Catfish of the Month Right Arrow June 2015 • Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded February 14, 2016



L106, Spotted Orange Seam Pleco - Hemiancistrus guahiborum   Werneke, Armbruster, Lujan & Taphorn, 2005

It is increasingly hard to remember a time before the Internet. In fish keeping circles, it's equally hard to recall a time before l-numbers. You have to be a certain age. That is also an indication that both are much more than a passing fad. The big thing for me about the internet is we figured out how everyone could join in. Again in my view, l-numbers is that we figured out how to breed them. They all have their "secret sauce&qout; but none are considered impossible these days. That's an amazing achievement, and one we've made since modem dialup tones filled the evening air.

I appreciate some readers will not have a clue what I am talking about. But imagine having just a couple of species of whiptail, some Oto, a few Hypostomus and Ancistrus as pretty much all we had in Pleco land. Although many of these had been bred, this was mostly because they were hardy animals and also because most we not as needy of water current or special features like low oh or high temperatures or special caves.

Furthermore, when we did get something new or different, who could we discuss it with? The guys at the fish store, if you were lucky and perhaps a local club if they weren't too snooty. It might be in a good book, but we certainly could not readily reach out to the author or indeed those who had collected or shipped this fish. Interaction between fishkeepers was really different in the early nineties and before.

My first two l-numbers were offered to me as a king tiger pleco and a spotted pleco – they were very exciting as were nothing like plecos in books of the time. L-numbers had yet to catch on in the English speaking world but these fish were L066 and L075 respectively. They cost a lot more than a neon tetra. In fact, we were getting into the realms of fish costing more than the hardware required to keep them, this was new.

My third l-number required that I travelled through to Glasgow to buy it. It was one of the first regularly exported non Brazilian species of Pleco. It had a striking flame orange seam to its dorsal fin which even in washed out newly imported fishes stood out as an unusual bit of colour. This L106 proven to be hardy. Being more or less omnivorous it both had a passing interest in algae on the glass but also entertained with bold displays during feeding. Here it was always jostling for whatever sinking food morsel was offered. Once settled, it's colour intensified and the base colour took on a pleasant dark green with lighter but not light spotting.

Growth was steady but no more than a couple of centimetres a year. Indeed, this is no tankbuster and so ticks another box in terms of a single specimen being manageable even in relatively small tank. However, keeping a group of four or five perhaps with a group of angelfish is something I've seen accomplished well. Both cichlid and Pleco work well with each other. L106 doesn't need strong current and it is enough of an omnivore to live well on what angelfish eat as long as the odd gut clearing vegetarian option be provided a few times a month.

More than a decade after I kept my first one, L106 was described as Hemiancistrus guahiborum, The -orum ending denoting that the species was named for more than one individual. Indeed it was named for the Guahibo, a tribe of people inhabiting parts of southern Venezuela and western Colombia. Some of their number assisted in the collection of specimens in the upper río Ventuari that were used in the description of the species.

All together an appealing, community tank friendly species and a good way to earn your l-number spurs.


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 NameHemiancistrus guahiborum  Werneke, Armbruster, Lujan & Taphorn, 2005
Common NamesL106, Spotted Orange Seam Pleco
Type LocalityRío Ventuari at raudales Tencua 56 km ESE of San Juan de Manapiare, Venezuela, Amazonas, 05.04968°, -065.62722°.
EtymologyGreek, hemi = the half. While the Greek, agkistron = hook, is thought to be the root of the term ancistrus, hemiancistrus can be taken to mean that these species have a part (not exactly HALF) of the features of the genus Ancistrus, but not ALL of the features. Named for the Guahibo, a tribe of people inhabiting parts of southern Venezuela and western Colombia for the help some members of the tribe provided in collecting specimens in the upper río Ventuari.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 125mm or 4.9" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationHemiancistrus guahiborum is distinguishable from the similar L122 by the formers higher body.
SexingFemales reach sexual maturity as small as 44mm (average female size, 64mm); males reach sexual maturity as small as 50mm (average male size, 75mm).
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionFound in middle and upper rí­o Orinoco and its tributaries including the Rí­o Caura, Rí­o Ventuari, and Rí­o Ocamo, also found in Rí­o Casiquiare and Rio Bita.
Orinoco, Middle Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco, Upper Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Middle Amazon (Solimoes), Negro, Upper Negro, Casiquiare (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco, Upper Orinoco, Ventuari (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco, Middle Orinoco, Caura (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco, Upper Orinoco, Ocamo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco, Middle Orinoco, Bita (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)
Temperature25.0-31.0°C or 77-87.8°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersNatural habitat: Rocky region of river, heterogeneous structure consisting of porous rocks interspersed with solid rocks. Example, the Rio Bita: Average temperature, 30.9 ± 0.3°C (maximum, 31.1°C; minimum, 30.1°C), highly oxygenated (8.2 ± 0.1 mg O2/L), and slightly acidic (pH 6.6 ± 0.1).
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingGut analysis indicates a diet consisting at least partly of bloodworms and other insect larvae/pupa.
FurnitureThe natural habitat of this fish is crevices on rocky bottom.
BreedingUnreported in captivity. In nature, breeds year-round; gravid females (typically carrying 48 ± 19 oocytes, minimum 39, maximum, 143) and juveniles are found all months of the year. Evidence suggests that spawning is not triggered by environmental changes such as flooding-induced decreases in water hardness. Males guard nests.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesDATZ 8/1992 pp484-485
Neotropical Ichthyology, 3(4):543-548, 2005
Ajiaco-Martínez et al. (2012), Orinoquia vol. 16 (no. 2), pp. 40-51.
Registered Keepers(1) smithrc, (2) saltcop, (3) Haavard Stoere (k: 4), (4) scatz, (5) Loracidlover (k: 2), (6) nvcichlids, (7) Kingmickyb, who also notes: "Died, didnt seem to appreciate white spot treatment.", (8) Derzel (k: 2), (9) doodle, (10) MatsP (p: 2, k: 8), who also notes: "Hopefully I've got a male and a female!", (11) upc239, (12) PeterUK, (13) chumpy1972, (14) gr8plecos, (15) Donald (k: 3), (16) hankinswood, (17) ecelma, (18) Brisch, (19) stonec0ld, (20) Jako (k: 2), (21) Torb (p: 2, k: 2), (22) FFTRIP, (23) gforcefx, (24) hatiras, (25) chriscarnivorous (p: 3), (26) Carter77, (27) Anthony King, (28) m1ke715m (k: 4), (29) leberruyer, (30) edtam88, (31) PlecosAndLoaches, (32) colincook (k: 3), (33) Milo, (34) Triactis Trainer, (35) Albino Sick Led, who also notes: "Beautiful pleco, very active in my tank. No problems acclimating at all so far. Some aggression, not much though.", (36) crazy4bettas (k: 4), (37) derekw, (38) Vierrollenfreak (p: 2), (39) LostYeti (k: 2), (40) madpeace21, (41) FreshwaterQWERTY, (42) bekateen (p: 2, k: 9), who also notes: "After four months, two died of unknown cause (possibly due to water change using about 50% DI water, 50% tap water)", (43) DHarris, (44) Beckie, (45) Junglejason, (46) Evy, (47) fishiephil, (48) Demon, (49) Rogier (k: 5), (50) KeXx (k: 5), (51) reyderrs, (52) Maxpedley, (53) dmfd0331, (54) hoplo_fan, (55) p03alf.

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Last Update2015 Sep 13 09:11 (species record created: 2016 Feb 14 07:41)

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