12-22-2010, 08:13 PM
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When dealing with any new pleco, especially one bought from an LFS, getting them to eat healthy is always the key. Not all plecos are algae eaters, most are omnivores and readily eat bloodworms, shrimp pellets and earthworm sticks. A few species, including L201 and L46, are almost completely carnivorous. Most LFS decide to stock a certain Pleco because it is eye catching but really don't know how to take care of it, leading to the result you experienced. I would strongly suggest researching any new plec thoroughly before buying. If you can find a breeder locally all the better. I am lucky enough to live 20mins from a LFS that breeds 18 types of pleco, but if you aren't that lucky aquabid is probably the best bet. At least then you know if you are getting wild caught or captive bred and the pleco will have eaten recently.
I have an L201 (Hypancistrus contradens) and he eats almost exclusively meaty food, while only occasionally nibbling veggies. I also rarely see him and usually have to move some driftwood when doing a water change to verify he is still alive, but every time I see him his belly is fat and he is doing fine.
I am curious where you read that gold nuggets live only 3 mo usually? Are you referring to wild caught plecos that have long shipping times to reach the store?