This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected
fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman,
and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles
are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile
for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences
with this fish by filling out the
This profile was written by Redfan an active contributor to the site.
Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps (L083 & L165)
Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps (Sailfin Plec) is a very common plecostumus
and can be found at most lfs's despite the fact that most hobbyists
will not be able to meet the long term tank requirements of this catfish.
The Sailfin Plec can grow up to 18" or more if treated well. In my and
others experiences this plec is very peaceful and can cohabit with most
other standard tropical fish. Care should be taken if in a tank with
other large bottom feeders.
Listed tank sizes are the minimum
||15 - 18 inches (38.1 - 45.7cm)
||Juveniles and Sub adults (up to 18 - 24 months) can be kept
in a 55 - 65G tank but adults must have a minimum of 100G tank
||Will go everywhere but predominantly bottom. Likes Sand - Medium
||6.5 - 7.8
||dh range 5 - 19dH
||75°F to 82°F (24°-28° C)
Sailfin Pleco, Leopard Pleco
South America: Middle and upper Amazon and Orinoco basins.
General Body Form:
Similar to most other plecostumus, however the dorsal fin has 10+ rays
(the individual spikes within the fin).
Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps is generally light - dark brown in colour
and can display many variations of this colour, it's very distinctive
from sub adult to adult by its beautiful shades of brown and flowing
dorsal (sail) fin.
This plec is a great addition to the standard community tank. However
you must be aware that approx 18 months - 2 years from it's juvenile
state its going to need a tank of 100G+ it lives quite happily in a
planted aquarium and when smaller the Gippicep actively likes to "suck"
on leaves. When larger (8"+) it can start to destroy plants through
sheer weight. It can if done correctly cohabit with other plecs. Strong
filtration is required as is very regular water changes (to extract
the large amounts of waste this plec produces).
As with most other plecs this species is happy with Algae wafers but
really loves a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. Most people (including
me) find that the Sailfin goes somewhat crazy for Water Melon and Zuchinni
(courgette) in either chunks or slices. Do not worry, the Sailfin will
spit out the water melon seeds. Also bear in mind whatever your Sailfin
eats will adjust the colour of its waste.
No real increase of risk to diseases than most other tropical fish.
A quite hardy tank addition.
Slow moving rivers, happy with a medium current.
Is bred commercially, however is very difficult to breed within a tank
environment due to the conditions required. A very large aquarium that
replicates the natural Amazonian river beds would be required.