September 27

Sarah Robertson

Para Pleco: an Interactive Care Guide for Keeping Your Fish Healthy and Happy

Plecos are becoming increasingly popular as aquarium fish. They are hardy and relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginner aquarists. There are many different species of plecos and one of the most popular is the Para pleco (LDA002).

Para plecos are native to South America and are found in the waterways of Colombia and Venezuela. They are a type of loricariid catfish that can be cream or light-colored with dark black or brown spots. These fish are a little rarer than other pleco species and can be harder to find in pet stores.

If you're thinking of adding a Para pleco to your aquarium, here's what you need to know about their care:

A Quick Para Pleco Care Table

  • Scientific Name: Peckoltia sabaji
  • Diet: Omnivorous
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Compatibility: Peaceful
  • Ph: 6.0 - 7.6
  • Temperature: 75.2° - 78.8° F
  • Water hardness: 5 - 15 dKH
  • Minimum Tank Size: 55 Gallons
  • Tankmates: Corydoras catfish, Guppies, Minnows, Tetras, Shrimp, Characins
  • Breeding: Cave Breeders
  • Size: 9.8 Inches
  • Life expectancy: 5 to 8 years

Para Pleco Origin

The Para Pleco is a South American freshwater fish that may be found in Colombia and Venezuela's streams. The Para Pleco lives in slow-flowing rivers and streams with sandy or muddy bottoms, such as those found in Colombia and Venezuela. These fish may also be found in lakes and ponds that have similar habitats.

The Para Pleco is a member of the Loricariidae family which contains over 700 other species of plecos. The Para Pleco gets its name from the city of Para in Brazil. This fish was first discovered in the Rio Negro tributary near the city of Para. The scientific name for the Para Pleco is Peckoltia sabaji.

Para Pleco Size

The average size for a fully grown Para Pleco is 9.8 inches, although some have been known to reach up to 10 inches.

The size of a pleco fish is determined by the size of its tank and the amount of attention it receives. A tank with the right size and proper filtration helps the pleco to grow to its full potential.

Diet is another factor that affects a pleco's size. A well-fed pleco will grow to its full potential size, while a fish that isn't receiving enough food will remain smaller. However, make sure not to overfeed your fish, as this can lead to health problems.

Para Pleco Life Expectancy 

The average lifespan for a Para Pleco is 5 to 8 years, although some have been known to live up to 10 years with proper care.

Providing your pleco with the correct environment and diet is critical for its long and healthy life. A clean aquarium with fresh water and hiding places will help your pleco to feel secure and reduce stress. A diet rich in vegetables and high-quality pleco food will also help to keep your fish healthy and promote a long lifespan.

Para Pleco Behavior

The Para Plecos are most active at night. However, they will generally become lively during the day once they have been placed in an aquarium with plenty of driftwood, rockwork, and other hiding locations.

The Para Pleco is a calm fish that get along well with other tank mates. It is non-aggressive and will not bother other fish in the aquarium. Males of this species can develop territoriality with one another on rare occasions. However, conflicts are frequently settled by providing each fish with enough area and hiding places.

These beautiful bottom-dwellers are known to be one of the best algae-eaters available in the aquarium trade. The Para Pleco will help to keep your aquarium clean and free of algae. They have a voracious appetite and will consume large amounts of food. They also consume dead and decaying material, which contributes to the maintenance of the aquarium.

Para Pleco Appearance

The Para Pleco is a beautiful fish with a creamy, yellowish body that is covered in black or brown spots. The abdomen and fins of this fish are lighter in color, and the belly is often white. The Para Pleco has three pairs of barbels on its face that it uses to find food. These barbels are very sensitive and help the fish to locate food in murky water.

The Para Pleco has a long and slender body that is slightly flattened from side to side. The head of this fish is large and slightly pointed. The mouth of the Para Pleco is located at the bottom of the head, and it has small, sharp teeth.

