Trade names: Rubbernose Pleco, Blonde Rubbernose Pleco, Bulldog Pleco, L187b
Origin: upper Meta River, eastern Cordillera of Colombia
For those aquarists in need of an industrious algae-eating fish for smaller aquariums, allow us to introduce the Rubbernose Pleco. This species grows to just a fraction of the size of the Common Pleco, with males reaching just four inches in length and females being closer to three. But, despite their small size, these can be a real workhorse for your fish tank, clearing off the algae so you don’t have to.
While this fish has been common for a while now in the aquarium trade, the Rubbernose Pleco continues to be misidentified, often as C. thompsoni, a rare species that has likely never been exported. You might also see it listed (incorrectly) as L146 or (correctly) as L187b, a naming convention from the Aqualog fish magazines. This fish was finally given a real scientific name when it was described in 2011 as C. formosae. While it may not be the most colorful of the armored catfishes, there’s no denying that it has a distinctive style all its own, with dark-edged scales that form an attractive series of diagonal lines, as well as a number of dark polka dots which adorn the head.