The L400 Belo Monte Pleco (Hypancistrus sp.) is a member of the Loricariidae family of South American suckermouth catfishes. Its entire body is covered in black and white “maze-like” stripes, making it a very striking fish for the planted or nano aquarium. Like many plecos, the Belo Monte Pleco has generally been a wild-caught species, but we are excited to offer tank-raised juveniles at a much lower cost than wild-caught specimens!
A generally peaceful and hardy species, the Belo Monte Pleco is an excellent, undemanding candidate for most aquariums. Unlike the widely-seen Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus) and Trinidad Pleco (Hypostomus punctatus), which easily reach a monstrous size of 18 to 20+ inches (45 to 51+ cm), the Belo Monte Pleco grows to a size of only 5.5 inches (14 cm). This smaller size makes for a much more manageable (and less messy) pleco that can thrive permanently in a well-maintained aquarium as small as 40 gallons. Male plecos may be somewhat territorial with other males of their species, but disputes can usually be diffused by providing ample territory and hiding places for each fish. All other fish tankmates will be generally ignored, although it is likely that dwarf shrimp will fall prey to the Belo Monte Pleco. However, ornamental snails will not be bothered and large Amano, Green Lace, Flower, and Vampire Shrimp are generally unthreatened by the Belo Monte Pleco. Please note that this fish requires a significantly warmer temperature than many other fish and invertebrates. Some shrimp will not thrive in these high temperatures.
The Belo Monte Pleco is primarily nocturnal, but will often become active during daytime hours once established in an aquarium with plenty of driftwood, rockwork, and other hiding places. It is not known to eat wood heavily like some plecos (Panaque sp., etc.), but it may benefit from some supplementary wood (or bio-film on driftwood). The Belo Monte Pleco will not bother most plants and it is not an effective algae eater. Feed the Belo Monte Pleco a diet heavy in both meaty and vegetable matter, including high-quality vegetable flakes, sinking algae wafers and pellets. It will also appreciate being fed some fresh vegetables such as shelled peas, spinach, zucchini and cucumber. Meaty foods such as bloodworms are definitely necessary for this species, especially in comparison to some other “pleco” species. This species requires a well-maintained aquarium with moderate to high water flow in order to thrive.