Gender Differences

It is not easy to tell the difference between male and female Para Plecos. However, the following characteristics may help you to identify the gender of your fish:

  • Females are typically smaller than males
  • Males often have larger fins
  • Females often have a rounder body shape
LDA002 Pleco

Para Pleco Tank Setup

It's really easy to set up a tank for your Para Pleco. These plecos are extremely adaptable and do not demand high water quality. They can endure varying pH levels and temperatures. It is still critical to provide them adequate care and setup to ensure their growth.

Follow these tips for setting up the perfect tank for your Para Pleco:

Tank Size 

A Para Pleco requires a tank with at least 55 gallons. A bigger tank is usually preferable, however, this may not always be possible. Because these plecos can reach up to 9-10 inches long, you'll need enough room for them to swim about. If you want to add additional fish to the tank, make sure it's big enough to accommodate all the fish comfortably.

Para Pleco Tank Water Parameters

The Para Pleco can survive in a wide range of pH levels and temperatures. It is, however, still necessary to give them the appropriate care and set up to assure their safety. The optimum water temperature for Para Plecos is 75.2° - 78.8° F, with a pH level of 6.0 - 7.6.

These plecos are adaptable to a wide range of water hardness and will survive in an aquarium with a water hardness of 5 - 15 dKH, as long as the water is excessively soft. There must never be any nitrates or ammonia in the tank. If these chemicals aren't removed from the tank, they might be dangerous to the plecos and may even lead to death.

Tank Decor 

It's crucial to decorate your tank appropriately for the health of your Para Pleco. These fish prefer to hide and are more comfortable when they have lots of places to hide. For selecting the ideal aquarium décor for your Para Pleco, follow these suggestions:

Use a Sandy Substrate

The type of substrate you pick may have a significant impact on your pleco's health. Plecos are bottom-dwelling fish, and they prefer to be near the substrate. A sandy substratum is ideal since it is soft and gentle and does not harm their fragile bodies. There are several substrates available for purchase, so choose one that you think will be best for your fish.

Caves and Hiding Places 

Since Para Plecos are shy fish, they need lots of places to hide. You can provide them with hiding places by adding caves, driftwood, or rocks to your tank. Be sure to choose décor that is safe for your fish and that will not hurt them when they brush up against it.

Another option is to construct your own hiding places out of PVC pipes or other materials. Slate, limestone, and bogwood are some of the greatest rocks and driftwood for plecos.

Consider the following aspects when determining whether a rock or piece of wood is suitable for your pleco:

  • Double-check that it hasn't been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides if the material is from your own garden.
  • If the rock or wood was formerly in another aquarium, double-check that it was properly cleaned.

To clean algae and debris from wood and rocks, soak them in a 10% bleach solution for 30 minutes to disinfect. Rinse the dirt away after they've been soaked before putting them in your pleco's tank. You may be sure that they're clean and safe for your fish this way.

Peat Moss 

Peat moss is a type of substratum that is often used in pleco tanks. Peat moss helps to lower the pH level of the water, which plecos prefer. It also makes the water softer, which plecos also like. Peat moss is easy to find and is not expensive, so it is a good option for decorating your pleco tank.


The pleco is a popular choice among fishkeepers due to its impressive size, fierce personality, and docile nature. Plecos are known for damaging plants, therefore it's best not to include live plants in their tank. If you must add live ornamental plants, such as Java ferns, Anubias species, and Hornwort.

If you don't want to use real plants, you may put plastic ones in their tank. These plants are lifelike, and your pleco will not be able to eat them. However, make sure the plants you choose do not have any sharp edges that could harm your pleco.

Soak plastic plants in a 10% bleach solution for 30 minutes to clean them. Before adding them to your pleco's tank, rinse them thoroughly with water.


There are no special requirements for this species of pleco, although they do appreciate dim lighting. If you want to add plants to their aquarium, consider using fluorescent light. This form of illumination will give your plants the light they require to thrive without being excessively bright for your pleco.


