What the L?

Posted by Aquatropic Staff on September 18, 2023

What the L? thumbnail image

Lujan's Pleco was known in the aquarium trade for quite a while before it was actually given a scientific classification. It was known as both L-127 and L-207 (one and the same fish, 207 was common in Denmark). It's scientific nomenclature is Peckolita lujani. Peckolita is to honor Gustavo Peckolt, a German Botanist and Pharmacist who wrote many papers on the plant life of Brazil. Lujani is so named for Dr. Nathan Lujan, who is famous for his expeditions in South American Jungles and his contributions to the study of loridariids (armored catfishes like plecos). Somewhat oddly, it has no other common names.

Peckolita lujani is native to Colombia and Venezuela where it is native to the Meta and Orinoco river systems. They live in a wide variety of water types and in the wild but are most commonly found in areas of flowing water, with quite a bit of rock cover. They are omnivores of a sort, eating a lot of algal matter, some wood and a good amount of invertebrates. They don't get very large, maxing out between four and five inches long.

This wild diet and foraging style lends itself to easy feeding. They should get a mix of different invertebrate based foods and some algae based foods. They do very well in house with Nutramar's Freshwater Algae and Color Boost Shots which can be stuck to the glass or the rocks to allow the Plecos to graze on them. This offers the fish a very complete diet for its profile, but here they also get frozen bloodworm, tubifex, and spirulina cubes, all of which are greedily consumed. Aquarists that are so inclined can also feel free to make them gelatin matrix foods and or blanched vegetables like zucchini (which they seem to love).

Lujan's Pleco is a very easy fish to keep, being undemanding in nearly every way. They do best in aquariums with at least some flow, and will relish about as much flow as you can reasonably give them, shoot for turnover that is five to ten times the water volume of the tank per hour. A pair of them could be kept in an aquarium as small as 40 gallons as long as it was densely decorated, as always there is no maximum size to the aquarium these could be held in. Décor should mimic their riverine origins, giving them rounded rocks and driftwood with plenty of caves and hiding places. PVC tubes and terracotta pots can be used for caves. This species of Pleco has shown little interest in soft bodied plants and so they could be kept in a planted environment as well.

Water chemistry is another area in which L-127 is pretty much unbothered. They can be kept in hard or soft water. The pH for these fish can range anywhere from 6 to 8. Temperature wise, they are still a tropical fish, and your the temperature of your display should stay consistent somewhere between 74 and 84. Seriously, we told you they were adaptable (and hardy!) They are somewhat susceptible to rapid changes in water chemistry, so they should be acclimated slowly, and aquarium owners should focus on stability of the parameters they are maintaining.

When looking for tankmates for Lujan's Pleco, the world is your aquarium. They are super unlikely to bother anything, or honestly, be bothered by much. We've seen them in Amazonian community displays, as well as tanks full of south American cichlids. Unless you place them with a fish that is a holy terror to everything, these Plecos should be ok. The single catch to this is that they can be aggressive if you have too many males in too small of a space, but in a big enough aquarium, with enough cover and caves for them to claim, even groups of the L-127s are possible. Many people report keeping these with small decorative shrimp, but this is not something we have good data to support and can't recommend it.

L-127 has been bred in captivity, but it isn't a commercially viable process at this point. As such, most of the individuals you see in local fish stores are wild caught. They are not prolific spawners and all the records we've seen indicate that they have relatively few fry per event. Males can be differentiated from females by their short spines that cover the front edge of their dorsal fins, caudal fin and main body. Females are darker than males and the brown and black barring that is the hallmark of the species is less distinct on the females. Females will lay eggs in caves and males will fertilize and guard the eggs & fry. Fry will be free swimming in less than a week. They juveniles are easy to feed and will graze on algal film, wafer and stick foods.

Whether you call it L-127 or L-207 or Lujan's Pleco, Peckolita lujani is a near perfect aquarium fish. They are hardy, active and adaptable. They'll accept just about anything as a tank mate and will spend some time cleaning up the tank! They are a great fish for the aquarist looking for something that stays low in the water column, but is still high in interest! Head over to your Local Fish Store, and ask them about getting you a couple Lujan's Plecos today!