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Pterygoplichthys ambrosettii (Holmberg, 1893)

Image contributors to this species:

Doug Mainor (1) Peru Aquarium Group (1) Allan James (3) Daniel Konn-Vetterlein (1) Haraldo Bishop (6)

ScotCat Sources:

Etymology = Genus  

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Search Google  All Catfish Species Inventory  Catalog of Fishes

Relevant Information:

The first thumbnail image shows a species caught by the Image Contributor in Florida just off the St Johns river system. and is not indigenous to this country. The genus name has now been reclassified to Pterygoplichthys from Liposarcus due to the work carried out by J.W. Armbruster 2004. There are still some publications that still use Liposarcus as the preferred genus name. Aquarium Care: Whatever the status of this species it will be reasonably peaceful, if large species, which will need a good sized aquarium starting of with a 3 footer (90cm) when small and progressing to a larger tank with good external filtration to facilitate a good oxygen content, as it excretes copious amounts of waste if fed properly on vegetable matter. If the water quality is not adhered to, small holes can appear in the fin membranes. You will notice when your water quality is not up to the mark as they "hang" in the water just of their fins, from the substrate, which means 'get that water change done'. It is kind to plants in the aquarium, the only problem is when it gets bigger and can uproot them in its conquest around the tank. Very hardy species which will do better in cooler temperatures. You can identify a Pterygoplichthys species from Hypostomus for example due to the many more rays in the dorsal fin, which can be up to 10 or over. They also have nasal flutes on the nose. Diet: They are mostly vegetarian with algae being their number one source of food but to keep a large fish fed on algae alone is impossible so you can feed also, spinach, blanched lettuce, cucumber, courgette (zucchini) and also non veg food such as tablets and prawns. Remarks: They can be beautiful if living in white water, but they lose this high contrast colouration in clear water and get more of a black colour. Also males get entirely black when adult and look like a different species. (D.K-V). This is also an invasive species in the upper Rio Paraná basin (L.T). Note: The last 6 thumbnail images are of a juvenile specimen that was captured by the image contributor in the La Ensenada creek, near Diamante, Entre Rios, Argentina.

Common Name:

Snow King Pleco


Ancistrus multiradiatus alternans, Pterygoplichthys juvens, Pterygoplichthys anisitsi, Liposarcus ambrosettii.




South America: Paraguay, middle Paraná, Bermejo, and Uruguay River basins. Type locality: Río Paraguay, in front of Formosa.


40.0cm. (16ins)


21-24°c (69-75°f.)




Armbruster, J.W, 2004. Phylogenetic relationships of the suckermouth armoured  catfishes (Loricariidae) with emphasis on the Hypostominae and the Ancistrinae.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Daniel Konn-Vetterlein: Internet conversation June, 2015.
Luiz Tencatt: Internet conversation June, 2015.



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                                                                                                 updated = November 17, 2018 © ScotCat 1997-2018