View Full Version : Is the plecostomus a solitary fish?

01-13-2014, 12:17 AM
I've always enjoyed seeing a plecostomus in our aquariums. I'm wondering though--all the other fish in the aquarium will group with their like fish, and swim around. Of course the plecostomus doesn't do a whole heck of a lot of that.

Does that mean they are solitary? Or do they also prefer the company of other plecostomuses?

01-13-2014, 12:24 AM
They tolerate others but that is about that. Males can be very aggressive towards each other once they grow large. 1 ft+.

If you by pleco are refering to another species than the common pleco than the answer might be another.

01-13-2014, 12:33 AM
If they only tolerate each other, then perhaps he/she is happier as the only one in my aquarium.

the species I'm talking about is what is called "plecostomus" at the LFS. Not sure if this is what folks here are calling a pleco or not. I just thought it was....

01-13-2014, 01:11 AM
Can you post a picture. LFS can use the term for a number of species. The problem is that the word is used for a species and as a collective name for all suckermouth catfish. It is sometimes used for bristlenosed catfish (ancistrus) as well. These do well together and breed willing

01-13-2014, 01:52 AM
OK here are 4 shots of the one I'm talking about. He is actually a dark brindle---not entirely black or brown, kind of a nice coat. But apart from that, he looks like every fish labeled "plecostomus" in any LFS that I've ever seen, and so let's assume that any new plecostomuses would look just like this.

01-13-2014, 02:30 AM
For your info there are 100s of species called pleco, with very diverse behavior. Your fish likely is a common pleco, probably the most frequently encountered besides the bristlenose pleco. Common plecos are not particularly aggressive nor territorial for a pleco, and do not seem to mind solitude.
I do hope you've got a big tank; these fish will certainly exceed 1 ft. In length, and may reach 1.5 ft.

01-13-2014, 02:55 AM
It looks like a common pleco. it can be kept alone without any problem. I would not add another unless you have a very big tank.

01-13-2014, 03:06 AM
Our tank is about 55-60 gallons. There are about 15-20 neons, 2 snails, a few ghost shrimp, and 2 black mollies.

01-13-2014, 04:11 AM
Ancistrus (aka bristlenose) are a better fit for that size tank, they don't grow nearly as large in the long haul. The common pleco's are mass produced on Florida fish farms, and like several species of mbuna are cheap and too commonly available, but not necessarily particularly good fish for most home aquariums. The common pleco's really should be housed in a 125 or larger to prevent them from becoming stunted as they grow, but a 55 is at least good for some time.

01-13-2014, 05:47 AM
Our tank is about 55-60 gallons. There are about 15-20 neons, 2 snails, a few ghost shrimp, and 2 black mollies.

Which is 48 inch wide? Bit smallish for a fish that has an adult size of 12-16 inches.

Two myths about these fish

1. They do NOT grow to the length of the tank, but they can get a condition that's call stunting which is dangerous to their health
2. They cannot survive on algae alone. When they grow older their dietary needs change and they need fresh veg as well as some protein

Oh, and this is most likely a fish from the Pterygoplichthys family. Either Pterygoplichthys joselimaianus or just maybe Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus see http://www.planetcatfish.com/common/species.php?species_id=177

And I can't really think of any "pleco" that's sociable. They tend to tolerate other fish though.

01-17-2014, 08:02 AM
I think bulldog plecos are typically supposed to be housed in groups, but I could be wrong.
You definitely have a 'common' pleco, which is the big kind. If at all possible, I'd look into rehoming the big fellow. Bristlenose plecos will get around 6" long, if that, or you could try a twig catfish. Twig catfish are about 7" long at full size, but they're very slender and mostly tail, so they don't take up much bio-load space. They'll eat algae and will happily devour veggies or nori when the algae runs out, plus they're awesome-looking and very gentle. I suggest you look them up.