Thursday, January 11, 2007

L25 Scarlet Cactus Pleco Profile

Scientific Name : Pseudacanthicus sp. L25
Family : Loricariidae
Common Name : Scarlet Cactus Pleco
Maximum Length : 45cm / 17"
Origin : Rio Xingu, Brazil (A red body variant coming from Sao Felix) - A black water river
pH Level : 6.0 - 7.4
Things to note: Aeration and pH are the most important factors in keeping L25. The flow rate of the powerhead is not important. Note that young fish are extremely sensitive to ammonia and nitrite, and overfiltration is always recommended. Also, pseudas are known for their boisterous nature. Be sure to cover the top of your tank, or leave some gap between the water level and the top of the tank.

Personal comments : L25 pleco is the most sought after pleco in Asia that is easily available, possibly only being eclipsed by the ubiquitious L46 Zebra for fame. As a pseuda species, it is a joy to watch these fish "hunt" for food: they glide over the substrate gracefully yet forcefully. The main attraction of course is the striking colour combination of red fins against a black body; 7-pointer red variants are the most sought after as well as expensive plecos around. With eyes that shine a dull yellow, they carry a sinister look that a Hypan species can never portray. It is highy territorial and aggressive to other plecos of the same size, and with its sharp teeth and body spikes, it normally gets its way. Look towards the June 2006 4" L25 batch from Joy and Fish Haven for an understanding of true L25 quality: 7 pointer with full tail red, and very long lyretail.

Tips : Keep the L25 in a tank with black Oyama, where its body will become darker. Coupled with a red light tube to accentuate the red colour of its fins, it becomes an awesome display fish immediately.

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. (from net - my L25s are well below breeding size)

Feeding : Carnivore but not a predator. Favours prawns 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 pellets and wafers.

Behavior in captivity : L25s are mostly 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.

No comments: