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Clown Pleco

By | Last Updated : 14th July 2020

Clown pleco, indigenous to Venezuela, is a wood-eating fish belonging to the Loricariidae family. This small fish, with a dark body and striped pattern, appears stunningly beautiful, being a popular choice among fish hobbyists. 

Clown Pleco

Quick Information

Scientific NamePanaqolus maccus
Other NamesClown panaque, ringlet pleco, clown plecostomus; L162, L104, LDA22 (as per the L-numbering system)
TypeFreshwater fish
Conservation StatusNot recorded
Behavioral CharacteristicsCalm and peaceful but may show aggression and territorial behavior towards same-sex clown plecos
School Size2 – 3
Physical TraitsSmall, black body; round, large eyes in the shape of a ball; a flat stomach; tall, a pronounced dorsal fin that fans a little, big and prominent caudal and pectoral fin
ScalesDoes not have scales
ColorsBlack body, with white or orange bands arranged in a wavy or striped pattern
Size (How big do they get)Small; 3.5 inches (8.89 cm)
Lifespan10 – 12 years
Sexual DimorphismPresent; Males: Short and thin, developing elongated odontodes on their head and dorsal fins during the breeding period; Females: Longer and plumper, having shorter odontodes
Probable Diseases Ich
Approximate Price (How much is it for)$10 – 20
Clown Pleco Fish

Tank Setup & Care Sheet Details

Care LevelIntermediate
Tank Size20 gallons (75.7 liters) for a single fish; with
additional 10 gallons (37.8 liters) for every other
individual species

Water Parameters

pH Level6.8 – 7.6
Temperature73 – 82°F (23 – 28°C)
Hardness8 – 10 dGH
Aquarium  Water FlowModerate to high

Tank Ambience

Substrate TypeSand, small gravels, and pebbles
Tank MatesCompatible with: Ember tetra, pygmy corydoras, oscar, harlequin rasbora, white cloud mountain minnow, bristlenose pleco,  gouramies, and cichlids

Incompatible with: Same-sex clown plecos and bigger aggressive species like red-bellied piranha, and giant wolffish
Suitable Position in the TankBottom


DietDriftwood (their primary food) but must also be given spirulina, frozen foods like bloodworm, fresh vegetables such as cucumber, zucchini, squash, yams, and whole peas and algae wafers (as an alternate option)
Frequency 2 – 3 times a day

Important Things to Know For Fish Keepers

  • The clown pleco could turn pale orange or lose color rapidly due to improper water conditions, stress, or even lack of proper nutrition. The presence of other symptoms like loss of appetite or restlessness requires a fish veterinarian’s intervention.
  • Wood, a significant part of their diet, is not easily digestible, resulting in a lot of waste accumulation at the bottom of the tank. Changing a certain portion of the water on a routine basis alongside proper filtration measures would help maintain the aquarium’s hygiene.
Full Grown Clown Pleco


Q. Is the mega clown pleco related to the clown pleco?

The mega clown is unrelated to the clown pleco, though it resembles the latter closely in size and appearance. It has a black body with yellow patterns, sold under the trade name L340.

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