ack in the days of the 1970s and eighties the "so
called" Common Pleco, alongside Ancistrus
and Rineloricaria species were the only "kids
on the block" from the Loricariidae suckermouth
catfishes and the name Hypostomus plecostomus
was the name bandied about for this large Loricaria.
The name plecostomus has now virtually disapeared,
as we know it, as the sub-family Plecostominae is
no more and plecostomus is now considered
to be a synonym of Hypostomus.
Most of the literature
from these early days labels the Common Pleco as Hypostomus
plecostomus or Plecostomus commersoni
but of course the name plecostomus is now
invalid, but to this day the name Pleco is still used
for all en composing members of the Loricariidae family.
Today we have settled on a few Pterygoplichthysspecies
with the common name of the "Common Pleco"
including P. pardalis, Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus
and a few others, including some Hypostomus
species. The pictures in the old literature show members
of the Hypostomus genera as the dorsal fins
have between 5 and 8 rays whereas the Pterygoplichthys
genera sport over 10, usually about 13, and this is
easy to spot.
The Common Pleco
has been introduced to a few other countries and continents
and has become a nuisance to Fishermen and to the
indigenous fish population. You can now find this
species and others in the U.S.A., mainly Florida,
Mexico, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore in
Asia. They are bred in Fish Farms in the Far East
for the Aquarium trade and exported to North America
and unsuspecting aquarists have bought them only to
find out their potential growth size and latterly
they have been released into the local waters where
they have thrived.
You may find this
fish under the synonyms of Liposarcus pardalis
or Hypostomus pardalis. This species can
also be mistaken for Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus
except it has more of a reticulated pattern on the
abdomen where P. pardalis has more of a spotted
pattern. Apart from that they are very alike. There
are also man made albino variants of this species.
name used mostly in the North American continent is
the "Janitor Fish" due to their cleaning
capabilities of algae in the aquarium. Can be kept
in a wide range of temperatures such as an unheated
tank in a centrally heated house.
been asked about keeping them with Goldfish, but the
main worry here is that the "Pleco" will
try to suck the slime coatings of the goldfishes body
leading to impending infection issues. Better to house
the smaller common Ancistrus species if you
want an algae cleaner.
Lower, middle and upper
Amazon River basin. Introduced to countries outside
its native range.
Dorsal fin rays 11-13.
Anal fin: 4-5 rays. Scutes along
the lateral line, 29 to 30.
Geometric pattern on the head
and leopard-like, dark spots of variable size's on
the abdomen area.
Care & Compatibility
Peaceful on their own but will
be territorial with their own kind. Can be kept with
most aquarium fishes in a larger tank of 3' 6"
Due to the adult
size of these catfish, most successful breeding's
have occurred in ponds with steep clay or mud banks.
They dig tunnels close to the water level and the
males guard the eggs until they hatch.
In their natural habitat, this
species feeds on algae, aquatic weeds and other plant
matter and small crustaceans. Will eat mostly vegetable
fare in the aquarium but will also eat tablet and
Anal fin:The fin forward from the anal cavity. Dorsal fin:The primary rayed fin(s)
on top of the body. Scutes: Bony covering.
Joel M., De La Paz, Reynaldo M., Manohar Surya Krishna;
Pagulaya Roberto C. & Carandang VI1, Jose R.
New Philippine record of south american sailfin catfishes
(Pisces: Loricariidae). Evers, H.-G. & Seidel,
I: Mergus, Baensch
Catfish Atlas Volume 1, 1st English edn., 2005. Pp.944.