Photo: Markus Kaluza
PSEUDACANTHICUS sp. L427
L427 is another Leopard Cactus Pleco, like P.leopardus and L114. L427 was found in Rio Jatapu, Brazil and introduced to the public in 2009. It’s exported from Brazil as P.leopardus, but has so far only reached Europe a couple of times. Young individuals look pretty much like L114, but adults turn darker and darker to a point where the pattern on their bodies is pretty much gone.
Name: Pseudacanthicus sp.“L427”
Trade names: L427
Origin: Rio Jatapu, Rio Uatuma, 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.
L427 is quite similar to the real P.leopardus, especially when young. 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 L427, and as they age the spots on the head may disappear completely in P.leopardus. The very similar L114 from Rio Demini can be told apart from L427 by adult colouration; L427 is almost all-black except for the red in the fins.