Pitbull Pleco (LDA025 Parotocinclus Jumbo): Ultimate Care Guide

Also known as the Goby Pleco, the Pitbull Pleco is native to Brazil and is an ideal Pleco for algae control. Hardy and peaceful, this species doesn’t have the impressive size or coloration of some other Pleco varieties, but is a great choice for beginning aquarium hobbyists. It’s easy to see why these fish are called Goby Plecos: their body shape is similar to Gobies but with brown to grayish-brown coloration.  This fish likes company and should be kept in groups of at least three. Unlike some Pleco species they don’t require caves, but are nocturnal and appreciate hiding spots such as plants, driftwood, and caves if they’re available. Thinking about adding this hardy Pleco to your tank? We’ll cover everything you’ll need to know for years of success!

Pitbull Pleco
Pitbull Pleco. Haplochromis, Edited. CC BY-SA 3.0

Pitbull Pleco Care

Pitbull Plecos need tanks with soft, sandy substrates and clean water. They are easy to feed with blanched and cooled vegetables or sinking foods such as vegetable or algae wafers. Pitbull Plecos are avid algae eaters, but algae shouldn’t be the main part of their diet.

Are Pitbull Pleco easy to care for?

Easy to feed and tolerant of a wide range of water parameters, Pitbull Pleco are easy to care for and a great choice for beginning Pleco hobbyists.


Pitbull Plecos need water temperatures between 68° and 79° F.

Water pH

Pitbull Plecos prefer water which is near neutral or slightly acidic in a range between 6.4 and 7.6 pH.

Pitbull Pleco Size

Most Pitbull Plecos will only grow to slightly over 2 inches in captivity.

What is the Max Size of Pitbull Pleco?

Pitbull Plecos can reach a maximum length of around 2 1/3 inches.

What is the Growth Rate of Pitbull Pleco?

Most Plecos take an average of 3 years to reach maximum size. Pitbull Pleco should be expected to reach almost 2 inches during their first 2 years. After this, growth will slow until the Pitbull Pleco grows to its maximum length.

Food & Diet

Pitbull Plecos aren’t picky eaters and will feed on vegetable foods such as blanched and cooled vegetables as well as commercially prepared Spirulina tabs. Pitbull Plecos are nocturnal and feed mostly at night. Food should be added to their tanks in the evening just before lights out.

What do Pitbull Pleco eat?

Pitbull Plecos are omnivores but should be fed a diet of mostly vegetable matter. Blanched and cooled cucumber and zucchini are popular choices for Pleco hobbyists. This fish isn’t a picky eater and will consume flake foods as well as sinking algae wafers. The Pitbull Pleco can eat meaty, high-protein foods but this shouldn’t be the main part of their diet. This fish will also eat algae from tank surfaces but this shouldn’t be its main food source.

Do Pitbull Pleco eat algae?

Pitbull Plecos are excellent algae eaters and can be an important part of your tank’s cleanup crew.


Pitbull Plecos can live over 15 years with excellent care.

Tank Size

A single Pitbull Pleco can live in tanks as small as 20 gallons. Groups of up to 6 individuals will need at least a 30 gallon tank.

Tank Setup

Pitbull Plecos need tanks with sandy substrates and enough filtration to keep water quality high. This Pleco can tolerate cooler water, so a heater may not be necessary if surrounding room temperature is warm enough.

What is an ideal tank setup for Pitbull Pleco?

Pitbull Plecos are bottom-dwellers that need soft, sandy substrates without sharp gravel that can cause injuries. Depending on your climate and room temperature an aquarium heater may not be necessary as this species can tolerate cooler water.

This species is nocturnal and needs hiding spots to rest and sleep during the day. Caves can be provided but they are also satisfied with hiding in plants or driftwood if a cave isn’t available. If you have multiple individuals make sure to include enough caves or hiding spaces so every fish can claim its own territory.

Like all Plecos, Pitbull Plecos need well maintained water. You’ll want a filtration system that can turn over at least 4 to 5 times the volume of your tank within an hour. For instance, a 20 gallon aquarium will need a filter that runs between 100 and 120 GPH (gallons per hour). Test your water often to ensure that nitrate levels are low, preferably 0ppm.

Do Pitbull Pleco need a cave?

