Cat-eLog Right Arrow Loricariidae Right Arrow Hypostominae Right Arrow Pterygoplichthys

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NamePterygoplichthys gibbiceps  (Kner, 1854)
Common NamesL083, Sail Fin Pleco
L165, Gibby, Leopardplettet Sugemalle (Denmark), Sejlfinnet Leopardmalle (Denmark), Waben-Schilderwels (Germany)
Type LocalityRio Negro bei Marabitanos
Synonym(s)Ancistrus gibbiceps, Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps, Liposarcus altipinnis
Pronunciationterry gop LICK thees - gibb EE seps
EtymologyGreek, pterygion, diminutive of pteryx = wing, fin + Greek, hoplon = weapon + Greek, ichthys = fish. This specific epithet refers to the hump (gibbus=hump) on its head (kephale=head).
Articles
Article - CotM 1997 July
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 450mm or 17.7" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationPterygoplichthys can be identified by the number of rays in the dorsal fin. More than 10 indicates that it's a Pterygoplichthys. Most other plecos have 8 or fewer rays (in particular the larger Hypostomus species that are most likely to be confused with Pterygoplichthys).

The trademark spotted sailfin makes this a distinctive species.
SexingComparison of the genital papilla in mature fish shows the differences in the sexes to the trained eye. In males this is a small yet thick stump which noticeably protrudes from the fish's undercarriage. In females it is less obvious and is recessed or lies flat with the body.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionWidespread throughout the Peruvian & Brazilian Amazon. Also known from the Rio Orinoco.
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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pH6.5 - 7.8
Temperature23.0-27.0°C or 73.4-80.6°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersLarger fish require heavy filtration, not because they are fussy about water quality, but because of the high volumes of waste they produce.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingLettuce, Peas, Frozen Spinach and any prepared food that reaches the bottom. Larger fish enjoy prawns or pieces of freshwater trout. Algae (especially soft brown) will be eaten immediately.
FurnitureAn appropriately sized shady retreat is all this fish requires. Will not eat plants, but any individual larger then 100mm or so may inadvertently pull up plants that are not entirely established. Larger fish require heavy filtration, not because they are fussy about water quality, but because of the high volumes of waste they produce.
CompatibilityLarger individuals are territorial to conspecifics however not predatory and able to look after itself with all but the most violent tank mates.
Suggested TankmatesHardy and stoic, a good companion fish for most larger fishes. Not a good pleco to keep with other similarly sized, less gregarious plecos as the P. gibbiceps will usually win any competition for food.
BreedingAlthough commercially farmed, spawning in a home aquarium would be very difficult to achieve as a large wall of mud (I.E. a river bank) is tunnelled into and used for the incubation / hatching process. Large tunnels and fish would be required in a super-size aquarium.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesDenkschriften der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe. v. 7, pp 284 [34], Pl. 5 (fig. 2)
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Last Update2014 Mar 31 12:19 (species record created: 2001 Apr 28 00:00)