Green Phantom Pleco: Care, Size, Appearance & More
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Suckermouth catfish, often abbreviated as "plecos", are some of the most commonly seen fish in the freshwater aquarium hobby. Their popularity is for good reason, they're easy to care for and showcase unique and interesting color patterns.
One such species is known as the Green Phantom Pleco, and its eye-catching coloration makes it a favorite amongst hobbyists. If you’re considering the species as your next fish, you’ll want to be well-versed in its care requirements. In this post, we’re going to cover it all. We’ll discuss water parameters, lifespan, diet, and much more.
Table of Contents
Species summary, green phantom pleco vs watermelon green phantom pleco, l-200 hemiancistrus subviridis vs l-200 baryancistrus demantoides, green phantom pleco care, water conditions, common diseases, food & diet, behavior and temperament, where to purchase, in conclusion.
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The Green Phantom Pleco (scientific name: Hemiancistrus subviridis), is a species that hails from the Rio Orinoco , one of the largest rivers in South America. The river, which spans a large portion of Venezuela and drains into Colombia, plays host to a diverse group of wildlife, including giant otters, boto, and thousands of fish, including the popular Cardinal Tetra .
Hobbyists unfamiliar with plecos will appreciate their L-classification system. This system, created in the 1980s by the German magazine, DATZ , provides hobbyists with an additional way of naming species that haven't received a scientific designation.
Interestingly, the Green Phantom Pleco shares a common L number with another similar-looking species, Baryancistrus demantoides. The species closely resemble each other and were once thought to be the same species. Baryancistrus demantoides received its formal classification only as recently as 2005.
A Green Phantom Pleco
Take a glance at a Green Phantom Pleco, and it's easy to understand why the fish is so popular. The Green Phantom Pleco sports a lemon-lime skin tone, with brightly colored yellow dots appearing on the front half of the fish's body.
The Green Phantom has two rows of teeth, which similar to other Plecos, are used for grazing on wood, an essential source of fiber for the Green Phantom's diet.
A large Dorsal fin plays an important role in keeping the fish stabilized against the fast-moving currents of its native habitat. While adults keep their Dorsal fin open at all times, juveniles may occasionally fold this fin to minimize resistance against water turbulence.
Round black eyes sit at the top of the fish, which the species uses to monitor the amount of light that enters the eye during the day. Both males and females have smooth heads without bristles.
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Hobbyists interested in owning a Plecostomus fish with green coloration may confuse the Green Phantom with a similar-looking species, the Watermelon Green Phantom (scientific name: Panaque nigrolineatus laurafabianae). This species, L-classified as L-330, shares the same native habitat as the Green Phantom but is significantly larger.
Watermelon Green Phantom Plecos have a much darker coloration compared to the Green Phantoms and can reach a max length of 20 inches in size.
Baryancistrus and Hemiancistrus are two species that share the same L-classification number and look similar, but the key distinguishing feature between them is that Baryancistrus has a skin fold that connects its dorsal fin to the adipose fin. Hemiancistrus subviridis has these two fins separated.
Baryancistrus demantoides shares a similar appearance and L-classification number
The Green Phantom Pleco is a relatively small fish, with adults reaching about 5 inches in length.
Their small size opens up a lot of opportunities for keeping these fish in smaller aquariums. Providing these fish with a well-balanced diet and a pristine environment will allow them to grow to their full adult size.
In the wild, the Green Phantom Pleco shares an environment with thousands of other fish. While it may seem difficult to recreate the Rio Orinoco at home, with the proper knowledge, you can create a similar environment in which your Green Phantom will thrive.
The Green Phantom Pleco has a lifespan of about 8 years.
The Green Phantom Pleco can live for about 5-8 years in captivity, and in rare cases can live for up to 10 years.
Diet, a stress-free environment, and pristine water conditions are the biggest contributors that allow your Green Phantom Pleco to live a long and healthy life.
Since the Green Phantom is considered to be a small pleco, you'll only need an aquarium that's at least 30 gallons in size to house this species.
Their small size makes them a great choice for a nano tank, but don't be afraid to go bigger. Larger aquariums tend to do a better job at keeping parameters more stable, and they also allow for a variety of different tank mate additions.
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The Green Phantom Pleco hails from a tropical climate, where the fish lives in fast-moving, pH-neutral, warm waters.
Aim for the following if you plan on housing the species.
Temperature Range: 73°F-82°F
KH: 3-10 dKH
Before purchasing, you'll want to ensure that your tank is fully cycled . A testing kit can be used to monitor pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. API's Freshwater Master Test Kit is a great option.
A carefully planned aquarium is essential when housing a Green Phantom Pleco. The rivers of the Rio Orinoco are lush with vegetation. Popular aquatic plants such as Cabomba, Alternanthera, Bacopa, and Salvinia can be found in the clear-watered wetlands which play home to the species.
Different types of driftwood, such as Mopani and Cholla can be added to give your tank a more natural look. Plus, it is an essential food that provides Green Phantoms dietary benefits.
Beige sand or gravel substrate will work well in a Pleco aquarium, and stones such as Texas Holey Rock, Dragon Stones, or Seiryu stones can be used to create captivating aquascapes.
An adjustable powerhead can be used to re-create different flow rates, but as long as there is a sufficient amount of surface agitation, the Green Phantom Pleco can adapt to low and high flow rate conditions.
Green Phantom Plecos will appreciate plenty of hard objects to graze on.
Green Phantom Plecos are susceptible to many of the same diseases that affect most freshwater fish. It's important to always quarantine new fish when possible so that you do not unintentionally introduce new diseases or parasites into your display tank.
Luckily, some of the more common diseases that affect freshwater fish are easily curable, but you'll want to know what to do in case you have to deal with an outbreak.
One of the most common diseases, Ich (scientific name: Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) is a parasite capable of causing fatal damage to your tank inhabitants. If left untreated, it will attack and kill livestock, and then reproduce itself via single cells, called trophants.
Symptoms are usually visual. Small white dots (the trophants) will appear over the body of affected fish, which can also demonstrate a lack of appetite, lethargy, and increased rates of respiration.
Occasionally, fish affected by the disease will dart into objects, a process called "flashing".
Treatment is relatively straightforward. Many hobbyists have been able to eradicate the parasite by raising their internal aquarium temperature to 86°F. After about 5 days, the parasite should begin to die off and symptoms should improve. If increasing the temperature doesn't cure the disease, consider treatment with a product like API's Super Ich Cure .
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Often confused with Ich, Epistylis is a single-celled protozoan, which can display similar symptoms to Ich. Affected fish will lose their appetite, and may appear as translucent patches, powdery dust, or raised-salt-like granules that appear on the fish's body. It's also possible for Epistylis to coexist with Ich, and the disease can be fatal.
While poor water quality is often attributed to the outbreak of this disease, treatment involves reducing tank temperatures by 5-10°F., and dosing Super Ich Cure and Maracyn 2 .
If successful, the disease should start to clear up after 1-2 rounds of treatment.
Green Phantom Plecos are omnivorous fish and should be fed a diet consisting of nutrient-rich algae wafers and blanched foods such as peas, lettuce, and zucchini 1-2 times a day.
As a treat, you can supplement their diet with bloodworms and earthworms.
Green Phantom Plecos are peaceful fish, and spend most of their time grazing on algae and lounging along the substrate. They love to hang out in small caves, including artificial ones .
While they may occasionally go for a short swim, these fish are incredibly laid back. The only exception is during feeding time, when they may be a bit overprotective of their meal.
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If you're setting up a brand new aquarium, you can introduce other species of plecos, such as the Queen Arabesque Pleco and the Green Dragon Bristlenose . Avoid adding a Green Phantom to a tank with existing plecos, as this can lead to territorial disputes.
Other tank mate options include:
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Avoid aggressive fish, such as the Cuban Cichlid , Red Dragon Flowerhorn Cichlid or Electric Blue Jack Dempsey .
Hobbyists looking to breed the Green Phantom will be pleased to know that the species has been successfully bred in captivity. It can be difficult to spot the differences between male and female species. Breeders will often purchase a small group of fish at once and wait for a pair up.
Breeders should have an established fry-raising tank that is fully cycled and filtered. Temperatures should be raised to about 77-78°F.
These fish are cave-spawners, so 1-2 artificial caves should be provided.
You can introduce the mating pair, and observe their behavior. Typically they'll stay near the artificial caves before spawning. If they spawn, they'll lay about 40 eggs at a time, which typically hatch in 3-4 days.
The difficult part is raising the fry. You'll need to feed them infusoria or powdered spirulina for 3-5 days, after which you can transition to small bits of baby brine shrimp. You'll also need to perform 20% weekly water changes to maintain pristine water conditions. If done correctly, you can transition the fry once again from baby brine shrimp to small flake food.
Maintain these feeding and water change schedules for 3-4 months, and you'll have successfully bred the Green Phantom Pleco.
Green Phantom Plecos can be purchased when available on our marketplace , and can also be found for sale on some of the larger online retailers.
Green Phantom Plecos aren't nearly as common as the Common Pleco, and their rarity often correlates to a higher price tag. Hobbyists can expect to pay between $50-$100 for a single Green Phantom Pleco.
The Green Phantom Pleco is a great choice for hobbyists looking for a small and attractive plecostomus species. It's an easy-to-care-for, attractive fish that can coexist with many popular freshwater fish.
Now that you've learned all about this species, do you plan on adding one to your fish tank? We have a strong feeling it's a choice you won't regret. Let us know what you think by commenting below, and be sure to check out our marketplace and community forum where you can connect with other hobbyists.
With over a decade of aquarium experience, Miles can be found writing about saltwater and freshwater aquariums. When he’s not writing about fish, you can find him going for a run or building websites, such as this one!
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Blue Phantom Pleco : Complete Care Guide
- by Tim Priest
- March 29, 2023
Once upon a time, in the fast-flowing rivers of Venezuela’s Orinoco Basin, there lived a captivating creature adorned in shades of blue, a living work of art that captured the hearts of all who beheld it. This enchanting creature, known as the Blue Phantom Pleco , has since been welcomed into the homes of countless fish enthusiasts, bringing a touch of magic to their underwater kingdoms.
If you, too, wish to invite this spellbinding fish into your realm, look no further! This comprehensive guide will illuminate the path to providing the perfect home for your Blue Phantom Pleco, ensuring a tale of aquatic harmony and happiness for years to come.
Introduction to the Blue Phantom Pleco
Welcome to the fascinating world of the Blue Phantom Pleco! This stunning and unique fish is a prized addition to any freshwater aquarium, with its vibrant blue coloration and intriguing personality. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Blue Phantom Pleco care, from tank setup and feeding to breeding and health tips.
By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped to provide the best possible care for your new aquatic companion. So, let’s dive in!
Habitat and Distribution
The Blue Phantom Pleco, also known as the L128 or Hemiancistrus sp., is native to the fast-flowing rivers and streams of the Orinoco River Basin in Venezuela. They thrive in environments with clear, oxygen-rich water and rocky substrates, making their way along the riverbed in search of algae and other food sources.
Their unique adaptations, such as their suckermouth and flattened body, enable them to cling to rocks and navigate the strong currents with ease.
Creating the Ideal Aquarium Environment
Size and space requirements.
For a single Blue Phantom Pleco, a minimum tank size of 55 gallons is recommended. Keep in mind that these fish can grow up to 7-10 inches in length, so they require plenty of space to swim and explore.
If you plan to house multiple Plecos or other fish species, consider upgrading to a larger aquarium to accommodate their needs and minimize territorial disputes.
Water Conditions and Parameters
- Temperature : The ideal temperature range for Blue Phantom Plecos is between 73°F and 82°F (23°C-28°C). Maintaining a stable temperature within this range is crucial for their health and well-being, so invest in a high-quality aquarium heater and thermometer to monitor the temperature consistently.
- pH and Hardness : The ideal pH range for Blue Phantom Plecos is between 6.0 and 7.5, with a water hardness of 2 to 10 dGH. Regularly test your aquarium’s water parameters and make any necessary adjustments to keep your Pleco in the best possible environment.
- Filtration Requirements : As these fish originate from fast-flowing rivers, they require strong water movement and well-oxygenated water. Invest in a high-quality, powerful filter that can handle the bioload of your tank and create ample water movement. Additionally, consider adding an air pump to increase oxygen levels and promote overall water quality.
Substrate and Decorations
A sandy or fine-grained gravel substrate is best for Blue Phantom Plecos, as it closely resembles their natural habitat and will not damage their delicate barbels. When it comes to decorations, include plenty of rocks, driftwood, and caves for your Pleco to explore and hide in. These hiding spots not only provide a sense of security but also help prevent stress and territorial behavior.
Plants and Hiding Spots
Live plants are a great addition to a Blue Phantom Pleco’s tank, as they provide additional hiding spots, improve water quality, and contribute to the overall aesthetics of the aquarium. Choose hardy plants like Java Fern , Anubias , and Vallisneria , which can withstand the Pleco’s occasional nibbling and thrive in the same water conditions.
Tank Mates and Compatibility
The Blue Phantom Pleco is a generally peaceful species that can coexist with a variety of tank mates. Choose non-aggressive, similarly sized fish that prefer the same water conditions, such as tetras, rasboras , and corydoras. Avoid housing your Pleco with aggressive or territorial species, as well as other large plecos or bottom-dwelling fish, to prevent competition for resources and territory.
Feeding and Nutrition
Varied Diet for Optimal Health
A well-rounded diet is essential for the health and well-being of your Blue Phantom Pleco. In the wild, they primarily graze on algae and biofilm , but they will also consume insect larvae and other small organisms. In the aquarium, provide a mix of high-quality sinking pellets or wafers, fresh vegetables (such as zucchini, cucumber, and spinach), and occasional treats like bloodworms or brine shrimp .
Feeding Frequency and Schedule
Feeding your Blue Phantom Pleco once a day is typically sufficient. However, you can also opt for smaller, more frequent feedings if preferred. Observe your Pleco’s eating habits and adjust the feeding schedule as needed to prevent overfeeding or underfeeding. Keep in mind that they are nocturnal creatures and may be more active during the evening or nighttime hours.
Encouraging Natural Feeding Behaviors
To mimic your Pleco’s natural feeding behavior, try attaching vegetables or algae wafers to rocks or driftwood, encouraging them to graze and forage for food as they would in the wild. You can also introduce live plants that produce algae, such as Marimo moss balls , to create a more natural environment for your Pleco to explore and feed on.
Breeding the Blue Phantom Pleco
Breeding Blue Phantom Plecos (Hemiancistrus sp. L128) can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Follow this detailed step-by-step guide to increase your chances of successfully breeding these beautiful fish :
Step 1: Sexing and Pairing
1.1 Identify males and females: Males are generally larger than females and have a broader head with a more pronounced, squarish shape. During breeding season, males may develop odontodes (small tooth-like structures) on their pectoral fins and the back of their body.
1.2 Introduce several Plecos: To increase the chances of successful breeding, introduce at least six individuals into the tank, allowing them to form pairs naturally.
Step 2: Preparing the Breeding Tank
2.1 Use a separate tank: Set up a dedicated breeding tank to provide a controlled environment and prevent disturbances from other tank inhabitants. A 55-gallon tank or larger is recommended.
2.2 Mimic their natural environment: Provide plenty of hiding spots, such as caves, PVC pipes, or terracotta pots, where the Plecos can lay their eggs. Add driftwood and plants to create a natural-looking setup.
2.3 Maintain optimal water parameters: Keep the water temperature between 77°F and 82°F (25°C and 28°C) and pH levels between 6.5 and 7.0. Maintain a moderate water flow to replicate the fast-flowing rivers they inhabit in the wild.
2.4 Ensure excellent water quality: Perform regular water changes and use a high-quality filter to maintain clean, well-oxygenated water.
Step 3: Triggering Spawning
3.1 Lower the water temperature: Gradually lower the water temperature to around 72°F (22°C) over a week, simulating the onset of the rainy season in their natural habitat.
3.2 Increase water flow: Enhance the water flow in the tank by adding a powerhead or adjusting the filter output to create stronger currents.
3.3 Perform water changes: Carry out regular water changes, replacing 25-30% of the water every few days. This process helps simulate the natural conditions that occur during the rainy season.
3.4 Feed a high-quality diet: Offer a variety of high-quality foods, including sinking pellets, fresh vegetables, and protein-rich frozen or live foods, to ensure they are well-nourished and in optimal breeding condition.
Step 4: Spawning Process
4.1 Observe courtship behavior: Watch for signs of courtship, such as the male displaying and nudging the female toward the chosen spawning site.
4.2 Fertilization and egg-laying: Once the pair has formed, the female will lay her eggs (usually 30-100) inside the cave or pipe, and the male will fertilize them.
4.3 Male guards the nest: The male will guard the nest, fanning the eggs with his fins to maintain water flow and oxygen levels. The eggs will typically hatch within 2-5 days.
Step 5: Caring for the Fry
5.1 Continue male protection: The male will continue to protect the fry until they become free-swimming, around 1-3 days after hatching.
5.2 Feed the fry: Once the fry are free-swimming, start feeding them a diet of microorganisms, such as infusoria, and finely crushed sinking pellets. Gradually introduce larger foods like baby brine shrimp and small pieces of vegetables as they grow.
5.3 Maintain water quality: Perform regular water changes and closely monitor the water parameters in the breeding tank to ensure a healthy environment for the
Health and Wellness
Common health issues.
Blue Phantom Plecos are susceptible to common fish diseases, such as Ich , fin rot , and fungal infections. Signs of illness include lethargy, loss of appetite, rapid breathing, or visible spots or patches on their body. These health issues are often caused by poor water quality, stress, or inadequate nutrition.
Treatments and Prevention
To treat illnesses, first identify the specific disease and follow the recommended treatment, which may include medication, salt baths, or temperature adjustments. Quarantine the affected fish to prevent the spread of disease to other tank inhabitants. To prevent future health issues, maintain excellent water quality, provide a well-rounded diet, and minimize stressors, such as overcrowding or aggressive tank mates.
