September 1

Sarah Robertson

A Complete Guide to Help Keep Your Royal Pleco Healthy

The Royal Pleco is one of the many catfish species found in the Amazon basin. These beautiful freshwater fish are well-known for drawing attention to themselves in any aquarium and are sought after by aquarists for their stunning coloring and long lifespans.

The Royal Pleco (L190) is a big freshwater catfish that can be found in most of South America's northern part. Royal Plecos have a distinctive dark grey color that stands out against their light grey bellies. The dark grey may be black or brown, and their bodies appear to be rather brownish than grey on occasion. The stripes are not uniform, so every Royal Pleco has its own pattern. You may occasionally discover one with markings rather than stripes.

Royal plecos are hardy fish, and they are very popular among aquarium hobbyists. However, before getting one, it's critical to have a solid grasp of their basic care demands. These creatures may be sensitive to poor tank conditions and must be maintained by someone who understands them.

Royal Pleco Quick Guide

  • Scientific Name : Panaque nigrolineatus
  • Diet : Omnivorous
  • Care Level : Moderate
  • Compatibility : Generally peaceful yet territorial with conspecifics and other similarly sized catfish
  • Ph : 6.5 - 7.5
  • Temperature : 71.6-86°F
  • Water hardness : 6 to 10 KH
  • Minimum Tank Size : 100 Galloons
  • Tankmates : Bristlenose Pleco, Congo Tetra, Silver Dollar Fish, Angelfish, Black Skirt Tetra
  • Breeding : Commercially bred in outdoor ponds
  • Size : 16.9-17 inches
  • Life expectancy : 8-10 years

Royal Pleco Distribution

The Royal Pleco (Panaque nigrolineatus) is a huge freshwater catfish that are found in South America's Orinoco and southern middle and lower Amazon River tributaries.

The Amazon River basin, known to be home to a vast array of freshwater fish species, the Royal Pleco is just one of them. These majestic creatures are most commonly found near submerged wood or other types of debris in stagnant or slow-moving water.

They've also been found in Costa Rica, Panama, and Trinidad.

Royal Pleco Size

These fish can grow to be quite large, so it's important to provide them with a comfortable home that will accommodate their needs as they grow.

The typical length of a Royal Pleco is between 16 and 17 inches, with females usually being larger than males. However, there are many factors that can contribute to the size of an individual fish, including the temperature of the water, the quality of food, and even the tank mates.

Royal Pleco Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Royal Pleco is between 8 and 10 years, although some have been known to live for much longer. In order to ensure a long and healthy life for your fish, it's important to provide them with the proper care.

Royal Pleco Appearance

Royal Pleco Appearance

The Royal pleco is a strong-looking fish with an intimidating visage. They are not only big, but they also have some distinct physical characteristics. The Royal Pleco, like other Plecos and catfish species, lacks scales. Rather than having smooth skin, it is protected by hard armor-like skin plates.

Although these plates extend over the entire body, the belly is quite softer. The body of the fish is white with black or dark brown stripes. The stripes run parallel down the length of the fish. The lines are uneven, creating a unique pattern from fish to fish. A creamy gold color covers the end of the big dorsal fin.

This species has a distinctive Pleco profile. They have a big head, downturned sucker mouth, and large fins. The teeth are spoon-shaped and the width at the tip is greater than it is at the base.

These teeth are sharp to make it easier for them to consume wood. They're ideal for scraping off algae and peeling away tiny pieces of wood. Another feature is the lack of a buccal papilla, or "flap of skin" on the inside of the mouth. They also have bright red eyes, which stand out against the body's muted colors.

Royal Plecos are somewhat bulkier than other species. The majority of that mass is concentrated on the head, giving it an imposing appearance.

There are a few distinct color distinctions among the various subspecies. The most frequent color variant in the market is gray and black, however. The base hue is usually light gray. It can sometimes have a kind of brownish tint to it.

Royal Pleco Gender Differences

  • The genital papilla in adult fish can be differentiated based on their characteristics. The female's is broader than the male's and has a tiny, dark tubercle at its base. In form, the male's genital opening is slit-like.
  • In body shape, the female Royal Plecos are usually round and blunt, while the males are smaller and pointed.

