Gold Nugget Plecostomus (Baryancistrus xanthellus) Species Profile & Care Guide
Gold Nugget plecos are relatively calm, and a very eye-catching species but are only recommended for well-established aquariums and experienced aquarists only. They require some thought in the choice of their tankmates. Males will get along fine with most fish but will possibly fight males of their own species or even other Plecos that would also hang out on the bottom of the aquarium. Species of fish that swim in the upper levels of the tank make great companions. Such fish will rarely bother a Pleco, and it will help to balance the structure of the tank.
Gold Nugget Plecos are pretty much entirely black with a multitude of small yellow spots that cover their whole body. These spots are evenly spaced and roughly the same size all around.
These Catfish have yellow distal bands on the dorsal and caudal fin with the colour being brighter than the spots on their body.
These Plecos have a suckermouth and head that angles down. The body is most extensive around the eyes and pectoral fins and progressively gets thinner towards the caudal peduncle. These fish have substantial pectoral fins that point backwards. They have a fan-like dorsal fin and a balanced caudal fin that’s slightly bigger.
|Scientific Name||Baryancistrus xanthellus|
|Other Names||Gold Nugget, Golden Nugget Pleco|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Best kept as||Loners|
|Lifespan||3 - 7 years|
|Temperature||77 - 86 ℉ (25 - 30 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 15|
|TDS||54 - 268|
Natural Habitat of the Gold Nugget Plecostomus
Gold Nugget Plecos come from Volta Grande Do Rio Xingu which lies between the mouth of the Rio Iriri, and Belo Monte falls in Para state in the northern drainage of the Amazon River in Brazil in South America.
These fish inhabit highly oxygenated, fast-flowing waters. Younger fish live under flat rocks in shallow, warm stretches of white water rapids. In contrast, the adults inhabit more open spaces amongst submerged boulders and rocks where the water is forced past the rocks at speed and is saturated with oxygen.
Other Plecostomus of interest
The Gold Nugget Pleco is not a fussy eater and will happily eat whatever you give them. However, it’s still essential to provide them with a balanced diet.
This fish will spend a lot of time scavenging around the bottom area of the tank looking for algae as well as organic and plant matter to graze on which is the primary source of food. Still, they require some protein-rich foods also. To supplement this, you should add some sinking pellets to make sure their core dietary needs are being sufficed as well as frequently giving them live food such as bloodworm or tubifex.
Sexing the Gold Nugget Plecostomus
Dimorphism is challenging to differentiate when it comes to the Gold Nugget Pleco unless the fish are at the full breeding size.
Males have a flatter, more levelled slope to their foreheads and are slightly wider about the head. In comparison, the females have a more rounded forehead and are somewhat plumper at the midbody when in spawning condition.
Breeding the Gold Nugget Plecostomus
Unfortunately, The Gold Nugget pleco has been bred in the home aquarium. Still, it is very challenging, and there are no well-documented reports or guidelines for breeding Gold Nugget Plecos in captivity. This species would be a great breeding project for the serious hobbyist.
However, for success in breeding these cave-spawners is well-conditioned, sexually mature fish of both sexes kept in warm, soft and acidic water with slate or clay opening caves with just one entrance hole and a high level of oxygenation. There are reports of these fish being triggered into spawning with a combination of frequent colder partial water changes as well as increased water flow.