Photo: Ole Paulsen
PSEUDACANTHICUS sp. L114
L114 is by far the most common Cactus Pleco in the hobby. It’s collected in significant numbers in Rio Demini, an affluent to Rio Negro, Brazil. It’s a very beautiful fish, with it’s pale yellow/brown body covered in black spots. The fins have a striking orange edge. It’s a hardy and easy to maintain fish if it’s given enough space and proper conditions.
Name: Pseudacanthicus sp.“L114”
Trade names: L114, LDA7, Leopard Cactus Pleco
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.
L114 is very similar to the much less common real P.leopardus. 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.