Types of Royal Pleco

  • Beige royal pleco
  • Blue eyed royal pleco
  • Broken line royal pleco
  • Dull eyed Royal Pleco
  • Gold-trim royal pleco
  • Goldline royal pleco
  • Longnosed royal pleco
  • Platinum royal pleco
  • Red fin royal pleco
  • Rio araguaia royal pleco
  • Shampupa royal pleco
  • Tapajos royal pleco
  • Teles pires royal pleco
  • Thunder royal pleco
  • Xingu royal pleco
  • Tocantins royal pleco

Royal Pleco Behavior and Temperament

The behavior and temperament of the Royal Pleco are fascinating. These fish will alternate between being highly active and totally lethargic. While they aren't technically nocturnal, this species is more active at night. They have a tendency to camp out under a favorite log or hideaway during the day.

The Royal Pleco is a very calm fish. They just want to be left alone on the bottom of the aquarium. These fish, like their relatives, are bottom-dwellers. They'll spend the majority of their time in your tank's bottom third (a single going up to the surface is extremely unusual).It's unlikely that you'll see them start a fight with another species, provided they aren't paired with anything too dangerous.

Royal Pleco Fish Tank Setup

Royal Pleco Fish Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for a Royal Pleco entails considering both the size and activity patterns of these nocturnal fish. Because they're such big fish, their aquarium must be large enough to fit them. Here are some suggestions if you want to create the ideal home for your Royal Pleco.

Royal Pleco Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a Royal Pleco is 100 gallons. While some aquarists maintain these fish in tanks that are 20 or 30 gallons smaller, this option is not desirable if you want them to flourish.

Large tanks are necessary for big fish. Not only will this aid them in reaching their full potential, but it will also aid you in controlling any aggressiveness and keeping them stress-free. This has a significant influence on their overall health in ways that are impossible to measure.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • The most of the owners who've witnessed their Royal Pleco achieve (or surpass) its maximum lifespan have kept them in tanks with a capacity of 100 gallons or more. We feel that getting the tank size correct is the second most important element of Royal Pleco care, after ensuring good water quality.
  • If you want to keep them in a community tank, you'll have to give them additional space for their competition. This is especially true if you're going to

Royal Pleco Water Parameters

Replenishing these fish's water is essential. Despite their toughness, you'll need to give them water that they enjoy. The benefit of keeping these fish in such a big tank is that it's much simpler to keep the conditions constant. It's just as critical to maintain consistency as it is to achieve accuracy!

A water temperature of 71.6-86°F is ideal for keeping your Royal Pleco healthy. The pH level should be maintained between 6.5 and 7.5, although a wider range of 6.0 to 8.0 is acceptable. 0 ppm ammonia and nitrite are required. The ideal concentration of nitrate is less than 20 ppm. This species thrives in water with a hardness of 6 to 10 KH.

After they've adjusted to their new aquarium, check these metrics on a regular basis to verify that they remain constant. Royal Pleco life spans are typically quite lengthy, and although they can endure some amount of fluctuation (more so than many other freshwater species), you want to keep it as low as feasible.

Royal Pleco Tank Decor 

The Royal Pleco is a shy fish that prefers to have many options for seeking refuge. As a result, you should give them with as many cave entrances, vegetation, and other decorations to make them feel at ease.

  • Caves: Caves are essential to the fish's well-being since they like to rest there during the day.The use of bogwood is necessary for a royal Pleco tank, both for dietary and aesthetic reasons, as it appears to be the Royal Pleco's favorite hiding spot. That being said, any sufficiently large dark refuge will be utilized, regardless of whether it is bogwood or not. Rocks, pieces of driftwood, and even PVC pipe can all be used to create hiding places. Just make sure whatever you use is safe for your fish and won't fall and crush them should it topple over.
  • Plants: Regarding plants, Royal Plecos don't have any particular preferences. They're not known for eating plants, so you can choose whatever you like. Just make sure the plants are robust enough to withstand a bit of abuse from these big fish. Some of the best options include Java Fern, Anubias, and Hornwort. Also keep in mind that the plants used in the aquarium are safe for your fish and won't harm them in any way.
  • Substrate: Substrate is another essential element of the fish's environment. A smooth gravel or sand substrate is ideal since it won't damage their delicate barbels. Make sure the substrate you choose is also safe for your fish and won't harm them in any way.

