We present to you, the the Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) also know as the L200 pleco! Members of this family, Loricariidae, are discovered so frequently that many of them are assigned “L” numbers until they can be properly classified! Loricariidae are better known as “plecos” or the armored catfish family. The Green Phantom is a beautiful fish that is yellowish green in color, with the front half of their body exhibiting cream colored spots that rarely extend beyond the dorsal fin. Colors are known to vary depending on collection location, but it's possible that some of these color variations may also deserve their own “L” number.
These fish originally come from the Rio Orinoco and Rio Casiquiare drainages in Venezuela. They inhabit flowing water where they live in cracks of larger boulders.
Reaching a length of at least six inches, this is not the smallest of Loricariids and would do best in an aquarium that was at least four feet long at maturity. Recreating their natural environment means clean, well oxygenated water with some directional flow. Creating a hardscape of rocks with cracks large enough for them to hide in should round out a nice display for these fish. These fish feed on the bacteria, algae, and microorganisms that live on the surfaces they hang onto, so the aquarium should be well established before considering adding Green Phantom Plecos. Lastly Green Phantoms can be fairly territorial, especially towards other Green Phantoms, Loricarrids, or even bottom dwelling fish. Keep this in mind, and offer plenty of tank space, and habitat if attempting to keep more than one or other similar fish that would inhabit the same physical and feeding niche.
As mentioned earlier, Green Phantom Plecos are omnivores that eat a mixture of things living on the rocks they call home. They aren't difficult to feed in captivity and healthy specimens adjust to aquarium foods fairly easily. The diet should focus on algae and plants, and it should be noted that they have been known to eat plants that they are housed with on occasion. Too much protein in their diet can result in gastrointestinal issues that are serious, so utilize foods with a strong algae element to them.
Green Phantom Plecos have been bred in captivity, but they are not the easiest of Loricarrids to breed. They are cavity spawners, meaning that they use enclosed areas, such as caves for spawning. Frequently in aquaria, these caves are created with specially designed ceramic “pleco caves” which can sometimes even be purchased with the specific spawning needs of a desired species in mind. In nature it is likely that they lay eggs in the cracks that they call home in large boulders and other similar tight spaces. The male will guard the eggs until they hatch in three to four days.
Green Phantom Plecos are a cool fish that have a unique look, and work tirelessly to help control algae and diatoms in your display. In addition, they could provide the seasoned aquarist with an engaging challenge for spawning and raising young in aquaria. Call your local fish store and ask them for a sustainably sourced Green Phantom Pleco from Aquatropic today!