Gold Nugget Pleco Fish Care Guide

Gold Nugget Pleco

The Gold Nugge­t Pleco, also called the Golde­n Nugget Pleco, is a kind of pleco fish found only in Brazil. This fish is popular. Its scie­ntific name is Baryancistrus xanthellus. People­ often shorten its name to just the­ “gold” variation. This fish lives in the rivers of Brazil.

Most of this kind lives in stre­ams flowing into the Amazon River in northern Brazil. Though some­ live elsewhe­re in Brazil too, their numbers are­ much lower in other places. This specie­s is new to the fish hobbyist world.

Reports sugge­st it was first captive bred in the 1980s. Luckily, its re­lated species provide a solid ground for care instructions. Hydrologists love Gold Nugget Pleco for its attractive shape and colors. This makes them very different compared to many of their relatives.

Natural History of Gold Nugget Pleco:

Golden Nugget Pleco

Gold Nugget Plecos are naturally found in the Amazon basin in Brazil, where they live in warm and rapidly flowing waters with plentiful hiding places amongst vegetation. Because of faster water flow, there is not a lot of driftwood available in this natural environment for them. It’s more of a tropical climate with temperatures in the high 70s most of the year.

Appearance of Gold Nugget Pleco:

Gold Nugget Pleco’s face is what attracts aquarists from the get-go. Unlike many of their relatives, these breeds stand out no matter what. In fact, they’re one of the most colorful freshwater fish out there. While they’re only yellow and black, the contrast and pattern on their body are quite eye-catching.

Most Gold Nugget Plecos are black with numerous small red spots all over their body. These lines are evenly spread, and have the same thickness throughout. The only place where this pattern is absent is on their hind wing ends. These areas are quite red (the color is slightly brighter than the spots on their bodies). 

This fish differs from the common pleco in size and shape. They have a mouth and sucker head that reaches down to the substrate. The body is broadest around the eyes and pectoral fins, gradually tapering towards the hindwings.

These fish, especially when resting on the substrate, have very large pectoral fins that point outward, especially when resting on the substrate. They’ve got fan-shaped hind wings and relatively stiff, symmetrical tail feathers.

Height7-10 inches
Life span5-7 years
Size6-9 inches
OriginBrazil, in the Rio Xingu basin
BreedingVery difficult
Water Temperature74°-84°F
Tank size55 gallons
ColorDark green to black with yellow dots
Scientific NamesBaryancistrus xanthellus
Water TypeFreshwater
Fish Price$30 to $40 USD
Appearance of Gold Nugget Pleco

Temperament of Golden Nugget Pleco:

gold nugget fish

Nugget is a very well and interesting creature. Generally, this type is very calm and minds its own business. They live in hidden places at the bottom of the aquarium or on the surface where algae grows. You won’t see much movement from them, especially during the day (even stronger at night).

Almost any other type of freshwater fish will be ignored by your boats. They like to play in small areas of the aquarium. But if another species wanders into their space, there could be a problem. We would categorize this species as a whole, but it’s a state where they lose their cool. 

The reason they can get nicely territorial with other catfish is because they all tend to hold the same position. You can sometimes get away with this if you have a larger tank, but it can be difficult considering the size of the Gold Nugget Pleco.

Feeding Requirements of Golden Nugget Pleco:

Creating a food list is one of the easiest parts of caring for your Golden Nugget Pleco. These fish are not very selective eaters and will happily eat anything you give them. However, they still need to take the time to plan their meals. 

In the wild, this species is one of the pleasant algae eaters obtainable. They will spend lots of time scouring the lowest location of the water searching out algae in addition to various plant and natural matter to snack on. However, they do need some protein-rich foods as well. In this method you need to provide them with a properly-rounded eating regimen much like many different plecos. 

Their primary supply of meals within the tank ought to be from algae and diverse natural remember that reach the substrate. In order to supplement this, maximum owners drop in a few sinking pellets to ensure their center’s nutritional needs are being met.

After that we regularly recommend tubifex and bloodworms. Think of it as a daily routine to help them eat nutritious and high-protein meals that are needed for their weight loss plan.

