Flash Plecostomus (Panaqolus albivermis)
Flash Plecos are very popular in the aquarium hobby due to their availability, attractiveness, peaceful demeanour and hardiness. However, males can be somewhat quarrelsome over food and territories. Therefore, these Plecos are more ideally suited to the more active community tank, with shoaling species being ideal.
These Plecos will co-exist fine with fish that prefer higher temperatures; Tetras, small Cichlids, Hatchet Fish, Pencilfish, Rainbowfish and Corydoras Catfish all make perfect inhabitants. However, avoid choosing tankmates that may nip at these plecos ornate tail fin extensions.
Flash Plecos are ideally suited to an average-sized aquarium, providing that a few essential requirements are met. The aquarium should be biologically mature with a substrate of sand or small smooth gravel, and it will also need to contain plenty of driftwood or bogwood, as this forms a necessary part of their diet. Flash Plecos will require plenty of private retreats created from the bogwood and smooth rocks so that they will feel comfortable during the day.
These Plecos do not enjoy overly bright light, so it would be best to make sure they have plenty of shaded areas formed by driftwood and caves as well as some floating plants, as this will help diffuse the light. You can include robust plants such as Anubias and Java Fern; however, avoid soft-leaved or delicate plants as these will be eaten or uprooted.
You should maintain excellent water conditions at all times using a powerful filtration system that can cope with the amount of wood waste, and you will need a good current. A high oxygenation level will benefit the fish and may even entice them into breeding.
Flash Plecos have a dark brown to black base colouration with thin white to yellow vertical lines starting from the upper body and reaching the lower body. As the fish develops, these lines can become broken so much so that they can become spots. Their fins also have thin white to yellow bands. Although juveniles have white stripes, these lines turn yellow as the fish matures.
Tank Mates for the Flash Plecostomus
2 ideal tank mate ideas for the Flash Plecostomus include:
|Scientific Name||Panaqolus albivermis|
|Other Names||L204, Emperor Pleco, Peru Striped Flash, Pinstripe Panaques|
|Best kept as||Pairs|
|Lifespan||8 - 12 years|
|PH||6.0 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 15|
|KH||0 - 5|
|76 - 86℉|
24.4 - 30℃
Photos of the Flash Plecostomus
Flash Plecos are known from the Rio San Alejandro, a tributary of the upper Rio Ucayali in Peru in South America. They inhabit fast-flowing waters submerged with bogwood and driftwood, where they graze on biological organisms growing on the wood.
What to feed the Flash Plecostomus
Flash Plecos are classed as omnivores; however, they are mainly wood-eating herbivores that eagerly consume various vegetable matter.
Although these Plecos eat some crustaceans and insect larvae in their natural environment and can be added to their diet, too much live food and not enough vegetarian foods may cause serious health problems. You can give these Plecos live foods such as brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp and grindal worm once in a while, but you should not feed them this as their staple diet except when conditioning the fish for breeding as it helps the female to mature her eggs.
Flash Plecos do best on a diet of sinking wafers, spirulina wafers, courgette and cucumber, making sure they have access to plenty of bogwood pieces.
How to breed the Flash Plecostomus
Flash Plecos are cave spawners that have been bred successfully in an aquarium environment many times.
Performing a profound water change with an overnight temperature drop will often trigger your plecos into spawning. Spawning usually occurs after a male and female pair off from a group and select a cave that the male guards against all challengers. The male will actively swim in and out when the couple chooses a cave until spawning is completed.
The female will lay a batch of around 50 yellow eggs in the cave, and the male will then stand guard at the cave's entrance until the eggs hatch, which usually takes about 6 or 7 days. During this entire process, the male does not appear to eat.
The Pleco babies are miniature replicas of the adults and eat the same food. However, if you are breeding these Plecos in a community tank with other fish, raising them in a separate tank or a breeder box inside the aquarium is highly recommended to ensure they get enough food to develop.