Common Pleco


Date: July 5th, 2011


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

Quick stats:

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


Order: Siluriformes
Family: Loricariidae
Genera: Pterygoplichthy

Common name:

Pleco, Plec


Amazonia, in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.

General Body Form:

The Pleco has an elongated shape and an almost flat belly and convex back area. The most prominent feature is the large Dorsal fin, which has one large ray and seven, soft rays. The tail fin is a mirror of itself with the lower edge and upper edge both being identical.

The Pleco's mouth is ventral and large with one pair of barbells.

The Pleco can grow quite large but usually stay smaller in all but the biggest aquaria.


The overall coloration of the Pleco appears to be a dark Brown. The upper-side of the fish is brown with darker brown spots and up to five wide dark transverse bands. The fins are also brown, with rows of dark brown spots between the rays.


The Pleco is a twilight fish that is most active at this time. Keep your pleco in a large, well-planted community aquarium with pieces of driftwood for scraping. A soft substrate is also beneficial as some Plecos like to burrow.

A diet high in vegetable matter is essential to their health and can be supplemented with Romaine lettuce or boiled spinach.

Plecos generally leave small fish alone, but occasionally will eat any that present themselves to them. They are hardy and undemanding in the water parameters, but will do best in soft water with a temperature in the mid seventies.

The Pleco is very long lived and will make a fantastic addition to any tank.


Breeding of Plecos has been done fairly regularly. The aquarium should have tubes or clay pipes with a fairly large diameter for nesting. The male will clean the site and fan water over the eggs and fry. At a temperature of about 70F, the eggs will hatch in about nine days. The fry will eat small flake food as well as baby brine shrimp and algae scrapings. A bare bottom tank is best for young Plecos.


If you have any further questions, email them to, or visit your local CountryMax store today!

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