How Fast Do Plecos Grow?


As you know, Common Plecos’ growth happens fast in the initial year and quite stably after that. But why should you still consider carefully “How Fast Do Plecos Grow?“.

That is to select a fish tank with a bigger size, creating good environmental conditions for the best Plecos’ growth at the first and following time.

How Fast Do Plecos Grow?

These species of fish have the ability to survive in different environments. Their life span is up to 12 years as long as their life is under good conditions.

They normally grow all their functions during the initial 5 years. Commonly, the maximum size of a mature pleco is commonly up to 20-25 inches on average. Their initial development happens quite fast  in the first year, up to measurement 3-5 inches.

Besides, the food you feed them every day also has an effect on the growth speed of Plecos, so this is why you need to pay attention to the food quantity and quality and the tank conditions.

Also like: how long do plecos live?

Different Types Of Plecos Species

There are various kinds of plecos, most of whom differ in size. Besides their different physical structures, their life spans are also not the same on average.

Although most aquarists often call these fishes by a common name “Plecos”, the term is still quite general.

But, the majority of the fishes, in the one group with ‘common plecos’, have many general features. It is important to get information about the right species before buying, especially how big they can develop.

These common kinds of plecos include:

  • Amazon Sailfin Pleco
  • Suckermouth Plceo
  • Sailfin Pleco
  • Bristlenose Plecos

While some plecos can develop up to 15-25 inches, others cannot be longer than 2-4 inches. Specifically, common plecos’ length can increase to 14 inches over a pretty long period.

Except for the first year, growth proceeds at a stable rate in the remaining years. Bristlenose pleco only can develop 4-6 inches at the same time.

Factors That Affect The Growth Rate Of Plecos

Multifactor is impacting the growth speed of Plecos, including:

  • Genetics

Genes also are a factor determining how large they will grow. If the genes are not appropriately arranged, they might not have the same growth pace as others.

  • Fish tank size

Plecos need fit water conditions to develop fully in an aquarium with the right size of aquarium, and freshwater will boost their healthy growth. If there is not enough space for Plecos, they might feel uncomfortable and not continue their growth.

  • Feeding quality

It is essential to notice how often and how much food you feed your Plecos, which is important in measuring their growth rate. The often feeding habit is necessary during the initial growth phases.

Read more: What do plecos eat?

  • Environmental conditions

If they live in a good environment inside the tank, this condition will enhance their growth because most Plecos have an ecological preference.

You should pay attention to providing the environmental conditions adequately with suitable temperature, lighting, pH levels, aquarium size, etc.

  • Species

While some species might not grow longer than 2 – 4 inches, some of the above others can develop up to 15-25 inches. During the initial few years, the growth is fast. Then this process becomes stable later.

Will Plecos Outgrow Tank?

The following is the major issue you will face when the growth pace of Plecos is unpredictable. They can grow to their maximum size if you provide excellent water conditions and full food.

The development speed can decrease in case water parameters don’t meet the standard. In contrast, there are exceptional situations, which means some Plecos remain at a growth rate.

A 30-gallon tank is considered to be the standard volume to keep one Pleco. Even placing Plecos in an aquarium less than this basic level, they can outgrow. But if you like raising more than one, a larger tank is necessary.

What To Do With Your Overgrown Plecos?

Did Plecos surprise you with their whole body size? Or have your aquarium become small for your big Plecos?

Suppose you are hesitant about what you have to do with your overgrown Pleco because you do not have enough living space for them. This article will suggest some noteworthy solutions that also may make a profit.

You can find buyers by asking your friends first, for example. Make sure the new owners have a big aquarium and much experience. It will be better if they are Plecos lovers.

After that, you might get babies of sold Plecos, then continue your fishkeeping experience. Another option is buying a new larger aquarium if your budget is affordable.

Because most people are a bit regretful and unhappy while giving their pets to another, the best way probably is to let them by your side.

Can You Drop Your Overgrown Pleco In The Wild?

If you decide not to give your Plecos away, there is only one way. That is buying a bigger aquarium.

Especially, you must not drop Plecos into the wild. This is because of the difference in living environments. What will be the consequence of moving to Antarctica after half of your living time is in Africa?

Your Pleco got used to the environment of a tank. Therefore, it is hard to adapt suddenly to a wholly different environment after a long period.

The worst thing which can happen that’s your Pleco’s death. In a short time, just one or two days since you bring it back to the natural habitat.

Remember that you cannot come back to the same life, like before, after your life has changed entirely for many years.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind to follow and evaluate the right species of Plecos, which you are determined to own. We hope that after reading through our article, you’re able to analyze and have the necessary knowledge about “How Fast Do Plecos Grow?”.

Please make certain that your fish aquarium is ideal for bringing them the best living environment you can. Thank you for reading!

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