Pitbull Pleco (LDA25) 101: Care, Size, Diet, Breeding and More


The Pitbull pleco (LDA25 pleco) is arguably the most attractive species of the genus. 

This beautiful little aquarium fish is native to South America and known for having a good temperament. That said, the Pitbull pleco can be a charming addition to your fish tanks and aquariums, and taking care of them is pretty straightforward. 

Nevertheless, there are a few things to remember if you are planning to keep them as pets. This Pitbull Pleco Care Guide will cover everything that you need to know about this species. So, read on to ensure that your tiny aquarium fish stay healthy and happy.

Species Profile 

LDA25 Pitbull Pleco
Photo: Filipe Oliveira

Scientifically known as Parotocinclus jumbo(also named Goby Pleco, LDA25 Plecothe in the aquarium hobby), the Pitbull pleco natives from the rivers and streams in Eastern Brazil. 

They are most often seen in large groups and graze on algae in the wild. The pitbull pleco is an excellent alternative to otos, the best algae control fish, due to its smaller size and hardiness. However, they are omnivores who are not very picky about their food and should be kept in groups of at least three to thrive. 

Moreover, the Pitbull pleco is a peaceful fish that can easily cohabit with other smaller fishes. These fish are nocturnal and prefer to hide behind plants, caves, or driftwood during the day. 

Scientific NameParotocinclus jumbo
Common NamesLDA025 Pleco, Pitbull Pleco, Goby Pleco
Tank Size10 gallons +
pH6.4 – 7.6
CompatibilityPeaceful towards all tankmates

Pitbull Pleco Size

A full-size Pitbull pleco grows up to about 2.4″ (6 cm); the maximum size is reported to be around 7 cm. It is a dwarf species of its genus and is known for its beautiful, distinctive features. 

Pitbull pleco, a very characterful little fish, is ideal for small aquariums where larger plec species are not recommended. Furthermore, it can peacefully cohabit with most other fishes smaller or similar to its own size. 


A Pitbull pleco has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years when kept in pristine surroundings. On that note, it lives longer than most other tropical fish species. 

Additionally, the life expectancy of the fish increases when it is given proper care. In fact, you can expect the fish to live for 15 years or more if you provide it with optimal conditions. 


Pitbull plecos are often mistaken for the more well-known catfish genus Otocinclus when they are young. However, you can easily distinguish this pleco species by the presence of its distinct adipose fin. 

Also, the color of this small tank fish can range between various shades of grey, which range from medium to dark grey. It can even look black, with hints of golden or greenish shades. The color mainly varies depending on the color of the aquarium substrate. 

Male or female Pitbull pleco, How to Sex?

There are some distinct identifying features that differentiate the male and female members of the Pitbull pleco species. For instance, males have longer pelvic fins as compared to females. That said, the tip of the pelvic fins in males reaches beyond the anal fin. 

Additionally, sexual dichromatism greatly helps in distinguishing between male and female fishes. Males have beautiful bluish-green, shining saddles on their back that are lacking in females. The female members are also much plumper than males.

Furthermore, the urogenital duct positioning is different in the two sexes. It is placed just after the anal opening in males, while it opens to the inner cloacal cavity in females. 

Pitbull Pleco Care

Tank Size 

The minimum tank size for a group of six Pitbull plecos is 30 gallons. And its highest capacity can be up to 100 gallons. As the fish only grow up to 6 to 7 cm, a small tank is sufficient to keep them alive and healthy. 

Water Parameters 

The water temperature in the tank should be kept between 68 and 73℉ for taking good care of the LDA25 Pitbull pleco species. As the fish is native to South America, it thrives well in moderate to high water temperatures. 

Additionally, the ideal water pH levels for this fish are between 6.8 and 7.8. At the same time, you must maintain the hardness of the tank water between 142 and 445 ppm to avoid any diseases. 


The LDA25 Pitbull pleco is primarily found in Peru and dwells best in a sandy substrate that offers a setup resembling a river bottom. The gravel substrate is also acceptable. However, make sure there are no sharp edges so they don’t hurt their ‘suckers’ while rolling around and eating whatever organic matter may be found there!

Pitbull Pleco Food & Diet

These plecos delight in eating algae. At the same time, they are able to clean the tank surfaces by feeding on algae, keeping the fish tank spick and span. Anyhow, pitbull plecos are omnivores, so you need to feed them lots of fresh veggies to ensure they have a healthy diet. 

That said, you can feed them prepared veggies, such as zucchini or spinach. Along with these veggies, small amounts of living and frozen invertebrates, such as brine and bloodworm, are part of the regular diet of this catfish.

Behavior & Temperament

Pitbull plecos are peaceful and adjust well with other small fishes in a community aquarium. They are very active and prefer to exist in groups of three or more. 

These fish spend most of their time lying on the substrate, never coming up to different surfaces except when it feeds at night.

Furthermore, they bury themselves in the substrate when they are alarmed. Like many Plecos, they are also highly adaptable and can easily survive in less oxygenated water. 

