Clown Pleco Fish Care Guide

Hello all! Meet Clown Pleco. Want to make him a member of your aquarium? Well, then you have got to know a lot about him. This article is here to help you befriend him.

     The Clown Pleco (scientifically known as Panaqolusmaccus, falls under the family of loriicaridae), is a small incredibly beautiful vibrant type of catfish which was first formally recognized in the year 1993 by Schaefer and Stewart.

  • Order: Siluriformes
  • Family: Loriicaridae
  • Subfamily: Ancistrinae
  • Genera:Panaquolus
  • Species: Maccus

The numbers L104 and L162 identify itfor useful purposes. The Clown Pleco has also got several other nicknames such as common Pleco, Clown Panaque, Panaquemaccus and Ringlet Pleco (because of the rings over its body). It originally hails from Venezuela and Columbia, both being South American regions. It was adopted to be grown in aquariums from the wild flowing waters of the magnificent Amazon River.

     Clown Pleco can be identified by its small black body with alluring coloredrings all over. They have round ball-shaped big eyes, a delicate flat sucker mouth, and a flat belly. The color of the rings is influenced by various unusual factors like diet, health, habitat, and time. Baby fishes are comparatively brighter than the adult ones. A difference in coloration could be noticed between the ones that are bred outdoors and the ones that are bred indoors.

     The fish is a mostly vegetarian, I mean they are generally herbivores. It is not harmful to feed them meat at times. They don’t find it comfortable to live in an aquarium which doesn’t have wood, as wood forms their significant appetite along with algae.  Another interesting fact about  Clown Plecos are that they hunt for food during the dark hours while they are in their natural habitat, so it would be good if you feed them with your aquarium lights off.

 They exist peacefully in the tank they belong to and are hands down easy to maintain. Clown Pleco is conscious of protecting its territory from intruders. They seldom get into territorial fights and get injured. Clown Plecos always stand for harmony and yeah, sadly sometimes they can be victims of hegemony. Always make sure that you don’t put them with big fishes that can eat them up. In addition to that, they don’t seem to adapt themselves to the African cichlid tanks.

    They are tiny even when they attain their maximum size, and so they are generally categorized under the dwarf pleco species.They grow up to three and a half inches or long (9 centimeters). They can be nurtured ideally in small aquariums of just 2ft (60cm).

     Usually, they keep swishing around in the bottom of the tank, playing hide seek behind plants and rocks. They add brilliant, vibrantcolors by their radiant body and active movements which fascinates those who admire them observing. Don’t add too many fishes to the Pleco fish tank; this might trigger them to be aggressive. People say keeping two different species of Plecos is a bad idea since they become enraged and sometimes can go out of control.

     All they want in life is food, food, and only food and nothing else. Food is the main purpose of their life. They keep on foraging for food all the time and ends up sucking all the dirt in your tank. Though on the one hand, they keep on cleaning all the dirt in your tank, on the other hand,they produce hoards of waste which is totally disgusting. It is a must to maintain the hygiene of the tank by changing the tank water now and then and in addition to this, it is best to use an adequate amount of biological tank fillers.

     If you are thinking of adding Mr. Clown Pleco to your tank but then if you are stuck with a million questions inside your head, this particular article is going to help you vent out your answers.

Feeding Clown Pleco

“Primerocomemos, legohacemostodo lo demas” (First we eat, then we do everything else), says the famous Spanish proverb. These Clown Plecos live by this proverb. Before you adopt Clown Plecos as pets, the first question that pops up in your mind must be about feeding. I’m here to clear all your confusions and tell you what to feed, what not to feed, and how to feed, etc.

The primary diet of the Clown Pleco comprises of plant matter such as wood specifically driftwood and algae. Allowing them to munch on wood would catalyze the process of digestion. Infant fishes eat more algae when compared to the big ones, which are so fascinating. Not to forget, it is equally important to feed them with algae-based food rather than making them depend only upon the natural algae. In addition to algae, they can be supplied with several vegetables like smashed potatoes, zucchini, shelled peas, lettuce, and cucumber.

