Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) L200

Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) L200

Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) L200

The Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) L200 is only collected from the areas around the junction of the río Ventauri and the río Orinoco in Amazonas state, Venezuela, and in the lower reaches of the Ventauri as far as the inward flowing río Guapuchi.

The Green Phantom Pleco is found in fast moving, highly oxygenated, rocky areas of the Orinoco and Ventuari Rivers in Colombia and Venezuela, in the spaces between the granite bedrock and boulders.

Hemiancistrus subviridis is easily confused with Baryancistrus demantoides in appearance and color, and the two occur in the same geographic area in their natural habitat.

Baryancistrus demantoides is less common than Hemiancistrus subviridis and is usually more expensive, but both are marketed under the DATZ code L200, with Baryancistrus demantoides referred to as “L200a” or “L200 high fin”.    The L200a has a relatively higher dorsal fin and an enlarged membrane that connects the dorsal and adipose fins.

Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) L200

Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) L200

The Green Phantom Pleco has a light olive green body color with yellow spots covering most of the body from the midsection towards the head and yellow highlights in their fins.   Adult males have a broader, somewhat flatter head and longer pectoral fin spines than the females.

Although juveniles are peaceful, as they age they become more territorial and aggressive towards conspecifics, especially the males.

The Green Phantom Pleco is often kept in tanks with medium to large characids,  with few if any other bottom dwellers.

In very large tanks, small groups can be kept together provided their rocky territories are clearly designated when laying out the decor.

The Green Phantom Pleco is best housed in a 55 gallon or larger aquarium designed to simulate a flowing stream with a substrate of sand, various sized rocks, fine gravel and some larger water worn boulders constructed into caves.    Some  driftwood roots or branches and hardy aquatic plants attached to the decor can be added for aesthetics, but bright lighting is necessary to grow algae and aufrwuchs that the pleco feeds on.

Like most species that frequent fast flowing rivers and streams, the Green Phantom Pleco is intolerant to organic wastes and requires spotlessly clean water in order to survive.   A canister filter with at least two power heads is needed, along with mandatory 40 to 70% weekly water changes to maintain water quality.

The Green Phantom Pleco is a cave spawner that has been bred in an aquarium environment.    After the eggs are deposited and fertilized in the cave, the female is ejected and the male takes up residence at  the entrance  to guard the eggs and later attend to the brood until they reach the free swimming stage.

Success depends entirely on providing well oxygenated, spotlessly clean water conditions and an excellent high protein diet.

In the wild, Green Phantom Plecos are omnivores that feed on aufwuchs, organic and mineral sediment from submerged rocks and bolders. In an aquarium environment they can be fed a high quality sinking dried food, live or frozen bloodworms, slices of fresh zucninni or other vegetables, and an occasional defrosted piece of shrimp or prawn. In a well lit tank, a growth of aufwuchs should be allowed to grow on the surfaces so the fish can graze naturally.

Many tropical fish keeping enthusiasts prepare home made recipes of pureed fish food, fruit, vegetables, and shrimp or prawn for their Green Phanton Plecos with a great deal of success.

Imported Green Phantom Plecos have a high metabolic rate and are often undernourished or plagued by health issues when they reach the retailer. They should be given plenty of time to acclimate and an extended period of quarantine before being introduced into a system.

Both the Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) L200 and (Baryancistrus demantoides) L200a are not common in the aquarium trade and tropical fish keeping enthusiasts can expect to pay a higher price for both when they are available. Importers, specialty fish shops, and several online auction sites occasionally have them available at a moderate cost.

Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) L200

Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis) L200








Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Care Level: Extensive
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Relatively Hardy
Water Conditions: 78-86°F, H 18 – 179 ppm, pH 5.5 – 7.5
Max. Size: 6″
Color Form: Green, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Riverine tank
Origin: Colombia, Venezuela
Family: Loricariidae
Life Span: 8 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Experienced

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