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How to Breed Plecos in Captivity

Plecos are difficult to breed in the aquarium. Breeding has been done in large aquariums and in fish farms.

Sexing the Pleco
Plecos are difficult to tell apart based on their gender. It is almost impossible for the aquarist to tell them apart.
Experts say that the genital papilla of the male protrudes during the mating season. This distinguishes it from the female.
This is very inconspicuous and the difference is not obvious to the untrained eye.

Plecos are from South America. They live in the many streams and water bodies which make the Amazon basin. In the wild, plecos breed in small underwater caves in the banks of the river. This can be difficult to mimic in the aquarium or pond setting. Some people have reported success with small pots which act as the caves.

Water changes up to 50% have to be done every day. This simulates the rainfall in its native region.
During the breeding season, a male takes over a cave. He cleans it and arranges its side. If a female is interested, she will deposit her eggs in the cave. The male then looks after the eggs.

After a few days, the eggs hatch. The young ones have a yolk sac which sustains for the first few days. Once the yolk is depleted, the babies started eating from the algae. Remove the babies to a separate aquarium to protect them from being eaten by the other fish. Once the eggs hatch, you can provide it with infusoria or baby brine shrimp.