month (August 2006) we welcome backregular
contributor, U.K. author Chris Ralph, and his look
at the Sunshine or Goldie Pleco Scobiancistrus
is a relatively recently described species of Loricariid
(1994). This particular catfish was first given its
L-number reference in 1989, before finally being described
scientifically in 1994. It is documented that this
catfish when eating dead fish will first eat the skin
of the fish before eating the flesh, sometimes not
even bothering to eat the flesh at all!
This catfish as
with many other species is best described as being
a substrate dweller, with its typical suckermouth
adapted to feeding upon different food types found
on the substrate.
I have seen a
number of these striking catfish available for sale
over the years and I would suggest that you would
expect to pay anything from £30 for a juvenile
specimen to in excess of £100 for an adult fish.
aureatus prefer to be kept in water which has
a pH in the range of 5.8-7.2. This catfish is ideally
suited to temperatures in the range of 25-29ºC.
It fares best in well aerated, clean water conditions
with a preference for a good water flow.
the mouth structure
I would suggest
a minimum size of 48” x 24” X 24”,
although a larger aquarium would be preferred for
one of these fascinating larger catfish. 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 a small covering of aquatic plants.
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.
Goldie Pleco and Sunshine Pleco
the Rio Xingu and Para in Brazil. The type locality
for Scobiancistrus aureatus is documented
as being the Ihla da Fazenda.
300mm S.L. (12ins) (standard
length – this is the measurement of the fish
from the tip of the snout to the base of the caudal
shape of Scobiancistrus aureatus is described
as being elongate and flattened. The body is completely
covered with small spines. The mouth is described
as being inferior with lips forming a disc-like shape.
The teeth are arranged in rows. The eyes have a peg-shaped
iris lobe which is typical of most species of Loricariid.
The adipose fin consists of a spiny projection which
supports a membrane. This catfish has distinctive
The base colour of the body
and head is dark olive green. The suckermouth is yellowy
white in colour. In juvenile specimens the body is
overlaid with large yellow or gold coloured spots
along the length of the body, which can be seen extending
from the body into the base of the fins. The fins
are a vivid orange colour in juvenile fish, with the
exception of the adipose fin which shares the same
base colour of the body with spots. In adult specimens
the body is overlaid with a greater number of spots
which can also be seen spread over the majority of
the surface of the fins. The tips of the fins become
yellow in colour as opposed to the vivid orange colour
in juvenile fish.
Care and Compatibility
is an ideal addition to an aquarium containing such
fish as South American cichlids, discus and angelfish,
just as long as the other occupants are not too aggressive
and can withstand the higher water temperatures.
As far as I am
aware there are no documented records of Scobiancistrus
aureatus having been spawned in aquaria to date,
which is most likely due to the cost of purchasing
the breeding stock and also to the potential size
of aquarium required.
The males tend to be more slender
and larger than the females. The males tend to develop
bristles around the cheeks and head, with larger spines
or odontodes being present along the leading edge of
the pectoral fin ray.
a mixed and varied diet which includes sinking foods
such as catfish pellets, frozen bloodworm and any
other good quality foods which sink to the substrate.
These catfish also have a preference to feed upon
meatier foods such as dead fish, mussels and prawns.
defined as a second dorsal fin which consists of fatty
tissue with a single spine supporting a thin membrane.
Inferior: defined as visible only from beneath
the head in reference to the mouth. Nasal: defined as being in relation
to the nostrils.
Scobinancistrus:Latin, scobis = sawdust
+ Greek, agkistron = hook. aureatus: Which means golden, which is referring to
the golden coloured finnage.
images by Author
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