Quarantining New Additions
Before introducing new fish or plants to your aquarium, quarantine them for a minimum of two weeks to ensure they are not carrying any diseases or parasites . This precautionary measure will help protect your existing fish population and ensure the overall health of your aquarium.
During quarantine, monitor the new fish closely and treat any health issues before introducing them to the main tank.
Purchasing and Acclimation
The average cost of the Blue Phantom Pleco can vary depending on factors such as size, age, and availability.
Generally, a smaller juvenile specimen can be found for around $25 to $35, while larger, more mature individuals may cost between $50 and $75. It’s important to note that prices can fluctuate based on supply and demand or the quality of the specimen. Overall, the cost of a Blue Phantom Pleco may be higher than some other common aquarium fish, but their unique appearance and fascinating behavior make them a worthwhile investment!
Selecting a Healthy Blue Phantom Pleco
When purchasing a Blue Phantom Pleco, look for active, alert individuals with bright colors and no visible signs of illness or injury . Avoid fish with sunken eyes, clamped fins, or sluggish behavior, as these may indicate underlying health issues. Purchase your Pleco from a reputable breeder or fish store to ensure you are getting a healthy, high-quality specimen.
Transportation and Acclimation Process
Transport your new Blue Phantom Pleco home in a dark, insulated container to minimize stress. Upon arrival, float the sealed bag containing your Pleco in the aquarium for 15-20 minutes to equalize the water temperature.
Then, slowly introduce small amounts of aquarium water into the bag over the next 30-45 minutes to acclimate your fish to the tank’s water parameters.
Finally, gently release your Pleco into the aquarium, avoiding the transfer of any bag water.
Sources and Ethical Considerations
When purchasing a Blue Phantom Pleco, ensure that it has been sourced ethically and sustainably. Wild-caught specimens may contribute to the depletion of natural populations and can be more challenging to acclimate to aquarium life.
Opt for captive-bred fish whenever possible, as they are more adaptable and less likely to carry diseases or parasites.
Additional Tips and Tricks
Advanced care techniques.
As you gain experience with your Blue Phantom Pleco, consider exploring advanced care techniques, such as aquascaping and targeted feeding, to create a more stimulating environment and encourage natural behaviors.
Common Challenges and Solutions
Some challenges you may encounter with your Blue Phantom Pleco include territorial disputes, inadequate hiding spots, and difficulty maintaining water parameters.
To address these issues, provide ample hiding places, choose compatible tank mates, and invest in high-quality equipment to ensure a stable, healthy environment.
Geography and Range
The Blue Phantom Pleco is native to the fast-flowing rivers and tributaries of the Orinoco River Basin in Venezuela. Its range extends from the upper Orinoco River to the Atabapo and Inírida rivers. These areas are characterized by clear, highly oxygenated water with a soft to moderate hardness and a slightly acidic pH.
The riverbeds consist of rocks, boulders, and submerged driftwood, providing ample hiding spots and foraging opportunities for these bottom-dwelling fish. The Blue Phantom Pleco shares its natural habitat with other pleco species and various tetras, catfish, and cichlids.
Discovery and Classification
The Blue Phantom Pleco was first discovered in the early 1990s, and its striking appearance quickly garnered attention from the aquarium hobby . The species was assigned the L-number L128 by the German aquarium magazine DATZ in 1994, as part of their system for identifying undescribed loricariid catfish. The L-number system helps hobbyists and researchers track and discuss species that are not yet scientifically described.
While the Blue Phantom Pleco has not been formally described and assigned a scientific name, it is classified under the genus Hemiancistrus. Hemiancistrus is a genus of armored catfish native to South America and consists of several species, many of which are popular in the aquarium trade.
More research is needed to elucidate the relationships between the various species within this genus, and it is possible that the Blue Phantom Pleco may be assigned a new genus or species name in the future.
Taxonomy and Evolution
The Blue Phantom Pleco belongs to the order Siluriformes and the family Loricariidae, which includes more than 700 species of armored catfish commonly known as “plecos.” Within the Loricariidae family, they belong to the subfamily Hypostominae and the tribe Ancistrini.
These fish are characterized by their bony plates, suckermouth, and unique dentition, which have evolved to help them adapt to their fast-flowing river habitats.
As the sun sets on our magical journey through the enchanted waters of the Blue Phantom Pleco’s world, we leave with a newfound appreciation for these captivating creatures and the knowledge to care for them. Like the pages of a beloved storybook, your aquarium will now be filled with wondrous tales of graceful swimmers adorned in mesmerizing shades of blue.
May your underwater kingdom flourish and your bond with your Blue Phantom Pleco grow stronger with each passing day, as you continue to write the next enchanting chapters of your aquatic adventure together.
Importance of Responsible Fishkeeping
As a fishkeeper, it is your responsibility to care for your aquatic pets to the best of your ability and to make informed decisions when choosing and caring for your Blue Phantom Pleco. With a little dedication and knowledge, you can create a beautiful, thriving aquatic environment that both you and your fish will enjoy for years to come.
Tim Priest , a renowned aquarium expert with over 15 years of experience in aquatic gardening and fish education, is dedicated to helping enthusiasts create stunning and thriving aquatic environments. As the founder of LearnTheAquarium.com , Tim shares his wealth of knowledge, passion, and expertise through engaging articles, educational resources, and personalized advice.
Discover the secrets to creating captivating underwater landscapes and maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems. Join Tim on an exciting journey and let your aquarium adventure begin !
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Green Phantom Pleco Care Guide 7 mins read
- Post published: August 3, 2023
The Green Phantom Pleco is a shy fish with a delicate green appearance that can make a wonderful addition to your tank. These fish come from the Orinoco river basin in Venezuela, where they feed on algae and driftwood. Having one in your tank not only provides interest but also helps keep it clean! Read on for a guide on how to look after these fascinating fish.
Table of Contents
The Green Phantom Pleco is a medium-sized Pleco with a dark mottled green color and white polka dots. It is a distinctive-looking fish that likes nothing better than scavenging for food at the bottom of the tank. The Green Phantom Pleco has a bulbous head and a long, tapering tail. It does not have scales but instead has armored skin, especially on its stomach.
The Green Phantom Pleco also has an impressive, triangular-shaped dorsal fin that stands up on its back. This can make your fish’s height much taller than it otherwise would be. They do fold their fin down occasionally, however, in order to squeeze into nooks and crannies.
Author’s Note: Green Phantom Plecos have sensitive skin. This means it’s important to be extra careful when transporting them for any reason. Cutting their skin on driftwood or other tank decorations can easily be a recipe for infection (see pests and diseases section below)
Choosing A Green Phantom Pleco
The Green Phantom Pleco is part of the loricariidae family, the most species-rich catfish family . Pleco fish in general are understudied by science, and many have only become popular within the last few decades.
As a result, the name Green Phantom Pleco can refer to several similar-looking species. To mitigate the difficulties with classifying these fish by their scientific names, the aquarium trade uses L-numbers to indicate fish that are close enough that they can be treated as a single species. Therefore, if you’re looking for a Green Phantom Pleco, look out for the number L-200.
Tank Setup And Maintenance
One of the most crucial and important things about setting up a tank for any Pleco is to choose the right substrate. Plecos feed on the bottom of the tank, and as a result, a gravelly or sharp substrate can hurt their delicate stomachs, even though these are described as armored. Apart from this, these Plecos do well with the following setup:
- Plant your tank appropriately. In their native habitat in the Orinoco River basin, the Green Phantom Pleco enjoys hiding amongst rocks, plants, and driftwood. Including these in a tank help your fish feel secure and sheltered from predation. This can also help them come out into the open to feed.
- A Green Phantom Pleco should have a tank that is a minimum of 30 gallons/114 liters, and this is just for your Pleco alone – not counting any tankmates! Despite starting small, these fish can grow quite big, plus, having plenty of territory and places to hide helps their well-being.
- If making a community tank, understand what conditions different fish like. Not all Plecos tolerate the same temperatures. However, the clown Pleco has similar needs regards temperature and pH, so as a rule of thumb, tankmates like the zebra danio that work with clown Plecos, will also work with your Green Phantom Pleco.
- The other key point is that the water is flowing, clear, and well-oxygenated. You can achieve this with a circulation pump; however, you should check this is compatible with any tankmates you choose to include. You should use a strong filter that is at least 4x the tank capacity. Just bear in mind these guys are not strong swimmers. Always change a third of the per week to maintain cleanliness.
Plecos get on well with a wide variety of tankmates. However, choosing tankmates that live in similar conditions in the wild ensures the water qualities are correct for all fish.
The Green Phantom Pleco lives in fast-flowing river tributaries. It may seem that all Pleco species need similar water conditions. However, while some Plecos like blackwaters with lots of organic matter, the Green Phantom Pleco prefers crystal-clear water. Therefore, choose tankmates who like similar conditions. These include:
- Cory catfish
- Rummynose tetra
One relative exception is angelfish . Angelfish generally prefer softer water, but luckily Plecos are hardy and they can thrive alongside angelfish. In fact, an Amazonian community tank for many kinds of Pleco can be based around good angelfish tankmates . Plecos thrive in this kind of tank alongside fish like the Cory Catfish.
Author’s Note: One thing to know is never to mix a Green Phantom Pleco with other bottom-dwelling catfish. If you want to pair them with other bottom dwellers, make sure you have room! But as a rule of thumb, due to their timid nature which means they can act aggressively in self-defense, these guys don’t get on well with other bottom-dwellers entering their territory. This is especially true with other Plecos, and the green Phantom should never be mixed with these.
What do you feed a Green Phantom Pleco? Fortunately, feeding this kind of Pleco doesn’t have to be complicated. These fish are bottom feeders and will scavenge for most of their food on the bottom of the tank. As a result, you may worry they are getting enough nutrients.
Many catfish species endure feast and famine conditions in the wild and they have evolved to scavenge on a wide variety of foods as a result of this. Yet, despite their scavenging nature, you should never leave a Green Phantom Pleco to their own devices in terms of food. Instead, you should feed them with algae wafers, which can be purchased in any good aquatics store. These are flakes of algae that sink to the bottom of your tank for your fish to eat. Ideally, you should feed one or two per day.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t give your Pleco occasional treats. Green Phantom Plecos are not solely vegetarian, and they still enjoy the occasional protein. Only ever feed frozen protein, as these guys are not strong swimmers and will find it hard to catch live protein. Frozen bloodworms or tubifex worms are a great choice. In addition to protein, you can feed them blanched vegetables such as bits of zucchini, lettuce, or half a shelled pea.
Behavior And Temperament
Generally, Green Phantom Plecos are peaceful fish. The one thing aquarium keepers need to worry about is how territorial their tankmates are, as opposed to the Plecos themselves. In fact, aggression is much more likely to come from potential tankmates than it is from your Pleco.
Plecos are shy fish in general, and the Green Phantom Pleco is no different. They do not like rapid approaches from other fish and they are more likely to be on the receiving end of any territorial behavior. When they feel threatened, they tend to hide in the crevices between rocks, plants, or pieces of driftwood.
You can ensure they feel safe by making sure all tankmates are also peaceful species. In addition, having a tank that is at least 30 gallons or 114 liters prevents any territorial disputes between fish.
Author’s Note: Pleco’s don’t just hide away! These are friendly fish, and they can learn when it is time for food. In this case, they may even come up to the front of the glass and approach you as you walk over to their tank. Despite their shyness and preference for caves, they are actually quite active. Therefore, take any lethargy as a sign something may be wrong or your fish is sick.
Pests And Diseases
Ich is a common parasitic infection that can be fatal, but doesn’t have to be if you catch it early. It’s quite easy to spot because it can appear as white blotches or patches on your fish’s skin. Just don’t mistake it for your fish’s natural polka dot coloration!
However, it can be treated like any fungal infection; by quarantining the fish and adding an antifungal treatment to the water.
White fungus is a parasitic infection that can appear as white fuzzy growths on your fish. It can be especially noticeable on Plecos due to their smooth skin, and you may worry about how this disease affects your fish’s well-being. Fortunately, the white fungus isn’t fatal. Instead, you can treat it with over-the-counter antifungal treatments that can be purchased at any good aquatics store. However, ensure you quarantine your Pleco in a separate tank first, so these medicines do not affect your healthy fish.
Fin rot is a bacterial infection that is common to many species of freshwater fish, both tropical and coldwater. In the Green Phantom Pleco, it can affect both the tail fin and the fish’s dramatic dorsal fin. Telltale signs are the edges of the fins looking sore or ragged.
As a bacterial infection, fin rot can be treated by quarantining the fish, changing the water regularly (every day is sometimes recommended while your fish is recovering), and using over-the-counter antibacterial medication.
Parasitic infections can affect all fish, but on your Green Phantom Pleco parasites such as flukes may attach near your fish’s gills or on their smooth skin. You may notice changes in the behavior of your Pleco before you notice any actual parasite.s This is because they can drain the energy of your normally lively fish, and make them lethargic.
Fortunately, parasitic infections can be treated by quarantining the fish in a separate tank and using over-the-counter medication. They are not life-threatening, and your Pleco will return to normal in a few days.
Breeding the Green Phantom Pleco is difficult. Many Plecos you see in aquatics stores are wild-caught. What’s great is if you do manage to get them to breed, the male Green Phantom Pleco is a devoted parent who looks after the eggs and fries really well.
In order to breed these fish, the best thing is to encourage their natural tendencies. For starters, you will need to help them feel safe enough to breed. The following steps will help you encourage spawning, even if you are a novice breeder.
- Provide plenty of caves. In the wild, the male Green Phantom Pleco digs a cave for the female to lay eggs in, which he then fertilizes with his milt. You can mimic this in captivity by making caves out of rocks and driftwood, though many aquarists even use PVC piping ad it offers a safe and snug nook for your fish to hide in.
- Introduce the male and the female. You will see that they begin to hang around each other and go into caves and hidey-holes together.
- Eventually, you will see that if the female is comfortable with the male and feels ready to mate, she will lay her eggs in a cave or secluded spot. The eggs are relatively large, and they are bright yellow. The female can actually lay over 40 eggs!
- At this point, it’s a good idea to remove the female, after you are sure that the male has done his bit and sprayed his milt over the eggs. However, it’s best advised to leave the male in. In the wild, the male tends to protect the eggs from predators . Even though your breeding tank will be safe and predator free, the presence of the male next to the eggs will not only make him less stressed. Plus, there are reports that this is more hygienic as human interference with the eggs can introduce bacteria.
- The male will do an excellent job at guarding the eggs until they hatch. If you are lucky enough to get these fish to breed in captivity, this can be delightful to watch.
- Once the fry have hatched, you can remove the male. Green Phantom Pleco fry will feed off the yolk sac of their eggs for up to 6 days after hatching! This means you don’t actually have to give them any food immediately.
- Once the fry have used up their eggs sacs, you can start feeding them baby brine shrimp. These fry are generally large, but they may still struggle to eat full-sized adult invertebrates at this stage.
Overall, the Green Phantom Pleco is an exciting and relatively recently discovered Pleco species that still have a lot that is unknown about it. Its stunning coloring and compatibility with many other popular aquarium fish make it a great choice for fishkeepers who want something a little different for their tank. On top of this, its ease of care combined with its relatively sociable and interactive behavior makes it a great fish that will capture the attention of both beginners and experts alike.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Blue Phantom Pleco (L128 Pleco) Facts
Last updated on July 21st, 2022 at 01:33 am
The Blue phantom pleco (L128 Pleco) is a peaceful and popular aquarium fish . L128 pleco gets its name from the bluish color on its body that changes when it turns darker or lighter depending on light conditions and the mood of the fish. In addition to this unusual coloration, it also has striking light blue to yellowish dots along the sides of its body, which are much more prominent in younger specimens than they are in adults.
The blue phantom pleco also called the L128 pleco, is a fairly large member of the armored catfish family, Ancistriniidae ( Bristlenose pleco ). Its natural habitat is in the upper Amazon River in Ecuador and Brazil. The L128 pleco can grow to be up to 20 cm long and live up to 8 years in captivity, but the maximum size has not been determined yet; the oldest L128 in captivity was 12 years old when it died of natural causes .
Blue phantom plecos are found in Southeast Asia, China, and Thailand. They are freshwater fish available in the aquarium trade and require specific conditions to thrive. Learn more about the blue phantom pleco below to see if this beautiful fish is right for you!
What is a Blue Phantom Pleco?
Also known as a L128 pleco, a blue phantom pleco is a South American fish that is part of the plecostomus family. This member of the family Loricariidae grows to about two feet long and has a blue body with white dots. The head and tail area are both blue-green in color. Known for its many unique traits , including its gill covers which resemble those of butterfly wings, it is one of nature’s most fascinating species.
While they are freshwater fish , they can be found living in hard or soft water. They also require an aquarium of at least 75 gallons, though larger tanks will provide more room for swimming as well as help maintain proper tank conditions. Another reason why these fishes require larger tanks is that they don’t do well when housed alongside other species due to their territorial nature and aggressive behavior towards others.
Origin and description
The Blue Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus Specie) is a great fish for both freshwater and marine aquariums. This is one of few species that make it easy to replicate their natural habitat in your home aquarium. They do well in cold water but prefer temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
They will grow to be about 8 inches long, and their coloration changes throughout their life. This fish has an almost see-through body when small, which develops opaque spots as it ages. Adult fish develop light blue to dark purple dots down each side of their bodies.
Blue phantom plecos are stunning fish with a stunning name. But they’re also a controversial fish , and they’re not recommended for most home aquariums. There are few reliable sources of blue phantom information available to hobbyists, and even experienced aquarists can’t seem to agree on how best to keep them alive in captivity. If you do want one, be sure to ask your supplier lots of questions about their captive-bred status before purchasing one for your tank.
Unfortunately, you may have to buy sight unseen; it’s nearly impossible to distinguish wild or farm-raised L128 from captive-bred animals via pictures alone. The only way to know for sure is to get your new pet into a quarantine tank and keep him healthy for two weeks or so.
Blue phantom pleco habitat
The blue phantom pleco should be housed in an aquarium of at least 75 gallons, with plenty of places to hide. Soft, acidic water is best for them. They are peaceful fish that get along well with other similarly-sized community fish. A school of six would do fine in a tank that’s at least 100 gallons—anything smaller and you risk raising a school of bullies! Hiding places such as rocks and driftwood should also be provided, as these fish will not thrive without them.
