Tropical tank fish types

Sailfin Pleco / L165 / L083 – Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps

Common Name(s) : Common Pleco, Sailfin Pleco, Gibbicep, L083, L165

Family : Loricariidae

Genus: Pterygoplichthys

Species : Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps

Origin : South America – Amazon Basin

PH : 6.4 – 8.0

Hardness : Prefer soft / Adaptable from soft to hard

Temperature : 23.0-27.0°C / 73.4-80.6°F

Maximum Size : 45cm / 17.7″

Lifespan : Up to 20 years

Aggression Level : Medium (5/10) They are generally peaceful, larger specimens can be a little bossy at times.

Recommended Tank Size : 200 Litres +

Strata : Bottom


In the wild Pleco’s hide in driftwood and other dark places by day and come out and hunt for vegetation by night. Therefore it is important to set up the aquarium with plenty of cover for them to hide.

Make no mistake, Plecos will eat cheap bunch plants. Not only that but they commonly uproot bunch plants and you might find your tank set up in tatters after a few hours of your large Pleco roaming around. We sell plant anchors to counter this issue if you are determined to have a well planted tank – wrap two to three of these around each bunch plant to keep your setup looking good.

It is certainly important to choose tough plants such as Amazon Swords, Anubias Plants on Driftwood and Java Fern.

In addition other cover such as caves, rocks or ornaments would definately be an advantage in keeping these fish.


  • Tropical Fish
  • Dwarf Cichlids
  • African Cichlids
  • Some American Cichlids


Omnivores, young specimens will almost exclusively eat plants, algae wafers, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, spinach or alike but ensure to anchor any vegetable matter so it will stay at the bottom of an aquarium. Occasionally you might catch them feeding on a dead fish.

Larger specimens also feast on plants, algae wafers, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, spinach or alike but I find they are also partial to bloodworms or brine shrimp.


Small specimens are near impossible to sex, however it has been suggested that large specimens can be sexed by looking directly overhead, where are male tapers evenly from head to tail whereas a female will appear more rounded in the stomach area (which may also indicate the presence of eggs.) Also Males in a group can be sometimes by sexually determined by their behaviour in that they most probably will be more territorial.

Sexing Pleco’s is difficult, venting is the only true way of determining sex. In males there 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.

Plecos are near impossible to breed in an aquarium, more success comes from ponds with the correct water conditions as well as the correct temperature range. In the wild these fish burrow into the bank and lay their eggs in caves.

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