Scientific Name:Panaque nigrolineatus
Common Name(s): L190, Royal Pleco
Type Locality: Calabozo, Venezuela
Life Span: 20 years+ if well cared fore
Maximum Size: 18 inches or so
Natural Habitat: South American rivers and streams
Minimum Tank Size: 300 Litres
Tank Region: Bottom
Possible Tank Mates: Pretty much anything goes.
Description: Strong and potentially large fish the Royal Panaque is a lovely addition to any tank large enough to support it. Featuring strong colouration and distinct orange eyes (although these can vary from bright orange to dull red) they are a fascinating fish to watch. With a strikingly different body shape to the more streamlined pleco’s these fish are almost hump back with their eyes pretty close to their mouth but with big bulking bodies.
They are a little shy while smaller preferring to hide in dark corners/caves/tubes until the tank lights go out however once fully settled into a tank and with a little growing time behind they are often seen out and about even with the lights on. They are much more sensitive to temperature variations than other plecs and like nice clean water and stable tank temperatures.
Temperature Range 22C – 30C
pH Range 6.5 – 7.5
Hardness 5° – 20°
Breeding Information: Undocumented, although with most ancistrine plecos the genital papilla of the female is round and blunt, that of the male by comparison is smaller and pointed. It is not known at what size this method of sexing can be used on Royal Plecos. Due to their larger size maintaining a breeding group will require a very large volume tank and high levels of maintenance due to their diet and penchant to make tanks look like a saw dust factory. Males particularly mature/spawning produce a very long, strong set of spines (ondontodes) from behind the gills
Diet: While the L190 is primarily a vegetarian and will readily eat all the standard veggies fed to other pleco’s Bogwood is also essential – both for dietary reasons and because it seems to be the Royal Pleco’s preferred hide-out – although any suitably sized dark refuge will be utilized. The L190 grazes on the bogwood eating bacteria and algae build up which produces large quantities of sawdust in the tank water column. Regular water changes and gravel vaccing are a must!
Temperment: Territorial with conspecifics and other similarly sized catfish although otherwise peaceful with smaller fish. This fish can be a fussy feeder and only once it is feeding well should be mixed with large, boisterous fish. I have had great success keeping 2 smaller L190’s in a tank with large commons if introduced from a smaller size/younger age they fit into the pecking order quite nicely and cause no major issues.
When larger, Royal Plecos will re-arrange the tank to their own liking. Ensure any rocks or decoration are well secured and cannot be knocked against the glass.
Common Diseases: None specific to species.