Name: Baryancistrus sp. (?)
The Gold Nugget Pleco is one of those many wonderful "New Loricarids" that have appeared in the hobby in the past few years, many of which don't even have a scientific name yet. In fact, the common name "Gold Nugget" is probably being used for several similar species. But the general characteristics of many Loricaridae species are quite similar, the main differences being size, appearance, and sometimes dietary preferences. This species seems to be much smaller than the Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus). Members of the family are often vegetarian but accept other kinds of food as well, have nocturnal habits and feel much more comfortable if they have some kind of cave to call home.
My husband and I have found the gold nugget plecos are a great color addition to a tank. They are also much more sensitive to condition changes than other types of plecos. They also tend to be much less effective at clearing the tank of algae. The only gold nugget plecos we have had have all died shortly following any tank disturbances. I would have to say that these plecos are much less hardy than their cousins and would recommend them only to more experienced aquarists.
My beloved gold nugget pleco died last night when it jumped from the tank. This is an unusual behavior for a pleco. I have read somewhere that they like to swim in strong currents. I suspect that it was swimming against the current of the filter and just went a bit strong. The hole for the filter (a hang-on spill-over kind) is the only uncovered part of the tank. I would take this as a warning to keep the holes as tight as possible.
I had one of these once...I was so happy to get one, that I didn't notice that its stomach was sucked in. I chose the smallest one with the brightest color because I like to watch them grow. Anyway...when choosing a pleco, especially exotic ones that are shipped from S. America, make sure the fish has a full stomach area. The color should be normal, to show that it is well-adjusted, and the best ones to buy are the ones on the piece of lettuce eating (usually in the tank). This is a good sign because mine never ate and died after a day and a half...I had all types of food to feed it, but it just sat there. If the turnover is slow at your store, wait a few days to see if the fish is still healthy (don't wait too long because you risk getting ick with every passing day...) and never buy a fish you feel you can "nurse back to health," unless you are willing to take the loss...also, now I only shop at stores with a fair return policy. After they get to know you and respect your ability to keep fish, returns should be automatic. Get a zebra pleco, had mine for a year...great fish!
Hey there everyone, just to let you know about the feeding habits of the golden nugget plec, it is a wood eater, this is why they spend a lot of time in hiding where they eat the decomposing bogwood (mopani as well), they will fair well in captivity and they are fairly prone to jumping out as are all fish if they are not kept in the correct water quality.
I work in an exotic pet store which specializes in all cold/tropical, fresh/salt fish keeping. Within the time my co-workers and I have begun bringing in the "newly discovered Gold Nugget Pleco", we have come to the same conclusions as most everybody else; the Gold Nugget is a much less hardy fish in comparison to it's cousins and is much happier with a shelter and some wood to knaw on (like most other plecos). But, the Gold Nugget is more carnivorous then most other plecos and seems to enjoy worms and brine as much, if not, more, than vegetation/algae. Eats algae from rocks, plants, substrate, wood, and tank sides. Rarely eats plants (only zucchini, bok-choy, and a couple others). Once the fish becomes larger and more comfortable with a tank, she becomes much more "friendly" and doesn't hide as much. Extremely pretty and is a good color enhancement for one's tank.