Photo: Haakon Haagensen
PSEUDACANTHICUS sp. L452
The only known Cactus Pleco from Peru is L452. It’s a bit of a mystery what it’s doing there, and apparently it’s only collected once a year in Rio Tapiche. It looks extremely similar to L97 from Brazil, and L452 seems to be among the smaller Cactus Plecos too. It was first imported only a few years ago, which s quite extraordinary considering that Peru’s rivers have been pretty well investigated by fishermen. This underlines the rareness of L452, which was first imported to Norway by Erlend D.Bertelsen in 2012.
Name: Pseudacanthicus sp. “L452”
Trade names: L452, Peruvian Polka Dot Cactus Pleco, Mustang Cactus Pleco
Origin: Rio Tapiche, Peru.
Maximum TL: 25 cm / 10”
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. Males can be very territorial. 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.
L452 can be confused with several other Pseudacanthicus species. L282 from Colombia looks very similar. P.sp. “Alenquer” looks identical to L452 when young, but develops a slightly different pattern as adult. L65 has a similar pattern too, but is usually less spotted and has more white in the caudal fin when young. L97 is also remarkably similar, but L452 is collected far away from all of the above mentioned forms. The spot pattern usually fades away as L452 ages.