The type of filter you use in your tank for Para Plecos is not important. However, it is always a good idea to utilize a filter that is made specifically for your pleco's aquarium. Filters are an essential component of every aquarium since they aid in the maintenance of clean, toxin-free water. Choose a filter that can turn over at least four times the volume of your aquarium per hour as a guideline.

If your tank is 30 gallons, you'll need a filter that can handle at least 120 gallons per hour.

Some good filter choices for plecos include:

  • Canister Filters
  • Hang-on-Back (HOB) Filters
  • Undergravel Filters
  • Power Filters

Note: Cleaning your filter is simple: just take it out of the tank and rinse it off with water. Never use soap or chemicals on your filter because they may harm it.

Cleaning Your Para Pleco Tank

As long as you do water changes on a regular basis, the Para Pleco is a low-maintenance fish. Make sure to do water changes at least once every week to keep their aquarium clean.

Every week, aim to replace at least 30% of the water in your aquarium using a gravel vacuum. You may use a gravel vacuuming device to remove debris from the bottom of your tank while you're doing a water change.

To clean the gravel in your pleco's tank, vacuum it with a gravel vacuuming device. This will help to remove any debris that has accumulated on the bottom of your aquarium.

Avoid using soap or chemicals when cleaning algae off rocks and other decorations. These can be harmful to your pleco if they come into contact with them. Instead, scrub the algae off with a soft-bristled brush.

If you have live plants in your pleco's tank, you may need to trim them back from time to time. This will help to keep the plants healthy and prevent them from taking over the aquarium.

Para Pleco Tank Mates

The Para Pleco is a peaceful fish that gets along with other tank mates. They are not aggressive and typically ignore other fish in the tank. Males of this species, on the other hand, may get territorial with each other. As a result, it's ideal to provide each fish with adequate room. Some decent tankmates for Para Plecos include:

  • Tetras such as Neon Tetras or Cardinal Tetras
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Guppies
  • Minnows
  • Shrimp such as Ghost Shrimp or Cherry Shrimp
  • Characins
  • Peaceful South American cichlids

These plecos are also known to do well in community tanks.

Note: Avoid keeping plecos with fish that may nip at their fins or try to eat them. These include bettas, goldfish, and barbs.

Para Pleco Diet

Para Pleco Diet

Plecos, like other pleco species, are omnivores. This indicates that they will consume both plant and animal flesh. These plecos have been recorded consuming a range of things in the wild, including algae, small crustaceans, and invertebrates.

In captivity, a diet that includes both plant and meaty foods is ideal. A suitable diet for Para Plecos should include:

  • Pellets: Pellets are a type of fish food intended to sink to the bottom of the aquarium. Because they spend the majority of their time near the bottom of the tank, plecos will benefit greatly from them. They are high in nutrients and contain enough energy for your pleco to develop and stay healthy.
  • Wafers: Sinking wafers are another kind of fish food that is meant to drop to the bottom of the tank. They're composed of algae and plant materials, making them a perfect source of vegetarian protein for plecos.
  • Algae tablets: Algae tablets are a type of algae-based fish food that is compressed. They sink to the bottom of the aquarium, giving plecos a reliable source of vegetarian protein. If you think your fish isn't interested in these tablets, try offering it algae wafers instead.
  • Para Pleco Flakes: If you give your pleco flakes, limit them to very tiny amounts. Flakes are less nutritionally complete than pellets and might cause digestive problems in your fish. If you offer your pleco flakes, make sure to soak them in aquarium water first to make them easier to digest.
  • Vegetable Matters: You can also offer your pleco blanched fresh vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, and peas. These vegetables provide plecos with a good source of vegetarian nutrition. Also, offer your pleco freeze-dried vegetables as an occasional treat. Fruits such as melon, mango, and papaya can also be given to plecos as a treat. These fruits should only be given in small amounts because they contain sugars that can lead to health problems in fish if consumed in large quantities.
  • Live food: Live food is the  best way to broaden the variety of your fish's diet. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are all great live foods for your pleco to consume. Feeding your pleco live meals on a regular basis may induce digestive issues. Live food should only be given to your pet once or twice per week.
  • Frozen food: Frozen food can be an excellent way to spice up your pleco's diet. If live food isn't accessible, frozen is the next best alternative. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are all excellent Frozen foods to offer your Pleco. Feeding your Pleco frozen food on a regular basis, however, may cause digestive issues. Frozen food should only be given to your pet once or twice per week.

