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Down arrow Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Hypostomus plecostomus  (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Names Plecostomus
Almindelig Sugemalle (Denmark), Saugmaulwels (Germany)
Type Locality Suriname River.
Synonym(s) Acipenser plecostomus, Hypostomus guacari, Loricaria flava, Plecostomus bicirrosus, Plecostomus brasiliensis, Plecostomus plecostomus
Pronunciation hi POSS tow muss - PLEK oss toe mus
Etymology Greek, hypo = under + Greek, stoma = mouth. pleco = sucker, stomus = mouth.
Down arrow Species Information
Size 300mm or 11.8" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Due 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.
Sexing Large adult males possess thickened pectoral fins that turn reddish pink. Gravid adult females appear thicker when viewed from above.
Down arrow Habitat Information
Distribution Throughout 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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IUCN Red List Category Not Evaluated
pH 6.5 - 8.0
Temperature 20.0-30.0°C or 68-86°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters In nature, this fish is common in slower portions of larger rivers. It inhabits nearly every environment from riffles, the river banks, and driftwood snags.
Down arrow Husbandry Information
Feeding A true omnivore that will eat anything. The diet should be primarily vegetarian.
Furniture Ideally a large tank with driftwood and a few caves. Substrate is unimportant.
Compatibility Larger specimens can be territorial, but they rarely cause damage to tankmates. Smaller fishes are ignored.
Suggested Tankmates Keep with medium to large sized community fishes or most American cichlids.
Breeding Probably 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.
Breeding Reports There are 2 breeding reports, read them all here.
Down arrow Further Information
Reference Systema Naturae, Ed. X v. 1, pp 238.
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Last Update 2019 Oct 31 14:39 (species record created: 2001 May 05 00:00)