Male or Female Pleco? Sexing the Gender of Catfish?



Topic: How can I figure out the sex or gender of my pleco catfish if it’s a male or female? I have a couple different types of plecos and was wondering if they could maybe breed together. What are the signs of a female vs a male. Need some help here.

*Awarded Answer
Posted by Sarah K: They are all different, there are some that you can vent like cichlids others by size (plumpness), some by the spikes on the head and/or fins. The genital papilla in mature fish can be determined by advanced Loricariidae enthusiasts. In males this is a small yet thick stump which noticeably protrudes from the fish’s undercarriage. In females it is less obvious and is recessed or lies flat with the body.

There are thousands upon thousands of ‘Pleco’ so your (Loricariidae)most likely is sexed far differently and may not be able to be sexed at all.  So unless you know what it is or can have it identified. *unknown* 

male or female pleco

Lol I guess it will remain a mystery then. I have no real reason to know, I was just curious what my gibbiceps was.
Thank you. When I first got it its colors were pretty washed out looking. I never expected it to be such a nice looking fish. I wish I had more before pics but my old phone broke. This is the oldest pic I still have and you can see the middle of him is still kind of a dull brown.
But spawning in captivity is near on impossible for hobbyists because of the size of mature specimens and them needing muddy banks to burrow into.
I see a lot of people’s plecos on the glass, is it weird mine has almost no interest in the glass? Or would that just mean there’s not enough algae on it? Mines always on the drift wood or slate.
What you won’t be seeing is him out on the glass at night. Most of mine don’t glass it up during the day but at night they leave their comfort zone and wander.
Look up along the body and pelvic fins for bristly hairs. That’s one easy way to determine.
Pectoral fin hairs and facial odontodes are not typical of Pterygoplichthys species.
So, I’ve heard a couple things on sexing bristlenose plecos and was wondering on how you tell the difference. I have two albinos however this one is the biggest and is growing it’s bristles.
Looks like a male to me it’ll be easier to tell as it gets a little older the males have way more bristles than the females.
How long is it? If it’s about 3 inches long that’s a female! Both male and female will get a little rim of short whiskers like a mustache! The males bristles will grow out of the top of its head / nose just in front of their eyes! But like I said if it’s 2.5 to 3 inches long (and the fact that the mustache is that developed) you have a female.
if I remember this evening I’ll try to get a good pic of my pair… but my female is a little over 3 inches and the male is 3.5 inches long and he’s got a good little bush coming in. 
that is just bristle nose plecos. These both look like commons. The big one is definitely a male. Little one I am not sure by the side view either.
They aren’t hard to keep alive once you get past the first two weeks or so. They’re hard to breed, so they are almost all wild caught. They need algae in their systems, and when they’re shipped, they don’t have any, and when they get to the lfs, usually there isn’t any algae in the tank either. So by the time they get to you, they’re stressed and starving. First time I bought otos I bought 5 and 4 died. The next time, I drip acclimated them and bought them a couple days after the store got them, and they’re all still fine. 🙂 they’re amazing little things.
Ottocinclus do a lot better in groups and need well established aquariums usually where people go wrong buying them for new ones they need to of been running 6+ months really for everything to be balanced enough for them they primarily eat algae which is another issue at times keeping enough for them to eat but that can normally be supplemented with algae wafers.
No, they need live algae in your tank. Not algae wafers, those are a supplement. How long has your tank been running?
Quite a few I know a few people who have successfully bred not just the normal ottocinclus but a few have gone on to get the rarer green ottocinclus to breed as well I have personally only ever lost one which I accidentally siphoned in a lapse of concentration they are a great little fish though and there is more types than people realise aswell.
Also depends on what you have in your tank, if you’re fully stocked you want to add less, but if you’re understocked I believe 10-15 would be a good number.
I found by positioning my tanks deliberately infront of windows it helped to speed up the natural algae growth which in turn helped keep them fed like Emily said though they will and should be getting natural algae first the waters should only be used to supplement there diet when the algae runs low so they don’t starve I have known a few people loose them as there ottos have refused the wafers.
My Ottos have always eaten algae wafers and veg. The tanks I’ve had them in have never had natural algae growing in it and some of my Ottos have managed to survive for almost 2 years without natural algae. If a fish is willing to let itself starve, there’s generally something underlying that’s overriding their survival instinct. Ottos in general are quite sensitive so above all else, the parameters need to be stable. 
There is a number of fish which will let themselves starve to death rather than eat wafers or pellets etc mainly with predator fish 80-90% can be pellet trained but there is some that will starve rather than eat prepared foods that’s nothing to do with water that’s nature and if your tank never has algae i suspect they are eating it before it has chance to become noticeable so they will be getting some natural algae but 100% agree same with pretty much all fish water quality is most important factor keep everything stable no sudden swings and the fish normally do fine.
I find that very hard to agree with unfortunately, survival instinct is stronger than their desire for preferred foods. I’ve never ever encountered a healthy fish that has starved itself, only unhealthy fish experiencing health/stress issues. Even wild caught fish that have resisted food for 3 weeks will eventually accept something, otherwise they risk dying and not passing on their genes (which is their drive for survival, without it their species would die out). That’s nature. 🙂

I’m 99.99% sure there is/was no natural algae in any of those tanks. Even after the Ottos were moved out and placed into other tanks, or passed away, there was still no algae growth and there were/are no other algae eaters to do that job. 

Id add a word of caution, my LFS sells otocinclus vittatas as most do, the variety sold are actually otocinclus mariae.  I would generally end up losing 3 out of 5 till I identified and found out the species purchased weren’t exactly tropical more sub tropical preferring temps of 70-76F. Once I lowered the temps to 72-74F area, haven’t lost one.