L128 blue phantom pleco size
This species of fish can grow to maximum size is 7.9 inches (20 cm) in length.
Blue phantom pleco tank size
The minimum recommended tank size is 75 gallons, although larger is always better.
Tank set up
The blue phantom pleco can be quite territorial, so it’s best to keep one per tank. If you are planning on keeping more than one of these fish in a tank , make sure that there is plenty of room for them to claim their own territory. The temperature should be between 74 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH level around 6.5-7.5. Keep your water clean at all times and perform frequent water changes as needed.
Blue phantoms will eat algae from rocks and plants, but they also need protein supplements in order to thrive. Provide snails or shrimp (either live or frozen) once a week to help fulfill their protein needs. Feeding your L128 pleco pellets or flake food will provide him with plenty of nutrients he needs each day—add other types of food for variety.
Blue phantom pleco tank mates
Good tank mates for blue phantom plecos include other similarly sized South American fish such as silver dollars , river stingrays, clown knifefish, and convicts. They can also be combined with large African cichlids from Lake Malawi or Rift Valley Lakes, although these larger fish will probably view smaller L-numbers as lunch instead of pets.
Even though they are among some of the biggest freshwater fishes in existence, blue phantoms are surprisingly peaceful; they are nocturnal feeders, so they’ll mostly avoid you while you’re working during daylight hours.
Blue phantom pleco breeding
They are livebearers, meaning they will lay eggs. However, like all livebearers, you must keep both male and female in your tank to successfully breed . Because of their size and breeding habits, it is highly recommended that you have a pair at least 48 long. If you are going to keep a male and female together in a smaller tank, make sure they have plenty of places to hide and retreat when they feel threatened by each other or need time away from each other.
The fry will hatch in approximately 24 hours and require feedings every 2 hours. The first few days are very critical as many fries do not survive until adulthood because they can become food for larger fish such as corydoras catfish who also love to eat young plecos.
After about three weeks, the fry should be large enough to move out of their cave and start exploring other areas of your aquarium which should greatly reduce the likelihood of being eaten by others.
The fry grows very quickly during their first three months and can reach nearly 8 inches (20cm) before being transferred into another aquarium on their own. It takes about one year for them to fully mature before being able to spawn themselves if given proper care.
Are blue phantom pleco aggressive or peaceful?
This plecostomus is known to be relatively peaceful, especially in a community tank. It can get territorial if you introduce it to a new tank and there’s another plecostomus in there already, but other than that, it should get along fine with most fish.
Blue phantom pleco care
To ensure optimal care for your new Blue phantom pleco, it is recommended that you have at least a 75-gallon tank with plenty of swimming room. If more than one is purchased, you may need an even larger tank depending on how territorial they become.
In addition to providing a spacious environment, make sure you also provide live or fake plants and rocks as well as driftwood to help them feel comfortable in their new home. Provide a good amount of hiding spots so they can feel safe in their environment.
Blue phantom pleco food
Their diet should be supplemented with vegetables and algae tablets, though fresh vegetables are always preferred to pellets. Don’t overfeed them and remove any uneaten food after 20 minutes. Like most bottom-dwelling fish, they eat algae from rocks and other surfaces in their environment. They also nibble on small invertebrates such as insect larvae, snails, and worms.
The ideal water should have a pH 6.0 – 7.5; temperature range 23-28°C (73.4 – 82.4°F); hardness: 5 – 12 dGH; kH 4-12 mg/l; nitrite 0 ppm and less than 2 ppm ammonia with water changes every 10 days or when levels exceed 2 ppm.
Blue phantom pleco lifespan
In captivity, they can live up to 8 years with good care.
Parasites and diseases
In order to prevent diseases in your fish , it is very important to quarantine new fish before you introduce them into your main tank. Quarantine tanks are basically hospital tanks and should be used to treat or keep new arrivals separate from established fish. Diseases can spread rapidly if not treated in time, especially in a small aquarium that is not kept clean on a regular basis.
It’s better to treat a few healthy fish than risk losing a whole group of them! Common parasites found in freshwater aquariums include ich ( white spot disease ), velvet (Oodinium sp.), anchor worm , roundworm, and flukes.
Blue phantom plecos are not usually a target for predators, but their large size can sometimes be intimidating to other fish . Be sure to have a tank that is sufficiently large so your L128 pleco has plenty of room to retreat if it feels threatened. This fish makes an excellent addition to larger aquariums and community tanks.
However, do keep in mind that smaller aquatic life such as shrimps and snails may still become prey for these hungry scavengers. It’s important to regularly perform partial water changes in order to maintain good water quality within your tank and to reduce any potentially dangerous ammonia buildup from waste build-up over time.
Remember – healthy plants help reduce excess waste!
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Blue Phantom Plecos: A Complete Fact Sheet, Breeding, & Behavior Guide
Blue Phantom Plecos are lovely freshwater tropical fish that love to chill at the bottom of the aquarium. The suckermouth fish has dark blue and white spots and grows to be pretty big.
They’re great for cleaning up the aquarium (being bottomfeeders and all) and are entertaining to watch.
If you think they might be a good fit for your fish tank setup, check out the care guide below to see if you’ve got the right gear and right blue phantom pleco tank mates (like Pea Puffers ) to cut it.
Quick Intro to Blue Phantom Plecos
Natural habitat, identification, and where to buy.
Blue Phantom Plecostomus belong to the armored suckermouth catfish family. They are mid-sized fish. They are scavenger fish that can do well in community aquariums that are at least fifty gallons.
Scientists think that this fish is either a subspecies or a variation of the Green Phantom Pleco.
This is a fish that shows aggression towards other plecos but is known to be relatively peaceful around other fish species. They are freshwater fish that enjoy swimming and make their home in soft water.
While they are great at eating algae like other plecos, their diet is more diverse.
Suckermouth catfish can be found throughout central and South America. However, this species of fish can only be found within a small area. is native to the north part of the Rio Orinoco River.
This river is located in Venezuela. The downstream area of Puerto Ayacucho is their home.
Due to the limited areas this fish is found in, they tend to command a premium price when being purchased. It is common to see their price being between $50-$150 apiece.
This fish species has a look that is typical of Pleco body fish. Its mouth is wide and has suckers, along with a flat head and narrow body. They dig have strong pectoral and abdominal fins that they use in this.
They do not have scales but are protected by thick and heavy plates.
With the right water conditions, this fish only requires moderate health care. Overall they are a rather healthy species that grow fast. It should be noted that this fish has rarely been bred while kept in captivity.
When they are sold as juveniles, they tend to be around three to five inches at length. Their maximum length is seven inches.
- Aqua Imports
- Arizona Aquatic Gardens
- Discus Madness
- PetZone Tropical Fish
- The Fish Room
Optimal Water Conditions for Blue Phantom Plecos
Learn about Bristlenose Plecos here.
Blue Phantom Plecos typically inhabit waterways, waterfalls, rapids, and other waters that have heavy currents. This does not mean you need to use a powerhead in your tank.
Members of this species that are kept in aquariums can handle having a mild current if their water quality is extremely high and the water itself is oxygenated.
A good filtration system that uses replaceable filter media should be enough current for this fish species to feel at home.
It is important that the filters used are high quality. This fish does not do well with dirty water or low-oxygen conditions. If their environment is not carefully maintained then their life expectancy will drop and they will become sick.
When putting together the aquarium for Blue Phantom Plecos there are a few suggested things to include. The aquarium itself should be at least fifty gallons, has a stand, and a cover.
The water itself needs to remain stable and warm. This fish does not handle sudden changes very well. They require extra time when it comes to acclimating to a new environment.
If this is done improperly it can cause the fish to become stressed and become sick.
Their preferred temperatures range between 77 and 86F. In order to make sure it stays this warm, most fish keepers will use an aquarium heater .
This species also prefers to have water that is softer than normal, around 2-12 KH. They require having a neutral pH level that is between 6.0-7.0.
Creating the Landscape
Blue Phantom Plecos are a fish species that are active on the bottom of the tank. They require room to swim, explore, and scavenge. The ideal tank for a small number of these fish is 50 gallons.
For those who want to ensure their fish are happy and stress-free, ideally, 25-50 gallons should be given to each fish.
The perfect substrate for Blue Phantom Plecos is one that will recreate their natural homes. This recreation requires a mixture of both smooth pebbles and soft sands.
It is important to not use harsh or rough aquarium gravel because this fish species will injure itself while trying to scavenge for food in the substrate. While aquatic soil could work, this species of fish is known for digging around and would make a mess of it.
The perfect decorations for this species include tall rocks, boulders, and caves. Driftwood and branches can be included but this fish doesn’t require having a lot of wood in their tank.
Live plants can be included but this species is known for uprooting and damaging any plants that are not secured in place.
This omnivorous fish is nocturnal and will avoid any bright lights during the day. They like to hide under rocks or caves near the filter outflow.
Learn about Clown Plecos here.
Physiological Considerations for Blue Phantom Plecos
For Blue Phantom Plecos, it is not unheard of for them to live more than a decade in captivity. However, this life span is based upon their environment.
If the tank’s quality can be kept up and the fish be given the right balanced diet, it is not unheard of for some Blue Phantoms to live upwards of twelve to fifteen years.
Ultimately the life expectancy is depending on the quality of care. The better you take care of your Pleco the longer it will live.
Personality-wise, Blue Phantom Plecos are omnivores known for being shy, mellow, and peaceful towards other species of fish. However, at night time this fish becomes active.
They will explore their environment and scavenge for food. They like to swim around and stay near the tank’s filter outflows.
Blue Phantoms are catfish and like other fishy relatives, they are opportunistic feeders. They differ from the Common Pleco in that they are not active hunters and leave schooling fish in peace.
They are not known for being overly territorial so they can be kept in groups or with other peaceful fish.
This fish species can grow upwards of seven inches in length. Most have dark blue skin with white spots but are naturally found in a number of attractive colors.
The Blue Phantom Plecos are peaceful fish around other fish species. However, they do not always play well when in a tank with other plecos.
Part of this problem occurs because plecos are very active on the bottom of their tanks. They will swim from end to end rapidly and do not want to bump into other fish that may be blocking them.
Due to how Blue Phantom Plecos can get along with peaceful fish, you have a lot of options in their compatibility with other fish species. The only real limitations will be your budget, your aquarium size, and what the aquarium is equipped to handle.
Some fishkeepers like to put other turbulence-loving fish into the tank with Blue Phantom Plecos. Two great choices for this setup include Flagtail Characins and Silver Dollar Fish.
While it is possible to keep Blue Phantom Plecos around groups of fish that are semi-aggressive, the best results come from keeping them with peaceful fish.
Another great choice for tankmates is schooling fish. Some of the better options are Tinfoil, Tiger, and Odessa barb. Tetra fish and hatchet fish also do well in this kind of community.
You can keep them in a tank with breeding fish but it is important to note that Blue Phantom Plecos ( like Blue Crayfish ) are scavengers. They are not averse to eating the fish produced by a breeding group of fish.
Compatible tank mates for blue phantom pleco fish include
- Tinfoil Barbs
- Tiger barbs
- Odessa Barb
- Silver dollar fish
- Bristlenose plecos
Gender, Breeding, and Reproductive Considerations
Blue Phantom Plecos are not a fish species known for easy breeding. There have been only a few successful reports of breeding them in captivity.
This is not to say that breeding them is impossible but likely to not happen. Due to this, most of the fish you see for sale were caught wild for selling.
It is difficult to induce breeding, even when they are in a mixed-gender group living in a pond. Those who were successful in breeding were forced to used artificial hormones.
When determining gender it is important to focus on body shape. The males are skinnier and the females have more of a round body. When looked at from the side, the female fish has a rounded abdomen that is longer than the rest of her body.
If the female becomes pregnant it will visibly develop a bigger stomach, increasing as size as the eggs develop. The female will rest more and stay in cool, peaceful, and undisturbed places in the aquarium.
This fish enjoys a diet based on variety. They have shown some pickiness when it comes to the algae and food scraps they are willing to eat . This means that the center of their diet will need to be dependent on you to give them a balanced diet.
This fish needs to be fed at least every other day. If you have enough algae in your tank then the fish will eat that and not be hungry. However, if your tank is algae free then you should consider feeding them more often.
The best time to feed them is in the evening because this nocturnal fish will just be waking up and wanting their breakfast.
When deciding what to feed this fish species, you have a number of good options available. They like to eat brine shrimp , bloodworms, and daphnia. They are also a fan of vegetables such as spinach and other green veggies.
While these fish can survive up to 5-7 days without eating, this will affect their health. Once you have the water levels balanced and there are enough algae, they can make due for several days on their own.
Common Diseases and How to Avoid and Treat Them
There are no specific diseases for this fish species. However, they can suffer from common ailments. Ich, Dropsy , Fin Rot, and fungal infections all originate from not taking proper care of your fish or their tank.
Preventative is the best course of action because an illness will shorten your fish’s life considerably.
If however, you notice any symptoms of these diseases, it is important to change the water quickly and make sure your fish are given quality antibiotics so they can recover and not suffer in pain.
3 Facts About Blue Phantom Plecos
- Blue Phantom Plecos that are found in the most northern parts of Rio Orinoco valley are the darkest in coloration.
- Species of this fish found further down steam have a light color tone.
- Plecos are widely valued by aquarists due to how beautiful they are.
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This is some useful information. Thank you, Matt.
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Plus, it’s relatively easy to care for! In this complete guide explicitly designed for beginners, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about owning Phantom green pleco fish.
The yellowish Green Phantom Pleco L200 is an excellent choice for beginners because it is hardy, easy to care for, and grows to medium size. This green phantom pleco care guide will provide everything you need to know about this fish before purchasing.
Table of Contents
What Is a Green Phantom Pleco?
Watermelon green phantom pleco, also known as L200, is an herbivorous and peaceful fish that belongs to the suckermouth catfish family. It is native to freshwater bodies in Brazil and is characterized by its stunning green coloration.
The Phantom Pleco L200 can grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) in length, and its lifespan can reach up to 10 years with proper care.
Their diet consists of various vegetables, fruit, algae wafers, and occasional bloodworms. As they are sensitive to poor water quality, it is essential to ensure the aquarium parameters remain stable.
To discern between the Baryancistrus and this species, observe if their dorsal fin and adipose fin are connected or separated – dorsal and adipose fins are a crucial indicator providing insight into classification.
Are Green Phantom Plecos Hardy?
Yes, they are a hardy group of fish. They can thrive in various water conditions and tend to be quite resilient.
That said, it’s always important to research before adding any new fish to your aquarium to ensure their needs match your specific tank setup.
What Size Tank Does a Green Phantom Pleco Need?
Green phantom pleco tank size should be at least 20 gallons, with a minimum water depth of 12 inches to accommodate their size.
The community tank should also be equipped with plenty of hiding places, such as driftwood, rocks, aquatic plants, and caves.
Maintaining good water quality in the tank is also essential since these plecos are sensitive to ammonia and nitrate.
How Do I Feed My Green Phantom Pleco?
Green phantom plecos should be fed various vegetables like blanched spinach, cucumber, and zucchini. They also enjoy fresh fruit such as apples and melons.
Additionally , they should be given algae wafers and occasional bloodworms.
Remember that this fish is a scavenger, so it may take some time to become accustomed to its regular diet.
How Big Does a Green Phantom Pleco Get? (Green Phantom Pleco Size)
How big do green phantom plecos get? Green phantom pleco max size can reach up to 4 inches (10 cm) in length.
They are medium-sized fish, and their size should be considered when considering tank size and the types of other species you plan to keep with them. Green phantom pleco full size can be achieved in approximately one year with proper care.
What Is the Lifespan of a Green Phantom Pleco?
Green phantom pleco lifespan can reach up to 10 years with proper care. Maintaining suitable water parameters and providing them with a balanced diet is vital to ensure they have a healthy and long life.
The Phantom Pleco L200 is ideal for beginner fish enthusiasts who want beautiful, easy-to-care-for fish.
Are Green Phantom Pleco Aggressive?
Plecostomus green phantom fish are generally peaceful , although they may become territorial when housed with other bottom-dwelling fish. Therefore, it is essential to know the tank size and the other fish kept with them.
It is best to provide plenty of hiding spots for all the fish in the tank to reduce the chance of aggression and territorial behavior.
How to Care for Phantom Green Pleco Fish?
Aquarium enthusiasts are always looking for new and exciting fish to add to their tanks, but sometimes it takes time to find information on how to care for them properly.
Only some people are experts on aquarium fish, and even those who are can make mistakes when caring for a new type of fish.
This video offers clear, concise instructions on caring for Phantom Green Pleco Fish. You’ll learn about the fish’s natural habitat, what they eat, and how to keep them healthy and happy in your tank.
Green Phantom Pleco Temperature
Green phantom plecos prefer temperatures somewhere in the range of 72-78°F (22-26°C).
It is important to note that temperatures outside this range may negatively affect the health and well-being of your fish.
Also, you should provide areas in the tank where the temperature can vary slightly, as they are known to be quite temperature-sensitive.
It is essential to maintain proper temperature levels in their tank To ensure that your fish remain healthy and comfortable,
Green Phantom Pleco Food
Green phantom plecos are omnivores and should be fed fresh vegetables, fruits, algae wafers, sweet potatoes, and the occasional bloodworm.
It is important to provide a balanced diet to ensure your fish remain healthy and strong.
Additionally , they will appreciate some live foods like snails, meaty foods, prepared foods, or brine shrimp, as well as frozen food or dried foods.
Many options are available for phantom plecos, and finding a balanced diet that works best for your fish is essential.
Green Phantom Pleco Tankmates
Green phantom plecos should be kept with other peaceful and non-aggressive tank mates like small tetras, Baryancistrus Beggini , rasboras, or Corydoras catfish .
It is important to select other tank mates that won’t out-compete them for food and provide plenty of hiding spots in the tank so they can feel safe and secure.
Finally, avoiding aggressive fish with your plecos is essential, as they may become stressed or even harmed by aggressive tank mates.
