Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus)

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Common Pleco

Hypostomus plecostomus

454 Litres (120 US G.)

40.6-45.7cm (16-18 ")




6.5 - 8.0

22.2-27.8°C (72 -82 °F)

6-12 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Other (See article)

8-15 years



This animal is available captive bred

Additional names

Pleco, Common Pleco, Suckermouth Catfish, Plec

Additional scientific names

Acipenser plecostomus, Hypostomus guacari, Loricaria flava, Plecostomus bicirrosus, Plecostomus brasiliensis, Plecostomus plecostomus


Throughout northern South America and Trinidad. Also found throughout the Orinoco basin, although some authors believe that Orinoco specimens may represent a different species. The photographs above are all of H. plecostomus from the Orinoco basin. Weber (2003) restricted distribution to coastal drainages of the Guianas[1].


Mature males have large pectoral fins that turn a reddish pink. Mature or gravid females will be wider in the mid-section when viewed from above.

Tank compatibility[edit]

Keep with large tankmates, can be kept with semi-aggressive Cichlids. Do not keep with other Plecos as they will be territorial towards one another.


A scavenger, keep the diet primarily vegetarian. Will graze on algae. Bogwood is beneficial in their diet.

Feeding regime[edit]

Feed once or twice a day, will be more active after lights out.

Environment specifics[edit]

A large, heavily planted tank with plenty of hiding places, such as bogwood, is ideal. Always allow your Pleco somewhere to hide away from any more active tank inhabitants.


The Plecostomus is a good scavenger and is renowned for sucking algae from aquarium glass. They tend to be nocturnal and prefer hiding places such as plants, rocks and bogwood in their environment.


This is one of the most common pleco species sold at pet shops and must be one of the most commonly returned when it has outgrown the tank. However, as larger plecos tend to be in high demand for those with larger tanks, this is not usually a problem. This fish will require a tank length of at least 6 feet (1.8M) in length eventually. It can be hard to tell the difference between this specific pleco and other very similar species. The Pterygoplichthys pardalis, for example, is often also labelled as the Common Pleco.
This true plecostomus can be quite sandy to dark brown in colour with a clear reticulated pattern across the body, the markings larger on the body and through the fins but smaller on the head.



  1. Planet Catfish - Distribution

External links[edit]