Queen Arabesque Pleco L260 (Hypancistrus sp.): Ultimate Guide

Native to fast moving waters in Brazil, the Queen Arabesque Pleco displays a black and white squiggle pattern over their entire bodies. While it doesn’t have the same pattern as the Zebra Pleco, the Queen Arabesque Pleco can be a replacement for this hard to find Pleco variety. When young, the striping pattern is more spaced out. As this fish matures their patterns become more dense and finely lined. This species needs well filtered water with fast currents. A carnivore, the Queen Arabesque Pleco needs a diet of meaty, high-protein foods. This fish won’t be able to survive on prepared foods intended for omnivorous Plecos. Planning on adding this eye-catching Pleco to your collection? We’ve assembled this guide with everything you need to know for years of success!

Queen Arabesque Pleco
Queen Arabesque Pleco

Queen Arabesque Pleco Care

Queen Arabesque Plecos need clean habitats with driftwood, caves, and strong water currents. This is a carnivorous Pleco which needs a diet of meaty, high-protein foods. Queen Arabesque Plecos can’t subsist on low protein pellets or foods intended for omnivores. The best aquarium setups will mimic this species’ natural environment: fast moving streams. Substrate choice should be gravel and rocks. Powerful filtration or powerheads should be available to increase water flow inside their aquariums. It’s important to feed this fish in the evenings before lights out as it is a nocturnal feeder and food left uneaten during the day can rot, spoiling tank water.

Are Queen Arabesque Pleco easy to care for?

Queen Arabesque Pleco are hardy as long as their needs are met, but they have some special needs which differ from other Pleco varieties. This species is a carnivore and needs extra filtration to avoid its environment becoming polluted with organic matter. Because of the extra setup needed this fish may not be the best choice for beginning aquarium hobbyists.


Queen Arabesque Plecos can easily tolerate temperatures between 73° and 82° F.

Water pH

Queen Arabesque Plecos prefer water which is close to neutral. A range between 6.4 and 7.5 pH is best. Avoid choosing substrates which contain crushed coral or aragonite sand as these can dissolve over time and raise water alkalinity.

Queen Arabesque Pleco Size

Queen Arabesque Plecos can reach a maximum length of 3.5 to 4 inches. This is a slow growing species which can take years to achieve their adult size.

Food & Diet

Queen Arabesque Plecos are carnivores which need a diet of meaty foods such as blood worms, along with small pieces of shrimp and mussels. This species has rasping teeth and need driftwood in their environment for best health. The Queen Arabesque Pleco is a nocturnal fish and mainly eats during the evening hours. It’s best to provide food just before lights out in the evening. Because this fish has a meaty, high-protein diet it’s important to only feed in the evening as sitting and uneaten foods can rot and spoil tank water.

Queen Arabesque Pleco
Queen Arabesque Pleco


Queen Arabesque Plecos will live an average of 10 years with quality care.

Tank Size

Queen Arabesque Plecos can live in 15 to 20 gallon tanks. Choose a tank with at least 24 inches of horizontal space to provide enough room to swim and explore. This is a bottom-dwelling fish which needs maximum floor space. Tall, narrow tanks can make Queen Arabesque Plecos feel cramped and stressed.

Tank Setup

Queen Arabesque Plecos need aquariums with driftwood, caves for hiding, and excellent filtration with strong water currents. Although this is a carnivorous species it does enjoy rasping on wood. Driftwood or bogwood should be included in their tanks in enough quantities to satisfy this fish’s wood rasping habit. This species is nocturnal and can be shy. Driftwood can provide some cover for sleeping and hiding, but should be supplemented with caves or  carefully positioned rocks.

In nature, the Queen Arabesque Pleco prefers quickly moving streams. The best substrates will include rocks, pebbles, and gravel. Aquarium growing soil should be used with caution as it can increase water acidity beyond what this fish will tolerate. In addition, growing soil can be dislodged by strong water currents which makes it difficult to work with in high-flow environments meant to simulate fast streams. Always avoid any substrate which includes crushed coral as this substance can dissolve and quickly raise water alkalinity beyond what Plecos will appreciate.

