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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > The Catfish > Pleco
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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the




South America

 

pleco

Pterygoplichthys (Liposarcus) multuradiatus

 

Overview:
    These peaceful and hardy fish have been in the hobby for a long time. Growing quite large and showing a high level of intelligence, the Pleco is sure to remain an aquatic favorite.

Quick stats:


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 20 inches! (50.0 cm)
    Tank: 48 inches when young, 72 + when adult
    Strata: Bottom
    PH: 6.5 to 7.5
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dh Range 1.0-30.0
    Temperature: 72 to 86°F (23-30°C)

Classification:

    Order: Siluriformes
    Family: Loricariidae
    Genera: Pterygoplichthys

 

Common name:

    Pleco, Plec


Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs

Discuss:

    Badmans' Forum

Distribution

    Amazonia, in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.


General Body Form:
    The Pleco is elongated and has an almost flat belly and a convex back area. The most prominent feature is the large Dorsal fin, which has one large ray and seven, soft rays, which can be easily seen when it is extended. The tail fin is a mirror of itself with the lower edge and upper edge both being identical. The mouth is ventral and large and has on pair of barbells. They can grow quite large but usually stay smaller in all but the biggest aquaria.


Coloration:
    The overall coloration appears to be a dark Brown. The upper-side is Brown with dark Brown spots and often has up to five wide dark transverse bands. The belly is creamy white, without markings The fins are also Brown, with rows of dark Brown spots between the rays. The nose has a thin band connecting the nostrils.


Maintenance:
    The Plecos are all twilight animals and are most active at this time. Kept in a well large well planted community aquarium with pieces of driftwood for scraping. A soft substrate is also beneficial as some like to burrow. A diet high in vegetable matter is essential to their health and can be supplemented with Romaine lettuce or boiled spinach. Too much animal matter in the diet can cause digestive problems. They generally leave small fish alone, but occasionally will eat any that present themselves to them. They are hardy and undemanding in the water parameters, but will do best in soft water with a temperature in the mid seventies. The pleco is very long lived and will make a fantastic addition to any tank.


Biotope:
    Calm, slow moving waters of the amazon and its tributaries.


Breeding:
    Breeding of members in the family Loricariidae has been done fairly regularly. The aquarium should have tubes or clay pipes with a fairly large diameter. The male will clean the site and will fan water over the eggs and fry. At a temperature of about 70f the eggs will hatch in about nine days. The fry will eat small flake food as well as baby brine shrimp and algae scrapings. They are not the easiest to raise and a bare bottom tank is best.

 


Your comments:

 

Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.

 


