Blue Panaque Pleco (L239) Care: Tank Size, Diet, Tank Mates & More

Blue Panaque Pleco

Looking for an eye-catching and unusual bottom-dweller to spice up your aquarium, the L239 or blue panaque pleco might be a good option. These fish are definitely not your typical pleco – they’re much more colorful and rather smaller than other popular pleco species.

Since these slow-growing suckermouth catfish are not very common in the aquarium trade, there aren’t any comprehensive resources available. 

But don’t worry, that’s where we come in! In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need to know about blue panaque plecos, including their natural habitat, diet, and tank mates.

Read on!

Species Profile

The Blue Panaque Pleco, or the L239, is a freshwater fish found in the soft, acidic waters of Río Orinoco in Venezuela and Colombia, where it inhabit the surfaces and undersides of granitic bedrock and boulders.

This species was first described in 2009 and named in honor of Chris Beggin, who supported the research work of the species. The trade name Blue Panaque often misleads people into believing that it’s a member of the Panaque genus. It virtually has little or nothing in common with these larger, wood-eating catfishes. 

Although L239 has been classified as Baryancistrus beggini, the truth is that this is a very new species and exhibits several distinct characteristics from other Baryancistrus species, like the well-known Golden nugget pleco (Baryancistrus xanthellus) and their close relatives. There’s a strong possibility that it will be moved to a different genus or yet unnamed genus. Only time will tell for sure.

Scientific Name:
Common Name:Blue Panaque Pleco, L239
Care Level:Advanced
Origin:Venezuela and Colombia
Lifespan:5 years
Max Size:3.5 inches (9 cm)
Temperature:77°F – 86°F (25°C – 30°C)
Water hardness:0 to 12 dKH
Minimum Tank Size:20 gallons
Temperament:Relatively Peaceful


It’s not hard to see why this relatively rare pleco is highly sought after by aquarium enthusiasts. The Blue Panaque pleco is a real stunner, with its stunning navy blue coloration and stocky build.

Compared to many types of plecos that take on a drab brown or gray color with a series of lighter spots all over, the Blue Panaque pleco really stands out no matter what!

Their body is relatively stubby and is mostly dark blue with some black shadowy patches, making them very attractive. 

They develop a pair of pectoral fins, a pair of abdominal fins, as well as a larger dorsal fin up top that often have a light blue coloration on edge, which shine when the lights hit them.

Males Vs. Females

Identifying plecos is never an easy task, as many species can be very similar in appearance, especially these wild-caught specimens. Blue panaque plecos are no different, let alone their small size.

One of the main ways to tell apart a sexually mature male and female Blue Panaque pleco is that the males tend to have relatively longer whiskers (odontodes) on their pectoral fins and cheeks, while females often are slightly larger in size when viewed from above. Other than that, males may exhibit a more intense blue coloration than females.


L239 has a lifespan of approximately 5 years when kept in captivity. Some have been known to live even longer with proper care.

The number assumes that the fish will be kept in good water condition with a nutritious diet, so it’s important to do your best to provide them with everything they need to thrive. (more on that a bit later).

Size & Growth Rate

Fully grown Blue panaque plecos will only reach a maximum length of around 3.5 inches (9 cm) – much smaller than their other plecos, making them a great option for many aquariums.

The fry grow fast and can reach around 1.2 inches (3 cm) in total length within the first 3 months, and then the growth rate slows down. After 6-9 months, they will be approximately 1.6 inches (4 cm). 

Blue Panaque Pleco Care Guide

Blue Panaque plecos are not the easiest fish to keep, and they definitely require a bit more care than your average pleco. Unlike most plecos, these small, shy bottom-dwellers are not suitable for the general community aquariums due to their complex natural habitat.

They are also known as one of the difficult to acclimate species- these fish are very sensitive to new water parameters and environment changes. Many of them die during the acclimation process because of stress and malnutrition.

So, if you’re thinking about adding one of these creatures to your aquarium, be prepared to do some extra work to ensure the aquarium is mature.

They should only be kept in specialist communities that perfectly recreate their natural biotope. With that said, they’re not the best species for beginner aquarists.

Natural Habitat

As we mentioned earlier, Blue panaque plecos are found among the interstices of granitic bedrock and boulders that are exposed parts of the Guiana Shield. In these areas, water flows over or around these rocks, resulting in high speed and high dissolved oxygen concentration.

If you want to recreate these water conditions in the home aquariums, a regular tank setup will not work. A river-tank manifold design with smooth/flat rocks and gravel to resemble large water-worn rocks gives them a more natural environment.

Let’s take a look at what goes into taking care of them, so you know what to expect.

Blue Panaque Pleco Tank Size

Since these fish are on the smaller end of the spectrum, the minimum tank size for a single Blue Panaque Pleco is 20-gallon long (30″ x 12″ x 12″). If you plan on having a group of 3-4 fish in a well-decorated aquarium, you need to invest in a tank that’s at least 40 gallons (36″ x 18″ x 16″). You can keep younger juveniles in smaller tanks, but they will need more space once they mature.

It’s a good idea to keep them as the only pleco or bottom dwellers in the tank because they can be very aggressive and territorial against other catfish and bottom dwellers, especially these blue-colored fish. So if you have two males or other bottom dwellers, you’ll need at least 75 gallons (48″ x 18″ x 21″) tanks. 

Water Conditions

These strikingly colored catfish do best in soft, slightly acidic to neutral water. They also require warmer water (at least 77°F), fast water flow, and plenty of oxygen.

However, do remember warm water holds less dissolved oxygen than cold water. To ensure a higher oxygen level and strong currents in your tank, either a river-tank manifold or powerheads is your best bet. Personally, I prefer the former as it creates a more natural water flow.

Here are some basic parameters to stick to:

  • Water Temperature: 77°F – 86°F (25°C – 30°C)
  • pH Level: 5.5 – 7.0
  • Water Hardness: 0 – 12 dGH

A strong filter is also a must as these fish are quite messy, and you’ll need to do weekly water changes of 15% – 30%, depending on your bioload.


In addition to a substrate of variably-sized pieces of smooth rocks, bogwood or driftwood branches should be used to create plenty of shady caves and grazing areas for Blue Panaque plecos.

Plants that can be attached to driftwoods or other decor are a good idea, but Blue Panaque plecos will also rasp at softer aquarium plants, so choose carefully. Anubias spp. and Bolbitis spp. are good options that will provide good places to promote the growth of aufwuchs, which these plecos love to eat.

Though bright lighting will also encourage more aufwuchs, Blue Panaque plecos prefer subdued lighting and will do best under low-tech conditions.

Food & Diet

In the wild, the Blue Panaque Pleco feeds mainly on microalgae, small crustaceans, and invertebrates that are abundant on the surface and underside of rocks.

In the aquarium, it should be given a varied diet containing a large proportion of vegetable matter. You can allow aufwuchs to colonize driftwood and rocks in the aquarium or supplement with blanched vegetables such as zucchini, carrot, cucumber, and squash.

You should also offer them a good quality pleco diet, algae wafers, and occasional live or frozen meaty foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae.

List most plecos, L239 has a very long and complicated digestive tract that is used for breaking down foods with high vegetable content. So do not give them an excessive amount of meat-based diets as this can lead to health problems!

Compatibility & Tank Mates

These are hardy, relatively peaceful pleco that can live with tankmates that ideally occupy the middle and top levels of the aquarium.

However, Blue Panaque plecos can be quite territorial and aggressive towards their own kind as well as other plecos and bottom dwellers, so it’s best to keep only one per tank or in a group of 3-4 where they have plenty of space to establish their own territories.


Most of these in the market have been with wild-caught fish. Breeding Blue Panaque Plecos in captivity is difficult. Only a few breeding reports exist.

As far as we know, Blue Panaque plecos are cave spawners, and frequent partial water changes with increased water flow seem to be the key to initiating spawning in aquarium conditions.

If you intend to breed this fish, this guide might be useful: Breeding L239 Baryancistrus beggini.


The Blue Panaque (L239) is known for its beautiful blue coloration and small size in the trade. However, these striking creatures are extremely sensitive to acclimating to new water conditions and are not compatible with other plecos.

These fish are generally available through online retailers and specialty fish stores and often come with a high price tag. When looking for L239 for sale, be sure to ask the retailer how long they have been in the store, if they have already been treated for parasites, and where the fish come from. Carefully take a good look at the belly of the fish. If you see the sunken, it is a good sign that the fish is not in good health. It most likely will not survive the journey to your home due to internal bacteria or parasitic infection.

If you have any lingering questions about Blue Panaque plecos or suggestions on how we can make our guides better, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Cold Water Pleco Myths and Facts (Alternative Algae Eaters)

cold water pleco

Plecostomus, or “plecos,” are among the most popular freshwater catfish in the world, but there’s a lot of conflicting information about their care requirements, particularly the water parameters that make people hesitate to add one to their aquarium or pond.

Some said that plecos are fine in cold water aquariums and ponds as long as the temperature doesn’t drop below 68°F (20°C). Others claim that they need to be kept in water between 74°F (23°C) and 82°F (27.7°C), with 78°F (25.5°C) being the ideal number. So, what’s the right answer?

In this article, we will try to dispel some myths about plecos you may have heard and give you the facts about their care requirements. We’ll also cover many amazing cold water algae eaters that can get the outbreak under control in your freshwater aquariums and ponds.

Pleco Myths and Facts

Common Pleco

Chances are if you’ve been looking for a bottom cleaner in the fish store for longer than 5 minutes, you’ve heard of plecos. A salesman may have told you that they will only grow as large as your tank (they don’t) or that they are the perfect algae eaters for your aquarium (they aren’t).

