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Maximum size : 43 cm

Royal Plecostomus - Panaque nigrolineatus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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As an aquarium fish, the Royal Pleco is very valuable. This fish grows to a large size and is very attractive. In general, the Royal Pleco stays hidden during the day and is shy under the light. There is, however, a need for a suitable resting place for this fish since it is territorial. In addition to adding visual interest to the tank, adding some other fish will provide more movement since these Plecos have a low daytime activity level. When choosing tankmates for Plecos, think carefully about how well they complement each other. Potential tankmates should be considered at what level in the water column they reside. Rather than fish that hang around the substrate, think about fish that will be active higher up in the water, as plecos will spend most of their time on the substrate or driftwood. It is preferable to include active species in an aquarium rather than species that tend to hide a lot. Because these Plecos and many other Loricariids are relatively slow-moving, they make easy targets. Therefore you should avoid fish that tend to nip fins. There are also species that do best in brightly lit, heavily planted tanks that are unsuitable for this environment. Tetras, Silver Dollars, various Headstanders and Several types of Cichlid species are all ideal tankmates. These Plecos graze any wood present in the aquarium and need wood for their diet, so driftwood should be the primary focus of their aquascape. A lot of wood benefits fish and should be aesthetically pleasing for aquarists. They will almost always hang out on or under the driftwood. The creation of dead zones in the tank where there is little or no water flow is one thing to be careful of when creating a habitat with a lot of wood. The large size and quantity of waste produced by these fish require excellent filtration. An efficient power filtration system with a high flow rate is best. You can add powerheads to the filtration system to help avoid dead zones if they are positioned carefully. Also, powerheads will keep waste and detritus from building up so that power filters can remove them. You can provide hiding spots for more than one fish if you build a structure from driftwood representing a point where fallen trees have collected in a river. Clay caves are unnecessary for Royal Plecos because they rarely inhabit open-ended caves like other Pleco species. The problem is that they have a terrible habit of causing holes in plant leaves, so it would be best to avoid plants. In addition, it would be best to avoid artificial plants since ingesting plastic or silk pieces can result in intestinal blockages. It is possible to use lower lighting levels without plants, making the plecos more comfortable and, therefore, more active, so you will enjoy watching the tank more. Keeping these fish healthy requires regular partial water changes: 25% weekly water changes, vacuuming the substrate and siphoning out any debris that may be stuck to the wood. The Royal Pleco has a light grey colour and dark grey zigzag patterns. Their dorsal fins are edged with cream or gold, and their eyes are red. Except for the belly, which is soft, the body is covered in heavy armour. Not scales, but strong plates of skin make up this armour. Their heavy and stiff bodies prevent them from swimming well, but their sucker-like mouths enable them to hold onto rocks and wood in fast-flowing waters.

Royal Plecostomus Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

In contrast to most Plecos, the female's genital papilla is round and blunt, while the males are pointed and smaller. There is no indication of what size Royal Plecos can be sexed using this method.

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePanaque nigrolineatus
Year Described1877
Other NamesRoyal Pleco, Royal Panaque, Royal Catfish, Watermelon Pleco, L190
OriginsBrazil Colombia Venezuela
Max Size43 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asLoners
Lifespanup to 10 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH0 - 30
72 - 86
22.2 - 30

Natural habitat

Royal Plecos are endemic to the Orinoco and Amazon River Basins throughout Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela in South America where they inhabit Fast flowing headwaters

How to breed the Royal Plecostomus

There is no published information on this fish, but it has been spawned in captivity using a large tube and low, warm, still water to mimic a false dry season of two weeks. After that, they filled the aquarium with cooler rainwater, refilling it by about 80%, and fed the fish a variety of meaty and veggie foods.

Diet & feeding

In the home aquarium, the Royal Pleco will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These Plecos also appear to eat bogwood. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements. Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide other benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish. It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages. This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

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