Catfish of the Month Right Arrow December 2000 • Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded December 01, 2000

L018, L085, L177, LDA060, Gold Nugget Pleco - Baryancistrus xanthellus   Rapp Py-Daniel, Zuanon & Ribeiro de Oliveira , 2011

Editor's Note. This species is was described in 2011 as Baryancistrus xanthellus. While the l-number discussion below is more or less obsolete, I've left it unaltered as it was written some eleven years before the description and still holds up quite well! It is also both interesting and useful to see where we've come from too.

X marks the spot where collectors struck gold! The problem, if you could call it that, with the maps below is that there is more than one "X". There are in fact 3, this is because there are at least three gold nugget plecos. Oh, and they have 4 "L" numbers among them too.

Map of South America Map of Brazil Map of Para State, Brazil
X = L81
X = L177
X = L18 & L85

Although X marks the spot each one is between 80 and 100 miles away from its nearest neighbour. Perhaps "X" is for the Rio Xingu rather than precise locations! Anyway, L18, L81, L85 and L177 are all gold nugget plecos. The table below will hopefully help with identification. What you have to bear in mind is that the comparisons are only really useful when comparing similarly sized fish and that individuals patterning is very variable anyway. Aqualog's original Loricariidae - All "L" numbers actually has a good trio of pictures showing juvenile, sub-adult and adult of L18/L81. Look up L85 for these pictures. It should be noted that the pictures in Aqualog for all these L-numbers are accurate and good representations of the original fish. Alright so far, but what are the factors that differentiate these fish? The following table should help.

L018 Baryancistrus sp. This is the "common" gold nugget with medium sized spots. This is a picture of a juvenile. L018 is found in area around Altamira on the Rio Xingu. This is about 75 miles downstream (North) of where the Rio Iriri joins the Rio Xingu.
L081 Baryancistrus sp. This is the small spot gold nugget from the lower Rio Xingu. The yellow colouration on this fish (spots and fin seams) tends to be paler. This is a picture of a young sub-adult.
L085 Baryancistrus sp. These are adult L18, they are one and the same fish. The adult colouration is markedly different however. This is a picture of a young adult.
L177 Baryancistrus sp. This is the big spot gold nugget from the Rio Iriri tributary. The yellow colouration on this fish (spots and fin seams) tends to be a stronger yellow. This is a picture of a juvenile. Arguably the most cosmetically pleasing of the gold nugget tribe.

Baryancistrus sp.This all seems relatively straightforward, Corydoras keepers have been doing this sort of thing for years, right? Well, not exactly. The individual fish can also change colour - exactly the same fish as pictured on a dark piece of wood against a light background will look very different seconds later because it is now sitting on lighter gravel out in the open.

With identification being such a fraught, tentative process, it is perhaps reassuring to know that care of all of these fish is somewhat simpler if not less demanding.

Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameBaryancistrus xanthellus  Rapp Py-Daniel, Zuanon & Ribeiro de Oliveira , 2011
Common NamesL018, Gold Nugget Pleco
L085, L177, LDA060
Type LocalityBrazil, Pará, Senador José Porfírio, rio Xingu in the vicinity of the cachoeira Buraco do Inferno, 03°27'07''S 51°41'53''W
Pronunciationbah ree ann siss truss
EtymologyGreek, barys = heavy + Greek, agkistron = hook - Essentially "Heavy Ancistrus". From the Greek xanthellus, yellow, in allusion to the bright color of the specimens.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 240mm or 9.4" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationWith the exception of L081 (not mentioned in the description of B. xanthellus), the combination of yellow markings on the dorsal and caudal fin and numerous yellow spots on the body is specific to this species. L177 is a variety with larger spots more obvious in younger specimens and LDA060 is a variety with ill formed spots or flakes.
SexingDimorphism is difficult to notice unless the fish are at full breeding size. Males have a flatter, more levelled slope to their foreheads and are slightly wider about the head. Females have a more rounded forehead and are slightly plumper at the mid body when in spawning condition. There is no noticeable difference in odontodal growth in either gender.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionThis species has been recorded from the area called Volta Grande do rio Xingu, an area immediately above Belo Monte falls, and from rio Iriri, the larger tributary of rio Xingu. L177 is from further upstream near the where the Rio Iriri joins the Xingu.
Amazon, Lower Amazon, Xingu, Lower Xingu (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Lower Amazon, Xingu, Iriri (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Show it on a map (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
pH6.4 - 7.6
Temperature25.0-30.0°C or 77-86°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersClear with a noticeable current.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingThese fish are grazers, but not in the sense that they eat only vegetation. They actually sift and chew at the film of organic matter on hard surfaces in search of higher protein foods. In the wild this would constitute mainly of algae and vegetable matter, but with a variety of foods from small insect larvae and crustaceans to other animals eggs. With this in mind, a largely vegetarian diet, cucumber and courgette appear on the accepted menu, with treats of frozen foods such as bloodworm and blackworm, along with frozen prawns. Algae and plants are avoided. Accepted food morsel size changes with age in all of these fish. Best results are obtained by offer these foods in a paste. The very long intestine of these fishes indicates a biology adapted to breaking down food high in vegetable content.
FurnitureBogwood and rock caves. Plants are up to you but won't be molested by the fish.
CompatibilityGold nuggets are territorial to other bottom dwellers and downright vicious to other gold nuggets. This stems from a desire to find and defend the best spawning cave, so take this into account if you plan to introduce these fish into a catfish tank. They do well in a community environment that fits their other requirements. Be careful with adult fish, they can kill each other in a crowded space.
Suggested TankmatesAlthough strong currents are needed for breeding attempts, only good water quality and a high temperature are required for this fishes successful onward maintenance. Thus, characins are good biotope fish but you could look further afield at discus and gouramis. Most other cichlids tend to over compete for food with these fish, so be careful especially when introducing new gold nuggets.
BreedingWell documented breeding in captivity has been accomplished once. The fishes had a very specialised diet of blended meat, fish and vegetables and were kept in a large aquarium with lots of current, high DO and spawned at 30°C. The free swimming fry were fed the same food to raise them.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesNeotropical Ichthyology vol.9 no.2, pp 242, Figs. 1-2.
