Gold Nugget Pleco
Size: 8 inches
Temp Range: 77°F to 86°F
pH Level: 6.5 to 7.4
Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
Tank Size: 30 gallons
Diet: Pellet, Flake, Vegetable
These exquisite fish come from Brazil. They live in the Rio Xingu and Amazon River basins.
Gold Nugget Plecos require excellent water quality and a strong aquarium filtration system. You should provide them with a lot of hiding places and some driftwood to claim as territory.
Do not attempt to keep these fish with their own kind or other Plecos. They are very territorial and may even attack other bottom dwellers that get near their favorite hiding spot.
They are largely peaceful to middle and top level swimmers. Keeping them in a community aquarium where they can be king of the substrate is best.
Males develop enamel growths on their backs during adulthood. They may be hard to sex until they are quite mature. Males may also have a flatter forehead area than females.
These nocturnal fish will spend most of the day hiding under driftwood or behind a heavily planted area. Larger adults may be less timid and just sit on top of driftwood.
At night they come out and scavenge for bits of food and algae. They will be most often seen, especially as juveniles, as a shadow hanging off the glass or a strange hump on a piece of aquarium decor.
They are very handy for keeping algae off of your aquarium glass. You will have to supplement their diets with sinking algae wafers and raw vegetables to maintain their health though.
Sometimes you will see these fish shoot quickly to the surface and then back into hiding. They gulp air to aid in their bouyancy. Be sure that you have a tight hood because they will sometimes misjudge the distance and jump out of the water.
You should set up a special breeding tank for Gold Nugget Plecos. They will require that you keep excellent water quality. This means that the breeding tank must have an established filtration system.
Provide many hiding spots for them to spawn in. PVC tubes or clay pipes work very well for this purpose. They will need to be five or six inches wide and over a foot long. These pipes should be large enough for the male to fit his entire body inside and have a little room all the way around. To aid the male in his care for eggs and fry, you will need to aim the water flow of your aquarium filtration so that it runs through the breeding tube.
The male will entice the female to swim inside its breeding tube to lay eggs. Remove the female after she layse her eggs because she will not have any further use in the spawning process. The male will stay in the breeding tube until the eggs hatch and the fry are swimming. This takes about ten days.
You can feed the fry crushed algae chips and crushed flake food. There will be somewhere around 200 fry after the eggs hatch.
It can be very difficult to match a spawning pair to breed these fish. Be prepared to spend some money for this. Adult Gold Nugget Plecos can be a bit more expensive than you are normally used to paying for fish.
For more information, go to Wikipedia's Gold Nugget Pleco page.