Scobiancistrus auratus L014

Photo: Enrico Richter


The Sunshine Pleco, which it’s aptly named, is one of the more famous large growing Pleco species from the threatened environment of Rio Xingu, Brazil. It’s been very popular in the hobby ever since it was first introduced, despite it’s large adult size. Usually juveniles are on offer, and they are usually not very difficult to care for under proper circumstances. Captive breeding is a rare thing for this species, obviously due to the size of mature specimens and the high total cost for acquiring  several individuals.


Name: Scobinancistrus aureatus (Burgess, 1994)

Trade names: L14, Sunshine Pleco

Origin: Rio Xingu, Rio Iriri, Brazil.

Maximum size: 40 cm / 16”

Scobinancistrus species have large, spoon shaped teeth that are used to extract molluscs from their shells. In other words, these are primarily carnivore fishes, that can be fed a menu of crustaceans, insect larvae and quality dry foods. They require prime water quality to thrive, meaning adequate filtration, regular water changes and warm, oxygen rich, slightly soft water. Mature males may be very territorial and quarrelsome, so less dominant individuals must be given several places to hide in the aquarium. Big aquariums must obviously be used to house adult fish. Against other fish they are peaceful. Breeding is rare, but has happened several times. Scobinancistrus breed in typical hypostominae fashion, with the male guarding the brood in a suitable cave. Males can be recognized by their almost square head when viewed from above, and they have the typical prominent odontodal growth on their pectoral fins.

A population of L14 from Rio Iriri is known, this is less striking in it’s colouration than the Xingu based form. The broad, yellow/orange seam on the fins make S.aureautus easy to tell apart from any other Scobinancistrus species.

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