Royal Pleco Tank Maintainance 

The maintenance of a tank is one of the most crucial aspects of Royal Pleco care. These fish are voracious feeders and produce a lot of waste, so you'll need to keep an eye on things to maintain water quality.

  • The best approach to achieve this is to conduct water changes on a regular basis. We recommend changing at least 20% of the water once every week. If you can do it more often, that's even better.
  • You'll also need to vacuum the gravel and clean the filter on a regular basis, in addition to performing water changes. These fish are tough on equipment, so be prepared to replace items more frequently than usual.
  • A few last words of advice: don't be overly obsessive about cleaning. These fish enjoy a little algae in the tank, so don't scrub everything down too hard. Algae is actually beneficial to these fish!

Royal Pleco Tankmates

Because Royal Pleco are bottom dwellers and nocturnal, it's best to find tank companions that sit at the mid-to-upper levels of the tank as well as those who are more active during the day so that the different species won't be squabbling for space or attention.

Royal Pleco tank mates should be peaceful and calm; they are only aggressive with their own kind, and if they are put in the same aquarium as more violent fish, it can stress them out, putting their health at risk.

It's also a bad idea to keep aggressive fish with faster, more active swimmers in the same aquarium. Because they are not the most expert swimmers, Royal Pleco can have a hard time keeping up and may become easy targets for bullying.

Some compatible tank mates for your Royal Pleco include:

  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Congo Tetra
  • Silver Dollar Fish
  • Angelfish
  • Black Skirt Tetra
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Headstanders
  • Rummy Nose Tetra
  • Flag Cichlids
  • Bloodfin Tetra
  • Dwarf Gouramis

Make sure to do your research before adding any fish to your aquarium and confirm that there are lots of space to swim around. Not all fish get along, and it's important to create a harmonious environment for everyone involved. Keep observing your fish to make sure they're all happy and healthy. If you sense any tension, remove the aggressor immediately.

Royal Pleco Diet

Royal Pleco Diet

The Royal Pleco is a omnivorous fish that may eat both meat and vegetable-based foods in the wild. The fish will consume everything from tiny insects to algae-based foods to vegetation in the wild. The most preferred food for Pleco include:

  • Live food: Feeding your Royal Pleco live foods on occasion is an excellent method to give them the nutrients they need. Brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms are all viable live food alternatives. The majority of plecos love live food, however, only offer live food in small amounts since they might transmit dangerous germs.
  • Frozen food: Frozen foods, like live items, are just as nutritious as fresh ones and can be used in place of them. Frozen brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae are some excellent choices for frozen meals. Despite the fact that frozen meals may be eaten on a daily basis, it is still crucial to offer your fish tiny portions at a time to prevent obesity.
  • Flake food: The Royal Pleco fry also thrives on a diet of flake food. nMake sure to get edible flakes that are suitable for omnivorous fish. nThese may be found at any pet shop that sells fish food.
  • Algae wafers: Algae wafers are a wonderful way to supplement your Royal Pleco's diet. These wafers descend to the bottom of the aquarium, making them ideal for plecos. Just make sure you're buying from a reputable manufacturer that doesn't contain any harmful chemicals or fillers.
  • Pellets: The Royal Pleco can also be fed with pellets. Pellets are an excellent choice for this species since there are so many to select from. These gives them a well-rounded diet and help ensure they're getting all the nutrients they need.
  • Plant matter: The fish species are omnivores, requiring a balanced diet that includes both meat and plant-based foods. Zucchini, cucumber, and spinach are all excellent vegetable options. You have the option of feeding them fresh or blanched veggies. To destroy any harmful germs, vegetables are blanched for a few seconds in boiling water. Fruits such as melon, grapes, and mango are also good choices.

The Royal Pleco should only be fed a little amount of food at once, even if it is a large fish. Excess feeding can result in health issues such as obesity and swimbladder illness. Feed them 3 times a day and make sure that you only give them what they can consume in two minutes. It's critical to empty the tank of any uneaten fish food to avoid water quality issues. This will help keep your fish healthy and your water clean.