Tips for feeding your Para Pleco

When feeding your Para Pleco, keep the following in mind:

  • Pellets, wafers, and tablets should make up the majority of your fish's diet.
  • Live food should only be given to your pet once or twice per week.
  • Frozen food should only be given to your pet once or twice per week.
  • Soak pellets, flakes, and tablets in aquarium water before feeding them to your pleco. This will soften them and make them easier for your fish to digest.
  • Only give your pleco as much food as it can eat in 2 minutes.
  • Remove any uneaten food from the tank after 2 minutes to prevent water quality issues.

Para Pleco Diseases 

The Para Plecos are a hardy species that is resistant to most illnesses. However, there are a few ailments that may strike them, including:

  • White spot disease: White spot disease is an infection caused by a parasitic organism known as Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. It's one of the most prevalent fish diseases in aquariums and may affect all species of freshwater fish, including plecos. White spots on the skin, flashing or rubbing against things, loss of appetite and increased gill movement are all signs of white spot disease. If you think your pleco has white spot disease, quarantine it immediately and treat the fish with a medication that is specifically designed to kill Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.
  • Velvet disease: Velvet disease is an infection caused by a parasitic organism known as Oodinium ocellatum. It's a common fish disease that may affect all species of freshwater fish, including plecos. Velvet disease is characterized by a velvety or powdery growth on the skin, gill damage, loss of appetite, and increased respiratory rate. Antibiotics and copper-based medicines are used to cure velvet disease.
  • Hole-in-the-head disease: Hole-in-the-head disease is an infection that affects the cells around the fish's head, resulting in small holes or crater-like depressions. The cause of the hole-in-the-head disease is unknown, but it's thought to be stress-related. A lack of proper nutrition may also play a role in the development of this disease. Symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, and small holes or crater-like depressions around the head. There is no known cure for the hole-in-the-head disease. However, you can take measures to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Be sure to provide your pleco with a well-balanced diet and maintain good water quality in the aquarium. If you think your fish has the hole-in-the-head disease, consult a veterinarian for treatment options.
  • Fungal infections: Saprolegnia is the fungus that causes fungal infections. Saprolegnia can affect both freshwater and saltwater fish, and if left untreated, it might be fatal. White or gray patches on the skin are signs of a fungal infection. If you think your pleco has a fungal infection, treat the fish with a combination of antibiotics and antifungals.
  • Dropsy: The swelling of internal organs is known as dropsy, and it's a disease that affects fish's internal organs. It's usually caused by a bacterial infection, but it can also be induced by a viral infection or a tumor. Symptoms of dropsy include swollen abdomen, bulging eyes, gills that appear pale, fins that clench, curved spine, and pale faces. Dropsy can be treated with a range of prescription medications including antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines.
  • Fin Rot: Fin rot is a disease that affects fish fin. It's usually caused by a bacterial infection, although fungal infection can also induce it. Loss of appetite is one of the most common signs of fin rot. The ragged edges of fins and tails, fraying fins and tails, and fin and/or tail loss as a result of the illness, are all other signs of fin rot. You can treat fin rot by using a combination of antibiotics and antifungals.

