L397 Pleco (Alenquer Tiger Pleco): Ultimate Care Guide

The L397 Alenquer Tiger Pleco is a striking species and one of the most colorful Pleco varieties available. With bright orange and black striping, the L397 Pleco is an eye-catching tank addition. Previously this fish was only available wild-caught. Recently, breeders have developed methods to coax this Pleco to breed in captivity; tank bred specimens are becoming more common in the trade.

The L397 Alenquer Tiger Pleco isn’t a very effective algae eater but will consume the occasional algae wafer. While this fish can be difficult to find for sale it has simple care needs. It can even be a good choice for beginning Pleco hobbyists. If you’re planning on adding this stunning Pleco variety to your aquarium read on to learn everything you’ll need to know!

Alenquer Tiger Pleco
Alenquer Tiger Pleco

L397 Pleco Care

L397 Pleco are easier to care for than some other Pleco varieties. They need tanks with sandy substrate, driftwood, caves, and excellent filtration. Because they are a smaller species they don’t need large aquariums which can make regular maintenance easier.

Are L397 Pleco easy to care for?

L397 Pleco are hardy fish which are easy to care for, and a great choice for Pleco beginners. This species is somewhat rare and can be difficult to locate, so new Pleco hobbyists should make sure they understand and can take care of this species’ simple care needs. Without proper care this Pleco can die and it may be difficult to locate a replacement.


L397 Plecos need water temperature between 75° and 86° F.

Water pH

L397 Plecos prefer water that is close to neutral in a range between 6.5 and 7.5 pH.

L397 Pleco Size

L397 Plecos are smaller fish which usually grow to between 3 ½ to 4 ½ inches.

What is the Max Size of L397 Pleco?

L397 Pleco can reach a length of about 5 inches, but this is uncommon in most home tank environments.

What is the Growth Rate of L397 Pleco?

L397 Plecos grow faster than many other Pleco varieties and can reach full adult size in 1 ½ years.

Food & Diet

L397 Plecos are omnivores and eat a range of plant and meaty foods along with wood. This is one of the easier Plecos to feed and doesn’t need specialized or gel foods for proper nutrition.

What do L397 Pleco eat?

L397 Plecos need a diet of plant or omnivore flakes with small amounts of frozen meaty foods. Along with prepared food they can eat blanched vegetables like cucumber, zucchini, and yams. It’s important to blanch and completely cool vegetables before adding to your L397’s tank. This short cooking process can help prevent accidentally introducing pests or diseases to your tank.

Wood is an important part of the L397’s diet, and their tanks should have an assortment of driftwood available. This Pleco is mostly nocturnal but will come out during the day once they become comfortable with their aquarium environment. It’s a good idea to add food in the evening just before lights out. Food added during the day may rot and spoil tank water.

Do L397 Pleco eat algae?

L397 Plecos can eat algae, but it isn’t a big part of their diet. They will consume some algae in their environment but don’t need to feed on supplemental algae wafers.


Most L397 Plecos live about 10 years with excellent care.

Tank Size

L397 Plecos are a smaller species which can live in small, 20 gallon tanks. They are bottom-dwellers, so shorter tanks with more “floor space” are best. While this species can live in smaller tanks, larger aquariums can help keep water parameters stable which can support greater health and longevity.

Tank Setup

L397 Pleco need tank setups which simulate natural environments with sandy substrates and driftwood, with enough filter capacity to keep water quality high. Plan on adding caves and natural-looking hiding spaces as this species is nocturnal and needs places to rest and feel secure during the day.

What is an ideal tank setup for L397 Pleco?

The best tank setup for L397 Plecos will include driftwood, a sand substrate, caves, and optional plants. Plants aren’t required but they can help keep tank water clean and may help your Pleco feel more at home. Filtration is important and you should choose a filter which turns over at least 4 to 5 times the volume of your tank within an hour. This species needs stable water parameters and shouldn’t be introduced to immature aquariums with irregular nitrogen cycles. In a mature aquarium water tests should show low nitrate levels, preferably 0 ppm. High nitrate level can be a sign of an immature tank or that a larger filter is needed.

