Sailfin Pleco (Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps)

Quick Facts :
Care Level:Easy
Maximum Size:18″
Minimum Tank Size:125 Gallons
Water Conditions:74-80° F, KH 6-10, pH 6.5-7.4
Origin:Amazon, South America
Species:Large Plecos
Aquarium Type:Large-Bottom-Dweller

Category: Tags: ,


Sailfin Pleco Aquarium Care, Feeding and Native Habitat Information

Sailfin Plecos are wide spread throughout the Amazon basins many rivers and tributaries, where it can be found scavenging for food both on the river bottom and on and around the numerous submerged trees and logs. The Sailfin Pleco is truly a “monster” fish species that reaches a very impressive 18″ inches in length. While this species is not a very active swimmer, it does still need a very large aquarium to give it room to move about comfortably and to support the large amount of biological waste created by larger fish species. Their large size and thick “armor” scales on their back, the Sailfin Pleco makes a great addition to aquariums containing large aggressive fish species.

Ideally the home aquarium should be setup to mimic the natural conditions that the fish species kept within are used to from nature. The Sailfin Pleco will do well in a larger aquarium with a sandy or gravel substrate, larger pieces of driftwood, large rocks and some plants. They will also appreciate some plants, wood or rocks that create a covered or shaded area within the aquarium so that they can escape the bright aquarium lights when needed. Sailfin Plecos will eat decaying plant matter and meaty foods, but are not harmful to live plants and fish that are alive and moving. However, their large adult size can be destructive to aquariums that are heavily planted as they may uproot or damage sensitive plants when the swim around. Thus, their large size should be taken into consideration when designing the aquascape for an aquarium housing this species. Sailfin Plecos are not aggressive towards other species, but will squabble with other pleco species and amongst themselves for territory and the best feeding spots. Overall the Sailfin Pleco is a very versatile species that is well suited for a range of aquariums ranging from tropical community tanks to aquariums housing large aggressive species.

Sailfin Plecos spend their time scavenging the substrate and aquarium walls for a variety of foodstuffs ranging from algae and detritus to vegetable / plant matter and even leftover meaty foods. They are not picky eaters and will readily accept a large range of both plant based and meaty foods. Sailfin Plecos will also consume decaying wood, plants and even fish carcasses that are left in the aquarium. However, it is best they receive a balanced nutritional diet consisting of left over flake or pellet foods, naturally occurring algae or algae wafers, sinking carnivore pellets and other various flake, freeze-dried and pellet foods that are fed to other tank mates.