Common Pleco – (Hypostomus plecostomus)

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common pleco


The common Pleco originates in various waterways of South America.


up to 20 inches +.

Aquarium Size:

560 litres/150 US gal

Preferred water conditions:

  • Temp: 23 – 27°C
  • pH: 6.5 – 7.8
  • Hardness: Soft – Moderately hard


The Common Pleco is Omnivorous and does best when fed a varied diet of Algea/Spirulina wafers, Frozen/Live foods and Vegetables.

Common Pleco’s have a huge appetite and grow quickly.


The common Pleco is quite placid when small. As it grows though it will become territorial. Once mature, these fish are very territorial and can be aggressive, ramming any fish in their path if they feel it necessary. They can be particularly aggressive when spawning, and when feeding.


Sexing is difficult based on appearance alone. From a top view, a female will appear rounder than a male, which will be more slender.


Breeding is difficult and requires a massive amount of space.

Males will select their territory and attempt to entice a female into their selected location. Females lay their eggs in caves in river banks in the wild, so an attempt to recreate this is ideal. Some have reported success by using large pots or pipes though.

Once the eggs are laid, the male will guard them until they hatch after a few days. Once the yolk sack has been eaten, the Pleco fry will move onto algae, and just about anything else they can find.


The common pleco is often advertised as a ‘cleaner fish’. In my opinion this is miss selling, as the common pleco will produce more waste than it cleans up. Whilst scavenging, it may consume the odd bit of poop from the substrate, but this is not a diet it can survive on. The common pleco requires its own nutritious food, which it converts into its own waste.

Common pleco’ grow enormous and are too large for many home aquaria. It would be ill advised to place one in a smaller tank with the intention of rehoming when it grows too large. Common pleco’ are just that, common, and they can be very difficult to rehome.

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