Blue Phantom Pleco
The Blue phantom pleco is a dark blue fish decorated with blueish white spots. It can reach a length of 18 cm (just over 7 inches).
The Blue phantom pleco belongs to the genus Hemiancistrus and has been assigned the L-number L128. The Blue phantom pleco might actually be a northern variety of the fish assigned with the L-number L200, Hemiancistrus subviridis, but more research is necessary before anyone can know for sure.
Geographical distribution, habitat and care
The Blue phantom pleco lives in Rio Orinoco in Venezuela . It can be found from Puerto Ayacucho and down. These waters are somewhat acidic and the recommended pH-range in the aquarium is therefore pH 6.0-7.0. The water should ideally be a bit soft. Since the Blue phantom pleco is used to a life in the rapids, current will be appreciated in the aquarium. Keep the water temperature around 22-25 degrees C (71-77 degrees F). The Blue phantom pleco is an omnivorous species and will normally display a healthy appetite in the aquarium. Just like most other plecos it is an efficient algae eater, but you should never force it to live on natural algae growth alone. Supplement with algae based prepared foods, fresh vegetables and occasional servings of meaty food.
Aquarium set up and tank mates
Try to mimic rapid parts of Rio Orinoco when you set up the aquarium and include a lot of stones, rocks, caves and crevices for the fish to hide among. Wood is beneficial since it makes the diet richer in fibre. Live plants are not necessary and the fish might destroy them.
The Blue phantom pleco is a peaceful species that can be kept in community aquariums with other peaceful species that appreciate the same conditions. Preferably chose species that like fast moving water. (The Blue phantom pleco is known to tolerate slower conditions, so fast moving water is not mandatory.)
Breeding Blue phantom pleco
As far as we know, there are no official reports of the Blue phantom pleco breeding in aquariums. The fish is believed to be a cave spawner, but more research is needed before anyone can know for sure.
What's in a name?
The Blue phantom pleco belongs to the genus Hemiancistrus. This name is a combination of two greek words: hemi which means "half" and agkistron which means "hook". The word agkistron have been used to form the genus name Ancistrus , and the name Hemiancistrus is very fitting since the species in the genus Hemiancistrus share several notable characteristics with the species found in the genus Ancistrus. They can therefore be said to be "half-ancistrus" species.
The Blue phantom pleco has been assigned the L-number L128. The L-number system is a semi-scientific way of classifying catfish in the family Loricariidae. Until a species has been properly classified by science and given a scientific name, the L-number system makes it possible for aquarists to lower the risk of confusion when discussing various catfishes. The L-number system is based on photographs of Loricariidae species published by the German aquarium magazine " Die Aquarien und Terrarienzeitschrift " (DATZ). As soon as a catfish receives a real scientific name, the L-number is retired.
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