Pseudacanthicus sp. L025 (Scarlet pleco)

Carrie, a 30 cm female L25. Click on the images to see the high resolution pictures. Photos by G.J. Reclos /MCH - January 2006

Photos of a 30 cm female L25 named "Treasure Island" by Marina Parhas

Photos of Tamerlan, a 30 cm male L25 at the petshop (top) and on his way to Marina's tank (bottom)

Two giants awaiting their transfer to their final quarters. Tamerlan (left)  and a 30 cm+ male Scobiancistrus aureatus (right) sharing the same tank. Despite the addition of a piece of bogwood in the middle the two fish stayed there ready to make their move if the other guy made his. Photo by Marina Parha


Profile - by Marina Parha

Species Pseudacanthicus sp. L25
Common name Scarlet Pleco
Family Loricariidae
Adult length (in cm) 45 cm
Origin Rio Xingu, Brazil
Water parameters water as they produce a large amount of organic waste. The flow of water is not as important, the fish will be quite happy with a relatively low flow however take care to ensure there is plenty of oxygen. The water should be soft (preferably). Note that young fish are extremely sensitive to ammonia and nitrite.  
Sexual dimporphism / reproduction The odontal growth on the first pectoral ray of the males is considerably denser than this of the females. As the fish grow the males become longer and more slender by comparison to the shorter and chubbier females. There have been some references to reproduction  in aquaria, though not fully documented. The fish is considered to be a cave spawner.
Feeding Carnivore but not a predator. Favours prawns, cockle and mussel as well as small pieces of fish. Provide some vegetables for a balanced diet. When it gets used to the aquarium it will also eat tablet food. Fresh or frozen food is a must to keep this fish happy. 
Behavior in captivity

L25s are shy and introverted fish and require low lighting or darkness and a cave they can call their own. Despite their size (they are giants!) they are not aggressive towards other bottom dwellers and will happily let them share their space. Yet, they are particularly aggressive and territorial towards conspecifics. Should there be a challenge expect to see violent fights and bullying until the hierarchy is established. Due to their size and strength fights may have detrimental outcomes. Provide clearly separated spaces for them in the tank and ensure each stays there by minimising the need for them to look for food outside their space. Given time they will get used to each others presence and learn to live harmoniously.

L25s will adapt easier to the aquarium if introduced at a young age. Give them time to get used to their new home. Prepare a space for their own exclusive use (preferably near a water outlet or an airpump). The fish are not particularly active outside feeding times, they prefer to stay in their cave, especially during daytime.

Personal comments / MCH:

Pseudacanthicus sp. (L025); common name "Scarlet pleco" is one of those species that you just fall in love with. It doesn't matter what you keep, being it cichlids, livebearers or arowanas, you just need to add this beauty in your tank. Of course it grows large (over 45 cm) it is really territorial and aggressive and - take my word for it - messy. It is also a heavy eater and a fish that won't show up when you want to show it to your friends. Yes, it is all that but it is also a beauty. Quite recently, a good friend of mine asked me what I would like to get in return for a fishy favor I did him. My answer was an L025 but not a tiny one, a fish about 12 cm would be nice to get. He told me that he would get me one. I know that this fish doesn't come by the dozen so I almost forgot about it. At the beginning of December he called me back to tell me that there was a Christmas present for me but, unfortunately, he didn't find a fish sized at 10-12 cm. Oh my God, I thought to myself, here we go again.. patience and a lot of time to grow it. "I found one but it is really large, about a foot long" he said. I almost dropped the phone. "A foot long?" I asked him. He told me that it was a wild caught specimen and this was the only one available. Well, although one has to see in order to believe, I felt a bit embarrassed since this was too much for the small favor I did him. When he came home with the fish in the beg, I realized that he was really accurate. The fish was at least 30 cm in length and quite a few cm wide. And it was a marvelous fish, as expected.

I placed it in an 100 liter tank of its own in order to get acclimatized and relax from the long trip. Didn't feed it at all for the first day to make sure that he wouldn't pollute the water in any way - little did I know that when a fish like that is hungry, it will simply search for food, anywhere. In the morning before leaving for work, I went in the fish room to check it was Ok. Well, you can imagine my surprise when I didn't find it. I checked the whole tank with a torch, even on the floor, behind the tank, under the stand, everywhere. I didn't even want to think what to tell my friend... losing such a specimen in 24 hours should set a new record. As I was turning away to leave the fish room I saw a giant shadow in another tank.. housing some tiny Ptychochromis sp. mangarahara. There it was, almost smiling at me. Sitting on the front glass (inside the tank) in all its glory. It was hungry and decided to make a tour of the fish room. I was lucky to have the tanks touching each other, because if there was a gap, the fish would be dead. This is something I learned. Always cover the tank when you have this kind of fish.  Without a second thought, I netter it (boy how nervous it got and how much power it had.. ) and transferred it to the 700 L Paretroplus maculatus tank.

The good news is that he ate the remainders of the food in the tank he spent his night without harming the Ptychos. The better news was that he settled in his new tank very comfortably, like a true king. He found his favorite spot, under a bogwood, enlarged it, threw out the previous owner and stayed there the whole day. The best news is that his colors have intensified significantly, so, what we (very rarely) see now is far more colorful than what you see in the photos. The fish will not come out during the light period except for very short walks shortly before the lights come out. Quite rarely, you may see it next to the front glass but will quickly move away if you approach the tank. He has grown a bit - even though I know it is hard to believe this.

Since this tank has an oversized filtration system I am not afraid to feed it properly, which means a lot of food. Quite frankly, it eats more than the 6 cichlids together and, if the food is not enough, you can easily tell next morning, when you see half the bogwood in the tank free of algae. Yes, it will also graze the algae although you can't expect this fish to live on this alone (it is an omnivore). I wait till the lights are turned off by the timer and still one more hour. Then I feed it with Sera Catfish chips, Sera Wels chips and O.S.I. shrimp pellets. Frozen mussels are offered every three days. Was seen to graze on the algae, consuming great amounts of it, although it prefers other kind of foods.

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