How Big do Plecos Get?


Pleco catfish, or Plecostomus, can develop up to 24 inches (60 cm). If you raise them in a tank, a big aquarium is something you have been worried about for a long time.

You need to realize that there are various plecos whose maximum size is 3-5 inches (7-15 cm). “How Big do Plecos Get?” will tell these smaller plecos lines, which you might have never heard of before.

Aquarium Size For Pleco Fish

Plecos’ length is only 2-4 inches (5-10 cm), even smaller when they’re young. So, an oversized tank is unnecessary in this situation. A 30-gallon one will work with them.

The Common Pleco is one kind of this species known most with a maximum height of 24 inches. That’s when buying a tank bigger than 30-gallons is obvious.

The majority of big plecos live in aquariums, whose volume is a minimum of 80 gallons. For multi-plecos, a larger tank is required. From 2 or 3 fully mature plecos, you’ll need a 150-gallon tank.

That’s why people don’t want to adopt more than one Pleco because they can avoid using the bulky and huge aquarium. However, there are other breeds of Pleco whose size keeps smaller in the whole lifespan. Let’s explore some good alternatives on the “How big do plecos get?” topic!

Also see:

List of Small Pleco Fish Breeds

Six different kinds of pleco below are such typically small species that we want to bring to you:

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco is one of the most common small Plecos. You can buy it quite popular at the pet shop. Its maximum size is smaller than 5 inches. Its longest lifespan is 20 years if you keep it well in an aquarium at home.

One more great thing about Pitbull Pleco is noteworthy. That’s the ability to raise it with tropical fishes together in the one tank. It seems peaceful without any community problems. Furthermore, this fish line likes cleaning the living place.

Clown Pleco

This version is pretty small, with only 4 inches when growing. So, there is no issue for tropical fish to live together because this breed loves a peaceful environment.

Pay attention to having enough driftwood, the Clown Plecos essential food, anytime in your tank. Remember not to allow bigger fishes to live in the same aquarium with this breed because they can eat small Clown Pleco.

Rubber Lip Pleco

The Rubber Lip Pleco has a rather similar appearance to the Bristlenose when seen from above. Even both lengths may be the same in maturity. Its cleaning skill is a plus score that can make you impressed with Rubber Lip Pleco.

This breed has a noticeable ability to prevent a 30-gallon aquarium from algae. The Rubber Lip Pleco could be the best decision if you want a fish, which is not only hard-working but also quite cheap compared with the six plecos mentioned in this category.

Pitbull Pleco

The Pitbull Plecos is the smallest one among these plecos on this list. They’re the longest, with just 3 inches. Raising this pleco in small swarms is the best way because their habit is living in the group.

A 30-gallon aquarium is forced to make these fish species like at home. It would help to place gravel or sand around the bottom because their hobby is cleaning the tank.

 Queen Arabesque Pleco

This fish line costs the highest value of the six plecos mentioned. You should prepare a lot of money if you are determined to own it.

The major reason is this breed’s attractive look. It is recognized that Queen Arabesque Pleco probably is the most beautiful with a black and white covering the whole body like a maze.

When it’s mature, it gets the biggest size up to 4 inches. And do not forget that this fish lives in warmer waters compared to other plecos.

Zebra Pleco

If you love a fish whose look is the most lovely, come with the Zebra Pleco. However, this version is the most valuable.

Can you guess its appearance when you heard its name for the first time? It looks no different from a zebra.

This Pleco breed is very shy, so you need to put many decorations where it can hide, such as caves. Besides, its living environment seems warmer compared with other tropical fish.

What To Do With Your Overgrown Pleco Fish?

Please do not raise your plecos in captivity. Sell them if your tank is too small for them to have in the wild house. Suppose nobody is buying them, give them to other people you like.

Make certain the buyer provides enough space to keep big plecos unless they thrive in the new aquarium.

How Fast Can Pleco Fish Grow?

The answer is up to the fish breed you own. Commonly, Pleco’s size will increase to the maximum in its lifespan, from 15 to 20 years.

But, there is some other Pleco fish line, whose full development needs less time. For example, these exceptional cases are the six small versions of Pleco in this article because their full growth reaches only 4 or 5 inches in length.

At What Size Can You Breed Pleco Fish?

It depends on what your Pleco’s version is. A pleco will reproduce these young fishes with a higher successful ratio after developing all of its functions.

So, people mostly try to make a Pleco breed after it’s mature. However, if you wish your plecos to breed sooner, small fish is a good choice.


Hopefully, the post answering “How Big do Plecos Get?” will help you get detailed information about six different small pleco breeds. Most of them have a length of 4 or 5 inches.

I also gave you some notice about the tank you need to keep such big fish. Make sure to prepare everything ready before purchasing. Especially be cautious about the aquarium.

If you are determined to buy pleco fish, thorough research is really necessary. Thanks for reading!

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