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L114 Pleco (Pseudacanthicus Leopardus)

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the L114 Pleco, a fascinating species in the aquarium world. In this article, we will take a look at various aspects of the L114 Pleco, providing detailed insights for both novice and experienced aquarists.

L114 Pleco Facts

Common Names L114 Pleco, Demini Leopard Cactus Pleco, Red Tail Sternella Pleco
Scientific Name Pseudacanthicus leopardus
Adult Size 10-12 inches (25-30 cm)
Lifespan Up to 10-12 years in captivity
Diet Carnivorous – prefers high-quality sinking pellets, frozen or live foods
Color Dark body with vivid orange to red spots and stripes
Natural Habitat Rivers of South America
Water Conditions Slightly acidic to neutral pH, well-oxygenated
Aquarium Setup Sandy substrate, rocks, driftwood, powerful filter, moderate to strong current
Compatibility Peaceful; suitable with larger tetras, peaceful cichlids, and other medium-sized community fish
Breeding Cave spawner; challenging in captivity

L114 Pleco Profile

The L114 Pleco, also known as the Demini Leopard Cactus Pleco or Red Tail Sternella Pleco is a strikingly beautiful freshwater fish native to the rivers of South America. Belonging to the family Loricariidae, it is renowned for its unique coloration and peaceful nature, making it a popular choice for tropical aquariums. The L114 Pleco can grow up to 10-12 inches in captivity. It prefers environments with plenty of hiding spots, such as caves and driftwood. They are known for their hardiness but demand clean and stable water conditions.

L114 Pleco Coloring

One of the most striking features of the L114 Pleco is its coloration. It boasts a dark body with vivid orange to red spots and stripes, which become more pronounced as the fish matures. This vibrant coloration makes it a visually appealing addition to any aquarium.

Leopard Cactus Pleco Habitat

The L114 Pleco, native to the Amazon River basin in South America, thrives in fast-flowing rivers. These environments are rich in oxygen with sandy substrates, rocks, and driftwood that provide hiding spots. Replicating these conditions in aquariums with clean, well-oxygenated water and appropriate decor is essential for their well-being and to mimic their natural habitat.

L114 Pleco Aquarium Setup

Creating an ideal environment for the L114 Plecostomus in your aquarium involves several key factors. Below, we break down the process into detailed components to help you set up a thriving habitat for your L114 Pleco.

  • Tank Size and Requirements

The L114 Leopard Cactus Pleco requires a spacious tank due to its potential size of 10-12 inches as an adult. A minimum of 55 gallons is recommended. The tank should have a secure lid as these fish are known to be skilled jumpers.

  • Substrate and Decor

A sandy substrate is ideal for the L114 Pleco, mimicking their natural riverbed environment. Decorations like driftwood, caves, and rock formations not only provide hiding places but also help replicate their natural habitat. These elements are essential for their well-being, as they provide spaces for the L114 Pleco to retreat and feel secure.

  • Water Conditions

Maintaining optimal water conditions is critical. The L114 Pleco prefers slightly acidic to neutral pH levels (6.0 to 7.5), with temperatures ranging from 75 to 82°F (24 to 28°C). Regular water changes are necessary to keep nitrate levels low and ensure the water is clean and well-oxygenated.

  • Filtration and Water Movement

A high-quality filtration system is essential to maintain clean and oxygen-rich water. The Red Tail Sternella thrives in environments with moderate to strong water current, so consider adding a powerhead or a canister filter with a strong output to simulate river-like conditions.

  • Lighting and Plantation

While lighting is not crucial for the Leopard Cactus Pleco itself, it enhances the aesthetic of the tank and is vital for live plants. Low to moderate lighting is sufficient. Live plants can be included, but choose sturdy species as the Leopard Pleco L114 may uproot delicate plants.

  • Regular Maintenance

Consistent maintenance is key to keeping your Leopard Pleco healthy. This includes regular water testing, weekly water changes of about 25-30%, and checking the filter for clogs or reduced flow. Monitor the tank’s cleanliness, as Plecos are sensitive to poor water quality.

L114 Pleco Breeding

Breeding the L114 Pleco, also known as the Demini Leopard Cactus Pleco, can be a rewarding yet challenging endeavor for aquarists. Below, we provide a detailed guide on creating a conducive breeding environment and understanding their spawning process.

Breeding Environment

To encourage breeding, it’s crucial to replicate the natural conditions that stimulate spawning in the wild. A separate breeding tank is recommended. This tank should be tranquil, with parameters closely matching their regular habitat:

  • Temperature: Slightly higher than their normal range, around 82 to 86°F (28 to 30°C).
  • pH Levels: Maintain a slightly acidic to neutral pH, between 6.5 and 7.2.
  • Water Quality: Pristine water conditions with a well-functioning filtration system.
  • Decor: Provide numerous caves and hiding spots, as these are essential for the spawning process.

Conditioning the Fish

Conditioning the breeding pair is an important step. This involves feeding them a high-quality, varied diet rich in proteins. Foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and specialized pellets help in conditioning the fish for breeding.

Identification of Sexes

Sexing Red Tail Sternella Plecos can be challenging. Males typically have longer, more pronounced pectoral and dorsal spines. Females are generally rounder, especially when ready to breed.

Spawning Process

Spawning usually occurs in caves or similar structures. Males clean a surface within the cave to entice a female. After the female lays eggs, the male guards and fans the eggs to ensure good oxygen flow. The eggs hatch in about a week, depending on temperature.

Once the eggs hatch, the fry can be fed with finely crushed flakes or specially formulated fry food. It’s important to maintain water quality during this stage to ensure the health of the fry. Gradually, they can be introduced to the same diet as the adults.

Leopard Pleco L114 Diet & Feeding

The L114 Plecostomus is primarily a carnivore, feeding on a variety of foods. A balanced diet includes high-quality sinking pellets, frozen or live foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp, and occasional vegetable supplements. Regular feeding and a varied diet ensure optimal health and coloration.

L114 Leopard Cactus Pleco Compatibility

This species is generally peaceful and can coexist with many other fish. However, they should not be housed with aggressive species or those small enough to be eaten. Tank mates should also prefer similar water conditions. Suitable companions include larger tetras, peaceful cichlids, angelfish, discus, and other medium-sized community fish.

L114 Pleco Common Diseases

The Leopard Cactus Pleco is susceptible to common freshwater fish diseases, especially when water quality is poor. These include Ich or White Spot Disease, fungal infections, and bacterial diseases. They are also prone to skin and fin issues due to rough surfaces or aggressive tank mates. Regular tank maintenance and monitoring for early signs of distress are crucial for their health.


In summary, the L114 Pleco is a captivating and rewarding fish to care for. Its unique appearance and peaceful demeanor make it a standout addition to many aquariums. With proper care, diet, and tank setup, they can thrive and bring a touch of the exotic to your aquatic environment.