Pleco Species & Identification



 9 Most Common Pleco Species

  • Common Pleco
  • Royal Pleco
  • Zebra Pleco
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Vampire Pleco
  • Blue Eyed Pleco
  • Candy Striped Pleco
  • Snowball Pleco
  • Sunshine Pleco

Plecos are categorized by an “L series” listing. For example, the L001 species is the Pterygoplichthys joselimaianus. There are 256 known pleco species right now, so we have L001 – L256 species.

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Help Please… I need to ID this pleco’s species…gonna rescue from a friend. I believe it’s a common pleco.

(Yes, i know the tank in the pic is TOO small for it, part of the reason for the rescue, please don’t comment about the tank)

Looks like a common to me. Be aware, they will get bloody huge and enjoy knocking stuff over and digging up plants the rotten bastards.
Thanks guys, he’s gonna go into my 100 gallon Aquaponics sump in my greenhouse, so size will be fine.
Maci maci maci… stop with the your tank is too small.. that pleco would get lost in 100 gallons.. so annoying to hear that stuff. Like ya it would do great in a massive massive aquarium. But it will also do just fine in a 55 or 75 or 100 gallon. I mean it’s been doing good in that one gallon. Go buy me a 180 gallon tank to put my fish in.
Yeah since you liked the comment.

I do not wish nor have any desire to cater to your insufferable pretentiousness. 

There is a line between “can” and “should.” I only have shared what should be utilized for the fish’s care, but, as with every fish, it is up to its caretaker to do its best for the fish. 

If mediocrity and subpar conditions are “good enough,” that is your problem, not mine. I will not censor my suggestion for your impestuousness. 

If you cannot afford it, as suggested by your request for me to finance it, do not get the fish.

Your opinion to me on that is inconsequential. I shared the suggestion. It sounds like the fish will be getting a larger home in the future anyway.

“Plain and simple.”

its Just he said he knows the tanks to small and it’s like a 1 gallon and he said he’s putting it In a 100 gallon. That’s 99 gallons more than it had and your still saying that’s not good enough. Problem is, it is good enough.
No, your failure to understand the conversation is the problem. 

He is putting it into a 100 gallon. I suggested that it cannot be its forever home and gave suggested dimensions for a forever home as generally accepted by common pleco owners. He stated it isn’t the forever home anyway, because it will be going into a koi pond being built later.

why are you guys attacking? I actually agree with both of you…

EVENTUALLY if they live long enough to get to full size, some varieties of pleco can get very big and require a large setup…

BUT until that time comes they don’t NEED to be in that size their whole life. Their environment can be upgraded (which is my plan) over time…

Let’s keep this civil and open-minded please…

I am not taking the conversation that personally. 

And yes, the tank size suggestion I gave is based on “forever” home for that species based on its average growth size in captivity. 

Your temporary home would clearly suffice until that koi pond is built.

I see no issue here. If anything, we are all in agreement. he is referring to the now. Drew Buscho is referring to the interim and I am referring to future.

Definitely a common. I have a love hate relationship with commons, on one hand I love how cool they look but on the other hand I hate how they are constantly pooping and make a mess of the aquarium floor.
Its a common pleco but there are many different types would need a more clear picture to tell you which common pleco he is.
There are hundreds of types of pleco sadly i have no idea what you guy is but im sure someone on here will do, helps once they get bigger to identify them to. I had a common pleco he was a Pterygoplichthys pardalis. Its all about the markings on them and colouraton.
L239 Blue Panaque are a nice looking pleco, solid algae eater, and smaller size.  Would do well in a 4′ long tank with some water movement.
Big fan of the line bred L236. Can be incredibly pricey depending on which you live in. Some fetch as much as $1300 each with extremely white colouring.
Don’t expect to see them much if you get Clown Plecos. I’d post a picture of 1 of my 2 but I can never find them.
yeah that looks about what I got from petsmart, but I usually only see a tail fin or dorsal fin. I guess it’s a good thing they have so many hiding places to choose from but it sure would be nice to see them chillin from time to time.
I have a breeding colony that’s my old male he’s about 6 now and still only about 7-8 cm long he’s not as colrful as he used to be.
Im gunna say that’s a dominate female.. if male the bristles would surround the nose more wheres female can get them but only on the lip an up the centre.
i’ve got 4 in my tank- two males with lots of bristles- one female with none, and what im assuming is afemale with a few small bristles around her lip.
Bristlenose, although some males may outgrow it. Mine topped out around 4″. And there are plenty of hypancistrus and peckoltia that stay under 4″, if you want to spend some more money.