Filtration is an important element of successfully keeping Queen Arabesque Plecos. This Pleco is a carnivore and a messy eater. The best filtration systems will be able to keep water pure while providing strong currents. Not only will the Queen Arabesque Pleco enjoy fast water movement, extra flow can help keep debris and uneaten food particles suspended in the water column where they can be easily removed by the filter. Canister filters can be a more expensive choice, but can be a good match for this Pleco’s needs. Any filter system you choose should be capable of turning over at least 5 times the volume of your tank in an hour. For instance, a 20 gallon aquarium should have a filter which runs at 100 GPS (gallons per hour) or more.

Make sure your aquarium has enough water currents to simulate the Queen Arabesque Pleco’s natural environment of fast moving streams. If you have a smaller tank and have selected a canister filter you may already have enough water flow to keep this fish happy. In some instances adding a powerhead can supply directed water currents where needed. Larger tanks may benefit from wavemakers. Wavemakers are popular in marine aquariums and resemble small electric fans which are able to generate powerful water currents. Wavemakers are too powerful for smaller aquariums but can be a great way to increase water flow in larger tanks.


Queen Arabesque Plecos can be difficult to breed in the home aquarium. Spawning can be triggered by feeding quality high protein foods, increasing volume and frequency of water changes, and raising tank water temperature.

How do Queen Arabesque Pleco breed?

Queen Arabesque Plecos will spawn in caves and the male guards the eggs and fry. Caves should be a tight fit and deep: at least twice the length of the male’s body. Position powerheads to direct current across the front of caves. You’ll want about two females for every male and extra caves so the fish have a wide selection of spawning locations. Boost water temperature to between 82° and 86° F. and begin large and frequent water changes. If you’re lucky you’ll eventually see the male guarding a clutch of eggs in his selected cave. Eggs will hatch in around a week and fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp and crushed shrimp pellets. The fry are very slow growers and take a long time to begin eating normal adult foods.

Queen Arabesque Pleco Male or Female

It is difficult to correctly sex Queen Arabesque Plecos. During spawning this becomes easier as the females begin to fill with eggs. Males are often slightly larger-bodied and have larger odontodes around the gills.


Queen Arabesque Pleco are susceptible to Epistylis and Ichthyobodo. Epistylis can be caused by poorly filtered aquarium water with high amounts of organic material. Ichthyobodo often results from overcrowding. To avoid these conditions make sure your filter system is powerful enough to keep water pure, and make sure you haven’t overloaded your tank with too many fish. It’s always a good idea to quarantine new tank additions in a separate tank for 4 to 6 weeks to check for signs of disease before adding to your main aquarium.

Queen Arabesque Pleco Tank Mates

While Queen Arabesque Plecos are carnivores they aren’t predators and can be paired with many other common aquarium species. Males can be territorial, and some bottom-dwellers can be competition for food.

Examples of Compatible and Incompatible Tank Mates

It’s best to avoid placing more than one male Queen Arabesque Pleco in a tank. Also avoid fast bottom-dwelling species because these can grab food before your Queen Arabesque gets a chance to feed. Aggressive fish such as large Cichlids can bully the much smaller Queen Arabesque and should be avoided. Smaller shrimp might be eaten but larger species such as the Amano Shrimp are good choice for tank mates. Fish which swim in higher regions of the tank such as Tetras, and Rasboras can be good choices, but it’s important for schooling fish to have enough members of their own species to keep them occupied. Small schools of fish like Tetras can display bullying against more peaceful tank members such as the Queen Arabesque Pleco.

Where can I find Queen Arabesque Pleco for sale?

Queen Arabesque Pleco is a somewhat rare species most easily sourced from online suppliers. Purchasing from a local fish store often means being placed on a waiting list. Expect to pay between $60 USD and $125 USD per fish depending on size.

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