Royal Pleco Diseases

Despite their size, royal plecos are susceptible to the same illnesses as their smaller freshwater counterparts. Some of the more common diseases that can affect your fish include:

  • Swimbladder Disease: Swimbladder disease is an illness that affects fish and may be induced by a variety of factors, including incorrect food, infections, or genetics. Swimbladder disease includes symptoms such as bloating, buoyancy issues, and poor swimming ability. If it is detected early enough, medicine can be used to cure it; however, if left untreated it can be fatal.
  • Hole in the Head Disease: Hexamita is the parasite that causes this illness. It causes sores and holes in the pleco's head. If left untreated, it can be deadly. Maintaining healthy tank conditions is the greatest defense against this illness. This entails regular water changes and keeping your tank clean. Quarantine new fish before adding them to your tank to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Dropsy: Dropsy is a disease that causes fish to have an irregularly shaped, swollen abdomen and protruding scales. If left untreated, dropsy may be deadly. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are two types of medication that can be used to cure dropsy.
  • Columnaris: Royal Pleco is vulnerable to columnaris, a bacterial infection that results in white or gray patches on the fish's body. This sickness might generate white or gray marks on the fish's body. Columarias may be treated with a variety of medicines, including antibiotics.
  • White Spot Disease: It results in white patches on the pleco's body. It can be deadly if not treated promptly. You may use water changes and proper tank maintenance to prevent this illness from spreading. Antibiotics may also aid in the treatment of ichthyosis.
  • Fin Rot: Fish fin rot is an illness that affects fish fins and tails. The disease causes the fins to broaden or collapse. Fin rot may be treated with a wide range of antibiotics, including one that attacks the infection.


The Royal Pleco may have a number of ailments, many of which are difficult to detect. The following are the most prevalent:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Abnormal swimming behavior
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Holes on the head
  • White patches on the body
  • Floating upside down
  • Gasping for air

If any of these symptoms appear, quarantine the fish as soon as possible to avoid the illness spreading to the other fish in the tank.


Prevention is always preferable than treating an illness. As a result, in order for your Royal Pleco to stay healthy and free of illness, you must follow the following preventative measures:

  • Quarantine new fish before adding them to your tank
  • Maintain a clean and healthy tank
  • Always check the water parameters
  • Keep an eye out for early signs of illness
  • Perform a partial tank water change on a regular basis
  • Remove uneaten food from the tank
  • Feed your plec a varied diet
  • Reduce stress on the fish by giving your pleco hiding areas in the tank.
  • Keep an eye out for early signs of illness and take action immediately.

The best medicine is prevention, so make sure you're doing all you can to keep your Pleco healthy and happy. Regular tank maintenance, a varied diet, and constant monitoring will go a long way in ensuring that your Royal Pleco has a lengthy and pleasurable life.


If your Royal Pleco falls ill despite your best efforts, there are a number of things you can try to cure the condition. The following are some of the most common treatment options:

  • The first stage in treating any sickness is to quarantine the sick ones. This will assist to prevent the disease from spreading throughout the tank.
  • A water change is an excellent approach to remove pollutants from the water that are causing your pleco to become ill.
  • Adding salt to the tank has been found to be beneficial in treating a range of ailments, including fin rot, ichthyosis, and columnaris.
  • If the problem is bacterial in origin, antibiotics may be used to treat the infection.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to treat conditions such as fin rot and Dropsy.
  • The treatment of any disease necessitates a healthy diet and clean water.

These are some of the most frequent Royal Pleco disease cures. If you're unsure about what to do, talk with a professional before taking any procedures.

Royal Pleco Breeding

Royal Pleco Breeding

It's very tough to breed Royal Pleco in aquariums at home. This is due to the fact that the fry are very delicate and need a lot of care. As a result, it's best to leave breeding to the experts.

In fact, there have been no confirmed occurrences of this. Despite the fact that these are not particularly aggressive fish, a typical Royal pleco can only be grown in commercial farms with the assistance of methods and suitable conditions.

They are bottom-dwelling fish that require deep, mucky water to breed. They'll even bury themselves in the mud! Warm water of around 86°F is also required. It would be difficult to maintain these conditions in an aquarium. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to breed your own Royal Pleco at home.