Do Green Phantom Plecos Need Wood?
Tank inhabitants of the Phantom Pleco species will find a haven in tanks with sand-based substrates, naturalistic rock structures, and driftwood for an extra aesthetic touch.
These omnivores enjoy varied diets featuring commercial pellets and frozen/live treats like algae wafers.
How Can You Tell If a Green Phantom Pleco Is Male or Female?
Green phantom pleco male or female identification can be difficult, as both sexes look similar.
One way to tell is by looking at the shape of their genital papilla, located at the base of their tail fin. The male will have a long, slender papilla, while the females will be much shorter and rounder.
Additionally, males tend to be larger than females, with longer adipose fins and more vibrant colors.
Overall, it is usually best to look closely at the shape of the genital papilla to accurately identify a phantom pleco’s sex.
Do Green Phantom Plecos Eat Algae?
L200 Pleco, commonly known as the Baryancistrus Demantoides green phantom pleco, is an excellent algae eater and will help keep your home aquarium clean by eating most algae.
These fish will feed on any algae, including brown and green spots, diatoms, and hair algae.
Green Phantom Pleco Price:
Green phantom pleco for sale typically goes for between $15 and $30, depending on the size and age of the fish.
This price point makes them an affordable addition to any tank, and they are sure to bring a unique look and personality to your large aquariums.
Are Green Phantom Plecos Easy to Breed?
No, green phantoms are not easy to breed. They are a tricky species to produce and require particular conditions. Many people who attempt to generate them fail.
That said, green phantom plecos can be bred relatively quickly if you can provide the correct aquarium environment and conditions. You will need to consider water temperature, water quality, food availability, and tank size.
How to Breed Pleco Green Phantom? (Green Phantom Pleco Breeding)
Green phantom plecos can be bred in an aquarium, but it is important to note that they are challenging to produce and require special conditions to do so successfully.
When breeding these freshwater fish, it is crucial to provide them with a well-oxygenated separate breeding tank with plenty of hiding spots.
You will also need to ensure the water temperature is at optimum levels for spawning and that you provide them with a varied diet to ensure successful breeding.
Phantom green plecos can be rewarding fish to keep, but they require proper care and attention to remain healthy and thrive.
Green phantom pleco is an excellent addition to any aquarium. Hemiancistrus subviridis are peaceful, beautiful fish that help keep the tank clean. If you are thinking of adding a green phantom fish to your aquarium, be sure to do your research and purchase from a reputable dealer. With proper care, your phantom green pleco will thrive in your aquarium for years to come!
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Green Phantom Plecostomus - Hemiancistrus Subviridis : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide
Table of contents, introduction.
As juveniles, Green Phantom Plecos (Hemiancistrus Subviridis) are peaceful, and they are perfect for peaceful community aquariums. However, it is crucial to note that as they grow, they become more territorial and aggressive, particularly the males. To ensure their well-being, it is best to house Green Phantom Plecos in a tank with medium to large fish that swim in different areas of the tank. For example, suitable tankmates within the mid-level region of the aquarium could incorporate Silver Dollars, Flagtails, and larger species of Hyphessobrycon. In scenarios where multiple Green Phantom Plecos are to be housed or when cohabiting with other Loricariid species, careful attention to the aquarium's spatial dimensions is imperative. Adequate space and the provision of ample visual barriers throughout the decor are essential aspects to address, as these fish have a propensity for territorial behaviour.
The Green Phantom Pleco finds its ideal habitat within spacious and well-established soft water aquarium setups. In their native habitat, they inhabit the crevices and gaps between granite rocks in swiftly flowing waters. This ecological context mandates the presence of a substantial water current and a robust oxygenation level in the domestic aquarium, a factor of particular significance when maintaining these specimens at the upper end of their preferred temperature range. The creation of an environment enriched with abundant rockwork and strategically positioned shaded cavities is essential to provide secure hiding places for the fish. It is advisable to ensure that areas of stronger current intersect these shelters, replicating their natural habitation.
While not obligatory, the inclusion of bogwood can enhance the visual aesthetics of the tank. Notably, larger Green Phantom Plecos can inadvertently uproot aquatic plants. Should such plants be desired, selecting hardy varieties like Anubias or Java Fern that can be affixed to the decor is recommended. Given the notable waste production common among Loricariid species, a robust filtration system is highly advised to maintain optimal water quality. As a species that requires a significant weekly water change, they are intolerant of organic waste and need pristine water conditions. Therefore, advanced fishkeepers with ample experience are best suited to provide adequate care for this species.
Green Phantom Plecos exhibit a stunning colouration with a body that ranges from dark yellow to light olive green, covered with yellow spots from the midsection to the head. Their dorsal, pectoral, and ventral fins also display yellow highlights. Interestingly, their stomachs are transparent. The body colouration, as well as the size and distribution of spots, exhibits variation contingent upon the location of the collection. Notably, the darker variants have been procured from the northern reaches of the range, with the fish exhibiting a gradual lightening in colouration as their habitat extends southward along the course of the river.
Green Phantom Plecostomus Photos
Differentiating between male and female Green Phantom Plecos is typically a straightforward process. Generally, adult males will have a more significant and broader head with slightly flatter features. They will also have longer pectoral fins and appear hairier than females, with more prominent dermal teeth. Furthermore, males tend to be somewhat larger than their female counterparts.
Water parameters, natural habitat.
The Green Phantom Pleco is a unique and striking species that originates from the Rio Ventauri and the Rio Orinoco in Amazonas State, Venezuela, and Columbia. In their natural habitat, these Plecos can be found in fast-moving and highly oxygenated waters that are warm and enriched with rocky areas in rivers. The rocky areas are typically found between boulders and granite bedrock, which provide hiding places for these fish. Their natural environment is a wonder to behold, and recreating it in a well-designed aquarium will offer a spectacular sight.
The Green Phantom Pleco can be successfully bred in an aquarium environment. During the breeding process, the male will seduce the female into his cave, where the eggs are laid and fertilized. The male then stands guard at the entrance of the cave to protect the 30 to 45 eggs until they hatch, which usually takes between 3 to 4 days.
Once hatched, the fry remains in the cave for approximately ten days while they absorb their yolk sac, after which they begin to explore their surroundings in search of food. To ensure the healthy growth of the fry, it is essential to provide them with a diet of infusoria, crushed flake, bloodworm, algae wafers, and blanched vegetables such as squash and zucchini.
Success in breeding Green Phantom Plecos relies heavily on maintaining a well-oxygenated, spacious tank, pristine water conditions, and a high protein diet.
Diet & feeding
In the domestic setting, the Green Phantom Pleco subsists mainly on algae and residual foods. To ensure adequate nutrition, supplement their diet with commercial aquarium foods formulated for bottom feeders, such as sinking wafers and pellets. Additionally, meaty foods such as bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp, as well as blanched vegetables like spinach and courgette, are also relished by this species and should be included in their regular feedings.
Other Plecostomus of interest
Butterfly Plecostomus L168
Galaxy Plecostomus L029
Gold Nugget Plecostomus
Gold Stripe Tiger Panaque
16 More Plecostomus Profiles
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The Green Phantom Plecostomus originates from the rapids of the Rio Orinoco in Venezuela and even further downstream. The Pleco’s broad flat head and body shape helps it navigate (or stay put) in very strong currents with minimal effort. With its overall muted green coloration and lighter colored polka dots, this visually alluring algae eater makes an excellent choice for freshwater hobbyists in search of unusual aquarium inhabitants.
Green Phantom Plecos are omnivores and will fare well in a mature aquarium with driftwood and smooth edged or rounded rocks that host algae and biofilm. Supplement the diet of their diets with foods that sink to the bottom of the aquarium such as a high-quality flake food and sinking algae or spirulina pellets and wafers.
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Blue Phantom Pleco – Size, Tank, Care, Diet, Growth
When it comes to functional freshwater fish, one of the largest and most popular groups in the aquarium trade lations of Blue Phantoms are the algae-eating catfish known as Plecostomus. If you’re looking for a rare and unique bottom dweller for your mid-size community aquarium, then consider getting a beautiful Blue Phantom Pleco for your tank!
Table of Contents
Quick Facts About Blue Phantom Plecostomus
Common Name (species)
Blue Phantom Plecostomus ( Hemiancistrus species; L128)
Rio Orinoco, Venezuela
7-inches in length
Offer daily meals of sinking algae wafers, spirulina pellets, and freshly blanched veggies, with a few weekly treats of brine shrimp, bloodworms, or other live treats
Nocturnal; more active at night and prefers to hide during the day
Peaceful and mellow
Minimum Tank Size
Naturally lives in very clean, highly oxygenated water with a high/moderate flow rate, but tolerates mild currents as long as filtration and aeration are adequate
Egglayer; male fish protect eggs until hatching. Rarely breeds naturally in captivity
Works well in most peaceful and semi-aggressive communities. Excellent option for Amazon-themed tanks with small cichlids, Characins and Silver Dollars
OK for Planted Tanks?
Yes, but may consume or uproot plants
Natural History of the Blue Phantom Plecostomus
Blue Phantom Plecos are members of the large armored suckermouth catfish family. They are a midsize, peaceful scavenger that does well in community aquariums from 50-gallon on up. Rarely bred in captivity, Blue Phantoms are scientifically classified as an unknown species in the Hemiancistrus genus.
To avoid confusion, aquarists use a system of L-numbers to identify unique varieties of Loricariidae catfish when the scientific names are absent or too broad (as with the Clown plecos and their mimics):
- Blue Phantoms are identified and sold as L128 under this system.
- They may be a southern variation or subspecies of the Green Phantom Pleco ( Hemiancistrus subviridis ), identified as L200.
- Blue Phantoms are a rarer but widely available variety of pleco that usually sells for a premium price , and it’s not uncommon to see them listed in the $50-150 range.
While suckermouth catfish species are found throughout a broad range of Central and South America, populations of Blue Phantoms are only found in a limited and specific region . They are native to the Rio Orinoco in Venezuela, specifically the area downstream from Puerto Ayacucho :
- They live in the river rapids and hide under boulders and rocks during the day, and mostly feed on algae and plant materials along with small insects, worms and larvae.
- They’re tolerant of mild water flows as long as their water is clean and well-oxygenated.
Blue Phantom Appearance and Size
Phantoms have the typical Pleco body shape , with a wide suckermouth and flat head leading to a narrow body and upright dorsal fin. As diggers, they have strong, wide pectoral and abdominal fins as well. Blue Phantoms are a beautiful catfish with stunning markings:
- They have a charcoal black base color that can verge on a deep navy under certain lighting conditions.
- Their name comes from the small bluish-colored iridescent spots on their body and fins .
Blue Phantoms are usually sold as juveniles when they’re 3 to 5 inches in length, and they average about 7-inches from snout to tail at maturity . Like the other species of armored catfish, these plecos don’t have scales and are protected by heavy, thick plates instead.
Plecos typically live for about a decade in captivity, but it depends on their environment. If you keep your tank well-maintained and feed a balanced diet, you may have your Blue Phantom for 12 to 15 years!
Behavior and Temperament
Blue Phantoms are a mellow, shy and peaceful pleco that does very well in midsize to large community aquariums. While they usually hide under rocks and decor during the day, they can be quite active scavengers once the lights fade away. It’s fun to watch them swimming in your filter outflows or bubble walls with a moonlight !
As catfish, Blue Phantoms are opportunistic feeders and try to eat anything they come across. But unlike the giant and aggressive Common Pleco, they’re not active hunters and usually leave schooling fish alone . They’re not territorial , and you can keep them in groups or with other peaceful plecos like the Bristlenose .
How to Care for Your Blue Phantom Pleco
Blue Phantom’s are easy to care for overall, but they’re not as hardy as some plecos. It’s best to allow them plenty of time to acclimate to your local water conditions in a quarantine tank before introducing them to your aquatic community.
Tank Set-up and Habitat Requirements
While wild Phantoms usually live in waterways with heavy currents, waterfalls and rapids, captive fish tolerate aquariums with mild currents as long as their water is very clean and highly oxygenated .
Blue Phantoms are active bottom dwellers who need plenty of room to swim and scavenge in the lower parts of your tank. They’re ideal for tanks 50-gallons and up, especially long-style or breeder tanks. I recommend allowing an additional 25 to 50 gallons per Phantom to prevent stress.
The ideal substrate for a Blue Phantom tank recreates their natural environment and includes a mix of soft sand and smooth pebbles . Avoid using harsh aquarium gravel, which could injure their abdomen or fins. Aquatic soils may also work, but these plecos usually make a muddy mess out of it.
Water and Temperature Parameters
Phantoms prefer warm, stable water temperatures between 77 and 86°F , so it’s best to use an aquarium heater . They prefer slightly soft water from 2 to 12 KH with a neutral pH from 6.0 to 7.0 . Plecos get stressed when their conditions change suddenly and require extra time for acclimation .
Filtration and Aeration
While wild catfish prefer turbulent conditions, you don’t have to use a powerhead to make waves in your tank. As long as you have a good filtration system with replaceable filter media and maintain high water oxygenation with bubble devices or air stones, Blue Phantoms can tolerate living in tanks with mild currents .
I recommend using a robust canister or a couple of HOB filters, depending on your aquarium’s capacity and whether you’re using a powerhead as well. Dirty water and hypoxic or low-oxygen conditions cause these fish a great deal of stress and may significantly reduce their lifespans.
Lights, Plants and Decorations
As nocturnal fish plecos avoid bright areas of your tank during the day. They prefer to hide under piles of rocks or in crevices near your filter outflows. The ideal decor for a Phantom tank are tall piles of rocks and boulders. You can include some driftwood or branches as well, but these catfish don’t need a lot of wood. You can keep Phantoms in a planted aquarium, but they often uproot and damage live plants.
Blue Phantoms are not quite as hardy as other species of pleco and get very stressed when kept in dirty water. As voracious eaters, they produce a lot of waste, so plan on doing at least monthly water changes and filter maintenance on your pleco tank.
Feeding Blue Phantom Plecos
While these scavenging catfish enjoy eating aquarium algae and cleaning up the food scraps left by other fish, you’ll still need to offer your plecos commercial diets and treats to balance their nutrition. It’s best to feed Blue Phantom in the evening, when they’re just emerging from their hiding spots:
- Offer a daily meal of sinking algae wafers and spirulina pellets , with treats of freshly blanched veggies like cucumber, zucchini, and peas.
- Several times a week you can feed a protein-rich treat like live/frozen/dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, mosquito larvae or Daphnia eggs.
These peaceful catfish do well in a variety of mixed communities, so the best tank mate really depends on your aquarium size and set-up. If you’d like to keep other turbulence-loving fish in a tank with a powerhead, consider doing an Amazon themed tank with Silver Dollar Fish and Flagtail Characins. You can keep Blue Phantoms with both peaceful and semi-aggressive communities:
- They’re a viable option for tanks of schooling tetras, hatchetfish, or barbs like the Tiger, Tinfoil and Odessa.
- They usually get along well with smaller cichlids, although they may eat any fry produced by a breeding group.
- Avoid keeping them with large, aggressive fish like Oscars or Common Plecos.
- They’re also an ideal option for aquariums with other friendly plecos like the Clown, Bristlenose, Candy Stripe, Sailfin , and Rubber Lip.
There are a few reports of successful breeding in captivity, but most of these fish are captured in the wild and sold into the trade. It’s unlikely your plecos will breed in an aquarium or even a pond without the use of artificial hormones, even if you have a mixed-gender group.
These plecos are usually healthy and don’t suffer from many common problems outside the usual water-borne parasites and infections . But Blue Phantoms are not as hardy as other types of plecos and are susceptible to stress when their conditions change. Always allow your fish extra time for acclimation, and don’t fall behind in your aquarium maintenance or water changes.
Blue Phantom Pleco Set-Up: Product and Equipment List
Let’s take a look at the list of supplies you’ll need to start a tank for your Blue Phantom Pleco! For a single Phantom community aquarium, you’ll need :
- 50-gallon or larger aquarium with a stand and cover/hood
- Filtration System (canister, HOB or combo)
- Airstone or bubbling device, air pump and plastic tubing
- Sand and pebble substrate
- Variety of boulders, large and small rocks and driftwood decor
- Water conditioner
- Water testing kit
To feed your Blue Phantoms, you’ll need :
- Commercial sinking algae wafers and spirulina pellets
- Freshly blanched veggies
- Treats like live/frozen/dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, larvae or Daphnia eggs
Optional but often useful equipment for a pleco tank includes :
- Powerhead or aquatic wavemaker for turbulent aquarium
- LED aquarium lights and/or moonlight
- Live plants
What do you think about the Blue Phantom, and does it sound like a good algae eater for your aquarium? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these stunning spotted plecos, so share them below or splash-out with our larger community of fish keepers on our social media pages!
Jen has more than 30 years experience as a biologist, aquarist, and fishkeeper. She is an expert in setting up new tanks and maintaining naturally-planted freshwater habitats, and has experience raising a wide variety of aquatic species.
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Resources » Freshwater Fish » Blue Phantom Pleco
Blue Phantom Pleco (L128) Species & Care Guide
The blue phantom pleco is an attractive armored suckermouth fish. It is a member of the pleco and catfish families. It has a magnificent cobalt blue color, with interesting white dots.
It is related to the green phantom pleco, although they do have certain differences, apart from their obvious coloring.
In this article, we will give you all the information that you need for caring for a blue phantom pleco in your home aquarium.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Blue phantom pleco facts & overview, habitat and tank conditions, is the blue phantom pleco suitable for your aquarium.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is a freshwater fish. They do well in flowing water and enjoy having space to swim around.
They are suckers and love eating algae, which they will happily suck off the walls of their tank. But this should not be their sole source of nutrition. They need other food as well.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is sometimes seen as an aggressive fish, but this is not always accurate. It will only show aggression towards other plecos.
The Blue Phantom Pleco originated in Venezuela, where it is found in the Rio Orinoco River. When it is together with other species of fish, the Blue Phantom Pleco is a tranquil, calm fish.
They are fast growers and require a moderate amount of care. If it is well looked after, the blue Phantom Pleco can live for 6-8 years.
