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Toothnose Pleco - Leporacanthicus cf. galaxias L240

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The Toothnose Pleco (Leporacanthicus cf. galaxias, L240) is thought to be a possible regional variant of the Galaxy Pleco (L. galaxias, L029). These plecos have a dark body with white dots that become more yellow as they age. The edges of the fins are fairly unspotted, making them appear to have a thick black margin. These plecos are found in fast-flowing, well-oxygenated waters. For this reason, they require efficient water flow and filtration to stay healthy. They are easily stressed by poor water conditions, so frequent water changes are a must. They are omnivorous, and will feed on a variety of algae, plant matter, small worms, larvae, and crustaceans. They are avid snail-eaters.

The fish commonly known as "plecos" come from the family Loricariidae, also known as the “armored catfish”. They include fish from the genera Ancistrus, Baryancistrus, Chaetostoma, Hypostomus, Leporacanthicus, Panaque, Peckoltia, Pseudancistrus and many others. They are known to many as "suckerfish" due to the shape of their body and mouth and are often sold as algae-eaters even though many of them eat little algae. In addition to the two-part scientific names used for all living things, plecos also have their own naming system that identifies them by "L-number" or "LDA-number". Though this is not an "official" naming method, it is popular among hobbyists and collectors.

Plecos are generally flattened with a large, round head and skinnier body. The body is covered by hard plates and many have strong spines in their fins and even along the body. The mouths are on the underside of the fish and are used to rasp food from hard surfaces and to help the pleco maintain its position in the water flow.

Plecos are commonly purchased by new and experienced aquarists alike as algae-eaters; most plecos do not eat algae or need other foods in their diet as well. The genera Ancistrus, Peckoltia and Otocinclus are a few common, smaller plecos that will help control algae without eating live plants. Many others are omnivores (eat both plant matter and meaty foods), carnivores (primarily eat meaty foods) or scavengers (eat whatever they can find). Some plecos, notably those from the Panaque genus, even eat wood as part of their diet.

Many plecos also get very large and their size as well as their waste production make them unsuitable for small aquariums. The very common Trinidad Pleco/Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus) grows close to two feet in length. As with any other tank residents, choose plecos carefully with respect to their size, behavior and diet.


Common NameToothnose Pleco
Scientific NameLeporacanthicus cf. galaxias L240
OriginSouth America
Max Size (in inches)10
Community SafeYes, with caution
pH Range6.0-7.0
DietOmnivore (mostly meat)
Min Tank Size (in gallons)100
Temperature Range72-78
DifficultyEasy to Moderate

State Restrictions
Armed Forces Americas
Armed Forces Europe
Armed Forces Pacific
Puerto Rico


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