Taxonomy: Pterygoplichthys joselimaianus or gold spot pleco is one of the pleco species that sold as common pleco in the aquarium industry, despite that the original common pleco is Hypostomus plecostomus.
The gold spot pleco belongs to the Hypostominae subfamily of the Loricariidae family of the Siluriformes order. Furthermore, P. joselimaianus may also be known as Glyptoperichthys joselimaianus.
Common names: Gold spot pleco
- Amazonas pleco
- Marbled sailfin pleco
The gold spot pleco is native of South America (Tocantins river basin) and occurs in a wide range of habitats, from slow-flowing or stagnant ponds with low oxygen levels to fast flowing streams and tributaries with high oxygen levels. Furthermore, the species usually inhabit soft and acidic waters.
The gold spot pleco has bony plates that cover the body with a large dorsal fin, a flat belly and round mouth which indicates is a bottom dweller like most catfish. The species has two forms, a dark-brown pigmentation pattern, and a black pigmentation pattern. Furthermore, light-brown spots cover the body, while white spots cover the abdomen.
There is no sexual dimorphism, but males have a prominent genital papilla than females. The gold spot pleco is usually smaller than the rest of the genus as grows up to 30-40 cm and has a lifespan of 10-15 years.
- The species pigmentation pattern differs from Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps by having non-rounded spots ( vs. only rounded spots on the body of Pterigoplichthys gibbiceps). Moreover, P. gibbiceps has a light-brown body with dark spots while P. joselimaianus has a dark-color body with light spots.
- Pterygoplichthys species differ from Hypostomus species by having nine or more dorsal fin rays, while the Hypostomus species have eight dorsal fin rays.
Temperament and tank mates:
In general, the gold spot pleco is compatible with many species due to its peaceful personality. Furthermore, the species is an excellent choice for community tanks. However, plecos get aggressive with similar or territorial species and sometimes with small species due to its territorial behavior, so keep an eye on them as their aggressiveness may increase in smaller tanks. Furthermore, the species may get aggressive with laterally flattened species such as angelfish, discus, etc.
Water parameters and Aquarium’s size:
The species require large tanks with a minimum of 75 gallons and heavy filtration due to their high waste production. A pH between 6.5-7.5, with a temperature between 23-29 Celsius, and a hardness between 4-16 dGH suits the species.
Perfect parameters for the species:
Temperature (Celsius) : 26-27
Decorations such as caves, rocks, and woods are essential for them to hide during the day. Some individuals may eat plants while others not. The fish may stop eating the plants of the aquarium when it gets fed with a plant source such as vegetables. Furthermore, Plecos have a habit of digging up the plants from the bottom.
Plecos are mostly herbivores and famous to aquarists as algae eaters. Furthermore, many beginners use plecos to clean the bottom from the leftovers of other fish in the aquarium, as well as, the algae but like all animals need a proper diet. You should provide them with prepared food (tablets), live food (earthworms, bloodworms,etc.) as well as blanched vegetables (zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, spinach cucumber, etc.).
In nature, their diet consists of detritus, algae, plankton, a small amount of wood and vertebrates, etc.
It’s impossible to reproduce the species in the aquarium as breed along the rivers in deep tunnels that the species dig. However, Pterygoplichys species are bred in fish-farms by the Aquarium industry in outdoor ponds with deep burrows in the shore with the proper parameters.
Males dig horizontal holes of about 120-150cm long near the rives as nests. Depending on the Pterygoplichthys species, the female lays 500-3000 eggs in the nest and the male guards them until the fry can eat on their own.
- Pterygoplichthys joselimaianus. Retrieved from: https://www.planetcatfish.com/common/species.php?task=&species_id=177
- Pterygoplichthys joselimaianus. Retrieved from https://www.fishbase.de/summary/pterygoplichthys-joselimaianus.html
- Jonathan W. Armbruster* and Lawrence M. Page 2006, Redescription of Pterygoplichthys punctatus and description of a new species of Pterygoplichthys (Siluriformes: Loricariidae). Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/238090891_Redescription_of_Pterygoplichthys_punctatus_and_description_of_a_new_species_of_Pterygoplichthys_Siluriformes_Loricariidae
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