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Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps (Kner, 1854)

Image contributors to this species:

Sandy Milne (1) Allan James (3) Helen Burns (3) Thomas Sass Pedersen (2) Marty Edwards (2) BigFrogFeet (3)

ScotCat Sources:

Factsheet Etymology =Genus Etymology = Species

Other Sources:

Fishbase   Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory Wikipedia  

Relevant Information:

The true P. gibbiceps, L165, is rarely imported and is from the Rio Negro  (Brazil). It has a much higher dorsal fin than the specimens imported from Venezuela and Colombia but the colouration is much the same. There is a wide distribution and colour variants in Brazil and Peru for this species including L 083 and L 313  from Brazil, Pará, Rio Xingu (south and floodplain  lakes at  Altamira), and L164  from  the Rio Tefé,  Brazil. Some of these may turn out to be new undescribed species or just colour variants of P. gibbiceps. Aquarium Care: To keep this fine looking animal in mint condition you will need a reasonably sized aquarium starting of with a 3 footer when small with good external filtration to facilitate a good oxygen content, as it excretes copious amounts of waste if fed properly on vegetable matter. If the water quality is not adhered to, small holes can appear in the fin membranes. You will notice when your water quality is not up to the mark as they "hang" in the water just of their fins, from the substrate, which means 'get that water change done'. It is kind to plants in the aquarium, the only problem is when it gets bigger and can uproot them in its conquest around the tank. You can identify a Pterygoplichthys species from Hypostomus for example due to the many more rays in the dorsal fin, which can be up to 10 or over. Diet: They are mostly vegetarian with algae being their number one source of food but to keep a large fish fed on algae alone is impossible so you can feed also, spinach, blanched lettuce, cucumber, courgette (zucchini) and also non veg food such as tablets and prawns. 

Common Name:

Gibby, Sail fin Pleco, L083, L165,


Ancistrus gibbiceps, Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps, Liposarcus altipinnis    




South America: Middle and upper Amazon and Orinoco basins.


50cm. ( 20ins)


25-30°c (77-87°f.)




Rainer Stawikowski, André Werner & Ingo Seidel. DATZ Special L-Numbers 2004. All L-numbers: Habitat, Care & Diet. 



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                                                                                           updated = January 13, 2018 © ScotCat 1997-2018