Plecos are awesome fish, but they do have some specific requirements that not every aquarium can provide. Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths and facts.

Myth #1: Common Name

The shortened form “Pleco” has been used as the common name either for a group of more than 150 similar Loricariidae species or as the name for just one species, the common pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus). The latter was one of the first Loricariids introduced in the aquarium trade.

Due to their sucker-shaped mouths and their heavy armored plates, they are often sold as “armored catfish,” “suckermouth catfish,” “sucker fish,” or even “sailfin catfish.” And beyond that, H. plecostomus has a large variety of common names, such as “janitor fish,” “crocodile fish,” “sweeper fish,” etc.

In addition, the scientific name Hypostomus plecostomus is often used to describe the common pleco sold in pet stores, but most are actually other members of the Loricariidae family.

Author note: To help sort out and identify plecostomus species, scientists have developed a system of “L” or “LDA” numbers.

Myth #2: Plecos Are Amazing Algae Eaters and Cleaners

This is the second and biggest pleco myth in the aquarium community, as well as in fish stores – the common pleco is the most marketing algae eater fish.

However, the fact is that most plecos are not good algae eaters, and they just need supplemental feedings in the form of blanched vegetables or sinking pellets/wafers. Only a small number of species are exceptions to this rule and will eat algae off your aquarium glass or even graze on it once they start to grow, such as the Bristlenose catfish(Ancistrus spp.).

For most plecos, the role of being a clean up crew too often doesn’t work out. Instead, your problem just gets worse! These messy fish will produce a lot of waste, which can quickly deteriorate water quality in your aquarium.

Myth #3: You Don’t Need to Feed the Plecos

This myth is somewhat related to the previous one, as it’s based on the assumption that plecos are good algae eaters and cleaners.

Plecos are either omnivores, herbivorous, or carnivorous by nature and in the wild. Most plecos are opportunistic feeders and will eat pretty much anything they can find, such as small crustaceans, zooplankton, insects, dead fish, fruits, and vegetables. They are also wood eaters, meaning they need some form of wood in their diet to help with their digestive process.

Some carnivorous species need a regular protein-rich diet, such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia, to stay healthy in the long run.

NO pleco will eat fish poop. If you don’t feed them, they will starve to death. You need to research before getting a pleco to ensure you can provide them with the right diet.

Myth #4: They Will Only Grow as Large as Your Tank

Common Pleco

When they are sold, they probably are around a few inches and look cute. You may also see them suck on the glass and eat algae. But, can you imagine the common pleco (H. plecostomus) can quickly grow up to 24 inches? 

Placing these monsters in small tanks means they will not have enough space to move around and quickly outgrow their living quarters. These fish also produce a lot of waste, which can pollute the water and lead to health problems.

While some plecos stay small and are suitable for smaller aquariums, such as bristlenose plecos (Ancistrus spp.) and Otocinclus catfish (Otocinclus spp.), you still need larger tanks or a pond for these larger species. 

Myth #5: They Are Peaceful Community Fish

Although most plecos are peaceful fish that do not pose any kind of threat to other fish, even these small livebearer fry depend on the species and individual fish. 

For example, the clown plecos (Panaqolus maccus) and royal plecos (Panaque nigrolineatus) are peaceful fish when they are small, but as they grow larger, their temperament can change and become aggressive and territorial towards conspecifics.

Pleco Temperature

Rubber Lip Pleco

We seem to be straying from the main topic, but I think it’s important to understand that not all plecos are the same so that you can choose the right fish before purchasing one. Let’s get back on track.

When it comes to the actual water temperature that plecos can handle, it really depends on the species. Most species have the ability to withstand a wide range of water temperatures, but some display a more sensitive side.

In the wild, plecos are primarily found in various tropical waters ranging from torrential mountain rivers to calm brackish estuaries, and they are generally restricted to specific geographical regions.

Below, I listed the origin and preferred water temperature of the most popular pleco species to give you a better idea.

Common pleco (H. plecostomus)68-82°F (20°C – 28°C)Northeastern Brazil
L187B, Blonde Rubbernose Pleco (C. formosae)68-77°F (20.0-25.0°C)Departamento de Boyacá, Colombia.
Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus spp.)73-81 °F (23°C – 27°C)The Argentinian portion of the Paraná river drainage
L046, Zebra Pleco (H. zebra)78.8-86°F (26.0-30.0°C)Rio Xingú, Pará State, Brazil.
L104, L162, or LDA22, Clown Pleco (P. maccus)73.4-82.4°F (23.0-28.0°C)Río Las Marinas, trib. of Río Portuguesa, Río Orinoco basin, Estado Portuguesa, Venezuela.
L018, L085, L177, LDA060, Gold Nugget Pleco (B. xanthellus)77-86°F (25.0-30.0°C)Senador José Porfirio, Pará, Brazil.
L083, Sailfin Pleco (P. gibbiceps)73.4-80.6°F (23.0-27.0°C)Upper Rio Negro near Marabitanos, Amazonas State, Brazil.
L190, Royal Pleco (P. nigrolineatus)71.6-86°F (22.0-30.0°C)Guárico River at Calabozo, Apure River drainage, Guárico State, Venezuela.
L102, Snowball Pleco (H. inspector)71.6-86°F (22.0-30.0°C)Casiquiare, Amazonas, Venezuela.
Bulldog Pleco (C. milesi)75-80°F (24-26°C)Honda, Colombia
L134, Leopard Frog Pleco (P. compta)75.2-82.4°F (24.0-28.0°C)Itaituba, Pimental, Pará State, Brazil.
LDA004,L031, L176, L300, Peppermint Pleco (P. nudiventris)78.8-84.2°F (26.0-29.0°C)Rio Xingu, bedrock at ilha do Bacabal, Pará State, Brazil.
L029 Vampire Pleco (L. Galaxias)71.6-78.8°F (22.0-26.0°C)Rio Tocantins, Lagoa em frenta a Jacobal, Pará State, Brazil.
L014, Sunshine Pleco (S. aureatus)77-84.2°F (25.0-29.0°C)Ilha da Fazenda, Rio Xingú, Estado Pará, Brazil.
Blue-Eyed Pleco (P. cochliodon)75-80°F (24.0-27.0°C)Río Cauca, Magdalena River drinage, Colombia.
L052, Butterfly Pleco (D. picta)75.2-80.6°F (24.0-27.0°C)Manaus, Brazil.
L025 Scarlet Cactus Pleco (P. pirarara)75.2-78.8°F(24.0-26.0°C)Rio Xingu, Senador José Porfírio, Pedral do Caitucá, Brazil
L257, Tigris Pleco (P. tigris)73.4-80.6°F (23.0-27.0°C)Backwater of Río Orinoco, Estado Amazonas, Venezuela.
LDA065, Titanic Pleco (P. schaeferi)71.6-77°F(22.0-25.0°C)Aguaytia River drainage, Santra Ana River, Cordillera National Park
L059, Orange Spotted Bristlenose (A. hoplogenys)77-82.4°F (25.0-28.0°C)Rio Capin, Pará State, Brazil.
Uruguay Bushynose (A. cirrhosus)70-80°F (21.0-28.0°C)The Paraná River basin of Argentina and Uruguay.
Data from PlanetCatfish

As you might have noticed, most plecos are native to tropical regions and prefer warm water with temperatures above 72°F(22°C). While few species come from the subtropical areas, including Uruguay, Argentina, and Rio Grande Do Sul (Brasil) may adapt to cold water with a temperature as low as the 40s. 

If you’re looking for a cold water pleco, the A. cirrhosus is probably your best bet. This species is relatively adaptable when it comes to temperature. Of course, there are other origins from Uruguay, like A. taunayi and H. commersoni, but they are not as widely available in the aquarium trade.

These tropical fish are pretty hardy, but they will not survive if you leave them in your outdoor pond during the winter, even if you live in the warmest climate, like SoCal. However, several owners claimed that the common pleco could winter over in frozen ponds, but this is not something we would recommend.

To help them survive winters, you will need to bring them inside and provide them with a pond heater to maintain the water temperature. 

Author note: In summer, the water temperature can rise to 86 F. (30 C.) or higher in some areas. You should cut back on lighting and increase aeration. 

Algae Eaters for Ponds and Coldwater Aquarium

Most often, people looking for cold water plecos actually want an algae eater for their cold water aquarium or outdoor pond. We now know that most are omnivorous rather than algae eaters, let alone “cold water” species.

So what cold water algae eaters are available?

If you have a cold water aquarium, these are some of the best algae eaters for you:

  • Reticulated Hillstream Loach (Sewellia lineolata)
  • Rubber Lip Pleco (Chaetostomus sp.)
  • Pepper Cory Fish (Corydoras paleatus)
  • Amano Shrimp (Caridina multidentata)
  • Nerite Snails (Neritina natalensis)
  • Ramshorn Snail (Planorbidae sp.)
  • Otos(Otocinclus arnoldi)

While for an outdoor pond, you can choose from:

  • Reticulated Hillstream Loach (Sewellia lineolata)
  • Chinese algae eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri)
  • Pond loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus)
  • Siamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus siamensis)
  • Rosy barb (Pethia conchonius)
  • Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus)


As you can see, there is not so much “cold water pleco.” Most plecos come from tropical or subtropical regions and prefer warm water. Moreover, they are not ‘amazing’ algae eaters for comparison’s sake.

So the next time you are in the pet store and look for a pleco, don’t be fooled by its cold water and algae-eating habit camouflage.

I hope that you now know more about cold water plecos and algae eaters for cold water aquariums and ponds. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Good luck!

