25 Types Of Plecos: Which Is Best & How To Care For Them

If you’re interested in different types of pleco for your aquarium, then you’ve found the right article! In this article, not only will you find out about all the different types of pleco for your tank! You’ll also find out how to care for each of them as well, and which ones are right for you!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

25 Types Of Pleco For Your Tank!

Here are 25 great plecos you should consider for your tank! Just remember, some plecos need a lot of space, so if you have a small tank a lot of these won’t be for you! With that being said, it’s still worth taking a look at the rest!

1. Candy Striped Pleco (Peckoltia vittata) L-015

Candy Striped Pleco Care Sheet

Candy-striped plecos are usually white to light yellow with black stripes all over their bodies. They love to stay on the bottom of the aquarium and do best in tanks with lots of rocks, driftwood, and plants. They tend to be territorial but are fine when sharing a tank with other fish that don’t linger on the bottom of the tank. 

While they do eat algae like most other pleco species, candy-striped plecos prefer foods rich in protein, so it’s best to feed them a combination of live and frozen foods. They are smaller than a lot of other species of pleco, so don’t require as large a tank.

NameCandy Striped Pleco
Tank Size20 Gallons
Lifespan10 Years

2. Clown Pleco (Panaque maccus) L-104

Clown Pleco Care Sheet

Clown plecos are black in color with yellow and orange stripes that make them a colorful addition to any aquarium. They can live for up to 10 years if well cared for.

Adding driftwood to their aquarium tank is one of the best things you can do for them as it gives them somewhere to hide and also provides a good source of food as they will eat not only the decaying parts of the driftwood, but also algae growing on it too!

Algae is their main food source, and clown plecos will keep the tank clean by munching on the algae growing on the tank sides, in the substrate, and on the aquarium plants. However, providing additional algae wafers to ensure they are well fed is also advisable.

And to top it off, they aren’t very picky about their water parameters and will stay healthy as long as your tank is properly maintained. 

NameClown Pleco
Tank Size20 Gallons
Lifespan10-12 Years

3. Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus cirrhosus) L-184

Bristlenose Plecos Care Sheet

Bristlenose plecos are dark in color, usually brown, gray, black, or green with lighter colored spots. They have a wide head which is absolutely covered with bristles (hence the name) – and a little fact, the males tend to not only have more, but more noticeable bristles as well!

Your bristlenose plecos eat the naturally accumulating algae that forms in your tank, but their diet should also be supplemented with food pellets that sink, additional algae wafers, and live/frozen food that is packed with protein.

Lastly, what I love most about bristlenose plecos is there small size, and hardy nature which make them great fish for beginner fish keepers, just getting started in the trade. The only thing to be aware of is that they’re tank will need to be 29 gallons or bigger!

NameBristlenose Pleco
Tank Size29 Gallons
Lifespan15 Years

4. Zebra Pleco (Hypancistrus zebra) L-129

Zebra Pleco L-046 Care Sheet

Zebra plecos are black and white striped (like a zebra), after which they are named. They have a large dorsal fin and four whiskers around their mouths. They’re shy fish which normally spend their time hiding in aquarium plants or cave-like hideouts. In addition to not being social, they are nocturnal fish that may not even appear at feeding time.

If you keep zebra plecos you should be aware that they eat both plants and animals, including blanched vegetables, algae wafers, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. It’s best to allow food to settle near hiding spots as they may not feed if their food is left out in the open.

NameZebra Pleco
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan10-15 Years

5. Rubber Lip Pleco (Chaetostoma milesi) L-187

What They Look Like

Rubber lip plecos come in a variety of colors and patterns from light gray to black, including stripes and spots, and of course, they sport the classic suckerfish mouth. Like all plecos they usually spend most of their time on the substrate of the tank and are very low-maintenance fish. 

A rubber lip plecos main food source is algae so make sure you let it grow on every surface of the tank. Apart from this, rubber lip plecos are pretty easy to care for as long as you keep the water parameters stable, making them great beginner fish.

NameRubber Lip Pleco
Tank Size25 Gallons
Lifespan1-3 Years

6. Leopard Frog Pleco (Peckoltia compta) L-134

Leopard Frog Pleco (L-134) Care Sheet

Leopard frog plecos are known for their black and yellow stripes as well as their large head and fins. They are mostly nocturnal and can be very aggressively territorial, so it is crucial to ensure proper spaces for hiding and to keep them separate if in the same tank.

