Sultan Pleco (L264): Care, Diet, Size, Breeding & Tank Size

Common Name(s)Sultan Pleco
Scientific NameLeporacanthicus joselimai, L264
OriginRio Tapajos, Brazil
Temperature77-81°F (25-27°C)
Size6 inches
Minimum Tank Size55 gallons
Food & DietOmnivorous
Lifespan5 to 8 years
Water pH6.0-7.5
Tank MatesOther peaceful fish that also enjoy strong currents and similar water parameters.
BreedingCave breeder
DiseaseIt may be susceptible to ich, dropsy, fin rot, and pop-eye.
sultan pleco
Sultan Pleco (L264). Thomas Siems, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Sultan Pleco Facts

  •  Sultan Pleco fish have powerful sucker mouths that help them hold onto surfaces.
  • The Sultan Pleco’s growth rate largely depends on the diet it receives and the aquarium setup it is in.
  • Sultan Plecos are peaceful fish and ideal tank mates to add to your tank. They are territorial towards their own species, and if you are planning on housing several Sultan Plecos together, you will want to ensure that you have provided enough space for them to claim their own territory.
  • Sultan Pleco males care for the eggs and fry until they are able to be cared for on their own. The females do not provide any parental care for their eggs or fry.

Sultan Pleco Care

Sultan Plecos (Leporacanthicus joselimai, L264) is a pleco type with greyish cream-colored bodies and black spots. They have powerful sucker mouths that they use to hold onto surfaces. Males and females are much easier to determine from one another when they have reached maturity. The males tend to have larger and broader heads, larger dorsal fins, and brighter coloration. You will want to make sure that you have correctly identified your Pleco so that you are able to provide the correct care for them. Juveniles will have white tips on their dorsal fins and tail fins that will fade as they age.

Food & Diet

Sultan Plecos are an omnivorous fish species that are best described as scavengers. Though they are omnivorous, they are not the fish you would pick if you were looking for algae-eating fish. They have strong sucker mouths that help them hold onto surfaces. In the wild, they will scavenge the bottom for food. In captivity, they will readily accept a diet of protein-rich live, dry, and frozen foods and green vegetables such as peas, spinach, and cucumbers. It is said that when they are juveniles, they will want and eat more plant matter, but as they mature, they will want more meaty foods in their diet.

Tank Requirements

Sultan Plecos require a minimum of a 55-gallon tank. Since they are peaceful bottom-dwelling fish, they will do well in a tank with others as long as it is not too crowded with other bottom-dwelling fish. They require a temperature of 77F to 81F and a pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

When setting up a tank for Sultan Plecos, remember that they enjoy strong water movement. You will want to add powerful aquarium filters and even consider wave-making pumps for your tank.

Placing rocks and cave-like structures for them to cling to will make them feel comfortable.  Even though they are mostly nocturnal fish, in the proper set-up aquarium, you will begin to see them coming out during the daytime, clinging to rocks and in crevices. 

It is important that their water is clean and highly oxygenated. Sultan Plecos produce a lot of waste, and you will also want to ensure that you are performing regular water changes so that their water parameters do not get out of balance. Sultan Plecos, like other plecos, are sensitive to water changes. Sultan Pleco will not eat any plants you have in your aquarium, so feel free to add the ones you want.

L-264 Sultan Pleco Care Guide

Tank Mates

Sultan Plecos are peaceful fish that will not bother any of your other fish in your aquarium. They are bottom-dwelling fish that will stay out of the way of other fish unless you have a tank that is overcrowded by other bottom-dwelling fish.

Good tank mates for Sultan Pleco would be other peaceful fish that will not bother them. You will also need to choose other fish with the same water parameters and the same strong current as the Sultan Pleco. Cichlids are a good choice for tank mates. Sultan Plecos can be territorial of their own species, so you will want to make sure that you have enough room if you are planning on housing several Sultan Plecos together.

Growth Rate

It is important for Sultan Pleco’s growth that they are not only fed an appropriate diet but also that they are getting enough food. Feeding them correctly is essential for their growth. If they are not kept in the appropriate aquarium, they will not grow to their full size either. There is no exact measurement by time for the growth of the Sultan Pleco, but to ensure that it grows to its maximum size, give it a good diet, tank setup, and water conditions.

Sultan Pleco Max Size & Lifespan

Sultan Plecos can live from 5 to 8 years when cared for properly and can reach a max size of about 6 inches in length.

What is the Minimum Tank Size for a Sultan Pleco?

The Sultan Pleco requires a minimum of a 55-gallon tank. A good tank for a bottom-dwelling fish like the Sultan Pleco is longer opposed to tall as they are bottom-dwelling fish. If you are planning on keeping several Sultan Plecos together, you will want to ensure enough space for them to claim territories.

Breeding Sultan Pleco

Sultan Plecos are believed to be cave breeders in the wild and use the caves to nest in. The male Sultan Pleco cares for the eggs, while the female shares no part in their parental care besides the egg laying. Male Sultan Pleco fish will attract the female in to lay her eggs. Once the eggs are laid, then the male will fertilize them. The male fish will guard the eggs until they are able to fend for themselves. The Sultan Plecos that are available online are wild-caught, as little is known about breeding them in captivity.

How Often Do Sultan Pleco Breed?

Like most other Plecos, Sultan Plecos will often spawn in the wild. If you want to try breeding Sultan Plecos, you will want to set up a dedicated breeding tank and be prepared for many offspring. Plecos will spawn anywhere from 150 to 200 eggs at a time.

Sultan Pleco Eggs

Sultan Plecos will lay eggs in the nest or cave of the male, and they will be in a cluster. You will be able to see them grouped together. The female will lay anywhere from 150 to 200 eggs at a time.  Once the female has laid her eggs, she is done with the spawning process, and she offers no parental care for her eggs or fry. It is the male that cares for the eggs and fry until they are able to care for themselves.

Sultan Pleco Diseases

Sultan Plecos are susceptible to the same ailments that other Plecos are. It is important to monitor their water parameters for changes. Large water changes will cause problems for health and longevity. Sultan Plecos can be affected by a few issues, such as:


Ich is a common parasitic disease that can affect freshwater fish. Ich shows up on your fish in the form of white spots. If it is caught early on, you can treat your fish before it becomes deadly.


Dropsy is a bacterial disease. If you suspect dropsy, you should monitor your fish for bloating and loss of coloration. Dropsy is often caused by malnutrition, and you should make regular water changes and feed your fish the appropriate diet to help clear up this condition. You can also purchase medication online or in a pet store to help clear this up.

Fin Rot

Fin Rot is a bacterial disease that can affect freshwater fish. Poor water quality is usually the cause of this ailment. It is important to make regular water changes for the health of your aquarium. If you suspect Fin Rot, you should monitor your fish for lethargy and loss of appetite. Fin Rot can be treated with tetracycline.


Pop-eye is a condition that looks exactly as its name suggests. The eyes of the fish will be protruding. If this is caught early enough, it can be treated with tetracycline, similar to fin rot. Unlike Fin Rot, there isn’t an exact reason it appears.

When it comes to fish ailments, you will want to ensure that you do all you can to prevent issues before they occur. You will want to ensure that you purchase our fish from a reputable source online or a well-rated pet store. You will also want to quarantine and monitor any fish you purchase before placing them into your main aquarium.

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