shut off the aquarium lights when adding the Blue Phantom Pleco to the aquarium and leaving the lights off for about 30 minutes after. In their natural stream habitat the Blue Phantom 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. They will also consume leftovers foods that make it to the aquarium substrate along with any decaying plant material. Blue Phantom Plecos will 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. 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.
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Bulldog Pleco (L187b)
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(Chaetostoma thomasi) Easy Peaceful 6" 45 gallons 72-80° F, KH 6-10, pH 6.5-7.4 Omnivore South America, Amazon Loricariidae Plecos Community 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.
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