They eat both plants and meat so make sure you’re feeding them algae wafers, tropical fish food, and live food. They are not very picky about their water conditions as long as they’ are’re kept stable and do not fluctuate too much. However, you do need to make sure you’re giving them ample space in their tank to reduce aggression. 

NameLeopard Frog Pleco
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan8-10 Years

7. Vampire Pleco (Leporacanthicus galaxias) L-007

What They Look Like

Vampire plecos are usually very dark in color with small light dots, in fact, this look alone makes them one of my FAVORITE plecos, it’s like having the night sky swimming around your tank. You’ll also notice their fins are very prominent, but they are delicate and easily snagged so it’s best to use caution when handling them.

One thing to know about vampire plecos is that they can be a bit territorial and can damage other fish if threatened. They mainly eat protein-rich foods such as live or frozen bloodworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp.

While they may not be the best choice for beginners, if you do want to give them a try then I’d definitely recommend them!

NameVampire Pleco
Tank Size100 Gallons
Lifespan15 Years

8. Snowball Pleco (Hypancistrus inspector) L-102

What They Look Like

Snowball plecos are similar to vampire plecos in appearance, except their spots are bigger, and they’re body is also a little lighter in color. Since they originate from the Rio Negro in Venezuela, imitate their natural environment by adding lots of hiding places and creating a strong current. Include cave structures, driftwood, and lots of aquarium plants to keep them truly happy.

When it comes to diet, they eat lots of plant matter, including algae wafers, vegetable flakes, and fresh vegetables such as zucchini, peas, spinach, and cucumber. They thrive in water conditions similar to their native river, which tends to be slightly acidic and of course, keep the temperature warm for them too.

NameSnowball Pleco
Tank Size40 Gallons
Lifespan8-10 Years
betta care facebook group

9. Gold Nugget Pleco (Baryancistrus xanthellus) L-085

Golden Nugget Pleco (L-018) Care Sheet

Gold nugget plecos can only be described as light black in color with bright yellow spots, as well as a the ends of their fins and tail being bright yellow. They are mostly nocturnal but tend you can often see them dwelling in the substrate during the day. They can be territorial and do better by themselves so keeping them solitary is usually the best bet. 

Gold nugget plecos enjoy both plant matter and meaty treats, although it’s important to note that algae makes up the main part of their diet. Supplementing with snacks full of protein is a good way to ensure they’re getting a balanced diet. Since the gold nugget pleco originates from Brazil, they need tropical-type water conditions, including fairly warm temperatures and a neutral pH. 

NameGold Nugget Pleco
Tank Size55 Gallons
Lifespan5 Years

10. Peppermint Pleco (Parancistrus nudiventris) L-176

What They Look Like

Peppermint plecos are dark gray or black with tiny white spots, again looking like a much calmer version of vampire plecos. They are used to fast-moving currents of the Rio Xingu where they use their suckermouths to cling to rocks they want to eat algae from.

With this in mind having a fast water flow in the tank along with plenty of rocks and driftwood is an absolute must.

Peppermint plecos mostly eat plant matter like algae and biofilm, but you should including algae wafers in their diet too, to make sure they’re getting enough food. As well as this though, it’s important to remember they are omnivorous, so make sure you’re adding some meat into the tank for them to eat every once in a while.

NamePeppermint Pleco
Tank Size50 Gallons
Lifespan10 Years

11. Butterfly Pleco (Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus) L-052

What They Look Like

Butterfly plecos another beautiful pleco you can add to your tank, with black and yellow stripes, and fins that give them a similar shape to Asian Stone Catfish’s. If you want to keep butterfly plecos it’s important to remember they need some good hiding places to exercise their camouflage skills during the day. Until you turn the lights off, then they’ll become a lot more active.

These plecos are voracious eaters, and will work wonders at keeping the algae in your tank from growing out of control. However, they also eat live food, algae wafers, vegetables, and decaying driftwood. So make sure you’re giving them enough of everything. And since they eat a lot, they produce an abundance of waste, so make sure you’re using a powerful filter and performing regular water changes to keep the tank clean!

NameButterfly Pleco
Tank Size40 Gallons
Lifespan5-8 Years

12. Sailfin Pleco (Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps) L-165

Sail-Fin Pleco (L-083) Care Sheet

Sailfin plecos feature dark leopard-like spots and a notable dorsal fin that extends up prominently like a sail and folds back to almost reach the tail (hence the name). Since they’re nocturnal, adding shelters and hiding spots is a must for their aquariums, as it’s going to help them feel safe.

