How fast do Plecos grow?

Plecos, also known as “Plecostomus,” are hardy species that belong to the family Loricariidae (armored catfish family). They are known to be the largest family of catfish in the world. They are well-known algae eaters. They are known as hardy species because they attach themselves to hard surfaces.

Common Plecostomus grow faster in the first year, and after that, their growth comparatively slows down. Why is it important to keep in mind the size of your fish tank?

As we discussed the average size and growth rate of plecos, it is important to consider the maximum size while choosing your aquarium. Because larger fish tanks will be able to handle the growth of Plecos to a great extent, a small fish tank might struggle to give these species a good environment.

Short Answer

These aquarium fishes are capable of surviving under varying environments. Plecos are known to have a long time span of 12 years if they live under suitable conditions. During the initial five years, they grow to their full size. On average, the full size of common plecos is up to 20-25 inches. They grow very fast, up to 3-5 inches approx in the first year.

Also, the growth rate of aquarium fishes is affected by the food you give them, so you need to keep in mind the quantity and quality of the food you give them and the aquarium conditions.

Long Answer

Now you have already experienced in the short form how fast a Pleco grows. However, some aspects influence this, and we would like to introduce them to you in the following.

Different types of Plecostomus species

There are different types of species of this aquarium fish, and all of them are known to vary in size, average life spans, and physical structures. Most Aquarists call them common plecos, but the term is too general as there are many variations in different types. They are categorized as common Plecos because most of their characteristics and features are in common.

Some common types of Plecostomus species are as follows

  • Amazon sailfin plecos
  • Sailfin plecos
  • Bristlenose plecos
  • Suckermouth plecos

Factors that affect the growth rate of plecos

Multiple factors can affect the growth rate of these aquarium fishes. Some of them include:



Genes of the species also determine how big they will grow. If the genes are not programmed accordingly, they might not have as rapid growth as others.


Fish tank size

Plecos need suitable water conditions to grow in their full-size right tank size, and good water conditions will accelerate their growth healthily. If they are not getting enough space to maximize their growth, they might get uncomfortable, and the growth would stop.


Feeding quality

It is important to keep in mind the quantity and frequency at which you feed your Plecos. This plays a vital role in determining how well they will grow. The feeding habit is essential during the early stages of their growth.


Environmental conditions 

If they are provided with suitable environmental conditions inside the aquarium, it will support their growth, as all of them have their preference for ecological conditions. Some factors to be kept in mind to give them adequate environmental conditions are temperature, lighting, pH levels, plants, tank size, etc.



Some of the above-mentioned species can grow up to 15 to 25 inches long, while others might not exceed the limit of 2 – 4 inches. During the first few years, the growth is rapid while it becomes steady later.


Conclusion – How fast do Plecos grow

You need to evaluate and know the exact species you are planning to buy and analyze how large they can grow to make sure your fish tank is appropriate to give them an adequate living environment.


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