Common Name: Redfin Cactus Pleco (L024)
Scientific Name: Pseudacanthicus pitanga
Other Names: L024, Cactus Pleco, Redfin Cactus Catfish
The Redfin Cactus Pleco is a visually striking species from the genus Pseudacanthicus. It is named for its sharp, spine-like pectoral and dorsal fins and its distinctive reddish fin edges. The body is typically dark, contrasting beautifully with the redder fins. Their unique appearance, coupled with their manageable size compared to other Pseudacanthicus, makes them a sought-after species among aquarists.
Habitat and Distribution: This species is native to Brazil, particularly within the Tocantins River basin. They typically inhabit fast-flowing streams and river sections with lots of rocky crevices, which they use for hiding and seeking out food.
Size and Lifespan: The Redfin Cactus Pleco typically reaches a length of about 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) in captivity. Their lifespan, with proper care, is roughly 10-15 years.
Diet and Behavior: Predominantly carnivorous, their diet in the wild consists of crustaceans, small fish, and various invertebrates. In an aquarium setting, they should be fed a variety of high-quality foods, including carnivore pellets, frozen foods like bloodworms, and occasional fresh offerings like shrimp or mussels. They can be somewhat reclusive, especially during the daytime, but become more active during the evening and night.
Breeding and Reproduction: Breeding in a home aquarium is challenging. They're cave spawners, and males guard the eggs post-fertilization. Eggs are typically laid in crevices or caves.
Aquarium Care and Tank Requirements: A minimum of a 75-gallon tank is recommended for adult specimens. The aquarium should have many hiding places, particularly caves or crevices. Strong filtration and aeration are essential, mimicking their natural fast-flowing habitat. They can be sensitive to water quality, so regular maintenance is crucial.
Ideal Tank Mates: Being territorial, especially with their own kind or other bottom-dwelling fish, they need space. Suitable tank mates include mid to top-dwelling species that aren't too small. Larger tetras, barbs, and rasboras are examples.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate. They require specific water conditions and a diet, but their hardy nature makes them manageable for those familiar with the requirements of more specialized species.
- Temperature: 78-86°F (25-30°C)
- pH: 6.5-7.5
- General Hardness (GH): 5-15 dGH
- Carbonate Hardness (KH): 6-10 dKH
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrite: 0 ppm
- Nitrate: <20 ppm
- Due to their carnivorous diet, it's essential to avoid overfeeding as they can become overweight.
- Their spiny appearance can make them appear intimidating, but with proper care and environment, they are relatively peaceful.
- As with all fish, it's crucial to ensure that they are ethically sourced, given concerns about wild populations and habitats. Always aim to buy captive-bred specimens when possible.
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