Pitbull Pleco Breeding

There is a dearth of well-documented breeding reports regarding Pitbull plecos in captivity. However, it has been recorded that the rainy season usually has a positive impact on breeding. 

This species of catfish lays eggs during the night on a sandy substrate containing plenty of plants and bogwood. It is worth noting that the eggs are sticky and usually laid on grass, hatching after about three days. 

Final Thoughts

Pitbull plecos are extremely low-maintenance. That said, many pet owners prefer them as they are super-easy to keep alive and add a splash of color to your fish tank. 

Moreover, this species of pleco is peaceful and can coexist with other smaller members of your aquarium. The Pitbull pleco can also help you keep your aquarium clean by feeding on any algae present inside the tank. 

So, don’t be afraid to bring one home today. And if in doubt, just refer to this care guide on LDA25 Pitbull pleco species. 

Take care, and we will see you next time!

Rhino Pleco 101: Care, Tank Size, Diet and More

Rhino Pleco

Like most plecostomus, Rhino plecos are a preferred species among hobbyists because of their easy maintenance.

They eat a wide variety of food, and as long as the aquarium is clean with plenty of space for grazing – there shouldn’t be any problem keeping them!

For aquarists who are looking for a unique, friendly pleco, the Rhino pleco is a great option for just about anyone!

This rhino pleco care guide will cover all the required information there is to know about rhino pleco care. size, diet, tank setup, and more!

Let’s start then!

Species Profile

Also known as Pterygoplichthys scrophus, the tropical catfish species rhino pleco is often nicknamed “alligator pleco” or “chocolate pleco” by fishkeeping enthusiasts. It’s native to the Ucayali and Maranon river basins of Nanauta (Peru).

What Is The L-Number For A Rhino Pleco?

Rhino plecos aren’t associated with any L-number per se; let us explain why.

The numbering system, starting with 001, was discovered in the 1980s to recognize the scientifically unnamed species of the Loricariidae (pleco) family. This number comprises two parts- “L” for Loricariidae and the number. But since rhino pleco had been given its scientific name, i.e., Pterygoplichthys scrophus, the L-number doesn’t apply here.

Scientific NamePterygoplichthys scrophus
Common NamesChocolate Pleco, Alligator Pleco, Rhino Pleco
OriginSouth America
Care levelModerate
pH6.0 – 7.6
Tank size75 gallons
Suggested TankmatesAny medium sized community fish


chocolate rhino pleco
Photo: Daniel McDermott

One of the most prominent physical features of rhino plecos is the “rays” on their dorsal fins. 

While the bigger varieties, such as the Hypostomus species, usually have eight or fewer rays, rhino plecos and other subtypes of the Pterygoplichthys species have more than ten. In fact, you can easily differentiate between the two groups by observing the number of rays.

Other than that, they have two horn-like structures, which are actually the nasal flaps originating from their large nostrils. And the alligator-like ridges located on the side of their bodies give them the name “alligator” pleco.

Male Or Female Rhino Pleco- How to Identify the Sexing?

There are numerous ways to determine if a particular rhino pleco is a male or female. For one, the male fish is skinnier and overall shorter than its female counterpart. Besides, the latter has a more rounded abdomen, which is longer than the other parts of its body.

You can also confirm the sex by looking at the papilla of an adult fish. While males will have a small but broad stump protruding from the underside, females have a flatter papilla that almost lies on their bodies.

Average Rhino Pleco Size and Growth Rate

If you’re wondering, “how big do rhino plecos get?” Here is the short answer. A full-grown rhino usually attains a max size of 11 inches. There is no specific growth rate associated with their development, although some may grow by 3 to 3.5 inches in the first year.

Moreover, their color may vary between black and different shades of brown, like rich and dark, cinnamon, or a light and dark mottled hue.


The maximum lifespan of a rhino pleco is almost a decade, but it will ultimately depend on the quality of water and care provided. That’s why it’s important to create a proper aquarium environment and feed your plecos with the right food. 

How To Care for a Rhino Pleco

What Do Rhino Plecos Eat?

Despite being termed omnivores, most rhino plecos love algae. They may even end up eating the floating plants in the absence of sufficient algae. Other than that, you can feed them:

  • Sinking algae wafers
  • Pellets
  • Frozen or freeze-dried fish food
  • Blanched green and leafy vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Shrimp
  • Bloodworms and earthworms

Tank Size

The minimum recommended tank size for rhino plecos is 75 gallons, and we’d suggest keeping not more than two plecos in one. Remember that this species requires a large space to develop completely.

Water Parameters

The first thing to take care of is the water temperature, which should be between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Aside from that, the pH level should range from 6.0 to 7.5 and the water hardness level between 5 and 19 dH with no ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite.

Common Possible Diseases


Ich is a parasitic disease that thrives in poor water quality. Its main symptoms are white spots on the fins and sometimes on the body.

