Clown Pleco

The clown pleco, or Panaque maccus, is a fish that many people say is useless because it only eats on driftwood, but many people say that it is a great algae eater, which it is.

This is one of the many dwarf pleco species which only gets to 3.5 to 4 inches (8.75 - 10cm) and is able to live happily in a wide range of water parameters, even the wild ones are very durable. They come from soft, neutral waters in the rivers of Venezuela and Columbia.

Towards many fish they are very peaceful and will stay on the bottom or sides of the tank, but if there is more then one male, or even more then one female, the dominant fish will drive the intruder outside of the dominant fishes territory. They will be suitable for almost all fish tanks, except for African cichlid tanks, or any fish tank that has fish big enough to eat them.


These plecos are very difficult to breed, they require lots of work to have them spawn and then to raise the fry is a task on its own. There is a certain week in the spring that you will have to drain the water in the tank to about 30-50 percent, then refill with pure rain water (or RO water), it has to be filtered really well if you live in the city, you will have to do that a few times in that week for them to trigger something to spawn, which can be a hassle unless you have lots of time on your hands. To tell the males from females it is very difficult, but the males usually have some more 'whiskers' around the mouth and face region.

The minimum tank size for a clown pleco is 20 gallons, and for each additional try to have an extra 10 gallons just so there is enough room for each fish to have it's own territory. They will hang out on the side of the tank but mostly the bottom of the tank, where algae, and primarily driftwood is located. The primary diet is driftwood, but they need to supplement their diet with vegetation, so adding algae wafers, and fresh veggies like cucumber, lettuce, etc.

Clown Pleco Panaque maccus

Clown Pleco Care

Scientific Name : Panaque maccus

Common Names : Clown Pleco

Care Level : Moderate

Size : 3.5 - 4 inches (8.75 - 10cm)

pH : 6.8 to 7.6

Temperature :73-82°F (23-28°C)

Lifespan : approximately 10 years, can live longer

Origin / Habitat : Venezuela and Columbia

Temperament / Behavior : Peaceful towards other species, males are territorial towards other males

Breeding : Very difficult to breed them in the home aquarium

Aquarium Size : Minimum of 20 gallons

Tank Mates : It is very compatible with lots of fish, just not those that will eat it.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease

Diet / Fish Food : Mainly a wood eater, but they will eat many other things as well like yams, cucumbers.

Tank Region : Mainly the bottom or side of the tank

Gender : It is very hard to determine the gender

References :

Profile and Photos by : Tom

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