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FAQs on Genus Panaque Catfishes

Related Articles: From Pan-ack-ay to Pan-ack-zee, A Detailed Look at the Bizarre But Beautiful Panaque Catfishes by Neale Monks, OtocinclusLoricariids

Related Catfish FAQs: Suckermouth Catfishes of South and Central America, Loricariids 2, & Loricariid Identification, Loricariid Behavior, Loricariid Compatibility, Loricariid Selection, Loricariid Systems, Loricariid Feeding, Loricariid Disease, Loricariid Reproduction, Catfish: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction Algae Eaters


Royal Pleco, L191 tank size, rate of growth, hardiness questions      6/19/14
While looking at the fish shop i found juvenile royal Plecos for around $30 each, they seem well fed there was food in the tank when I saw them, as well as wood. My questions are
Do these placos eat alage esspically hair alage I would most certainly give
cucumber and Pleco tabs.
<Panaque do eat some algae, mostly green algae and diatoms. Their impact on
red algae (such as hair and brush algae) is minimal. They don't eat
blue-green algae. Do understand that hair and brush algae are invariably an
issue only in tanks with some underlying problem. Usually, too many fish,
too little filtration, too few water changes, too few healthy plants, or
some combination of these. You almost never see serious hair algae in
balanced tanks with healthy plants, fish and filtration. Adding a fish to
"fix" a red algae problem virtually never works because adding additional
fish is going to add another level of stress to the aquarium system.>
Will they outgrow a 55 gallon community tank?
<Within a couple years, very likely; really, you want 75 US gallons or
Its all I have for now. How long will it take them to do so. Within a year
I may move to another place that could let me get a bigger tank however the
details are not set in stone yet. I do large water changes every two weeks
so i'm ready for any waste the Pleco makes.
<Panaque make solid waste on an industrial scale! They are heavy feeders on
vegetables (courgette, sweet potato, cucumber, etc) as well as wood and
algae wafers, and so produce a lot of faeces. Not particularly bad in terms
of water quality (plants are low protein, so compared to big predatory
fish, Panaque are quite clean) but unsightly.>
Do royal pleco's do okay in tanks with strong lighting, Would they need a
hiding spot to escape the light
i need the strong lighting to keep the plants healthy. Do royal Plecos eat plants.
<Yes! The only plants that survive intact with mine are floating plants.
Java Ferns and Anubias get somewhat shredded, while more delicate plants basically get eaten and/or uprooted.>
Right now I have two pairs of cichlids, Keyhole and Bolivain rams a school
of red eye tetras and 2 bumblebee cats. To help the bio load I would take
out the rams and add the juvanile Pleco in its place. I might add another
filter too any subjestions?
<You certainly want a big filter, 8-10 times the volume of the tank in
terms of turnover per hour.>
Right now I have a power filter and 2 large sponge filters
<Do read:
Panaque are my favourite catfish, and I've had mine for something close to 20 years. They are extremely hardy once settled and not fussy about food or water chemistry. They get along with virtually everything from Neons to Snakeheads; although completely peaceful (except to themselves and other Plecs) they retaliate big time to any sort of aggression directed at them, so most fish learn quickly to leave them alone. In short, outstanding fish, but not suited to planted communities. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Plecos/ and new tank. Do over, over      2/5/14
Hi Bob I was looking at possibly writing a story-fictional- but with facts
on the blue eyed Pleco, rivers where they are found in cloumbia/ south
if you were the first to try and spawn/breed these wonderful but
challenging plecos what kind of setup/ tank size would you use/water
premeters/ect would you have. ect.
<... no such word. Please run your msg. through a grammar, spell-checker
and return

For the book/ story-  any info on the dangers of entering the country
illegally/ cloumbian dangers in gen/passsport/fish collection permit
if there are any)  ( adds adventure and realism to the story) Blue eyed
Pleco history,facts ect would also be greatly appreated.
As for my L204 hes doing really well, eating algae and wood,still doesnt
touch the algae waffers,tried once last night but removed them after a few
hours, but i can tell he's grazing.
Fix your English and re-send      2/5/14

