Plecostomus Care Guide: Size, Lifespan, Diet, Tank Size…

One of the most well-liked species in the aquarium hobby is the sucker fish.

This kind of fish is easy to keep and unique appearance. The Plecostomus, a hardy sucker fish with chocolate brown and light orange stripes, is another species we’d like to present to you today.

Plecostomus’s Size And Lifespan

The plecostomus is a native of Central and South America and is sometimes referred to by aquarium enthusiasts as the sucker fish or the algae eater.

These fish may reach lengths of more than 2 feet and live for more than 15 years in the wild.

Do not be deceived by the sucker fish or Pleco’s little size that you may see in pet shops. Those are typically just 3 inches long, but they have the potential to reach lengths of 12 inches.

As a result, you must give them a sizable tank so they may live happily and comfortably.

Plecostomus on white background

Suggested Tank Size

A tank should be at least 20 gallons in size if you wish to keep the tiniest plecos, the 12-inches one.

It’s usually preferable to use around 30 gallons, even for the tiny fellas. For larger plecos, the 2 feet ones, a 50 or even a 60-gallon tank is required. The tank has to be at least three times as long as the plecos’ length and at least twice as broad as they are.

A Pleco suckerfish shouldn’t be kept in a tank that is too small. They can become quite aggressive and start acting strangely if they start to outgrow their tank.

It will also result in a decline in water quality. The water will become filthy more quickly the more garbage, food, plants, and fish there are in a small area.

Plecostomus’s Tank Conditions

Tank Water

Raising a plecostomus will be easier if the tank is set up properly. The water must, above all else, be the proper temperature for your fish.

Plecostomus are used to water temperatures of 72 to 78°F. The simplest approach to reach this temperature is using an aquarium heater, and you can monitor the temperature with a thermometer each day.

Your fish may become ill or perish if the water is excessively hot or cold.

Although plecostomus don’t require a precise water pH, it’s preferable to maintain it between 6.5 and 7.5. Between 5 and 19 dH of water hardness is required for these fish.

A plecostomus tank needs an active filter because of the garbage they create. A filter that can process 200–250 gallons of water per hour is needed for the typical 50-gallon tank. The best water quality will be maintained by routine cleaning and water changes, keeping the plecos healthy.

Plants, Decorations And Substrate

For plecos, aquarium sand works best. Use only soft aquarium gravel that won’t irritate the fish’s sensitive underside.

This is due to the fact that plecos prefer lying at the tank’s bottom and frequently slide their bellies down it.

These sucker fish prefer deep-rooted, quickly-growing plants because they enjoy eating them and uprooting them. Look for plants with leaves that sucker fish may use as cover.

They may unwind in decorations like caverns and big hollow driftwood pieces.

Pleco is lying on soft gravel


Plecos don’t really enjoy the light. In actuality, most of these fish are nocturnal, which means they feed at night and can see very well. As long as the aquarium water is at the right temperature, the lighting is not really crucial.

It’s good to have a quality aquarium light for the fish, but it doesn’t have to be very large or bright. Just a little expert tip: decrease the lights so your Pleco comes out if you want to observe it feed throughout the day.

Giving a Plecostomus Fish Food

When it comes to feeding, plecostomus is really handy. Although they may consume very small fish and insects since they are technically omnivores, their primary sources of food are algae and plant materials.

Plecostomus are quite popular because they are excellent at preventing algae growth. They will scan the aquarium for some tasty algae to eat. Additionally, they take pleasure in consuming plant materials and leftover food from other fish.

Remember that the majority of aquariums—probably all of them—just don’t generate nearly enough algae to keep suckerfish well-fed, so you’ll need to provide extra food for their meals.

What Foods Are Consumed By Plecostomus?

Giving them some algae wafers is an excellent idea because they are usually herbivores, but some shrimp pellets will also do the trick. Fresh cucumber, lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, melon, and sweet potatoes are among the foods they will most likely eat.

Plecostomus will not consume food that does not settle to the bottom of the tank since they feed from the bottom of the tank.

Additionally, be sure to empty the tank of any leftover food every morning because it will rot, decompose, and cause the water to become murky and full of undesirable naturally occurring chemicals that you don’t want to be in there.

Tank Buddies For Plecostomus

It is advisable to add tank mates that live at the top and middle of the tank because these fish won’t bother your plecos.

Avoid mixing house plecos with other burrowing fish, such as eels and burrowing loaches, to avoid territorial disputes.

Because crabs will nip the fish and snails will probably be eaten, crabs and snails are poor tankmates for plecos. Betta fish is not a good tankmate for plecos since they are aggressive.

Hatchetfish, Pencil fish, Oscar fish, Tiger barbs, and Hoplo catfish are a few of the greatest tank mates for plecostomus.


Why Is My Pleco Not Eating?

Providing your fish the improper food may be one of the causes. Algae, algae pellets, algae wafers, and a variety of fresh and blanched vegetables are some of their favorite meals.

It may be as straightforward as the fact that they dislike the meal you are feeding them.

These fish are often nocturnal so they frequently won’t eat during the day. They may also refuse to eat if they are newly arrived in the tank, stressed out, or ill.

Can Plecos Be Kept Together?

No, Plecos should not typically be kept alongside the same species.

Although juvenile Plecos usually get along fairly nicely, as they become older—especially the males—they might develop aggressive and territorial behaviors.

Are Plecos Aggressive?

Plecos are good community fish. Despite the fact that plecos don’t get along with other Plecos for whatever reason, they are not hostile against other fish as long as they have adequate room, cover, and food.

How Long Does It Take Plecos To Grow?

The fact that Plecos develop continuously is what makes them attractive. Within a few years of birth, they will typically mature and grow to around their maximum size.

After then, Plecos will continue to develop steadily—albeit extremely slowly. However, these fish frequently reach a height of 2 feet or more.

How Long Can a Pleco Go Without Eating?

Your Pleco can live without food for around 7 days if it is healthy. Naturally, this is unhealthy and should not be tried despite that.


Plecostomus are simple to care for and contribute to keeping the aquarium clean by eating algae.

You should get a plecostomus if you’re looking for an exclusive creature for your peaceful community tank.

However, they need a large tank with regular cleaning and water changes. Remember that to keep your plecos healthy.