Are Plecos Social? Nocturnal and Hardy? Thinking of Getting a Catfish

Topic: A friend told me that pleco fish are very non social fish because they’re nocturnal and designed to be very hardy. I’m thinking about getting a catfish for my fish tank. He was trying to tell me about them but would like some others opinions. Thanks for your help.

*Awarded Answer
Posted by Jake P: Plecos are some of the oldest fish on the planet. They are very hardy because they have adapted through the years by surviving. They are also non social and like to hide most of them (like most catfish). If your looking for a fish with personality I would choose a different fish! Catfish like to mainly come out at night and feed on algae or anything they can get to eat. Plecos are very messy fish that a lot of times.. just add more waste to a fish tank. They are super cool fish but more for an advanced fish keeper that properly understands them.

nocturnal pleco fish social


hey everyone! i recently got a albino pleco i was told that it was a bristle nose (got from petsmart along with a racer snail) my few questions are this

so i read that they were nocturnal should i put the algae pellet next to him so he doesnt have to venture out into the tank to eat it? 

is it a he or a she? i tried to look up how to tell the gender and i didnt get very far,

trying to tell what breed he is so i can plan for the tank upgrade

i have two photos of Prometheus (name of pleco) in hopes they could shed light on the questions and any advice would be great.

awesome! anyway they have distinct markings or shapes for being able to tell if i get one or two more in the future?
okay! i wasnt sure how long it would take males to grow the “wiskers” so i didnt know if i had to play a waiting game, so she should be around 10 inches in max length right?
You can try to leave the lights on the majority of the time to get him used to coming out in the daytime. All of the BN I raise are light tolerant so they move around all day with very little hiding. But yes BN pleco are very nocturnal and don’t like the light to much.
Not big enough to sex. Try feeding at night. None of my pleco like to eat during the day.
Please don’t feed algae wafers. It’s the equivalent of feeding newborn humans popcorn and chocolate. Feed raw (rinsed) French cut green beans. Occasional Repashy. That’s it. That’s all I do and mine spawn every month or less and grow to spawning size in 7-9 months.

hardy pleco catfish

raw zucchini is what I feed mine, and occasionally I will put some raw deshelled shrimp in for protein, mine will not eat cucumber, I will sometimes feed them dried seaweed sheets, they love that.
bristlenose are prob the least nocturnal of the plecos especially while there smaller , adult males tend to spend most of there time caving , females will  venture out more, . m/f are easy to tell apart when older , only males grow the whiskers on top of the face.
Most plecos are nocturnal and at the very least do not enjoy bright lighting. If possible decreasing the light intensity might stimulate the pleco to venture out during the day.
Mine is active all day it hids for short periods of time then comes back out.
I had one for 15 years and I saw it for about 3 hours of combined time over the years.  It was rarely out during the day.  There would be times where I wouldn’t see it for a month or more and then it would show up on the glass one night after the lights went out.
Plecos are nocturnal. They can’t even see well during the day because they have a second eyelid that closes to protect their eyes from the bright light.
I wouldn’t say typically nocturnal or around during the day, they come out when they feel safe whether it is light or dark. Mine comes out when it’s quiet and not too much movement. They are a very nervous species who is best in a tank where there isn’t too much movement outside the tank.
This guy hides most of the time. He will come out but scurries off when sees me – day or night.
I have 2 in this 50 gl with different tetras and driftwood and they are more comfortable movin around.
Are plecos aka suckerfish nocturnal? I happen to have a shy one that looses its color when I turn my lights on he is currently placed in a 40g cold water tank, I had one before but didn’t had this problem thanks.
My 2 clowns i only ever see em when i go in for middle of the night water and flip the light on, rarely out during the day, just my observation though, doesn’t make em nocturnal.
Thanks for the info. Just trying to figure out a way for my pleco to thrive might be that is colwater? But the lady from pleco said it would be fine. Also he looses color when the light is on.
yeah, i don’t know a lot about em honestly, was just throwing out the observation of my 2 clown plecos.
When I got mine he was kind of a solid grey color.  Then one day I saw him and he was dark brown and orange with spots like a leopard.  Go figure.
I had to re-home it. I should have taken a picture. He was intriguing. 

I was asked to take a 20g tank with 3 goldfish and a pleco when a friend was moving.  It wasn’t enough space for the 4 of them. Then I found myself with surprise goldfish babies. So, I took the pleco and big goldfish to Petco’s adoption tank. The guy in the store told me the pleco was going home with him. The other three were taken about an hour after I dropped them off.