Subject: Blue eyed pleco/ cloumbia info needed.
I recently sent a peace of writing to bob finner about information about
blue eyed pleco breeding/spawning/ tank set up. water condictions, and
about where they are from, cloumbia/country info/dagers of going there
/ect. For a fictional adventure story about cloumbia/blue eyed plecos.
Sorry my writing was too hard to read/understand. ,
Re: Blue eyed Pleco/ Columbia info needed.    2/8/14

Blue eyed Plecos, How would you if given enough time/money/space breed them for retail sale- i know its never been done before- I personally don't have the means -but i need that info for the story and for quite possibly anyone who comes on WetWebMedia with a lot of cash that wishes to do it for real.
My L204 is doing really good, my staff overfed the fish because I was overwhelmed with things (wont let it happen again- did a small water change for plant water and topped up the tank  ( i keep houseplants)) but the Pleco took advantage and cleaned up the flakes.
L27- Royal Pleco I was wondering how big a tank would I need to grow it full size? I'm thinking of volunteering at my local fish shop on weekends/got to get approval first.
<Breeding Blue-Eyed Plecs (Panaque cochliodon) will almost certainly be similar to that of other Panaque species, such as the little Clown Plec, Panaque maccus, as described here at Planet Catfish:
The problem with the larger Panaque species is that they are territorial (like the smaller species) but their large size means keeping them together is more difficult. Taking the Royal Panaque (Panaque nigrolineatus) as an example, there are occasional stories of one specimen damaging or even killing another when two adults have been kept together. Others have kept them in larger groups though, and as with other fish, it probably makes a big difference how many you keep, how young they are when introduced to each other, how plentiful hiding places are, and how large the aquarium is.
If it was me, I'd start with a large tank, couple hundred gallons at least, and 5-6 youngsters and let them grow up together so aggression doesn't become too much of a problem. Since they're cave spawners, you'd probably want to use large ceramic pipes for nesting sites. Unlike Hypostomus or Pterygoplichthys species, Panaque don't seem to dig burrows as far as we know. A while back Dr. Hirofumi Nonogaki told me some interesting facts about Panaque nigrolineatus in the wild, including that they spawn in rocky areas when the water rises during the rainy season and that the breeding fish are above 20 cm (8 inches) in length. I'd assume Blue-Eyed Plecs are very similar in this regard. On the other hand, it's generally believed that Blue-Eyed Plecs come from a river system that is somewhat cooler than those inhabited by Royal Plecs, so you'd want to keep them around 22 C/72 F rather than the more usual 25 C/77 F. There are ongoing debates about the optimal diet for Panaque catfish, but the general opinion among scientists is that they're opportunists that may consume some wood rather than dedicated wood-eaters as was previously thought, harmed by a protein-rich diet. So provided you don't go nuts, you can feed them much the same things as other Plecs, i.e., a mix of plant and animal foods, thinking about the fact that a little extra protein may well be a spawning trigger (it often is with tropical fish). Blue-Eyed Plecs can comfortably reach 25-30 cm/10-12 inches. Royal Plecs vary substantially in adult size, probably because what we call "the" Royal Plec is in fact a group of closely related species and subspecies, all of which differ in final size. I've got a Columbian/Venezuelan population Royal Plec that's around 17 years old and maybe 20 cm/8 inches long, but I've seen others that were much bigger, easily 30 cm/12 inches, particularly L191 and L330. It's wise to budget for an adult Royal Plec around the 30 cm/12 inch mark at least, and while a 55 gallon tank might work, an aquarium around 75 gallons would seem a better minimum size for an adult given how messy these catfish can be. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Blue eyed Pleco/ Columbia info needed.      2/8/14