Do L397 Pleco need a cave?

L397 Plecos are shy and mostly nocturnal. This species needs caves or rock arrangements where they can take refuge during the day and when they feel threatened.

Do L397 Pleco need driftwood?

L397 Plecos eat some wood as part of their diet. Including driftwood not only provides an important food source, it can help simulate a natural environment which can lower stress levels.


L397 Plecos can breed in captivity but this can be difficult to achieve for beginning hobbyists. Previous experience with Pleco breeding is best when trying to breed the L397 Pleco. Feeding frequent meals of meaty foods is an important part of getting this fish ready to spawn. Many hobbyists consider large water changes and lower tank temperatures as the best spawning triggers; these can help simulate natural seasonal changes.

How do L397 Pleco breed?

L397 Pleco is a cave spawning species. The male will care for eggs and young. It can be difficult to observe the act of spawning. Watch males who are staying near a certain cave and check these for eggs if possible. Most home breeders use ceramic caves or pots turned sideways, but this species has shown an affinity for spawning in bamboo caves. If you include bamboo caves expect them to be chewed up quickly.

L397 Pleco eggs

L397 Plecos will lay between 25 and 40 eggs. These hatch in 5 to 10 days and the fry become free-swimming in an additional 7 days.

L397 Pleco fry

L397 Pleco fry are simpler to feed than some other Pleco fry. As the fry consume their yolk sacs they should be provided blanched cucumber, wood, algae wafers, and veggie flake foods. It can be easier to manage feeding by moving fry to a breeder box attached to the larger nursery aquarium. A breeder box makes it easier to keep fry close to food while benefiting from the water parameter stability of a larger tank. Depending on the breeder box you may need to add a small air stone and small sponge filter. Separate fry until they are a bit over an inch long; after this they should be able to fend for themselves in many community aquariums.

Male vs Female

Mature L397 Pleco males are easy to identify by the presence of odontodes on the caudal peduncle. Females completely lack these odontodes and during breeding will become fuller-bodied as they fill with eggs.


L397 Plecos are hardy fish which aren’t particularly susceptible to disease. They can catch most freshwater fish diseases, and clean water combined with excellent nutrition are the best preventive measures. Test nitrate levels frequently and perform extra water changes if these spike too high. This Pleco is a well-behaved tank inhabitant and many hobbyists combine them with other tank mates. New tank mates should be quarantined in a separate aquarium for 4 to 6 weeks to check for signs of disease.

Tank Mates

L397 Pleco are peaceful fish which are easy to pair with common freshwater species like: Tetras, Betta, Guppies, Oscar, snails, or non-African Cichlids. Other peaceful species such as African Dwarf Frogs can be excellent tank mates. Use caution which pairing this fish with Goldfish or Angelfish as these species have slime coats which some Plecos will try to eat during night hours. There haven’t been reports of L397 displaying this behavior, but observe other fish carefully to make sure they aren’t being harmed. L397 Plecos might not be the best fit with other bottom-dwelling species which are competition for food. Possible problem species include: Corydoras, Otocinclus, Kuhli Loach, and shrimp.

Are L397 Pleco Aggressive?

L397 Plecos mostly ignore other tank inhabitants. The main exception being other Plecos. Male Plecos may have issues with other males in the same aquarium. If you plan on keeping more than one L397 in an aquarium make sure to include enough caves and hiding spaces so each fish can claim its own territory.

Are L397 Pleco Territorial?

L397 Pleco can be territorial with other Plecos of the same species, especially males. If you keep multiple L397 Plecos in one tank you’ll want to add extra caves and driftwood so they have areas to claim.

Where can I find L397 Pleco for sale?

While tank bred L397 Plecos are appearing on the market they are still somewhat rare. Expect to do some searching to locate a good source. Online suppliers are your best bet, but local fish stores may have request or waiting lists for those looking for this unusual Pleco.

L397 Pleco Price

When available, most L397 Plecos can be purchased for between $28 USD and $70 USD depending on size.

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