Fin Or Tail Rot and Dropsy

Both these diseases are caused by bacteria harbored by dirty water and, in some cases, malnutrition. The primary symptoms of fin or tail rot include fatigue, appetite loss, and discord fins or tail that look melted. If your pleco appears bloated or discolored, then it may be because of dropsy.

Fish Fungus

Fungal infection like this often comes as an aftermath of an injury or scraped skin, where the fungus can breed and spread. That said, it may also be caused by low water temperature and irregular water changes.

Hole In the Head and Pop-Eye

Small holes on your pleco’s head and protruding eyes can be caused by a combination of factors, like poor water quality, low nutrition, and prolonged exposure to activated carbon.

Behavior & Temperament

The good news for would-be rhino pleco breeders is that they are generally a shy and peaceful species that gel with most medium-sized community fish varieties. However, they can get aggressive (especially with bottom-dwelling fishes) in a bid to procure their required space. 

Again, this is a reason why you’d want a bigger tank for them. And if you want to keep other fish varieties, we’d advise going for the ones that can survive in the midwater or upper water levels to avoid overcrowding at the bottom.

Rhino Pleco Tank Mates

Some fish varieties that can peacefully coexist with rhino plecos are:

Breeding & Reproduction

Unfortunately, there are no reports available about the breeding of rhino plecos in captivity. But it’s believed that these fish are cave spawners.

Final Thoughts

With that, we have come to the end of this guide.

Like any other pleco variety, rhino plecos also require regular maintenance and a conducive environment to survive. So, make sure that the water is well filtered and changed at the right time to prevent the onset and subsequent spread of diseases.

And if you spot the early sign of the diseases mentioned above, contact a vet at the earliest to figure out the best possible treatment.

Medusa Pleco (l034) 101: Care, Size, Breeding and More


While most people look to pet goldfish or betta fish, a comparatively lesser-known option is Medusa Pleco. 

These freshwater fish can live for a decade in home aquariums and are perfect tank mates that mind their own business. But they have specific needs that you need to be aware of; that’s why we have formulated this Medusa Pleco care guide. 

Read on to learn more about this fascinating species. 

Species Profile 

The Medusa Pleco or l034 pleco goes by the scientific name of Ancistrus ranunculus, found across South America, primarily in the Tocantins and Xingu river basins. They usually prefer stony waterways like streams, hanging out near cracks and crevices to quickly dart for cover. 

You can even find them at the bottom of the waterbed when they search for food. That’s why it would be best to house them in a large tank with lots of rocks or boulders, resembling their natural habitat. 

Scientific name: Ancistrus ranunculus
Common Names:L034, Medusa Pleco
Origin:South America
Size:4.33 – 5.51 inch
pH:6.5 – 7.5
Temperament: Peaceful
Tankmates:Community fish, small to medium sized cichlids.

Medusa Pleco Size

As the previous section reveals, these aren’t big fish, with both males and females reaching a max size of 5.1 inches (14cm). However, their lengths may vary in home aquariums, depending on the water conditions and the size of the tank. 


a very beautiful female Ancistrus ranunculus (medusa pleco)
Photo: Rebecca Frances

Medusa Pleco is a dark-colored species with several distinctive features separating them from other fish. If you look at the origin of its name, you will find that it comes from the Greek word agkistron, a reference to its interpercular odontodes covering the mouth. 

Moreover, compared to the rest of the body, these fish have a wide head to search the river bed for food. Their circular mouth quickly scoops up both living matter and plant life without needing to stop. 

When you bring plecos home, the fry will be of a lighter shade but turn dark blue as they mature. 

Male Or Female Medusa Pleco, How To Sex

There isn’t much difference between male and female Medusa Pleco, so it might take a trained eye to distinguish the sexes. Both genders have tentacles, fleshy growths near the mouth, but these are less prominent in females. 

In case you find that the male fish has several of these tentacles, it may mean that it has reached sexual maturity and is ready to breed. Other than that, it’s challenging to spot any tell-tale signs that could be a giveaway. 


Unlike other fish species that only survive for a couple of years, Medusa Pleco lives longer in the right conditions. While there’s no guarantee of how long they may live in the wild, they can reach 5-8 years of age in home aquariums with proper care. 

This is because there’s no risk of getting eaten by predators, not to mention, a regular food supply keeps them healthy inside large tanks. That said, there may be instances when they may fall ill or develop a disease, but overall these fish are not of the delicate kind. 

Medusa Pleco Care 

Tank Size 

The Medusa Pleco lives in the Brazilian river basin and are used to having a large area all to themselves. Depending on the number of fish you have in the aquarium and their mates, a tank size of 75 liters should suffice. 

Aquarists can choose an even larger tank so that the males don’t get territorial and the females have sufficient room to lay their eggs. 

Water Parameters 

As they are freshwater fish, you need to maintain the ideal water conditions to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible. We found that they thrive in a temperature range between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, combined with a pH level of 6 to 7. 

Also, the water hardness must not be more than 179 ppm, but you have a wide berth to get the conditions right as the minimum value can be 36 ppm. 