Thanks for the info. I doubt I'll be breeding Plecos but nice to know nonetheless. i logged onto a site Pleco planet. and I'm finding it very informative.
<For sure the single best catfish resource on the interwebs.>
What are the dementions of a 75 gallon tank?
<Typically 4 feet long, 2 feet deep, or thereabouts.>
I think with luck and hope on the part of being allowed too. I might be able to fit one in my room. Bearing in mind the access to the window in case of fire ( silly but necessary rule they have).  Are there any Lnumbers that do well in groups.
<Among the (aquarium trade) Loricariidae, it's the Whiptails and the Otocinclus that are sociable; the others are all more or less territorial.
If you want groups, then you'd do best with the small (below 10-12 cm) species such as the various Peckoltia, Ancistrus and Hypancistrus, as well as the small "dwarf" Panaque sometimes referred to as Panaqolus.>
I like royal or just plain whiptails, could they coexist alongside a royal Pleco.
<Whiptails would probably get along with a Royal Plec, given space, but their requirements are rather different. Whiptails prefer open tanks with lots of sand. So they're great companions for open water tetras, Corydoras, etc. They'd work really well with Peckoltia though, since Peckoltia feed on similar sorts of foods (bloodworms, frozen foods, etc.).>
A large royal with some dwarf rainbows would look good I think.
<Indeed; Royal Plecs mix with pretty much every midwater fish. Mine lives alongside Anostomus anostomus for example, a nippy species notoriously difficult to combine with more sensitive species. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Blue eyed Pleco/ Columbia info needed.

I emailed my father about the fish you described. the Royal Pleco, told him about the size tank they'd need. I think if I can fit that big of a tank in my room I'll do it if I'm allowed too.
Problem is i have a heat duct in my small room right by the side of the tank if i were to get it , this is a very old house in not that great a neighborhood and so my bedroom is substation ally ( sometimes) warmer then the rest of the house. I could keep the Warm water royal Pleco subspecies, we keep the house at 70 but honestly its probably mid 70s in my room if i leave the door shut  I like that Pleco type best of all starts with a X.
<No idea what this means! Do you mean one of the Rio Xingu species? All sorts of Plecs from the Rio Xingu (= Xingu River, in Brazil) but they tend to need relatively warm, soft and acidic water conditions to do well. So please do research these carefully before purchase.>
Its pretty pricy though over 150 bucks wild caught 11 to 10 inches from Freshwater exotics. With possibly x ray tetras or maybe neon dwarf blue rainbows.  Maybe a juvenile would be cheaper and easier to manage I don't know I'll email them. .
<Indeed. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Blue eyed Pleco/ Columbia info needed.      2/8/14

Well i emailed them. they wrote back last night-great service BTW. a 6 inch Rio Xingu royal Pleco
<Rio Xingu. Do read up on the needs of fish from this warm, soft, acidic river system.>
is only $65- they keep it for a few weeks after import and so no sunken eyes hollow bellies.
<Sounds wise.>
I'll wait and see how things turn out. fishkeeping is addictive
<Indeed it is. Neale.>