Sailfin plecos need a well-balanced diet and eat a lot, so two feedings a day are usually necessary. You can feed them a whole bunch of different food, including algae wafers, vegetables, sinking food pellets, and live or frozen food.

One thing to note is that sailfin plecos do grow quite large (up to 19″ in some cases) so you’re going to need a HUGE tank if you want to take care of them properly.

NameSailfin Pleco
Tank Size100 Gallons
Lifespan10-20 Years

13. Royal Pleco (Panaque nigrolineatus) L-190

What They Look Like

Royal plecos have dark stripes on a light gray body with a dorsal fin that these stripes extend up onto. Their most distinctive features are their large eyes which are so noticeable poking out of their heads and if you want to keep them, it’s important to know that they can grow to over a foot in length.

In general they are shy fish, however, they may show aggression if another fish encroaches on their territory.

Like most plecos, they enjoy eating algae wafers and sinking food pellets, but just be sure to give them plenty to eat as they can grow so large.

Apart from their gargantuan size, royal plecos are easy to keep, just keep their water parameters stable and give them plenty of hiding places and they’ll be happy.

NameRoyal Pleco
Tank Size125 Gallons
Lifespan10 Years

14. Sunshine Pleco (Scobinancistrus aureatus) L-014

What They Look Like

Sunshine plecos are dark brown/green/gray with large white/yellow spots covering the entirety of their body and a belly and fins that are also bright in color. On top of this males also have two of the classic catfish whiskers! They love to hide and do best in a tank filled with driftwood and aquarium plants for shelter. 

They love to eat lots of algae, especially off decorations, driftwood and plants in your aquarium, but plant matter alone isn’t enough. They also like to eat small insects, so make sure you’re supplementing their diet with these too. They’re very hardy wen it comes to plecos being able to tolerate a wide range of pH, water hardness, and temperatures but because of their large size they do need large tank size. 

NameSunshine Pleco
Tank Size120 Gallons
Lifespan10-15 Years

15. Blue Eyed Pleco (Panaque cochliodon) L-191

Blue Eyed Pleco (L-191) Care Sheet

Blue-eyed plecos are a dull gray color with outstandingly light blue eyes hence their namesake. They can be difficult fish to maintain, however, because they require a strong current to stay healthy and maintain appropriate intake levels of oxygen considering their large size. They also require hiding places such as driftwood in the tank.

They mostly graze on algae in the tank but will also eat the driftwood shelters and some vegetable material. They should not be fed foods that are high in protein as that could cause illness. While their water parameters preferences aren’t too difficult to maintain, the most challenging part about caring for these fish is adequate water flow and tank size. 

NameBlue Eyed Pleco
Tank Size200 Gallons
Lifespan10-12 Years

16. Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus) L023

Common Plecostomus Care Sheet

If you’re looking for a hardy, popular aquarium fish, the Common Pleco is a great choice. Make sure to use a fine sand substrate with caves, driftwood, and rocks, since these guys love to have plenty of hiding spots in their tank. Adding some live or artificial plants will also give them extra cover from the light.

When it comes to feeding, Common Plecos are omnivores. Asides from the algae they’ll also scavenge in the substrate. With this in mind, be sure to give them a diet that includes sinking pellets and algae wafers. Also, giving them fresh veggies like zucchini, cucumber, and spinach will provide them with all the necessary nutrients!

As for tank mates, they’re generally peaceful but can get territorial as they grow bigger, so it’s best to keep them with larger tetras, peaceful cichlids, or other bottom-dwelling fish other plecos, cory catfish and otocinclus catfish.

NameCommon Pleco
Tank Size75 Gallons
Lifespan10-15 Years

17. Orange Spot Pleco  (Panaque albomaculatus ) LDA-031

What They Look Like

For a unique addition to your tank, consider the Orange Spot Pleco. These plecos love having a well-decorated aquarium with floating plants, Anubias, Java ferns, caves, rocks, and driftwood to explore and hide in. 

Because they like dim environments, add floating plants to diffuse the light as well.

Orange Spot Plecos are omnivores, so make sure to give them a varied diet. Sinking pellets, frozen or live foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp, algae wafers, and vegetables like blanched spinach, cucumber, potato, squash, sweet potato, or will keep them healthy and happy. 

Although Orange Spot Plecos are peaceful, they can still be territorial towards other bottom dwellers, so for their tankmates, choose small peaceful ones like small tetras, hatchet fish, pencilfish, rainbowfish, and Corydoras catfish.