Food & Diet 

Medusa Pleco mainly forages along the river bed in search of food and easily consumes both plants and small animals. Since they are omnivorous, your job becomes easier, but it’s crucial to maintain a protein-rich diet. 

For instance, bloodworms and shrimps are tasty treats that help develop their bodily functions. This is especially important when they are young and changing from their spotted appearance to a dark blue color. 

Behavior & Temperament 

When it comes to compatibility, like most plecos, ancistrus ranunculus is one of the most suitable species for a home aquarium. They are docile by nature and don’t grow very large, making them perfect partners for other non-aggressive fish. 

However, they do get territorial, and males may show signs of aggression during the mating season. So, it’s vital to ensure that they have enough space and you won’t face any issues. 

Medusa Pleco Tank Mates 

While choosing tank mates, make sure that the fish species has enough hiding places to avoid getting stressed out. Also, since they are bottom-dwellers, try not to keep similar types of fish together so that they don’t jostle for space. 

Usually, cichlids or other peaceful community fish groups are most suitable for living with Medusa Pleco. 

Breeding & Reproduction 

They are not easy to breed, and we recommend having a separate tank for the pregnant female fish. The female usually lays 8-12 eggs in a cave in the wild, with the male patrolling over them until they hatch about a week later. 

After 10 days, the yolk sac disappears, and the fry emerges hungry for food, meaning you need to be ready. 

Final Thoughts 

Long story short, there are specific things you need to keep in mind when taking care of Medusa Pleco. 

These fish don’t require a lot to stay healthy and live long; all you need to do is provide them with a nutritious diet. Not to mention, a large tank littered with rocks and crevices helps the fish adapt quickly to their artificial environment.  

That’s it from us, bye! 

Driftwood for Pleco (Benefits, Types & More)

Best Driftwood for Pleco

A majority of people believe that driftwood is simply a decoration. 

We can tell you that’s not true as driftwood has multiple integral functions to enhance the condition of your aquarium. Among many other handy features, it provides near-perfect water parameters and is an excellent source of food for plecos.

We think it is crucial to know the ancillary qualities of driftwood and its relationship with plecos before deciding if you need it. So, you may find our guide on “driftwood for pleco” helpful.

Do All Plecos Need Driftwood?

No, not all Plecos need to eat driftwood; in fact, some prefer algae over it. Different species eat it with different degrees of interest. Those who eat it have a special mouth adaptation that allows them to scrape off the wood easily. 

Why Do Pleco Need Driftwood

Driftwood is a multi-purpose element in an aquarium, and plecos need it for a lot of reasons. Some of these are:

Food Source

Panaque fish like red-eyed plecos use driftwood as a source of food and graze on it. It is a rich source of nutrients like cellulose and lignin, which is known to improve the digestive system in fish. 

Water Chemistry

This wood changes the chemistry of water, leading to both positive and negative effects depending on the species present in your tank. The Mopani wood from Africa is a good choice if you have aquatic creatures that are habitual of living in soft water bodies like the Amazon river. 

Hiding Spot

No matter how aggressive or friendly the fish are, they need a few hiding places at the end of the day. Ironically, the more hiding spots you keep in your aquarium, the more reluctant the fish will be to use them. That’s why natural-looking places for shelter are very important, and driftwood fits in perfectly in that parameter because of its twisted and gnarled shape.

Maintains The Hygiene

Driftwood acts just like substrate and filters do in an aquarium. It’s safe to say that it is a natural and more sustainable alternative to water filters. Although it cannot entirely replace such filters, it is still a viable option to aid the cleaning process. 

Furthermore, this multi-purpose wood maintains the whole ecosystem inside a water tank. It helps beneficial bacteria flourish. 


Not only is driftwood packed with multiple benefits, but it is also aesthetically pleasing to look at. It adds a real reservoir or river-like look to the tank. 

Additionally, the wood contains tannins that seep into the water and add a reddish touch to it. Many hobbyists find this blackwater aesthetic beautiful and intriguing.

Best Type Of Driftwood For Plecos Reviewed

Best Cholla Aquarium Driftwood: My Pet Patrol Cholla Teddy Bear 

We’re starting our list with the cholla aquarium driftwood from Pet Patrol that are available singly and in combo packs ranging from two to five pieces. Each piece is uniformly cut into equal sizes with extra hollow centers. 

You can either use it straight out of the box or boil it for a few minutes to get rid of extra tannins. Moreover, it is an excellent product for increasing the overall stability of your aquarium. 

3, 6, 9, 12 Inch All Natural Teddy Bear Cholla...
  • All pieces uniformly cut. Extra hollow centers.
  • All natural, organic free form cholla wood. ALL ANIMAL SAFE.
  • Seller collected--no middle man.
  • Ready for tank use out of box or can be boiled/soaked to remove excess tannins. End use determines if...
  • Lowers and buffers pH naturally. Creates a biofilm that is beneficial to animals and overall tank...

Best Malaysian Driftwood: Dr. Moss Aquarium Luxurious Set

Malaysian driftwood is ideal for maintaining a rustic and wildlife-like vibe in your water tank. Brownish in color, this natural wood branch system is durable and lights up the environment effortlessly. 

