Pleco Aquarium Size? What’s Minimum Tank Size?



Topic: What is the minimum tank size I can have a common pleco in? Mine is around 4 inches long and I want to upgrade my tank. What size would be good for a plecostomus catfish? I plan on keeping other fish in the aquarium as well. Thank for your help.

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Posted by Nick H: Get the biggest tank you can possible! I know that seems a bit irrational to say but it’s TRUE. Common plecos can easily grow 12 inches long and up! If you need a minimum tank size though.. I would say a 55 gallon would work but the fish will be on the brink of constantly out growing it. Something like a 75 gallon and above would be perfect. That way you can keep other cool fish in the tank too. I personally keep cichlids because theyre super hardy and tough (easier to care for).

tank size pleco

At what point should you rehome or donate a pleco? Size wise. I’m almost positive that my mother in laws tank is too small for her pleco that she’s had for over 5 years. I went to her house today and he looks so huge. I tried to take pictures but the pictures don’t really do it justice. He looked like he didn’t have a ton of room to move around and was kind of just chilling not sucking on anything.
What’s the size of the tank and the size of the pleco? If it’s too small for its tank it should be rehomed far before five years.
I’m almost certain it’s a 55 gallon. It’s smaller than my 75 but still pretty big. I measured him to be about 7 inches long. Here are the pictures of him in the tank.
That’s not at a point I’d be concerned, but it looks like a common and will outgrow that space in time. I’d rehome for a more reasonably sized species.
I’d be more inclined to suggest she provide him with a couple of areas free from clutter and pebbles also. I know they’re smooth but it may be nice for him to be able to sit without having to lay on them. They also prefer driftwood if she’d be open to giving him some? Or yes, suggesting a smaller species such as a bristle nose. And doing a little rescape at the same time.
I agree the driftwood the only time mine moves from his spot is to eat/suck on the driftwood for a few mins a day. Great suggestion.
I agree, she might get more into the hobby if you guys did a fun rescaping project together. That way you can also teach her things without feeling any sort of way.
He just seems so cluttered and he really does look bigger than the picture. Maybe I just haven’t seen one so big before! Great suggestion, I’ll mention it.
It is very large I wouldn’t expect him to be okay in a tank that size for much more than another year or so. Between that and the goldfish it’s gotta be one dirty tank.
I have a common and he capped out about 10 inches. He is in my 55 and stays in one spot (his fav) 95% of the time.. he wonders occasionally but really he stays in his vertical corner mostly and doesnt swim around. The one i see looks about my guys size. Id suggest a cave or tube long enough for it to hide in/near… but id say its a large tank and unless its supet active should be fine.. especially if its been 5 years.
I’m surprised he’s 5 and only about 7 inches.I wouldn’t be too concerned yet. It’s not too big. Get him a hide and if she isn’t feeding them to it already, get it some veggies.
Common plecos need more then just veggies as they are not stricktly algae eaters. They need protien in their diet. I give mine massivor diet pellets and pleco tabs and veggies but they need protien or they will find it other ways and that other way is usually them eating the slime coat off of other fish in the tank and a pleco can kill another fish by doing this. Mine is 3 years old and about 12 inches.
Most bristlenose females don’t have bristles, my one female had small nubs, my other female had a smooth nose with no nubs and I finally got a male this time who has beautiful bristles.
So I’m in PetSmart, just scoping the fish selection, (yes I know its PetSmart) and a woman with her son come in looking for a “bottom cleaner.”

The PetSmart lady suggested a pleco.

When she walked off I couldn’t help but explain why that was a terrible idea and that she needed to look at the Cory’s. We started talking as I explained what a clean up crew was, that she needed more than 1, etc…. the PetSmart lady wasnt too happy.

The son decided on 3 panda Cory’s.

I casually walked away like I was looking for something. Felt good to help another fish keeper.

  • I agree with Nick on this one. Get a 75 gallon or larger! You won’t regret it and it will be easier to take care of.
  • What is the minimum size tank for a common pleco? And what other large fish can I put with it? When it’s large, what will it eat?
  • Pterygoplichthys pardalis can easily hit 18″+ in proper conditions. At full grown size, I’d say a 6’x2′ tank. They are omnivorous. A good variety of veggies like zucchini is a good staple along with algae wafers and other pellet foods.
  • 75g and up. All varieties of common get huge. I just rehomed my gibbiceps that was getting too large for my 55g. He liked to swim around like any other fish and there just wasn’t room.
  • They get big I usually start them off in smaller but they do grow fast.
  • I have an albino bristol nose in a 35 gal and hes with community fish. I think its perfect size.
  • I agree with above poster. Mine got way to big for comfort in my 55 gal. They eat algea, algea wafers, and all types of vegetables. Mine would also pick up a shrimp pellet every now and then.
  • I had 2 in my 80 and need more room they were 12 and 14 in I moved them them to a 120 g pond
  • It’s amazing because when you get one from the fish store I feel like is a little bit of their job to let you know how big the tank should be and how big the fish get…….
  • I don’t trust the fish store. That’s why I’m asking before even buying the fish
  • I have no idea what meds are available to you but 2 things are universal : Aeration + gradually upping your tank temperature. Do this very steadily and aim for 30°C. Don’t just turn your heater to 30.. Do like 1°C per hour or so and you’ll have to keep it steady for a few days.
    Please check if your stock can handle this before you do this method. Hope this helps and good luck.
  • The plecos are territorial and fight for space. The blocks allow for them to have their own space. They can also breed in the block they choose. This setup is perhaps not meant for breeding, but for stocking and selling. Zebraplecos are commonly tank bred and raised these days. I know a very good breeder with large stocks.
  • How much would a zebra pleco cost in America? I’m in England and I’m just curious about differences in prices.
  • I’ve only seen them for sale here a few times. Lowest price I’ve seen was £120. Highest was £180, so I suppose the price is high wherever you are!

  • In HK, they can sell from $100 to $200 USD each depending on the age, wild or domestic, patterns, quality, etc….In Australia, imports are strictly controlled, quarantine also strict, etc…so I can imagine high premiums. This setup might work, but breeders tend to not have as many levels and larger tanks. These fish are from deep waters, so I can imagine this can work in breeding.