From: Don
Date:10/7/2010
I have 2 plecos that were used in my koi pond during the summer months to keep the algae under control. They grow rapidly outside growing from a couple inches to 8-10 inches in one summer. The two I have are at least 18-20 inches long and 4 years old. They come inside when the water temp in the 1100 gallon koi pond reaches 66 degrees and are a joy to watch in the pond with the other koi. I feed them some shrimp pellets when the koi are fed and they know when feeding time is and look for the food as the koi eat on top.
From: Tarah S.
Date:1/20/2009
I currently care for two common plecos. Thor, who is 12 inches long and resides in a 125 gallon aquarium with an oscar and convict pair, and Conan, who is housed in a 75 gallon aquarium with a Green Terror. Both have shown immense personality and character and I could never imagine my aquariums without them. I've had Thor for approximately 5 years and Conan for approximately 2 years. Although somewhat laid back, they have never shown timidness when confronted by the cichlids. I would highly recommend them to anyone who can properly house and care for them. One note: they produce lots of waste so adequate filtration and water changes are a must.
From: Charlie
Date:11/9/2007
I've had a common pleco for quite sometime now, it was given to me when it was about 8 inches (June 2007) and is now 10" or so....lives in a 135 gallon long with 3 juvi salvini, 4 Jack dempseys, 1 juvi firemouth, 1 5" leopard sailfin pleco, a sub adult synspilum cichlid, black belt vieja,and a few others....he loves to eat food off the surface and then blows air bubbles, swims around all day long happy as could be....he loves his algae wafers and eats 2-3 per day....he is one of my favorites.
From: Charlie
Date:01/12/2007
I've had my Rhino Pleco for about 7 years now, and at somewhere about 7" long, he very much dwarfs everything else in my 55gal tank. My wife has nicknamed him Satan as he looks rather evil with his horns and sucker mouth. He does a fantastic job of keeping the glass and driftwood clean as a whistle. Algae tablets seem to keep him happy and growing.
From: Barbara
Date:08/31/2006
I bought my largest pleco 4 years ago, been told that it wouldn't grow larger than 4". At this moment he's 15.7 inches. He is not shy at all and he comes to my hand for food. Never had one like this. He loves special algea-tablets, a few (cooked) peas or zucchini now and then. Because he pulls all the plants out I've made them heavier by attaching a rock with a rubber band. If you buy your pleco a peace of wood (mine loves to lay on it)put it in water for weeks before you put it into the tank. As some wood stain your water and may even poison your fish (even if its bought in a petshop,(happened to me with another tank).
From: Michael Lang
Date:06/15/2006
My little clown pleco was one of my very first fish. He's been with me now about 15-16 years and still doing well. He's been in a number of tanks, with many types of fish. Although they say he isn't supposed to be much of an algae eater, he does a pretty good job of keeping my tank clean and scour's the driftwood. He does eat an occasional slice of cucumber, but mostly gets by on what hits the floor of the tank, and algae. He's very shy and sometimes I don't see him for weeks, but he'll pop up when I clean the tank and disturb his hiding spot. Great little fish!
From: DJ Cancer
Date:04/01/2006
I have 2 common plecos and 1 chocolate albino pleco. They are one of my favorite fish. One of the commons is only about an inch. The other one is the biggest one at about 4 inches. The albino is about 2 inches. Probably the most diverse fish to put in tanks. It will get along with anything. Plus they clean the tank so what more can you ask for. If you really like Pleco's and have the money to spend on them you should look at the Royal, zebra, and gold nugget Plecos. The coolest looking fresh water fish.
From: Felix
Date:8/30/2003
My pleco has been in my aquarium ever since I got it ( 14 years ago ), and is one of the most peaceful fish in the aquarium. He is 11 inches in length and lives in a 220 gallon aquarium. Perfect tank mates are Angelfish, Gouramis, Kribensis, Corydoras, and Rainbow / Red tailed black sharks. There are many more suitable tank mates but I gave you a few! The are the best fish for hobbyists that are experienced!!
From: Ryan
Date:2/22/2001
I have two plecos and they are hilarious my smallest one which is about nine inches always is chasing the bigger one around the tank and biting at it and the big one just tries to swim away like a puppy with its tail between its legs
From: Erik
Date:11/14/2001
My pl*co is around 8 inches now and is one of my favorite fish. During the day he hangs upside down form a rock in my aquarium. At night when the heater light comes on I can see him moving around going up and down on the glass. His figure kind of reminds me of jaws he wont let me see him move but he will eat 2 algae tabs and some lettuce at night. Very hardy fish. interesting to watch when it is getting dark.
From: Michelle
Date:12/02/2001
I loved my pleco (unfortunately I had to go to college and leave him in the hands of my mother who put him in my brackish water tank and never changed the filter you can picture the rest) he was my favorite fish. They are very fun to watch when they eat and are intelligent too.
From: Jennifer
Date:01/09/2002
I bought a pleco almost three years ago. He was very small when I bought him and is around 9 or 10 inches now. I love him. He is without a doubt "king of the ring" I have 4 large blue gouramis, 4 large silver angelfish and 2 large silver dollars and my pleco runs them all away from his food. He is very fun to watch.

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