his month (August 2006) we welcome back regular
contributor, U.K. author Chris Ralph, and his look at the Sunshine
or Goldie Pleco Scobiancistrus aureatus.
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.
Scobiancistrus 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
The body 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 nasal flutes.
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.
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.
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
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.
Scobiancistrus aureatus readily
accepts 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.
|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
which means golden, which is referring to the golden coloured
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
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