NameOrange Spot Pleco
Tank Size20 Gallons
Lifespan12 Years

18. Tiger Pleco (Hypancistrus sp.) L-333

What They Look Like

Tiger Plecos have distinct, beautiful dark stripes covering their whole body. As you set up their tank, add plants such as Amazon Swords or Corkscrew Val and a sandy substrate with rocks, driftwood, pots, and other tank decorations to make them feel comfortable. 

Because Tiger Plecos are omnivores, they prefer a mixed diet of meaty foods like bloodworms, algae wafers, high-quality pellets, and occasional vegetables like cucumber or spinach. Feeding them a variety of what’s just been mentioned is the key to keeping them healthy.

Tiger Plecos are generally solitary fish, but they can be good tankmates with non-aggressive, similar-sized fish.

NameTiger Pleco
Tank Size40 Gallons
Lifespan10-15 Years

20. Mango Pleco (Baryancistrus chrysolomus) L-047

Mango Pleco (L-047) Care Sheet

Mango Plecos display a beautiful combination of yellow, orange, and green patterns that resemble the colors of a ripe mango. To create an ideal tank environment for them, make sure that they have clean, oxygen-rich water with caves and other hiding places.

As algae eaters, ensure that your Mango Plecos’ tank includes driftwood or bogwood, where algae can grow abundantly. Also, they love eating algae wafers supplemented with blanched vegetables such as zucchini or spinach. 

Mango Plecos can be territorial, so having other Plecos and bottom dwellers as tankmates will not work for them. So when choosing tankmates, consider peaceful fish such as Guppies, Mollies, and Tetras.

NameMango Pleco
Tank Size75 Gallons
Lifespan10-15 Years

21. Green Phantom Pleco (Hemiancistrus subviridis)  L-200

Green Phantom Pleco (L-200) Care Sheet

Green Phantom Plecos have light green bodies with attractive yellow spots, making them stand out in a fish tank. To keep them happy in your tank, give them moderately soft, warm water with plenty of hiding places and moderate to strong currents. 

Because they are bottom-dwellers, ensure that your tank has a good mix of a sandy substrate with smooth gravel, rocks, driftwood, and caves for hiding.

Although Green Phantom Plecos love to munch on algae, it’s best to sustain their diet with a mixture of food types; from high-quality pellets, wafers, live food, and frozen food to vegetables, such as cucumbers and kale.

When choosing tankmates for your Green Phantom Plecos, it’s important to include those with similar water parameters. Tetras, Pencilfish, and Guppies are good options, and since they can be territorial towards other bottom dwellers, it’s best to get mid and top-dwelling fish.

NameGreen Phantom Pleco
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan12 Years

22. Mega Clown Pleco (Hypancistrus sp) L340

What They Look Like

Mega Clown Plecos are famous for their striking patterns and playful nature. To provide the best care for them, put them in a tank with lots of aquarium plants and a sandy substrate with decorations such as rocks, driftwood, and caves.

Feeding your Mega Clown Pleco is pretty straightforward. They’re not picky eaters, but as carnivores,they love eating high protein foods like frozen or live foods like bloodworms, tubifex, daphnia and brine shrimp. 

They’ll also benefit from a mix of high-protein fish flakes, pellets, and occasional high-fiber plant food.

Your Mega Clown Plecos will thrive when kept with peaceful tankmates. Some great choices for tankmates are Discus fish, Guppy Fish, Dwarf Gourami, Neon Tetra and Ember Tetras.

NameMega Clown Pleco
Tank Size20 Gallons
Lifespan10-12 Years

23. Flat Flyer Pleco (Pseudolithoxus anthrax) L-235

What They Look Like

With their unique ability to cling to flat surfaces, Flat Flyer Plecos will create an interesting spectacle in your aquarium. When setting up your tank, keep in mind how your Plecos can easily get stressed, so hiding spots using pleco caves, rocks, and driftwood can help them feel secure during the day and give them comfort.

Your Flat Flyer Plecos will do great on a low-protein diet but they should also be fed a combination of plant-based foods, such as algae, fresh vegetables, and plant-based pellets or flakes to be healthy.

Also, occasional high-protein foods like frozen or live bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other small creatures will make them happy. 

During breeding season or when space is limited, Flat Flyer Plecos can exhibit aggression. However, with proper tank design and decorations, they can peacefully coexist with fish such as, Molly Fish, Dwarf Gourami, Angelfish, Discus, German Blue Ram.