Catfish compatibility     8/11/12
Hello crew,
I currently have a Bristlenose (Ancistrus sp) Pleco in a 55 gallon tank and a clown Pleco (Panaque maccus) in another tank. Other inhabitants are Glowlight tetras, Pristella tetra and some Platys. Would these fish be compatible in the 55 gallon?
<Mmm, well, the Platies like harder, more alkaline, cool water than the Tetras and Loricariids>
I'm also planning to add another Bristlenose of the opposite sex sometime in the future, would that be ok?
<Should be; yes>
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Stocking questions   12/7/10
In a compromise with my wonderful wife, I have just got a new 125 gallon aquarium with two emperor 400 filters and an undergravel filter.
As part of the deal I needed to downsize the number of aquariums to the 125 and an established 65 gallon aquarium.
<Fair enough.>
I am seeking advice on stocking these tanks with fish I currently have and/or any new additions that would be compatible.
My 65 gallon currently has 6 Electric Blue Jack Dempseys all about 3 to 3.5 inches.
<While the "Electric Blue" morph (or hybrid?) variety of Rocio octofasciata is somewhat less aggressive than the standard sort, they're still very aggressive fish. A mated pair could easily cause problems in this aquarium.
Do read my piece on these fish over at Tropical Fish Finder, here:
As you presumably realise, breeding in captivity is very uncommon, which is why some suspect they're a hybrid rather than a true variety.>
Two Pictus Catfish about 5 inches each and 2 Royal Plecos about 4.5 inches each.
<Pimelodus pictus is a schooling species, and should really be kept in groups of 5+ for consistently good results. By contrast, Panaque nigrolineatus is highly territorial, and there are reliable stories of males killing one another as well as females. While these are by far my favourite of the Loricariidae -- my own specimen is about 16 years old now -- they are normally kept one to a tank, and not alongside any other Loricariid of similar size or shape (they ignore very different Loricariids such as whiptails and Otocinclus).>
I was planning on slowing moving these fish to the new 125 gallon.
<Okay, but I still wouldn't expect two P. nigrolineatus to coexist in this tank. Be aware of the risk of problems, and look out for signs of fin damage as an early warning that your specimens are fighting. Serious fighting involves the stronger fish literally flaying alive the weaker one using its very powerful teeth.>
Understanding that these guys are still growing will this be an suitable set up?
<See above.>
If more fish could be added, would Tiger Barbs be a suitable addition or what would you suggest?
<Tiger Barbs wouldn't be my first choice for use alongside any cichlids, given their nippiness. Giant Danios, Spanner Barbs, Clown Barbs, Nurse Tetras, or Mexican Tetras would all strike me as better companions for medium-sized cichlids.>
In the 65 gallon I would like to keep a Black Ghost Knife Fish. I have read that they can get big and if it got to say 12 inches would the 65 gallon be a suitable home for it?
<Barely do-able. Apteronotus albifrons is a sensitive species, and the vast majority die prematurely. Ask yourself how many adults you've ever seen at their full 50 cm/20 inch length? Or living for 10+ years, as should be the case. Outside of public aquaria, it's rare to see them so large or so old.
Why? Because they need quite specific living conditions that mimic the cool to middling temperature, oxygen-rich, brisk water currents found around riffles and rapids in rainforest streams. So while it's true that A. albifrons tends to stay fairly small in home aquaria, that's perhaps more a reflection on the fact they die within a couple of years rather than any sort of "growing to the size of the tank" malarkey. Take some time to think about their needs, establish how you're going to provide the right level of water turnover -- 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour -- and also check to make sure you can provide the soft to moderately hard, slightly acidic to neutral, nitrate-free water chemistry essential for long-term success. There are other species of Knifefish with easier requirements, perhaps most notably Xenomystus nigri, a non-electric species from a completely different family of fish able to breathe air and naturally found in sluggish rivers. It's smaller too, 30 cm/12 inches being the absolute tops in terms of size, and most getting to rather less. By the standards of its family, the Notopteridae, it's fairly peaceful and can be combined with a variety of robust tankmates.>
What are good tankmates for a Black Ghost Knife?
<Essentially species that come from similar habitats, with the provisos that very small fish (such as Mountain Minnows) may be eaten while competitive bottom feeders (such as loaches and catfish) will make it difficult for you to keep your Apteronotus properly fed. All things considered, they are best kept alone, or with a largely herbivorous catfish species such as Ancistrus dolichopterus. Open water schooling fish might be chosen, for example Bleeding Heart Tetras, Silver Hatchetfish, Demasoni Barbs, Swordtails or Australian Rainbowfish, depending on your water chemistry.>
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and time.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Stocking questions  12/10/10

Thank you for the great information. I will separate the two Royal Plecos as soon as my 125 gallon has safely cycled. They are both incredible fish and do not want them to hurt each other. I will also add some additional Pictus Catfish. If I may ask a few more questions about the Electric Blue Jack Dempseys? Will a 6 foot 125 gallon tank be enough aquarium for Royal Pleco and Pictus to thrive and also allow the Jack Dempseys to set up their territories. These fish are all young and will grow older together, will this lessen aggression from the Jack Dempseys? So far there have been no aggression issues but the Jack Dempseys are all of equal size or smaller then the other fish. Once again thank you for your help and merry Christmas to you and yours.
<Jack Dempseys aren't really community fish, and while they could coexist with a larger Panaque nigriventris, given sufficient hiding places, I would not mix them Pimelodus pictus. As I hope you realise, Pimelodus pictus are quite peaceful schooling fish and they're easily harassed by aggressive cichlids as well as nippy tankmates. Good companions are things like Silver Dollars, Australian Rainbowfish, Severums, and so on. They also prefer soft water, whereas JDs need hard, alkaline water. Now, Electric Blue Jack
Dempseys add a further level of complexity to the situation. While they do seem to be marginally less aggressive than regular JDs, this may be because they're rather inbred animals with poor quality genes. One of the things that people have observed with EBJDs is their delicacy. They just aren't hardy fish and whatever inbreeding was required to create them, thanks to their popularity, they're getting worse as people breed them to a price rather than a quality. Personally, I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole,
but if you do want to keep them, at least make an effort to get good quality stock, rear them in their own environment away from other fish, and ensure water chemistry, water temperature and water quality (including nitrate) are ideal for the species. There are much better blue cichlids you might keep, for example Blue Acara, these latter getting along perfectly well with Pimelodus and Panaque species. Perhaps not so garish in their shade of blue, but far more elegant and natural. Cheers, Neale.>