Butterfly Pleco (L168) 101: Care, Max Size, Diet, And More!

Butterfly Pleco (L168)

As a fish keeper, you always look for new and interesting fish to add to your tank. If you’re looking for something truly unique, you should consider adding a butterfly pleco to your collection. These amazing fish are sure to get attention from anyone who sees them in your tank.

However, before you add a butterfly pleco to your tank, there are a few things you need to know. 

This guide will cover everything you need to know about butterfly plecos. You’ll learn about their habitat, size, diet, tank mates, and more!

Species Profile

The beautiful Butterfly Pleco (L168) was formerly classified into the genus Ancistrus with the scientific name of Ancistrus brachyurus by Kner in 1854. It has been moved around to a few different genera since then, including Zonancistrus and Peckoltia. Some shops still sell this fish under the Peckoltia pulcher, its former trade name.

But nowadays, it is considered a species of the Dekeyseria genus and known as the recognized name of Dekeyseria brachyura. The continuous debate is still going on over which genus this species belongs to.

Due to their particular shape, these fish have several common names, including Butterfly pleco (L168), Flunder pleco, L168 pleco, Brazil Butterfly Pleco, and Demini Butterfly Pleco in the aquarium trade.

Butterfly plecos (L168) originate from the lower Negro River basin in Brazil, more precisely, from the Demini River, a tributary of the Rio Negro. For this reason, most fish keepers simply refer to them as Demini Butterfly Pleco or Brazil Butterfly Pleco.

The origin matters because it is easily confused with its close relative L052 Butterfly Pleco (Dekeyseria picta), which come from the Orinoco River in Colombia and Venezuela and have a few subtle differences in terms of appearance. 

The Butterfly Pleco L168 grows larger than Butterfly Pleco L052, around 6.3 inches (16 cm) in length when fully grown, and has much larger odontodes. They also exhibit stronger, more contrasting markings with a bit more orange coloration. 

Scientific Name:Dekeyseria brachyura
Common Name:Butterfly Plecostomus
Care Level:Beginner
Origin:Rio Negro, Brazil, South America
Lifespan:5 to 8 years
Max Size:6.3 inches (16 cm)
Temperature:77 – 86° F (25 – 30° C)
PH:5.6 to 7.0
Water hardness:2 to 18 KH
Minimum Tank Size:40 gallons


L168 Butterfly Pleco

The Butterfly Pleco is one of the most striking Plecos that are kept in the aquarium compared to other plecos.

The species has the classic pleco shape with a flattened body and a large sucker mouth. Near the eyes, their body is slightly tapered and compressed towards the tail.

The butterfly pleco has a light/dark brown base color, with bold black stripes or butterfly markings covering its entire body, which gives this fish its name.

These markings provide excellent camouflage in the wild, helping the fish to blend in with its environment and avoid predators. If you keep them in aquariums with a black substrate and background, their base color and stripes will appear much darker, while in a lighter substrate, their colors will appear brighter.

Males Vs. Females

The easiest way to distinguish Butterfly pleco males from females is by looking at their odontodes.

Mature male butterfly plecos tend to have more prominent odontodes on their pectoral fins and cheeks than females. Their pectoral spines are longer that are used for defense and mating purposes.

Additionally, males are more slender while females are broader in shape when viewed from above. 

Butterfly Pleco Size & Growth Rate

Adult butterfly plecos (L168) can reach a maximum length of 6.3 inches (16 cm). Unlike many other popular plecos, they can be kept in smaller aquariums, making them a great pet for beginner fish keepers.

Butterfly plecos grow at a moderately fast rate. It takes them about 2 to 3 years to reach their full adult size.


The average Butterfly Pleco lifespan is around 5 – 8 years with good care. This assumes that you provide a well-maintained environment.

As always, there are no guarantees for longevity, and these fish can suffer from health problems just like any other pet.

Care & Tank Setup

Butterfly Pleco (Dekeyseria brachyura)

Butterfly Plecos (L168) are a tropical species. In the wild, they inhabit warm, acidic blackwater streams and tributaries. As you might know, the Rio Negro, or Guainía is the largest blackwater river in the world.

These fish are pretty hardy due to their varying natural environment, which means you have some wiggle room when it comes to setting up their tank. However, for optimal health, you should try to recreate their natural habitat as closely as possible.

Here are some things to keep in mind when setting up a butterfly pleco tank:

Butterfly Pleco Tank Size

Since Butterfly Plecos aren’t rather large and don’t require a large aquarium the same as common pleco, a 40 gallons long tank (48″ x 12″ x 16″) is big enough for a single fish.

If you want to keep a pair of butterfly plecos, you’ll need at least 75 gallons (48″ x 18″ x 21″) for them to be comfortable.

Like more bottom-dwellers, butterfly pleco may be territorial towards each other. A larger tank with more footprint gives you more decoration space so that you can create better boundary lines and territories for each fish.

Water Conditions

Butterfly plecos come from blackwater streams where the water is typically soft and acidic and stained a dark tea color from tannins released by decomposing leaves and wood.

While you don’t need to recreate these ideal water parameters exactly, here’s what you should aim for:

  • Water temperature: 77 – 86° F (25 – 30° C).
  • pH level: 5.6 to 7.0
  • Water hardness: 2 – 18 dGH
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: <30 ppm

Even though these water parameters are relatively forgiving, you should still do regular water tests to make sure that everything is in order. Get a quality water test kit and use it every couple of weeks to keep an eye on the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in your butterfly pleco tank.

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If you notice a sudden spike or decrease in any of the levels, take action immediately to fix the problem. Butterfly plecos are sensitive to ammonia and nitrites, so these levels should always be at zero.

Creating a moderately strong and consistent current in your aquarium is important and high levels of oxygen are necessary.

Decor & Substrate

Butterfly plecos often hang around the bottom of the tank, so you’ll want to make sure that there are plenty of hiding places to retreat to when they feel threatened or need some alone time.

Driftwood, rocks, and caves are all great choices. Just make sure the rocks are flat, so they can easily suck on. Driftwood or bogwood is crucial for the health of your butterfly pleco as it helps maintain the water chemistry and serves as a plant source for them to aid their digestion.

As we mentioned, these fish can change their body colors to stay camouflaged with their surroundings, so a lighter substrate is ideal for clearly showing off their stripes. Soft pool filter sandy or fine gravel would be perfect.

They will normally leave your live plants alone unless there is no other vegetable source, in which case they may nibble on soft-leaved plants. If you want to keep live plants in your butterfly pleco tank, choose species that are too tough for them to eat.

Food & Diet

Although Butterfly plecos are omnivorous, they primarily eat algae in the wild.

In captivity, you can’t rely on algae alone to provide all the nutrients your butterfly pleco needs, so you’ll need to supplement their diet with other foods.

A good quality pleco diet pellets or wafers should form the basis of their diet, but you should also offer them a variety of fresh vegetables. Zucchini, cucumber, carrots, and spinach are all great choices.

You can also give them the occasional treat of live or frozen foods, such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia. Just ensure you don’t overfeed them as this can lead to health problems.

Because this fish is a nocturnal species, they are most active at night. So, it’s best to feed them before you turn the lights off for the evening.

Butterfly Pleco Tank Mates

Since the butterfly pleco (L168) is a peaceful and friendly fish, it can be kept with most other non-aggressive freshwater species.

However, it can be territorial towards other members of its own kind and may even attack fish that resemble plecos in shape or appearance. It rarely shows serious aggression towards other fish, but males may nip and chase each other if it feels threatened.

Some possible butterfly pleco tank mates include:

Butterfly Pleco Breeding

Breeding butterfly pleco is something challenging, but it is definitely possible. It is difficult to breed them in captivity because they are not common in the aquarium trade and need a very specific type of environment to feel comfortable enough to lay their eggs.

If you are familiar with breeding Bristlenose pleco, then you may have some success with butterfly pleco as well. They are very similar in their breeding habits. I highly recommend reading our Bristlenose pleco breeding and eggs and babies care guide if you want to learn more about them.

Butterfly plecos are cave spawners, meaning they will lay their eggs in a cave or some other type of sheltered area. If you want to encourage breeding, you should provide them with plenty of hiding places and pleco caves in the tank.

Plecoceramics Pleco Cave Breeding Ceramic...
  • IDEAL FOR BRISTLENOSE AND OTHER PLECOS - Our pleco caves for aquariums are based on more than 10 years of...
  • NATURAL DESIGN - The aquarium decorations resemble natural materials. They look very realistic in fish...
  • FISH SAFETY - The pleco breeding cave is made of clay fired at high temperature, making it inert and...
  • EASY TO USE - Just rinse the aquarium cave for a few seconds in tap water, and it’s ready for use.
  • DIMENSIONS of the pleco cave - length 5.3 inches x width 1.97 inches x height 1.97 inches.

It’s best to house a group of juveniles together to get them to pair off and start breeding. Once a pair has been formed, you should move them to a separate breeding tank with the same water conditions and decoration as the main tank.

The female butterfly pleco will lay eggs in the cave, which the male will then fertilize. Once the eggs have been fertilized, the male will be solely responsible for guarding and fanning the eggs until they hatch, which usually takes about 7-10 days.

The fry will be very small when they first hatch and will need to be fed baby brine shrimp. As they grow, you can start feeding them regular pleco food such as algae wafers and zucchini.


Now that you know how to care for butterfly pleco, you should be able to decide whether or not this is the right fish for your aquarium.

These beautiful and interesting fish are a great addition to most South American community tanks. They are peaceful and easy to care for, as long as you provide them with the right type of environment.

