New Fish Tank Tips: Don’t follow the 1 inch of fish per 1 gallon of water rule. A better guide would probably be 1 inch of fish per 2 or 3 gallons of water. Use the future adult size of your fish when computing how many fish you can keep. Resist the temptation to overcrowd your tank. The more tropical fish you have the more often you will have to perform fish tank maintenance.
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Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus is a tropical fish known as a Plecostomus belonging to the armored catfish family (Loricariidae). Named for its sail-like dorsal fin, the part of its scientific name multiradiatus means “many-rayed” and refers to the rays of the dorsal fin. P. multiradiatus is one of a number of species commonly referred to as the common pleco by aquarists.
P. multiradiatus is mottled brown/black and inhabits freshwater streams and lakes and in weedy, mud-bottomed canals in its native habitat: the Orinoco River basin in South America. Its geographic distribution is 10°N – 1°N, 68°W – 61°W. This tropical, nocturnal bottom-dweller likes warm water at the temperature range of 23 – 27°C, pH range: 6.5 – 7.8, and dH range: 4 – 20.
P. multiradiatus browses on substrate, mainly feeding on benthic algae and aquatic weeds, but will also take worms, insect larvae and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates as food.
One of the large plecos (growing to a maximum of 50 cm), this species likes solitude, is relatively peaceful as an aquarium fish and does well with cichlids and other big fish, and should be kept in large tanks only and with plenty of rocks and driftwood in which to hide.
P. multiradiatus is not of interest in the fisheries, but is very important, as with many of the plecos, in the aquarium trade.
This species has been introduced to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Florida.