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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As the title says, could you help me id'ing this Pleco.

I bought this pleco about 6 months ago as Butterfly pleco. The pics I've seen on-line of butterfly plecos look different with black and white stripes. It was about 3" when I bought it and it is now about 4 1/2". It seems gentle on the plants, in one of the pics it is feeding off newly planted glosso and not harming it. The Pectoral, Ventral, Dorsal and Caudal fins are all edged in an orange-brown with broken orange-brown stripes. Large eyes, and horns where I would expect its nostrils to be. It can change color patterns in a second or two.
What I noticed was, feeding--Defined spots with light stripes
resting, defensive-- dark stripes, no spots

I don't get to see him/she very much, but I really like this fish as it is busy most of the time cleaning the glass and driftwood or resting.... Any help with Id. would be appreciated.

Steve T.

Sorry for the quality of the pics, as me and the camerea aren't very good!


22 Posts
Pterygoplichtys gibbiceps (formerly Glypteroperichtys gibbiceps)

Also known as gibby, gibbyceps, butterfly pleco or sailfin pleco.
L-083, L-165 and L-196.

Your pleco is one of the hardiest ones and most durable, it will grow to over a foot easily and often to over 2 feet in length. At the present (4.5") it is very small but will grow pretty fast.
Gibbies are omnivoirs and will eat most anything. They do keep after algae very well and for that reason along with size and durability are very practical for large setups with cichlids - particularly large and aggressive ones. Mine are housed with breeding pairs of jaguars and red devils where they are holding their own just fine.
They do eat large amounts of food - just about anything but it is good to suppliment with zuccini, cucumbers or other bulk veggies. There should also be wood present in the tank which they eat to help with digestion, this is true for most plecos.

Your sailfin pleco will get very large and probably eat some/many plants along with uprooting a lot of vegetation. You may want to rething keeping it in a planted tank.

Most plecos will eat some plant matter and for that reason may at some point harm the aquascape , they are also prone to uprooting things in their travels. Additionally many grow to very large sizes.

If you plan to keep plecos in a planted tank you will want to make sure to feed them plenty of fresh veggies to keep them from turning on the saladbar- err plants in the tank.
IMO hypancistrus species are good for planted tanks as they are carnevoirs and will not harm the plants , they also don't grow very big with most maxing out at 4-5 inches and many have interesting patterns and colors.


Brittany and Madonna :) - gibby on the glass where you can see both top and bottom.

The big boy is moving in for the kill from below - (Jaws music in the background) This one is about 14"

After about an hour of feeding - the poor mauled squash.
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