10 Most Common Types of Plecos
In our world, a world populated with over 680 different types of plecos, it a little difficult to keep track of your favorites. To help you out a little, we’ve listed below ten of (what we think are) the most common types of plecos. Enjoy, my friends.
Here They Are
(1) Many people think that “Common Pleco” is the name for several different types of plecos, but it is actually the common name for the Hypostomus plecostomus species. By its name, it’s no surprise this is the most common pleco for fishkeepers.
(2) Generally speaking, Common Plecos are one of the larger types of plecos out there. On average, males and females grow to be 12-24 inches long.
(3) Their native habitat is within the North-Eastern portion of South America. But since fishkeepers have released them into the wild, nowadays, Common Plecos reside in rivers and lakes worldwide.
Candy Striped Pleco
(1) “Candy Striped Pleco” is the common name for the Peckoltia Vittata species. They have become very popular in the aquarium trade due to their good looks and peaceful temperament.
(2) With having vertical stripes all across their bodies, Candy Striped Plecos are one of the more attractive types of plecos. And with an adult size of 4 inches, they are quite a bit smaller than many types of plecos.
(3) Their natural habitat is the lower parts of the Amazon river.
(1) “Snowball Pleco” is the common name for the Hypancistrus Inspector species. Their scientific name originates from the Greek word “hypo” meaning “less than”. This is referencing to the fact that they have fewer teeth than the average pleco. The second part of their name “inspector” is Latin for “observer” – to illustrate their larger-than-average eyes.
(2) These plecos are black/dark red and are covered with white spots. And the tips of the doral and caudal fin are frosted white. Distinguishing males from females is actually quite easy. Males are more reddish in color and have a more definitive odontal growth.
(3) They grow to be 6-8 inches long.
(4) Snowball Plecos naturally reside in drainages 10 kilometers above the Rio Negro river.
(1) “Sailfin Pleco” is the common name for the Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps species. They are a herbivore catfish that feeds primarily on plants and algae. However, they are known to sometimes eat small invertebrates as well.
(2) Sailfin Plecos are easy to identify from other species of plecos. Not only is their dorsal fin longer than average, but while most species have 8 rays on their dorsal fin. These guys have 10 or more.
(3) They do grow rather large. Adults easily reach 20 inches in length.
(4) Sailfin Plecos can be found in river basins all throughout Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Usually, they are found somewhere with rocks, caves, and slow-moving water.
(1) “Butterfly Pleco” is the common name for the Dekeyseria Brachyura species. They can only be found in a small area just outside of Manaus, Brazil in the Rio Negro – a Southeast-flowing river that supports the Amazon River.
(2) They range from chocolate brown to light tan in color and usually reach 4-5 inches length. Their distinct symmetrical stripes are what really stand out on this pleco though.
(3) The cool thing about this type of pleco is its ability to quickly camouflage. With darker backgrounds, they have the ability to darken all of their colors – making themselves nearly invisible to predators.
(1) “Royal Pleco” is the common name for the Panaque nigrolineatus species. However, they are also referred to as Royal Catfish.
(2) These plecos have developed a reputation for being one of the few types of plecos that consume and digest wood.
(3) They have a grayish brown color and red eyes with light horizontal striping.
(4) They are considered to be one of the more heavily armored catfish, other than their soft underside. Because of this, they are not very flexible, making them fairly poor swimmers.
(5) Royals Plecos are naturally located in the river basins of Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil. They are a cave dwelling species, so they find homes in areas with lots of driftwood, rocks, and slow-moving water.
(1) “Vampire Pleco” is the common name for the Leporacanthicus Galaxias species, however, they are also referred to as Galaxy Plecos and Tusken Plecos.
(2) This type of pleco is 1 of 4 different species that make up the Leporacanthicus genus. They are also a cave-dwelling type of pleco and prefer quicker moving currents with high levels of oxygen.
(3) They are very attractive – dark gray with small white spots. They are medium-sized, so adults usually only grow 8-10 inches long.
(4) Males and females do not have any distinguishing characteristics. The only way to tell them apart is through “venting”.
(5) They are relatively peaceful and live well with nearly nearly every species of plecos.
(6) Vampires are located in river basins throughout Brazil and Venezuela.
(1) “Bristlenose Pleco” is the common name for the Ancistrus Temminckii species, but they are also known as Bushy Nose Plecos and Bristlenose Catfish. They get their name because of tentacles that protrude on their head/faces
(2) They are part of the Ancistrus genus, but they can be difficult to distinguish from other members of the genus. As a result, owners don’t usually know for sure which species they have.
(3) Bristlenose Plecos are fairly popular among fishkeepers because of their smaller size. They grow to be about 4 inches, so they can be kept in smaller aquariums in comparison to other types of plecos.
(4) They can be found in the Country Suriname, located in the basins of several Suriname rivers including the Saramacca River, Suriname River and Maroni River. There, their typical homes consist of plants, rocks, and a moderate water flow.
(1) “Sunshine Pleco” is the common name for the Scobinancistrus aureatus species. In the fishkeeping hobby, they are also commonly referred to as Golden Plecos. They get their name from the Greek word “aureatu” which translates to “golden”.
(2) Sunshine Plecos are a very popular species amongst fishkeepers. This is due to the fact they contain a vibrant yellow/gold coloration whereas most other plecos contain darker and more neutral coloration. Male Sunshine Plecos can be distinguished from females because they are larger in size and contain a more bristled body that reflects light more.
(3) They can be found in slow moving river basins all throughout South America. Their habitat consists of softer waters with very few plants and rather high temperatures – ranging from 77–84°F (25-29°C).
Blue Eyed Pleco
(1) “Blue Eyed Pleco” is the common name for the Orectolobus wardi species. This catfish is a member of the Panaque genus. Fish from this genus can be easily identified as they have distinctive, spoon-shaped teeth.
(2) Blue Eyed Plecos grow to be about 10-14 inches, have a black body, and vibrant blue/turquoise eyes. Although, just like most other plecos, there are no characteristics that help identify males from females. The only way to do so is by “venting” them.
(3) They reside in water basins throughout Columbia, South America. When in an aquarium setting, however, they are rather clumsy swimmers, so they prefer slower-moving waters.
(4) They are very desirable among fishkeepers, but are also very rare. This is attributed to the fact that they are relatively difficult to breed. In fact, there are no reports of them being successfully bred in captivity. They have only been bred in controlled river banks.