Gymnarchus niloticus, gen... & cramming Loricariids, other madness    4/28/10
Hi guys,
<Hello Craig,>
Thanks for such a wonderful site.
<Kind of you to say so.>
I'm picking up an Aba Aba knifefish tomorrow that is very young and small, about 4 inches, that I ordered from my LFS.
<I hope you know what you're getting yourself into here. These fish are insanely aggressive and require huge tanks.>
I currently keep two freshwater tanks, a 135 gallon and small 10 gallon.
<Neither of which is suitable for Gymnarchus niloticus.>
I know that the Aba will require a massive tank by himself as he grows,
<Understatement if ever there was one.>
but will he be ok in my 10 gallon as a baby?
I currently keep some small Plecos in the 10 gallon, a "vampire" Pleco L007( 4"), an albino Bristlenose Longfin Pleco (3" including his long fins), a royal Pleco (3"), and a very small "snowball" Pleco (2").
<You are wildly overstocked already. Even if water quality is acceptable now, it won't be for long, and the Royal Plec alone needs a tank upwards of 55 gallons once it matures. As juveniles these Plecs might be kept together in a 30 or 40 gallon tank, but these catfish aren't necessarily friendly fish, and Royal Plecs especially are notoriously intolerant of other Suckermouth catfish, to the degree they can kill potential rivals.
Leporacanthicus cf. galaxias gets to about 25 cm, Baryancistrus L142 to 25 cm, Ancistrus to 12 cm or so, and Panaque nigrolineatus to well over 30 cm. Bear this numbers in mind, and choose aquaria accordingly.>
I also have two snails in there to help keep the bio load balanced.
<What? Snails don't "balance" anything, and pray tell me what "bio load" might be. If the pet store told you adding snails makes the tank cleaner, then they took you for a ride.>
It has worked well for about 6 months now and the tank is doing excellent.
<Not for much longer. After six months these catfish will have grown appreciably, and really do need to be moved into a proper sized aquarium..
My goal has been to raise some of these Plecs for my 135gal tank, but only the L007 is near acceptable size for a transfer. The 135 gal has a Ruby Oscar (12"), Green Scat (she's been in freshwater for 6 years now, 9"),
BGK (10"), Jardinei Arowana (12"),
<Do you have any idea how aggressive this fish will be when it becomes sexually mature, which isn't far off.>
Jack Dempsey (7"), Common Pleco (15"), Orange Spot Plec (8"), and a "chocolate albino" Pleco. Can I raise my Aba in this small tank for a little while?
Will he and the L007 clash? There's lots of hiding places, but am thinking I may need to move the L007 to my 135gal, or just obtain a new small tank to raise the Aba in for now. Also as far as food goes, I was thinking live
Tubifex and frozen krill to start. Is that an acceptable well rounded diet for this young knifefish?
<Least of your problems. Gymnarchus niloticus eats anything, and provided you avoid fat and thiaminase, you'll be fine. Earthworms are good treats for new specimens, but any fresh or wet-frozen fish fillet and seafood should do.>
Thanks in advance for your help, you all are Godsends!
<Craig, you have some seriously insane ideas on mixing fish. I know it's tempting to buy one of everything, but you really can't, and just as you can "win" at Russian Roulette for a while, that doesn't make Russian Roulette a safe game. Think very carefully about what you're doing here, and what you're trying to achieve. Some of these fish are among my personal favourites, so I sense we share much in the way of taste. But there are limits to what we can do when combining oddball fish in the same tank.
Read, reflect, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Pleco Spikes?   5/17/09
I am sending this e-mail separately to make it easier to categorize.
<Okey dokey.>
On to my question: Do Plecos have spikes?
<Sort of. Males and females have what are called "odontodes", structures similar in composition to teeth, except they cover the cheeks and the front edges of the pectoral fins. Males tend to have more of them than the females, or at least that's what is generally assumed to be the case. Their function is obscure, and like many of the things that separate male animals from female animals, they may not have any particular function at all.>
In my early aquarium days, I read that Plecos have retractable spikes on their back, and should be netted and handled with caution.
<This is true, and if I need to manhandle my Panaque nigrolineatus, she raises her cheek bristles, and they can get tangled up in nets. They are not venomous though, and don't pose any particular risk to humans. This contrasts with, for example, the spines on saltwater catfish such as Plotosus and Arius species, which can deliver very painful stings. Equally, the serrated fin edges on thorny catfish (such as Humbug Catfish) can be used like a "trap", closing in on a fingertip carelessly put between the fin and the body. If that happens, the pain is severe and said to take a long time to heal.>
I have never seen my pleco's spikes, so what's the deal? Are they real, or just a myth?
Could this be referring to the pleco's potentially dangerous dorsal fin rays?
<Dorsal fin is neither covered with odontodes nor armed with a sting (so far as I know).>
<Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Pleco Spikes?   5/17/09