The best part is that the product is obtained from the wild to be especially used in terrarium tanks or aquariums. Also, the pieces are sinkable, selected by paying special attention to meet the standards of fish tanks. 

Best Manzanita Driftwood: CURRENT CURRENT USA Manzanita Branch 22-inch Tall

Moving ahead, we have the molded Manzanita driftwood that adds depth and texture to an aquarium by forming a network of real-looking branches. It looks real because it is created using actual chunks of Manzanita wood.

The majority of aquatic creatures, including shrimps, snails, fish, and both freshwater and marine water plants, are safe with this one. Additionally, it doesn’t alter the pH of the water, so rest easy knowing nothing in your tank will leach or rot.

CURRENT USA Manzanita Branch 22-inch Tall with...
  • Known as the “perfect aquascaping wood” it's molded from actual curated pieces of Manzanita...

Best Mopani Driftwood: Fluval Mopani Natural Driftwood

Our next type of driftwood is so unique that no two pieces resemble each other in shape, and the reason is its extraction from exclusive natural sources. And as a result, there are no fixed dimensions for this product.

Along with giving a safe abode to fish, the Fluval Mopani driftwood adds a sense of natural beauty to the terrariums.

Fluval Mopani Natural Driftwood, Aquarium...
  • All-natural driftwood providing a decorative accent to your aquarium
  • Mopani driftwood ornamental root provides a safe haven for fish and adds natural beauty to aquariums and...
  • Each piece of driftwood is unique and no two pieces will be the same shape because this is a natural...
  • Sandblasted finish eliminates all extraneous material
  • Approximate dimensions: 12 inches by 18 inches (due to this being a natural product, sizes are not exact)

Best for Value: Zoo Med Mopani Wood for Aquariums

Last but not least, this Mopani driftwood from Zoo med is medium-sized and comes in a pack of two. Just like other options, it is also obtained from real-life wood and is cleaned after sandblasting. In addition, it has an exotic mottled color and a smooth surface with tiny texture details.

(2 Pack) Zoo Med Reptile Mopani Wood for...
  • 2 Pack Zoo Med Reptile Mopani Wood for Aquariums, Size: Medium.
  • Decoration made out of real wood that has been sandblasted clean.
  • Smooth surface, textured detail and unique mottled color.
  • Gives any terrarium a natural look and feel.
  • Wood does not float and will sink in aquariums.


Can Bristlenose Plecos Live Without Driftwood?

No, Bristlenose plecos need driftwood to survive. Even though they do not feed on it, they need this wood to rasp on. It doesn’t contribute to their diet, but it does help with digestion.

Plecos depend on driftwood for the digestion of the food they eat. Additionally, it cleans the water and keeps it free of toxins.

Best Place To Buy Driftwood For Pleco?

You can buy driftwood pretty easily from any local aquarium or pet store as it is a commonly available product. However, you can always order it online from sites like Amazon if you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your home.

Final Thoughts 

Driftwood is an ideal wood to promote the authentic and natural temperament of your plecos. Since it is prevalent in all rivers, lakes, and other natural water bodies, all fish naturally feel intrigued by it.

Furthermore, it is a good source to enhance the water quality, oxygenation, and aesthetic appeal of a fish tank. We strongly suggest going ahead and trying it!

How Long Do Plecos Live? (In Captivity, Pond & Bowl)

How Long Do Plecos Live

The Plecostomus, lovingly known as pleco, is an intriguing aquarium fish found among the aquarium community over the years. Here is all you need to know about their lifespan.

Plecos are also called “suckerfish,” and once you take a look at their daily activities and eating habits, it won’t be hard to figure out where they got this name from. Typically, you will find Plecos stuck to the bottom or inner surface of an aquarium, sucking and munching on algae to their heart’s content.

However, there’s much more to this deceptively innocuous-looking fish than meets the eye. Find out all about how long do plecos live in this guide and make sure you can care for them better. 

How Long Do Plecos Live In Captivity?

It might be surprising to know this, but the average lifespan of Plecos in captivity is generally 10 to 15 years. In fact, most aquarium owners are not prepared for this and assume that these beautiful algae eaters have a much shorter life expectancy. 

So, if you are planning on introducing one (or more) to your aquarium, be prepared to care for them for at least a decade or more. Rest assured, they make wonderful pets!

How To Increase Their Lifespan?

Once you get one of these beautiful fish home, it is essential to take good care of them. Of course, there are a few things you can do to increase their lifespan naturally. Let us discuss them below. 

Feed Them A Healthy Diet

You may assume that Plecos are content eating the algae from your aquarium. After all, they are known to be algae eaters. However, you must supplement their diet with other healthy food. 

These include sinking pellets, fresh vegetables, and algae wafers. Ensure that you cut the vegetables into small pieces before adding them to the tank; otherwise, they might not be able to eat it. Furthermore, keep supplementing their natural diet with these healthy, nutritious foods so they can thrive and grow healthy. 

