August 31

Sarah Robertson

The Versatile Blue Phantom Pleco: an Overview

The Blue phantom pleco (L128 Pleco) is a popular aquarium fish that is both peaceful and calm. L128 pleco's name comes from the bluish color on its body, which changes to darker or lighter shades depending on light conditions and the fish's mood.

This beautiful cobalt blue fish has intriguing white dots. Its light blue to yellowish dots, which are much more apparent in younger individuals than they are in adults, complement its unique coloration. It's comparable to the green phantom pleco, although there are differences between them, in addition to their distinctive hue.

The blue spot phantom pleco, often known as the L128 pleco, is a large-sized member of the armored catfish family, Ancistriniidae (Bristlenose pleco). It lives in the upper Amazon River in Ecuador and Brazil. The L128 pleco can reach up to 20 cm long in length and live up to 8 years in captivity, but the greatest size has yet to be determined. In Southeast Asia, China, and Thailand, the blue phantom pleco is found. They are often freshwater fish sold in aquarium stores that need particular conditions to survive.

In this post, we'll give you all the information you need to take care of a blue phantom pleco in your aquarium at home.

Quick Facts About Blue Phantom Pleco

  • Scientific Name : Hemiancistrus species; L128 Blue Phantom Pleco
  • Common Name (species) : Blue Phantom Plecostomus
  • Family : Loricariidae
  • Origin : Rio Orinoco, Venezuela
  • Average Size : Maximum Size 20cm (7.9”)
  • Care Level : Easy
  • Diet : Omnivore
  • Feeding : Offer daily meals of sinking algae wafers, spirulina pellets, and freshly blanched veggies, with a few weekly treats of brine shrimp, bloodworms, or other live treats
  • Temperament : Peaceful and mellow
  • Tank Level : Bottom dweller
  • Lifespan : Up to 8 years
  • Temperature Range : 77 to 86°F
  • pH Range : 6.0 to 7.0
  • Water Hardness : 8 – 12 dGH
  • pH Range : 6.0 to 7.0
  • Activity : Nocturnal; more active at night and prefers to hide during the day
  • Filtration/Flow Rate : Naturally lives in very clean, highly oxygenated water with a high/moderate flow rate, but tolerates mild currents as long as filtration and aeration are adequate.
  • Sexual Dimorphism : Difficult to determine; mature males likely to have longer odontodes behind the gill covers.
  • Breeding : Egg layer; male fish protect eggs until hatching. Rarely breeds naturally in captivity
  • Compatibility : Works well in most peaceful and semi-aggressive communities. Excellent option for Amazon-themed tanks with small cichlids, Characins and Silver Dollars

Blue Phantom Pleco Care

In order to create a great care guide or fish profile, accuracy, precision, and depth are required. This Blue Phantom Pleco care guide is no different from the other ones.

The Blue Phantom Pleco is a highly active fish. It is unusual to see it inactive in the water. It is a very quick swimmer and requires adequate room to swim freely in its tank.

To take care of a Blue Phantom Pleco, a few things need to be considered. The first is its diet. As an omnivore, it will consume both plant and animal matter. To ensure it gets the nutrients it needs, offer a variety of food items.

Sinking algae wafers, spirulina pellets, and freshly blanched veggies should be fed on a daily basis. A few weekly treats of brine shrimp, bloodworms, or other live foods will help to keep this pleco healthy and content.

The second consideration is its tank mates. As a peaceful fish, it can be kept with most other small freshwater species. However, it may become aggressive towards other plecos if they are added to its tank. It is best to keep only one pleco per tank unless they are of the same species.

The third consideration is its size. The Blue Phantom Pleco can grow up to 20 cm (7.9”) in length. A minimum tank size of 50 gallons is required to house this fish.

The fourth consideration is its water parameters. The Blue Phantom Pleco prefers clean, highly oxygenated water with a high/moderate flow rate. A temperature range of 77 to 86°F and a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 are ideal. The water hardness should be 8 – 12 dGH.

The fifth and final consideration is its filtration and aeration. The Blue Phantom Pleco requires a well-filtered and oxygenated aquarium. A canister filter with a high flow rate and an air stone are recommended. With proper care, the Blue Phantom Pleco can live for 8-10 years in captivity.

Blue Phantom Pleco Size

Blue Phantom Pleco Size 

The enormous blue phantom pleco is a large-sized fish that may reach a substantial size. They can reach a length of up to 7 inches and even more sometimes. Healthy plecos develop a few inches above the stated value, while unhealthy ones do not.

The health of your fish can have an impact on how big it grows. You must also offer it high-nutrient food on a regular basis to ensure that it develops properly.

