How Long Do Plecos Live?


How long do plecos live is always a problem that makes many farmers interested. This fish is a fairly common and easy-to-raise freshwater fish line. Plecos own a strong external skin, so this is a factor that makes many of them love them.

If you are also a fish enthusiast and own Plecos in your aquarium, this article is for you. Read the following sections to explore!

How Long Do Plecos Live?

The Bristlenose Pleco belonging to the Loricariidae family is a type of fish from the Amazon Basin. It’s an algae eater and can live for up to five years without problems if you take care of it properly, but some experts say they last even longer than 12 or 15 years.

Normally, it will take six months to mature and develop the body. But in the first few months of development stages, you can easily see their growth through their body size.

Overall there is no sure information about the life of fish. It is worth mentioning that your care also contributes to its life.

The Factors That Help Extend Your Life For Pleco.

Bristlenose Plecos has a hard appearance with a dark shell that can withstand many temperatures or pH changes. But in some cases, it will still be sensitive to the surrounding environment. Please note these issues!

  • Fish tank size

The Bristlenose Plecos are bottom dwellers who spend most of their time on glass and other surfaces. Thus many people mistakenly think that Plecos don’t need much living space.

An adult Plecos will need a live tank between 25 and 30 gallons in size. If you want to keep more mates, it is good to have a large tank.

In addition, you can add air stones, a light source for the tank, and a quality filter to the inside of the tank.

  • Tankmates

To have a bustling life and diverse ecosystem in the tank, Tankmates are an indispensable element. Plecos fish are very peaceful, and it hardly interferes or has any adverse effects on other individuals in the tank.

You can choose from the following fish to add to the community in your Plecos tank:

  • Guppys
  • Hatchetfish
  • Neon Tetras
  • Bettas
  • Platys
  • Goldfish
  • Cichlids
  • Danios

In addition to selecting mates from many other fish species, you can still keep multiple Plecos in one aquarium. Not only that, you can find some good snails in this fish ecosystem.

Remember that adult Plecos will often be territorial and tend to eat smaller fish. So you also have to consider the size of your mates before you put them in with Plecos.

  • Condition and type of water

Pleco is a fish from South America, so you need to keep it in freshwater to keep it alive. The tank you use needs to have moderate water flow and be supported by high oxygen levels.

You need to follow the pH conditions at 6.5 to 7.5, and the temperature needs to stay within 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That factor is also good for controlling the water hardness and keeping it in the 20 to 25 ppm range.

  • Plecos’ rations

Plecos are herbivorous fish; in some cases, you can provide vegetables for its diet. Sometimes Plecos can even eat wood to satisfy its needs.

Although most Plecos do not harm anyone else, they are also carnivores. So it is normal that it can eat small insects or bloodworms.

Moreover, you can actively provide Cucumber, Peas, blood, worms, Broccoli, Zucchini, and more. If you are afraid it will be difficult to eat, you can boil hard vegetables before feeding them.

In general, a Plecos diet consists of 15% protein and 85% plant matter.

Do Plecos Have Any Diseases?

Although Bristlenose Plecos possesses a tough shell and is resistant to many elements, it is not completely invulnerable. Refer to the list below to learn some of the ailments that Plecos may have!

  • Dropsy

Symptoms of dropsy can be difficult to detect because Plecos do not have scales. However, you may notice some symptoms, such as bloating or loss of color.

  • Ich

“Ich” is a disease that produces white spots on the body of Plecos. You can easily imagine this disease as sprinkling salt on Plecos’ body. This disease is often encountered when your aquarium has poor water quality, which will directly affect the immunity of Plecos.

In the case of this disease, you should not use aquarium salt to treat it,  but treat it by adjusting the temperature and the appropriate medicine.

  • Popeye

Almost all freshwater fish are less likely to get Popeye’s disease. This disease will easily occur when there is a poor living water source and bacterial infection.

You can easily see when looking into Plecos’ eyes, and it will look swollen and enlarged. It is quite difficult to treat this disease because you cannot determine the exact cause of Plecos popeye.

However, you can still use many other methods, such as nutritional balance and antibiotic use. If there is carbon in your aquarium, remove it because exposure to carbon can also cause this condition.

  • Fin Rot

Fin Rot is an uncommon occurrence with Bristlenose Plecos. Specifically, this phenomenon will be quite difficult to observe, but you can notice its disappearance. This change can be described as the fins of a fish melting. Not only that, but it will also have a color change phenomenon.

  • Fungus

The telltale sign of the disease is when you observe the appearance of white or black cotton-like markings on the Plecos’ body.

This disease phenomenon is called water molds, and it occurs as a secondary reaction to diseases or skin problems. This situation will become more serious if the temperature is lower.

Some Health Care Tips For Pleco

The simplest thing to help Pleco get the best health is a clean water environment and a suitable diet. Explore the following tips to take care of your Pleco health!

  • Pleco can be fed zucchini once or twice a week.
  • Add some sinking algae wafers to the inside of the aquarium.
  • When they are active at night, you can feed them.
  • When dropping vegetables into the tank, anchoring to the bottom will be the best.
  • If you observe symptoms like slime, cloudy eyes, slime, or weird swimming patterns, you need to pay attention immediately, as this is a red flag.
  • Plecos can still eat live plants despite being herbivorous fish, so you should be careful with this.
  • You should not use salt on Plecos tanks because they have no scales and will be vulnerable.
  • Driftwood can help you maintain slightly acidic pH levels.
  • Water should be tested regularly at least once a week and frequently changed by 10 to 25%.
  • Although the upper part is quite sturdy, the abdomen of Plecos is quite soft and easily injured. Therefore, avoid placing sharp objects or hard edges inside the tank.
  • It would be best not to use acrylic inside the aquarium as Plecos will often scratch it.
  • You can add a few caves or plants to the inside of the tank to give Plecos a place to hide.


The problem of how long do plecos live depends on many factors. But in general, your care occupies the majority of Plecos’ long-term survival.

Hopefully, the newly provided tips will help you take good care of your pet fish. If you want to explore more information about fish, you can refer to our related topics. Wish you the best Plecos to raise and have fun with!

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