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How To Breed Plecostomus

Updated on April 27, 2014

My hifin pleco

Breeding plecos can be extremely difficult but given the right steps you to can breed this fish the easiest breed of pleco to breed is the bushy nose pleco because they are the easiest to tell the difference between the genders. Males have a lot of feelers coming off their nose and females have very little to none at all. Usually they only have them around the bottom rim of their face. Here is a video on How To Breed Plecos-Bristlenose

When you are trying to breed plecos the easiest way is to use a classic clay pot like the one here and cut a hole in the top of it so that when you put it upside down in the gravel the only opening is the tiny hole on top and the hole you cut on the bottom. Why this is important is because the male pleco cleans out his "cave" and tries to impress the female. When the female is ready she enters the cave with the male pleco and they lay eggs on the inside of the pot or even on the outside sometimes. I have seen more lay on the inside to be safe from predators. I put about 3 clay pots in the 55 gallon to give them a choice to which they want to use. The pot must be 11/2 the size of the male tall wise.

Conditioning the plecos

The easiest way to help breeding along is to start doing 30% water changes every other day and make sure the water is a couple degrees colder when you add it in to stimulate the rainy season like in the rivers also increasing the amount of food given helps. Males begin to select caves which entices the females. But breed in colonies because you want 1 male to 3-5 females just in case one female doesn't work out. Lots of websites say to create a current but I prefer not to because it seems to mess my females up when I have tried to use it.

How To Breed Plecos

My Male next to his baby after 3 months

The Breeding Process

After the clay pot encounter between your male and female the female pleco leaves after laying the eggs. The male takes care of the eggs for the next two weeks and eats very little. The male will fan the eggs so that as few as possible get fungus and infect the others. The temperature usually needs to be 75-80 F to induce breeding and PH doesn't really matter. After a couple days the eggs hatch and they begin feeding 24 hours after hatching when their yolk goes away. They begin to eat off the ground so provide many algae wafers and shrimp pellets and perform 30% water changes twice a week to ensure great water conditions for the babies.  You will be shocked at how fast your babies grow then it's time to sell them then you can try to cross breed and see what you come up with right now I am working on a hifin rubber lip pleco, the only problem is the rubber lip only gets up to 6 inches and the hifin gets up to 18 inches. So this creates a problem so i must use a male hifin and female rubber lip plecos.  Try not to disturb the nest the easiest thing to use are Cichlid Atones because they are easier to see into.

Reason to use Cichlid Stones

These cichlid stones are awesome for breeding and even for decoration it provides a natural hiding environment for cichlids of all kinds especially African cichlids or any cave deweling cichlid. I now use cichlid stones for breeding my plecos that are smaller and for the larger plecos I bought the large cichlid stone set and this provides a perfect get away for the babies and the father to stay safe if you have any other tank mates i the tank.


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      Bonnie Duncan 14 months ago

      I need to know how to tell a female pleco from a male. a year and a half ago while my son was waiting to get in to his apartment he kept his tanks with us. He put his two pelcos into a tank with a divider as one was an aggressive bristle nose. Any way we didn't know that one got to the other side with the other...surprise we had babies. I chose to keep two, but found out later that I had three. This past winter when my husband and I put up our 20 gallon tank we figured no big deal...again SURPRISE, we found our selves with babies, about 10 surviving. Well now just today July 16, 2016, SURPRISE found we have a whole batch of new babies. We have either two males and a female or two females and a male. Remember the original three are "siblings" or whatever you want to call them and they have been prolific like rabbits...and WE HAVE NOT BEEN TRYING TO BREED THEM, it's all on them. The three original are unique as they are hybrids, one a bristle nose the other not sure, so all of the offspring are hybrids of these three. So whoever said they are hard to breed, well at this point I find it hard to believe. Just need to know how to tell the sex of the three original plecos, can anyone help. Thanks.

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      Lara 6 years ago

      Thank you very much for the quick answer. Yes, obviously the hi-fin pleco is gibbiceps, I just saw the name above the photo too late. But still it's not the male next to "his" baby. I'm sorry to bother you and good luck with your beautiful fish :)

    • caninecrtitics profile image

      caninecrtitics 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Sorry Lara I have bred the Bushy nose not the Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps although my pair have laid eggs but nothing has come about it. I wish their had been. If the Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps you're referring to so everyone knows I believe in common name is the hi-fin spotted pleco.

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      Lara 6 years ago

      Hi, i just wanted to ask - isn't that on the photo a Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps and the baby looks like an albino Ancistrus? I'm tryin' to find someone that has actually bred successfully Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps and when i saw the photo decided it could be you, but the name and photo just refer to two completely different fish. The bushy nose pleco is an ancistrus and the photo is of Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps. The baby - i'm really not sure what the baby is. Please, write some more info because if you've actually bred an Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps in aquarium - you'll be the first one! Thank you so much.

    • caninecrtitics profile image

      caninecrtitics 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Yes they can since snails are scavengers they will eat almost anything in their path.

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      RICHARD CAPO 6 years ago

      can snails eat albino pleco eggs

    • caninecrtitics profile image

      caninecrtitics 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you for the comment there are so many different types of plecos out their its crazy now.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      I used to keep tropicals years ago and never heard of anyone breeding Plecos in those days! A very informative hub.