Plecostomus, pleco, or plec is the common name of several species of freshwater loricariid catfish commonly sold as aquarium fish.

H. plecostomus is one of a number of species commonly referred to as “plecostomus” or “common pleco” by aquarists. These fish are sold when they are young and small, but they can grow to be a maximum size of 50 centimetres (20 in). In the aquarium, this dark-colored, bottom-feeding, nocturnal catfish is often purchased for its ability to clean algae from fish tanks but also contributes a lot of waste to the nitrogen cycle.

Common names

A large variety of common names is used to describe H. plecostomus, where plecostomus and the shortened “pleco” are interchangeable in all common names. The names include:

  • algae sucker/eater
  • pez diablo (devil fish)
  • pleco
  • janitor fish
  • municipal fish – ‘ikan bandaraya’ in Malay
  • suckermouth catfish
  • sweeper fish – ‘ikan sapu sapu’ in Indonesian
  • crocodile fish (not to be confused with Papilloculiceps longiceps, which is originally known as the crocodile fish or tentacled flathead)


Things to remember when feeding your Pleco:

  • Feed daily.
  • Typically feeds at night.
  • Some Plecos require driftwood as part of their diet.


A well-balanced Pleco diet consists of:

  • Algae and sinking algae wafers.
  • Supplement with raw zucchini or cucumbers as a treat once or twice a week. Raw vegetables should be anchored near the bottom of the aquarium.