How to Care for a Plecostomus

The plecostomus (pleco for short) is a fixture of home aquariums, and is a highly recommended addition to the tank of any beginning fish enthusiast. These scavengers will eat just about anything, which makes them a natural cleaner of fish tanks. They’ll often be found attached to the sides of the tank or other hard surfaces you have placed inside of your aquarium.

A fully grown adult pleco can get quite large—up to a foot long or more, depending on the species and the size of the tank. Typically, these fish pets in Iowa will need an aquarium size of at least 20 gallons, with a water temperature of 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here are just a few things you should know about caring for a pleco:

  • Diet: Plecos are not picky eaters at all, but it is still important to make sure they’re getting a well balanced diet. They enjoy eating algae that naturally forms in a tank, but you can also purchase sinking algae wafers if you have a relatively clean tank. You can also feed them raw cucumber or zucchini as a treat a couple times a week. Any raw vegetables you send to the pleco should be anchored near the bottom.
  • Feeding: Plecos eat every day, and generally at night. You should also consider the specific type of pleco you have when determining its diet and feeding schedule. Some plecos, for example, require some driftwood as part of their diet, which adds a little more complexity to the feeding process.
  • Preferred habitats: First and foremost, make sure you have a tank large enough to accommodate a fully grown pleco. Stay away from acrylic aquariums, because large plecos will scratch the material. Your pleco may benefit from driftwood. The quality of the water is most important—stable temperature and pH levels are necessary to maintaining the health of a pleco.
  • Maintaining the habitat: You should, of course, always do what you can to keep a properly clean habitat for your pleco and all your aquarium life. Check the filter, water temperature and other equipment once a day to make sure everything is in order, and check the water filter at least once a week. Each month you should replace 10 to 25 percent of the water in the tank. When introducing new species to the aquarium, do so gradually so as not to throw off the ecosystem you’ve created. Plecos are generally pretty adaptable to other fish, and can be kept with community fish. However, you should only keep one pleco in your tank at a time.
  • Habits: Know the habits of a pleco. It will spend most of its time hanging on the side of the aquarium or sitting on the bottom, attached to hard surfaces. We recommend only having one pleco at once because they can be very territorial with others of their own species. They’re active at night, and will uproot and eat most live plants, so be careful about the kinds of aquarium plants you put into your tank.

For more information about how to care for your plecostomus or other fish pets in Iowa, visit Fish Store Pet Center today.

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