Author Chris Ralph is back this month with
an update to his 2006 factsheet for the U.K. fishkeeping magazine,
Practical Fishkeeping with another
look at, to many, may be the northern population of an earlier
factsheet on the species L200, Hemiancistrus
subviridis. We now hand you over to Chris for his insight
into the L128.
he L128 Hemiancistrus sp. is documented as being similar
to L200 and could possibly be the northern population of this
species. This catfish has the name Chaestostoma species
in Aqualog All L-Numbers but it is not, which is why it had been
placed into the sub-family Ancistrinae then lateraly to the Loricariinae
subfamily where it has been placed into the Hemiancistrus
genera, the same as its sister species Hemiancistrus subviridis,
until it can be been described to species.
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. L128 is documented as not being as hardy as
L200 but will however acclimatise with a little more care and
husbandry from the aquarist. L128 will adapt to aquarium conditions
with calmer flows than it is used to in its natural habitat.
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 £75
for an adult fish (2006 prices).
The body shape 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 adipose fin consists
of a spiny projection which supports a membrane. This catfish has
distinctive nasal flutes.
Hemiancistrus sp. (L128) prefers to be kept in water
which has a pH in the range of 6.5-7.2. This catfish is ideally
suited to temperatures in the range of 23-26ºC. It fares
best in well aerated, clean water conditions with a preference
for a good water flow.
Below is the very similar patterened
L200 which may turn out to be the southern population of
I would suggest a minimum tank size of
48” x 24” X 24”, although a larger aquarium
would be preferred for one of these fascinating 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, although this is not essential. An ideal
set-up would include some vertical rocks and some larger rounded
boulders and a fairly strong current, as these catfish live
naturally in the cracks and crevices in the rocks. 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 inky
black with variable bluish white spots, although the spotting does
also appear cream in certain conditions. The spots are more concentrated
around the anterior part of the body and head, thinning out towards
the posterior of the fish. The spots extend into the fins and can
be seen on the pectoral, adipose, dorsal, caudal and pelvic fin
L128 is an ideal addition to an aquarium
containing such fish as South American cichlids, tetras and angelfish,
just as long as the other occupants are not too aggressive.
As far as I am aware there are no documented
records of L128 having been spawned in aquaria to date, which
is most likely due to the cost of purchasing the breeding stock.
It is generally thought although not proven that this catfish,
like a number of other species of Loricariid catfish, is a cave
L128 readily accepts a mixed and varied diet
which includes sinking foods such as catfish pellets, algae wafers,
courgette, cucumber, frozen bloodworm and any other good quality
foods which sink to the substrate. These catfish benefit from the
addition of some meatier foods in their diet such as prawns and
|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. It is thought that in mature males the dorsal fin
is more developed giving it an almost shark like appearance.
In addition it is generally thought that the spots around
the head region in mature males are larger.
is defined as a second dorsal fin which consists of fatty
tissue with a single spine supporting a thin membrane. Inferior
is defined as visible only from beneath the head in reference
to the mouth.
Nasal is defined as being in relation to
Dorsal fin is defined as the medial fin on
top of back.
Caudal fin is defined as the tail fin.
Pectoral fins are defined as paired lateral
Pelvic fins are defined as paired ventral
fins between the pectoral and anal fins.
Top & Middle: © Chris
Allan James @