Super Red Pleco: Ultimate Care Guide

Scientific NameAncistrus Sp.
Common NameSuper Red Pleco, Bushynose Pleco, Bushymouth Pleco
OriginSouth America
Temperature72F – 86F
Water Parameters6.5 – 7.5 pH
Adult Sizeup to 5.9 inches
Super Red Pleco
Super Red Pleco. Plecostomas, Edited. CC BY-SA 4.0

Super Red Pleco Facts

Super Red Plecos are exactly as they sound in coloration, a very deep red or reddish orange. However, their coloration does not start out that way. As juveniles, Super Red Plecos are a more yellowish coloration and some faint white spotting, but as they mature they quickly gain their deeper red coloration and lose some of their spots.

Like all other species of Pleco, Super Red Plecos are bottom dwelling, and their mouth is located on the bottom of their head so that they can scavenge the bottom as they swim along. They have spiny fins on their backs to help protect them from predators.

Super Red Pleco Care

Super Red Plecos are easy to care for and considered hardy. They are a great addition to community setups as they are typically peaceful in nature. The difficulty in caring for Super Red Plecos lies in tank construction, and making sure that they are being fed correctly. If a Pleco is not being fed correctly, they will suffer from malnutrition and you will be able to see them losing weight. If you notice this in your fish, you will want to switch up what you are feeding them, and make sure that you are offering them a high quality diet of plant matter.


Super Red Plecos require their temperature to remain in the 72F to 86F range. This means that to keep this temperature at an acceptable range, you will need to invest in a quality heater.

Water pH

Super Red Plecos should be kept in the 6.5 to 7.5 pH range.

Super Red Pleco Size

Super Red Plecos can reach a maximum size of 5.9 inches at full maturity. Juvenile Super Red Plecos should reach their maximum size by the time they are roughly 3 years old.

What is the Growth Rate of Super Red Pleco?

During the first year of their growth, Super Red Plecos grow up to 1 inch in their first 3 months. After that, it takes them up to 3 years to reach their maximum length. In captivity, Super Red Plecos can reach up to 5.9 inches in length.

Food and Diet

Super Red Plecos in the wild are omnivorous fish that will feed opportunistically on what they can. Super Red Plecos in captivity can enjoy a varied diet, but they mostly will eat plant matter. They can be fed algae wafers, and high quality flakes or pellets.

Do Super Red Pleco Eat Algae?

Juvenile Super Red Plecos love to eat algae in your tank. They slow down on their algae eating somewhat as they age. They are great algae eaters, but the algae from your tank should not be their only source of food. It is important to offer them a high quality, varied diet so that you can be sure that they are receiving the correct nutrition. Plecos that are not fed correctly will suffer from malnourishment.


Super Red Plecos in captivity tend to have an average lifespan of around 5 years. Some owners of Super Red Plecos have reported them living much longer in their care, but the longevity of this fish like many others is directly dependent on how well they are being cared for. The better the care and diet, the longer they will live.

Tank Size

Super Red Plecos are one of the smaller Plecos that do not require a large tank to house since they remain fairly small. The minimum you aquarium should be to house Super Red Plecos is 30 gallons, but if you have the space for a larger aquarium, they will enjoy the space.

Tank Setup

Setting up your tank for Super Red Plecos is fairly simple if you just keep in mind their natural environment and a little about their behavior. Super Red Plecos spend most of their time scavenging for food, so your tank would need driftwood, and a soft sand or fine gravel substrate. The softer substrate is necessary for the Super Red Pleco so that it does not damage its sensitive mouth parts. You should take care to balance out the space that you give them with the decor. Since they spend all of their time at the bottom, they do not typically occupy the upper levels. Another important element of tank construction to consider is the amount of places for them to hide and destress. You can achieve this with large rocks, plants, and driftwood pieces.

Do Super Red Pleco Need a Cave?

It is important for the health and happiness of your Super Red Pleco that you provide it with caves and plenty of places to hide. Super Red Plecos, like other Plecos, love to find a place to hide and wedge themselves into. If you are planning on trying to breed your Super Red Plecos, a cave is a must for their tank.

Do Super Red Pleco Need Driftwood?

When it comes to setting up an aquarium for Super Red Plecos, you will want to take into consideration adding driftwood. Not only will algae grow on the driftwood for your fish to scavenge, but the driftwood also will provide your fish with a nice hiding spot for it to destress. Super Red Plecos like other species of Plecos have a powerful suction mouth that can eat pieces of wood too.


Super Red Plecos are cave breeders. The male Super Red Pleco will find a cave to hide in, and clean it until he feels it is ready to invite a female in. Once he entices a female into the cave, he traps her until she lays her eggs. Once the eggs are laid, the male will then fertilize them. Plecos are not known for eating their eggs, but actually providing them with some parental care. They have been observed protecting their eggs and fry for a short time. 

Super Red Pleco Eggs

Super Red Pleco Eggs are small and stick together in a little clump.

Super Red Pleco Fry

Once the eggs have been fertilized, Super Red Pleco eggs take around 3 to 10 days to hatch into fry. After they hatch from the egg, they are still attached to the yolk sac, and it takes the Super Red Pleco Fry another 5 to 10 days to absorb the yolk and become free swimming.

Super Red Pleco Male vs Female

It is much easier to tell the difference between male and female Super Red Plecos when they have reached maturity.


Super Red Plecos are prone to many of the same diseases as other freshwater fish. Many of these ailments are caused from the fish experiencing inadequate water conditions, poor diet, or stress. You can also prevent ailments by quarantining any new fish and decor before placing it in the tank with your Super Red Plecos.

Tank Mates

Not only are they beautiful to look at, Super Red Plecos are great to house in a community tank setup due to their mostly peaceful nature. Small, non aggressive fish such as Tetras, Guppies, and Bettas will do just fine with Super Red Plecos. They occupy a different level of the water column and should not get in each other’s way.

Once your Super Red Pleco has reached maturity, you will find that it becomes more territorial and will begin to have problems with other Plecos in your aquarium if there is not adequate space. Super Red Plecos also do not do well with larger fish like Discus and Gouramis.

Are Super Red Pleco Aggressive?

Super Red Pleco are not considered aggressive enough to worry about housing them with other species or the same species as long as there is enough room and plenty of spaces for them to hide and destress. It is possible that males could fight with one another for dominance, or over a particular territory. It is important to observe the behavior of your fish so that you can correct any issues as they arise.

Are Super Red Pleco Territorial?

Super Red Pleco are not as territorial as other species of Pleco. It is still not a good idea to house several males together if you do not have enough room. You can more safely house males together if you break up their line of sight with decor, caves, and plants. They may still fight for dominance over a certain cave or hiding space. Adjusting the decor in your tank can help with this.

Where Can I Find Super Red Plecos for Sale?

If you are looking to add Super Red Plecos to your home aquarium, you will be able to find them for sale at pet stores and online for around $25 per fish.

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