Unlike L052 Butterfly plecos, L168 butterfly plecos are not commonly seen in the trade. But they are sometimes available online or through specialty fish stores at a higher price. If you are looking for a butterfly pleco for your aquarium, be prepared to pay a little extra for one of these fish.

As always, we welcome any suggestions or comments that you may have about butterfly pleco care. We’re dedicated to providing you with the most comprehensive care guides, so feel free to drop us a line if there’s anything you’d like to know that we haven’t covered. 

Male Vs. Female Bristlenose Pleco (Step by Step Breeding Guide)


The Bristlenose Pleco is one of our favorite catfishes for several reasons.

They stay small, not aggressive, easy to care for, and come in some line-bred ornamental varieties that are sure to please. While the popularity of these little guys is attributed to the fact that they’re natural bottom-dwellers, experts at clearing up substrate and algae in community tanks. 

The Bristlenose pleco or bushynose catfish is relatively easy to breed in aquaria. As juveniles, it’s challenging to tell the difference between male and female Bristlenose plecos. Once they reach adulthood, however, the difference becomes readily apparent, especially when breeding.

If you’re looking to breed bushy nose plecos, then you’ll definitely want to read on. In this post, we’ll cover how to sex your Bristlenose plecos, complete with a step-by-step breeding guide. Keep reading to learn more!

How to Tell Male from Female Bristlenose Pleco?

male vs female bristlenose pleco

The best way to sex a bristlenose pleco is to wait until they reach sexual maturity (2 to 3 inches) at 6 to 8 months of age. Males will develop fleshy “bristles” on the center of the head, whereas females do not. Adult female Bristlenose plecos have “bristles” but will only occasionally appear around the edge of the chin. 

Additionally, mature males have tooth-like structures called odontodes covering their gills area, be more specific on the pectoral fins and opercle.

Bristlenose Pleco Male Vs. Female

We have covered the main ways you can tell the difference between a Bristlenose male and a female. But, there are other things to consider when trying to sex your plecos.


Unlike the common plecos, these fish are smaller in adult size. On average, Bristlenose plecos will grow to be 3.5 inches (8.89 cm) when fully grown. Males may be slightly larger. This assumes that your fish are the same age and have received similar care.

Virtually size is not always a reliable indicator of gender. So, looking at other characteristics is essential to help you sex your fish.

Body Shape

For the most part, there is no difference in body shape between male and female Bristlenose plecos. However, female fish tend to be a bit plumper with a smooth head when viewed from above, while males are generally skinnier.

When they are ready to spawn, you may notice that female Bristlenose plecos have a more rounded abdomen when viewed from the side. This is simply because they fill with eggs to spawn.


blue eyed lemon male bristlenose

Both the male and female Bristlenose plecos are typically mottled brown with a slightly lighter colored belly. This is not always the case. However, there are several line-bred varieties that have very ornate coloring, including these most sought-after albino variants.

Despite the many different color morphs, there is no significant difference in coloring between male and female Bristlenose plecos apart from the fact that males become almost black when breeding and maintain that darker color while guarding the eggs.


Behavior is often the most reliable indicator when it comes to sexing Bristlenose plecos. In general, males are more aggressive with conspecifics and similarly-shaped species.

Genital papilla (Vent)

The last way to sex your Bristlenose plecos is by looking at the genital papilla, commonly referred to as venting. This is the opening between the ventral fins and the anal fin, where the fish will excrete either eggs or sperm.

In female fish, the term ovipositor (egg tube) is round and much blunter. In males, on the other hand, the papilla is more pointed.

Venting is especially effective on monomorphic cichlids and is not always the easiest method to sex Bristlenose plecos. Keep in mind that this method should only be used on mature fish.

Breeding Bristlenose Plecos

Now that you know how to sex your Bristlenose plecos, it’s time to learn how to breed them! These little catfish are fairly easy to breed in the home aquarium.

Bristlenose Plecos are cave-spawners, with the male fish doing most of the work. Depending on the growth rate, they begin to mature sexually at 6 to 8 months and will breed regularly for close to a year.

Step By Step Bristlenose Pleco Breeding Guide

If you intend to breed Bristlenose plecos, here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

1. Choose the Perfect Breeding Aquarium Size – The first thing you need to do is set up a breeding tank. This should be at least 29 gallons (30″ x 12″ x 18″) in size for a single pair, a 55-gallon aquarium (48″ x 13″ x 21″) with two breeding sites on opposite ends is perfect for a few pairs. The adult males become territorial and will fight, especially after establishing their caves, so more space is better.

Author note: You might be interested to know: 55 Gallon Fish Tank (Dimensions, Weight, Stand, Lid, Filter, Fish & More)

2. Set up the Breeding Tank – Not only do Bristlenose plecos need a cave to lay their eggs in, but they will also appreciate some live plants and hiding places. Of course, you want to be able to watch them closely.

Regarding the caves, it’s essential to invest in “real” caves, not just PVC pipes or coconut shells. Caves made of clay pots provide the perfect surfaces for female plecos to attach their adhesive eggs. Make sure the caves are snug and can provide a confining area for the pair, as female plecos like to lay their eggs in tight spaces. Here is a good one:

Plecoceramics Pleco Cave Breeding Ceramic...
  • IDEAL FOR BRISTLENOSE AND OTHER PLECOS - Our pleco caves for aquariums are based on more than 10 years of...
  • NATURAL DESIGN - The aquarium decorations resemble natural materials. They look very realistic in fish...
  • FISH SAFETY - The pleco breeding cave is made of clay fired at high temperature, making it inert and...
  • EASY TO USE - Just rinse the aquarium cave for a few seconds in tap water, and it’s ready for use.
  • DIMENSIONS of the pleco cave - length 5.3 inches x width 1.97 inches x height 1.97 inches.

A bare bottom is fine, and these fish spend some of their time on the substrate rooting around for food. Plus, it results in a much cleaner tank.

Lighting should be at moderate levels to make them feel comfortable. A small group of Java Fern and Java Moss is enough to create a natural-looking environment.

3. Get Temperature, pH, and Hardness Just Right – The next step is to get the water parameters just right. Bristlenose plecos are hardy fish and do well in a variety of conditions. But they usually breed during the winter period in the wild, so I have found that a drop in temperature to 77-78° degrees Fahrenheit, a neutral pH around 6.5-7.5, and hardness of KH 6-10 works best for spawning

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4. Cycle the Breeding Tank – Once you have everything set up, you’ll need to let the tank cycle for at least four weeks before adding any fish. This will give the beneficial bacteria time to grow and establish themselves in the aquarium.

5. Choose Your Breeding Bristlenose Plecos – Now it’s time to select your breeding stock. Ideally, you should look for sexually mature pairs, but they cost more. Actually, you can always start with a group of juveniles and let them grow up together. They will eventually pair off on their own.

I have found that these fish tend to pair bond even though females usually mate with the dominant male – not the “real” pair-bonding fish, such as most South & Central American cichlids.

6. Feeding Plecos to get them to spawn – Now everything is in place. It’s time to stimulate the spawning process by feeding them the “proper” foods. The best food I have found to get them to spawn is Canned Green Beans.

However, two things need to be considered here:

  • Using the no-salt beans
  • Best choose the 6.5 lb. cans

You can also supplement with higher protein dry food. Blanched zucchini is also recommended but does not provide enough nourishment to bring them into breeding conditions.

7. Maintaining good water quality – Many fish need better water quality to breed than they do to live, Bristlenose Plecos are one of them. This means more heavy water changes and higher filtration, particularly true when you put a handful of green beans into your tank.

8. Spawning Season – This is the exciting part! When they are ready to spawn, the male will clean a cave out, and the female will follow behind him into the cave. The mating rituals will take place inside the cave, where the female releases the adhesive eggs and the male fertilizes them. A prolific pair can lay 150 -200 eggs at a time.

After laying her eggs, she will leave with torn fins and a slimmed-down body. The male then takes on the role of “fanning” and guarding the eggs until they leave the cave.

New males tend to be unskillful at fanning the eggs and often knock them from the cave. You have to pick them up and raise them separately, or else these eggs will not survive.

The eggs will hatch in 4-5 days, and the fry will stay with the male in the cave until their yolk sacs are fully absorbed, which takes another 5-7 days.

9. Raising the Fry – After 5 and 6 days, they will be old enough. At this point, you can start to feed them with baby brine shrimp.

Wrapping Up

This is everything you need to know about sexing and breeding Bristlenose plecos. I hope this article has given you the confidence to go out and do it yourself.

If you have any lingering questions or feedback on how we can improve our guides better, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We would love to hear from you.

And, as always, happy fishkeeping.

White Fungus on Pleco (Causes, Treatments & Prevention)

white fungus on pleco

Plecostomus or plecos are common fish found in many fish tanks. These bottom-dwellers are known for their peaceful nature and scavenging habits – they will eat any food that falls to the bottom of the tank.

While these fish are generally hardy and easy to care for, they can sometimes develop a white fungus on their body, head, and tail.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what causes white fungus on plecos, how to treat it, and how to prevent it from happening again. We’ll also take a look at some tips for keeping your fish tank clean so that your plecos stay healthy and happy!

Let’s get started.

What is Fungal Infection on Pleco?

As any experienced aquarist knows, fungal infections can affect most freshwater aquarium fish and can appear on several parts of their body. This is simply because the fungal spores are present in most aquariums.

The external fungal infection on pleco can be easily identified by its characteristic white cottony or “furry” appearance, which is often known as cotton wool disease. If your infected pleco is left untreated, you may notice the white stuff can become in other colors like reds and pinks. 

