9 popular small pleco. Which is better to choose?

Small pleco are a fantastic addition to any aquarium. They contribute to the cleanliness of the environment by consuming a large portion of the debris that falls to the tank bottom. They also stay to themselves, so having them in the aquarium doesn’t bother many fish.

A Common Plecostomus typically grows to be between 15 and 24 inches long and requires a tank with a capacity of at least 100 gallons.

The dwarf plecos listed below, on the other hand, will all remain modest in size even as adults.

So, what are the kinds of small pleco that don’t get big?

Clown Pleco

Maximum Body Size3.1 inches (7.9 cm)
Suggested Water Temperature77 to 85 °F or 25 to 29.4 °C
Minimum Tank SizeThe fish is not very active, so a 10-gallon tank is appropriate

While the clown pleco is one of the most popular small catfish for aquariums, it prefers a driftwood diet. They’re low-maintenance additions to almost any aquarium as long as you’re aware of their feeding requirements and keep them segregated from one another.

Clown Pleco is as beautiful as Zebra Pleco. A striking black and brown patterns make Clown Pleco of a real handsome. When it comes to food, these fish can be territorial and demanding toward other species, although they get along OK with most others. Simply keep clown pleco away from larger, more dominant fish, since the clown pleco is prone to nervousness when stressed.

Zebra Pleco

Maximum Body Size3-3.2 inches (7.5 cm)
Suggested Water Temperature78.8-86 °F (between 26 and 30 °C)
Minimum Tank Size10 or 15 gallons

This zebra pleco is known as the “jewel” of the world of plecos. When you see one, it’s very evident where they got their name. Zebra pleco white with pronounced black stripes that appear to be too beautiful to be natural. This tiny gem, on the other hand, does not consume algae in the least.

Zebra pleco isn’t kept for its algae-fighting abilities; it’s kept solely for its beauty. They’ll require a lot of meaty meals, such as shrimp, bloodworms, and/or brine shrimp. They can adapt to a broad range of water conditions, but Zebra Pleco require a high flow rate and well-oxygenated water in their tanks.

Angelicus Pleco

Maximum Body Size3.1 inches (7.9 cm)
Suggested Water Temperature73 to 82 °F or 22.7 to 27.7 °C
Minimum Tank Size20-gallon tank

Angelicus pleco in contrast to Zebra Pleco defines expectations, being largely carnivore, and not died on algae and other plant materials, as characteristic of the species of South American pleco fish.

The angelicus has a ravenous appetite, and they may help keep your aquarium clean by eating fish food that their tank mates have left behind. They love water with strong currents, and they can happily cohabit with most other fish by just ignoring them.

The angelicus is a solitary species, however males in a small tank can become territorial. They may appear timid at first, yet they have more assertive personalities than many other plecos. This pleco has a special feeling of elegance due to the splash of white or yellow spots that cover its body. It’s also a pretty rare species, so expect to pay a premium price as a result.

Queen Arabesque Pleco 

Maximum Body Size3.5 inches (8.9 cm)
Suggested Water Temperaturebetween 73 and 84 °F (22.7 to 29 °C)
Minimum Tank SizeTank with a vertical length of 24 inches (15-gallon tank)

The queen arabesque pleco skin has a pattern of frantic lines that distinguishes them from virtually every other fish species, yet they share the angelus’ evident love for flesh. They should eat earthworms, shrimp, and bloodworms on a regular basis, which means you shouldn’t count on these little catfish to keep algae and biofilm off the top of your tank.

Solitary by nature, queen arabesque pleco prefer aquariums with no other pleco species and a secluded hideaway at the bottom. Just be cautious when feeding time comes around, as members of this species are prone to having their dinner taken away by more proactive and aggressive fish.

Leopard Frog Pleco

Maximum Body Size4.3 inches (nearing 11 cm)
Suggested Water Temperature75 to 82 °F or 24 to 28 °C
Minimum Tank SizeThe pleco is not very active, so a 10-gallon tank will do

With conspecifics and several shark-like aquarium fish, the Leopard Frog pleco is particularly territorial. These fish enjoy soft water and require a warm, tropical tank to avoid parasite and disease attacks, such as Ich.

These are extremely rare fish that frequently sell for several hundred dollars. As a result, I do not suggest the Leopard Frog pleco as the best starting pleco.

Pitbull Pleco

Maximum Body Size2-2.4 inches (5-6 cm)
Suggested Water Temperature68 to 79 °F (20 to 26 °C)
Minimum Tank Size30-gallon

Many Pitbull Plecos marketed in pet retailers are actually Gold Spot Dwarf Plecos with an inaccurate label, despite their appearance. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the distinctions between these two fish before going shopping.

