September 1

Sarah Robertson

Tips to Add a L200 Green Phantom Pleco to Your Aquarium

The L200 Green Phantom Pleco is a lovely-colored Loricariid that may be found in Colombia and Venezuela's swift-flowing, rocky sections of the Orinoco and Ventuari Rivers. This pleco is a colorful and distinct addition to most medium to large aquariums with its bright green color and distinctive yellow spots.

As an omnivore, they will consume algae, but they will also need a varied diet of sinking prepared meals, gels, and fresh vegetables like zucchini and squash. In an aquarium, they will thrive in a moderately soft, warm, oxygen rich water with lots of hiding places and a gentle to strong current. Water quality is essential for this species to survive, therefore significant regular water changes should be considered necessary.

The L200 category can also include the "High Fin Green Phantom Pleco". The HiFins are almost identical to the standard L200s, with the exception of a more defined, nearly shark-like dorsal fin. However, despite their similar physical features, the L200 HiFin (Baryancistrus Demantoides) and the Hemiancistrus Subviridis are two separate fish species.

Quick Facts About Green Phantom Pleco

  • Scientific name : Hemiancistrus Subviridis, L200
  • Common name : Green Phantom Plecostomus, L200
  • Family : Loricariidae
  • Distribution : Rio Orinoco, Venezuela.
  • Care Level : Beginner
  • Maximum Size : 22cm (8.7”)
  • Average Lifespan : 10 to 12 years
  • Minimum Tank Size : 30 gallons
  • Water Parameters : Soft, slightly acidic water is best long term. pH: 6.0-7.2, dH: 4 to 17 dH.
  • Temperature : 24-28 deg C (75-82 deg F)
  • Lighting : No special requirements
  • Diet : Omnivores
  • Breeding Type : Cave-spawners
  • Captive Bred or Wild: Wild
  • Compatibility : Softwater community. Plecos, catfish, schooling fish, livebearers, rainbowfish are all good tank mates.

Green Phantom Pleco Care

Because of its size, this species necessitates a large aquarium of several hundred liters, especially if a substantial breeding colony is to be maintained.

As a thermophilic riverine fish, current is required to maintain adequate oxygen levels. Water movement does not need to be unidirectional, but it does need to turn over the water on a regular basis. Aim for a tank volume of 10 to 20 times per hour.

Some catfish fans are opting high-output, reef-style circulatory pumps, which use little electricity to move large volumes of water. Large loricariids are voracious eaters, thus heavy-duty external power filtering is a must.

Water changes should be done on a regular basis, and the amount of water changed should be significant. Nitrate levels should never exceed 20 mg per liter.

One of the few drawbacks to this species is its average adult size. A single Full Grown Green Phantom Pleco may occupy as much as 30 gallons by itself. Fortunately, they do not reach their full size all at once but rather, over the course of several years.

Green Phantom Pleco Size

The Green Phantom Pleco is a small to medium armored suckermouth fish. The Pleco is a slow-growing species that means fishkeepers may start with a smaller aquarium and upgrade to 30 gallons as the Pleco matures.

It is possible to buy them in a variety of sizes. For instance, you may select from a variety of juvies ranging in size from 2 to 4.5 inches, depending on your preference.

Because the species grows slowly, it may take several years for your Pleco to reach maximum size, depending on how big the youngsters you purchase are.

If you purchase a 2-inch Pleco, for example, it will take approximately three years for it to reach full size.

Green Phantom Pleco Lifespan

The average longevity of a Phantom Pleco is 10 to 12 years. However, these longevity figures are based on ideal water and tank conditions without disease.

Green Phantom Pleco Food & Nutrition

Green Phantom Pleco Food & Nutrition 

In their native river habitat, the Green Phantom Pleco consumes algae as well as tiny crustaceans and worms that thrive on it. They'll also dine on leftovers in the aquarium, as well as decaying plant matter that makes its way there.

They are excellent algae eaters in the aquarium, and they readily adjust to commercial aquarium foods like sinking pellets and typical algae wafers that are designed for bottom feeders.

Bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp are all favorite foods of the Green Phantom Pleco. Other blanched veggies include spinach and other greens, which they enjoy. Hobbyists should offer direct feeding on a regular basis, such as sinking bottom feeder foods twice to three times per week, which will be enough with leftover meals the Pleco may scrounge from the substrate.

The Green Phantom Pleco will require less direct feedings if kept with larger, messier feeders like big Cichlids since they will have ample opportunity for scavenging leftovers.

It's always a good idea to keep an eye on your fish's girth and appearance, and make decisions about feeding frequency based on visual indicators like stomach girth and overall fish health.

Green Phantom Pleco Appearance

Green Phantom Plecos, like other Loricariid family members, have bony plates on their bodies. The species' bodies are narrower than their heads.

They have ventrally placed mouths under the head to help them forage for food near the substrate and suck algae from rocks and other surfaces.

The species are available in a variety of tones of green, including blueish-green to yellowish-green. Phantom Plecos also have creamy regions around the top of their heads, somewhat-yellow fins, and a shark-like dorsal fin. They are sometimes called as Watermelon Green Phantom Pleco due to their unique green coloration.

Hi Fin Green Phantom Pleco have fins that are longer and more spectacular than those of normal Green Phantom Pleco. The fins on a Juvenile Green Phantom Pleco are often darker than the fins on adults, and the juveniles also have more pronounced spots.

There is Blue Phantom Pleco which has similar patterns but with a bluish tinge instead of green. All kinds of Phantom Plecos have patterns on their bodies and they look amazing in a well-maintained aquarium.

Sexual Dimorphism

Males will mature with a more robust appearance, especially around the head region, and they may grow longer dorsal spines.

Green Phantom Pleco Behavior 

Bottom-dwellers and cave-dwellers are the two types of Phantom Plecos. That means they prefer to keep to themselves and are solitary fish.

Juveniles are typically quite peaceful, but males grow more intolerant of conspecifics as they get older, and will react violently to any other fish viewed as a territorial danger. Males Phantom Plecos may be violent towards other fish while defending caves as the females lay their eggs.

Nonetheless, the Phantoms Plecos can be a great addition to community tanks as long as you make certain it is the only bottom-dweller. It is best kept with species that live in other parts of the tank, such as medium-to-large sized characids.

 In very large aquariums, it may be easier to maintain a group if there is enough territorial area and visual barriers are taken into account while arranging the decorations.

As it eats algae, you should be able to spot your Phantom Pleco flitting around the bottom of your tank. Despite their fondness for caves, they're rather active, so you won't have to worry about them leaving once they've been put in the tank.

Green Phantom Pleco Tank Mates 

Warm turbulent water is a must for potential tank mates. A tank of at least 30 gallons is required, and 50 gallons or more is recommended. African cichlids, large barbs, and aggressive fish are not good tank mates for the Green Phantom Pleco.

Some of the best tank mates are:

  • Small catfish such Corydoras sterbai
  • Pencilfishes
  • Tetras (such as the Rummynose)
  • Rasboras
  • Danios
  • Gouramis
  • Puntius
  • Barbs (non-aggressive)

Corydoras sterbai will help to clean up food scraps, and the Rummynose Tetra is a beautiful active swimmer that will add color and motion to the tank. When choosing tank mates, be sure to avoid any fish that are large enough to eat the Green Phantom Pleco.

Green Phantom Pleco can be maintained in a community of other loricariids, but the most pleasurable way to enjoy this fish is to maintain a breeding colony. Bear in mind that Green Phantom Pleco can become aggressive towards any conspecifics or comparable rivals.

Green Phantom Pleco Tank Setup

Green Phantom Pleco Tank Setup

The best Green Phantom Pleco tank setup is one that includes a variety of hiding places and lots of live plants. Indian Almond Leaves are ideal, and Driftwood can also be used to provide both hiding places and natural Aquascaping. Be sure to use plenty of rocks and caves to provide potential breeding sites.

Green Phantom Pleco are sensitive to water quality, so be sure to perform regular water changes and vacuum the gravel to remove any uneaten food or waste. A canister filter with a coarse sponge pre-filter is ideal.