Fungal Vs. Bacterial infections on Plecos

Fungal infections are often confused with bacterial infections because they can cause similar white fuzzy patches or film in plecos. In fact, they are relatively uncommon to aquarium parasites and bacterial infections.

True fungal infections in pleco are caused by water molds (or water moulds). These filamentous fungus-like species come from common genera, including Achlya, Leptolegnia, and Saprolegnia. While the notorious bacterial infection – “mouth fungus” (or mouth rot), is often associated with several species of Flavobacterium.

Mouth fungus typically starts as white marks around the pleco’s mouth, fins, and body in the early stages, especially if your fish are newly arrived. Untreated plecos will manifest fluffy white cotton wool-like around the mouth. Eventually, the pleco’s lips will start to ulcerate and rot away. Fungal infections, on the other hand, are always present on the body or fins of the fish.

It’s also worth noting most fungal species only attack the external tissues of the pleco, particularly fish that are already sick or injured. While the five species of Ichthyophonus can cause internal infections.

These two types of infections require different treatments, so it’s important to correctly identify the root cause before beginning treatment.

Now that we’ve covered the difference between fungal and bacterial infections. Let’s look at the cause of white fungus on plecos.

What Causes White Fungus on Pleco?

As we mentioned earlier, the white fungus is caused by water molds. These species are saprotrophic and live on dead or decaying organic matter and animal material.

Therefore, they are often caused by poor water quality or a pleco’s weakened immune system. These two conditions provide the perfect environment for fungal spores to grow and infect the fish.

Here are some common factors that can predispose your plecos to fungal infections:

Poor Water Conditions

white fuzz on plants

Poor water conditions are the number one cause of pleco white fungus. This is because water molds thrive in environments that are rich in organic matter and decaying material. Therefore, if your pleco tank is not regularly cleaned or the water quality is poor, it provides the perfect breeding ground for these fungi.

It often happens to people who are new to fish keeping and find that sticking to a regular maintenance schedule soon becomes a chore and overwhelming.


Stress is bad for plecos (and all animals) for several reasons. First, it weakens their immune system, making them more susceptible to diseases. Second, it can cause plecos to stop eating, which can lead to malnutrition and further weaken their immune system.

Like any aquarium fish, stress can be caused by several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Poor water quality
  • Sudden changes in the water conditions (Temperature, ph, chemistry, etc.)
  • Aggression from other fish
  • Parasites

Injured Fish

Any physical damage to the pleco’s skin, fins, or mouth provides an entry point for fungal spores to enter and cause an infection.

Here are some many common injuries that plecos may suffer:

  • Scraping against the aquarium gravel or decorations
  • Getting nipped by other fish
  • Fighting and predation

Nutrient Deficiencies

As a bottom dwellers, plecos are often neglected and do not receive a well-rounded diet. This can lead to malnutrition and a weakened immune system, which makes them not healthy enough to fight off diseases. 

Infected Eggs

If your Plecostomus is infected with white fungus in a breeding tank, the eggs could be infected by fungi, especially these damaged and infertile eggs. They can then spread to other healthy eggs in the tank and infect them.

Since these bottom-dwelling fish are opportunists and may eat these eggs, this often occurs among community tanks with a pair of breeding fish.

Fancy Guppies and Mollies

While most Plecos are primarily herbivores, they don’t mind a little meat in their diet from time to time; of course, are only limited to tiny insect larvae. However, if you keep them with other carnivorous fish that consume fancy guppies and mollies, this can cause your pleco to contract the infection.

As you might know, the majority of fancy guppies are bred in large ponds in warm climates, which is easy to introduce parasites and constant inbreeding, making them quite weak. 

When you bring them home from the LFS, the new environment and water parameters often stress them out and put them in a very weakened state, which makes them easily targeted by the fungal pathogens. When you feed them as fish food, the fungus spores can be easily passed on and infect your plecos.

How Do You Treat White Fungus on Pleco?

If your pleco has white fungus, the first thing you need to do is figure out what is causing it to avoid reoccurring.

As mentioned above, the most common causes are poor water quality and stress. Therefore, the first step is to test your water and make sure the parameters are in the correct range, including temperature, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and pH. A healthy environment should rarely have fungal infections.

Next, look for signs of aggression from other fish and remove any potential offenders. If you have plecos in a community tank, it’s best to move them to a quarantine tank for treatment. This will also help to prevent the spread of the infection.

Don’t forget to examine your filtration- the essential piece of equipment. Ensure it’s functioning properly and is not overloaded, or else your aquarium rapidly turns into an unhealthy sewer.

Once you’ve done that, you can then treat the fungus infection on pleco with Pimafix or Salt Baths. Most diseases spotted earlier can be successfully treated.



In most cases, you have to treat the entire tank, and then the API Pimafix is an excellent choice. Pimafix is safe with your biological filter and water chemistry as it will not discolor water.

To treat fungus infection caused by open wounds, you can utilize Pimafix and API Melafix together to quickly heal the wound.

Simply follow the dosage instructions on the bottle and add the recommended amount to your aquarium

After treating with Pimafix, be sure to do a 25% water change each day for five days to remove any residual medication. Repeat the treatment if necessary.

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Salt Baths

Moving the fish to a separate hospital tank is preferable if you find only your pleco has the infection. A salt bath increases the salinity levels of the water and essentially causes the fungi to dehydrate and die. It is a good way to fight mild cases of mouth and body bacterial and fungal infections.

To do this, you’ll need to make a saltwater solution using one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 3 gallons of water. You can add the salt directly into the hospital tank, but I recommend dissolving it in a container first to avoid shocking your pleco.

After the salt has dissolved, slowly add it to the hospital tank for over an hour. Once the desired salinity level is reached, you can add your pleco to the tank and then soak your pleco in this saltwater solution for 5 minutes.

Repeat this process once a day for 3-5 days or until the infection has cleared up. If there’s no improvement, try to increase the concentration.

How Do I Prevent it?

In my first-hand experience of all fish diseases, it is much easier to prevent than treat. The best way to avoid white fungus on pleco and other infections is by maintaining a clean and stress-free environment.

Anything from a sudden change in temperature or poor water quality can cause stress, and when fish are stressed, they are much more susceptible to disease.

Here are some tips to prevent pleco white fungus:

  • Test your water regularly and maintain stable water parameters.
  • Perform regular tank maintenance such as changing the water, cleaning the filter, and removing any uneaten food or waste.
  • Quarantine new fish before adding them to your main tank.
  • Providing plecos with a nutritious diet and plenty of hiding places
  • Avoid overfeeding as this can lead to poor water quality

Final Thoughts

White fungus on pleco is a common infection that can be treated with API Pimafix or slat bath. The most important thing is to catch it early and keep a suitable environment to prevent it from happening in the first place.

By following these tips, you can keep your plecos and other fish healthy and fungus-free. If you have any good fungus treatment methods or tips, be sure to share them in the comments below!

Good luck!

Common Pleco Size in the Aquarium & Wild (Ideal Common Pleco Tank Size)

Common Pleco tank Size

The Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus) is one of the most sought-after ornamental freshwater fish in the aquarium trade. These bottom-dwelling scavengers are known for their large size, hardiness, and fairly easy to care for.

But even though these fish are low-maintenance, there are many things potential owners should know before they purchase one, including Common Pleco size and the minimum tank size for the Common Pleco.

This guide goes over these two questions in detail so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not a Common Pleco is the right fish for your aquarium.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Common Pleco Size in the wild & Aquarium

How Big will a Common Pleco get? In the aquarium, the typical Common Pleco size is 12 – 15 inches in length for a full-grown fish, and some specimens can reach up to a maximum size of 20 inches (50 cm). They can get even bigger in the wild, the largest on the record being 30 inches (76 cm).

These fish are sold by the thousands at a size of 2-3 inches (5.0-7.6 cm) when they’re young, and they fast grow species. Due to their large full-grown size and rapid growth rate, these fish are not ideal pleco species for many hobbyists.

How Fast Does a Common Pleco Grow?

It’s QUITE common for them to add 3-5 inches during their first year of life. After that, their growth rate starts to taper off until they reach their full size. It takes about 2-3 years for a Common Pleco to grow to its full size, depending on your purchase size, a mix of good care and luck.

Below are many common pleco sizes by age records from hobbyists around the world:

AgeSizeTank size
2 Months2.5 inches75 gallons
6 Months8 inches75 gallons
1.5 years7.5 inches90 gallons
3 – 4 years12 inches75 gallons
 4-5 years16 inches75 gallons
2 years10 inches55 gallons
9 months8 inches 30 gallons

What is the Minimum Tank Size for Common Pleco?

As we mentioned earlier, common pleco can grow to be quite large, so they need a spacious tank to accommodate their size.

For a single adult Common Pleco, we recommend tank size no smaller than 75 gallons (48″ x 18″ x 21″), a 125 gallons (72″ x 18″ x 21″) is optimal. If you plan on keeping a group of juveniles at the common purchase size, a 30-gallon tank can do the job. 

How to Choose the Right Common Pleco Tank Size? 

Common Pleco size

Although we have provided the minimum tank size recommendations, we understand that the number is not for everyone.

When it comes to choosing an aquarium tank for your Common Pleco, here are a few things to consider before you make your purchase:


As any experienced aquarium owner knows, the footprint of a fish tank is just as important as the volume. Adult Common Plecos are often very territorial, and a larger tank with big footprints will give them more space to claim as their own. 

Because of their potential size, any footprint/dimensions smaller than 48″ (L) x 18″ (W) might stunt their growth. Of course, this assumes that you have a healthy fish and provide optimal care.

