Royal Panaque, Royal Plecostomus, Black-lined Panaque Panaque nigrolineatus
Synonyms: Chaetostomus nigrolineatus, Cochliodon nigrolineatus
Physical description: The Royal Panaque is covered everywhere but the belly with large bony plates. The head is large, broad, and flat. The mouth is on the underside of the head and is shaped like a suction cup. The body color is black with long white to yellow stripe that extend the length of the body. The dorsal fin stands tall when erect. The iris of healthy individuals is bright orange to red.
Size/Length: To 16" (40 cm)
Similar species: Hypostomus and other Panaque species.
Habitat: South America; the Putumayo River in Southern Columbia.
Aquarium: 48" (122 cm) or a 55 or more gallon (209 L) tank is sufficient. Provide hiding places with slabs of rock, caves, wood, roots, and thickets of robust plants. The tank should have a good filtration system that produces a strong current. Aerate the water well.
Water chemistry: pH 6.5-7.5 (7.0), 2-15 (10), 75-82°F (24-28°C)
Social behavior: Aggressive towards own species, but peaceful towards other fish. Can be combined with small to large fish. A nocturnal species.
Suggested companions: Corydoras, tetras, Discus, Apistogramma
FOOD: Algae; fruit; vegetables; peas, spinach, lettuce; live; crustaceans, insect larvae. Panaque species must have a large amount of "green foods" in their diet or they may develop intestinal disorders. Another result from lack of these foods is that the fish will go after plants.
Sexual differences: Mature males are said to have thicker pectoral spines.
Breeding techniques: Unknown
Breeding potential: 10. Breeding has not been accomplished in aquaria.
Remarks: This fish is often expensive. Do not treat the water with medications, or do so in small amounts. The medications become concentrated in the algae, and when the fish eats these, it often is poisoned to death. These fish are also subject to intestinal disease if not fed the proper diet. This species grows slowly and is sensitive to changes in water chemistry. Recently imported specimen often suffer from malnutrition and as a result are hollow-bellied. Thus it is important to offer them high-fiber foods in order for them to recover.
Difficulty of care: 7. The Royal Panaque is a challenging fish to care for, but well worth the effort with its stunning color pattern. They are sensitive to water quality and medications and are also subject to disease.
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