You can try feeding your Clown Pleco with meat food like bloodworms, shrimp pellets, and daphnia once in a while. By doing this, you can boost up their protein. However, it is safer not to overfeed them with meat.

    As we have seen earlier, Plecos love foraging for food to eat at dark hours. Hence it would be helpful for them if you can turn off your lights before you start feeding your Plecos.

    It is more than enough if you feed them twice for a day, once in the morning and another time at night. Meanwhile, provide wood for them to snack on during the day, which would be adequate for them for the rest of the time. They will consume everything they could scour on your tank.

Breeding Clown Pleco

Another mind-blowing fact is that the male and the female Clown Plecos closely resemble each other. Moreover, to sexually differentiate them is not an easy task. No worries I will help you with it. The male Clown Pleco may develop bristle-like structures on its head, which will help us in identification. The female Clown Pleco’s belly becomes big during the breeding phase and stays slightly bulged even after the breeding phase.

     When Clown Plecos live in their natural habitat, they breed during the onset of the rainy season as soon as the dry season ends. For any fish in this matter, you have to recreate the natural breeding conditions in your private aquarium to facilitate artificial breeding. It is the only way in which it can turn out to be successful.

     Many of the Plecos can’t be bred successfully using artificial methods. Luckily, your favorite Clown Plecos could be easily bred in small sized domestic aquariums. The temperature of the tank must be dropped for a whileto give them a feeling of a rainy season and then warmed up a bit to trigger breeding. Bear in mind warmer temperature is the essential catalyst for the breeding process.At the start of the breeding process, the water must be kept hard and alkaline and then must be made softer and neutral during the process.

     Clown Plecos crave for more food during the breeding phase which is a typical happening among fishes or basically among any mammals. As they have been in the wild, during the rainy season,they get to eat a lot of plants, but in aquarium one must make sure to keep on feeding it regularly.

     The breeding tank of Clown Plecos must have a lot of hiding places to spawn to make their habitat more exciting and ideal. These hiding caves must be made with small openings or entrances for them to enter. The Clown Plecoswill force themselves inside these to spawn. The caves can be easily made out of PVC pipes. You can also use driftwood to drill caves. Bogwood and bamboo caves also seem to be an ideal alternative for spawning purpose. If you ask me how big the caves should be, they must be twice the size of fishes.

      After the eggs are laid, the male Clown Pleco would immediately take up the responsibility to protect the eggs until they hatch, which usually takes around a month. The male Clown Plecos can be separated from the breeding tank along with the eggs as soon as the spawning process is completed.

     Tiny Clown Plecos come out of the eggs. They must be fed with delicate baby brine shrimp meat and algae. Driftwood is a basic survival kit; it needn’t be mentioned.

Care guide for Clown Pleco:    

A Clown Pleco that is taken outstanding care and fed adequately will survive for around 10-12 years. Their temperament is peaceful alone or with other fishes. You don’t have to spend much to feed them and to take good care of them. 

     As we have seen earlier, these are nocturnal species which become super-active during the night. Because of which you might not see them so much active during the bright hours as they are during the dark hours. During the day time, they entertain themselves by playing hide and seek in the driftwood caves.

     Clown Plecos fall under the hardy species. The Ph range of the fish is 2.0 to 30.0. The tank water must be of the temperature 72-degree f to 86 degree F. The pH levels must be set between 6.5 and 7.5. A strong water current should be sustained inside your ClownPleco aquarium in order to provide them a feeling of natural habitat. Though it is a freshwater fish, the tank water must be slightly alkaline as it originally belongs to the waters of Amazon, which is a bit alkaline in nature.

 The minimum tank capacity to nurture a Clown Pleco is 20 gallons, keep adding 10 gallons for every fish you add in the tank. This will help you prevent them from congestion, thereby reducing the chances of stress.