When buying a Blue Phantom Pleco for your home aquarium, it is advisable to buy from a reputable aquarium supplies store, in order to ensure that your fish is disease-free.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is not a cheap fish. You can expect to pay anywhere between $25 – $75, depending on the size of your specimen.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is generally a peaceful fish, as long as it is not paired with other plecos. It can live harmoniously with most other small freshwater fish
It will turn aggressive towards other plecos, and react in a hostile manner if another pleco is introduced into its tank. It will see the other pleco as a threat to its territory and will attack to try to defend itself.
The Blue Phantom Pleco enjoys a high level of activity. You will seldom see it lying inert in the water. It is a very fast swimmer and needs enough space to move freely around its tank.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is a medium-sized fish. The biggest specimen may grow to a length of 7 ½ inches.
This fish has unique coloring. The main color is usually a shade of deep cobalt blue, although it can also be slightly lighter blue. It is also covered with interesting white dots.
The mouth of the Blue Phantom Pleco is designed for sucking. The front of the mouth protrudes, with big sucker-shaped lips.
These fish are known as ‘armored suckermouth’ fish, as they have a shimmery coating that looks like armor.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is a freshwater fish that prefers a stream-like environment. Being native to the turbulent waters of the Rio Orinoco River in Venezuela, they do best with a current flowing in the tank.
They enjoy cool to moderately warm water, with a temperature range of 70° – 78° Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for them to remain healthy.
It is helpful to invest in a thermometer, and possibly also a water heater, to be sure that your aquarium water is at the appropriate temperature.
The blue Phantom Pleco does not like water with a high alkaline level. Ideally, the pH of the water should be maintained at between 6.0 -7.0.
What Size Aquarium Do They Need?
The average Blue Phantom Pleco is about 7 inches long, and it loves having lots of space to swim around. It is recommended to have a tank of a minimum of 30 gallons, but it is actually better to give it even more space. A 75 gallon tank or larger would be perfect.
The Blue Phantom Pleco will get along with most other freshwater fish of a similar size and can be placed in an aquarium with an assortment of other species.
A word of caution; if there are numerous other fish in the tank, give your Blue Phantom Pleco somewhere to hide when he feels like being alone. They like to disappear and hide out under rocks or behind plants.
Avoid pairing them with another Blue Phantom Pleco. This will arouse an aggressive, defensive instinct in your fish.
Because the Blue Phantom Pleco is omnivorous, it enjoys both a vegetable and a meat-based diet.
It will feed off algae in the tank, and the amount of algae that is available will affect the frequency with which you should add supplementing food.
They can be given bloodworms, small pieces of brine shrimp, and assorted vegetable-based foods, and green plants.
The Blue Phantom Pleco only requires a moderate level of care. While it is important to keep the tank clean, you should also allow some time between cleanings for algae to build up, as it enjoys feeding off the algae.
Obviously, in order for them to breed, you need both males and females in the tank. The male is usually longer and thinner, while the female has a more rounded belly.
You should only have one male in the tank, paired with a few females. If there is more than one male, they may turn aggressive towards each other.
If you have other medium-sized freshwater fish in your aquarium, you can add a Blue Phantom Pleco to the community quite successfully.
As long as the tank size is adequate, and all the water parameters are suitable, your blue Phantom Pleco should integrate well and swim around quite happily in your tank.
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Dear Rob, As I don’t live in an English-speaking country, or in the capital, it would be great if you could always supply the precise Latin name of the fish about which you write so knowledgeably and helpfully. Otherwise great to receive an email again after a long silence.
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Blue Phantom Pleco (L128) Care Guide: All You Need To Know
- August 14, 2022
Table of Contents Hide
Species overview, characteristics, blue phantom pleco overview, origin and classification, water parameters, appearance and size, behaviour and temperament, tank requirements and level, treatment of the diseases, how to avoid predators, tank mates and compatibility, benefits of the blue phantoms, are these fish species nocturnal, are the fish species easy to breed, are blue phantoms aggressive, how big does this fish species get, do they eat plants, which is the smallest pleco, can two plecos live together, how long do blue phantoms live, final words.
Common Names: Blue Phantom Pleco, Pleco L128
Scientific Name: Hemiancistrus sp .
Adult Size: 7 inches
Life Expectancy: 10 years
Social: Peaceful to semi-aggressive
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
pH: 6.0 to 7.5
Hardness: 2 to 12 KH
Temperature: 75 to 86°F
Have you been wondering what type of beautiful fish will suit your aquarium? This fish species is the best answer.
With its bright blue body sprinkled with white dots, the Blue Phantom Pleco makes for a very attractive fish to keep in your tank. The Phantom Pleco is also a very active fish that loves swimming in its tank.
It’s definitely an excellent addition to any aquarium and can be very entertaining.
This article will help you look at everything you need to know about this type of fish. We look at the size, the habitats, the appearance, the compatibility and all the interesting facts about this fish.
Keep on reading for more.
This is a fish species found in the Amazon River basin in South America. It is also known as L128.
It grows to a length of up to 7 inches. It can also be a bit territorial as it will not hesitate to attack other fish who come too close and make them feel threatened.
The Phantom Pleco is a popular aquarium fish because it has a cheerful temperament and is easy to care for. It can be kept in either tropical or temperate water conditions and should be fed small pieces of meat, vegetables, and fruit.
Its amicable disposition and ability to coexist peacefully with other fish make it a popular choice for community fish tanks.
Any significant factors do not currently threaten the Blue Phantom. Still, its population may be declining due to the expansion of the Amazon River basin into new areas and the loss of habitat due to deforestation.
If you are interested in keeping this fish as an aquarium pet, please be aware that it requires ample space for its activeness. If you are considering buying this fish, please research first to ensure it is a suitable pet.
The fish is from kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Teleostei, order Siluriformes, and family Loricariidae. The genus of the fish is Hypostomus , and the species name is Hypostomus Plecostomus L.
It is believed to have been introduced to other parts of the world through the aquarium trade. It is not known to have established populations outside of its native range.
However, it is possible that individuals could escape from aquariums and establish populations in other parts of the world.
The blue phantom is a natural freshwater fish that prefers to live in slow-moving waters, such as rivers, creeks, and lakes. They can also survive in acidic soft waters.
They are primarily found in Rio Orinoco in the downstream area of Puerto Ayacucho.
The blue phantom is a nocturnal fish, meaning that it is most active at night. During the day, these fish will hide in caves or among the roots of plants.
The fish species is a bottom-dweller, meaning that it spends most of its time exploring the depths of the water.
This fish is an omnivore and will eat small fish, invertebrates, and plant matter. The habitat of the blue phantom is essential for this fish because it helps to ensure that this species has access to food and shelter.
This fish is not tolerant of changes in its environment, so it is essential to keep its habitat consistent if you want to keep a specimen of this fish.
According to the origin of the fish species, they are used to string water currents. They can, however, adapt easily to the mild movement of water.
This type of fish prefers warm waters with temperatures between 77 to 84 degrees. The pH level is acidic from 6.0 to 7.0.
You need to be extra careful with this as this fish species tend to die when the water becomes alkaline.
The fish is also highly sensitive to sudden changes in water quality or quantity. The water should be kept at the same level with adequate oxygen.
The water conditions are tested using the kit to keep track of the conditions required.
Their name comes from their body color: blue and beautifully stunned with white spots. They possess a typical shape of the plecos’ body.
Their dorsal fins are upright with a flat head and their mouth is modified to suck and dig. They also have abdominal solid and pectoral fins for digging deeper into the rocks.
The juveniles are 3 to 5 inches long. The mature ones are averagely 7 inches.
They have no scales, a unique feature that allows them to have plates for protection.
The fish is easy to care for and is an excellent option for beginners interested in pet fish. You only need to provide plenty of fresh water with a moderate current and adjust the pH to 6.5-7.0.
You also need to remove uneaten food and debris from their tank daily or regularly.
However, you are required to use an aquarium heater in the winter if necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature range (around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit).
Another thing to keep in mind is that blue phantom are omnivorous fish, so they require a diet mainly of meat and plant materials. They will also eat small aquatic invertebrates, but make sure you provide them with plenty of fresh food and vegetable matter too.
It is a freshwater fish that requires a substrate of sand, gravel, or rocks. Plants are not necessary but can be used for decoration to make their environment natural in the aquarium.
This fish does best in an aquarium with plenty of hiding places. It may become aggressive when its territory is invaded by other plecos.
Sand and gravel are required because the fish feeds on small invertebrates that live in the sand and gravel. A filtration system is also necessary to keep the fish clean and healthy.
However, harsh gravels should be avoided so they don’t accidentally injure their fins.
The fish species will be most active at night and reduces their activities during the day. They are popular in an aquarium because of their hardiness and beautiful pattern.
They prefer to stay hidden most of the time.
They are shy, but when they are comfortable in their habitat, they will come out of hiding. They are good community fish and can survive well with others.
But, they are a little sensitive to changes in the water quality, so it is advised to do frequent water changes to maintain the quality of the water.
They are also sensitive to medications, so caution is advised when treating them with any medication. The fish requires a temperature of 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH of 6.8 to 7.4 and a hardness of 2 to 12 dGH.
The fish are livebearers in that they lay eggs. The female and males should be put in the same tank to facilitate this process.
Tanks that are 48 inches long are recommended because of the fish’s size. A small tank will only accommodate both males and females if they have enough spaces to hide and find their happy space in case of threats.
The young ones will be hatched in 24 hours, and the females should be fed frequently. The juveniles are many at the time of hatching, and a good number of them do not survive to maturity.
This may be because of elimination by nature or being fed on by other larger species.
The juveniles become adaptive at almost three weeks of age and start moving around the tank. This movement behaviour reduces their tendency to be fed on.
They grow rapidly during their first trimester, and they are transferred to their own aquarium. They then mature after one year and start spawning themselves.
The lifespan of the fish is typically around 10 years. However, some individuals have been known to live up to 15 years in captivity.
In the wild, their lifespan is shorter due to predation and other environmental factors. Plecos are generally sensitive and adaptable fish, so if their environment is maintained healthily, they should be able to live quite a long time.
This is a bottom dweller small tropical fish that needs a lot of space to live comfortably. It needs at least 1 inch of water above its base and a tank size of at least 50 gallons minimum.
The pleco also requires hiding places and rocky surfaces to rest on.
Water changes every two weeks are also necessary for a blue phantom. Plecos are hardy and easy to care for, but they do require regular water changes to maintain good health.
The tank should be naturally set up with rocks to allow the growth of algae which is food for the fish. The tanks should be supplied with protein supplements for their good health.
Parasites And Diseases
Some of the parasites that can affect this fish species are ich, velvet , flukes, and tapeworms . These parasites can cause a variety of problems for the fish, including irritation, weight loss, and death.
It is important to treat any fish that is infected with parasites as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the parasites to other fish.
The parasites of the blue phantom pleco can be controlled using dips and good quality fish food. Some other methods that can be used to control parasitic infections in these fish include using a water change schedule, treating with anti-parasitic medication, and keeping the aquarium clean.
Monitoring for signs of disease is also important, as is cleaning up any debris that may build up over time. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove parasites from the fish’s body.
This fish species is susceptible to many diseases, and these diseases make them uncomfortable or unable to thrive well. Such diseases include bacterial infections, fungal infections, viral infections, and parasites:
- Bacterial infections:
Bacterial infections are one of the most common diseases that can affect blue phantoms. These infections can cause a variety of symptoms, including fin rot, mouth rot, and ulcers.
Bacterial infections are often treated with antibiotics.
- Fungal infections:
Fungal infections can also be a major problem for the plecos. These infections cause lesions, discolouration on the fish’s skin, and serious health problems.
Fungal infections are treated often using antifungal medications.
- Viral infections
Different viruses result in various diseases in this type of fish. Plecos are especially vulnerable to these viruses, so it’s important to keep them healthy to prevent any illness.
The viral diseases commonly affecting plecos include:
- Respiratory infections (like pneumonia)
- CCD (coccidiosis)
- viruses that cause cancer (such as hepatitis A and B)
There is no cure for any of these viruses, so it is important to keep your pleco healthy by following a proper fishkeeping regimen and making sure they have access to clean water and food.
If you notice any unusual behaviour or signs of illness in your pleco, be sure to take them to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Prevention is the best way to keep your plecos healthy!
The diseases that this fish species might suffer from can be controlled by giving the fish antibiotics and chlorine. It is important to do regular water changes and feed them a healthy diet in order for them to stay healthy.
Any presence of symptoms of the disease, such as reduced activity or poor health, should prompt you to take your fish to a qualified doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment.
There are many predators that can affect this interesting fish. These predators can cause the fish to become stressed and even die.
Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the potential predators in your area and take steps to protect your fish and allow its life span to be longer. Some of the potential predators that could affect the fish include:
- Other fish:
Other fish, such as larger predatory fish, can be a threat to the fish species. They tend to feed on the plecos, or they destroy their habitat.
Invertebrates, for instance, insects and worms, can also be predators of the blue phantoms. These invertebrates feed on the plecos or destroy their territory.
Mammals, such as raccoons and cats, can also be predators of this fish species. These mammals can damage the plecos or also feed on them.
It is important to be aware of the potential predators in your area and take steps to protect your plecos. By doing so, you can help ensure that the Pleco population remains healthy and thriving.
There are a few things you can do to avoid predators in the blue phantoms aquarium. One is to make sure there are no places for predators to hide.
Another is to keep the pleco aquarium well-lit so predators cannot approach unnoticed. Not to mention, you will also be able to keep a closer eye on your pleco fish and be quick to respond to any that show signs of stress or injury.
Compatibility in fish is when two different species of fish can live together in the same environment without harming each other. This can be due to the fish having similar dietary needs or because they can avoid each other’s territories.
Compatibility is essential for the health of both species, as it allows them to live in close quarters and share resources. It is also necessary for the environment, as it will enable different species to share resources and help to keep ecosystems healthy.
Compatibility can be challenging, as different fish species may have other behaviours and preferences.
Compatibility in this fish is generally reasonable. However, some individuals may not get along due to their different water parameters or tank sizes. Additionally, some variations in colour and pattern may also cause conflict.
If you are purchasing a pleco from a breeder or pet store, it is best to ask about their breeding history and whether any of the fish in the batch have been known to fight. If you are buying your pleco from a fish store or online retailer, ensure you get a picture of the fish before buying.
Blue Phantom Plecos are generally compatible with the following fish species.
- Clown knife fish
- The silver dollars
- River stingrays
Compared to other species, Blue Phantoms offer great advantages to a lot of people. Aquarists typically prefer them because of the following reasons:
- They have an interesting appearance that catches the eye of any visitors.
- They are generally peaceful and get along well with other fish species, making them an ideal choice for community fish tanks.
- They can live long, with some of them surviving for twenty years or more.
- This fish species is also cheaper than others, making them a good option for aquarium owners on a tight budget.
- These fish are typically found in small to medium-sized aquariums and can be kept with other non-aggressive tropical fish.
- They are omnivorous and can feed on a variety of foodstuffs, including algae. This makes them easy to keep since you cannot lack something to feed them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, they are nocturnal. They are most active at night when they come out to feed on algae and other small food items.
During the day, they rest in the cover of rocks or in hiding spots. Some people keep plecos in lit tanks so they can see them, but most prefer to keep them in the dark tanks where they are more comfortable.
Yes, they are easy to breed. The female will lay eggs on a smooth surface, and the male will fertilize them.
The eggs will hatch in about a week. The fry will require some attention, but they will grow quickly and are easy to care for.
They can be kept in a tank with plenty of plants and rocks or placed in a larger tank.
No, they are not. This type of fish is peaceful and can be kept with other fish species.
They may become territorial with other plecos but are not aggressive.
The fish grows to be about 4-7 inches long. They are a relatively small pleco compared to some of the other species.
Some Plecos may be able to digest plant material, but it is not typically their preferred diet. Instead, they are more likely to consume small insects, worms, and other fish food items.
The medium size of the plecos is 2.4 inches. The smallest pleco, however, is the dwarf snowball species with a black body and white spots.
Yes, two plecos can live together. They are peaceful fish and get along with other fish.
However, they may fight if they are of the same species. It is best to keep them in a tank with other fish so they have something to do and are not bored.
The fish’s lifespan depends on several factors, including diet, water quality, and housing conditions. Generally speaking; however, they have a lifespan of between 10 to 12 years.
Some individual fish may live longer or shorter depending on the abovementioned factors. Ultimately, it is impossible to say exactly how long any fish will live.
However, by providing optimal care, you can help ensure that your blue phantoms enjoy a long and healthy life.
It’s no surprise that this type of fish is increasingly becoming popular. With its unique and colorful appearance, as well as its peaceful temperament, most aquarium owners prefer keeping them in their tanks to other fish species.
Feeding and taking care of them is also a lot easier since they’re omnivorous. However, just like with any other fish, you need to be particular about their environment and make sure it’s regularly maintained.
The Blue Phantom Plecos are definitely a great addition to any home and would make a great pet for anyone. If you’re looking to add more variety and beauty to your fish tanks, then you can’t go wrong with this fish species.
Edwin is a passionate fishkeeper since he was a kid. He loves caring for the fish and sharing his ideas about fishkeeping with family and friends. He is the owner of Fishkeeping Adventure.
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Home Freshwater Community Fish Freshwater Pleco Green Phantom Pleco (L200)
Green phantom pleco (l200), (hemiancistrus subviridis), quick care facts, • care level: easy • temperament: peaceful • maximum size: 7" • minimum tank size: 30 gallons • water conditions: 71-80° f, ph 6.0-7.0, kh 2-12 • diet: omnivore • origin: south america, rio orinoco • family: loricariidae • species: plecos • aquarium type: community.
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Green Phantom Pleco (L200) native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.
It was a great day for freshwater aquarium hobbyists when back in the mid 1990s a beautiful new Pleco species that we now know as the Green Phantom Pleco (L200) was first discovered in the fast flowing rivers of the Upper Rio Orinoco in Venezuela South America. The Green Phantom Pleco (L200) is one of those breeds that lives up to its cool common name with a distinctive olive green body coloration, accented with yellowish fins and creamy golden spots.
