Ancistrus cf. ranunculus L255
It’s “funny” how certain species go from being a staple part of the ornamental fish menu to just disappear completely! L255 is one of those L-numbers that we used to see on the dealers’ lists every week back in the day, but that has changed. It’s not prohibited to export from Brazil, the main issue is actually where it’s found. Collectors near Sao Felix can’t be bothered collecting these “worthless” Ancistrus when they can focus on more valuable fish like Pseudacanthicus pirarara (L25) and Potamotrygon leopoldi stingrays instead! So, no L255 are collected for the ornamental trade these days, which of course is a real shame. With its flat, broad shape and pretty pattern of white spots on a black background, L255 is a very cool fish.
Name: Ancistrus cf. ranunculus (Muller, Rapp Py-Daniel & Zuanon, 1994)
Trade names: Spotted Medusa Pleco, L255
Origin: Rio Xingu, Brazil
Maximum TL: 13 cm / 5''
It comes from shallow rapids in the middle part of Rio Xingu where it lives among crevices of rocks. These are grazed for algae and biofilm, which makes up most of it's diet according to stomach content sampling. It also feeds on sponges found in the river. In captivity, adding small frozen foods (larvae, brine shrimps) and good dry foods seem to work well. It's a species sensitive to new surroundings, and it takes a while for them to settle down and start eating. It's also very oxygen demanding, so a good current and filtration is essential for them to thrive. Breeding was rare to hear about when this species was a regular encounter in the trade.
Whether or not L255 is a morph of A.ranunculus (L34) remains to be seen, but they share the unique physical shape. Regular A.ranunculus are said to grow slightly bigger. Young A.ranunculus actually have spots, which they lose as they grow.