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Suckermouth Catfish

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Species group:

Other common names: Common Pleco; Common Plecostomus; Giant Algae Sucker; Algae Eater; Plec; Pleco

Scientific name: Hypostomus plecostomus

The basics:
The Suckermouth catfish is native to South America but has since been found in lakes and rivers all over the world, probably due to released pets. They are the most common fish sold for algae control in the aquarium trade. The juveniles are very popular but the adults are often traded back in because they get up to 2 feet long.

Sucker fish prefer algae as juveniles and will need algae wafers for food but as adults they will vacuum up all leftover food on the bottom of the tank and sometimes small sleeping fish at night. They also need a nutrient that comes from wood and should have a piece of wood in the tank to chew on.

These fish are nocturnal and will rarely come out in the daytime unless some really enticing food is dropped in the tank.

Appearance:
The Suckermouth Catfish is a species of Plecostomus which is mostly dark-colored. It has an elongated body with a large head, an under-turned sucker mouth with rasping teeth and barbels on opposite sides, and tiny eyes close to the top of the head. Bony plates protect the body but are absent from the belly, which is soft and flat.

Size:
24 inches

Temperament:
Sucker fish are peaceful but will have a “home” or hiding place under or inside a tank ornament that they defend. Plecos have been seen chewing on the sides (slimy coats) of slow-moving tankmates like discus and angels so best not to house them with these fish. They will also accidentally suck up small fish at night while patrolling the bottom of the tank for food so avoid housing with any small fish that can fit in their mouth.

Housing:
Because Plecos mature to a full size of about 2 feet, they require relatively large tanks (at least 45 gallons). They also prefer to anchor onto wood décor with their under-turned sucker-type mouths. Aquarium should be well planted and provided with cave-like structures for them to hide in during the day.

Temperature:
74.00-82.00 °F

pH:
6.0 - 7.5