Photo: Ole Paulsen
PSEUDACANTHICUS LEOPARDUS L600
P.leopardus is one of the better known Cactus Plecos. It’s still far less common in the trade than L114, which it’s very often confused with. P.leopardus is a large growing, territorial species, so most of all space is required to house them. They are fairly easy to keep and care for when they are given proper conditions like suitable caves, meaty food and prime water conditions.
Name: Pseudacanthicus leopardus (Fowler 1914)
Trade names: LDA73, L600 (not guilty as l-number.)
Origin: Rio Rupununi, Rio Takutu, Guyana. Rio Branco, Brazil.
Maximum TL: 40 cm / 16”
Cactus Plecos are among the most impressive of all Loricariidae. They grow into large, territorial feeding machines that will bring lots of joy and wonder to those who can house them. A diet consisting of meat-based foods is required, so mussels and shrimps are always desired. Additional dry foods with a good vitamin rich content should be added. The water quality must be prime, so a good filtration system, lots of oxygen and regular water changes is necessary for Cactus Plecos to thrive. Elder males become territorial and aggressive towards each other, and even to other Plecos. This means that suitable caves and territorial boundaries should be present, and tank size should not be too small. When all of the above is present, even Pseudacanthicus species can be lured to breed. Males have broader heads and slightly more prominent pectoral fin rays. Females of course show a fatter belly. Up to about 200 eggs are laid in a cave, so the process happens in typical Pleco manner with the male guarding the brood.
P.leopardus is very similar to the much more common L114 from Rio Negro, Brazil. However, P.leopardus has a slightly flatter, more elongate body with a more olive-green base colour. The red in the fins is usually more prominent in P.leopardus. The black spots on the head of P.leopardus are smaller than those of L114, and as they age the spots on the head may disappear completely in P.leopardus. The very similar L427 from Rio Jatapu can be told apart by it’s almost all-black, spotless adult colouration.