Additionally, you can keep more fish in an aquarium with a large footprint. 

Water Volume

It’s a widely accepted rule of thumb in the fishkeeping world that the larger the volume of water in your tank, the more stable the environment will be. 

One common problem with small tanks is that the ammonia and nitrate levels can change quickly and become toxic to your fish. This is especially true in a tank with a high stocking density. Moreover, Common Plecos can produce a lot of waste, which can further impact the water quality fast.

In a larger tank, on the other hand, these levels will change more slowly, giving you more time to take corrective action.

The Number of Fish

One of the most important factors for Common Plecos care is how many you want to keep together. Adult Common Plecos can become quite territorial, and they might not do well with other fish of the same species.

Of course, this all changes when they’re juveniles. Juveniles can be kept together in a group until they start to show aggression towards each other.

For those planning to add Common Pleco to a community tank, we would recommend at least a 125-gallon tank. If you just keep one common pleco alone in a tank, well, it’s rare to see, but a 75-gallon tank is a minimum size we would recommend. 

Keeping two Common Plecos together is definitely not recommended unless you have a 250 gallons tank or large. 

Growth Rate

Not all fish grow at the same rate; Common Plecos are no different. The growth rate of your common pleco will largely depend on the genes and the quality of care it receives. 

If you are lucky enough to have a common pleco with great genes, it might outgrow most of its tank mates and need to be moved to a larger aquarium. On the other hand, if you have a common pleco that only grows a few inches in the first year, it might not reach its full-size potential.

How To Grow Common Plecos Fast?

There is no holy grail method when it comes to helping your Common Plecos reach their potential size. Instead, old-fashioned tricks like getting larger tanks and feeding them nutritious meals are key factors in success!

Get A Bigger Tank

We have said it before, and we will say it again: a larger tank is always better.

A common pleco that has plenty of space to grow will always outgrow one that doesn’t. If you are serious about helping your fish reach their potential, upgrading to a larger tank should be one of your top priorities.

A large footprint tank not only gives your fish more space to grow but also lets you create a more natural-looking aquascape with plenty of rocks, plants, and driftwood.

Feed Them Right

What your fish eat plays a big role in how fast they grow. Just like humans, fish need certain nutrients to reach their full growth potential.

Being one of the best algae eaters, Common Plecos are not fussy eaters and will accept most food items. A good diet for common plecos should include both plant matter and meaty foods. You can supply them with vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, peas, and squash. 

For protein foods, live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and blackworms are all great choices.

You should also supplement their diet with algae wafers and driftwood for a source of fiber. Driftwood is especially important for common plecos since it helps them with their digestion. 

Common Plecos spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank and prefer to stay hidden among the rocks and wood. So when you are feeding them, make sure that the food sinks to the bottom where they can easily find it.

Maintain Water Quality

In my humble opinion, this is the most crucial factor in any aquarium, not just Common Pleco tanks.

No matter how big or how well-equipped your tank is, it will never be successful if you don’t maintain good water quality.

Water quality not only plays a role in the health of your fish but also in their growth rate. Fish that are living in clean and well-oxygenated water will always grow faster than those that don’t.

To maintain good water quality, you need to do regular water changes and make sure your filtration system is up to par. You should also check your water parameters regularly and take corrective action if necessary.

Here are some basic water parameters you should stick to:

  • Water temperature: 70°F to 81°F
  • pH level: 6.5 to 8.0
  • Water hardness: 5 to 25 dGH
  • Ammonia: 0 PPM
  • Nitrite: 0 PPM 
  • Nitrate: Below 20 PPM


Now that you know all about the Common Pleco size, we hope this article has been helpful in your quest to create the perfect home for your fishy friend! Remember, the key to success is starting with a large tank and providing them with a nutritious diet. With a little bit of care, your common pleco will reach its full growth potential in no time!

If you have any tips or suggestions on helping common plecos grow, we would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Typhoon Pleco (LDA105) Care 101: Size, Tank Mates, & Food 

Typhoon Pleco

The Typhoon Pleco (Pseudacanthicus sp. LDA105) is one of the most sought-after and expensive cactus plecos on the market. Like other members in the genus Pseudacanthicus, the Typhoon Pleco is extremely colorful that will draw attention in any home aquarium.

Although these fish have been around for over a decade in the aquarium community, they are still the hardest-to-obtain fish since they’re not allowed for export from Brazil, and they have a reputation for being hard to breed.

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one of these fish, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful and unique addition to your aquarium. Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Typhoon Pleco care. 

Species Information

Photo: Michael Shiu

The typhoon pleco (Pseudacanthicus sp), is also known as Fire Spot Cactus Pleco or LDA105 in the German magazine “Das Aquarium” LDA system, a member of the Pseudacanthicus genus, which contains some of the most colorful and beautiful freshwater fish in the world. 

There are more than 35 different species of cactus plecos. Only eight have been described. 

  • Pseudacanthicus fordii (Günther, 1868)
  • Pseudacanthicus histrix (Valenciennes, 1840)
  • Pseudacanthicus leopardus (Fowler, 1914)
  • Pseudacanthicus major (Chamon & Costa e Silva, 2018)
  • Pseudacanthicus pirarara (Chamon & L. M. de Sousa, 2016)
  • Pseudacanthicus pitanga (Chamon, 2015)
  • Pseudacanthicus serratus (Valenciennes, 1840)
  • Pseudacanthicus spinosus (Castelnau, 1855)

These fish are found in the fast-flowing big rivers of Brazil, specifically in the Rio Jamanxim and Rio Tocantins, where they live among submerged tree stumps and branches.


Photo: Countryside Aquatics

The Typhoon Pleco has an elongated body that has a base color of dark brown or black. The body is covered with small, white, or golden spots. The contrast between the specks and baby color will vary slightly, depending on the specimen.

Unlike the Gold Nugget Pleco, you will find their dorsal and caudal fins are accented with white or yellow dots. These areas are red to faded orange.

The spikes are present in all typhoon plecos. The males are slimmer and have more prominent odontoid growth on their dorsal fin and pectoral fins, and they also have broader heads.

Typhoon Pleco Size

Typhoon Plecos can grow up to 16 inches (40 cm) when it comes to size. These are very large fish!

How big do typhoon plecos get can be influenced by a number of factors. The genetics and the level of care you provide are the main contributors.

Typhoon Pleco Lifespan

Like its close relative, the Leopard cactus pleco (Pseudacanthicus leopardus), Typhoon Plecos have an expected lifespan of up to 12 years with proper care. This is one of the best parts about owning a Typhoon Pleco because you will have a long time to enjoy their company.

However, like all fish, the lifespan of Typhoon pleco can vary depending on several factors. A shortened lifespan is usually due to bad water conditions, poor quality food, or stress from tank mates.

Care and Tank Setup

Typhoon plecos are generally peaceful but become territorial and aggressive as they mature. Proper care is a challenge for beginners fish keepers. 

Tank Size

Since these fish can grow up to 16 inches, you will need a tank that can accommodate their size. Additionally, Typhoon Plecos are natural territorial fish that needs more personal space to feel comfortable. 

A tank size of 55 gallons or larger is recommended for a single Typhoon Pleco. If you want to keep them in a small group without territory issues., you need at least a 150-gallon tank.

It’s always a good idea to go larger when it comes to aquariums. A bigger tank is easier to maintain and gives the fish more room to swim and play.

Water Conditions

As we mentioned above, typhoon plecos are native to the warm and fast-flowing rivers in South America. They prefer warmer temperatures to thrive.

They are reasonably hardy fish and can tolerate a wide range of environments. But, it’s best to keep them in water with stable water parameters.

When setting up your fish’s new home, you want to keep in mind a few basic parameters.

  • Water temperature: 27° to 32°C
  • pH level: 5.0-7.0
  • Water hardness: 4 – 13

Filter and Heater

Typhoon Plecos come from rivers with high currents, and you will need to replicate this in their home aquarium. These fish are also waste producers. A strong filter and a good size heater are must to keep the water quality stable.

It’s recommended to use a high-quality canister filter when keeping typhoon plecos. The filter will help keep the water clean and help circulate the water in the tank. We recommend the Fluval FX6 for larger tanks or the Eheim Classic External Filter 2217 for smaller tanks.

Substrate and Decor

Like most plecos, these fish are bottom-dwellers. You can use a gravel substrate at the bottom, but they prefer a softer sand substrate in their tank as they tend to burrow.

When it comes to decor, typhoon plecos need a lot of hiding places. Plenty of driftwood, caves, and large openings stores can provide some privacy and help make them feel secure.

Typhoon plecos don’t need plants. More specifically, all plecos don’t need plants. Choosing what plants to keep in your aquarium is your personal preference. However, if you have a fish tank without plants, make sure your filter isn’t too weak to produce enough oxygen.

We recommend installing an extra pump or air pump to provide more oxygen in the water.

Typhoon Plecos Tank Mates

Compared to other cactus plecos, the typhoon pleco tends to be quite aggressive and territorial towards those of the same species or similar-looking fish. That means you need to be careful when picking tank mates for your typhoon pleco.

These fish stick to the bottom of the tank. So, lots of the most popular schooling fish that typically swim at the top, middle of the tank can work. But, they will become aggressive when it comes to food time or if they feel their territory is being infringed.

Some potential typhoon pleco tank mates include: 

Food & Diet

If you want your typhoon pleco to live as long as possible, you will have to give them a varied diet. This fish is primarily a carnivore but not a predator. They have a few strong and sharp teeth that can be used to crush small snails and crustaceans.

To ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need, feed them a mix of meat-based foods and plant-based foods.