Blue Phantom Pleco Lifespan

The way you care for your blue phantom pleco affects how long it lives. Your pleco will live longer if you look after it, feed it on a regular basis, and supply the required water and tank space.

Blue phantom pleco, on the other hand, has the longest life span of any other pleco. They might live up to 5 to 8 years in captivity, depending on how well you look after them. They may live longer in captivity than they do in the wild.

Blue Phantom Pleco Appearance

The Blue Phantom Pleco is a large-sized pleco that grows up to 7 inches long. Blue phantom plecos vary in size, with the biggest growing to around 7.1 inches. They also come in a variety of hues and are rather attractive.

Plecos have a variety of colorings, although the vast majority have a dark blue hue with white markings. They have a sucking mouth that is designed for feeding. They also have beautiful armors that help them to maintain a good body form and structure while hiding.

There is Green Phantom Pleco similar to the Blue Phantom Pleco which can be easily distinguished by its coloring. The green phantom pleco is much lighter in color and has a more olive-green hue. Green or Blue Phantom Pleco, which ever you have, they are both beautiful fish that make a great addition to any aquarium.

Gender Differences of Blue Phantom Pleco

The male Blue Phantom Pleco is somewhat longer and skinnier than the female Blue Phantom Pleco. The female has a round body shape. When looking at the Blue Phantom Pleco from the side, the female's abdomen is longer than the rest of the body.

Blue Phantom Pleco Behavior

The Blue Phantom Pleco is a relatively docile fish as long as it isn't put in with other plecos. It gets along well with most other small freshwater species.

It will become aggressive to other plecos and react violently if another pleco is introduced into its tank. The other pleco will be seen as a threat to its domain, and it will attack in order to protect itself.

The Blue Phantom Pleco is a highly active fish. It is unusual to observe it dormant in the water. It is a very quick swimmer that requires enough room to move comfortably in its tank.

They are a peaceful, quiet, and mild pleco that thrives in medium to big community aquariums. They may be seen scurrying about under rocks and decorations during the day, but they become more active scavengers once the lights go out. With a moonlight, it's exciting to watch them swim in your filter outflows or bubble walls!

Blue Phantoms, like catfish, are omnivores by nature and will attempt to consume anything available. Unlike the huge and aggressive Common Pleco, they are not hunters and generally avoid schooling fish. They're not territorial, so they can live together with other quiet plecos like the Bristlenose.

Blue Phantom Pleco Tank Mates 

The Blue Phantom fish gets along with virtually all other freshwater species of comparable size. As a result, they can be maintained in an aquarium that contains multiple species and co-exist successfully.

In any case, if you have a variety of fish species, you should provide hiding places and enclosures for them. When they want to be alone rather than socializing with other species, it's a sign that their tank is getting too crowded. They'll appreciate the rocks and plants as places to hide.

Blue Phantom Pleco fish will not get along with other Blue Phantom Pleco fish because they will be defensive. They do well with semi-aggressive fish species, but they should be kept with other peaceful ones. Because schooling fish species may live together in a community, they are suitable Blue Phantom Pleco tank mates.

The following fish species may be kept as Blue Phantom Pleco tankmates:

  • Glass Catfish
  • Clown Loach
  • Tiger Barb Fish
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Odessa Barb
  • Tinfoil
  • Hatchet Fish
  • Swordtail Fish
  • Zebra Danio
  • Pictus Catfish
  • Black Ghost Knife Fish

Plecos are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. It's critical to remember that Pleco species are scavengers in nature. When keeping them in a group, make sure you have a large tank.

Feeding Blue Phantom Plecos

Feeding Blue Phantom Plecos 

While these scavenging catfish enjoy munching on aquarium algae and cleaning up the fish leftovers, you'll need to offer them commercial diets and snacks to balance their nutrition. Blue Phantom should be fed in the evening, when they're ready to emerge from their hiding places.

Tips for feeding Blue Phantom Pleco:

  • Offer a daily sinking algae wafers and spirulina pellets combination, with freshly blanched veggies such as cucumber, zucchini, and peas as treats.
  • You can feed a protein-rich treat once or twice a week, such as live/frozen/dried brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, bloodworms or Daphnia eggs.

Blue Phantom Pleco Tank Setup

The majority of wild Phantoms dwell in rivers with strong currents, but captive fish can live in aquariums with mild currents as long if their water is clean and well aerated.

Aquarium Size 

Bottom dwellers that are active, such as the Blue Phantom, require a lot of area to swim and scavenge in the lower regions of your aquarium. They're perfect for tanks larger than 50 gallons, particularly long-style or breeder tanks. An additional 25 to 50 gallons per Phantom is recommended to prevent stress.