Preventing Diseases in Para Plecos

It's usually preferable to prevent an illness than to cure it. As a result, following some preventive measures to keep your Para Pleco healthy and disease-free is in your best interests. You may perform the following things to help maintain the health of your Para Pleco:

  • On a regular basis, perform water changes to improve the quality of the water and minimize the risk of illness.
  • It's crucial to clean the aquarium on a regular basis. Parasites and germs can survive in algae and other waste, putting your fish at risk of disease.
  • New fish should be quarantined for at least two weeks before being added to the main tank as they may carry diseases that can spread throughout your other aquarium inhabitants. It's necessary to quarantine new fish for at least two weeks before adding them to the main tank.
  • Include a variety of foods in your pleco's diet: A varied diet will keep your pleco healthy and reduce the chance of disease.
  • It's a good idea to check your pleco for signs of illness on a regular basis. If you notice any changes in your pleco's look or behavior, contact an expert as soon as possible.
  • Don't feed your fish too much. Overfeeding can lead to overweight in your pleco, which can put it at risk for a number of illnesses.
  • Overcrowding is not suggested. It's preferable to keep the tank clean and avoid putting your pets in one location. Overcrowded tanks have been linked to stress, which has been shown to place your pleco at risk for a variety of health issues.
  • A clean and disease-free environment is necessary for the survival of your pleco.
  • Keep an eye on the water quality: This will aid in the maintenance of high water quality while also reducing illness.


A number of diseases can be cured if they're treated in their early stages. However, some diseases are incurable and might be fatal. If you think your pleco has a disease, it's important to seek professional help as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance for a full recovery.

Some common treatments for diseases include:

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are commonly used to treat bacterial infections. They work by killing the bacteria that are causing the infection.
  • Antifungals: As their name suggests, antifungals are used to treat fungal infections. They work by stopping the growth of the fungus.
  • Anti-parasitic: Anti-parasitic medications are used to treat parasitic infections. They work by killing the parasites that are causing the infection.
  • Adding Aquarium salt: This is a common treatment for a number of diseases, including bacterial infections, fungal infections, and parasitic infections. Aquarium salt can be added to the tank on a temporary basis to help treat disease. It's important to remove the salt once the disease has been cured.
  • Changing the water: Water changes are often used to treat disease. This is because fresh water can help to remove toxins from the tank that can cause disease.
Para Pleco Breeding

Para Pleco Breeding 

This species has been bred in the home aquarium, but it is fairly challenging to achieve especially if you don't have a lot of breeding experience. That being said, it is possible to breed the Para Pleco if you are up for the challenge.

To successfully breed this fish, follow these tips:

  • Select a Pair Of Healthy Fish: These Plecos are difficult to breed, therefore obtaining a pair in good form is critical. Finding a suitable pair, on the other hand, may be especially challenging as they look quite similar. The ideal solution is to get a group of several youngsters of the same size and age (hoping it will include both sexes) and raise them. You should be able to spot subtle variations in mature fish, with the male having a larger head and thicker pectoral fins.
  • Condition the Para Plecos: Once you have a pair of fish, you'll need to condition them for breeding. This means feeding them a high-quality diet of live foods and frozen foods. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are all good options. After a few weeks of this diet, you should start to see the female getting plumper, which is a sign she is full of eggs.
  • Introduce the Para Plecos to the Breeding Aquarium: Once the female is ready to spawn, you'll need to set up a breeding tank. This should be a separate tank from the one where you're keeping the rest of your fish. The tank should be small, around 30 gallons, and set up like the main tank with a breeding cave or other hiding place. The cave must be big enough for the female to fit inside and lay her eggs. They prefer slightly acidic water with a temperature between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Ph should be between 6.0 and 7.0.

  • Get the Para Plecos Mating: Once the tank is set up, you'll need to get the Plecos mating. The easiest way to do this is to put the male in the tank first and let him adjust for a day or two. Then, add the female and let them mate. The process of spawning can take several hours, and you may not see much activity. However, if you find them not getting ready to mate, here are a few things you can do to trigger spawning. First, you can lower the water level in the tank so that the plecos feel more secure. You can also add some more driftwood or live plants17 to the tank, which will help to lower the pH. Finally, you can turn off the lights in the tank and add a bit of liquid fertilizer to the water, which will help to stimulate spawning.

