L600 Pseudacanthicus leopardus

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Retired Staff
Apr 8, 2009
All assigned numbers:

Name: Pseudacanthicus leopardus

Common Names: Leopard Pleco, Cactus Pleco, "L600"

Location: South America: Rio Essequibo, Rio Rupuni, Rio Branco and Rio Takutu rivers, in the border region of Brazil and Guyana.



Just like many other pleco species relatively peaceful if it has enough room to stake out a territory, which will however be defended fiercely if intruded by other fish. Towards it's own kind or similar looking pleco's, this species can be quite aggressive, and if cramped for space also against other bottom dwellers.

Sexing and Breeding:

This beautifully patterned Loricarid belongs to the genus of carnivorous pleco's called Pseudacanthicus or Cactus Pleco's. One glance at its mouth illustrates this well: instead of a true sucker mouth, it has a mouth than is more suitable for grasping and holding food items. Its teeth are little in number, but powerful and large: ideal for opening snails and crustaceans, as well as rasping meat.
All this means that its diet should primarily be made up of meaty foods, such as shrimp, krill, mussels, blood worms, mosquito larvae and fish meat (fillets). But once acclimatized, the Leopard Pleco usually is an undemanding fish that will also accept pellet food (both with meaty and plant matter) and sometimes even fresh vegetables such as cucumber, zucchini, egg plant, potato, etc.

Water parameters:
Temp 24-30c PH 6.0-7.5
A tank with dimmed lights and a good amount of hiding places (plants, drift wood, rocks, artificial caves) is ideal for this beautifully patterned catfish. This large, robust and often quite aggressive species requires a large tank: at least 60x20" (150x50cm.) for a single specimen, and at least an 80x24" (200x60cm.) tank for a small group of these pleco's. This fish requires plenty of personal space, as they can be very territorial, especially towards its own kind and similar looking bottom dwellers, and with their sharp teeth they are capable of inflicting serious injuries.
The Leopard Cactus Pleco does best in soft, slightly acidic water (pH 5.5-6.5), heavy oxygenation and a lot of currents. A powerful filtration system is required, as this fish produces a lot of waste due to its high-protein diet.

Max Size:
30-40cm. (12-16").

Bred by:

Additional Comments:
This relatively rare species is the 'true' Leopard Cactus Pleco. Most specimen available through the ornamental fish trade are known under the name L114 Pseudacanthicus sp(often called Pseudacanthicus cf. leopardus), and are sold for much lower prices.
Whether we are dealing with the same species is questionable however, given a number of clear distinctions (color, pattern, dentition and amount of teeth). But in the end, scientific research will have to conclusively show whether L114 (which is found in the Rio Demini, a river that drains in the Rio Negro, in the Amazon province in Brazil) is the same species as Pseudacanthicus leopardus, or whether it is a related, but as of yet undescribed species.

The L600 tag that the Pseudacanthicus leopardus has is a number that has been given by exporters and is not a true L-number

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