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Clown Pleco – Complete Care Guide

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Clown Pleco Hiding

Clown Pleco Information

The Clown Plecostomus is a freshwater fish that is often missed in this hobby. it is a gorgeously colored fish that is an excellent addition to an aquarium. This beautiful fish spends its time in a fish tank eating away at leftover food, algae and driftwood. Yes, this species of fish love and require driftwood in the fish tank. They munch on driftwood often, to the point that you can sometimes hear the crunching outside of the fish tank. It is great for smaller aquariums because a full grown Clown Pleco is only 4 inches. One thing to note, is that Clown Plecos will produce a lot of waste due to their unique diet. You may have to siphon and physically remove the waste from your aquariums.

You can find the Clown Pleco for sale online and not as commonly in stores. This guide will go over the aquarium requirements, diet, tank mate compatibility and breeding habits of this fish species. All of this will help you provide proper Clown Pleco care.

Aquarium Requirements

Because of the Clown Pleco size in adulthood, it should do well in fish tanks that are 20 gallons or larger. This should provide it enough room to move around. A fish tank this large will help prevent water parameters from negatively spiking because of this fish’s ability to produce a lot of waste. A full grown Clown Pleco will be very happy in a 20 gallon aquarium as long as plenty of hiding spaces are available.

Clown Plecos should do perfectly fine with live plants although it may nibble on plants if hungry. They normally focus on algae and driftwood for sources of food. Also, Clown Plecos are normally not known for jumping but still consider keeping a well fitted lid on your fish tank.

Do Clown Plecos Need Driftwood?

The answer to this question is yes. Clown Plecos do need to be able to chew on driftwood to provide them with additional nutrients and supplements not normally found in regular foods. Check out some driftwood on Amazon but really think of your aquarium’s size before finalizing a purchase! As a side note, certain driftwoods will leach tannins into your fish tank. It is recommended to boil your driftwood for about 30 minutes to help prevent this from happening.

Water Parameters

Like any other fish or aquatic invertebrate, having excellent and stable water parameters is one of the most important things to keep your pet happy and healthy. Clown Plecos are no different in this aspect. The following water parameters will help keep this fish comfortable and not stressed:

  • Temperature Range: 74-80°F
  • pH Range: 6.5 – 7.5
  • KH Range: 6-10

Healthy water parameters for freshwater fish tanks do not really have a sweet spot. You will have to research information on fish species and determine parameters that the fish thrive in. Many fish are incompatible because of this.

Clown Pleco Diet

As stated before in this article, you will need driftwood for Clown Plecos which you can easily find on Amazon or many pet stores. A Clown Pleco’s diet will primarily consist of driftwood, algae, leftover fish food and algae wafers you provide. If there is no algae in the fish tank, supplementing your pleco with algae wafers is a must! If you Pleco goes on the glass, you can monitor how fed it is by observing the belly. Indented bellies are signs that your Plecos are starving.

Clown Plecos like most other plecos primarily have a herbaceous diet. However, like any other fish, they are opportunists. If there is a chance to eat, they will take it. Clown Plecos will not actively hunt fish and freshwater inverts but if one is on its last legs or freshly dead, they will more than likely try to eat it.

Tank Mates

Clown Plecos are very peaceful fish. They will normally keep to themselves and not bother any fish swimming about. If there isn’t enough room, Clown Plecos will fight with others of the same species for territory. Otherwise they’re excellent for community tanks. They do great with fish such as:

This list isn’t the full extent of what can be kept with Clown Plecos. They will do great with just about every species of Tetra, Livebearers, Rasboras, Gouramis and more. I would personally keep them away from more aggressive species of cichlids like Tiger Oscars, Jack Dempsey and others. They are also incompatible with fish like African Cichlids because of the differences in water parameters. Do some research before deciding what species of fish to add into a fish tank!

Clown Pleco Breeding

Breeding Clown Plecos is a little difficult. In order to do so, first you have to find a male and female to breed. Male Clown Plecos will have a few more bristles on its head compared to the female. If you are not purposely trying to breed them you can house a male/female pair together in a 30 gallon fish tank. Otherwise you would have to provide a breeding tank for these fish.

Aquarium Setup

In a normal aquarium setting, it will be important to provide this fish with a lot of driftwood and caves. Clown Plecos will more than likely lay their eggs in these caves. If you are using a breeding tank, you will have a similar setup. Furthermore, you will have to lower the water level in the fish tank roughly 30% to trigger a drought season. Once 30% of the water is removed, you will need to refill it with clean water to initiate a large rain event. If you do this there is a chance Clown Plecos will begin to breed.

Feeding & Time

I would recommend feeding your Clown Plecos a diet rich in nutrients after refilling the fish tank with clean water. This replicates an increase in nutrients & resources which are ideal breeding conditions. Otherwise, only time will tell whether this fish will breed and spawn. Males will guard the eggs until they are hatched which can take about a month.

Final Notes

Clown Plecos are a cool fish to add into a freshwater aquarium. If you are okay with the amount of waste they produce, they can be a fantastic talking point to visitors and viewers of the fish tank. They stay small so are excellent for smaller aquariums but still are great addons to larger fish tanks. If are interested in other great algae eaters for freshwater aquariums, check out this list!

Image by Jarne Colman on wikiMedia