The Green Phantom Pleco (L200) is found in the Upper Orinoco and Ventauri areas of the Rio Orinoco river in Venezuela. The rocky mountainous streams and tributaries that feed into the their Rio Orinoco habitat are known for their fast flowing currents, high levels of dissolved oxygen and clear, cool, clean (low nutrient) waters. The larger Rio Orinoco river habitat where Green Phantom Pleco are collected generally have either a clearwater or mildly blackwater profile, with warm flowing water and neutral to slightly acidic pH, with water temperatures around 78°F to 88°F.
You might notice the similarity between the Green Phantom Pleco (L200) and the Blue Phantom Pleco (L128) and this is for good reason. Both species live in the same river system with the Green Phantom Pleco living in the more northern portions of the river and the Blue Phantom Pleco living in the wider, more rocky downstream areas of the Orinoco River. The coloration differences between the fish reflect the specific habitats within the Orinoco River system in which they inhabit. In fact, there are specimens that are found living in between the different river habitats that have modified colorations of both the Green and Blue Phantom Plecos.
How to successfully keep Green Phantom Pleco (L200) in the home aquarium.
Green Phantom Pleco (L200) (Hemiancistrus subviridis) adapt well to aquarium life, provided the hobbyist provides a few key items to make them feel at home. Essentials for keeping the Green Phantom and other fancy ancistrin pleco include: clean water, some rock or wood structures, well oxygenated water and ideally some extra water flow provided by a powerhead or strong circulation pump.
As is common with most river fish, the Green Phantom Pleco (L200) is used to clean, well filtered water. Rivers tend to have large amounts of water flowing through them, often from mountain snow melt or underground springs, that keeps the water clean and free of built up organics and detritus. Hobbyists will want to have strong biological and mechanical filtration, along with good waterflow to keep the substrate free of built up organics and to provide well oxyginated water.
Aquarium decor should ideally provide the Pleco with an environment that mimics or at least has elements of their native habitat. Substrate should consist of sand, gravel or a mix, with lots of rounded stones and boulders that provide both vertical rock faces and plenty of cracks and crevices for the Pleco to move in and out of. The addition of sunken driftwood or bogwood mixed into the rockwork or laying on the substrate will also be very popular with all fancy Pleoc, the Green Phantom Pleco (L200) included. Lastly, if possible use a powerhead or strong circulation pump return to provide stronger waterflow just over the top of the caves and crevices of the rockwork where the Pleco will spend most of their time.
Green Phantom Pleco do great with a variety of tank mates ranging from peaceful community fish all the way to larger semi-aggressive Cichlid species. Typically and community fish that can accept increased waterflow in the aquarium will work well with Green Phantom Pleco. Adult specimens can even thrive in larger Cichlid aquariums as long as they are kept with moderate sized, semi-aggressive species like: Jack Dempsey, Parrot Cichlid, Acara, Oscar and other Cichlids of similar sizes and temperaments. Green Phantom Pleco (L200) are territorial and will compete with other Pleco species for territory within the aquarium, especially when mature. Try to provide more caves, rock crevices and submerged wood areas than their are Pleco in order to give each specimen multiple areas to rest and call home.
Feeding & Nutrition
How to properly feed Green Phantom Pleco (L200) and provide a healthy diet.
In their natural river habitat the Green Phantom Pleco feeds both on algae and the small crustaceans & worms that live on the algae. They will also consume leftovers foods that make it to the aquarium substrate along with any decaying plant material. In the aquarium environment they of course will feed on algae and will readily adapt to commercial aquarium foods like sinking pellets and wafers that are designed for bottom feeders.
Green Phantom Plecos especially enjoy meaty foods like bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp; as well as, blanched vegetables like spinach and other greens. Hobbyists should provide direct feeding in the form of sinking bottom feeder foods 2 to 3 times per week, which combined with leftover foods that the Pleco will scavenge from the substrate should be sufficient. When kept with larger more messy feeders like large Cichlids, the Green Phantom Pleco may not need as many direct feedings, as they will have ample opportunities for scavenging leftovers.
As always it is recommended to monitor the overall girth and appearance of your fish and make decisions on feeding frequency based on visual cues like stomach girth and overall fish health.
How to successfully breed Green Phantom Pleco (L200) in the aquarium environment.
The L200 Green Phantom Pleco is a classic cave spawner, where the male will entice a female into his cave and then attempt to keep her there until she spawns. It is at this point that the female will be released from the cave and the male will guard the clutch of usually 30 to 45 eggs until they hatch. The eggs generally hatch in 3-4 days and will stay within the cave for the next 10 days or so while they absorb their yolk sac. It is at this time that they will begin to venture out from their cave in search of food.
Depending on the maturity and make up of the breeding aquarium, hobbyists will most likely need to begin feeding the fry after 10 days. While there should be grazing oppotunities in the form or algae and micro-organisms, fry should be fed crushed flake, blood worms, algae wafers and blanched vegetables like zucchini and squash. Basically they will feed on the same foods that the adult Pleco feed on.
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Blue Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus sp. L128): Ultimate Care Guide
Like most plecos, the Blue Phantom Pleco is an armored fish that belongs to both the catfish and the pleco families. One of the main things that set the Blue Phantom Pleco apart from other pleco types is its unique blue coloring with white dots throughout its body.
Originating in Venezuela, the Blue Phantom Pleco has been known to live in the Rio Orinoco River. The best way to keep these fish happy is to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible in your aquarium.
Blue Phantom Pleco is known to be highly active, but they are generally peaceful fish that will not cause conflict in the tank. They will be compatible with most other fish of similar size and temperament. Therefore, they are great candidates for a community tank with multiple different species. While they usually do not cause problems in the tank, they appreciate some hiding places that allow them to escape from the chaos occasionally.
Table of Contents
Blue Phantom Pleco Care
Blue Phantom Plecos are not the hardiest fish, at least in comparison to other types of Plecos. They require good water quality, so regular water changes and monitoring of the water parameters are important. When the tank is neglected and the water conditions get degraded, it will cause stress to the fish.
Since Blue Phantom Pleco do not respond well to sudden changes in their environment, it is important that their tank is set up correctly. Being vulnerable to the consequences of a poorly cared tank, it doesn’t matter that there isn’t a specific disease targeting this species. Suppose they are weak and stressed enough due to less favorable water parameters. In that case, there’s a higher chance that any infections or illnesses due to the same shift in the quality of the water parameters will be able to work their way into your fish’s body.
Ideally, if you do everything right and monitor the water parameters, do regular water changes, and keep the fish well-fed, they can live for a long time. While five to eight years may not seem like a long time compared to other catfish species, that wide range leaves a lot up to the aquarist. There’s a sense of pressure applied here when you think about the fact that if you don’t care for your fish properly, you’re inevitably shortening its lifespan.
For a similar reason, it’s important to get your fish from a reputable place to know if the fish is sick, has been sick, has been exposed, how they were cared for, and if the care they did receive was appropriate to the specific species. This is another aspect of life where convenience may take the back seat while logic and reason are more important. If you are a serious aquarist, you know that this has to be taken seriously as there can be a number of things that go wrong when you first introduce a new fish, or even if you’re getting a fish that you’ve never cared for before.
Ensuring that all fish in the tank is in an environment that fits their designated specifications and proves to be fun and safe for them is important in predicting whether your tank will succeed.
Since they originate from Venezuela, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the Blue Phantom Pleco prefers for their water to be moderately warm. If the tank’s temperature remains within the 70-78 degrees Fahrenheit range, the Blue Phantom Pleco should be content and capable of remaining healthy.
The Blue Phantom Pleco prefers water with a pH that stays within the rather neutral range of 6.0-7.0. Unfortunately, this species is very sensitive to changes in the water parameters and can become quite stressed out and, in extreme cases, also quite ill.
Blue Phantom Pleco Size
The rate your Blue Phantom Pleco grows will help determine if you are taking good care of the fish. When they are healthy, they’re likely to grow larger than if they weren’t healthy and properly cared for.
The Blue Phantom Pleco can grow to approximately 7.5 inches long, but those are usually the larger specimen. Being that they are expected to grow to an average of about 7 inches, you should note that if your fish doesn’t reach that size, it may hint that it isn’t as healthy as it should be. If your fish truly is healthy, there’s a chance that they will surpass that estimated 7 inches.
Food & Diet
The Blue Phantom Pleco is an omnivorous fish and will be perfectly content with a diet that is vegetable-based, or a diet that is meat-based, leaving bloodworms, green plants, and tiny portions of brine shrimp as options for you to use to feed your pleco. Thankfully, their lack of dietary restrictions makes it easy to feed them.
Are Blue Phantom Pleco good algae eaters?
Blue Phantom Plecos are good algae eaters. This is an important fact about them because the number of algae present in your tank will help you determine how often you feed them with supplemental food. If they have enough algae in the tank to munch on as they please, you won’t have to add supplemental food as frequently. This may also vary depending on how many algae eaters you have in the tank.
Blue Phantom Pleco Lifespan
As is the case with most living things, fish included, the care Blue Phantom Plecos receive will affect how long you can expect them to live. Provided that your caretaking ensures that the fish stays well fed on a regular basis, and the water parameters are kept within their ideal range, you can expect your fish to live longer than if the opposite was the case.
This species also has a chance to live longer than they would in the wild, in captivity. You can expect your pleco to live for anywhere between five and eight years, again, depending on the quality of the care that you provide and that they receive.
Blue Phantom Pleco Tank Size
Taking the size that these fish will grow to be into consideration, tank size does matter. Due to their size and high activity level, these fish need larger tanks. 20-gallon tanks seem to be sufficient for a Blue Phantom Pleco. Still, suppose you were looking to have multiple. In that case, it’s important to consider overcrowding and territorial behaviors and consider getting a larger tank before adding more of this species.
At the absolute minimum for an active fish of this size, there should be a designated 10 gallons per fish. However, each fish would have 25-50 gallons in a perfect world.
Blue Phantom Pleco Tank Setup
Due to their natural habitat being in a body of water that frequently experiences turbulence, the Blue Phantom Pleco enjoys it when their tank has a current. They are accustomed to environments that are comparable to a stream. They also prefer well-oxygenated water, which can be achieved by purchasing an air pump if you don’t already have one in the tank.
How to set up a tank for Blue Phantom Plecos
As with most fish, the way to ensure they are happy with their current living situation is to do your best to replicate their habitat in the wild. In this case, it’s important to know what the fish needs and prefers in order to be happy.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is quite active and needs a decent amount of space in the tank that it will be able to navigate as they swim around. They are also huge fans of decorations in the tank because they will be provided places to hide when they choose to keep to themselves.
Plecos, in general, prefer a smooth substrate in their habitat, such as fine sand, as there is less of a chance of them getting hurt or being uncomfortable, and the Blue Phantom Pleco is no different. If you were to use a rough and potentially sharp substrate in the tank, there’s a chance that the pleco will hurt itself during its search for food.
These plecos do not need a lot of wood in their tank and would be content with a discreet presence of driftwood and twigs. While some may think that placing more wood in the tank would be good for these fish to hide behind or under, there is also the option to use the tank’s vertical space.
Being that these fish are scavengers, it could be problematic if most of the bottom of the tank is full of obstacles that keep the plecos from being as active as they’d like or searching for food. Having taller rocks and caves available as hiding places for the pleco will be beneficial because the real estate on the bottom of the tank won’t be taken up as much.
Plants might be a good addition to the tank as it would make the Pleco feel more at home, but any aquarist should be made aware that there’s a chance that this species will uproot plants and occasionally snack on them. If you can look beyond plants getting some damage, the odds are that you will have a happy fish. Having green plants, they can munch on whenever they please similar to monitoring your tank’s algae population. If there is a significant food source in the tank, you won’t have to feed your Pleco as often.
Do they need wood?
Generally speaking, these fish do not need excessive wood in the tank. That being said, they are fond of having places to hide for extended periods of time.
Will Blue Phantom Plecos destroy plants?
While it isn’t necessary for Blue Phantom Plecos to have live plants in their tank, and there is a risk that they will destroy the plants, it may be worth adding them to the environment to help make the tank feel authentically like their natural habitat.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is peaceful for the most part, but there is no guarantee that they will leave the live plants alone as they eat almost anything, including green plants. Some sources have even reported that they are known to uproot and damage plants.
Blue Phantom Pleco Breeding
This species, in particular is not known for being easy to breed. We know that it isn’t impossible to breed these fish, as there have been a few reports of successful attempts, but the underwhelming number of instances proves that it’s difficult to achieve.
If you’re trying to figure out whether or not your Blue Phantom Pleco is pregnant, keep an eye on her behaviors to see if there is anything that may be out of the ordinary. If she is more still than usual and resting in cool and calm areas in the tank, and her belly starts to look bigger, there’s a good chance that you have a pregnant pleco on your hands.
Blue Phantom Pleco Male or Female
Usually, a male Blue Phantom Pleco is a thinner and longer version of the female. Females are also known to have more of a rounded belly, comparable to other fish.
Blue Phantom Pleco Disease
While there are no diseases that the Blue Phantom Pleco is particularly susceptible to getting, all fish are vulnerable when it comes to common fish illnesses such as ich, dropsy, fin rot, and fungus. These diseases can be prevented by ensuring the quality of the water conditions is acceptable. Even the hardiest of fish can fall ill due to a decrease in the quality of their water conditions.
Blue Phantom Pleco Tank Mates
Generally speaking, the Blue Phantom Pleco seems to be tolerant of tank mates that are of a similar size. They also don’t seem to have much of a problem coexisting in a space with various other species. It’s best to ensure your pleco has somewhere to hide when the other fish suddenly become too much to handle. It’s common for them to take a break and hide for a while.
In order to avoid drawing out the potentially aggressive side of your fish, it’s best to avoid putting them in the same tank as another Blue Phantom Pleco. If you were to pair these fish, they would start to exhibit defensive and aggressive behaviors that could become problematic.
Blue Phantom Pleco and Betta
Being that the Blue Phantom Pleco generally does well with other species and in community tanks, these two would most likely be compatible in a tank. Although they both have the ability to become aggressive and territorial, the fact that they typically remain at different levels in the tank means that they are not likely to cross paths enough to irritate one another.
Blue Phantom Pleco and Goldfish
With their peaceful nature and ability to peacefully coexist with other species, it’s likely that Goldfish will be a compatible tank mate for this pleco. Their similar size also helps encourage the notion that they can coexist.
Blue Phantom Pleco and Bristlenose Pleco
Although some plecos should be kept separately due to their ability to get aggressive, the Blue Phantom Pleco and the Bristlenose Pleco are compatible as tank mates. Rubber Lip Plecos are another viable option as a tank mate for the Blue Phantom Pleco.
Blue Phantom Pleco and Shrimp
This pairing does not appear ideal when you look at the fact that some Blue Phantom Plecos are fed brine shrimp. However, since the shrimp will not be present in the form of small pieces, there’s a chance that the two species will be able to keep to themselves and essentially ignore the other’s presence.
Blue Phantom Pleco and Corydoras
Yes, these two would be compatible as tank mates because they are both rather docile and keep to themselves. Although the Corydoras are small, it is unlikely that they will cause any trouble for the Blue Phantom Pleco.
Blue Phantom Pleco and Discus
It is likely that these two will also be compatible as tank mates. The wide variety of fish that would be able to coexist with the Blue Phantom Pleco peacefully is thanks to the fact that any aggression that they are capable of displaying is usually reserved for the same species and matters of possession and territorial behaviors.
Blue Phantom Pleco and Cichlids
Blue Phantom Plecos and small cichlids are compatible as tank mates, but if there is a breeding group within the tank’s cichlid population, there is a chance that the pleco will eat the fry. One of the most important factors in ensuring that two species will be compatible tank mates in this situation is that they are around the same size.
Where can I find Blue Phantom Plecos for sale?
Although you may be able to find them elsewhere, it is recommended that you purchase your Blue Phantom Pleco from an aquarium supplies store with a good reputation in order to decrease the chance that your fish may be carrying a disease.
As a side note, buying your fish from reputable locations is always recommended rather than settling for your local pet store, as there is a clear difference in the quality that the fish receive.
If you don’t have access to a reputable location with aquarium supplies and life, isolating your new fish in a quarantine tank is highly encouraged. The reason for doing this is to ensure that the new fish do not bring harmful diseases or bacteria into your tank. When introducing new fish to your preexisting tank, if they’re carrying illnesses, there’s a relatively good chance that they will contaminate the rest of your tank.
As harsh as it may be, replacing a fish that succumbed to its illnesses is easier than treating or replacing an entire preexisting aquarium setup. If you’re just starting a tank and it doesn’t yet have any fish in it, the quarantine tank step is unnecessary.
Blue Phantom Pleco Price
Blue Phantom Plecos are on the more expensive side when compared to other plecos. As with all fish, the price varies within a generally specified range depending on the size of the fish at the time of purchase. The price can fall below the price range of $25 to $75.
Overall, the Blue Phantom Pleco could be a great addition to most tanks, and its rather average preferences regarding pH and water temperature make for an easy transition. If you already have a preexisting tank, and your water, temperature, etc., are already up to the standards of this Pleco, the lack of environmental changes will hopefully leave the fish that were already in the tank unphased and relaxed.
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Blue Phantom Pleco: A Species Care Guide
The L128 blue phantom pleco is a freshwater fish from South America, specifically in the Rio Orinoco in Venezuela and Columbia. These armored fish with suckers are considered a type of catfish .
Their dark coloring and lighter iridescent spots give them a striking blue color, making them an attractive addition to aquariums. They do well in medium to large-sized community tanks and are good fish for intermediate hobbyists.
This fish is an omnivore that will feed on the algae in your tank but will also need additional food in the form of sinking pellets. Plecos are sensitive to poor water conditions, and because of this, you’ll need to be vigilant with your water changes.
Blue phantom plecos are not schooling fish and will not enjoy being housed with other plecos or scavengers competing for the same resources. Instead, keep a single pleco to enjoy your tank.
Plecos come in a variety of colors and patterns, all of which make them appealing to hobbyists.