Posted by Adam B: So my pleco decided to jump out of my tank last night he’s alive back in the tank but not doing to well. Anyone know anyway I can help him ?

  • Maybe explain on the isn’t doing too. Well for people to understand.
  • Not sure how to help him, but sometimes they jump because of poor water conditions. Check your parameters.
  • Pleco‘s are know jumpers defo get a lid when you can next. They are very hardy fish so with time he should heal up.
  • What type of pleco is it ? How big ?
  • He’s all good and back in the main tank now thanks mike the cold water actually helped a lot he calmed down breathing went back to regular and started swimming again.
  • I had one jump not too long ago. Tank was too small and overstocked (their tank broke, so it was temporary), and I was doing daily water changes. I kept her separate for a bit, did 2x a day full water changes, and added a bit of aquarium salt. It took time for her to heal, but she did.

Posted by Ashley M: Getting a rhino pleco tomorrow. How often and what do you feed your pleco?

  • From their diet profile An adaptible omnivore that will eat a variety of foods, besides being a very good algae eater, supplement diet with sinking pellet foods and algae wafers. Vegetables and freeze dried foods also accepted. They will eat anything, but like to have flat rocks for comfort.
  • Need wood and I fed mine squash, broccoli…
  • I feed all of my fish once a day and mine picks up the scraps and eats algae. Every few days I will drop in a slice of cucumber or sinking algae wafer ect to give him a bit extra. Mine over his drift wood and often is Found hanging around it.
  • Bell peppers, zucchini. And some pleco species need wood. Not all do so just do a quick google search to find out.
  • Do you boil or cook the zucchini and cucumbers first?
  • Zucchini makes less mess than cucumbers . No need to cook it that will only make it softer and then you’ll have a mess. I slice mine in half and use a potatoe chip bag clip to hold it then sink it into your gravel .
  • Also Pleco should not be put into new tanks. The death rate is way high when you do that. Planet catfish is a good resource to find your Pleco needs.
  • I should have included wood, drift wood is an important part of some plecs diets, it’s not mentioned for this plec, but I would include it.
    as for fresh veg, every thing mentioned here is great, as are melons & coconuts, to make things sink I use a product I love because of the name (I should by shares in them for the amount I recommend them) Screwcumbers!! marine grade steel screws, completely aquarium safe & I love the name.
  • Pretty much anywhere here we have them in the canal right across the street from me.Huge plecos they are a problem here.
  • Did he keep it??? does he have a tank ??if not he needs to get a tank!! I wished I lived somewhere I can catch something like that my tanks would be full.
  • All kinds of invasive fish in Florida, cichlids, pleco, peacock bass. Would love to go fish there.
  • They are invasive in Texas as well, and most likely every gulf State. Being a believer in catch and release, even when it makes no sense, I’d have released it.
  • Not sure about Texas, but in Florida it’s illegal to release non natives I believe.
  • All over Florida. Haven’t heard much about pan handle, but every where in south and central Florida. But one of my friends even caught one here in NE FL. And the worst part is they are adapting to the colder weather up here, and the saltier water (where he caught it, the water is considered slight brackish-fresh).
  • For the invasive species, we don’t always know about them, and it can be surprising how many species and how many there are! For example, it was a big surprise for me to hear about the almost 1 million camels roaming Australia! These were killed like pest, but now people are capitalizing on it. Like all other invasive species, they should be put to use, especially with the world starving. Camel meat supposedly tastes like beef and maybe we all are it already since some restaurants are using since it is 50% cheaper than beef. Carp, and many other species are valued by immigrants for food. For the pleco, maybe it does serve a useful purpose to enlarge marshland? And, it can be used to clear off the invasion of water weeds? They can have many valuable uses. In the tropical fish trade, they are very popular and every aquarium can use one, except maybe it is better to have smaller species of plecos.
  • In no way could ‘every aquarium use one’ they have an enormous bioload and do nothing for a tank but be a good looking use of it’s capacity.
  • “More than 500 fish and wildlife nonnative species, also known as exotic species, have been observed in Florida.” We’re done, cut us loose and let us sink into the ocean.
  • They’ve been proven to be able to survive invasive even I Pennsylvania, if the water doesn’t freeze solid, they can live.
  • When I lived in Pensaca Florida… I be always was looking for a catch for invasive fish but never had luck. I traveled east to Destin or as far as Panama City and no luck. I believe it was me in that case lol
  • We get them in NE FL where they are coping w/ higher salinities of the St. John’s River. I heard the panhandle is great for hoplo cats.
  • I know this is going to sound really stupid of me but I did not even know they were in the wild, honestly it never dawned on me where they might come from other than a pet store.
  • They naturally live in the Amazon. Someone released their pets in Florida, and now they are an invasive species
  • Some are bred, the easier more common varietys. I am sure alnost all bristlenose plecos are captive bred. They are the easiest species to breed
  • The majority of invasive fish, including the common pleco, were “released” when fish farms flood. Yes, the tropical fish farms in Florida are mostly holes in the ground, with overflow drainage right into ditches and waterways. You can visit a few in South Florida and the Tampa area and find quite a few “unwelcome visitors” right in the ditches along the roads nearby.

