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Maximum size : 22.5 cm

Gold Nugget Plecostomus - Baryancistrus xanthellus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Gold Nugget Pleco (Baryancistrus xanthellus) is a visually stunning and relatively peaceful fish species. However, they are recommended only for well-established aquariums and experienced aquarists due to their specific tankmate requirements. While males can coexist with most fish, they may exhibit aggression towards males of their own species or other bottom-dwelling Plecos. Therefore, species of fish that swim in the upper levels of the aquarium make ideal companions as they not only leave the Plecos alone but also help to balance the tank' s structure. These Plecos are predominantly black with numerous small yellow spots that cover their entire body. The spots are evenly spaced and of the same size throughout. The fins have yellow distal bands, which are brighter than the spots on their body. These fish have a unique physical appearance, with a downward-angled suckermouth and head. The body is widest around the eyes and pectoral fins and tapers towards the caudal peduncle. They have large, backward-pointing pectoral fins, a fan-like dorsal fin, and a slightly larger, balanced caudal fin.

Gold Nugget Plecostomus Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

It can be challenging to distinguish between male and female Gold Nugget Plecos unless they have reached sexual maturity. Typically, males have a flatter, more levelled slope to their foreheads, and their heads are slightly wider. Females, on the other hand, have a more rounded forehead and a plumper midbody when in spawning condition.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBaryancistrus xanthellus
Year Described2011
Other NamesGold Nugget, Golden Nugget Pleco
Max Size22.5 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asLoners
Lifespan3 - 7 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
TDS54 - 268
77 - 86
25 - 30

Natural habitat

Gold Nugget Plecos hail from the Volta Grande Do Rio Xingu in the northern Amazon River basin of Brazil. These captivating fish can be found between the mouth of the Rio Iriri and the Belo Monte falls in Para state. Gold Nugget Plecos thrive in highly oxygenated, fast-flowing waters. Younger fish prefer to dwell under flat rocks in shallow, warm stretches of white water rapids, while adult specimens inhabit more open spaces among submerged boulders and rocks where the water is forced past the rocks at speed and is saturated with oxygen.
 Xingu River - Brazil
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How to breed the Gold Nugget Plecostomus

Breeding the Gold Nugget Pleco in captivity is a challenging yet rewarding project for the serious hobbyist. Unfortunately, there are no well-documented guidelines for breeding this cave-spawning species, but success can be achieved by maintaining well-conditioned, sexually mature fish of both sexes in warm, soft, and acidic water with slate or clay caves that have only one entrance hole and a high level of oxygenation. Reports suggest that these fish can be triggered into spawning with a combination of frequent partial water changes at lower temperatures and increased water flow. With patience, dedication, and careful attention to water parameters and cave structures, successful breeding of the Gold Nugget Pleco can be achieved in the home aquarium.

Diet & feeding

The Gold Nugget Pleco is an omnivore and has a broad diet spectrum. However, to ensure their nutritional requirements are met, it is essential to provide them with a well-balanced diet. As a bottom-dwelling fish, they spend a significant amount of time scavenging for algae, organic matter, and plant-based food. These are their primary food sources. However, they also require a protein-rich diet to supplement their core nutritional needs. Adding sinking pellets to their diet is an excellent way to provide the necessary nutrients. Additionally, supplementing their diet with live foods such as bloodworm or tubifex can be a great way to keep them healthy and happy.

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