NameFlat Flyer Pleco
Tank Size40 Gallons
Lifespan8-10 Years

24. Lujans Pleco (Peckoltia lujani)  L-127 

What They Look Like

Caring for your Lujans Pleco is not difficult, but they require clean and well-oxygenated waters to stay healthy. With their soft belly, it’s crucial to use fine sand substrate to avoid injury. Also, don’t forget to add floating plants to help keep the tank clean and create shade in their tank.

Caves, driftwood, bogwood and rocks can also help to make them feel comfortable in their tank. 

In keeping your Lujans Plecos healthy, use plant-based food as their main nutrition source and high-protein foods as occasional supplements. However, don’t forget to give them live or frozen treats like brine shrimp, tubifex, and bloodworms, while using sinking pellets, algae wafers, and shrimp wafers for regular meals.

As you choose tankmates for your Lujans Pleco, remember that they can occasionally be aggressive over their territory, so choose their tankmates carefully. Avoid any aggressive or larger fish. Some tankmates to consider are Molly Fish, Dwarf Gourami, Angelfish, and Hatchetfish.

NameLujans Pleco
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan8-10 Years

25. Alenquer Pleco (Panaqolus sp.) L397

What They Look Like

Alenquer Plecos are one of the most noticeable Plecos due to their beautiful combination of red, orange, and black stripes. They thrive in well-oxygenated tanks with natural decorations, so be sure to replicate those in your tank.

Adding rocks, driftwood, bogwood and plants to their sand substrate is really important to replicate their natural homes.

Alenquer Plecos aren’t picky eaters; In fact, they love all types of foods! However, keep in mind that they should get a balanced diet of both plant and meaty foods. Although they eat algae, they thrive best when you include food such as bloodworms, tubifex, brine shrimp, and plant-based pellets or flakes.

Known for their peaceful nature, Alenquer Plecos can easily be included in a fish tank with other peaceful tankmates. Some tankmates you can add with your Alenquer Plecos are Guppies, Mollies and Angelfish.

NameAlenquer Pleco
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan10 Years

26. Medusa Pleco (Ancistrus ranunculus) L034

What They Look Like

With their long, filament-like tentacles on their heads, Medusa Plecos are one of the most distinguished Plecos. They love a well oxygenated tank, a strong water current, and lots of swimming spaces that they can consider their territory.

Medusa Plecos will happily eat all kinds of food, but they prefer meaty foods in their diet. However, a nice mixture of vegetables like zucchini and spinach partnered with freeze-dried shrimp pellets, tubifex worms, and bloodworms will keep them healthy. 

As for tank mates, choose peaceful species that won’t disturb your Medusa Plecos, and always ensure that they are not bottom dwellers to avoid aggression. Platies, Mollies and Guppies are wonderful choices to coexist with them in your tank.

NameMedusa Pleco
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan5-8 Years


Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about plecos!

What Types of Pleco Stay Small?

Candy-striped, clown, Bristlenose, zebra, leopard frog, and butterfly plecos all stay quite small, generally, not reaching more than 6″ in length. If you are looking for smaller plecos, then I’d definitely recommend zebra plecos if you’re experienced, and bristlenose plecos if you’re not.

Can You Keep Two Plecos In The Same Tank?

Keeping multiple plecos in the same tank depends on a variety of factors, but in general, can be more trouble than it’s worth. A lot of plecos are quite territorial, and because they need large amounts of space, it can be hard to keep them together.

Plecos also need to have plenty of food available, especially the algae that grow on the surfaces of the tank, substrate, and aquarium plants, so competition with other plecos may result in sickly fish. If you keep in mind the space needed for each fish and avoid putting aggressive species together, you might be able to keep more than one pleco in a tank. However, I wouldn’t risk it personally.


Now you know about some of the most common types of pleco! I’d love to know which type was your favourite! If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website. Otherwise, have a great day!

About the author

Hey there! I'm Antonio, the passionate owner and chief editor of Betta Care Fish Guide. With over half a decade of hands-on experience, I've become your go-to expert for all things betta and tropical fish.

Over the past 5 years, I've not only kept bettas and other tropical fish but also connected with a diverse network of hobbyists, seasoned fishkeepers, and even veterinarians.

Now, I want to help other beginner fish keepers who had the same questions as me when they were just starting out! So they can save themselves a ton of time and keep their fish happy and healthy!