L002 Panaqolus/Panaque sp

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Retired Staff
Apr 8, 2009
All Assigned Numbers: L002, L074


Common Names: Tiger plec

Location: South America: Rio Tocantins at Cametá, Pará, Brazil.



Compatibility: Peaceful and unproblematic fish, suitable for community tanks and show tanks with easy to stress fish like Discus or Angel Fish, as well as other bottom-dwelling fish. May become a bit pushy during feeding time, or if not enough hiding places are offered, but if the tank is properly aqua scaped it is not aggressive, even towards its own kind.
The Tiger Panaque has been successfully bred in captivity on a small number of occasions, but most specimen in the aquarium trade are still wild-caught.

Sexing and Breeding: Mature, breedable males have quite a lot of odontode growth on the body and pectoral fin ray

Diet: This is a wood-eating catfish, like all species from the genus Panaque (including those known to some as Panaqolus) and Cochliodon. Therefore, a good supply of bog wood is necessary in the tank: not only does this fish extracts certain elements and nutrients from the organic layer which forms on the wood over time (also known as "Aufwuchs"), it actually eats the wood itself, possibly for digestive reasons. As wood does is not very rich in nutrients, it means the Tiger Panaque consumes vast amounts of it, and produces an almost equal amount of waste (because of which a very strong filtration system is an absolute necessity).
Besides wood, the diet can be supplemented with vegetable matter (cucumber, lettuce, egg plant/aubergine, zucchini/courgette, etc. as well as algae and catfish pellets) and meaty foods like shrimp and pieces of fish fillet.

Water parameters: Temp 22-30c PH 5.5-7.5
This small catfish-species prefers a dimly lit tank with a good number of hiding places, either created with plants, drift wood, rocks or artificial (pleco spawning) caves. To keep more than one specimen in the same tank, or together with other bottom dwelling fish, you need at least a 40x16" (100x40cm.) tank: this fish can be quite territorial, and when suitable hiding places are lacking, it can be aggressive towards other bottom dwellers. When kept as only catfish in an aquarium, a tank size of 32x14" (80x35cm.) is sufficient.
Typical for South American catfish, this species does best in soft, slightly acidic to neutral water, good oxygenation and a good amount of currents. It can however adapt to harder, more alkaline water, but whether it will reproduce under such conditions is questionable.

Max Size: 4-5"

Bred by: lealea, Brengun, KrazyGeoff

Breeding Logs: See posts below. For comments and questions please use original thread here L002 breeding Log and Breeding L002

Additional Comments:

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Apr 22, 2009
Burrum Heads, Queensland, Australia
Keeping and breeding L002 tiger pleco.

May 17th 2008 I bought 5 L002 fry from Lealea. They were approx 4cm and cost $60AU each at the time. I estimate they were 4 to 6 months of age.
These were some of my earliest pleco purchases and this was only my 3rd species of L's. I had L397 and L134 fry from Lealea in the month prior to getting these L002 fry.

Tank: I first set them up in a 2.5ft (750mm) tank with sand substrate, driftwood with anubias and some little caves to hide in.
Filtration: I had a small canister filter, an air sponge filter and a small powerfilter.
Temp & pH: The temperature was set on 28C (80F) since that is what Lealea had kept them at and pH of approx a neutral 7 to 7.2.
Food: The fry seemed more interested in eating wood at first but they also enjoyed Hikari algae wafers, zucchini and cucumber. I withheld more meatier foods as the fry were young and listed as wood eaters moreso than omnivores.

The picture below shows two of the fry settling in to their new home on the day I got them.

By August they had grown to almost 6cm as that is the outside width of that cave pictured.

By Jan 2009 a little past their first birthday they were mostly 7cm or a little bigger.
It appeared I had a mix of sexes and hoped I had 2m/3f.

Eventually my colony was moved to a bigger 4ft tank and I installed a larger canister of 2400Lph, and a power head.
The power head was more help as a current pushing debris to the canister intake.

Here is an edited exert from where I posted in another forum of my breeding L002. Unfortunately I lost the plecofanatics post but luckily I posted somewhere else as well.

Mon Jul 27, 2009
My tigers L002 are breeding. Two lots of fry on the go atm. One has only just hatched last night so they will be a week or more before I take them out of the log but today the first spawn got unceremoniously dumped into the fry saver.
Pretty good for a first ever L002 spawn, there are two dozen fry.

Details: took 12 days to hatch and the fry are now 7 days old including hatch day.
The log was one of those small round terracotta logs for bristlenoses. Tank size is 4ft x 1ft x 1.5ft. Water amount would be around 120Ltrs. Filtration is a Fluval internal power filter and an Otto450 (2400Lph) canister filter with added purigen bag. Substrate is gravel and there are numerous driftwood with anubias and java and some thin val. Temp around 26C (78F).

I must have triggered them when the canister kept playing up and not filtering properly. I opened it on average weekly for a month till I finally got it going properly. The little extra added water changes as well as their standard weekly water change must have done the trick.
*Something I did forget to mention is I gradually changed from using town water of pH7.2 to rainwater of pH6 which also may have contributed to a breeding trigger.

I was surprised they spawned so young as I only bought these tigers as 5cm juveniles in May last year. Perhaps they were already 6 months or so old when I got them but that still only makes the adults 21 month old or so and they usually breed at 2yrs of age. Must be my good care and feeding regime.

I have fed the fry with powdered Sera Flora flake and a spirulina plus agar agar mix.

Oh you want photos? I was just a bit too excited to focus very well but I got a few photos. Fry are 1.5cm already.

Tue Sep 08, 2009
I temporarily took all their driftwood away, turned the lights on an took a couple of quick piccies before I over stressed them but gee they are lookin good.

Mon Oct 05, 2009
I've been keeping my L002 fry in a little floating guppy saver for a couple of weeks because the standard fishcave saver wouldn't fit in the limited space between the top of the tank and the stands tier.
I have a couple of each of the two first spawns and a few more from the second two spawns. The second spawns seem much hardier than the first ones and I've had much less losses.
I have two breeding males and three females.

Its been getting pretty crowded in the saver so I ordered a custom made fry saver from thefishcave which is narrower than normal to fit under the tier space and has a wider lip as my lid supports are very wide where the saver is hang on.

I went to install the saver and guess what? The new saver was still 1mm too wide to fit. Grrrrrrrrrr.
Then I noticed I had a 20mm piece of pine board under the tank as a support. It really doesn't have to be there as the 4ft long and 1ft wide tank can sit on the stand with support around the outer edges and it did have a full sheet of white foam lining under the tank to level and support.

The fry got put in a container with a bit of dw and an airstone and I dropped the water level of the tank right down to 10cm and it was still too heavy to lift so I could pull the pine board out. Grrrrrrr.

Nothing for it but to take out the 5 rainbow fish, and the adult L002's and empty the tank. Uh-oh, both males have newly hatched fry in their caves.
I set up a nice container with the tank water and an airstone and very carefully took the breeding logs out of the tank and transferred them to the container.
The 3 females and the rainbowfish got put in buckets along with some plants and driftwood for cover and I got to work emptying the tank.

The filtration has been a canister (Otto 2400Lph) and an 800Lph Otto internal power filter as well as a small sponge filter.
I had changed the Fluval internal filter a few weeks ago for an Otto after the Fluval stopped its air output and reduced its water flow because of the smallest amount of debris in the sponge parts of the filter.
I had lost 24 fry and several cherry shrimp from the malfunction.

I am in the process of putting undergravel filters in all my tanks and they are run from a big 100LP airpump. My idea is that as well as the gravel acting as a filter medium the air output will help the tanks a lot during the hot summer months when the tank temperature rises.
Another bonus is that during the electricity loss as a result of summer storms, I can hook up a converter and a car battery to keep the airpump working for several hours.

I had a 4ft ugf ready and since I was already emptying the tank to pull that board out I might as well wash up some extra gravel to go with the sparce existing gravel and set it all up together.
The ugf has 4 air risers but I only set up 3 of them for air and popped the canister inlet in the 4th riser cradle.
My canister, as well as having all the good bacteria also has a Purigen bag to keep the water clean and polished so I like to retain it.

Emptied the tank, removed the board, set up ugf, and put everything and everyone back in the tank without too much trouble.
The males had stayed in their logs and hopefully in the new setup (with the old water put back) they won't get too upset and kick the wrigglers with egg sacks out.
The new saver fits like a dream and the fry have much more room to get around now.

Thu Oct 08, 2009
I took 9 fry out of one of the logs today and out popped 5 eggs.

Thu Oct 08, 2009
Woohoo, second log had 22 tiger fry. :D

The eggs were hatched in an eggtumbler which is basically just a specimen container with an airstone at the top to draw fresh water through and past the eggs to keep them clean and aerated.

Fry with egg sac still attached. It can take over a week for the fry to absorb the sac. During this time, there is no need to feed the fry but make sure the saver stays quite clean.

Adult male photo.

Even the tigers belly is quite pretty.


Aug 7, 2010
New Zealand
The Tiger Panaques were my first real attempt at breeding fancy plecos using the "make them happy" technique.
It must be remembered with all my breeding logs that the water from my tap has a KH = 0 and a TDS of 60-70. pH = 7.5 and 6.5 after 24 hours.
This sort of presents me with an advantage, one that I am more than willing to exploit.........

Initially the tigers were sharing a 4 foot tank with some LDA33 and a couple of male L204, so initially happy was a relative term.
At the commencement of this project I did not know how my water quality was, as I did not have the correct equipment, so I was preparing for the rainy season and all the other potential trigger events by continuing with my research and a bit of outside the square thinking... Perhaps some Barry White music being piped into the water via some airline tube might be the thing that I needed :whistle:

I figured I needed to get the LDA33 out of the tank before I could expect much, so I made some plans and had a couple of 2 metre stands made so that I could put in a 2 metre tank for the LDA33 and a couple of 1 metre tanks for the L204 colony and the L239 colony. The other L204 males would just have to stay with the tigers because I was going on holiday, out of the country, and had enough to worry about figuring out how to relax on Day Dream Island.:woohoo:

At the same time I was communicating with a few folks from Europe and was becoming inquisitive about the atmospheric pressure breeding results, and the moon cycle breeding results.