The blue phantom pleco’s most distinguishing feature is its unique coloring.
They’re darker blue fish with lighter iridescent spots that give them a ghostly sheen. This coloring gives them a striking appearance, setting them apart from other plecos.
Blue phantom plecos originating in the northern portion of the Orinoco River have a darker body than those in the southern, which have been reported to be lighter overall.
They have upright dorsal fins and solid abdominal and pectoral fins that allow them to maneuver rocky substrate. The blue phantom pleco lacks scales and instead has armored plating for protection.
As omnivores, their flat heads and sucker mouths help them root in riverbeds and scavenge for food.
The blue phantom pleco originates in the Orinoco River that runs through Columbia and Venezuela. This river is freshwater, fast-moving, and warm. It’s considered one of the world’s largest rivers and one of the longest in South America.
The Orinoco cuts through rainforests, grasslands, and a large delta, eventually ending at the Atlantic Ocean.
There are two seasons in the basin through which the Orinoco River flows: winter and summer. During colder months, the area sees more rain and the water levels in the river rise.
The river remains a relatively pristine ecosystem with over 1,000 species of fish , not to mention other wildlife. Urbanization in some locations, as well as mining efforts around the river, does threaten to pollute it.
Tumultuous waters and high oxygen content mean that the blue phantom pleco thrives in these conditions, directly contributing to their being more sensitive to water parameters than other fish. You’ll have to keep these conditions in mind when planning your tank.
The average juvenile blue phantom pleco is approximately 3-5 inches long. At maturity, the maximum length of this fish is about 7 inches .
They can be considered rapid growers and may grow about half an inch yearly. Your blue phantom pleco will take several years to reach full size.
In the wild, this fish has a much shorter lifespan because of predators and the unpredictable elements of nature.
If the blue phantom pleco is well taken care of (this means frequent significant water changes), the species is durable and healthy and can live up to ten years in captivity. Some individuals can live even longer than that.
You should understand that this extended lifespan is with tank conditions being kept ideal for the length of the pleco’s life. A blue phantom pleco may only live 5 to 7 years in less ideal conditions.
The female blue phantom pleco is a rounder body shape, and its abdomen appears longer from the side.
When observing the males of this species, its body is longer and more streamlined.
The blue phantom pleco is a peaceful fish to add to your aquarium, maintaining a calm demeanor.
They are a more solitary species, meaning they’re more likely to give the other freshwater fish in your tank plenty of space. They’re known for getting along well with other fish of the same size or smaller.
They’re more active in the evening and may be more comfortable if you give them places to rest during the day. They’re a faster swimmer and enjoy exploring the bottom of the tank when out in the open.
Plenty of space for the blue phantom pleco to enjoy is crucial to its overall happiness.
Unfortunately, they often view other plecos as competition for territory and will act aggressively. Because of this, it’s unwise to have more than one in your tank at any given time.
They may also act belligerently to other bottom-dwelling scavenger fish because they’ll view their presence as infringing upon their territory.
This tropical freshwater fish will benefit significantly from a large tank with plenty of swimming space and terrain to explore. The blue phantom pleco is an active swimmer who enjoys spending time searching for food at the bottom of the tank.
Minimum Tank Size
You’ll see different recommendations for tank size when it comes to plecos, with some suggesting a tank as small as 10 gallons is sufficient.
That’s false ; such a small space will likely result in an unhappy pleco. These small bottom-dwelling fish require plenty of room to explore, swim, and occasionally hideaway.
To keep a blue phantom pleco happy and healthy, we recommend that your minimum tank size be at least 50 gallons .
Anything smaller, and you risk running into issues with water circulation and water conditions that could lead to parasites, bacteria, and other ailments. These issues in your tank can be disastrous for your fish population and deadly for your pleco.
The blue phantom pleco is a tropical fish that lives in a fast-moving river when in the wild. You’ll want a large tank with good water circulation and plenty of changes to help maintain the healthy environment they’d typically experience.
This fish will appreciate being in a tank incorporating a stream-like current similar to what it would experience in the wild.
This fish comes from an environment where the temperature is reasonably warm, even during cooler months. You should strive to keep your tank between 70 and 77°F to keep your blue phantom pleco comfortable.
Since temperatures that are either too high or too low can be unhealthy for your pleco, it can be helpful to invest in a tank thermometer so that you can keep track of how warm the water is.
Numerous tank heaters are available that will allow you to set them to your desired temperature and maintain that temperature.
The blue phantom pleco prefers less alkaline water, so a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is best.
The blue phantom pleco is a freshwater fish and does not require salinity to get added to its tank. Salt can harm your pleco, and you should avoid it entirely.
How you set your tank up can significantly impact the health and well-being of your blue phantom pleco. In many instances, a shortened lifespan can be directly attributed to tank conditions.
A pleco that doesn’t have a comfortable environment and can’t engage in its natural behaviors will be prone to depression and possibly bullying by other tankmates.
The blue phantom pleco spends significant time at the bottom of the tank, rooting in the substrate and swimming through its environment. It also occasionally needs a place to rest, especially during the day because it’s nocturnal.
Be careful to balance your plants, decorations, and clear spaces. If there’s not enough open space for your pleco to explore, they can become hostile and territorial to other fish in the tank.
The blue phantom pleco will spend a lot of time at the bottom of the tank or on the sides. A fine gravel or sand substrate is best in these circumstances because it allows them to interact with the bottom of the tank without damaging their fins or undersides.
The pleco will appreciate places where it can rest, such as driftwood and rocks . Caves and alcoves should get provided so that the pleco can have a place to relax and retreat if it needs to.
When choosing the appropriate plant for your blue phantom pleco, you’ll want one that can provide adequate shelter and resist your fish’s desire to root.
The pleco spends much of its time searching for food at the bottom of the tank. It will also root in the sand and gravel that makes up the substrate.
The Anubis Nana is a slow-growing aquarium plant with a robust root system and large leaves that provide plenty of cover. The Amazon Sword is similar because the root system is robust, but the foliage grows more densely and provides more cover.
The blue phantom pleco naturally lives in an environment where there isn’t an abundance of light. But you can safely use medium lighting for your aquarium to get the best of their coloration.
The blue phantom pleco is sensitive to poor water quality levels. In addition to carrying out regular water changes, you’ll want to invest in a premium water filtration system .
Because this pleco originates in waters with high oxygen levels, you’ll want to ensure similar conditions for your tank. You can achieve this with a bubbling device to deliver extra oxygen to your tank’s water.
The waters of the Orionico River are warm, and the environment that the blue phantom pleco comes from is considered tropical.
You’ll want to include a heating device that will raise the temperature of your water and maintain it at a set level so that your pleco is consistently comfortable.
A temperature between 70 to 77 Fahrenheit should be sufficiently warm for your pleco.
The blue phantom pleco is an omnivore . An omnivore will eat both meat and vegetables. In the wild, this fish would eat algae, decaying plant matter, crustaceans, insects, and potentially other small fish.
However, this diet must get supplemented when living in a tank environment. Depending on how much algae grows in your tank, the amount you feed them to support their feeding habits may vary.
Feeding them roughly three times a week should be sufficient, but you’ll want to observe their behavior and bodies to decide what’s best for your pleco.
They’re also more active in the evening, so you should wait until they become active later in the day before feeding them.
Most of your feeding should be done with sinking pellets or wafer foods formulated to meet their nutritional needs for the best results. You can adjust your pleco’s diet to mimic its natural environment.
When feeding your pleco a meat-based diet, you can introduce items like bloodworms, shrimp, and daphnia to their meals.
Alternating to a vegetable-based diet opens you up to a wide variety of options, as they’re happy to eat most leafy greens in addition to the tank’s algae. Spinach is a great supplement that’s high in nutrients for your pleco.
Remember that your blue phantom pleco is a scavenger at heart and will dig through the tank’s substrate to eat any leftover food from other fish.
Breeding in captivity has proven to be difficult for the blue phantom pleco. Many of these fish are wild-caught and brought to stores, so they’re largely unfamiliar with breeding in a tank environment.
Some have had success with hormone treatments to encourage breeding, but this isn’t something the average hobbyist can access.
When attempting to breed your plecos, there are a few key things to remember regardless of difficulty.
The first is that plecos can become territorial. You’ll need to take care and ensure that you’re only introducing one male into the tank and that the rest are females.
The next is to ensure a cool spot in your tank for the females to rest as they grow their eggs. They’ll also need a safe space to lay their eggs when it’s time and often prefer cave-like environments.
Females will appear more bloated and round shortly after becoming pregnant; they’ll also become reclusive and seek places to rest while eggs develop.
Males can become territorial of the eggs after they’ve been laid and guard them against potential dangers until the spawn has absorbed the yolk.
Like many tropical freshwater fish, the blue phantom pleco is suspectable to diseases such as Dropsy, Ich, and Fin rot . They also suffer from fungal infections if tank conditions are not ideal.
Dropsy can cause an enlarged abdomen, lethargy, and protruding scales. The cause is usually infection by bacteria or even kidney failure. If left untreated, this can be fatal in fish.
Ich is a parasite that’s very common in tropical fish. White spots will develop over your pleco’s body, and they’ll engage in strange behavior, such as rubbing against rocks or hiding.
Adding copper sulfate to the water can help with treatment at certain stages, but it can be difficult to rid from your aquarium.
Fin rot can be spotted by jagged edges appearing on the tails or fins of your tropical fish. These rough edges can lead to receding fins and decreased balance and mobility.
You can treat this ailment with antibiotics.
Blue phantom plecos are more sensitive to poor tank conditions than other types of fish and will require frequent significant water changes to avoid becoming infected with various ailments.
If you spot any of these diseases in your fish, you’ll need to immediately do a water change in the tank and begin medications.
Most over-the-counter antibiotics and antifungals are suitable for the pleco, but having an aquatic veterinarian look over your plecos is in your best interest. This route will result in having the proper diagnosis more quickly and reduce the risks of misdiagnosing yourself.
Further, you’ll want to separate sick fish from healthy fish to prevent the disease from spreading to other fish in the tank.
In addition to poor water conditions, tank overcrowding can cause serious medical ailments in your plecos and other fish in the tank. Overcrowding can lead to polluted water and stressed fish from having others too close.
Potential Tank Mates
Blue phantom plecos are overall peaceful in nature, though they can become aggressive if housed with other plecos that they may view as competition for their territory.
Keeping just one blue phantom per tank is best unless you are considering breeding your plecos.
It’s also advisable to avoid housing them with other scavenger-type fish unless there’s adequate space. They may view them as competition for resources as well.
Instead, consider placing them with schooling fish that have a peaceful temperament. They’ll be able to co-exist peacefully, as they’ll spend their time at the bottom portion of your tank while the others will swim above.
They do well with fish of a similar size and are not known for being overly aggressive. It is recommended that you provide places or your pleco to retreat so that they can spend time away from other fish.
Blue Phantom Pleco Care and Species Profile: Size, Lifespan, Diet & More
Buy Blue Phantom Pleco
The Blue Phantom Pleco is a beautiful freshwater fish that belongs to the Pleco group of fish species. Plecos are part of the catfish family hence for the attractive armors and suckermouths. It was named Blue Phantom because of its bluish color and pretty white spots.
Of all the different species of Pleco fish, the Blue Phantom fish resembles the Green Phantom Pleco. However, they are some key differences between the fish, including their colors.
The Blue Phantom Pleco is cobalt blue, while the Green Phantom Pleco is neon green.
All the information needed to understand the Blue Phantom is stated below and explained in great detail. Understanding the nature of Blue Phantom Pleco helps provide the necessary care for it.
Table of Contents
Blue Phantom Pleco Overview
The Blue Phantom fish belong to the Loricariidae family and it is also known as L128 according to Pleco naming standards .
Some describe its color as dark blue, while others say it is cobalt blue. They have white spots around the skin that make them more attractive.
They can grow up to a maximum of 7.5 inches and the life expectancy is from 5 to 8 years under optimal care conditions. Blue PhantomPleoc should be fed with the high-nutrient omnivore diet.
It has a moderate care level and is known to be semi-aggressive. It isn’t very pleasant, especially in other pleco fish, but it is compatible with other freshwater fish. Since they are freshwater fish, they can only reside in a freshwater tank.
The minimum tank size that can house the Blue Phantom Pleco fish is 20 gallons fish tank and this is for one fish.
Below we go into detail on the nature of the Blue Phantom Pleco fish.
Blue Phantom Pleco size
Blue Phantom Pleco size can be up to 7.5 inches long as it is healthy. One way of knowing that a pleco isn’t healthy is by measuring its size. It is unhealthy if it is between the ages of 5 to 8 years and hasn’t attained at least 7 inches.
They tend to grow very fast if fed well. The tank owner needs to feed it high-nutrient food , which will promote its growth.
Blue Phantom Pleco Lifespan
The highest lifespan of a Blue Phantom Pleco ranges between 5 to 8 years, depending on how you take care of them. But some have lived for a decade long.
If it is fed regularly and lives in the recommended water and tank, it will live longer. The freshwater fish lives longer when in captivity than if they were to live in the wild.
Blue Phantom Pleco Appearance and Colors
Different plecos come in different colors; however, most are dark blue and have white spots. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see a Blue phantom fish that is lighter than the standard dark blue color.
Their shimmery armors assist them in hiding and maintaining good shape. Additionally, their mouths are wide, protruding to resemble a sucker.
They have a narrow body that is an antithesis to their mouths. Through this shape, they can feed well through sucking. They are good at digging, thanks to their sturdy abdominal and pectoral fins.
Unlike most fish, the Blue Phantom Pleco fish doesn’t have scales; instead, they have thick protective plates.
Behavior and Temperament
Blue Phantom Pleco fish obey the law of opposites attracts quite literally. When placed among other plecos, they can be very aggressive. They view other plecos as threats to their territory.
Once you introduce other Plecos, they will be violent towards them as they try to defend themselves. However, they are placed with fish other species, then they are very peaceful.
The Blue Phantom Fish originated from Venezuela, specifically in the Orinoco River. The river flows quite rapidly. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise to see that even though it is tranquil in the presence of a different type of fish, they are very active. It is hard to find it dormant.
Blue Phantom Pleco Care
An amateur can take care of the Blue Phantom fish. The following is a list of things needed to maintain a Blue Phantom fish:
- A minimum of 20 gallons tank with a tank lid and stand.
- A premium quality filtration system that can easily be replaced
- An aquarium heater
- A bubbling device together with tubing and air pump.
- A water testing kit
- Soft pebble substrate
- Boulders and driftwood
The Blue Phantom fish is a freshwater fish native to the turbulent Rio Orinoco River water situated in Venezuela. Therefore, they do well in a stream flowing in the tank they are in.
They require an average to the easy level of care, as mentioned earlier. Algae should be left to build before cleaning the tank because they eat the algae.
Since they eat a lot of food, they produce a lot of waste; therefore, you should clean the tank regularly. It is important to know that they take a long to acclimatize to new environments.
They do fair well when placed in large, well-established aquarium tanks because most established aquariums have ample and are planned.
However, this shouldn’t discourage anyone wishing to keep a Blue Phantom Pleco so long as the habitat replicates its natural habitat, the pleco will do well.
– Blue Phantom Pleco Tank Size
The minimum tank size for one single pleco is 20 gallons fish tank . Since they grow up to 7.5 inches long and are active, investing in a large water tank is advisable.
If you keep them with other fish species, you should consider a tank of at least 75 gallons to provide ample space for them to move around freely as they are active bottom dwellers.
– Blue Phantom Pleco Tank Setup
Blue Phantom Pleco tank setup should resemble, as much as possible, the pleco’s natural streamy tropical habitat. The conditions are stable warm waters, either rounded or sand substrate , highly dissolved oxygen waters.
In addition to all these conditions, the tank should house live plants and tree roots. Even though a streamy habitat isn’t a do or die requirement, some elements need to be preserved.
These elements are smooth but large rocks , wood roots , and driftwood .
The Blue Phantom Pleco is nocturnal. Hence, the tank needs to be as far away as possible from natural sunlight. Some areas in the aquarium tank should be shaded because the pleco can occasionally be a hermit.
Therefore, shaded or dark areas will help when they are in the mood to be away from the world. Otherwise, most areas should receive filtered lighting.
They can live comfortably in a mild current so long as the high-quality water has a state-of-the-art filtration system . The system is used in providing high-quality water.
The water in the Rio Orinoco River is clean and highly oxygenated. Therefore, the water in the tank should be of the same standard. Failure to maintain this high standard can reduce life expectancy as ill.
Since the Blue Pleco fish is in nature, there should be sufficient space, especially at the bottom, to scavenge. The soft rocks and sands come in handy because if they were rough, the fish is sure to injure itself while on its scavenging spree.
Aquatic soil would not work because the fish love to dig, resulting in a mess. The most suitable decorations to use are caves, tall rocks, and boulders. The driftwood used should be used in moderation.
Live plants should be placed securely on the tank because they can easily be uprooted by the fish, causing a mess.
– Water Conditions and Parameters
You need a thermometer and water heater because this type of pleco fish is very sensitive to the temperature of their surroundings. The ideal temperature range for a Blue Phantom Pleco is between 70 degrees and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
As you can tell, they prefer a moderately warm surrounding to be cold or very hot water. The water needs to be lukewarm and fresh to enjoy and maintain a healthy status.
The ideal acidity of the water should be between 6 and 7 Ph. They don’t do well in a high alkaline environment. They are very sensitive when transferring them to a new environment any misstep when moving and it can be stressed and become sick.
– Suitable Aquarium Plants
The plants most suitable to use are Anubias and Amazon Sword because they have strong rooting systems that prevent your fish to uproot them through digging.
These aquarium plants also provide good hiding places when the Blue Phantom wants to hideout.
– Common Diseases and Prevention
The common diseases that affect the Blue Phantom Pleco fish are Dropsy, Ich, Fin rot. Dropsy is a very common disease that affects aquarium fish. Dropsy causes swelling of the belly.
It may be hard to spot it, especially in females. They all attack the fish if both the tank and fish aren’t well cared for.
Since the goal is usually to preserve the fish’s life, it is better to prevent the occurrence of the diseases because the fish will be sick from the above diseases and later on die.
