This species endemic to Colombia has a wide distribution,
being present in the Magdalena, Cauca, Lebrija, San
Jorge, Lower Cesar, Lower Sinú and Catatumbo
River basins (Maldonado-Ocampo et al. 2005). Its type
locality is Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta, Magdalena
basin, 40 kilometers east of Barranquilla (Steindachner
1878). It inhabits rivers with slow currents and a
substrate of accumulated plant matter. Reproduction:
Males take care of the eggs in caves they dig in the
gorges of river margins (Ortega-Lara et al. 2002,
Maldonado-Ocampo et al. 2005). Aquarium Care:A 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
well in normal aquarium 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: It
feeds on detritus, algae and invertebrates. 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:
In parts of its range (Cienaga Santa Marta), this
species is affected by pollution from mining activities,
urbanization and agriculture. General threats in the
rest of the Magdalena.
Magdalena River basin. Type locality:
Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta, Magdalena basin, 40
kilometers east of Barranquilla.
2008. Back to Nature guide to L-catfishes, Ettlingen,
Germany 208 p. Mesa-Salazar, L. & Mojica, J.
2016. Pterygoplichthys undecimalis. The IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species 2016. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors.
2017. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication.
www.fishbase.org, ( 02/2017 ).