What you wrote about Dorsal Fins? Well, I'm using Yahoo mail, and the service gave me a link to Wikipedia from those words. Here is what it said:
"A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of some fish, whales, dolphins, and porpoises, as well as the (extinct) ichthyosaurs. Its main purpose is to stabilize the animal against rolling and assist in sudden turns. Some animals have developed dorsal fins with protective functions, such as spines or venom. Many catfish can lock the leading ray of the dorsal fin in an extended position to discourage predation or to wedge themselves into a crevice."
<Ah, Wikipedia... yes, this definition is basically sound. Catfish are actually a very much more varied bunch than people often think, and while it is common for them to "lock" their dorsal and pectoral fins in the three-way arrangement of spines, this isn't universal. I don't think many of them wedge themselves into crevices (something Triggerfish are famed for doing) but Catfish certainly do use their erect pectoral and dorsal fin spines to make it difficult for predators to swallow them. Obviously this is a more of an issue for small Cats like Corydoras; the big Cats like Red-tail Catfish are the top predators of their world, and don't have much to fear save Man!>
(My highlight). Adding this to your explanation (which I appreciate thoroughly), I think we get a very complete answer!
<Pretty much!>
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Royal Panaque temperature  6/9/08 Hello Crew (and Neale, I bet this one gets handed to you <g>). <Not so much handed as hand-picked. It's always good to hear from you Mitzi.> I just read on PlanetCatfish that Panaque nigrolineatus preferred temperature is 22.0-30.0°C (71.6-86°F), I never realized they could live in cooler water, I can't believe I didn't know that. <Most tropical fish will do fine at 22C, and for many sorts, including Corydoras, Neons, Danios and many barbs and loaches, temperatures at the cool end of things are preferred.> I've got two 4"-5" L191's (the Dull Eyed Royal Plecs) that get along wonderfully but I know to keep my eye on them as they mature. <Good!> They're in a 6' tank right now (with 11 Cory Cats, 2 Angelfish, 13 female Bettas, 2 Raphael Catfish & 6 Glass Catfish) but I would like to know if you think it would be acceptable to put them in my 100 gal tank with only 3 Fantail Goldfish (4"-6" long). <Provided the water temperature was adequate, yes, this should work fine. A Goldfish is simply a kind of schooling cyprinid, and can be treated thus. Panaque won't nibble their fins.> It's got driftwood and good current with a strong powerhead and the Royals would get a lot more peace and quiet with no nocturnal competition in that tank. <Panaque are pretty phlegmatic animals, and can cope with a variety of tankmates, even things as boisterous as Mbuna. My specimen lived for many years in a Mbuna aquarium. As noted cichlid biologist Paul Loiselle noted, Panaque are so heavily armoured as to be "proof against everything short of depth charges"! While Panaque aren't aggressive as such, they can and will throw their not inconsiderable weight about if they feel annoyed. Scooting away other herbivores from the algae pellets or whatever should be no problem!> That tank temperature is around 75-78 degrees. <More than adequate for Panaque.> Is PlanetCatfish accurate in stating the Royals would do well in temps as low as 71 degrees? Neale, what temperature do you keep your Royal at? <Mine is at 23C/74F. In summer I turn the heaters in my tanks down to the minimum setting and let the tanks warm up and cool down naturally. Goldfish are perfectly happy at up to 24C/75F: in terms of natural history, they're subtropical fish that happen to be tolerant of cold water. I have a trio of Crucian Carp (Carassius carassius) juveniles living in a thickly planted windowsill tank where the daytime temperature rises above 30C/86F. Crucian Carp are very close to the ancestors of the Goldfish, though the precise relationship is contentious, but the main thing is to prove the point that these fish are extremely adaptable. So in other words, raise the temperature in your Goldfish system slightly, and then add the Panaque.> Thanks to your entire group. When it comes right down to it and I need a specific answer I honestly don't trust anyone else. <I'm glad we've been able to help.> That goes double for Neale because he's at the very top of my "Respect List" :-) <Aw, shucks...> Mitzi <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Royal Panaque temperature - 06/09/2008