However if you are willing to put in the time, money, and effort, then you may be able to achieve success. Here are a few tips that may help you:

  • Create a deep, mucky bottom in your aquarium using clay and sand.
  • Place some plants in the tank for the fry to hide in.
  • Maintain the water temperature at 86°F using a heater.
  • Select a healthy pair that is at least 3 years old.
  • Feed the adult plecos live or frozen foods to stimulate spawning.
  • After the female has laid her eggs, remove the adults from the tank.
  • The fry will hatch after about a week and should be fed live foods such as brine shrimp.

Royal Pleco Breeding In Nature 

The age of sexual maturity for the Purple-striped Pleco is 3 years. Fish generally reach a length of 15-20 cm at this time. There isn't much sexual variance. The genital papilla shape is the most reliable method for determining gender.

The royal pleco is known to dig deep tunnels in muddy water to lay its eggs in nature . This mostly happens in the rainy season. The eggs are generally laid at night. 120-500 eggs can be produced by one female at a time. The adult males then take care of the fry.

The Royal Pleco fry hatch after about a week and they live at the bottom, where there is silt. After six days, the yolk sac phase ends. Later, artemia, cyclops, and daphnia are added to their diet. Their development is very fast; they can mature into adults in two years.

Frequent Questions

What is l191 pleco? 

The L191 or Dull Eyed Royal Pleco is a large-growing Panaque and one of the most common types of Royal Plecos in the trade. These plecos are found throughout Colombia and Venezuela, where they are typically taken from regions with acidic water with moderate to fast flow.

What is broken line royal pleco?

The Broken Line Royal Pleco is a fascinating fish that eats Green Hair or Filamentous algae from plants, glass, and rocks. It originated in Venezuela, South America. The male can reach a length of 15 inches after many years, but the maximum size is unknown.

What is watermelon royal pleco? 

The Watermelon or Spotted Royal Pleco is a huge, beautiful species from Colombia's Caquetá basin that grows to be about two feet long. They, like all other pleco species in the genus Panaque, have specialized teeth for consuming driftwood.

What is l190 royal pleco? 

The L190 Royal Pleco (Panaque nigrolineatus), a classic suckermouth catfish that is native to the Rio Orinoco in Colombia and Venezuela, is a well-known species. It's due to the beautiful patterns and distinct head size that it's such a fantastic pleco for larger aquariums.

What is green royal pleco? 

The L418 Green Royal Pleco, also known as the Shampupa, is a brightly colored and big-growing variation of Royal Pleco that originates in Peru's white water streams above the Amazon River and its tributaries in Peru and Ecuador's fast-moving, white water reaches.

What is gold line royal pleco?

The Gold Royal Plecostomus, also known as the Golden Line Royal Plecostromus, is a South American gorgeous fish that lives in rivers and tributaries. It has uneven golden horizontal stripes on a dark brown to black body. The fins' rays are also golden in color. Gold Royal Plecos form an excellent aspect of any aquarium collection

How many gallons does a royal pleco need?

A 100-gallon tank is the minimum size recommended for a Royal Pleco, but a larger tank will be necessary if you plan on keeping more than one fish. These plecos can grow to be more than 2 feet in length, so they need plenty of space to swim and hide.

Are Royal plecos rare?

No, Royal plecos are not rare. They are a common pleco in the aquarium trade.

Are Royal Pleco aggressive? 

No, Royal Plecos are not aggressive. They are peaceful fish that gets along with other tank mates. However, they can be quite territorial with their own species.


Adding a Royal Pleco to your aquarium is a great way to add some color and personality to your tank. These fish are hardy and relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginner aquarists.

 Royal plecos are also relatively long-lived, with a lifespan of up to 10 years in captivity. This implies that these beautiful one-of-a-kind fish may be with you for a long time. Due to this reason, they have become very famous in the aquarium trade. Though they are sturdy, they are also susceptible to certain diseases, just like any other fish.

The easiest approach to keep your pleco healthy is to provide them with a clean tank, a varied diet, and regular monitoring for early indicators of ailment. If your pleco gets sick, you may try one of several treatments. Your Royal Pleco will delight you for many years if you give it the attention it needs.

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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