Stay On Top Of Water Quality And Parameters

Plecos are not too picky about where they live; however, ensure that you maintain the aquarium properly and keep it clean. As such, these fish thrive in water temperatures between 75 to 80 degrees. 

Furthermore, ensure that the tank does not contain any ammonia, as this can be hazardous to their health. That said, the tank should have at least 20 ppm of nitrates. 

If you are unsure of these parameters, ensure that you speak to a professional tank and fish care expert before placing the new Plecos into an aquarium. Also, you can purchase a kit that will help you test the water quality of the tank regularly. 

Keep Them In A Large Tank

It might be surprising to know that adult Plecos require a very large tank to thrive. Ideally, the tank size should be a minimum of 150-gallon. However, for young Plecos, you can consider keeping them in a smaller tank till they are larger. For Pleco babies, the ideal tank size is a 55-gallon one, at the minimum. 

Compatibility Is Key

Although young Plecos are not known to exhibit aggressive behavior, this can change as they grow older. It is essential that you place your Plecos with fish that they are comfortable and compatible with. Moreover, since these beautiful fish are generally nocturnal, it is vital to provide them with enough hidden spots in the tank so they can rest during the daytime. 

If you are considering introducing other fish species to the tank, great! However, these are the most common and compatible fish species that should be introduced with Plecos –

  • Neon Tetra
  • Angelfish 
  • Hatchetfish
  • Cory Catfish
  • Silver Dollar 


Can A Plecostomus Live In A Pond?

Well, yes. While Plecostomus can live in ponds, you won’t see much of them since they are algae eaters and will generally hang about at the bottom of the pond than swim upwards. 

How Long Can A Pleco Live Out Of Water?

You may sometimes see your Pleco exhibiting strange behavior – gulping air from over the surface of the water. They do this to fill their bellies up with oxygen. Once they do this, Plecos can generally live outside of water for about 30 hours. 

How Long Can A Pleco Live In A Bowl?

As such, Plecos will not be too happy living in small bowls. They thrive in larger tanks and may not be able to live for long in a bowl if it is too small. 

How Long Can A Pleco Live Without A Filter?

It is not recommended to keep your Pleco in a tank or a pond without a filter for more than three days. Although these fish are hardy and may be able to survive for more than a day or two, we do not recommend keeping them without pure, filtered water for more than three days. 

How Long Can Plecos Live Without Oxygen?

Your Pleco can probably survive for 30 hours or up to two days without oxygen or a pump in the tank. However, this can be highly detrimental to their health, so ensure that you always have clean, fresh, oxygenated water in the aquarium. 

Final Thoughts

So, now that you know everything about Plecos and their lifespan, we can finally conclude our guide. 

We hope this helped you understand plecos better, and our tips help you take care of them and increase their lifespan naturally. Keep in mind that it is always better to keep Plecos in a clean, large tank with other compatible fish species. 

That said, Plecos are generally docile creatures but may act aggressive or territorial as adults. Of course, caring for these beautiful creatures is always a pleasure, so if you have been thinking about getting one (or a few) at home, best of luck! 

Gold Nugget Pleco 101: Everything you Need to Know

Gold Nugget Pleco

The Golden Nugget Pleco is an incredible addition to any aquarium because of its unique colors and markings. They are relatively easy to care for, and they make great tank mates for your already established aquarium. For everything you need to know about the Golden Nugget Pleco, keep reading. 

Species Overview

The Golden Nugget Pleco, or Baryancistrus xanthellushails from South America, mainly found around Brazil and Venezuela. In their natural habitat, they have access to caves and driftwood in the Amazon River, which makes them prefer darker conditions.

They are used to an aquascape that is abundant in greenery and thriving natural elements that shade natural light, so you don’t need to splurge on special lighting to have them in your aquarium. 

The fish’s full name is Gold Nugget Plecostomus, which we refer to as Pleco for short. The suckermouth catfish is categorized as part of the Loricariidae family. They have been added to aquariums since the early 80s when they gained popularity in Britain when they started being exported in. 

They may also be referred to as Golden nugget Plecos. They are often identified by their letter and number L-18 or L018. Since freshwater catfish species are abundant, this number is an easy way to distinguish them.

There are two other numbers associated with this fish, including L085 for medium-sized dots and L081 for tiny dots. 

However, the Gold Nugget Pleco is a standout fish. The yellow-polka dotted markings make it immediately recognizable and visually pleasing to look at. You can spend plenty of time admiring the beauty of this fish.


Catfish are not always the best-looking fish, and the look of suckermouth fish can be an acquired taste, but the Gold Nugget Pleco is a striking fish.

It often has a dark green or black body and is covered in plenty of yellow polka-dots. They are typically uniform in size and evenly-spaced, and their dorsal and caudal fins are bordered with the same yellow.  

They are built like a traditional pleco fish with an angled head with a suckermouth, built for proper scavenging. You’ll find that they are slimmer near the caudal peduncle and wider from their eyes to pectoral fins. Their pectoral fins are larger in size and feature a backward point. The caudal fin is a bit larger than the fan-shaped dorsal fins.

