Suckermouth Catfish (Hypostomus plecostomus) - Wiki
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[Photo] An adult "giant plec", Hypostomus plecostomus.
Plecostomus, pleco, or plec is a general name for a type of freshwater tropical Central and South American fish belonging to the family Loricariidae. Plecos are extremely popular in aquaria for their ability to clean tanks by eating algae growth and are often very good at doing this. These fish are typically sold at about 8 cm (3 inches) and may grow up to 60 cm (2 feet), and a few species can reach even more.
Plecostomuses are omnivorous but, in the wild, feed mostly on plant material at night. During the day, their unusual omega irises block a lot of the light out of their eyes. The iris opens at night. Plecos can also wink by rolling the eye into the head.
As they age, plecostomus can become more territorial and are best kept individually in tanks. Because of their large size and territorial behaviour, when stocking smaller aquaria it is often better to consider a bristlenose catfish (Ancistrus), which generally grow to about 15 cm (6 inches), are very peaceable, and also eat algae. In a suitably large tank a solitary plecostomus will live amicably enough in a community tank alongside other tropical fish. Because they are tropical fish, these catfish cannot be kept in coldwater tanks with species like goldfish, Carassius auratus.
There are a number of species that are sold on the market under the name common pleco, including Hypostomus plecostomus, Hypostomus punctatus, Liposarcus multiradiatus, and Liposarcus pardalis.
There are many types of suckermouth armoured catfishes that science has not described. As a result, they are given a common name and an L-number designation until a new scientific name for the fish is described. An example is the flash plecostomus, L204, believed to be a species of Panaque.
Plecostimus catfish are some of the most commonly kept algae-eating catfish, and are also some of the largest. Individuals measuring over 60 cm (2 feet) long have been reported in ponds and large tanks; however, they usually only grow large enough for their aquarium.
The name "Plecostomus" means "folded mouth", but it has since been applied to any of a large number of species that have a similar shape, but vary widely in terms of maximum length, coloration, and certain body features such as the "horns" on the bristlenose catfishes (genus Ancistrus).
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