Pogonopoma obscurum

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Matt Clarke looks at an unusual, and very expensive, new plec that's recently arrived in the UK.

Scientific name: Pogonopoma obscurum

Origin: Southern Brazil, collected from the Rio Canoas. Said to be fairly common in its natural habitat.

Size: Museum records say this species reaches up to 25cm/10", but this specimen exceeds that quite dramatically as it measures about 38-40cm/15-16".

Diet: This fish seems happy grazing on vegetable foods including algae wafers, and also rasps bogwood, from which it may obtain lignin.

Water: Ideally neutral or fairly soft and acidic.

Aquarium: This species is found among rocks and boulders in fast-flowing stretches of the Rio Canoas and its tributaries. It's a very nocturnal fish, and this one spends most of its time hidden from view upside-down under a big chunk of bogwood. Low light levels might allow you to see more of it.

Notes: There's hardly anything written on these fishes, and they're really rather unusual in the hobby. This species is a recent discovery. Reis and Quevedo described it in Copeia in 2002. The skin can look matt black and it looks much better in the flesh. There are only two other species in this genus, P. parahybae and P. wertheimeri, both of which bear a passing resemblance to the Pseudorhinelepis group.

Availability: Really tricky to get hold of. As far as we know, it lacks an L-number. Maidenhead Aquatics in Harlestone Heath imported it from Brazil, but it was apparently caught in Uruguay.

Price: This fish was imported in its own box, so some of the hefty price tag consists of freight costs. If you want one of these at this size, expect to pay 300-450!