Average Size

On average, these fish measure anywhere from six to nine inches when they are bred in captivity, depending on their tank conditions. If you have accurate water conditions, a proper diet, and excellent filtration, they will be in the optimal conditions for the best growth and overall health.

If you provide them with a larger tank, they will grow more prominent as well. When they are added into a smaller tank with plenty of other fish, their growth is discouraged. They can grow to be thirteen inches in the wild, so a big tank with supreme conditions can lead to a thriving and healthy fish. 

Genetic factors can play a role in their overall size, but tank size and a great diet as they are growing definitely influence their growth. 


On average, a Gold Nugget Pleco can live up to five years in captivity. It’s not entirely clear how long they can live in the wild, but it’s reported that it might be an additional two or three years. If you’re providing the best care to your fish, with the best equipment and an excellent diet, they can reach six or seven years old. 

There are no species-specific diseases that impact the Gold Nugget Pleco’s lifespan, which is a nice factor when comparing them to other freshwater fish. Some species have unique illnesses that can affect them. 

However, there are the typical diseases that affect freshwater fish that Gold Nugget Pleco’s are not immune to. They may be low maintenance and relatively healthy, but they can still become ill with various sicknesses. 

A common ailment that freshwater fish see are infections, including parasites and Ich. These can be caused by a variety of factors, and many of them have individual treatments.

The best way to reduce the risk of any illnesses or diseases to your Gold Nugget Pleco is to just keep up on the cleanliness of the tank, quality of water, and the quality of their diet. If you keep up on the maintenance, it’s the best defense against issues.

Keeping up with optimal care and being diligent about maintaining their environment will aid in living a long, healthy, and happy life in your home.

Behavior & Temperament

While you’ll often find your Gold Nugget Pleco keeping to themselves and being incredibly peaceful, there are moments where they can be not-so-nice to the other fish in your tank.

They are rather interesting. Usually, they are calm and peaceful, hiding under their favorite dark spots or sitting along with the algae growth. You won’t see them much during the day as they are much more active at night when it’s dark. They are often in their own little world, and they ignore most other fish.

However, if another catfish species happens to come into their space, they can definitely become reactive and territorial. Since catfish tend to want to occupy the same spaces, they can become angry when they are opposed upon.

If you happen to have a massive tank, you might be able to get away with having another catfish species in there, but a smaller tank can be a challenging environment for a Gold Nugget Pleco.

Caring for The Gold Nugget Pleco

As mentioned, the Golden Nugget Pleco is a relatively low-maintenance fish, and they don’t require much from their owners. They are an outstanding fish for those who are just starting to build their aquariums and seasoned pros. Caring for them is not a very complex process. 

They can become large fish, so you want to ensure you’re putting them into their ideal tank size. You need to provide them with enough room so they can thrive. Other than that, there’s nothing specific that they need in order to live a happy and healthy life. 

Tank Conditions

It’s recommended that the minimum tank size that you should have for a Gold Nugget Pleco is a 55-gallon tank. Since they are larger fish that thrive in bigger homes, it’s essential to provide them with the best habitat. Bigger is better when it comes to the tank size used to house them. 

It may seem like a smaller tank would be okay since they typically hang out in smaller spaces or near the bottom of the tank. Putting them in a small tank that’s not suitable for them and can impede their physical growth and overall happiness.

Fish who are bred in captivity still possess the instinctive desire for the natural environment they hail from, but since Gold Nugget Plecos are bred in the wild, their need for an environment that is as close to their natural habitat is critical. Typically, fish do much better in tanks that mimic their natural environments as closely as possible. 

They like to have hiding places, so if you can decorate your tank with plenty of plants, driftwood, caves, and other decorations that allow them to hide in, that’s ideal.


When building your aquarium, you want to ensure you’re purchasing a high-quality filter. Gold Nugget Pleco’s can be sensitive to dirty water, so having a clean tank is paramount. Like all freshwater fish, they are susceptible to infections caused by water conditions, so to keep them healthy, you must keep their water clean. 

Due to their size, they will produce a more considerable amount of waste than other freshwater fish. You will have to ensure you’re maintaining a regular cleaning schedule to keep up with the waste. 


A sandy substrate that soft is ideal for the Gold Nugget Pleco because it’s the closest thing to their natural environment. They love to scavenge, so they will be digging through the substrate. Opting for rocks or gravel may cause injury to them, leading to stress and infections if they get cut. 


There are plenty of reasons why Gold Nugget Pleco’s love plants. Lush greenery is an ideal addition for any tank because it’s not only beautiful to look at, but they offer plenty of benefits. Detritus that comes from plants is a source of nutrition, and they create healthier water.

The addition of plants simulates their natural environment, keeping them calm and minimizing stress. Plants are a great hiding place, which Gold Nugget Pleco’s love, and it creates a place for them to hang out where excess light is filtered out. 