You can give your typhoon pleco the sinking pellets and wafers that are made for bottom-dwelling fish. We recommend the Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets. 

It would be best to supplement their diet with live or frozen foods a few times a week. Typhoon plecos love eating brine shrimp, bloodworms, krill, blackworms, and tubifex worms.

Behavior & Temperament

Typhoon plecos are relatively peaceful fish that spend most of their time near the bottom of the tank. They are nocturnal and tend to be more active at night. Typhoon plecos are not very social fish and prefer to live alone.

When these fish feel threatened, they will often hide in their cave or behind some driftwood. Typhoon plecos can become to be aggressive and territorial when it comes to their favorite hiding spots.

Typhoon Plecos Breeding 

So far, no one has succeeded in breeding typhoon plecos in captivity; there is very little information available on how to breed it.


These rare beauties are the most hard-to-obtain big catfish in the fish-keeping hobby. All specimens in the aquarium trade are wild-caught and smuggled out of Brazil. Due to their high demand, typhoon plecos are usually very expensive and hard to find.

They are usually only available online. Expect to pay almost thousands of dollars for a typhoon pleco.

Hopefully, the enthusiasts who keep this species can successfully establish a breeding program to help bring down the price in the hobby and make them more widely available in the future. 

Closing Thoughts

The typhoon pleco is a stunning fish that is perfect for the advanced aquarium keeper. They are very rare and hard to find but definitely worth the effort if you have the means to get your hands on one. 

I hope you’re enjoying this guide! If there are any personal anecdotes or interesting facts about typhoon pleco that would fit in this guide, please let us know. 

King Tiger Pleco (L333 & L066): The Differences and Complete Care Guide


The king tiger plecos are gorgeous species that have been hobby favorites for decades now— their intricate and striking patterns of a black body with white high-contrast lines really make them stand out!

Today, we have curated a comprehensive King tiger pleco care guide to help you understand more about this intriguing fish. So, if you’re ready, let’s dive right in! 

Species Profile

The King Tiger Pleco is a part of the Hypancistrus Species, comes in two popular and similar varieties- the L333 pleco and the L066 pleco.

Hypancistrus is a genus of the Loricariid catfish family that originates from South America. However, unlike other Loricariid members, some Hypancistrus species enjoy meat in their diet, including the L333 and the L066.

It can be hard to tell the difference between L333 and L066, especially when they mature. Integrated cytogenetic and mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate that Xingu Plecos L066 & L333 are the same species

Sites sampled in the study indicating habitats of King Tiger Pleco L066, L333, and L046
Sites sampled in the study indicating habitats of L066, L333, and L046. (Photo: Cardoso et al.)

Yellow King Tiger Pleco L333

The Pleco L333, also known as yellow king tiger pleco, is a beautiful and fascinating fish species that you can introduce to your tank. They are native to much further up the Xingu and the near the city of Altamira; 

It generally features a black and white or black and yellow “maze-like” pattern all over its body. Furthermore, this fish species is typically quite undemanding and generally a pleasure to have in the aquarium. 

King Tiger Pleco L066

A pleco of many names, has names such as King tiger pleco, scribbled pleco, and network pleco. It’s one of the hardy and visually stunning Hypancistrus species. 

On the contrary, the Pleco L066 is endemic to the lower Xingu and probably the nearby Tocantins river; of course, there are many geographic variations in their wide distribution range.

L333 Vs. L066, What’s the Difference

King Tiger Pleco L066 & L333 are Same Species
(A) juvenile L066; (B) adult L066; (C) juvenile L333; and (D) adult L333 (Photo: Haakon Haagensen and Daniel Konn-Vetterlein)

Generally speaking, they are quite similar morphologically; there is not much difference between the two fish species other than minor differences in their appearance. 

A hobbyist would probably consider them to be separate creatures based on their pattern and distribution in the wild; 

Although they have a light base with dark lines, the most noticeable difference might be that the L066 has a paler base coloration than the L333. In comparison, L333 has a more vibrant yellow/light brown base coloration, and it also appears to be slightly stubbier from head to tail.  

Average King Tiger Pleco Size

While the other species of Plecos can reach massive sizes of 18 to 20 inches, this species of King Tiger Pleco generally stays under 6.3 inches. 

As a result, this fish species is extremely manageable, even for smaller tanks or aquariums at home. That being said, we recommend giving them adequate space to roam freely and providing them with many hiding spots. 


Like other Loricariids, the king tiger plecos are armored catfish with a suckermouth that allows them to attach themselves to objects and any other surface they can find, for example, rocks or logs in the wild!

They also have a similar silhouette – is sporting a flat bottom and half-plated armor. Both varieties tend to be attractively marked with dark base coloration with lighter lines. 

The adult male king tiger plecos can be seen with odontodes in a teeth-like formation around their heads and fins. 

Interestingly, this fish species is one of the only ones where the female fish can look much larger than the male species, especially when viewed from the top. 


The Tiger King Pleco L066 has a lifespan of about ten years. However, with proper care and good tank hygiene, this fish species may live for a few more years. 

Similarly, the Tiger King Pleco L333 also has a lifespan of about ten years. It is vital that you don’t keep an adult L066 and L333 together in a tank, as it is quite likely that they will crossbreed. 

King Tiger Pleco Care

So, now that you are all up to date with the general appearance, size, similarities, and differences between the King Tiger Pleco L333 and L066, let us move on to the topic of caring for them. This section will tell you everything you need to know before introducing this fish species to a tank. 

We also recommend buying your King Tiger Pleco from an authorized pet shop and dealer. Furthermore, ensure that you take the advice of the breeder and find out more about their care.

Tank Size

The L333 Yellow King Tiger and the King Tiger Pleco L066 can grow anywhere between 5 to 6.3 inches long. As such, they need a tank size that is a minimum of 40 gallons. 

As young Plecos, you can introduce them into a smaller tank with adequate room to swim freely and hide. However, once they begin to age, you must put them in a 40-gallon tank at the minimum. 

Water Parameters

The recommended water temperature for a King Tiger Pleco L333 is between 79° and 86° F. Ideally; the water should have a pH level between 5.5 to 7.5. While slight fluctuations will be tolerated, a sudden change in the pH level will cause them immense discomfort. Also, ensure that the water has a KH level of 6 to 10 dKH.

Substrate & Decorations

Setting up the right environment for your fish is important. Mimic their natural habitat is the best way. Like most pleco species, King tiger plecos are bottom-dwellers and rarely go to the surface, so pay close attention to the bottom of the aquarium when you set up the aquarium.

Sandy substrate rocks are things to include since they are what these fish are used to in their region. A heavy amount of vegetation (live plants) is recommended but not necessary. 

This species is primarily nocturnal, including a lot of hiding spots are essential. They like to spend the daytime hiding in the wood or cave. Driftwood is a must-have for any pleco tank. Not only does it create great hiding spots, but pieces of driftwood also serve as a fiber source. 

Food & Diet

Both King Tiger Pleco species generally thrive on algae; however, since they are scavengers, they will suck up any remaining fish food they find at the bottom of the tank. They are also known to eat dwarf shrimp, so if you have them in your tank, the Plecos will likely eat them at some point in time.

To keep them healthy, give them a mixed diet of vegetables and meat. Include peas, zucchini, cucumber, fish pellets, wafers, and flakes. 

Behavior & Temperament

As we mentioned above, King Tiger Plecos are generally docile, friendly, and can live in harmony with other fish species. However, adult Plecos may become territorial and aggressive towards other members of the same fish species. 

King Tiger Pleco Tank Mates

The perfect tank mates for King Tiger Plecos are – 

  • Green Lace
  • Certain shrimp species 
  • Large Amano
  • Ornamental Snails 
  • Vampire Shrimp

Breeding & Reproduction

It is recommended to keep two male and two female king tiger plecos in a large tank (at least 55 gallons). Allow them to choose their mates and provide enough caves and hiding spots. 

The male species are generally larger and darker than the females. They will guard the eggs once the females have laid them. They are also known to fan clean, fresh water over the eggs with their fins. 

The eggs should hatch within a week or so, after which you will need to feed the young fry finely crushed flakes and baby brine shrimp.

Final Thoughts

Well, that’s all we have for you today on our Tiger King Pleco care guide. We hope this gets you excited and ready to introduce this beautiful fish species to your tank. 

Remember to always closely watch the water conditions of the tank, and change the water about once a week, especially if there are young fry in them. And all the best! 

Sunshine Pleco (l014 Pleco) 101: Care, Tank Size, and More


If you’re looking to add a beautiful and easy-to-maintain fish for your big aquarium, the LO14 pleco can be a great option to go for even though it’s a highly sought-after species due to its size and stunning coloration. 

But there’s much more to them than just their appearance; these little guys can be relatively peaceful (in the right habitat) and don’t have complicated care requirements. That’s what we’ll be talking about in this guide. 

So, by the end of it, you’ll surely come to know all about how you can grow and care for a sunshine pleco in a fish tank. 

Let’s get going, then!

Species Profile

l014 sunshine pleco (about 6" in size)
Photo: Jonas Hansel

Having the scientific name Scobinancistrus aureatus, the Sunshine Pleco belongs to the Loricariidae, commonly known as the largest family of catfish.

The majority of this species can be found in the warm waters of Brazil’s Rio Xingu in South America. These fishes are among the most popular plecos species for larger aquariums due to their intriguing coloration and large size. 

Such fishes are generally bred in a fish tank or aquarium when they are small and young.

