Plecostomus is known in various ways as “fish cleans funds”, “catfish” or “sucks crystals”, among other names.
It belongs to the family of the Loricariids, within the order of the Siluriformes, and is very famous for being used to clean the algae of the aquariums.
However, the plecostomus has many more features that make it a very interesting fish.
It is one of the fish, unfortunately, most common in the aquarium. It is one of the fish know vulgarly as cleaning fish. But plecostomus should not be used for most aquariums because they are really huge.
The plecostomus It is a tropical fish that grows at high speed. This species can reach between 40 and 60 centimeters in length.
Although they are fish that are often found in aquariums of 5 cm, they quickly reach large sizes. Here is the main problem to have this species in most aquariums.
It has a flattened body, with a wide head and side-eyes adapted to the darkness. This species is adapted to the life of the bottom, so it has a very flat stomach.
It has a mouth in a disposition like a suction cup that allows it to adhere to the different natural substrates. You may also like to read killifish
This allows him not to be dragged by the strong currents of the rivers. Also, this morphological characteristic makes that when feeding on the algae, clean the crystals of the fish tanks.
As a curious fact, the plecostomus has no scales, but spines and bony plates that serve to protect from their predators.
The body of this species to be cover with bone scales which gives an image of being a fish with armor.
The Plecostomus usually presents a brown or grayish color and its whole body is cover by black spots that turn it into a fish with a very characteristic design.
Color patterns can vary greatly between different individuals or with age. The dorsal fin the large one and the sail form, with the first bony radius.
This strong thorn is also present in the pectoral and pelvic fins. The life expectancy of this species is between 10 to 15 years, even more in the wild.
The plecostomus is native to Central and South America. It inhabits the rivers of tropical waters of the Amazon basin and is distributed in several countries.
It usually lives in sandy, rocky and even swampy areas and usually spends most of its time at the bottom of the water.
However, today it is very common to find it in aquariums around the world.
In addition, in certain areas of the planet have been introduced artificially by accident or the release by amateurs of aquariums, causing serious problems in ecosystems.
In Mexico, they have become an invasive species, given their great reproduction and adaptability. What has caused the descent of other native aquatic animals in the area? You may also like to read Angelfish
The Plecostomus is an omnivorous and nocturnal fish, mainly this species is vegetarian, feeds on algae and the remains of food left by other fish. Being a nocturnal species, it feeds at night, so it is convenient to turn off all the lights and feed it.
It is advisable to give special tablets with a vegetable base. Although you can also offer different varieties of vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage leaves, etc.
But if the diet is poor in plant elements, some plants could be eaten. In the wild, it is mainly nourished by algae and small crustaceans.
Although it is known to ingest the algae from fish tanks, it is impossible for an aquarium plecostomus to feed solely on it or on the remains of other fish food.
It is wrong to think that it is not necessary to feed them. On the contrary, they require a large vegetable base to survive. It is essential that the breeders or aquarium keepers put a trunk inside the tank.
This with the objective that the species absorb the cellulose that will help in the digestive process.
This species hardly presents sexual dimorphism. It is only noticeable in adult specimens.
In the wild, they incubate eggs between rocks or sandy areas and are usually watch by both the female and the male.
Its reproduction in captivity is difficult. In freedom, they reproduce in large burrows that they dig on the riverbanks.
The cleaner fish is a peaceful animal, it should not have problems when living with others of its kind.
Although it can be territorial with other members of its same species. Except if you are hungry you can become aggressive and attack your aquarium companions.
It is a nocturnal fish, so usually, this species sleeps during the day and feeds at night.
They can adopt a territorial and solitary attitude when reaching maturity, not allowing other catfish to be close to them.
At first, you may feel uncomfortable and insecure, so you will look for a place to hide, although with the passage of time you will gain security and leave it.
They are bottom fish, and free swimming always does it in the background. Although they can move around the aquarium, always sucking different surfaces.
When they move, due to their large size they can move the decoration and plants. It also moves if the caregivers come to scare him, getting to make more sudden movements.
The aquarium must have a capacity of at least 80 liters since this fish needs a large space in which to swim and develop.
With a water temperature between 22 and 29 degrees Celsius.
A PH that will rotate around 6 to 7.5 and a good filter that oxygenates the water, the aquarium is fully prepared so that the catfish can live in optimal conditions.
The plecostomus is an easy fish to attend to, however, it is not recommended for beginner breeders.
Since there are certain cares, such as the size of the fish tank which should be taken into account because if you are in a large fish tank the fish will grow a lot.
If an amateur tries to reproduce to be a species it will be impossible, because this species reproduces in very large tanks where the necessary conditions are recreated.
Although this species can coexist perfectly with other species, sometimes try to suck the surface of very flatfish.
As a reference: Wikipedia