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Fish of the day Ep.5 Tons of Plecostomus's

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Published on Mar 11, 2011

mastermindnews- New fish of the day. Plecostomus

Hypostomus plecostomus (known by some people as a sucker fish) is the scientific name for a type of freshwater tropical Central and South American fish belonging to the family Loricariidae. They are large algae eaters, and to differentiate them from small algae eaters, they are often referred to as plecostomus, often abbreviated as plecos or plecs. They are extremely popular in aquaria for their ability to clean tanks by eating algae growth and dead fish. In Malaysia, these fish are called 'ikan bandaraya' or 'municipal fish' in English because of their ability to clean fish tanks. These friendly-natured fish can typically be purchased when about 8 cm (3 inches) and may grow up to 60 cm (2 ft) if there is adequate room, making them mostly impractical for any but the largest aquariums.

Plecos are omnivorous but, in the wild, feed mostly on plant material at night. During the day, their unusual omega irides block a lot of the light out of their eyes, but they are usually open at night. They can roll their eye within their sockets. Plecos are usually skittish and hides themselves whenever someone approaches.

As they age, their foreheads enlarge in a peculiar manner. Plecos may become more peaceful with age and are best kept individually in tanks. Because of their potentially large size and peaceful behaviour, it may be advisable to procure a less aggressive catfish. In a suitably large tank, a solitary plecostomus will live amicably enough in a community alongside other tropical fish. These catfish may survive in tanks with "cold-water" species like goldfish, but it is generally not advised due to the different temperature preferences and the fact that some plecos will suck the protective slime coat off the goldfish. This however would indicate your pleco is starving and seeking the algae stuck to the slime coat.

There are a number of species that are sold on the market under the name common algae sucker, including Hypostomus plecostomus, Hypostomus punctatus, Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus, and Pterygoplichthys pardalis.
A maturing plecostomus sucking to an aquarium ornament.

There are many types of suckermouth armoured catfishes that science has not described. As a result, they are given a common name and an L-number designation until a new scientific name for the fish is described. An example is the flash plecostomus, L204, believed to be a species of Panaque.

Plecostomus catfish are some of the most commonly kept algae-eating catfish, and are also some of the largest. Individuals measuring over 60 cm (2 ft) long have been reported in ponds and large tanks; most people think they only grow large enough for their aquarium, but a small tank may only slow their rate of growth. Their growth may also become stunted in a smaller tank, leading to bad health and possibly an early death. A 40 gallon+ tank is necessary.

They live in tropical fresh water. They usually live in lakes in the western united states, but have been found in ponds as well. I South America, they can be found everywhere.

In an aquarium setting these fish find great pleasure in air stones and swimming in and through the bubbles

The name "plecostomus" means "folded mouth" (pleco, see pleat, stoma, mouth), but it has since been applied to any of a large number of species that have a similar shape, but vary widely in terms of maximum length, coloration, and certain body features such as the "horns" on the bristlenose catfish (genus Ancistrus).

Plecos, when introduced to an aquarium, will often find a permanent resting place (under or inside an ornament or rock, for example) to spend most of their time. This becomes a "home" for the plecostomus. If there are no hiding places, they will sleep in the corner of their tank.

Some fish keepers have trouble housing them in heavily planted aquariums because some plecostomus thrash their tails to develop a "well" in the gravel of the aquarium. It is often necessary to replant aquarium plants that they dislodge.

Plecos are omnivores. They are not picky eaters. In planted aquariums they will eat any food left behind by other fish as well as naturally growing algae in the tank. They have also been known to have a taste for discus mucus. In tanks without live plants, their diet can be supplemented with sinking fish food, usually algae wafers readily available from a pet store.

Although the plecostomus is a known common algae sucker, it requires more than just pellets and tank algae to eat. You can also, and should, feed them: algae wafers, zucchini, cucumber, peas, melon and also any semi-soft fruit or vegetable will do as well. They also can eat shrimp, shrimp pellets and flake fish food. They can become aggressive if their hiding spot is taken by other hiding fish, such as Brown Knifefish, Rope Fish, and Tire Track eels.

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