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L204 Panaqolus/Panaque sp
by Doodles 08-17-09

All assigned numbers: L204


Common Names: flash pleco

Location: Peru: Rio Ucayali

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The Flash pleco is a relatively peaceful fish, although it can be a bit pushy during feeding time. Also, like most Loricarids, it's a territorial animal - this means that in order to keep more than one specimen in the same tank, it needs to be spaceous (approx. 60 liters/15 gallons per fish) set up with numberous hiding places.
Like all members from its genus, L204 requires drift wood in its tank, because it's a wood-eating species.

Sexing and Breeding:
Males have a broader head and odontode growth on the tail end of the body. Males also have longer odontode growth behind the gill covers.

This is a wood-eating catfish, like all species from the genus Panaque (including those known to some as Panaqolus). Therefore, a good supply of bog wood is necessary in the tank: not only does this fish extracts certain elements and nutrients from the organic layer which forms on the wood over time (also known as "Aufwuchs"), it actually eats the wood itself, possibly for digestive reasons. As wood does is not very rich in nutrients, it means the Flash Pleco consumes vast amounts of it, and produces an almost equal amount of waste (because of which a very strong filtration system is an absolute necessity).
Besides wood, the diet can be supplemented with vegetable matter (cucumber, salad, aubergine, etc. as well as algae and catfish pellets) and meaty foods like shrimp and pieces of fish fillet.

Water parameters:
Temp 25-29c PH 6.0-7.8
This small Loricarid prefers a dimly lit tank with a good number of hiding places, either created with plants, drift wood, rocks or artificial (pleco spawning) caves. To keep more than one specimen in the same tank, or together with other bottom dwelling fish, you need at least a 32x16" (80x40cm.) tank: this fish can be quite territorial, and when suitable hiding places are lacking, it can be aggressive towards other bottom dwellers. When kept as only catfish in an aquarium, a tank size of 60x12" (60x30cm.) is sufficient.
Typical for South American catfish, this species does best in soft, slightly acidic to neutral water, good oxygenation and a good amount of currents. It can however adapt to harder, more akaline water, but wheter it will reproduce under such conditions is questionable.

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