Cat-eLog Right Arrow Loricariidae Right Arrow Hypostominae Right Arrow Hypostomus

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameHypostomus plecostomus  (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s)Plecostomus
Saugmaulwels (Germany)
Type LocalitySuriname.
Synonym(s)Acipenser plecostomus, Hypostomus guacari, Loricaria flava, Plecostomus bicirrosus, Plecostomus brasiliensis, Plecostomus plecostomus
Pronunciationhi POSS tow muss - PLEK oss toe mus
EtymologyGreek, hypo = under + Greek, stoma = mouth. pleco = sucker, stomus = mouth.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 300mm or 11.8" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationDue to the number of species in the genus, identification is very difficult without exact provenance of the specimen. Most ''common plecos'' are now exported from Peru and Brazil. Photos of the real H. plecostomus are common in aquarium literature from the 1960s and 70s when ''common plecos'' were exported from Venezuela, Suriname, and the Guyanas.
SexingLarge adult males possess thickened pectoral fins that turn reddish pink. Gravid adult females appear thicker when viewed from above.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionThroughout northern South America and Trinidad. Also found throughout the Orinoco basin, although some authors believe that Orinoco specimens may represent a different species. The photographs above are all of H. plecostomus from the Orinoco basin. Weber (2003) restricted distribution to coastal drainages of the Guianas.
Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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pH6.5 - 8.0
Temperature20.0-30.0°C or 68-86°F (Show others within this range)
Other ParametersIn nature, this fish is common in slower portions of larger rivers. It inhabits nearly every environment from riffles, the river banks, and driftwood snags.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingA true omnivore that will eat anything. The diet should be primarily vegetarian.
FurnitureIdeally a large tank with driftwood and a few caves. Substrate is unimportant.
CompatibilityLarger specimens can be territorial, but they rarely cause damage to tankmates. Smaller fishes are ignored.
Suggested TankmatesKeep with medium to large sized community fishes or most American cichlids.
BreedingProbably never accomplished. They normally spawn in holes in the river bank, but I have also captured this species in mountain rivers and ponds that did not have earthen banks. In these habitats it must spawn in caves formed by rocks and/or driftwood.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesSystema Nat. ed. 10v. 1 - pp238
Registered Keepers(1) MatsP, who also notes: "Not sure it was EXACTLY this species, as they are notoriously difficult to identify. I had two different ones, but only one at a time.", (2) Trident2004, (3) Chrysichthys, (4) Cooky_luvs (p: 7), (5) teddyman5, (6) nslott (k: 2), (7) synodontisjack, (8) SalmonAfrica, (9) Ill (p: 2), (10) kubastanik, (11) cymrucat, (12) Nick44, (13) KTLM, (14) Leah1976, (15) ewurm, (16) howdenend, (17) boo909, (18) makok, (19) drplec, (20) marangmic, (21) TheFishGuy, (22) Jonaseddie, (23) Nuno Mendes, (24) tunafish, (25) Sciencehero, (26) acuarista36, (27) Stackdeck, (28) arapaimag (k: 41), (29) sasdrum, (30) GER1023, who also notes: "Fish is 6 inches not mm.", (31) milosz, (32) james gilbertson, (33) babybarnyard, who also notes: "Small Albino Slow growing but intensely active in the tank", (34) Brisch, (35) Quickening, (36) kristovski, (37) Ysori, (38) Mikey1973 (k: 2), (39) festaedan, (40) River Birzer, (41) bekateen (k: 2), (42) Brett1998, (43) minipol (k: 3), (44) TownForkCreek, (45) Molly, (46) janmoto, (47) kamas88 (k: 4), who also notes: "3x Marshall Creek, Juvenile from 2015/10/17 1x Creek into Tibiti 2014/10/15", (48) DukeFish, (49) rcbows, who also notes: "Growing Fast".

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Breeding ReportsNone.
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Last Update2011 Sep 28 07:40 (species record created: 2001 May 05 00:00)