      Fish tank must always be hygienic no matter what. Fishes grown in clean tanks rarely contract diseases. Employ efficient biological filters in the tank in order to remove wastes produced.Moreover, don’t forget to include lots of plants in your aquarium. While choosing plants to make your tank innovative, choose stiff species of plants as the softer ones are prone to be devoured by your Clown Plecos.

Some people say Plecos are too shy to make friends when they are added up to a new tank. While some others report that Plecos can get more aggressive when they guard their territories.

Common Diseases

Clown Plecos are not highly disease prone, which is a significant advantage by itself. If you maintain your fish tank properly and feed them adequately, you would prevent most of the conditions. Clown Plecos are found to be sufficiently resilient.

Ich is the most common disease found in Plecos, which is a parasitic disease. If you find any red spots or swollen eyes and belly,it is a warning that your fish would have contracted a bacterial infection. It is essential to treat it immediately before other fishes contract it.  Antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial diseases. Some of the medicines used are penicillin, erythromycin, etc. If you could spot patches that are mostly white on your Clown Plecos, then it is evident that it might be a fungal infection. Be it any disease, treat them as soon as possible and heed all the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Take your fish to the veterinary if necessary.

       If your aquarium is small, it is best to keep Plecos alone. This will help them to roam stress-free. Stressing them over territorial issues can lead to injuries and would turn them aggressive before adding new fishes to the tank, use a hospital tank to quarantine them. The quarantine tank’s water must not be mixed with the main tank’s water.

       Ensure the fish is given a balanced diet with no deficiency of fat, proteins, vital minerals, and vitamins. Be careful always not to overfeed your Clown Plecos. When a fish gets infected, segregate it to another tank. This will help in protecting the other fishes from infection. Use nets to segregate infected fishes and make sure you sterilize them after you use them for segregation. Don’t let any metal objects have contact with your tank water. Hygiene is the key to healthy fish.

      If you find your fishes hitting their head on the lid or trying to jump out of the tank (this is really unusual because Clown Plecos prefer staying in the lower levels of the tank), it will be mostly due to unhealthy tank conditions. They feel the urge to get out and escape when they are unable to breathe and end up gasping for oxygen.

      It is always good to employ antibiotics for treating fish to keeping them healthier for a long time. At the same time,make sure you are not destroying the biological filter systems of the tank. The antibiotics you choose must be able to destroy the harmful bacteria without killing the nitrifying bacteria of your filter as they are essential ones.

      Strictly avoid any kind of copper or potassium based treatments as they are tremendously harmful to any type of fish for that matter. Be cautious while treating Clown Plecos as you know they are tiny and delicate. They do not contain scales, which means they must be handled with extra care. Drugs such as formalin and malachite green must never be overused. They go well with pimafix and melafix medications. Veterinarians say that they are extremely sensitive to chemical drugs, and one must be cautious when it comes to drug administration.

To keep them away from diseases, the best way is to mimic their natural habitat as much as possible.  Just as the famous saying “Home is where the heart is” Whenever these fishes get the feeling of being in their natural home, they are guaranteed to remain happy and reach the pink of health. Whereas if they feel, they are caught up inside they get stressed which will pave the way for several other diseases.

Clown Pleco Aquarium mates:

Clown Plecos do amazingly well as community beings. They live peacefully with other fishes most of the times. Except in some cases where they rarely get aggressive and lock horns with other fishes in order to protect their territories. It is good not to keep two different varieties of Plecos in the same tank so as to avoid the situations for them to turn aggressive. Do not keep them along with big fishes as there are more chances of them being eaten up. Here are some fishes that go well with Clown Plecos

  • Gouramies
  • White cloud mountain minnows
  • Tetras
  • Pygmy Corydoras
  • Cichlids
  • Ember Tetras
  • Harlequin rasboras

     If you are looking for a fancy fish that adds radiant and astonishing colors and mood to your tank and stays small till the end, then Clown Pleco is the right choice. Hope you have learned all the necessary basic information about Mr. Clown Pleco. Thanks for reading till the end! We wish you all the best for all the adventures with your own Clown Pleco.

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