- Scientific Name: Hypostomus plecostomus
- Family: Loricariidae
- Size: 12 to 18 inches
- Temperature: 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
- Alkalinity: Undemanding
- Origin: Peru, Brazil
The plecostomus is a peaceful species that can be housed in a community tank as a single member of its species. As an adult, it is extremely intolerant of its own kind, although two can be kept together if they are added simultaneously as juveniles and allowed to “grow up” together. To date, there have been no spawnings reported in the home aquarium, although it is bred in large quantities on fish farms in the Far East and Florida.
As an adult, it should be housed in large aquariums (75 gallons or more) with a fine gravel or soft sand substrate. The tank should be densely planted with broad-leaved plants, such as Anubias and Java fern (live or artificial), and there should be plenty of hiding places in the form of rocks, caves and overturned flowerpots. Floating plants will help to create the subdued lighting it prefers.
Because it is a heavy eater and produces copious amounts of feces, strong filtration is a must. Also, the pleco comes from areas of swift-moving waters, so the tank should be well-aerated. Include driftwood in the tank for it to “rasp” (chew) on.
The pleco is a vegetarian in nature, so its diet should be duplicated as closely as possible in the aquarium. It will accept a wide variety of the many catfish foods available, such as algae wafers and pellets, as well as flake foods with a high vegetable content. Supplement its diet with fresh parboiled vegetables, such as romaine lettuce, zucchini, spinach and peas. It will also accept meaty foods like live brine shrimp, bloodworms and Tubifex worms. Make sure to give it an extra feeding once the lights have been turned off at night.