Not sure a cold water tank would be good for him. 78 degrees is good. It’s best not to mix tropical fish with cold water fish.
The temperature is actually a little high with no heater. No explanation why my tank stays this warm on 68 room temperature.
Does he have any wood for digestion? Also I thought they were tropical so would be in warmer water. I could be wrong on both counts but that’s what my lfs told me when I got mine.
I don’t have any wood I usually feed him algae tablets and zucchini every three days or so.  Thanks for the help seems like he might need a space to hide. Only gets stressed out when the light is on.
The need wood for digestion is only specific to some plecos like clowns and most panaques . Commons don’t require it as part of their diet, but do need some place to hide.
I’d definitely get him a place to hide. Drift wood wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. But he’s probably stressed out cause he has no hiding spots.
I  have many plecos. And there’s some that could care less about the light and some I might see every few weeks if I’m lucky. They are like any fish species. Different plecos have different attitudes.
[Sorry for the poor quality…] 

I have an extremely social pleco who always swims with the other fish, he’s pretty awesome! Who else has a social pleco?

I do he is pretty sweet he even let’s me touch him when I have to tend to the tank! I have 2 in that tank but he’s the big guy his name is Kong and I’ve had him since he was tiny.
My male bn albino when he’s not looking after his young is always out to see shares cucumber with his tank mates.
My large pardalis is very social, she’s also kinda the boss of the tank, but she’s always out and about… First year i had her though, she was The Invisible Fish.

Now, her lil tank mate, another common i haven’t posted for more specific identifying yet, hides a bit, but comes out with her and mingles. He’s NOT the boss though, because if i put two treats in the tank, she always wants the one he has.

Could someone please help me identify this pleco? Thanks for letting me join the group.  This is my favorite pleco because its not anti social like my other 2.
Pterygoplichthys joselimaianus  I believe it goes under the L number L001 but I don’t use that system so I’m probably wrong.
L-number are given to fish that have yet to be scientifically described.  When they find what they believe could be a new species or location variant of a currently described species they’re assigned an L-number until they can be classified. Once classified, the idea is the L-Number becomes obsolete and the scientific nomenclature becomes the new description. But people tend to continue using L-numbers even after fish are scientifically described because L239 is easier to say and type than Baryancistrus Beginni. 

It should be noted the “L” in this system stands for Loricariidae and the fish belonging to that family of fish are the ones being catalogued this way.

I seen the one on the left listed as a Gold Spot pleco at a fish store?   They are pretty and out more than most plecos.
Dripping 5 Queen Arabesque Plecos right now. I have been waiting 2 years to get these. They have a bit of a stressed appearance after their journey from New York. Better pictures to come. 

What We Like About This Fish:

•The Queen Arabesque Pleco is an extremely beautiful and very peaceful, hardy addition to almost any aquarium.  

•At a maximum size of 3.1 to 3.5 inches, this is a very practical and manageable fish.

•This fish will not bother most plants. It will also scavenge and consume a great deal of uneaten fish food.

•The Queen Arabesque Pleco is an aquarium fish with a striking appearance as well as plenty of personality.


•Diet: Omnivorous, so a varied diet is necessary. This species is more carnivorous than many other “pleco” species.

•Social behavior: Generally solitary, but will socialize somewhat, especially during breeding.

•Origin: Tank-bred, but indigenous to Rio Tapajos, Brazil, South America.

•Average adult size: 3.1 – 3.5 inches (8 – 9 cm)

•Average purchase size: 1+ inches (2.5+ cm) 


•pH level range: 5.5 – 7.5 (flexible as long as sudden changes are avoided.)

•Temperature range: 75.2 – 86° F (24 – 30° C)

•KH: 6 – 10 dKH

•Minimum tank size: 25 – 30 gallons

Gorgeous fish I was looking at that in your last post and thinking about how nice it would look in my 75 which is currently plecoless.
My favorite fish is my gold nugget queen pleco. Had “her” for a year now and she hasn’t grown much but she’s slowly becoming more social at feeding times and managed to get a good photo!
She’s covered in sand as she got evicted from her hiding spot. She’s colored up alot since I got her.
My Pleco Is Anti-Social

So my common pleco never comes out of hiding.  I have a pirate ship that he is in all the time.  I’ve had him for months now and seen him twice.  Once being yesterday when I took the ship out to clean the substrate under it.  I heard that plecos like driftwood so I picked some up about a month ago, but it didn’t seem to matter.  After I got tired of the brown water I pulled it.

Is this normal behaviour?  He’s growing so I feel like he’s healthy, but just never comes out of hiding.

That’s the thing, I only have the light on until midnight and I’m usually up later and still nothing.  Bought him a piece of bogwood but no luck with it either, and I didn’t like the tannins in the water so I pulled it.  I’ll try the veggies though.
Hi There I know your messages were left a while ago but i will try to help by saying I had the same problem with my Pleco,  and I found that if you start feeding him on algae wafers that should help him come out a bit more. Having said this thought it can take time for him to first find them and also get him to know that it is food. But it is important to know that you should take the wafer out after about 5 minute i find to stop it braking down and bringing your nitrates up. This is what worked for my Pleco but you have to remember that all fish are different and somethings work for some fish and somethings don’t. Hope thats a help .