Once you spot the diseases’ symptoms, you need to change the water in the tank immediately. Afterward, you need to administer antibiotics to them for quick recovery. Over-the-counter medications are fine for so long as they aren’t severely sick.
There are no particular treatments to avoid. While they are sick, you need to give them fresh food. If you have plenty of fish in the tank, a hospital should be set up as a precaution.
The fish ailing will be in quarantine in this tank to prevent the disease from spreading to other healthy fish.
Blue Phantom Pleco Diet and Feeding
The Blue Phantom Pleco fish is omnivorous. Therefore, they can eat both vegetables and meat. The amount of algae they eat in the tank affects the frequency and amount of supplemented food .
It is important to remember that this pleco fish ought to be directly fed through bottom feeders three times a week, but this isn’t to say that the number of times they are fed is set in stone.
The hobbyist should observe visual cues such as the stomach’s girth before feeding it.
Since they are nocturnal animals, they need to be fed in the evening once they have woken up. The food will give them the strength needed to scavenge. They can go a maximum of seven days without being fed, but this will harm their health.
In the meat-based diet , they can eat shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms , while in the vegetable-based diet, they consume a wide variety of them, such as spinach.
The best type of sustenance food is either a sinking wafer or a portion of solid pellet food. Blood worms, Cucumbers, and Dried Shrimps are an addition to promoting good health.
While in the Rio Orinoco River, the blue phantom fish fed on different types of foods. Crustaceans and dead decaying matter were one of them.
However, when in a different environment, they can eat bespoke wafers for bottom feeders. Additionally, they eat leftover foods that are in the aquarium substrate .
Gender Differnces of Blue Phantom Pleco
The male Blue Phantom Pleco is longer and skinnier than the female Blue Phantom Pleco. The female has a round body shape. The female Blue Phantom Pleco’s abdomen is longer than the rest of the body when observing from the side.
Origin and Distribution
The Blue Phantom originated from Venezuela, more specifically in the northern parts of the Rio Orinoco River. The Orinoco River is turbulent, thus explaining why the blue phantom fish needs a stream-like environment.
The low-nutrient river is filled with high levels of oxygen. Species that can trace their origin from the northern parts of the river are the darkest, while located further down the south are lighter.
Blue Phantom Pleco Breeding
Breeding you Blue Phantom Pleco fish in captivity is a difficult process. Very few have managed to breed them successfully. We need a female and male Blue Phantom Pleco to co-exist for breeding purposes.
Nonetheless, a few precautions need to be known before placing Blue Phantom Pleco fishes together.
There should be only one male in the aquarium tank with a few females. Placing two or more Blue Phantom Plecos males will create a hostile environment as the males will be belligerent towards each other.
It is not enough to leave the mixed genders in one pond to breed. The successful breeding was a result of the use of manufactured hormones.
To know if the breeding was successful, you need to watch the female closely. She will grow a bigger stomach because the eggs are developing. The female will also be situated in peaceful and cool places undisturbed as they rest.
Blue Phantom Pleco Tank Mates
The Blue Phantom fish gets along with almost all freshwater fish of similar size. Hence, they can be placed in an aquarium with various species, and they would be able to co-exist peacefully.
Nevertheless, if you have an assortment of fish species, you should provide a place for them to hide and secure. It comes when they would prefer to be alone than to be around other fish. The rocks and plants would provide a nice spot for them.
Blue Phantom Pleco fish don’t do well with other Blue Phantom Pleco fish as they will be very defensive. People like to put the Blue Phantom Pleco with fish species that love slow-moving waters.
Also, they do well with semi-aggressive fish species, but it is better to put them with other peaceful varieties. Schooling fish species are good Blue Phantom Pleco tank mates because they can form a community with them.
Fish species to keep as Blue Phantom Pleco tank mates are:
- Odessa Barb
- Hatchet Fish
- Tiger Barb Fish
- Swordtail Fish
- Dwarf Gourami
- Zebra Danio
- Glass Catfish
- Pictus Catfish
- Clown Loach
- Black Ghost Knife Fish
It is important to note that Pleco species are scavengers in nature. Mate sure you have a spacious tank when keeping them in a community .
Questions and Answers
Is blue phantom pleco aggressive.
The blue pleco fish are only aggressive towards their kind. They are very protective of their territory, and introducing another blue pleco will trigger them to be violent. But if they are paired with other species, they are very peaceful.
Will Blue Phantom Pleco Eat Shrimp?
Yes. The blue phantom eats shrimps. If the pleco is young and therefore small in size, the shrimps should be in bristle pieces for easy consumption.
Is Blue Phantom Pleco Hardy?
Blue Phantom takes some time to get familiar with a new environment. However, after they have acclimatized to the environment, they are hardy but not as hardy as other types of plecos.
They become stressed when placed in dirty water, thus changing the water regularly.
To help in the acclimation, the hobbyist should use the drop process. The Blue Phantom should be in the dark tank for 45 minutes to get used to the environment.
When adding them into the aquarium, the lights should be off and kept this way for a maximum of 30minutes
How Much Does a Blue Phantom Pleco Cost?
A Blue Phantom Pleco costs between $50 and $150. They are expensive because they are found in limited areas and breeding is not that easy. More specifically, they are found in Puerto Ayacucho’s downstream area.
You can buy Blue Phantom from local pet stores or online.
The Blue Phantom Pleco does well in medium or large aquarium tanks. Their progress will depend on whether or not they are in a good environment. They aren’t as high maintenance as many would presume, as they only require a moderate level of care.
The only thing that can tip off this fish is if the water used is poor quality. It is advisable to perform frequent water changes. They do exceptionally well when availed with many hiding places and a warm, strong current.
Anyone can keep a Blue Phantom Pleco so long as they keep everything written about them in mind when taking care of them.
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Blue and green phantom plecos together in a 75
- Thread starter SandNukka15
- Start date May 29, 2019
- Advanced Aquaria Discussion Forum
- Bottom Dwellers
Is this doable?... or would there be aggression problems?
I almost always find mixed plecos to have aggression problems once they reach breeding age, unless you have a male and a female.
I would think it would be ok as long as there is enough hiding places and they get enough food.
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One of each would be less than ideal IMO, better off to pick one species and get 3-4+ of them.
David R said: One of each would be less than ideal IMO, better off to pick one species and get 3-4+ of them. Click to expand...
There is an argument of whether they are the same species from different collection sites, but as of now, they are classified as different species as far as I know. Blue Phantom being L128 (Hemiancistrus Sp.) and the Green Phantom being L200 (Hemiancistrus Subviridis and Baryancistrus Demantoides)
As for the original question, I've kept 2 fancy plecos in a 75g before without an issue. One of them being a Green Phantom and the other being a Vampire Pleco. As long as you have plenty of driftwood for the them with a lot of nooks and crannies for them to hide themselves, it shouldn't be an issue.
I have several plecos in my 75 including a green phantom... but there are quite a few driftwood caves. The only aggression I ever see is from my L037 and even he doesn't do much because of the number of caves.
I have both in my 70g and they seem to be fine with each other. They have all kinds of places to hide and stake out their own territories. I cannot say what happens during the night of course. But I have not seen either of them to be stressed. They have been together for 4-6 months now. Not sure what long term will look like but they are both fairly large size. L128-5’ L200-6”
Matteus said: I have both in my 70g and they seem to be fine with each other. They have all kinds of places to hide and stake out their own territories. I cannot say what happens during the night of course. But I have not seen either of them to be stressed. They have been together for 4-6 months now. Not sure what long term will look like but they are both fairly large size. L128-5’ L200-6” Click to expand...
Blue Phantom Pleco (L128 Pleco) Care Guide: Size, Lifespan, Breeding, and More
Blue Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus sp. L128) is an attractive freshwater fish that is owned by many aquarium owners. They are beautiful and unique-looking fish that are fairly peaceful. They are easy to care for and will happily live in your aquarium. This makes them a desired pleco choice for most aquarists. The L128 Pleco will need specific tank conditions to thrive and happily live for many years.
This article will guide you through the essential information about Blue Phantom Pleco care. We will also provide a bunch of other useful tips and tricks to make you an expert in caring for this fish.
Species Profile & Overview
Appearance:, behavior and temperament, tank setup:, water parameters:, filter system:, common diseases and prevention, diet and feeding requirements, breeding blue phantom pleco , blue phantom pleco tank mates.
Blue Phantom Pleco ( L128 Pleco ) is a member of the Loricariidae family (plecos) that comes from Rio Orinoco in Venezuela. These fish have been in the aquarium hobby for many years and have been bred by many fish keepers in captivity.
Also known as L128 Pleco, these fish have a bluish bony body that has bright white dots that covers all their back. In the wild, their boney back and their unique colorations will help them protect and camouflage from predators that swim in the area.
The river these fish are coming from has very low water visibility that is filled with plant matter. The Blue Phantom Pleco usually feeds on herbage and other available food sources.
Same as in their natural habitat, you will need to furnish the aquarium with rocks, plants, driftwood, hiding spots, and a diet of vegetables and small crustaceans.
The appearance of the Blue Phantom Pleco is unique and beautiful. Their unique color and markings make them stand out in your aquarium and will grab every viewer’s attention.
Like other plecos, they do not have scales, instead, they are covered with hard bone plates on their back. The belly area is very soft that has a thin layer of skin. The eyes are located on the head and are the only soft spot they have on their back.
As seen in the figure above, these fish have 8 fins that are used for swimming. The fins are large and triangular-shaped that are fan backward.
Their unique black and bluish color make them stay apart from the other Loricariidae fish. As the name suggests, the base color on their body is inky black and blue which will get washed as it spreads towards the fins. They also have bright white dots on their body that makes them even more beautiful. These dots are mainly on the body and some of the fins. However, the belly area is usually light yellow with no visible dots.
Setting up your tanks as close to what these fish get in nature will increase the contrast and coloration of your L128 Pleco.
Blue Phantom Plecos can grow to 7 inches when they are fully grown. Compared to other types of plecos they are slightly bigger which make them a good fit for medium to larger aquariums.
If they receive adequate care in their early stages of life, they will grow to their maximum size effortlessly and quickly.
In captivity, Blue Phantom Pleco’s lifespan is around 10 – 15 years. However, there are reports that some individual L128s have lived even longer.
To ensure that your fish live their whole intended life, you must provide them with the care suggested in this article, which includes proper maintenance and feeding.
Blue Phantom Pleco has an incredibly peaceful character that makes them a fantastic addition to any aquarium. Most of the time they are calm and stay in their small territory in the tank. They are mostly active at night and will scavenge for food but will stay in their cave during the day.
That being said, they will also come out during the day when they are hungry and feel secure.
If you keep many males in an aquarium, you might see them getting a little aggressive. They show aggressive behaviors when they are fully grown adults, especially during the breeding season. This aggression can occur towards other male L128 or even other bottom-dweller fish.
Adding more hiding areas and more pleco caves will prevent aggressive behaviors among males. You should have at least one cave for each male present in your tank.
Blue Phantom Pleco Care
Blue Phantom Pleco care is easy and many consider these fish as one of the easier pleco species to keep. Any hobbyist can keep this fish when they provide them with the right setup and water parameters.
They’re a peaceful species that will mind their own business without demanding a lot of attention. When they get clean water and a rich diet, they will live happily in the aquarium.
To provide the best possible living space and care for your Blue Phantom Pleco, you should follow the basic recommendations listed below.
The adult Blue Phantom Pleco will need a tank size of at least 30 gallons. Juveniles can live in smaller aquariums but you will have to upgrade once they grow. We always recommend getting the biggest fish aquarium that you can possibly afford. This makes life easier for you and the fish living in it.
If you are planning to keep more than one of the L128 Plecos then you should definitely get a bigger tank. These freshwater fish need a spacious bottom area so the gallon that your aquarium can hold might not always be the right way to calculate how many plecos you can keep in your aquarium.
For L128 Plecos a wide tank is preferable over a tall tank. This is because high tanks have a smaller floor area than low aquariums of equal volume. Both tanks hold the same amount of water, but the high tank can house fewer plecos due to its narrower floor area. After choosing a suitable aquarium for your setup, you can add slates, rocks, tiles, and other decorations to give your Blue Phantom Pleco even more floor surfaces.
When it comes to plecos, the tank setup is super important. These fish are shy and nocturnal and will need specific items in the aquarium. Blue Phantom Pleco spends most of its time staying at the bottom of the fish tank and around decorations. This means you will need to pay attention to the items you place in your aquarium.
They need lots of hiding spots to feel safe in your aquarium. You can create these hiding spots by adding lots of rocks and driftwoods to your tank. During the day, they will hide in the shadows and crevasses created by the decorations; however, they feel safest in a pleco cave. These caves are specially made for plecos and will provide a dark space for the fish to rest during the daytime.
Because of their soft belly, these fish need a soft and fine substrate. The rivers these fish are coming from have fine sandy and muddy substrate. In an aquarium, sand is the best substrate for Blue Phantom Plecos, however, if you have live plants in your tank, which we highly recommend, then many planted substrates are also great options.
Plants are a vital part of any balanced ecosystem. Aquatic plants will remove toxins from your tank while providing plenty of hiding spots for your fish. You can use floating plants or any other aquarium plants to add beauty and functionality to your aquarium.
Blue Phantom Plecos are very effortless when it comes to the water parameters they need. They are as hardy as other species in their family and will live in similar tropical parameters as most fish coming from South America. These parameters are easy to maintain even by beginner aquarists. Below are the tank parameters you can keep L128 Plecos in:
- Temperature: 76 – 86 Degrees Fahrenheit
- TDS: 100 – 120 PPM
When you first bring your L128 Pleco home you will need to test your aquarium water regularly to make sure everything is in their favor. After a few a week or two if you see no fluctuation in the aquarium then you will not need to perform as many tests as in the first week. We highly recommend having a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter and changing the water every time the tank’s TDS crosses the recommended range.
In general, Blue Phantom Plecos stay in the shadow areas where light is not strong. Therefore, if you don’t have any live plants, stay away from intense lighting. However, when you keep live plants you will need a strong light so you should add more caves, decorations, and other hiding spots so your L128 Pleco can hide when the aquarium lights are on.
Blue Phantom Pleco needs clean water, so a good well-established aquarium is necessary. These fish produce a lot of waste, so a strong filter is required for them. When filtration of your tank can’t keep up with the waste production, your fish will suffer and might face health issues. This will have a direct impact on the lifespan of your fish.
Blue Phantom Pleco are not sensitive fish and will not easily get sick. They are very hardy and will not get sick randomly. However, when water parameters are not in their favor or they are under stress they tend to easily get sick. Like all freshwater aquarium fish, they are also susceptible to all common aquarium diseases that might get introduced to your tank by other fish.
Prevention is the best cure! Remind yourself to clean the aquarium regularly and keep an eye on the water parameters. Do regular water changes and provide your fish good food. Avoid adding any new fish to your tank without properly quarantining it.
Blue Phantom Pleco are Omnivore, so you should provide them with foods that have algae, plant matter, fresh vegetables, and other plant-based foods. High protein meaty foods are also a part of their diet that you can feed every now and then. You can feed them high protein prep food, small crustaceans, and insect larvae.
Blue Phantom Pleco, like most fish, prefers fresh foods over prepared dry food. You can feed them foods such as algae wafers, zucchini, potato, cucumber, and sweet potato. Live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other small live foods can also be a great treat for them if you can source any. If live food is not an option, you can feed your L128 Pleco frozen foods that are widely available in most pet stores and online.
There are also many commercially prepared foods available that are specifically made for omnivore plecos. It’s always a good idea to get multiple different types of sinking foods and feed your pleco a mix of all of them. This is to ensure your fish can get all the nutrition it needs. Plant-based pellets or fish flakes mixed with low amounts of high protein foods are an ideal mix to feed.
Blue Phantom Plecos love to eat fresh vegetables like zucchini and cucumber. If this is the case for you, simply cut the vegetables and place them somewhere in the tank. Do not keep fresh vegetables like cucumber in the aquarium for more than 6-12 hours as they will start to decay and will make your aquarium dirty.
Breeding Blue Phantom Pleco in captivity can be a frustrating process that most will not try. However, breeding L128 Plecos can be done in an aquarium environment but it’s a tedious process and only advanced breeders might get to breeding them. These fish need very specific conditions to breed so you will need to recreate in the tank.
In order to breed these fish, you will need a large group of Blue Phantom Plecos that are mature and at least 3-5 years old. Once you confirm you have at least one male and one female in your breeding group, you can start to condition your fish for breeding.
L128 Plecos are cave breeders which means they need a specific type of cave to breed. The cave should be slightly bigger than the male’s body; but, small enough that he can trap the female inside.
Once the male finds the right cave, he will clean the cave and wait for the female to arrive. The male will then trap the female and will not let her leave the cave until she lays eggs.
Once eggs are laid, the male will let the female leave the cave, and then he will fertilize the eggs. It’s the male job to guard the eggs until they hatch. During this time, the male cleans the eggs and fans them so the eggs don’t go bad or get mold.
Blue Phantom Plecos lay around 40-60 eggs each time they breed and majority of them will hatch.
After about 4-5 days the eggs will hatch but will not leave the cave for another 10 -12 days. During this time they will not eat and will continue to absorb their egg sac. Then, they will escape the cave and will attach to driftwood or glass in the aquarium.
The ideal tank mates for Blue Phantom Pleco are the fish that can live in the same aquarium environment and parameters. The majority of South American fish can live peacefully with this fish without bothering each other. that require the same living conditions.
The L128 Plecos love to live in soft and tropical waters. This means you will need to select other tank mates that can live in the same water parameters. Most non-aggressive South American fish are ideal tank mates for your Blue Phantom Pleco. However, avoid super aggressive and larger fish that might try to eat your pleco fish. Here are a few of the fish you can house with this species in the same tank:
- German Blue Ram
- Other Plecos
By now you know all the fundamentals of Blue Phantom Pleco care and can confidently look after your pet fish. They are very passive and peaceful fish that will mind their own business. Clean and warm water will keep your pleco healthy so you will need to maintain your tank very well.
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