Leopard Pleco

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Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps - (Kner, 1854)
Leopard Pleco

Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps.jpg

With its sail-like dorsal fin, a fully mature Leopard Plecostomus is an impressive fish and well-suited to communities of bigger fishes. JJPhoto.dk


A lovely catfish that only gets more attractive with age, the Leopard Pleco grows quite large and when seen in the aquarium with its high sail-like dorsal fin fully displayed, it is a truly breathtaking sight. This is a generally peaceful species that can be kept in a community tank with medium to large fish, including cichlids. It may be aggressive toward conspecifics and similar looking species.

Family: Loricariidae

Other common name(s):

  • Sailfin Pleco

Native range:

Habitat: Prefers a tank with lots of hiding places in the form of driftwood or inverted flowerpots. Plants are not a necessity, as they may eat them. This species produces copious amounts of waste and will need heavy filtration and frequent gravel vacuuming.

Maximum length: 30 cm (12 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom.


Omnivore. Like all pleco-type fishes, it will accept a wide variety of commercial vegetable-based catfish foods, including sinking algae wafers, pellets and Spirulina flakes, as well as prepared garden vegetables. Feed first thing in the morning and just after the lights go out at night. Will eat small invertebrates if available.

Aquarium Compatibility

Because it is so attractive and commercially bred, the Leopard Pleco is a popular and readily available aquarium fish.


Not seen in the aquarium, but males tend eggs and fry.


The aquarist may want to obtain a group of 2-3 small individuals to enjoy this wonderful pleco.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW