L190 Royal Pleco (Panaque Nigrolineatus)
The L190, the most common variant of the Royal Pleco, is renowned for its large size and distinctive dark coloration, adorned with lighter spots or stripes. This robust species can adapt to a variety of water conditions, making it a popular choice among both beginner and experienced aquarists.
The Royal Pleco, a fascinating wood-eating suckerfish, captivates aquarists with its impressive size reaching up to 17 inches in adulthood and striking patterns that lend it a truly distinctive look. Its dark body, typically brown or black, is highlighted by markings ranging from vivid white to yellow. Adding to its unique appearance is a protective armor of strong skin plates, contrasting with its soft belly. The Royal Pleco's red eyes and dorsal fins edged with cream or gold, complete its captivating aesthetic.
Royal Plecos are peaceful and nocturnal creatures. They are mostly solitary and prefer to have their own space, making them ideal for larger tanks where they can establish their territory. They are not aggressive but can become territorial with other bottom-dwelling fish, especially those of the same species. Fish that are suitable with Royal Plecos are Headstanders, Silver Dollars, Festivum Mesonauta Festivus, Jaguar Cichlid, Silver Arowana, Flag cichlid, and African cichlids.
When it comes to diet, Royal Plecos are wood-eaters. They have specially adapted teeth for rasping at wood, which forms a crucial part of their diet. In an aquarium setting, their diet should be supplemented with driftwood, along with high-quality algae wafers and fresh vegetables such as cooked peas, blanched zucchini, spinach, lettuce, kale, green beans, and cucumber. Since Royal Pleco’s are nocturnal, remember to feed them in the evening or at night.
Creating a suitable habitat for Royal Plecos revolves around incorporating ample driftwood. This serves a dual purpose: it forms a crucial part of their diet and offers preferred resting spots. However, care must be taken to ensure that the placement of wood doesn't obstruct water flow, as stagnant zones can be detrimental to these large fish that produce significant waste.
To maintain water quality, robust power filtration is essential, and the use of powerheads can further enhance water circulation and waste management. If you're housing multiple Plecos, arrange the driftwood to mimic a natural river setting with fallen trees, providing multiple hiding spots.
While Royal Plecos don't require the typical clay caves favored by some species, they do tend to damage plant leaves. Therefore, omitting real and artificial plants from their environment is advisable. This also allows for lower lighting levels, making the Plecos more comfortable and active. Despite their origin in soft, acidic waters, they often fare better in aquariums with basic, moderately hard water.
The Royal Plecos, like many species that naturally live in flowing waters, need 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.
The water parameters for keeping a Royal Pleco are specific. The minimum aquarium size for one Pleco is 125 gallons due to their large size. The water pH should be kept between 6.5 and 7.5, with a 5-15 dGH hardness range. The temperature should be maintained between 72-86°F (22-30°C).
The Royal Pleco is truly a unique and beautiful addition to any large freshwater aquarium. With the right care, diet, and environment, this stunning fish can thrive and become a standout in your aquatic community.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.