By Federico Cornetto
A weird-looking pleco fish with ‘armour-plated’ scales has reached 25 years of age.
Photographer Josh Garman, 20, from London, was visiting the Aquashella Aquarium Festival in Chicago when he spotted the huge and strange creature.
The fish, a Panaque pleco, was deemed to be about 25 years-old, had strange opening whiskers and was almost as long as the forearm of its keeper Gino Di Nella, 28, from Bloomingdale, Illinois.
Typically, the pleco, which is part of the catfish family, can live for between 10 – 15 years in captivity.
Gino, owner of Pleco Paradise LLC, said: “This fish, named L418, is about 45 centimetres, meaning it must be in its mid-twenties, possibly older.
“Pleco fish have very long lives and can live up to 30 years in the wild, but it’s very rare to see specimens this old and this big in captivity.
“I have a customer of mine who had her Pleco for 23 years, and that is a big accomplishment for keepers.
“Pleco fish stood out to me and grabbed my eye when I saw them in aquariums or in books as a child, it’s just something about them, they’re unlike any other fish.
“The way they swim, their armour-plated bone structure, they are just interesting fish to me and I love them.
“They also can survive out of water for over a day as they are capable of storing oxygen in their stomachs.”