Name: Baryancistrus beggini|
Origin: Upper Orinico River Basin|
L239, or the "blue panaque," is a small loricariid (suckermouth) catfish that had been previously placed temporarily in the tribe Ancistrini, which identified it as an ancistrine-type catfish, with the physical characteristics of one or more related genera. The species name is now Baryancistrus beggini (Lujan, Arce & Armbruster, 2009). It is a distinct teal blue color, which is said to darken with age, and the fins are edged in ice blue. The ventral area is a swirl of blues, purple, and pink. One important physical characteristic of this species is the fused dorsal and adipose fins, which are joined by a section of fin tissue called the interradial membrane (see photo below).
My L239 chose a cave behind an upright piece of slate, just under the water return of a very mature 75 liter tank. The pH stays around 6.8 or a bit below, the GH is around 4 most of the year, and the water is tannin-stained. In my opinion, the tannic acids help maintain its nice blue color. Tank mates include small species, such as pencilfish and Endlerís livebearers, from northern South America, which get along wonderfully with the L239. The constant motion of the smaller fish contrasted with the low-energy "panaque" is a delightful combination. There are no other loricariid catfish in the tank, so I canít comment on compatibility or territorial disputes.
Tank furniture includes large smooth rocks, several pieces of bogwood, and a couple of upright pieces of slate. Some of the leaves of several Echinodorus species plants have been scraped rather vigorously, and plant tissue is missing. A heads up for serious aquatic gardeners: L239 may eat broad leafed plants. The top is covered with water lettuce plants (Pistia stratiotes) which remove nitrates and provide shading, both important to all loricariids, especially wild-caught species.
Iíve had this fish for over two months, and I monitor it day to day. Considering all the hobbyist claims about difficult acclimation, this must be some kind of record. My "blue" measures 9.5 cm, so it is not full grown but is probably sexually mature, having reached more than two thirds of its adult length. Iíve never seen it eat, but it always looks healthy and well-conditioned so it must eat at night, when it has a typical choice of one or two of the following menu items: Veggie Rounds (a high quality algae and crustacean wafer), a zucchini slice, dark romaine lettuce leaves in a clip, or a meaty food like bloodworms, or shrimp pellets. I treat it as an omnivore (which describes many ancistrine species) with a strong vegetable component. Despite its nickname, I am fairly certain that L239 is not a wood eater; there are no scraped areas or tell-tale feces to be seen. Sometimes I surprise it at night, where it can be seen grazing on the bogwood which is covered with a thick film of short, dark green brush algae, trapped bits of food, and microorganisms. Perhaps it eats a few bits of soft wood while grazing. More interestingly, it appears to be eating the brush algae - also known as black brush algae, or BBA - from the bogwood, and several areas are scraped right down to the bare wood.
My L239 has a charming habit of alternate fin fanning; itís a constant gentle motion of the pectoral fins and the ventral fins in a non-stop, alternating, rhythmic pattern. You have to see it to enjoy it. Itís very soothing to watch. Whenever mine does this, I take it to mean all is well. Other than that, it spends a lot of time in, or on, its slate cave by day, and roaming the tank at night. The hobby is still getting to know this very attractive and interesting fish.
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