Registered Keepers(1) MatsP, (2) synoguy, (3) xingumike, (4) Cory-Diddi (p: 2), (5) dewitt_discus, (6) Kristofer, (7) Bengt F (k: 2), (8) Barbie (k: 2), (9) spencerdeluxe, (10) Trident2004, (11) Lornek8 (p: 2), (12) Persephone, (13) vriesea, who also notes: "I have had problems keeping. Had 5 over the past year, now have only one, but he's been around since the beginning. Died in March", (14) drgold (p: 2, k: 2), (15) guyvw, (16) DarkAtlas (p: 2), (17) azfisher (k: 4), (18) petri, (19) Blue, (20) henkhugo, (21) FuglyDragon, who also notes: "Difficult to acclimitise, definately prefers fast flowing water Lost in xingu tank crash 2012 after 7 years had grown to about size of my hand", (22) Zigismund (k: 2), who also notes: " They are small just 5-6 cm yet. A little shy and not so forward as the ancistrus, and hence not as fat and fast growing.. The second fish I bought died after 5 days 450kr (65$) down the drain. :-( But the new one is thriving, on its own speed. :-)", (23) Edris, (24) Slimlim, (25) Brotox (p: 4), (26) Darren C, (27) Freakdaddy, (28) humle, (29) k1ttyme0w, (30) barksten, (31) dracoz, (32) prutsprogrammeur (k: 6), (33) Plecofanatic1989, (34) Poshpleco (p: 2), (35) MONG, (36) cmstwc, (37) layzmob, (38) Walter, (39) rosemarydawn, (40) chillired (p: 2), (41) magnar30, (42) goodmike (k: 4), (43) trini_100 (p: 3), (44) storch31 (p: 2), (45) alexmuchtar, (46) simonas, (47) scouse_andy, (48) valkat, (49) loloveto, (50) ilovemyplecs, (51) LUISGOREY (p: 2), (52) ChristosB (k: 3), (53) Troender (k: 2), (54) Hammerhead, who also notes: "Rarely seen during the day.", (55) jasonplec1, (56) Cdn Glenwood, (57) pisces, (58) NHL, (59) midnightrider, (60) Lord_Dovii, (61) ayshea, (62) kfreedman, (63) wesman (p: 2), (64) lewishan, (65) SoCalDiscus (p: 2), (66) TheSpuDGuN, (67) miravns, (68) elbowjuice, (69) worldwide73, (70) jac (k: 2), who also notes: "L81, starting a breeding attempt this summer.", (71) plumbob3VRK6J5, (72) Lubbe, (73) PGR (k: 2), (74) Jeff12, (75) River Dog, (76) eliy7 (p: 2), (77) zhallam, (78) soltarii007, (79) 78bill, (80) Hobby, (81) uyaffe, (82) fleahound (k: 2), (83) junaid, (84) wiseoldowl, (85) jgvenn (k: 2), (86) Doug205 (p: 2), (87) pureplecs (k: 2), (88) Thomas Lagesen, (89) dragonfish, (90) munki (p: 2), (91) tvwav, (92) lighting (p: 2), (93) novice, (94) bcb, (95) Melchior, (96) thejudgement, (97) ElTofi (p: 2, k: 5), who also notes: "removed into a 375 liters. Objective : breeding on the base of Mr. Leuenberger notes and tips", (98) pmbooper, who also notes: "6 inch gold nugget in 65 gal.", (99) smsjazz81, (100) José Maria, (101) Ruudjjuhh, (102) sunfish, (103) Haavard Stoere (k: 15), (104) upc239 (k: 2), who also notes: "Hangs upside down on wood most of time. Likes Zuchinni.", (105) AI27, (106) PlecoCrazy (k: 4), (107) andy75, (108) Jackie, (109) royaldragoness (p: 2, k: 2), (110) Juha, (111) Rohan Richardson (p: 4), (112) Mike C, (113) wilpleco, (114) Krib, (115) crazylegs (p: 2), (116) anestesia (p: 2), (117) Bacce, (118) thicis, (119) KAROBA (k: 2), (120) TheSmurfinator, (121) catfishmike, (122) dr_philatelist, (123) justin_cu (p: 2), (124) ewurm, (125) drd, (126) Suckermouth, (127) judeblackburn, (128) cakky, (129) elmar, (130) eelkie, (131) Neri2495, (132) Ullopincrate, (133) Bjørn (p: 2), (134) fuzzytigerbird, (135) EHEIM~ADDICT (p: 2), (136) duequattro, (137) sterlingtjones, (138) oli (k: 4), (139) jessonthenet, who also notes: "Did not have much luck with this species. Lasted a matter of weeks as refused to eat. Found this tricky but beautiful looking fish which is what made me buy it. I would try again with this species but would be worried about the finicky eating habits. Great for tanks with algae problems. Don't think I had enough natural algae in the tank and it would not touch wafers.", (140) Nanu156, (141) Derzel, (142) kouen, (143) electrophyste, (144) Kenny Tay, (145) salvador60, (146) ChanggyChinggy (p: 2), (147) barry555 (p: 2), (148) stensson (k: 3), (149) smitty (p: 4, k: 4), who also notes: "Officially confirmed no longer in tank. Believe to have been eaten by Vieja Maculicauda.", "Had not seen since 4/16/2011. Moved ev", "Loss due to hurricane Irene", (150) Buc_Nasty (p: 2), (151) bulldogsimon, (152) rhibear, (153) genuinex, (154) tinamoubird (p: 2), (155) bcmitchell (p: 2, k: 2), (156) tspaceace68, (157) cjhoogma (k: 5), (158) Rabbit (p: 3, k: 8), (159) NC24, (160) alasia, (161) Matt30 (k: 2), (162) Steen (k: 3), (163) tony57 (k: 4), (164) Hansen (k: 2), (165) Donald, (166) TerryCherry, (167) Acanthicus, (168) plecomanpat (p: 3, k: 6), (169) hankinswood, (170) Profiel310, (171) idudi, (172) scorpia9100, (173) Onatopa, (174) zoom, (175) arapaimag, (176) firefish11, who also notes: "Easily one of the prettiest plecos out there. Seems to be more nocturnal then some other plecos though.", (177) 2wheelsx2, who also