Obviously I needed some more gadgets :thumbup: but 4 metres of steel stands and 4 metres of tanks and the associated filters Fluval FX5, Fluval 305, Fluval 405, 5 x Tunzee nanostream pumps and all the wood and rocks, and the trip to the Gold Coast and Day Dream Island had caused quite a dent in the bank balance!
Lucky for me my birthday was coming up, so I managed to score a weather station, a TDS metre, and a pH metre.
So I would be all set up for when I get back from Holiday.

The contents of the fish room were moved 90 degrees to the left (or right) so that the new stands could fit in, and they turned up in time. Then all the glassware arrived and all the tanks were set up and rapid cycled.
Then the fish all got re-homed and that left the 4 male + 1 female tiger in their nice 4 foot tank with a couple of large male L204.

I hired my "fish minder" to look after the setup while I was away (we were going away for 2 weeks), and gave him the appropriate level of training, with the water changes.
I change 200 litres of water per day on the right tanks in the right order (22 something tanks, 3000+ litres!), and the water needs to be pre-heated and conditioned etc. So that over a week every tank has had at least one 20% water change and some will have had 2 x 30% changes

Well ...... two days before we went away and how do you think the tigers repaid me for moving the LDA33 out of their tank? :dk:
That’s right, they spawned :cry:
No pressure for the fish minder and no pressure for trying to relax on holiday!
I decided on a cash bonus for the fish minder if there were surviving fry on my return, and just could not do anything more, so decided not to worry and enjoy my holiday.

On my return there were surviving fry.

I then was able to set up all the monitoring systems and take all the necessary readings, because without this information this would be more the ramblings of some lucky guy, rather than a fish breeding log.

My next worry was whether or not they would breed again........
They did and this time I was able to gather some data:
pH = 5.5
temp = 29C
TDS = 141
The tank setup.........
Below is a picture of the tank.
It is a standard 4 foot tank (122x45x45 cm). Obviously set up for Panaques the only decorations are substrate, wood and caves.
The caves keep the wood off the bottom of the tank. This also provides lots of “upside down†spots for the fish to hang out, and keep an eye on their caves. These caves are all slate, made by myself, although I have tried PVC pipe, resin ornaments and bamboo. The slate seems to be the winner thus far.
Filtration is a Fluval 405 with the intake and the outlet at the right back of the tank. The inlet runs from the top right back of the tank at about a 45 degree angle towards the centre front of the tank.
Heaters and air are located at the back left of the tank.
For circulation a Tunzee 6045 nanostream pump is used and this is located on the right back side of the tank. It is directed upwards at about a 30 degree angle towards the centre right front of the tank. This creates surface agitation but also means the stream of water rolls off the front of the tank and over the cave mouths which all face toward to front of the tank. In theory the water then flows behind the wood pile to the outlet.
They continued to spawn every 44 days, or so.
There was a minor association with them spawning as the atmospheric pressure rose after a drop.
The "season" seemed to start at the end of October and go through until April at which point the temperature went below 28 C.
It is also worth noting that these fish seemed to be more active in the breeding area when the pH was rather low 5.x. It may be that the pH of the rain water is around 5.6 so with the regular water changes (20% three times per 2 weeks) then as the pH naturally dropped in the tank due to having no KH in the replacement water they thought that it was a rainy season?
This year they have just started spawning again and it is September.

The first picture is the tank, as described above.
The second picture is a jar of fry
The third picture is a female L002 (Centre right), a Male L204 (centre) and there are two little L002, one under the log directly under the L204 and one at the left end of that same log.

It must be noted that there was absolutely no aggression between the L204 and the L002. I can only think that this was so because there were no female L204 in the tank? As a precaution the L204 have been moved.
In addition to all this there was one interesting observation I made one night which was particularly funny, so I must share it. It relates I suspect to the females selection of the male and his cave.
In the real world it doesn’t go from day to night, at the flick of a switch, and also there is some stability to when the sun comes up and goes down. So all my lights are on timers and I also have a daylight and sunset arrangement, with different lights coming on and off.
The twilight lights had just come on and I was waiting for my conditioning reservoir to fill up so I was doing the final checks on the tanks. There was some different activity going on in the L002 tank so I grabbed a chair to observe what was going on.
All the males had their tails out of their caves and they were wagging furiously. Some had done a really good job of clearing semi circular furrows in the substrate. The female started at the cave on the left. She nudged the male and he came shooting out of the cave. He danced all around her and then shot up on top of the cave. She poked her head into the cave, but only up to the pectoral fins, he continued to dance all around her brushing her with his pectoral fins. It was really quite funny to watch him. On top of her, to the right, to the left, behind her, on top of the cave. If only they could talk....... The dance finished with them facing one another with his mouth resting on her head, just below the eyes.
Nope she just wasn’t interested, so off to the next cave she went, and the process started all over again.
By the time she had rejected all the males, I thought.... We have a word for girls like you.....


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