L128 Blue Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus sp.)
The L128 Blue Phantom Pleco is a stunning species that adds a touch of beauty to any aquarium. This medium-sized pleco, native to the warm, fast-flowing, rocky waters of the Orinoco River in Colombia and Venezuela, is known for its light blue body and iridescent blue spots. Its captivating appearance has made it a favorite among aquarium enthusiasts. As adults they can grow between 7 to 8 inches.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is a peaceful species, making it a good choice for a community aquarium. However, it can be territorial, especially towards other plecos, so it's best to keep only one per tank unless the aquarium is spacious enough to accommodate more. Ideal tank mates include peaceful species that occupy the middle and upper levels of the tank, such as smaller characins. Housing them with similar species or large cichlids is not recommended, as they may compete for hiding spots.
In the wild, the Blue Phantom Pleco is an omnivore that grazes on algae and biofilm. In the aquarium, they can be fed a variety of foods, including vegetable-based and meat-based diets. Suitable options include green plants, bloodworms, and small portions of brine shrimp. If there's a sufficient amount of algae in the tank, the pleco can also munch on it, reducing the need for frequent supplemental feeding.
The ideal tank habitat for the Blue Phantom Pleco is designed to simulate a flowing stream. The substrate should be smooth or soft sand. The tank should be furnished with smooth rock, slate, and bogwood to create shady caves and crevices. They mostly enjoy hanging off vertical stonework and rounded boulders. Robust aquarium plants like Java Fern, Bolbitis, or Anubias spp. can be added for coverage. The lighting should be moderately dim.
The Blue Phantom Pleco, like many species that naturally live in flowing waters, needs a clean environment to thrive. It's sensitive to the buildup of organic waste, so maintaining pristine water conditions is crucial for its well-being. The water should have brisk movement and a high level of dissolved oxygenation. Additionally, the Water current should be at its strongest over cracks and crevices in the rocks where the fish will live. This can be achieved by using a mix of canister filters and powerheads. Regular water changes are another key aspect of care for this species. Changing 40-70% of the water weekly is a good practice to follow. This routine helps keep the water fresh and clean, contributing to the overall health and happiness of your Blue Phantom Pleco.
While the Blue Phantom Pleco originates from rapid water habitats, it is adaptable and can thrive in less turbulent water conditions, making it a suitable choice for a community tank. Despite being slightly less hardy than the L200, it is still a resilient species. If you wish to replicate faster water conditions, consider adding Semaprochilodus characins and various types of Silver Dollars as mid-water companions, as they are compatible with the Blue Phantom Pleco.
The minimum aquarium size for this species is 30 gallons, but a larger tank would be more suitable for a community setup. The water parameters for the Blue Phantom Pleco include a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5, water hardness should be kept within the soft to medium range of 1-10 dGH, and a temperature range of 75-82°F (24-28°C). The Blue Phantom Pleco thrives best in aquariums that have been fully cycled and matured.
The L128 Blue Phantom Pleco is a beautiful and interesting species that require specific care and conditions to thrive. Its unique coloration and peaceful nature make it a wonderful addition to a well-maintained aquarium.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.