Posted by Megan R: Hi All! I’m looking for pleco advice. I recently got a pleco from online, along with some cardinal tetras, and, within 48 hours, the tetras had ick and the pleco had a fungal infection. Everything has been treated and everyone looks good now. But the pleco has been in hiding since he arrived, not coming out of his cave at all. He will literally not move for days unless I bug him. Is he going to starve to death? He doesn’t seem to be eating at all. And since some of you will ask about water parameters: 7.2 pH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates. I test ~twice a week and do regular water changes. 20 gallon tank with live plants. Is he a lazy or shy pleco? Should I be worried? (I have a 65 gallon tank with a pleco who is a busy-bee, so the contrast is remarkable.)

  • My recent pleco experience has been horrible. Killed 2 in 2 months. Hope the little bigger gets his bearings .
  • How long has the tank been up?
  • I actually am really really good about water changes as well. I used it as a quarantine tank, so it has been set up for 6+ months with fish. I recently finished stocking my 65 gallon and am now converting the 20 gallon into a “real” tank. I’ve been through the ammonia spike, etc.
  • Plecos like to hide. Some types more than others. They are also active at night. It may be cleaning you tank your tank all night and resting during the day.
  • Plecos will often stay hidden while the lights are on and there is activity out and about. They’re very nocturnal creatures. Most likely it will be eating after the lights have gone off. What kind of pleco is it and how big?
  • If you’re worried about him not eating put an algae wafer inside the cave he hides in he will find it.
  • He could be still stressed & could be because he is ill too. I hate live aquaria.. their fish arrived to me already with ick and in just a tiny bit of water. The others had horrible fin rot. I lost my whole order from them the one time I did order & now I wouldn’t get anything from them ever again even if they were giving them away. It was sad. I hope your fish pull through!
  • My clown pleco has two modes: out and about all the time, or hiding for two weeks. There is no in between.