Galaxy Pleco is a stunning, peaceful fish species. However, they can be territorial, so they would need enough space while in a community tank. They are popularly known as strictly algae-eaters but they actually eat meat-based meals too. Read on to learn further details on their care and the nutrition they need to thrive while in your home aquarium. Let’s get started.
Galaxy Pleco Stats
Here are some stats on the Galaxy Pleco.
|Common Name||Galaxy pleco|
|Other Name||L029 Galaxy Pleco, Vampire Pleco, Tusken Pleco|
|Scientific Name||Leporacanthicus Galaxias|
|Tank size||50 gallons|
Galaxy Pleco Overview
Galaxy Pleco is originally from the Amazon basin. You can find it at the bottom of tributaries, flood plains, and streams. It is also known scientifically as Leporacanthicus Galaxias and commonly as L029 Galaxy Pleco, vampire pleco, and Tusken pleco.
They are territorial yet still ideal tank mates of tropical community aquariums; however, that is the case only if they have space to swim and hide. They are always searching for algae, decaying plants, and meat through the habitat bottom to eat. These fish would hide under driftwood and plants during the day from bright lights but would spend their nights’ foraging.
The Galaxy Pleco might occasionally have fights over territory with similar-size fishes, particularly other plecos. However, the battle won’t get too violent. If you plan to breed other plecos or same-sized fish together, then a 55-gallon tank or above is suitable, mostly so these fights can be avoided as much as possible.
L029 Galaxy Pleco looks similar to other freshwater catfishes. It has the distinct suckermouth for eating algae, flat bottom, and expanded fins. The species have rayed and tall dorsal fins that lay flat on their back but rise when swimming against a strong current.
Their pectoral, caudal, and pelvic fins have slight rays too. Moreover, the fish are large and have a prominent profile. Galaxy Plecos are usually black, but some are dark brown and even gray. They are spotted all over their body with tiny white or yellow dots, including fins.
Finally, the sexual dimorphism between the male and female species is subtle; however, the male has a bigger head.
Galaxy Pleco Size
The average size of a fully grown Galaxy Pleco is approximately 10 inches. They do not grow as big as other Plecos but demand as much territorial space as them.
Galaxy Pleco Lifespan
The L029 Galaxy Pleco lifespan can be extended with proper care and favorable living conditions. They can live up to 15 years but, the lifespan is generally dependent on the fish’s overall health, yet nutrition is also a crucial factor aside from genetics.
Galaxy Pleco Care
Galaxy Pleco is omnivorous, which means that they will eat a variety of plant material and meaty food they find in the aquarium. They are picky eaters, but you should offer them a balanced mix of algae, decaying plant matter, and meat-based meals.
Moreover, in an aquarium containing fully grown Galaxy Pleco fishes, their nutrition comes from scavenging the tank substrates for food and gnawing algae growing on the aquarium bottom and sides.
You should supplement the Galaxy Pleco food with sinking food pellets and algae wafers as they need enough food. The Galaxy Pleco also enjoys frozen, dried, and live earthworms, mussels, suchlike, prawns, snails, and bloodworms.
It is best to closely mirror the conditions of the natural habitat, which is the Amazon river. Galaxy Pleco thrives in tropical waters, so your tank should be slightly heated to about 72 to 82 F. Also, slightly acidic water with pH levels of 5.6 to 7.0 is favorable. The Galaxy Pleco would accept a wide range of environmental conditions, but it’s best to maintain these parameters.
The water hardness should range from eight to 12 KH. However, you should get a reliable test kit so you can monitor the water parameter levels and adjust when necessary. The goal is to ensure the fish remain comfortable and in excellent health.
Choosing the right tank size is as important as keeping the Galaxy Pleco healthy. Don’t be fooled by their peaceful disposition. Indeed, they are naturally calm and would ignore their tank mates most of the time, but can get aggressive for space.
They need space to swim, scavenge and explore their environment. So it’s good to keep in mind that fully grown adult Galaxy Pleco and other tank mates need about 50 to 75 gallon aquarium space.
However, juvenile Galaxy Pleco under three inches in size can thrive in 30-gallon tanks.
