|Scientific name||Hypostomus plecostomus|
|Common name||Plecostomus, Pleco, Plec or Common Plec|
|Natural Habitat||Peru, Brazil and central America|
|Appearance||There are several species known collectively as "plecs" and most have the same overall appearance, differing chiefly in markings. Characteristic is the large dorsal fin and downturned "sucker" mouth, whose purpose is to allow the Plec to hang onto rocks in fast-flowing water while it feeds. The general colour is mottled brown, but it can - and does - change shade according to whatever background it is resting on, and at times shows distinct bands of colour across the body.|
|Maximum size||Can grow to 18 Inches but 12" is more usual in captivity|
|Aquarium Compatibility||Peaceful towards other fishes but may be territorial towards other Plecs.|
|Diet||Vegetarian - your plec will keep the aquarium spotlessly clean and consume any algae which might form on the glass, plants, rocks etc. It will also nibble your plants if hungry, so supplement its diet with algae tablets, catfish "sinkers" etc., and flake foods with a high vegetable content, all available from any aquarists' supplier.|
This specimen was found as a lonely 2" (4cm) baby in an empty tank at the back of a small fish seller's shop (since closed, thankfully.) I bought him for £1.50 ($2) and he is now fully 15" (40cm) long and quite tame, coming to be fed as soon as he sees me. Despite his size, and his tendency to dig up plants and generally cause mayhem in the tank, he is a beautiful fish and poses no threat at all to his smaller companions.
Plecs like a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding-places - mine has a rock cave, overshadowed by plants, in which he spends a lot of his time.