notes: "Still quarantining in 46 bow. Didn't make quarantine.", (178) FFTRIP, (179) JamesStuddart (p: 2, k: 2), (180) Ecrevince (k: 2), (181) CUPfishhead (k: 6), who also notes: "Growing out 3 juv. in a 30 and 2 adults and one juv. in a 55 discus tank. Feed repashy meat and auchwuch diet along with frozen bloodworms algae wafers and shrimp pellets", (182) Bubbles2112, (183) tomk2u, (184) Bary7, (185) cdc069, (186) elcucuu, (187) naboo, (188) Hapahound1971, (189) kiwiplymouth, (190) krazyGeoff, (191) Max Chumachenko (k: 20), (192) Terrycherry, (193) snike, (194) john82, (195) fester, (196) den bruine, (197) Copp81, (198) mrfishydude, (199) Mcjlance, (200) nessaja, (201) OlePaulsen (p: 2, k: 6), who also notes: "High temperature, good circulation and veggie food and they are doing fine", (202) janne dahle (k: 2), (203) chriscarnivorous, (204) FrankvdB (p: 2), (205) browny85, (206) plecolee, (207) Brisch, (208) HERVE, (209) lasteeves, (210) eyal8a (k: 2), (211) tomr (p: 2, k: 2), (212) yogi88, (213) darryl180, (214) Syno Rey (p: 2), (215) jay_leask, (216) mangopleco, (217) Id16, (218) SPTom (p: 2), who also notes: "82 degF quiet and secretive fellow", (219) MrDimmu, (220) kitbuilder, (221) botguy13, who also notes: "L177", (222) purorock327, (223) camtang, (224) Kongstedt, (225) leberruyer, (226) antec, (227) ChrisScholes260, (228) Nobettername, (229) crazyjock, (230) cjerrom (p: 2), (231) taz68, (232) Narwhal72, (233) chaim76, (234) Alexandermaule, (235) richard501, (236) EnolaGaye, (237) adcc (p: 2, k: 2), (238) seriouslycichlids (k: 2), (239) robin1, (240) Josiemetzner, (241) mcaquatic, (242) kawa85, (243) Glyndwr (k: 2), (244) rosswell, (245) rizla75 (p: 2), (246) Lorenzo, (247) Sean B (p: 3), (248) junglejason, (249) LiZZzz (p: 2, k: 6), (250) DM_uk (p: 6), (251) Kanta, (252) unstoppablejayd, (253) kvnbyl (k: 2), (254) Stefan2013, (255) PlecosAndLoaches (p: 2, k: 2), (256) acuraguy55, (257) Igor Hotasi Simamora (k: 2), (258) victoriaz24, (259) briggadane, (260) joel108, (261) Sharpy, (262) mr bulldog (p: 2, k: 3), (263) NorthernGecko, (264) Juiceyfish (p: 4), (265) evojoey (p: 2), (266) ChristianKline, (267) KisA (k: 2), (268) David R, who also notes: "Sold the group of six and kept the largest and best looking individual 01-06-17", (269) A 401, (270) Bioaquatix, (271) Chicxulub, (272) bethscofield, (273) WouterW (p: 2), (274) yuran, (275) recumbent (p: 3), (276) PurecoYSS, who also notes: "Hides; rarely seen, but bigger each time.", (277) cjp155, (278) Divinehammer, (279) SteveMcCroskey, (280) ebrehe, (281) nytenoir, (282) Jordanlewis100, who also notes: "Found to be fairly hardy and eats mainly courgette,wafers and some pellets,very attractive pleco", (283) Nuwar, (284) RafaelMatos, (285) snapeey, (286) Garfield1969 (p: 3), (287) GHCHPlecos, (288) Tamcon83, (289) Mario, (290) DHarris, (291) joshuasmith94, (292) Demon, (293) CharlieM9, (294) Ltygress (k: 6), (295) Scott27, (296) rob rensen, (297) victorlee90 (p: 3), (298) Jonboy, (299) Beckie, (300) MrRRunner, (301) nasTodor, (302) KSquared, (303) Phreeflow (p: 3), (304) Stuartbolton1, (305) Altifrons, (306) Mol_PMB, who also notes: "The tank has loads of wood and Klondike is usually visible somewhere on it.", (307) iytian, who also notes: "I've always been told that these fish are delicate but I've had one in straight San Diego tap water (pH over 8.0 and hard as a rock) for going on 4 years now with few problems. As with most plecos, my suspicion is that you have to be more religious about native water conditions if you are breeding, but for general husbandry you can get away with a lot.", (308) fishyNZ, (309) Annamtau, (310) ren, (311) Plecomon, (312) javednaik, (313) TheNativeAquarist, (314) adelinoarrais, (315) Nadiboy, (316) dpfs (p: 2), (317) Jobro, (318) dmfd0331, (319) Mistyotis, (320) Mathias, (321) msafdel (k: 2), (322) Joelinohio, (323) F15CathyShark, who also notes: "Only comes out at late night", (324) Snowyj99, (325) p03alf, (326) Ronald87, (327) donttellmywife (k: 5), (328) ThatPlecoGuy, (329) fishiephil, (330) Mogl (k: 2), (331) Loc, (332) Kelbrick2, (333) angerygrover, (334) tbmeck, (335) SABROM, (336) OEriksen.

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Breeding Reports(1) mrfishydude (b: 36), (2) antec (b: 15).
Article - Shane's World Catfishology The yellow seamed “Golden Nugget” – a problem pleco?
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Last Update2013 May 07 20:31 (species record created: 2000 Dec 01 11:22)

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