Pleco's that change colour- morphing thread

All posts regarding the care and breeding of these catfishes from South America.
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Pleco's that change colour- morphing thread

Post by Jay1 »

Hello all. This is my first posting on PlanetCatfish, and although I have regularly used the site in the past I have never registered – it’s a fantastic website.

In the past I have kept numerous L-numbers, but changes in circumstances etc mean I now only have one tank in which I keep discus. However, one character from my Plec keeping days remains with me. It’s an L007 (female I think) who between me and my Brother-in-law has been in the family for around four or five years. She’s now around 7-8” long and very plump.

During the last four/five years the L007 has been kept in various tank set ups (almost always with larger South American Chiclids), with various tank mates and has consumed all sorts of foods, albeit she rarely strays from meat as a staple (homemade vitamin laced beefheart). Typically PH parameters have been between 6 and 7 – probably never outside of those values.

The L007 came back to live with me around six or seven months ago and since then its typical water parameters are:
PH -6.5 to 6.7 (tap water is 7)
GH 1 (tap water 1)
KH 1 (tap water 1)
TDS 100-120 ppm
As for nitrite, nitrate and ammonia I don’t tend to take measurements unless the fish show signals they are anything but happy.
Temp is 30c (High for a L007, but it seems very happy).
The only thing I use to condition my water is Aquasafe (as does my Brother-in-law).
It has no competition for food etc and is generally a superb tank mate – a stress free tank.

Here’s why I decided to keep this fish; about a month or so after purchase (2007/8) I noticed white blotches appearing on its body. It was as though the pigment was disappearing. At first I thought nothing of it. However, eventually its whole body turned white and apart from not having red eyes you would think its an Albino. Furthermore, it also turns back into its original colours – albeit only about 60-70% of its original coloration. Then it turns white again (see pictures showing various stages – the one next to the heater shows its current state). The changes do not happen quickly, its more of a constant state of slow metamorphosis.

I have been unable to put my finger on any particular trigger and it baffles me. I have discussed it with a chap who knows more about catfish than me who suggested it may be Xanthistic. However, I thought Xanthistics’ were born without colouration and couldn’t morph?

Its baffled us thus far on the BIDKA forum, hence I have registered here and posted this long-winded write up.

Can anybody solve the mystery?

Many thanks,
Jason.
Attachments
LATEST COLOURATION (March 2012)
LATEST COLOURATION (March 2012)
Starting to morph back to black (eating a prawn)
Starting to morph back to black (eating a prawn)
2011-08-16 21.25.36-1.jpg (12.56 KiB) Viewed 9007 times
NO PIGMENT - COLOURLESS
NO PIGMENT - COLOURLESS
2011-07-30 13.07.27-1.jpg (16.58 KiB) Viewed 9007 times
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Cristoffer Forssander »

Very interesting! I've never seen this! Looks like the Parancistrus colorchage! But I never heard about this in Lepos...
I have no idéa whats causing this... I docen't look like stress....
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Acanthicus »

Hey,

it is a mystery occuring in several species from time to time.
I´ve seen Oligancistrus sp. "L 373", Leporacanthicus galaxias, Baryancistrus chrysolomus, Baryancistrus xanthellus, Parancistrus nudiventris and some more changing their colour. Normally they change back after a while.

A friend of mine told me that he keeps a B. xanthellus female, which is changing the whole time for four years now. Water parameters, the age of the fish and the tank don´t seem to be the reason. The food neither I guess, because all specimens kept together should change than.

This is a L 316 I´ve kept two years ago:

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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Birger »

suggested it may be Xanthistic. However, I thought Xanthistics’ were born without colouration and couldn’t morph?
Xanthism has been known to occur in fishes that are born with normal coloration and then there is a gradual loss of pigment, but usually they do not regain the pigment so this is slightly different...not sure if there is a scientific term for this particular process your fish is going through.

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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Cristoffer Forssander »

Very interesting! I actually never heard about this!
But I'm quite sure that you're L007 is female!
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by jac »

Very interesting indeed!
I have 2 L400 fry which were born white (not albino) but have changed back to a dark color again... Does this have a name so I can read more about it?
This is not the same thing as is going on here?
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Jay1 »

Thank you for your replies. It just goes to show how there is still so much we don't understand about these fish (as with so many other species we share the planet with). I'm almost disappointed I wasn't on the verge of discovering something new... but an anomoly it shall remain.

Jac, I wouldn't know the scientific name for this condition, perhaps one of the more experienced members could help?

If there are any bonafide researchers who monitor the website, who come with the right credentials (and references from this website) and are interested in researching this particular condition then feel free to contact me. As long as no harm comes to the fish I don't mind donating her as a subject (as long as I get regular updates :-BD)

Jason.
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by matthewfaulkner »

I really like the golden Leporacanthicus and it's interesting to hear of other fish doing this. I've recently experienced this with one of my Panaque nigrolineatus, who has now reverted back.