Scientific NameScobinancistrus Aureatus
Common NamesSunshine Plecostomus, Golden Pleco, L014
OriginSouth America
Maximum Size12″
pH5.8 – 7.2
Aquarium Size120 gallons +
DietOmnivorous. Requires meaty foods and vegetable matter
CompatibilityPeaceful with plenty of space and hiding places


If fed properly and kept in the ideal aquatic environment, a sunshine pleco can live for 10 to 15 years. That’s a bit longer than most tropical fish, so be prepared for years of care.

There’s no guarantee with any species when it comes to lifespan. The proper living conditions, a good diet, and regular tank maintenance will directly affect your sunshine pleco’s lifespan. 

Sunshine Pleco Size

Sunshine plecos measure about 3 to 3.5 inches long when they’re a few days old, but their max size can be about 12 inches(30cm). Note that both the measurements include the length of their tail, which is quite large. 

When you first buy a sunshine pleco, it’ll likely be 2-3 inches in length. But don’t let that small size fool you! As we’ve said, this species can grow to a size of up to 12 inches. 


In their sub-adult stage, sunshine plecos are identified by their striking golden brown color. And though this coloration diminishes as they grow, the adult fishes can still be distinguished easily by the golden dorsal fin. 


The male fish usually grows larger than its female counterpart and develops a “bristled” look that can shine when light reflects off its body. Plus, in mature males, the edge of the leading pectoral fin ray becomes a bit spiny. 

Another noteworthy difference between males and females is that the head looks blockier in the former and triangular in the latter when viewed from above. Note the body of females is wider across the midriff region. 

Sunshine Pleco Care

sunshine pleco size

To provide the ideal care to your sunshine pleco, you’ll have to ensure the following parts of its habitat are maintained the right way. 

Tank Size

As mentioned earlier, young and sub-adult sunshine plecos can grow to about 3.5 inches long. Such fishes can stay comfortably in tanks of at least 48×18 inches and have a capacity of at least 20 gallons. However, for housing a fully grown sunshine pleco, you’ll require a tank of at least 120 gallons. 

Water Conditions

In order for your sunshine pleco over there to thrive best, you need to replicate their natural environmental conditions in the wild, including water conditions and decorations.  

Plus, you must keep the water well-filtered, for which the most effective method is to use canister filters of good quality. 

Keeping everything stable is easy once you get the hang of it, and it will ensure that your fish stay healthy.

Here are some basic parameters:

Water temperature: 77-84.2°F

pH level: 5.8 – 7.2

KH: 0 – 30 dKH

Decor & Substrate

Speaking about the decor for your sunshine pleco, it would be great if you could provide dark hiding places because the sunshine pleco is primarily nocturnal, and they spend most of the daytime hiding.

A suitable environment should include soft sand or fine-grained gravel substrate, various pieces of rounded stones, and subdued lighting. 

Another important addition to the fish tank is driftwood. Although the sunshine pleco is not a wood eater like some plecos, it may benefit from it as a source of fiber.

The live plant isn’t very abundant in the natural habitat, and sunshine plecos normally leave plants alone, so it is a personal preference. However, some hardy vegetation will make your aquarium look more aesthetically pleasing, and they are good for water quality too! 


You should feed your sunshine pleco with frozen bloodworm and sinking pellets regularly, though they can also feed on any prepared food that reaches the bottom. You can even try feeding them garden snails. 

Interestingly, fully grown adults can tackle mussels and king prawns with relish. 

Behavior & Temperament

As for the daily behavior of sunshine plecos, most of them can be seen hiding among the caves and plants during the day and turn more active during nighttime. 

Now, what we found quite intriguing was that these fishes are generally semi-aggressive towards members of their own species. But apart from that, they have a friendly temperament. On a side note, remember that they are best kept in a tank on their own owing to the size constraint. 


In recent years, loricariid catfish species have been bred successfully in the aquarium. Rajanta Sinardja Rahardja, an excerpt from Amazonas, had professionally bred the beautiful sunshine pleco in their hatchery in 2012.  

Final Thoughts 

So, what do you feel about adding a sunshine pleco to your fish tank? Though it requires regular care and maintenance, it can add variety to the tank and enhance its visual appeal. 

But make sure you keep just one of these fishes per tank as that will save space for other fishes to move around. 

If you have any other questions regarding sunshine plecos, feel free to reach out to us through the comments section below. Now it’s time for us to wrap up but see you soon with more informative guides.

Till then, take care! 

Candy Striped Pleco (l015 pleco): The Complete Care Guide


The candy striped pleco (l015 pleco) is a lovely little Peckoltia that can be found in aquariums all over the world. It has an attractive coloration and personality to match!

But there’s a lot to like when it comes to this species. For starters, these little guys are not only quite striking visually; their requirement is also straightforward! 

They spend their time swimming across the bottom, looking for food, and gel well with other tank mates. 

If you are interested to know more, read our candy striped pleco care guide before going to the store. 

Species Profile

Candy Striped Pleco Care

The candy striped pleco, also known as l015 pleco, goes by the scientific name of Peckoltia vittala and comes from the middle and lower Amazon basin in South America, including the Rio Xingu near Moz Port.

As one of the Xingu representatives in the hobby, also called Xingu-Peckoltia, the L15 is a bottom feeder and will be rarely seen near the surface. 

Although this fish seems a little drab than its sister species L134 (leopard frog pleco), it is still an excellent alternative for the pleco enthusiast. 

Scientific NamePeckoltia vittata
Common NamesL015, Candy Striped Pleco
OriginAmazon River in South America
pH5.6 – 7.0
Tanks Size20 gallons / 80 litres
TemperamentPeaceful and shy
DietOmnivorous with a tendency towards meaty foods

Candy Striped Pleco Size 

They don’t grow very large, with both the male and female fish reaching a maximum length of 5.5 inches or 14 cm. Inside home aquariums, their length usually varies between 8 and 10 cm due to the limited tank size and other external factors. 


Candy striped plecos can live up to a decade or more with proper care and attention to detail. While their lifespan may be shorter in the wild, these fish can live happy lives in most homes, provided you ensure that the tank resembles their natural environment closely. 


Due to their striped appearance, many people confuse candy striped plecos with clown plecos, but in reality, they are a subspecies of the dwarf pleco. That’s why their stripes are cream-colored, covering their body and tail in regular patterns. 

However, the shapes become irregular near the front of the head while the belly is usually dark brown or sandy beige. The environmental conditions influence the fish’s mood, which gives them their color; remember that happy fish are dark brown. 


Unlike other creatures in the animal world, the male l015 pleco looks smaller than the female because their body becomes narrow after the pectoral fin. However, the primary distinguishing factor between genders is the presence of tentacles, called odontodes, along the rear body and main pectoral fin. 

The females don’t have odontodes (that look like small teeth), so try to spot these differences from above. Other than that, the striped pattern and colorations are the same for both genders. 

Candy Striped Pleco Care 

Tank Size

Candy striped plecos need sufficient room to grow and swim despite their smaller size. Since they are accustomed to living in the Amazon River, a 20-gallon tank should be a minimum requirement to keep them healthy. 

Not to mention, it will provide enough space to keep tank mates and decorate the aquarium, just like their natural habitat. Also, as they are bottom-dwellers, the base of the tank should measure at least 12×12 inches.  

Water Parameters 

After choosing a suitable tank, it is crucial to maintain optimum water conditions for the fish to survive. Although they can adjust to various conditions, the water should be acidic with a pH value between 5.6 and 7, resembling the Amazon basin. 

Other than that, the temperature should hover between 73 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit while the water hardness (dH value) must be around 2-20. These are essential factors to ensure that the fish can thrive inside the tank. 


For the substrate, it would be best to fill the tank with rocks, pebbles, crevices, and other structures that resemble the water bed. Candy striped plecos are bottom-dwellers that hunt for food and plants on the river bed while also using the rocks as shelter. 

You can even make tiny caves that may serve as useful hiding spots for females during mating seasons. Additionally, wood tangles or driftwood will help the fish feed and improve circulation. 

Food & Diet 

They are omnivorous but tend to prefer meat over plant matter, such as algae; however, since they are nocturnal feeders, remember to add the food before lights out. You can include a diet of bloodworms and brine shrimp(BBS)because they are rich in protein and vitamins. 

Other than that, chopped-up Mysis shrimp, catfish pellets, and vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, or spinach are a favorite. In some cases, you can add live food to tempt a shy fish to come out and eat. They will take leftover behind by tank mates, as well as softwood.

Some people think that these breezy creatures are algae eaters, but they’re not. They eat very little algae. If you want an effective algae eater, go for otos. These fish will not damage your live plants if fed well. 

Behavior & Temperament 

We found that candy striped plecos are docile and peaceful by nature if they have their own space. That’s why it’s crucial that each fish has at least 12 inches of tank space to itself so that it doesn’t feel stressed. 

However, males can get territorial, especially while feeding or breeding, so choose tankmates wisely. Usually, cichlids and other non-aggressive species can live well with the Plecos, provided they are not bottom-dwellers. 


Having a separate tank for candy striped plecos is the best way to ensure that they can breed. You need to install caves in the tank, following which the female will choose a cave to lay the eggs. 

Each egg is yellowish and not more than 3mm long, which the male guards until they are ready to hatch. Depending on the temperature, the fry emerges after 6-7 days and feed on their yolk sac in the first week. 

Final Thoughts 

With that, it’s a wrap on today’s care guide for candy striped plecos; hopefully, now you can take good care of them. 

If you follow the instructions mentioned above, rest assured that the fish will survive for a long time, and you will enjoy watching them grow. Plus, their mild demeanor ensures that you can introduce other colorful fish to the tank, adding vibrancy to this artificial underwater world. 

See you next time with another fascinating guide. Bye!