Dekeyseria brachyura L168

Photo: Haakon Haagensen


The Butterfly Pleco, as it’s called, is one of the most striking Plecos around. It’s easily confused with L52 from Orinoco, but the real deal, L168 from Rio Negro, has even stronger markings and more contrast than it’s Colombian sibling form. Fairly easy to keep, small size, a decent algae eater and good looks makes it a perfect aquarium fish.


Name: Dekeyseria brachyura (Kner, 1854)

Trade names: Butterfly Pleco, L168

Origin: Rio Negro, Brazil

Maximum TL: 14 cm / 6”

It’s a continuous debate as to which genus this species belongs to, some people call them Zonancistrus, some Dekeyseria and some even Peckoltia (P.pulcher was it’s old trade name). Whatever you prefer, it’s a pretty and special species with fantastic markings. Compared to the similar form L52 from orinoco, L168 has more contrast in it’s markings and it doesn’t show the same fear colours as L52 does when stressed or frightened. L52 is a lot more common in the trade. L168 is a decent algae eater, but should be fed a varied diet featuring mostly vegetable matter. In well filtered, oxygen rich water low on nitrates they may also breed, if the water parameters aren’t too high (remember it’s a blackwater species). Males develop longer odontodes on their pectoral fins and on their cheeks.

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