Here are few things to keep in mind when setting up a Green Phantom Pleco tank:

Tank Size

The Green Phantom Pleco is a medium-sized Pleco, therefore the minimum tank size for a Green Phantom Pleco is 30 gallons. Plecos are typically chosen as part of a community tank because they're bottom-dwellers and prefer to stay in their zone.

If you want to keep a pair of Phantom Plecos, choose a tank that can accommodate a suitable habitat for this species.

Green Plecos are cave-dwellers, and they enjoy having lots of concealment options. A tank with more than one Pleco and not enough caves can be a problem for fish owners, as adult males dislike anyone getting too close to their domain.


When you're attempting to bring the Phantom Pleco's natural habitat into your house aquarium, keep two things in mind. One, this species is composed of bottom-dwellers that enjoy swimming and scavenging near the substrate. And two, Green plecos also enjoy crawling about on round rocks (or other smooth rock formations) and driftwood.

In general, the optimal environment for this Pleco species is a combination of sandy substrate with smooth medium-sized gravel, driftwood structures, rock formations, and terracotta or PVC pipes.

Because phantom plecos are cave-spawners, they don't require a lot of underwater vegetation. Furthermore, this species is known to consume specific types of aquatic plants.

Avoid placing anything in your aquarium with jagged or sharp edges, such as rocks or driftwood. Phantom Pleco's smooth underbellies may be lacerated or damaged by contact with such objects.

Water Parameters 

The Orinoco River is home to the Green Phantom Pleco. This implies the species' normal territory has a comfortable water temperature with adequate oxygen levels.

In addition, Phantom Plecos in aquariums should be maintained within a temperature range of 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH range of 6.0 to 7.2. This species is also susceptible to saltwater, and it can grow in water as hard as 17 dH.

It is a good idea to have a water-testing kit on hand if you are a first-time aquarium owner. Air stones and circulation pumps are also necessary for ideal water conditions. Air stones will help maintain the oxygen content in your aquarium and also contribute to superior water quality. A circulation pump, on the other hand, will give your Green Plecos enough movement to feel at home.

Green Phantom Pleco Breeding

The Green Phantom Pleco is an egg-laying and cave-spawning fish. The species may be bred in captivity, but a separate breeding tank is necessary. Breeding Green Phantom Pleco is challenging, and the fry are very delicate. A sandy bottom and smooth rock formations that offer narrow passageways should be included in the breeding tank's environment.

The male Phantom Plecos guards the cave where the female is spawning once the breeding procedure begins.

In one go, a single female Green Phantom Pleco may lay approximately 40 eggs. Remove the female from the breeding tank after she's laid the eggs. The male, on the other hand, will continue to guard the cave until the eggs hatch.

Green Phantom Pleco Fry

Within 3-5 days, expect the eggs to hatch (temperature dependent). The fry will absorb their yolk sacs for the first week or so, and then will require appropriately sized sinking foods after that. It is critical that high water quality is maintained at all times. Since the fry may be vulnerable to bacteria in the substrate, make sure no food rots on the bottom. When the fry begin swimming around the tank, you may offer them baby brine shrimps.

Green Phantom Pleco Diseases

Plecos are a hardy species of fish. They're also simple to keep, and they're considered suitable for novice fishkeepers. Green Phantom Plecos, on the other hand, are susceptible to illnesses that commonly affect freshwater fish.

Some of the common diseases that may affect Green Phantom Plecos are:

White Spot Disease

This is a parasitic disease that's also known as "Ich". The parasites that cause this disease can quickly kill your fish if not treated immediately.

Symptoms of white spot disease include:

  • Flashing
  • Scratching against objects in the tank
  • White spots on the fish's body
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment for white spot disease includes:

  • Increasing the water temperature
  • Adding salt to the tank
  • Treating the water with an anti-parasitic medication

Fin rot

Fin rot is a bacterial infection that affects the fish's fins and tail. The disease is usually caused by poor water quality.

