Clown Pleco

Clown Pleco| Everything You Should Know!

Clown pelco fish are typically small in size and are fond of staying at the bottom of the tank. If you are looking for a low-maintenance, aesthetically pleasing fish for your beloved fish tank, then this one is an ideal choice for you.

This popular freshwater fish has been gaining a lot of spotlight in recent years due to its effortless upkeep and active, fun-to-watch behavior.

This guide is your one-stop source to know everything about the fish, from overview, species, care and its lifespan and other facts.


Clown Pleco: In-depth Guide


The scientific name for clown pleco is “Panaque Maccus”. It is naturally found in the South American region, more specifically in Venezuela and Columbia.

It is an incredibly small-sized fish that mostly stays at the bottom and easily mingles around with other species in the tank. Its size usually rounds up to 3.5 inches at maximum once they reach maturity.

Since it is a freshwater fish, it needs to be kept in fresh water at all times. It feeds on wood and other plants for its survival, more on that later in this guide!

In visual respects, it is characterized by a dark black color encircled with bands of different colors. The band color changes according to the fish’s age, diet, and mood. The younger ones tend to have a brighter band color which darkens as they grow older.

Both genders look quite similar to each other and it becomes really difficult for the hobbyists to differentiate between the male and female species.


If taken care of properly, an average clown pleco lives up to 10 to 12 years of age which makes it a great fish to own. People tend to look out for fishes that they can develop a deep bond with, and this one is an ideal choice.

However, like all other fishes clown, they can also die too soon if not kept in healthy living conditions. If kept in bad water quality and unhealthy diet, the stress caused to it mentally and physically can contribute to its shortened life span.

People often confuse its hardy nature with the fact that they may be requiring specialized care.


It is highly popular due to its stunning appearance. It has a distinctive pattern which makes it stand out amongst the rest of the fish in the tank.

Their general color is dark black which is further differentiated by bright colored bands wrapped around their entire body. The color of these bands vary from yellow to orange. This color change depends on two factors – its gene and its health condition. 


Their size is based on different factors, the primary ones being genetics and the intensity of the care provided. The average size of clown pleco can be upheld as 3 to 3 and a half inches in length. 


As mentioned earlier, this is an extremely low-maintenance fish and its care is incredibly straightforward as well. Anyone with a general level of experience with fishes can maintain clown pleco without any hassles.

All they need is the ideal breeding environment and healthy water, that’s it! 

Tank Size

They are small in size and it mostly sits at the bottom without much movement, they don’t need a massive tank for their comfort. The ideal tank size for them is a minimum of 20 gallons.

However, if you are going to keep more than one of them in the same tank, you may want to hike up the tank size. Start with a rough calculation of 10 gallons per fish and work upwards to get the correct size. 

See also: Tomini tang growth rate

What to keep in the tank with clown pleco

If you are looking to create the perfect breeding environment for them, you should aim at creating a set-up that closely resembles their own natural habitat, which means including a lot of driftwood.

They live, breathe and survive on driftwood. Driftwood is an indispensable part of their diet. Do not treat driftwood as an optional treat to put in the tank. Clown plecos use it as a major food source and derive most of their nutrients from driftwood.

Apart from that, you can also include a few rocks and plants to spice things up inside. They do love to hide around these rocks and plants and it will also provide a breeding ground for algae that they can feed on.

See also: Are ember tetras good for beginners?

Common risk factors to look out for

Apart from their size and easy maintenance, one of the most important reasons to own one would be the fact that they are not susceptible to a particular kind of plague that threatens to harm their life.

However, this means that they are immune to other aquatic diseases like ich, infections and parasites.

On a more positive note, you can easily prevent these infections by keeping the water quality at an all-time high. Regularly change the water and feed them a nutrient-rich diet and they will be easily prevented from common diseases.

See also: Freshwater tropical fish


They thrive on a combination of things they get in the wild and supplements. Always aim to strike an ideal balance between feeding them nutritious food and knowing when to stop feeding them and thus preventing them from overeating.

One of the major sources of food for them is algae. Even though algae is not their only source of diet, they derive a ton of nutritional benefits from it. You can speed up algae growth through the inclusion of driftwood, rock and plants in their environment.

Other than that, a well-balanced plant-based diet can easily pass off as an ideal diet for them. You can throw in veggies like cucumbers, green peas, and lettuce.

Finally, there has to be some amount of non-vegetarian food like meat that can supply the protein needed for them. You can have them snack on bloodworms and daphnia 2 to 3 times per week as a part of their protein supplement.

If you are on a tight or unstable schedule then it would be a good idea to invest in an Automatic Fish Feeder like the Fish Mate F14


In general, this is an extremely quiet and peaceful fish. It is an introvert that doesn’t care about what’s happening in the lives of other fishes and will be usually found busy in its own thing.

Doing its own thing includes slowly moving around at the bottom or near the driftwood, either feeding on algae or just resting.

See also: Panda Garra Lifespan

Clown pleco can be easily maintained by almost anyone, no matter what their experience level is. They are as low maintenance as any fish can get. All you need to ensure is a healthy environment and frequent water changes.

Their appearance and uniqueness in behavior will make them stand out from the crowd no matter which tank you put them in!


Aquatic Community: Clown Pleco