You can be creative with designing your aquarium. Create a setup that imitates fast-flowing streams of the Amazon basin in these few steps:
- Install a water pump with a powerful head and set it at moderate to high flow. The pump would create a powerful flow and increase oxygen in the tank.
- Add in your choice of a substrate; sand or fine gravel would do.
- Then put in your tank decorations. You can add rocks, bogwood, driftwood, and plants.
- Arrange the aquarium, so there is ample space for the fish to move around.
Provide shade for the Galaxy Pleco to retreat when the bright light makes them uncomfortable. Rock caves and other tank decorations can serve as shade for the Galaxy Pleco.
The Galaxy Pleco does not enjoy bright light; hence, dim lights are recommended.
Install an effective filter that would deal with the excessive waste products in the tank. It reduces the chances of the fish becoming sickly.
Discus fish and angelfish are not good Galaxy Pleco tank mates because they nip at the Plecos fins. Small fishes that can fit into the Galaxy Pleco mouth would not survive long in the aquarium either. However, as the Pleco grows bigger than other tank mates, you should keep it in its own tank.
Can You Keep Galaxy Plecos Together?
Yes, but they can only stay together at their juvenile stage. The Plecos grow so big and need ample space. However, if you insist on keeping two or more mature Galaxy Plecos together in a tank, then you may need up to a 300-gallon aquarium. This is rather unnecessary, especially if you are a beginner fish keeper.
There’s not much information about breeding Galaxy Plecos, but we know that breeding them in an aquarium is utterly complicated. They have specific requirements and environmental conditions, and these may not be so easy to mimic; however, it is not impossible.
For instance, we know they spawn in caves. Hence, we need to create artificial caves and the perfect breeding environment by following these steps:
- In a large tank of about 100-gallons, add flower pots and turn them over to look like caves.
- Adjust water flow to moderate to high settings.
- Add in other hiding spots. These can be driftwoods or fast-growing aquarium plants.
- Then put in your breeding pair.
How to Trigger Breeding in Galaxy Pleco
Trigger spawning by performing a slow water change that is two degrees cooler than the standard aquarium setting. As the temperature changes, the mature male and female will begin the breeding process.
Galaxy Pleco Young
Plecos species lay eggs and spawn on the side of artificial caves. In the wild, the male plecos guard the eggs until they hatch. However, to increase the egg survival rates in a tank, remove the fully grown Galaxy Pleco from the breeding tank. Then, eggs would hatch within five to seven days.
The fry absorbs their egg sac immediately after hatching. The Galaxy Pleco fry is a demanding eater, and it consumes a lot of protein at its initial growth stage; feed it baby brine shrimps. Finally, monitor the water flow and the temperature so they grow healthy.
Galaxy Pleco Diseases
Galaxy Pleco is susceptible to tropical freshwater fish diseases, but ich and plecostomus infections are most popular.
Ich is an infectious condition caused by stress and parasites. The infestation makes the fish body to be covered with tiny white dots. If you do not treat it, the ich infection will spread to other tank mates.
This is why you should make sure that the tank conditions are optimal and that your fish is well-fed and lives in an environment of minimal stress.
Plecotomus disease is a common fungal infection. It causes whitish cotton-ball-like growth on the body of the Pleco species.
You can treat both infections by separating the infected fish and adding the medicine to the water. Be sure not to use copper-based medications as Galaxy Pleco does not react well to them.
Is Galaxy Pleco Right for Your Home Tank?
If you want a large unique species, then the Galaxy Pleco may be what you need. They are easy to care for as they do not have any specific complex needs but the Galaxy Pleco size and their need for space may be a problem. However, they are the perfect fish for experienced fish keepers.
The Galaxy Pleco is a territorial yet peaceful fish; here’s why you need one:
- They would not hurt other fishes except when they feel threatened
- They can accept a wide range of water conditions
- They are not aggressive if they have adequate hiding spots
- They would clean up your aquarium by eating all the algae on the substrates
- Galaxy Plecos are ideal for seasoned fish keepers due to their size
In any case, if you want to get more than one Pleco, you may need a huge tank. Now that you have learned extensively about the Galaxy Pleco, take care of your fish like a pro fish keeper!
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