Symptoms of fin rot include:

  • Fins and tail appear ragged or shredded
  • Fins and tail may turn black or brown
  • Body appears to be cloudy

Treatment for fin rot includes:

  • Improving water quality
  • Adding salt to the tank
  • Treating the water with an anti-bacterial medication

Hole in the Head

Hole in the head disease is a condition that's caused by a parasitic infection. The parasites usually target the fish's head, which results in small holes forming in the skin.

Symptoms of hole in the head disease include:

  • Small holes in the head
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Treatment for hole in the head disease includes:

  • Improving water quality
  • Adding salt to the tank
  • Treating the fish with an anti-parasitic medication

Green Phantom Pleco are also susceptible to bacterial infections. Most illnesses suffered by this species are connected to poor water quality. It's critical to ensure that these fish have ideal water conditions and adequate oxygenation in the tank.

Surprisingly, Phantom Plecos are rather fragile. Despite the hard bony plates of the Pleco's anatomy, these fish are extremely susceptible to bruising. When their skin is damaged, germs in the water may enter their bodies and cause havoc. This species is more sensitive to being handled than most, so be cautious. If switching tanks, handle them with care.


How Big Do Green Phantom Plecos Get

How Big Do Green Phantom Plecos Get? 

Green Phantom Plecos can grow up to 22cm (8.7 inches) in length. Their size, however, will largely depend on the tank conditions and the quality of care they receive.

Can I Have 2 Green Plecos in the Same Tank?

No. It is not recommended to have 2 Green Phantom Plecos in the same tank. These fish are territorial and may fight each other for dominance.

They are frequently excellent companions for other species of community fish. When plecos reach maturity, they are unable to cohabit with one another. They may become extremely territorial with one another. As a result, keeping them in the same habitat is always hazardous.

How Fast Do Green Phantom Pleco Grow?

Your Pleco may take several years to reach maximum size, depending on how big the youngsters you buy are. Generally, they grow quickly when they're young but growth slows down as they age.

To ensure proper growth, provide them with high-quality food and optimal tank conditions. A healthy diet and clean water are essential for fast growth.

Are Green Phantom Pleco Poisonous?

No. Green Phantom Plecos are not poisonous. Though they have sharp spines on their fins, they are not poisonous to humans or other animals.

What Do You Feed Green Phantom Pleco? 

The Green Phantom Pleco is an omnivorous species that will thrive on a diet that includes pellets, algae wafers, live and frozen food rewards. They also enjoy blanched vegetables, such as as courgette and cucumber.

Are Green Phantom Pleco Aggressive? 

No. Green Phantom Plecos are not an aggressive species. They are relatively peaceful fish that get along well with other tank mates. However, they may become territorial when they reach maturity. Especially with other Green Phantom Plecos.

Do Green Phantom Pleco Need a Filter? 

Yes. All plecos need a filter in their tank. A good quality canister filter is ideal. It should be powerful enough to turn over the entire volume of water in the tank at least once per hour.

How to Sex Green Phantom Plecos?

When it comes to determining the gender of a Phantom Pink Pleco, things can get complicated. A more developed and wider head is one of the most evident indications of a male. The slightly longer spine on the pectoral fins of males is another useful distinguishing feature.

Do Green Phantom Plecos Eat Plants?

If you have concerns about your underwater plants, a well-fed Green Phantom pleco will be okay in a planted tank and will generally leave them alone. Your Green Phantom pleco will try to eat your live plants if it is not getting enough food. But if you feed it a balanced diet, it shouldn't be a problem.

Final Thoughts 

The Green Phantom Pleco is an ideal fish for the beginner aquarist. They are relatively easy to care for and do not require a lot of special attention. With proper care, they can live for 10-12 years or more in captivity.

While they are not the most active fish in the aquarium, they are interesting to watch as they graze on algae and scavenge for food. They are also relatively peaceful fish that get along well with other tank mates. Since they spend most of their time near the bottom of the tank, they are an ideal addition to a community aquarium.

When it comes to feeding, the Green Phantom Pleco is not a picky eater. They will thrive on a diet of pellets, algae wafers, live and frozen food rewards. They also enjoy blanched vegetables.

If you are looking for a low-maintenance fish for your aquarium, the Green Phantom Pleco is a great choice.

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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