  • Spawning: When it comes to breeding, Para Plecos are less sensitive than many other Loricariids. The male will softly encourage the female into the cave before joining her on the same side. After they've mated, the male leaves and allows the female to depart, then returns to take parental care of the eggs.

  • Hatching and Raising the Para Pleco Fry: The eggs should hatch in 6-7 days (depending on the temperature), and the extra-large yolk sac will be used up over the next 7-8 days as their main food. After that, the tiny wrigglers will be free-swimming and should be fed with sinking foods like pleco tablets as well as tiny frozen food. The fry may safely stay in the tank along with the adults, although many breeders prefer to move the adults back to the main aquarium so it's easier to feed and monitor the young on their own. Maintaining good water quality is extremely important when raising fry, so do frequent water changes.

Note: Pleco fry can be difficult to raise, so it's important to keep an eye on them and make sure they're getting enough to eat. If you see any of the fry-looking skinny or malnourished, you can try feeding them live baby brine shrimp or microworms.

Frequent Questions 

How fast do Para plecos grow? 

Para Plecos take a long time to mature, taking around a year to reach full size. They can grow more quickly if they are given ideal circumstances and a nutritious diet, though.

How often should I feed my Para Pleco? 

Para Plecos must be fed 2-3 times per day. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat whenever they can, so it's important to make sure they have enough food. Feed them only what they can eat in a few minutes so that the tank doesn't get too dirty. Also, remember to remove the uneaten food so it doesn't decompose and pollute the water.

Does my Para pleco need driftwood?

Para Plecos do need driftwood in their tank. Driftwood provides essential nutrients that they would otherwise lack, and it also helps to keep the pH of the water low, which is important for their health.

What algae eaters can live with Para Plecos?

Para Plecos are peaceful fish, so they can be kept with most other algae eaters. Some good choices include Otocinclus catfish, Bristlenose plecos, and Siamese algae eaters.

Do Para plecos eat live plants? 

Para Plecos are not known to eat live plants, but they may nibble on them if they're hungry. If you're worried about them damaging your plants, you can try giving them some driftwood or algae tablets to chew on instead.

What size tank does a Para pleco need? 

Para Plecos need a minimum of 50-55 gallons, but larger is better. They are active fish and need room to swim, so don't skimp on tank size. Especially if you are planning to keep more than one Para Pleco, a larger tank is a must as the male of this species can get quite territorial.

What do Para plecos eat in the wild? 

Para Plecos eat mostly algae, but they will also eat small invertebrates and detritus. In the wild, they are constantly grazing on whatever they can find, so it's important to replicate this in the home aquarium. They should be given a variety of foods, including algae tablets, vegetables, and sinking pleco pellets.

Which are the most common types of pleco fish?

There are many different types of pleco fish, but the most common is the Bristlenose catfish pleco and the Common Pleco. The Bristlenose Pleco is a small, peaceful fish that is easy to care for. The Common Pleco is larger and more active, and it can be quite territorial. Both of these fish are popular choices for the home aquarium. Some other varieties of plecos include butterfly pleco, medusa pleco, Angelicus pleco, arabesque pleco, candy-striped pleco, clown pleco, flounder pleco, flash pleco, leopard frog pleco, ringlet pleco, pitbull pleco, striped bulldog pleco, etc.


The Para Pleco, also known as the LDA002 pleco, is a peaceful armored catfish that makes a great addition to any aquarium. They have beautiful cream or yellow bodies with dark brown or black spots. Para Plecos are hardy and easy to care for, and they will help to keep your tank clean by eating algae.

These fishes can reach a length of up to 9.8 inches, so they need a minimum tank size of at least 50 gallons. However, in order to reach their full potential size, it is very essential to provide them with a high-quality diet, plenty of hiding places, and the best possible water condition.

These are very beautiful community fish that are sure to add some personality and color to your home aquarium. So if you are looking for an algae-eating fish that is easy to care for, the Para Pleco might be the perfect choice for you!

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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