first month of 2011 and we have factsheet contributor
Chris Ralph who is also one of the regular authors
to the U. K. magazine "Tropical Fish". He
introduces us to a small and not too common member
of the Loricariidae family, the "Gold Spot Dwarf
Pleco", Parotocinclus spilisoma.
to the family Loricariidae known as the Plecs, L-numbers
and Suckermouth Catfishes. This particular species
can be found in South America namely Brazil in Paraíba
and is also documented as being found in Paraíba
do Sul and Rio de Janeiro State Rivers.
spilosoma is a species that I have not yet had
the pleasure to keep and is not a catfish which is
commonly available although it is worth looking out
for and is ideal for a small aquarium. This catfish
is relatively easy to keep as long as the pH is not
allowed to drop too much. There
are approximately 35 described species of Parotocinclus
from Brazil, with Dr.Garavello
reviewing this genus in 1977 in the Arquivos de Zoologia,
Sâo Paulo in a paper 'Systematics and Geographical
distributions of the genus Parotocinclus'. He
also stated that the males have a genital papilla
and as such it is a good way to sex out this genus.
spilosoma prefer to be kept in water which has
a pH in the range of 5.8-7.5, and hardness in the
range of 5-20°dGH. This catfish is ideally suited
to temperatures in the range of 22-28ºC or 71-83ºF.
I would suggest a minimum
size of 24” x 15” X 12” for a small
shoal of these catfish, with plenty of hiding places
amongst bogwood and plants. I would suggest good quality
aquarium sand such as BD Aquarium Sand, or very smooth
rounded gravel as the preferred substrate when keeping
these catfish. The aquarium should provide some shelter
in the form of rocks or bogwood along with the inclusion
of some taller aquatic plants such as Vallis. As with
all other species of fish, water quality and general
husbandry is very important, and I would recommend
that a minimum of 25% water is changed on a weekly
Due to the small
size of this catfish it is quite often overlooked
in amongst retailer’s aquariums, so it is well
worth taking some time to seek this catfish out.
Spot Dwarf Pleco
South eastern. Type
locality: Praia do Piraíque, Ilha
de São Sebastião, Estado de São
50mm s.l. (standard length
– this is the measurement of the fish from the
tip of the snout to the base of the caudal peduncle).
The body and head shape of
Parotocinclus spilosoma is described as being
compressed. The body is covered with bony plates or
scutes which are aligned in a lateral series. The
mouth is described as being inferior with lips which
form a disc-like mouth. The dorsal fin is described
as having a spine and 5-6 soft rays.
The base colour of the body
and head is described as being olive green with
irregular gold coloured blotches over the entire
body length. The leading rays of the dorsal, pectoral
and caudal fins are described as being olive green
with gold banding. The caudal fin is described as
being forked with dark transverse bands which alternate
from olive green to gold/yellow in colour. The iris
of the eye is described as being gold in colour.
Care & Compatibility
Wherever possible I would recommend
that the aquarist keep these catfish in a community
aquarium in small groups of six or more, but as the
absolute minimum I would suggest three specimens assuming
that they are available in these numbers. These catfish
should be kept with other small species of fish which
are peaceful, such as tetras and small barbs. In their
natural habitat Parotocinclus spilosoma would
be found in relatively large shoals.
There are no documented
reports of successful aquarium spawnings of Parotocinclus
spilosoma as far as I am aware.
The males tend
to be more slender than females especially noticeable
when these catfish are in breeding condition. It is
generally thought that the males have genital papilla
which helps when sexing these tiny catfish.
readily accepts a mixed and varied diet which includes
lettuce, cucumber, courgette(zucchini), tablet foods,
flake foods, granular foods, frozen bloodworm, to
name but a few.
defined as a second dorsal fin. Anal fin is defined as the medial
fin immediately posterior to the anus. Caudal fin is defined as the tail
fin. Compressed is defined as flattened
from side to side. Dorsal fin is defined as the medial
fin on top of the back. Pectoral fins are defined as paired
lateral fins. Scute is defined as a bony plate.
Ventral fins are defined as the paired
fins between the pectoral and anal fins.
Parotocinclus: from the Greek para meaning in the side
of + Greek ous, otis meaning ear + Greek kygklos,
ou meaning a fish.
H.A. and J.C. Garavello 1984 Two new southeastern
Brazilian genera of Hypoptopomatinae and a redescription
of Pseudotocinclus Nichols, 1919 (Ostariophysi, Loricariidae).
Pap. Avulsos Dep. Zool. São Paulo 35(21):225-241. Burgess, W.E. 1989 An atlas of freshwater
and marine catfishes. A preliminary survey of the
Siluriformes. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City,
New Jersey (USA). 784 p. Marcelo F. G. de Brito
and Érica P. Caramaschi;2005, An albino armored catfish Schizolecis
guntheri (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from an Atlantic
Forest coastal basin.