Shane's World Right SpeciesRight L014: The Sunshine Pleco from the Rio Xingu

Article © Shane Linder, uploaded January 01, 2002.

Scobinancistrus aureatus is a fantastic and beautiful fish. I had one that was named "Sunny" (not by me) for over a year. The name came from the fact that, at the time, this fish was selling under the trade name "sunshine pleco". The fish's demise came during my move in the summer of 1995 when I found out the hard way that our water in eastern Washington State was heavily chlorinated. The point is that his death was premature and not due to any difficulties from keeping this particular species.

This species does well in captivity and gets along with just about everything. The fish comes from the Rio Xingu in Brazil where it is found living side by side with the zebra pleco, Hypancistrus zebra. My fish thrived in waters with a pH range of 6.8-7.2, DH 1-3, and temps from 74-82F.

The Rio Xingu is famed for being somewhat different than many South American rivers. The water is very warm (80-84F) and has a high oxygen content. The substrate is made up of stone and sand and aquatic plants are rare to nonexistent. An ideal tank for L 14 would have lots of caves on a sand substrate, be kept warm, and have a high turnover rate from the filtration. Basically, everything out there written on zebra plecos can be applied to S. aureatus.

My fish never bothered his tankmates but always held his own against both cichlids and other catfishes.

I fed cucumber, zucchini, spinach, and bloodworms along with sinking algae wafers. This fish likes more meaty foods than most other loricariids so I would feed 30% veggies and 70% meaty foods. One weird thing about Sunny was that he only ate the skin from cucumber. Most loricariids eat the inside first, but Sunny never cared for the soft portion. This causes a big mess since the veggies, without skin to hold them together, really dirty up a tank. I have since seen this particular habit in the wood-eating loricariids of the genus Panaque, but S. aureatus does not appear to be a wood-eating loricariid. Perhaps the shape of the teeth make it easier for this fish to eat the vegetable's skin.

The fish can be expected to reach 10-12 inches, depending on the sex, with males growing larger than females.

There is further information on this species on the Cat-eLog page.

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