You can opt for live plants. In this case, they don’t eat live plants, but they will take care of the dead droppings. Plastic plants don’t provide nearly as many benefits either.


Decorating your tank is one of the most exciting parts of building an aquarium that’s ideal for your fish. As mentioned, the Gold Nugget Pleco loves to hide and hang out at the bottom of the tank, so any decorations that will cater to that are perfect for them.

Caves, plants, and driftwood where they can hideout and escape the light are ideal for them. When choosing a cave, make sure you’re picking one on the larger side to cater to their growth.

Water Conditions

The water conditions for the Gold Nugget Pleco’s are pretty easy to maintain, even if you’re new to owning fish. The ideal temperature should be between 73°F to 79°F. The ideal pH levels should be around 6.5 to 7.5, but you should aim for 7. The ideal water hardness is 5 to 15 dH

The most crucial time to be very careful about water conditions is when you first introduce them to your tank. They can be susceptible to issues when they are initially introduced somewhere new, whether your tank is brand new or established.

During this period, you should be testing your water every day or every other day during the first two to three weeks once you’ve introduced your Gold Nugget Pleco to the tank. Once you’ve had stable conditions for a while, you can drop down to testing every few days. This is an excellent opportunity to get used to partial water changes as well. 

Once everything is normal, you should be in the habit of taking regular water tests. This will ensure your entire tank is in harmony and your fish are healthy. 

Food and Diet

While one of the most essential parts of the Gold Nugget Plecos’ overall health, feeding them the proper diet is one of the easiest aspects of caring for them. They are not very picky when it comes to food, and they will eat whatever you’re willing to feed them. 

With that being said, you should still carefully plan out their diet for optimal health. In their natural habitat, they eat plenty of algae. They spend a lot of their time at the bottom of their home scavenging for algae and plants that they like.

They do require a more well-rounded diet beyond algae and plants, so it’s important to include some protein-rich food for them as well. 

It can be easy to overfeed them because they constantly act like they are hungry, so you should have a planned-out system of how much food they get and when. Overfeeding is unhealthy for your fish, but it also wreaks havoc on your aquarium’s overall health and cleanliness.

With extra food breaking down in the water, it can significantly affect the quality of the water and the nutrient levels. Your fish will also be producing even more waste, requiring more time spent cleaning. 

Their primary source of food comes from the matter and algae in the tank substrate, but you can include some sinking pellets to round it out. It’s vital to ensure the supplemental food reaches the bottom of the tank where they will likely be. 

Beyond sinking pellets, you can add in bloodworms or tubifex every other day or so as a treat. This is a tremendous protein-rich addition that they will love.

Suitable Tank Mates

Having an aquarium full of a variety of colorful fish is something to admire. Luckily, there’s really only one rule when it comes to owning a Gold Nugget Pleco, and that’s to avoid catfish and other plecos. If you stick to that rule, your tank should be fine.

Just like how they react to catfish, they will become the same way around other Gold Nugget Plecos. They can become quite aggressive, and since they are such large fish, they will fight over space.

Unless you have a massive tank that has enough room for two plecos to claim enough territory, you may be able to get away with having two in a single tank. The more space they have to claim means there will be less aggression.

However, it’s really not recommended to do this. Err on the side of caution and have only one Pleco per tank for their stress levels and happiness. 

Since they have such a great temperament towards other fish and only get territorial around other catfish, they are a great tank mate for various other fish. Finding fish that prefer to spend their time close to the top of the aquarium is excellent because Pleco’s like to stay near the bottom, and they’ll likely rarely cross paths. 

Some of the ideal tank mates include Ember Tetra, Neon Tetra, Honey Gourami, Apistogramma, Pearl Gourami, Dwarf Gourami, Rummy Nose Tetra, Celestial Pearl Danio, Sparkling Gourami, and a variety of Goldfish. These are just a few honorable mentions, but plenty of other types of fish will thrive in the same environment as the Gold Nugget Pleco.

It’s not recommended to include snails in your aquarium as Gold Nugget Plecos. Sometimes they do become very hungry, and they will eat them, but that’s not a guarantee. 


You may hear about breeding Gold Nugget Plecos, and there are some guides out there that suggest there is a proper breeding process for this fish, but they are not accurate. Unfortunately, there are no proven or safe ways to breed Gold Nugget Plecos in captivity. It should not be attempted at home.

Since there are unclear guidelines and insufficient information for fish owners, it’s recommended just to avoid attempting breeding altogether. Until there is sufficient evidence, research, and a fully-fleshed-out process, it’s only suitable for the most experienced aquarists with the proper setup and resources. 

It’s important to the safety of your fish just to avoid it. 


The Gold Nugget Pleco is a beautiful fish that is relatively low-maintenance. If you’re looking to add an easy and stunning fish to your aquarium that gets along well with your other fish, the Gold Nugget Pleco is an excellent option.

With some love and care, they can be part of your family for up to seven years. While there are plenty of excellent options to add to your home aquarium, the Gold Nugget Pleco should be a top choice.