That's the best news I've had since you told me Clown Loaches would do good in my hard water-ha! And they certainly have, thriving healthy little buggers. <Great!> The Goldfish tank doesn't have a heater in it & I've kept the window air conditioner on in that room to keep the temp lower for them, but I can just run the window AC at a higher temp (been in the 90's here lately) and it sounds like that'll be just fine for the Goldfish and the Royals either way. <Indeed; fish don't care where the warmth comes from, what matters is that it doesn't get too cold or too hot for them.> I've thought so many times how much the Royals would like that tank with the wood and all the peacefulness, I'm so glad they can live in there now. They're actually my 11 yr old son's Goldfish and he thinks the Royals are 'way cool fish' so he'll be glad, too. I'll just split the zucchini and mango up and put it at *both* ends, sounds like a plan. <I dare say the Goldfish will be nibbling on those veggies too. Since Panaque shouldn't eat too much meaty food, and Goldfish do better the more plant-based their diet, this should all work out quite well. I wrote an article for TFH a while back on the Subtropical aquarium, one that Bob has reprinted here at WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/subtroptks.htm Anyway, the more I've since researched this topic, the more species I discover that prefer cooler water. Corydoras and Neons are perhaps the classic example: both are routinely kept much warmer in captivity than they'd experience in the wild. Given the abysmal survival rate of Neons in captivity, I'd wager overheating is one like stress factor aquarists would do well to consider. My Corydoras paleatus spend summers in an outdoor pond -- in a British summer at that! They positively thrived, and started breeding as soon as autumn came and I put them back in a tropical tank. In other words, it's wise not to get into this "tropical fish = hot water" mentality. It's a lot more complex than that, but once you've done some research, you'll find many species like cooler water than you'd thought. This makes some "tropical" fish ideal tankmates for Goldfish in a subtropical or not-too-warm tropical aquarium.> Thank you, Neale! Once again you come through for me with flying colors :-)) Mitzi <Well, we do try. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Royal Panaque temperature 6/10/08
I certainly had read your article a very long time ago. You under-estimate my respect for you-I go out of my way to research articles you've written. And I'm not shy in telling others about your knowledge and the stock I put into what you say. We all have our heroes, your cross to bear is being mine <g>. <Very sweet!> Part of the reason I always thought the Royals would like the Goldfish tank is the endless supply of veggies. The Goldfish only get protein as treats once or twice a week. I'm surprised at the number of people who automatically feed Goldfish flakes or pellets to Goldfish and then wonder why they have swim bladder problems. So to all the Goldfish owners-75% veggies and only 25% protein, (yet another thing I learned from you). I'll save you the trouble of typing it, Neale-ha! <Indeed so! Yes, there are lots of fish that do best on a plant- rather than animal-based diet.> Mitzi PS Sounds like I'll be turning down my 80 degree tanks to 78 degrees and saving on electricity <An important point. Those folks keeping Neons, Danios and Corydoras for example can easily turn the heat down and enjoy healthier fish as well as lower fuel bills. With everyone talking about high energy prices and global warming, surely that's a sensible thing to do? Cheers, Neale.>

