he 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.
belongs 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.
Parotocinclus 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 said to be approximately 18 species
of Parotocinclus from Brazil following a review of
the genus in 1977 by Dr. Garavello which was published in the
journal Arquivos de Zoologia, Sâo Paulo entitled ‘Systematics
and Geographical distributions of the genus Parotocinclus’.
Parotocinclus 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 basis.
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.
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.
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
There are no documented reports of successful
aquarium spawnings of Parotocinclus spilosoma as far
as I am aware.
Parotocinclus spilosoma 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.
|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
G. de Brito and Érica P. Caramaschi;
2005, An albino armored catfish Schizolecis guntheri
(Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from an Atlantic Forest coastal
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).
Britski, 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
from the Greek para meaning in the side of + Greek
ous, otis meaning ear + Greek kygklos, ou meaning a fish.
is defined as the tail fin.
Pectoral fins are defined as paired lateral
Dorsal fin is defined as the medial fin
on top of the back.
Adipose is defined as a second dorsal fin.
Anal fin is defined as the medial fin immediately
posterior to the anus.
Ventral fins are defined as the paired
fins between the pectoral and anal fins.
Compressed is defined as flattened from
side to side.
Scute is defined as a bony plate.