Clown Pleco Care and Breeding Guide

Clown Pleco Care and Breeding Guide

The Clown Pleco is an incredibly small fish that is kept in aquariums because of the beautiful appearance it has. The fish remains small in size even in maturity and like to stay in the bottom most part of a given aquarium. The fish is also scientifically known as Panaqolus Maccus has been kept by hobbyists for a quite a long time now. It was in 1993 that the fish gained formal recognition, although it had been in the retail market before its formal recognition. The fish are originally from the South American region specifically in Venezuela and Colombia. It is a generally peaceful fish and will share a tank with other fish varieties just ensure that you put it together with other fish that will eat it! It is a freshwater fish and thus will require that you keep it in a freshwater aquarium. It is an herbivore and will eat wood and other types of plants just the same way it does when in its natural habitat.

Appearance of Clown Pleco

It is a relatively small aquarium fish with the mature fish reaching a maximum body size of 3.5 inches long. Most hobbyists who go for the Clown Pleco usually opt for it because of is stunning beauty. It has a body that is dark black that is encircled with bands which vary in color. It is interesting to note that different colors that this fish exhibits are influenced by things to do with mood, diet and also age. The juveniles of the fish tend to have bright colors and that will fade away when they mature. Clown Plecos that are kept in aquariums that placed outdoor tend to exhibit deep coloration than those kept indoors. Again it is very difficult to differentiate between the males and females of the fish species. Experienced hobbyists are able to do this and they usually distinguish the males from the females by looking at bristles on the head suggesting that one is male. On the average though, both the sexes closely resemble each other making it cumbersome to distinguish them.


The fish is originally from Venezuela and Colombia where they were originally captured from. In the wild the fish lives in the fresh water rivers of the Amazon and therefore will very much readily survive in captivity as long optimum conditions are set in the aquarium. The fish while in its natural habitat is strictly an herbivore and thus you should feed it vegetables when it is in an aquarium. Because its natural habitat waters are usually warm, it is best to ensure that the aquarium that you place the fish in remains warm as well. Ensure that the water in the aquarium is soft and a little bit alkaline because its natural habitat which is the River Amazon basin is a bit acidic and also alkaline.

Tank Requirements

Due to the high adaptability of the Clown Pleco in varied habits keeping it in a different place other than its original habitat which is the River Amazon basin isn’t a herculean task. Even though the fish is not known to grow too big even in its natural habitat, it is best to give it a spacious tank. Just to help you get a glimpse of the tank requirements for this fresh water aquarium fish follow these tank requirements:

  • The tank size should be at least 75 to 100 gallons because the fish can sometimes grow to a maximum size of 2 feet.
  • The water temperature in the aquarium should be made to be almost the same as that of the natural habitat. The ideal tank temperature should be between 75-82°F.
  • The chemistry of the water should also be made to be similar to that of its natural habitat in which the pH 5.5 -7.8 and the hardness to dH10.
  • To provide the fish with sufficient hiding spots please ensure you plants lots of plants in the aquarium. Because the fish is an herbivore and feeds on algae, encouraging algae growth is advised.
  • Because the fish is not highly aggressive it can be placed in the tank with other less violent fish but just ensure you don’t place it with those that will eat it!

Occasionally the fish will feed on live brine shrimp but the fish likes to feed exclusively on algae. His calls on the aquarists to ensure that the tank algae is keep sufficient at all times so that the fish does not deplete them.


Clown Pleco is an avid eater of algae and thus an exclusive herbivore which need to be placed in a tank that is densely populated with algae. In the wild, Plecos also feed on driftwood and thus ensure that you place these as well in the tank for them to easily feed on. In order to ensure for them a diet that is balanced also provide for them standard vegetables such as zucchini, cucumbers, yams, whole peas, and squash. To make it easy for them to eat, you may slightly boil these vegetables to help make the food soft for them.

There are other aquarists who occasionally prefer to feed the Plecos some meat in order for them to have some little bit of proteins. You can as well do this as long as you don’t overfeed them meat. Some suggested meat that can be fed to them may include; bloodworms, daphnia, live bloodworms, etc.


The Clown Pleco is usually collected from its wild habitat for keeping in aquariums. Breeding the freshwater fish that is kept in the aquarium is not a tough job owing to its high adaptability. They like to spawn in small caves and therefore providing cave-like structures within the tank can really aid in their breeding while in captivity. Provide wooden caves to them for easy spawning because it seems they prefer these even when in the wild. Once spawning has occurred and the eggs fertilized, the male will guard them until they hatch. Once the eggs are hatched, a process which may take at least one month, the male will come out with the juveniles.

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