The L397 Alenquer Tiger Pleco (Panaqolus sp.) is an incredibly vibrant and rare loricariid species of suckermouth catfish. In recent years, successful commercial breeding has made tank-raised juveniles of this stunning fish available. With its distinct orange and black striping, the L397 stands out as one of the most visually striking plecos among the numerous known species.
Unlike its larger counterparts like the Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus) and Trinidad Pleco (Hypostomus punctatus), which can grow to massive sizes of 18 to 20+ inches (45 to 51+ cm), the L397 Alenquer Tiger Pleco reaches a maximum size of around 5 inches (12.7 cm). This smaller size makes it an ideal choice for most aquariums, as it is peaceful, hardy, and undemanding. With proper care and a well-maintained tank as small as 30 to 40 gallons, these plecos can thrive without creating excessive waste.
While the L397 Alenquer Tiger Pleco is generally peaceful, male plecos may display some territorial behavior towards other males of the same species. However, providing ample hiding places and territories for each fish can help diffuse any potential disputes. Other tankmates are typically ignored, although it's worth noting that small shrimp fry may be seen as prey for the omnivorous L397 Alenquer Tiger Pleco.
Primarily nocturnal by nature, the L397 Alenquer Tiger Pleco often becomes active during daytime hours once it has established itself in an aquarium with ample driftwood, rockwork, and hiding places. Similar to its larger Panaque genus relatives, this pleco is considered a "wood-eating" species, using its sucker mouth and teeth to rasp biofilm from driftwood. It is important to provide multiple pieces of driftwood for grazing, ensuring there is always some wood available. While the L397 Alenquer Tiger Pleco is not particularly efficient at eating algae, its rasping behavior may cause damage to ornamental plants, especially in smaller tanks. However, in larger tanks with durable plants and plenty of driftwood, the damage is usually minimal. Supplementing its diet with fresh vegetables such as shelled peas, spinach, zucchini, and cucumber, as well as high-quality dry and frozen foods rich in vegetable matter, is recommended.
To enhance biofilm growth, the addition of GlasGarten Bacter AE can be highly beneficial for the L397 Alenquer Tiger Pleco's diet. This will provide additional nutrition and support its natural feeding habits.