Adonis Pleco (Acanthicus Adonis): Ultimate Care Guide

Common NameAdonis Pleco, Polka Dot Lyre Pleco
Scientific NameAcanthicus Adonis
OriginSouth America
Temperature68°F – 86°F
Water Parameters6.0 – 7.8 pH
Adult Sizeup to 24 inches

Adonis Plecos have long bodies that are larger at the head and taper down to skinnier as you get to the tail. They are typically a dark blackish coloration and have small white spots dotted along their bodies. These white dots are more present when the fish is a juvenile. Adonis Plecos tend to lose most of their spots as they age. Since they are a bottom-dwelling species that scavenge for food, this helps them to be able to blend into their natural environment. Adonis Pleco mouths are on the underside of their head to help them forage and suction up their food while remaining somewhat hidden.

Adonis Pleco
Adonis Pleco

What is the L Number of Adonis Pleco?

The L number for Adonis Pleco is L-155. The L stands for Loricariidae, the name of the family that Plecos belong to. Loricariidae refers to bottom-dwelling fish such as catfish.

Where Do Adonis Pleco Come From?

Adonis Plecos can be found in the waterways of South America, more specifically, Brazil. In their native habitat, Adonis Plecos tend to grow much larger than they do in captivity.

Adonis Pleco Care

Adonis Plecos do have important requirements for care. For this reason, they are considered a more difficult fish to care for. If they are not fed properly, given enough space, or kept in the right conditions, their health and happiness will quickly suffer.


Adonis Plecos do best when kept at around 68F to 86F.

Water pH

Adonis Plecos require their water to remain at 6.0 to 7.8 pH. It is important to maintain their water parameters to keep them healthy. Establishing a regular cleaning schedule is an important step in their care.

Adonis Pleco Size

Adonis Plecos in captivity don’t typically grow as large as they do in the wild. In the home aquarium, Adonis Plecos only grow to around 24 inches. In the wild, Adonis Plecos can reach up to 40 inches. These fish are large and do require lots of space to grow.

Max Size

In the home aquarium, Adonis Plecos can only reach a maximum size of around 24 inches, but they tend to grow much larger in the wild. Owners of Adonis Plecos have reported them growing slightly larger than the average in captivity. Still, their overall growth seems to depend on the amount of space they have in your aquarium and how well they are cared for.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of Adonis Plecos seems to vary depending on the fish itself and the care it receives as it grows. Captive Adonis Plecos do not grow to be as large as they do in the wild, but they still can grow rather large. It is said that they can grow roughly an inch per month for the first year of their life. Their growth rate slows down after this first year, but you can get your Adonis Pleco to 24 inches in length or even larger in the home aquarium with proper care.

Food and Diet

Adonis Plecos are an omnivorous species that will feed opportunistically in the wild. They graze the bottom for algae, insects, plant matter, and detritus and can even be found grazing on wood.

In the home aquarium, Adonis Plecos are not picky and will accept most flake, pelleted, and wafer foods you offer. It is a good idea to keep their diet varied, and you can do this by offering them various high-quality frozen foods and finely chopped and blanched green vegetables.

Do Adonis Pleco Eat Algae?

Adonis Plecos will eat algae in your tank, but it should not be their only source of food. They are omnivorous and will also need meat in their diet.


The Adonis Pleco can live anywhere from 5 to 8 years when properly cared for.

Tank Size

Tank size is perhaps the most important thing to consider when choosing a home for an Adonis Pleco. Even though their growth is stunted in captivity, they can still grow rather large. An Adonis Pleco tank would need to be at least 125 gallons.  Since Adonis Plecos are a bottom-dwelling species that spend most of their time at the bottom of the aquarium, you will also want to ensure adequate space for them to maneuver their long bodies around as they graze for food.

Tank setup

When deciding what to add to your aquarium for an Adonis Pleco, you will want to take a close look at their habits and natural environment. The more comfortable your fish are in their aquarium, the healthier and happier they will be.

The first and perhaps most important thing to consider is the size of the tank. Adonis Plecos require a minimum of 125 gallons to house, but if you have the space for a larger aquarium, you should consider it. An important thing to consider for your Adonis Pleco tank is the substrate. Adonis Plecos need a fine sand or gravel substrate. The substrate needs to be soft enough not to damage their sensitive mouths as they scavenge the bottom of your tank for food.

Do Adonis Pleco Need a Cave?

Adonis Plecos love to have caves and cave-like structures for their comfort. They like to find secluded places to hide and destress, so these elements for your Adonis Pleco tank are essential for their health and happiness.

Do Adonis Pleco Need Driftwood?

Adonis Plecos can be found grazing on driftwood and using it as a place to hide. It is a great idea to include driftwood in an Adonis Pleco tank.


In the wild, Adonis Plecos reproduce in their caves. The male picks out a cave and cleans it to lure in a female, trap her, and entice her to lay her eggs. Little is known about most plecos’ breeding habits as they are not typically bred in captivity.

Adonis Pleco Eggs

Adonis Pleco eggs stick together in a clutch. The eggs are small and have an orangish shade that will make them easy to spot. However, unless you have an aquarium that is over 1000 gallons, they will not even attempt to breed.

Adonis Pleco Fry

Adonis Plecos do not tend to eat their eggs. In fact, they have been observed almost guarding their eggs and fry for a short time.

Adonis Pleco Males vs. Females

You can tell your male from female Adonis Plecos by looking at a mature fish. It is said that females have a more rounded body when they are full of eggs, but males tend to be slightly larger.


Adonis Plecos are prone to many diseases like all other freshwater fish. They are particularly prone to malnourishment, so it is important to ensure that you are feeding them properly and eating.

Tank Mates

Adonis Plecos are a great choice for community tanks for their algae-eating capabilities and because they get along with many species. Adonis Plecos are a bottom-dwelling species that pair well with other species occupying a different water column level.

Adonis Plecos get along well with Bettas, Tetras, Goldfish, Snails, and Guppies, as these fish do not get in their way.

It is not a good idea to house Adonis Plecos with other species of Catfish, Plecos, or any fish that occupy the bottom of the water column. It could trigger aggression if they are in the same territory.

Are Adonis Pleco Aggressive?

Adonis Plecos do not start out as aggressive. They become aggressive as they age. Particularly the male Adonis Plecos.

Are Adonis Pleco Territorial?

As they age, Adonis Plecos tend to seek out their own territory, and they will become aggressive in defending it. It is important to break up their line of sight with driftwood, large rocks, and plants to help curb the aggression as they age.

Where Can I Find Adonis Pleco for Sale?

If you want to purchase Adonis Plecos for your home aquarium, you can find them for sale at pet stores and online for around $28 for a small one. The price increases the larger the fish.

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