Orange Spot Pleco (Panaqolus Albomaculatus – LDA031)
Panaqolus Albomaculatus is also known as “The Orange Spot Pleco” which is a member of the Loricariidae family. The natural habitat of this fish is in South America. It is found mainly in the rivers of the Upper Amazons, Ecuador, and Peru. This fish, whose natural environment is usually rivers, prefers to live around rock formations and driftwoods. It can live up to 12 years under proper conditions.
The skin of Panaqolus Albomaculatus is in dark brown and black tones. There are small colored spots on the skin. These spots are orange, mustard or saffron in color and are the distinguishing feature of the fish. The sizes of these spots may differ depending on the collected location. Its body expands from the head towards the middle of the body and then narrows towards the tail. They have rounded pectoral and anal fins and their caudal fin is slightly long. An adult male can reach about 12 cm tall.
Behavior and Compatibility
From a simple point of view, Panaqolus Albomaculatus is peaceful towards its kind and other species if conditions are right. Males show regional protection against each other. For this reason, it is healthier to keep a single male in each aquarium. But, if the tank size is large enough to provide males enough space to have their own territory and hiding places, more males can live together.
They can live in harmony with other species in aquariums that are large enough and where the necessary conditions are ensured. At this point, they need to have sufficient hiding places and swimming areas. It is not suitable to keep Panaqolus Albomaculatus with other kinds of bottom-dwellers if there is a shortage of free bottom area. In these cases, regional protection instincts increase and during the fights, there may be some injuries.
Temperature: 24-30 ° C
pH: 6,3 – 7,0
Hardness: 5-20 dGH
According to some sources, the pH range that it can tolerate is 6-7.5, and the water temperature is 20-33 degrees. The above information shows the most optimal conditions. Soft and slightly acidic waters are suitable for healthy growth and living.
Proper Tank Conditions
If a single fish is to be kept, an aquarium of 100 liters or larger with free swimming areas is recommended. If 2 fish are to be grown, an aquarium of 150 liters or larger will be suitable. The required aquarium sizes are slightly larger for keeping this fish. The reason for it is both the regional protection in the narrow area and the body size of the fish.
Well-established aquariums decorated with algae and biofilm-covered driftwoods are essential for their healthy growth. On the other hand, a well-aerated aquarium with proper levels of dissolved oxygen is necessary for them. They also require a powerful filtration system.
As mentioned above, if there is enough space in the tank, it can live in harmony with other species. However, it is known that they are preying on dwarf shrimp juveniles. Therefore, they should not be in the same tank environment. Since it is also known that there are regional problems with other bottom-dwellers, if the aquarium is not large enough, keeping with other species should not be preferred.
This fish is nocturnal, so it does not appear in the middle of the daytime. For this reason, it needs a large number of hiding areas in the aquarium. Due to its natural life, its favorite hiding places are caves inside the rocks. Make sure that there is enough hiding space for the fish in the aquarium with rocks, plants or other decorations.
Since it is a fish that usually swim at the bottom, bacteria or fungi that may grow on the bottom of the aquarium can cause health problems. For this reason, the aquarium substrate needs to be vacuumed regularly. In the case of any symptom of disease, the sick fish should be isolated and treated quickly with the proper medications.
Since it is an omnivore fish, it has a wide range of food options. But, they mostly like to feed on algae. So, it is recommended to have rocks or decorations in the aquarium that will ensure the algae population. Algae can also be grown in a separate tank and used as food to prevent problems caused by algae in the main tank.
They also eat live or frozen food such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, or white worms. There is an interesting point about these fish. Panaqolus Albomaculatus has a big mouth and tiny teeth inside the mouth. They are complete wood-eaters with these teeth. They feed on the micro-organisms by grazing on the wood. For this reason, it is good for them to have decorative wood (bogwood or driftwood) in the aquarium. They can also be fed vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and zucchini.
Unfortunately, there is not enough information about the breeding of these fish in the aquarium. One of the known points is that these fish, which are usually alone, begin to socialize with each other and exhibit social behavior only during the breeding phase. Another point is that after spawning is over, the female leaves the nest. Afterward, the male assumes the parental role alone as the ancistrus species do. Juveniles are between 2.5-5 cm in size when they first left the cave.
The difficulty of breeding this fish compared to other pleco species has attracted the attention of expert aquarists. According to some sources, adult fish, a large tank, increasing the water flow, and lowering the water temperature are the triggers for breeding.
This fish is often recommended for well-established tanks and well-experienced aquarists. Beginner aquarists should not prefer this fish. The need for large tank sizes will increase the difficulty of aquarium maintenance. When the most critical point, the necessary space is provided, it will add color and viewing pleasure to the aquarium with its spotted appearance and body shape.