The Pitbull does not have any gold spots and instead has distinctive grey markings. It’s a touch bigger than a Gold Spot, and while it consumes algae, it won’t keep your tank as clean. If you want to keep up to three Pitbull Plecos in a 15-gallon tank, this breed prefers to live in groups.

Bristlenose Pleco

Maximum Body Size3-6 inches (7.6 to 15.25 cm)
Suggested Water Temperature65 to 79 °F (between 18 and 26 °C)
Minimum Tank Size30-gallon

Bristlenose pleco are excellent algae eater, available in a variety of color variations, and the males are intriguing little oddballs who provide diversity to the tank. This is due to the fact that bristlenose pleco develop a mass of fleshy tentacles on their faces, which they utilize in ritualized battle with other males.

Females bristlenose pleco may have a few tentacles, but nothing compared to the wacky beard that men grow. These fish stay tiny, but in my experience, bristlenose pleco can keep a 55 gallon tank clear of surface algae.

Dwarf Snowball Pleco

Maximum Body Size2.4 inches or just about 6 cm
Suggested Water Temperature77 to 84 °F or 25 to 28.8 °C
Minimum Tank Size10 gallon

The Dwarf Snowball pleco is unique among pleco species in that it likes to dwell in warmer waters than most others. Also, although being omnivorous, this fish prefers to consume meat.

Small, highly planted tanks with a moderate flow are ideal for these plecos. Although the Dwarf Snowball pleco is a calm fish that thrives in a communal tank, keep in mind that it will consume small shrimp and shrimplets when stocking your tank.

Rubber Lipped Pleco

Maximum Body Size4.2 inches (10.6 cm)
Suggested Water Temperature71-78 °F (between 21.6 and 25.5 °C)
Minimum Tank Size20 gallon

The Rubber Lipped Pleco is one of the biggest fish on the list, requiring a tank capacity of around 20 gallons. It’s one of the most effective algae eaters, cleaning your tank rapidly of algae that other plecos would leave behind. It’s quiet and won’t disrupt the activities of any other fish in your tank, and it’s a wonderful pick for a youngster or novice because it doesn’t require any particular care.

Common Pleco Lifespan

The average Common Pleco lifetime is between 10 and 15 years in ideal circumstances! They live longer than other tropical fish, so be prepared to care for them for many years.

When it comes to lifetime, there are no guarantees with any fish species. The quality of care you offer will have a positive or negative influence on the fish’s overall health.

Feeding Requirement

Most Pleco fish are promoted as algae eaters; however, several species are carnivorous and feed on carrion in the wild. Most individuals, on the other hand, believe that they can survive exclusively on algae. Lettuce, zucchini, spinach, shelled peas, and cucumbers are examples of vegetables and algae that should be included in their diet.

Cut the veggies into little pieces before putting them to your tank and placing the vegetable in the tank’s bottom. Feed your pleco fruit or vegetables once or twice a week.

Tank Mates

Pleco fish may appear threatening, but they are actually rather docile and may be kept in a communal tank. Cichlids, Tetras, Gouramis, Bettas, Guppies, and a variety of other popular species can be added to the aquarium.

Small Pleco eat algae?

Okay, some pleco species feed nearly entirely on algae and wood fibres.


Many animals prefer a carnivorous diet and don’t want anything to do with algae. So, if you only want a pleco to eat algae, be extremely selective about whatever species you buy. A pleco may seem attractive in the aquarium, but it may be powerless to combat algae.

Pleco Behavior

Most plecos in the wild are nocturnal fish that hide during the day under submerged logs or in tiny caves and crevices.

Depending on the species, they emerge at night to feed on algae, driftwood, aquatic vegetation, and/or scavenge dead fish.

They are also very protective of their territory. Other plecos will attack them if they approach close to their eating areas or hiding locations.

As a result, even if they’re distinct species, you shouldn’t maintain more than one pleco in your tank. They would generally abuse and annoy one another until one of them grows exhausted and dies.

And in conclusion

Small pleco give an aquarium a distinct personality. When most people think of plecos, they think of the typical pleco, but there are smaller varieties that will clean your tank as well.

To keep one of these plecos, you’ll need at least 20 gallons of water, but you should get a bigger aquarium to keep them happy.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the numerous types of plecos and have decided which one you like. Please share this guide if we were able to assist you in finding the perfect addition to your aquarium.

Read also:

7 easy ways to permanently remove aquarium snails

8 Easy Methods to Lower the pH in The Aquarium

8 Effective Ways to Increase Aquarium pH

Leave a Comment

An aquarium is a piece of the underwater world in your home, it will add zest and bring comfort to your life.