Pitbull Plecos appreciate caves if available. They are also happy hiding and resting in plants or under bogwood.

Do Pitbull Pleco need driftwood?

Pitbull Plecos aren’t a wood rasping species so don’t require driftwood or bogwood. However they are algae eaters and including these woods can create a place for more algae growth.


Pitbull Pleco should be kept in groups of at least 4 individuals as they will naturally pair up to breed. This is a somewhat uncommon Pleco so detailed breeding reports are rare. Unlike other Pleco species Pitbull Plecos don’t show parental care to eggs or fry and have been known to eat their own eggs. Be ready to separate eggs and fry from adults to prevent losses.

How do Pitbull Pleco breed?

Pitbull Plecos breed nocturnally so it’s rare to witness this act firsthand. Most breeders notice small groups of around 70 yellow to yellow-orange eggs in the morning after breeding. This Pleco has been known to eat eggs, so adults and eggs should be separated as soon as possible.

Breeding triggers are said to include lower water temperatures and 50% water changes with RODI or rainwater. Some breeders will feed high-protein foods but this should be done in moderation as this species of Pleco should be provided mostly vegetable foods.

Pitbull Pleco Eggs

Pitbull Pleco eggs are small, yellow to yellow-orange spheres which hatch in about 3 days. Adults have been known to eat eggs so it’s important to take extra steps to remove adults after spawning.

Pitbull Pleco Fry

Pitbull Pleco fry become free swimming about 3 days after hatching. They can be fed the same foods as adults such as blanched and cooled cucumber or sinking algae wafers. It’s best to move fry to a breeding box hanging inside a larger aquarium. This breeding box can protect fry from adults and larger fish, and provide a large buffer of water from the main tank which can reduce the risk of fouled water. Another benefit of moving fry to a breeding box is keeping them closer to food. Pitbull Pleco fry are small and can benefit from having food available close by until they are stronger swimmers.

Pitbull Pleco Male vs Female

Pitbull Pleco males have elongated pelvic fins that extend past the origin of the anal fin. Males also have slimmer bodies and can have an aqua or bluish padding on their backs which is absent in females.


Pitbull Plecos are hardy fish without any specific illnesses unique to the species. They are able to catch common freshwater diseases such as, ich, velvet, dropsy, fin rot, and pop eye. The best protection against disease is keeping tank water clean and quarantining new tank additions for 6 to 8 weeks before adding to your main tank. Keeping a separate quarantine tank (QT) not only lets you check new tank mates for signs of disease, but it can be a safe place to apply medications when necessary. Some medicines shouldn’t be applied to an entire aquarium population and a separate QT tank lets you separate and treat diseased fish in groups or individually.

Tank Mates

Pitbull Plecos are peaceful fish which can be easily paired with many possible tank mates. Use caution when pairing with other bottom-feeders that may be competition for food. Pitbull Plecos are nocturnal feeders and can be left out of feeding if other daytime bottom-feeders eat first.

Examples of Compatible and Incompatible Tank Mates

Pitbull Plecos are peaceful and tolerate a wide range of water temperatures making them a good match for many other common aquarium species. Tetras, Betta, Oscars, Angelfish, non-African Cichlids, Guppies, and African Dwarf Frogs are all good tank mate choices. Use caution when including with other bottom or algae feeders such as shrimp, Corydoras, Otocinclus, Kuhli Loach, or snails. While they won’t fight with these species they may be out-competed for food.

Because Pitbull Plecos can tolerate cooler water they are a great match for Goldfish. Goldfish prefer temperate water and can be difficult to pair with many Pleco species that prefer warmer water temperatures.

Are Pitbull Pleco Aggressive?

Pitbull Pleco are peaceful and won’t attack other tank mates.

Are Pitbull Pleco Territorial?

Pitbull Pleco like being able to claim their own territory and should be provided caves, plants, and other hiding spaces. However, they aren’t aggressive and won’t usually get into fights over territory.

Where can I find Pitbull Pleco for sale?

Pitbull Pleco aren’t a common Pleco species and are easiest to find from online suppliers. Occasionally they can be found at local fish stores.

Pitbull Pleco Price

Pitbull Plecos aren’t expensive and you can expect to pay between $12 and $20 USD per individual.

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