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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Suckermouth »

I am not aware of this condition having a scientific name, nor its presence in anything besides loricariids. The closest thing it could be called might be vitiligo, the same thing Michael Jackson had, but I'd be hesitant to call it the same thing without knowing more about the vitiligo in humans and whatever loricariids have.

It's unfortunate this color change cannot be reliably induced, this massive morphological color change is a REALLY interesting feature of loricariids. Of course, the fact that it's so rare might point to it being a genetic "disorder".

You can keep your fish, unfortunately one fish isn't much of a sample size. Ideally, I'd like to get a number of golden, brown, and piebald Parancistrus aurantiacus to answer this question, since in this species it appears to be more common than others. Not that I really have any credentials yet, and certainly not the funds to do this work, hahaha.

One last note, I find it interesting that only members of the Panaque clade half of the Ancistrini have been listed to do this so far in this thread. Anyone know of this happening in Ancistrus, Chaetostoma, or Pterygoplichthys, which are FAR more commonly kept?
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Birger »

It's unfortunate this color change cannot be reliably induced,
That we know of...
You can keep your fish, unfortunately one fish isn't much of a sample size. Ideally, I'd like to get a number of golden, brown, and piebald Parancistrus aurantiacus to answer this question, since in this species it appears to be more common than others. Not that I really have any credentials yet, and certainly not the funds to do this work, hahaha.
It could make for an interesting project, how do you chose the projects you have been working on...do they get chosen for you by your supervisor?

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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Birger »

Jay1...do you mind if we make a slight name change for the thread to cover all these other pleco's as well...something like "Pleco's that change color" or "Color Morphing Pleco's" or some such. I think this thread will get some use in the future, there could be some good information that would be best kept together.

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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Suckermouth »

Birger wrote:
You can keep your fish, unfortunately one fish isn't much of a sample size. Ideally, I'd like to get a number of golden, brown, and piebald Parancistrus aurantiacus to answer this question, since in this species it appears to be more common than others. Not that I really have any credentials yet, and certainly not the funds to do this work, hahaha.
It could make for an interesting project, how do you chose the projects you have been working on...do they get chosen for you by your supervisor?

Birger
Depends. Some students enter in a research program and are given projects, usually based on funding that their advisor has for specific projects. Others have the option to be more independent and can develop their own projects, which is still usually in the scope of your advisor's research, because after all, if your research isn't related to your advisor's at all, what are you doing working with them? In the end, your project is a collaboration between you and your advisor and input comes from both ways.
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by jac »

Suckermouth wrote: One last note, I find it interesting that only members of the Panaque clade half of the Ancistrini have been listed to do this so far in this thread. Anyone know of this happening in Ancistrus, Chaetostoma, or Pterygoplichthys, which are FAR more commonly kept?
These are my L400 fry which were born white and then slowly changed back to their normal color. Haven't seen them change again to white but maybe when they get older?

http://www.planetcatfish.com/forum/view ... =5&t=35092
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Jay1 »

Birger; please feel free to rename the thread.

Matt; your Panaque looks incredible.

Jac; Be very interesting to see what happens to those fry when they mature. I wonder how many other people have noticed white fry and thought nothing of it? Also is there is a common thread regarding the water parameters/feeding etc during the time of breeding... Do you have a record of such?
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Linus_Cello »

Someone posted a "pale" L183. Same coloration condition?

http://www.planetcatfish.com/forum/view ... 62#p244462
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Re: L007 THAT CHANGES COLOUR

Post by Acanthicus »

Hi,

I made a list of the species, known to change colour in at least one specimen: http://www.l-welse.com/reviewpost/showp ... oduct=1832

Note that there are 6 members of Parancistrus - group!


cheers, Daniel
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Re: L007 That changes colour

Post by Jools »

Mark Smith sent me a pic of what I seem to recall was a Hypostomus doing this. Will dig it out.

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Re: L007 That changes colour

Post by Cristoffer Forssander »

Then its not that impossible to think that this would happend with all L species!? Is there anything combinding all these species? Water quality?

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Re: Pleco's that change colour- morphing thread

Post by Acanthicus »

Similarities are not visible so far, not in the water quality, not in the food etc.

I guess it is possible in all species, more and more species are showing up where specimens are known to change colour.
With Hemiloricaria sp. "Orange" (possibl H. castroi) we even know one of the subfamily Loricariinae.
But we should divide in different groups: Modifications like above, Xanthorists, and species that change "normally" like Hypostomus luteus and don´t change back.
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Re: Pleco's that change colour- morphing thread

Post by Birger »

Mark Smith sent me a pic of what I seem to recall was a Hypostomus doing this. Will dig it out.

Jools
I would think this is the one Jools had mentioned.
This is Mark Smiths photo...anyone care to ID to species :problem:
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Pleco sp XV coloration changed to white (2).jpg
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