Plecos and Plants  - 09/02/06 Dear WetWebMedia, I have recently acquired two good sized dwarf Panaque a flash l204 and Panaque albomaculatus LDA31. I have two questions to ask firstly is frozen shrimp and meaty food like that correct? I have a large 450 ltr tank consisting of a rainbow school, also I keep a few doras, flag cats and some other l numbers as well as a greedy elephant nose. I'm worried the Panaques will not get to the food before everything else has got there, do you have any tips to get the food to them? And the second question is that do either fish pose a serious problem to a planted tank? My tank is mainly java fern and a good African tiger lotus specimen that I don't want to loose, also some Aponogeton plants. < Go to planetcatfish.com. Try to identify your Plecos based on the info you have and what they look like. From their they will give lots of good info about what your Plecos eat and how to keep them. Many Plecos are nocturnal, so feed them just after you turn out the lights should make it easier for them to feed.-Chuck> Best Regards and Thanks for any advice you can give. Ben

Subject: leopard Pleco and royal Pleco best friends? Hello me again. I am setting up a new 110 gallon tank and was wondering if I could put a leopard Pleco  (Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps) and a royal Pleco (Panaque nigrolineatus) could be put together in the same tank because I know Plecos belonging to the subfamily Panaque are aggressive to each other. <Mmm, am inclined to dissuade you from this mix... but actually don't know how well these two Loricariids would get along... In all the years I retailed the more popular Panaque we kept them one to a tank as adults... If the system were big enough I guess you could try them together... observe if there is much negative interaction... I doubt if there would be much damage with these highly armored cats in a short trial. Bob Fenner> 

Pleco Picking Dear Sirs: <Morning! Ryan with you>        I am somewhat new to the hobby. <Welcome> I have a 55 gallon tank with mostly angels, and a few live plants which are doing great. <Awesome> I am starting to get some algae in the tank. I am planning on getting some Otocinclus, but would like to get a Pleco as well, one that will not get very large and will not uproot my plants. I have done some research and am still unsure what to get. I have been told that a bristle-nose would be a good choice for my needs, but I was hoping to find something with more color, like a clown or something like that. However, I do know that some Plecos do not eat very much algae, but have more of a diet for meat. I think I need a Pleco with a moderate diet for algae, since the Otocinclus can help out. Any information and advice would be much appreciated. Thanks so much.                    Ben <Ben, many aquarists have this problem.  All the great looking Plecos, such as the Zebra or Royal, are nocturnal.  They do eat algae, but in limited quantities.  If you are really after a great algae eater, I would get a few very small common Plecos.  When they grow to 6 inches or so, trade them back in to your LFS for more small ones.  I wouldn't recommend a bristle nose, they get too big for a 55 gallon as well.  If you're after a great looking Pleco, Zebras are stunning in a display- But don't expect too see him very often.  Also, you'll have to provide meaty foods for him to eat every few days or so-not to mention it's one of the few freshwater fish that you'll pay $50.00 or more for!  Good luck! Ryan>

Plec for an Oscar tank Dear wealth of knowledge, I have a 75g freshwater tank which is currently empty.  I am thinking about purchasing either 2 red Oscars or 1 red Oscar and 1 tiger Oscar.  My question for you guys is what my options for a "clean-up" Pleco are, keeping in mind tank size. <I assume by "clean-up" you want something to eat algae, right?  This in mind, I'd suggest the royal Plecostomus, Panaque nigrolineatus http://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog/loricari/panaque/151_f.htm .  This is a pretty good grazing Plec, and should do a number on algae; will likely need to be supplemented with greens (like blanched zucchini, for one).  It'll also require driftwood, without a doubt.  And might be a bad choice for a Plexiglas tank, as they have teeth that'll wreak havoc on plexi, leaving scratches.> I also wanted to know a little about freshwater (red tail) barracudas.  I have found it a little difficult to find info on them.  I am wondering about tank size, compatibility, and how prone it is to disease.  Thanks a lot!  Zack <Do you happen to have a Latin name for this guy?  Right now, I'm inclined to think you mean "Acestrorhynchus falcatus".  Try looking this up on fishbase.org, and do a google search on this name to see what info you can get.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

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