Tank Requirements of Golden Nugget Pleco:

Gold Nugget Pleco Fish

In the wild, golden nugget plecos have a well-defined territory with many dens where they breed and live. These fish like to eat food gardens and eat algae that grow on tools and decorations. Therefore, ensure that there are plenty of flat rocks and driftwood for the growth of algae. Baryancistrus also likes to rest on flat rocks and broadleaf plants,  so it should be included in your aquascape design as well.

Baryancistrus Xanthellus lives in the depths of the dark rivers, hiding in caves, under shade trees, under overhangs, in its natural habitat. Therefore, these fish do not like bright light conditions in home aquariums, so it is best to ensure that the aquarium is well-lit or has low light. Of course, you  need to consider the conditions your pleco tank mates need and create a community that has the same lighting requirements and water parameters.

Why Should You Get a Gold Nugget Pleco for Your Aquarium?

If you love big fish, I wholeheartedly recommend the yellow-spotted Gold Nugget Pleco. They add some color to your community tank. If you have a tank already set up and it’s large enough, and your mid- and upper-level are well-stocked but your bottom level is sparse, then the Gold Nugget Pleco might be the suckermouth catfish that will finish off your community aquarium.

The Gold Nugget Pleco will spice up using space for making a new community and a 55-gallon tank. However, if you already have a tank with lots of plecos, wait on buying a Gold Nugget Pleco, unless you have enough space for another tank.

Golden Nugget Pleco Breeding:

Golden Nugget Pleco Fish

Although some conservationists claim to have information about goldfish, they are wrong. There are currently no written reports or guidelines on captive breeding practices. Of course, this is not a species that can be kept in your home.

For fish species whose breeding guidelines are unclear, our policy is to avoid contact with them until the situation changes. Many experienced fishmongers have strict policies (limiting the amount of fish caught in a resource) that break the rules. In the meantime, do the right thing for the fish and avoid it!

Health Conditions of Gold Nugget Pleco:

Gold Nugget Pleco

One nice thing about Gold Nugget Plecos is that they don’t have any breed-specific diseases to worry about. Other freshwater fish have their own unique diseases on top of established diseases that can afflict them (which makes it more difficult from the owner’s point of view).

Therefore, the possibility that these fish may be affected by some freshwater diseases should be taken into account. It can’t be beaten with a bit of maintenance. There are diseases and pests like measles that you are likely to encounter. These can have a wide variety of causes through their own treatments.

The easiest way to reduce your Gold Nugget Pleco’s risk in one of these is to just keep an eye on them. This is especially true of their water and nutrition. Both of these aspects of care can make or break your fish’s health, so it’s important to take them seriously. If you do this, there is a  chance that the breed will live longer.

Final Thoughts:

The Gold Nugget Pleco looks fun, low maintenance and practical.  These freshwater fish are easy to keep and will make your aquarium colorful.  While there are a lot of great plecos to choose from in your aquarium, this species ought to be given some serious consideration. They are a favorite of ours all the time, and we do not expect that opinion to change anytime soon.


How big does a golden nugget pleco get?

Golden nugget plecos often have a size of 6 inches when they are being kept in captivity, while they can grow to 12 inches in the best conditions.

Are Gold Nugget Plecos compatible with other fish?

Gold Nugget Plecos typically get along well with the other inhabitants of a tank, although they can be quite territorial against any other living creature that either resembles them or that occupies the lower zones of an aquarium.

What should I feed my Gold Nugget Pleco?

Fish needs to be covered by a balanced diet that includes algae along with veggies and high protein foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp and the sinking pellets. In the wild, they have no lack of food. Also, make sure they are well fed, not too skinny.

What water parameters should I maintain for Gold Nugget Plecos?

Gold Nugget Plecos can achieve optimal health if the right temperature, pH and water hardness is provided. These fish can only survive when the temperature is kept between 74-84°F and pH of the environment has to be 6.5-7.5 and the Hardness of water should not be less than 2 dGH but should not be more than 15dGH.

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