Water and Temperature Parameters 

Because phantoms prefer water temperatures of 76 to 86°F, an aquarium heater is ideal. They enjoy slightly soft water ranging from 2 to 12 KH, with a neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Pleco stress occurs when their circumstances change rather suddenly, causing them to need more time to adjust. So, it's best to make gradual changes to match their natural habitat as closely as possible.

Substrate

Blue Phantom tanks should have a mixed substrate that replicates their natural habitat and includes a blend of soft sand and smooth pebbles. Do not use harsh aquarium gravel since it may harm their stomach or fins. However, if you place aquatic soils in the tank, the plecos will typically make a muddy mess. So, it's best to avoid this substrate altogether.

Lights, Plants and Decorations

Because nocturnal plecos are wary of bright areas in your aquarium during the day, they prefer to hide beneath rocks or in nooks near your filter outflows. Tall mounds of rocks and boulders are the perfect decor for a Phantom tank. Driftwood or branches may be added, but these catfish don't require much wood. Phantoms can be kept in an aquarium with live plants, but they frequently uproot and damage them.

Filtration and Aeration 

You don't have to use a powerhead to create waves in your aquarium, as wild catfish prefer tumultuous conditions. A good filtration system with replaceable filter media, as well as high water oxygenation through bubble devices or air stones, can keep Blue Phantoms in aquariums with mild currents.

Depending on the size of your aquarium and whether you're using a powerhead, I suggest using a robust canister or a few HOB filters. These fish are susceptible to stress from dirty water and hypoxic or low-oxygen conditions, which can cause them a lot of discomfort and even shorten their lives. So, a quality filtration system is a must.

Maintenance

The Blue Phantom pleco is not as tough as other types of plecos, and it becomes nervous when kept in unclean water. Pleco are voracious eaters, so expect to perform water changes and filter maintenance at least once a month in your tank.

Blue Phantom Pleco Breeding

They are livebearers, which means they lay eggs. However, to breed successfully, you must keep both male and female livebearers in your aquarium. If you're keeping a male and female in a smaller tank, make sure they have lots of hiding places and spaces to calm down when they're feeling threatened or need time apart from each other.

Only one male per aquarium is ideal. Pairing fewer females with a single male is the best practice, but this may not be possible in all cases. If you have more than one male, they may start to fight with each other.

Even in separate tanks in mixed-gender groups, aquarists claim that the species is difficult to breed. Perhaps the simplest step in the species' reproduction procedure is sexing. The bodies of males are more streamlined than those of females.

In the wild, Blue Phantoms are cave-spawners and, like most Pleco family members, the males guard the eggs until they have absorbed the yolks.

When your Blue Phantom Pleco is pregnant, you'll typically be able to detect changes in behavior and appearance. The females will immediately appear more bloat, with a rounded stomach region. Females will also rest more in secluded and well-covered areas of the tank during pregnancy.

Artificial Hormones 

Artificial hormones are required for the few professional aquarists who succeed in breeding this species, which is not something everyone has access to or understands.

Blue Phantom Pleco Fry

Blue Phantom Pleco Fry

In about 24 hours, the fry should hatch and require feedings every 2 hours. The first few days are extremely crucial, as many fries do not survive long enough to reach adulthood because they may become food for larger fish such as Corydoras catfish, who also enjoy eating young plecos.

After three weeks, the fry should be big enough to leave their cave and explore other parts of your aquarium, which will drastically reduce the chance of being eaten by others.

The fry develops rapidly during the first three months and can reach almost 8 inches (20cm) in length before being transferred to a new aquarium on their own. It takes one year for them to fully develop before they can reproduce if given adequate attention.

Blue Phantom Pleco Diseases

The Blue Phantom Pleco fish is susceptible to a variety of health problems, including Dropsy, Ich, and Fin rot. Dropsy is a rather prevalent illness that affects aquarium fish. Belly swelling is the result of dropsy.

It's difficult to detect it, especially in females. If the tank and fish aren't properly maintained, they all attack the fish.

Since the objective is generally to keep the fish alive, it's preferable to prevent infections since the fish will get sick from the above ailments and subsequently die.

There are no specific treatments to avoid. When they're sick, give them new food. If you have a lot of fish, it's a good idea to set up a hospital tank as a precaution. To avoid the illness from spreading to additional healthy fish, the sick fish will be kept in quarantine in this tank.

Common Diseases 

The Blue Phantom Pleco is vulnerable to the same problems that affect other freshwater fish. The species, for example, is susceptible to problems such as Dropsy, Ich, fin rot, and other fungal infections.

