Photo: Steven Grant
PANAQOLUS sp. L002
Panaqolus species are dwarf Panaques, to put it simple. L2 is among the more regular species of the genus in the hobby, and a common export from Brazil. In aquariums, they are fairly hardy fish once settled, and as long as they are given wood to chew on.
Name: Panaqolus sp. “L2”
Trade names: L2, Tiger Pleco
Origin: Rio Tocantins, Brazil
Maximum size: 13 cm / 5”
Panaqolus species are great aquarium fish. They need shelter in the form of wood and rocks, and if they feel safe they will venture out in search of food even during daytime. They prefer a vegetarian diet, and of course wood is essential for their digestion. Some crustaceans and insect larvae can be added to their diet, but a diet consisting of too much protein and too little vegetarian food can cause trouble. They are peaceful Plecos, but males can be quarrelsome over territories and food. Panaqolus species are slightly more challenging to breed than many other popular Plecos, but it’s usually all a matter of time and patience. When they do, they breed in typical Loricariidae manner with the male guarding the brood in his cave. Usually, male Panaqolus develop quite impressive odontodal growth on their flanks and on their fins.
There are lots of similar looking Panaqolus species being exported from both Peru and Brazil. L2 is one of the Brazilian forms, and can be confused with L74 from Rio do Para (probably the same species, but juveniles have a thin light line next to the black line which L2 lacks), L169 from Rio Negro (which has broader lines on the head), L271 from Rio Tapajos (which seems to have a more irregular caudal pattern and denser lines on the head), L374 from Rio Anapu (probably also the same species as L2, but this population usually keeps it’s contrast-rich colouration even as adult) and L403 (in which the wormline pattern on the head reaches further towards the dorsal fin).