Fast facts on Gold Nugget Pleco
Biotope: Amazon Basin (South America) to my knowledge only found at Rio Xingω. From a taxonomic point of view Gold Nuggets are still waiting for a "correct" classification. According to Dr. David Sands (which I E-mailed on this matter) they are somewhere between Parancistrus / Pseudancistrus and Hemiancistrus. They're identified by L-number L-85.
Tank: Actual size is not that important provided that each speciment has 0.3-0.5 square meters of territory. I'm keeping mine in a 360 lt tank (about 100 US gals). Give them plenty of hiding places and a subdued light (I'm on my way to try a "blue actinic" lamp)
Water chemistry: Must admit I keep mine (4 wild caught individuals) in alkaline water (refer to Lake Malawi to figure out water chemistry) even though, most probably this is not the best environment for this species.
Spawning: Very difficult. The only report I have found is in the book "Loriicaridae: The trick of the trade" by Larry Vines, containing among others suggestions to attemp to spawn these beatiful catfishes
Food: Despite the fact that those fishes are believed to be vegetarians they DO need animal matter in their diet. Feed them sinking tablets and other meat "stuff" - they will like it!
Tank Mates: I keep mine with cichlids (Malawians) and they do well but this is NOT an environment suitable for spawning them (I should perhpas try it in a species specific tank). Other companions could possibly be characins, poecilids, dwarf cichlids, callichtids (corydoras) but I have no direct experience with any of the afore mentioned genera.
L-Number: The taxonomy of those fishes is far more complex (unbelievable as it seems) than that of cichlids! There is an awful lot of newly discovered species, usually by "local" collectors and / or traders with little, if any, idea about the real point of collection. To avoid a greater confusion and more errors a decision has been taken to tag each fish (genus / species) by means of an increasing number. L stays for loricariids hence L-number.
Oddities: I know this is not a great pic but you should keep in mind that this fish is a shy, secretive animal and taking pics of it is anything but easy.
See next page for some magnificent photos of this species