Adult Size: 5 – 12″″
Minimum Tank Volume: 200 litres
Temperature: 65-79°F (18-26°C)
Ideal pH: 6.5 – 7.5
Compatibility: Shy. Peaceful but clumsy
Diet: Omnivore but mainly algae
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
The common Pleco has been one of the most popular algae eating fish in the hobby for decades. There are six or more species which are virtually indistinguishable when young that all may be sold as “Common Pleco”. These species vary in adult length from 6″ to over 12″. You must always bear this in mind when considering purchasing a Pleco for your aquarium.
What do Common Plecos eat?
The common Pleco is well known as an algae eater buy most will require supplementary feeding as Plecos have a large appetite. They may be seen scavenging but they cannot exist on left-overs. The bulk of their diet should consist of pleco wafers. Some people choose to offer sliced courgette or crushed peas. These are acceptable foods but water quality would need to be very closely monitored as vegetables will quickly pollute the aquarium.
What decoration is best?
Common Plecos chew bogwood to extract lignin which forms part of their diet. For this reason, bogwood should always make up at least a small part of the décor in a Pleco aquarium. Most live and artificial plants will be “bulldozed” by the swimming motion of larger plecos. They benefit from the addition of caves and other dark areas to provide shelter.
What fish make good tank mates for Common Plecos?
The Common Pleco is a peaceful fish. Good tankmates include most Tetras, small to medium Cichlids and other South American fish. Gouramis and Livebearers also make great tank mates if the aquarium pH is kept close to neutral (pH 6.9-7.2)) Some large cichlids may bully Plecos persistently. Plecos don’t always enjoy sharing their caves with other catfish so a separate cave should be provided for each specimen.
How do I look after the tank?
Common Plecos, like most fish, thrive in consistent conditions and for this reason it is never a good idea to change all of the aquarium water at once. Change 10 – 25% of the water every week using a siphon to remove debris from the gravel. This is also a good time to perform maintenance on your filter. Always clean filter sponges in water that you have removed from the aquarium and not tap water. This is because the sponges provide a home to countless good bacteria that help to maintain your tank and the chlorine in tap water would kill them.
Before adding clean water to the aquarium always add the correct amount of dechlorinator and a bacteria starter.