The Royal Pleco was one of the Plecos that was traded on a fairly regular basis even before the l-number craziness began. These massive, impressive Plecos come from Colombia and Venezuela, and are very beautiful creatures. Usually they were kept for their willingness to keep roots and stones clean from algae. Nowadays we know more about them, and the most noteworthy thing is that Panaque species are woodeaters. They need plenty of wood to chew on for their digestion. When settled they will be active even during the day, and if their basic demands are fulfilled they can even be kept in community set ups.
Name: Panaque nigrolineatus (Peters, 1877)
Trade names: L190, Royal Pleco
Origin: Rio Meta, Colombia. Rio Orinoco, Venezuela.
Maximum size: 50 cm / 20''
All Panaque species must be provided lots of wood in their environment, as this is needed for their digestive system. They should also be fed a varied menu of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, cucumbers and such. Additional dry foods like tablets should also be given. If given too much protein rich/fat food their digestive system will suffer. Panaques are large growing fish, so they must be given enough space. A very good filtration system is required to maintain a good water quality and break down the amounts of waste produced by these grazing machines. Regular water changes are of course also essential. They are very peaceful, and will not go after even the smallest fish for food. As they age, males may become more territorial and quarrelsome towards each other. Males develop extreme odontodal growth on their cheeks and pectoral fins. Breeding is very rare in captivity due to the size of the fish, but has occurred. The eggs are placed in a shelter among wood, or in cavities large enough for the adults.
P.nigrolineatus has a very similar cousin with a pattern of spots in stead of stripes, this is known as L330. Also, L191 is a similar species from Colombia, but this is more green instead of grey. The Colombian forms can be distinguished from the Brazilian P.armbrusteri by the caudal pattern.