Keep in mind that the majority of these diseases are linked to unclean water conditions, and taking preventative steps (e.g., cleaning the water) may help you avoid getting sick.

Medication 

It's also critical to follow strict quarantine procedures before bringing new fish into an established tank to avoid polluting the water with germs.

When you see the indicators of an illness, change the water in the aquarium right away. After that, they must be given antibiotics to speed up their recovery. Over-the-counter medications are fine for a while if they aren't severely ill.

However, self-medication may do more harm than good if not done correctly. That is why, if you suspect your Blue Phantom Pleco is sick, it's always preferable to visit an aquatic veterinarian.

A visit to the veterinarian will also prevent your aquatic animals from experiencing unnecessary suffering and stopping the disease from spreading to other tank inhabitants.

FAQ

How to Breed Blue Phantom Pleco

How to Breed Blue Phantom Pleco? 

The Blue Phantom Pleco is a difficult-breeding fish. Only a few captive breeding attempts have been successful as per reports.

This isn't to say that breeding them is impossible; rather, it's extremely difficult. As a result, the majority of the fish you see for sale were taken from the wild for selling.

Even when they are in a mixed-gender group and living in a pond, it is tough to get them to breed. Artificial hormones were required for those who were not successful in producing. So, if you want to try your hand at breeding this species, be aware that it may not be easy.

How Big Does a Blue Phantom Pleco Get?

The average full-grown size of a Blue Phantom Pleco is between 6 and 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). Some, however, have been reported to grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length.

The blue phantom pleco growth rate is dependent on the food they are given and the tank's water parameters. A varied diet of high-quality foods will enable them to grow to their full potential.

Are Blue Phantom Plecos Aggressive?

The Blue Phantom Pleco is a peaceful fish that does not bother other tankmates. They are, however, territorial when it comes to their hiding spots and may fight with others of the same species if they feel threatened.

For the most part, though, they are relatively docile and can be kept with a wide variety of other fish species.

Do Blue Phantom Plecos Need Driftwood? 

Tall heaps of stones and rocks are the ideal décor for a Phantom tank. Driftwood or twigs may be included, but these catfish don't require much wood. Driftwoods can be added to Blue Phantom Pleco tank, But it is not necessary.

Is The Blue Phantom Pleco Suitable for Your Aquarium? 

You can successfully add a Blue Phantom Pleco to your aquatic community if you have other medium-sized freshwater fish.

Your blue Phantom Pleco will adapt well and swim around in your tank as long as the tank capacity is enough, and all of the water conditions are suitable.

Will Blue Phantom Pleco Eat Shrimp?

Yes. Shrimp are consumed by the blue phantom. The shrimps should be in bristles if the pleco is young and tiny in size for easy eating.

Is Blue Phantom Pleco Hardy? 

The Blue Phantom takes time to adjust to a new setting. They are robust once they have adjusted to their habitat, but they are not as hardy as other pleco species.

When placed in dirty water, blue phantoms become stressed and so their tank water needs to be changed on a regular basis. The hobbyist should employ the drop approach to help with the acclimation. The Blue Phantom should be kept in a dark tank for 45 minutes to get used to his new surroundings.

When adding them into the aquarium, turn off the lights and maintain them that way for no more than 30 minutes.

How Much Does a Blue Phantom Pleco Cost?

Blue Phantom Plecos are expensive, with a price range of $50 to $150 each. They're pricey because they are only found in certain locations and breeding is difficult. You may purchase Blue Phantom from a local pet store or from an online store. While buying from an online store, consider the shipping cost as well.

Final Thoughts

The Blue Phantom Pleco is a beautiful fish that is peaceful and can be kept with other fish species. They are, however, difficult to breed in captivity and so most of the fish you see for sale were taken from the wild. They eat a variety of foods to stay healthy and grow to their full potential.

They are relatively hardy once they have adjusted to their habitat but do best in a dark tank with plenty of hiding spots. They also love to eat shrimp, so if you have a shrimp tank, be sure to keep an eye on your shrimp population!

If you are looking for a beautiful and peaceful pleco to add to your aquarium, the Blue Phantom Pleco is a good choice. Just be aware that they may be difficult to breed in captivity and that they are on the pricey side.

They may become aggressive if their territory is threatened, but overall, they are a docile fish. It is better not to keep them with the same species, but they can be kept with other fish. Do your research before adding any fish to your aquarium to make sure they are compatible.

If you have the right tank conditions, then the Blue Phantom Pleco is a suitable fish for your aquarium.

Sarah Robertson


I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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