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Due to its unusual appearance and its ability to eat algae, Plecostomus Sailfin is extremely popular in the aquarium. Also known as the common pleco, or sailfin pleco. It is very hardy and easy to keep. It is an attractive fish with its large banner-like dorsal fin. This freshwater catfish that is found primarily in inland river of South America. 

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Features of Plecostomus Sailfin:

  • The Sailfin Plecostomus has an elongated body and a large head with a small high-set eye
  • The body is covered in bony plates
  • Stunning large dorsal fin resembling that of a marine sailfish 
  • The fin has more than 10 rays, a lot more than other pleco species
  • Grows up to 50cm


The Best Aquarium Size:

The minimum tank size for Plecostomus Sailfin should be at least 100L. Also, if you want to set up a community tank, you have to prepare more space. 

Here are some suitable aquariums to consider:

After an Aquarium for your fish? Browse Aquarium Tank Selection here.


Tank Mate Compatibility:

Because of their mellow nature, there are plenty of tank mates that work well with a Sailfin Pleco. They are rarely aggressive, but it is best to avoid other large bottom dwellers to reduce competition for food, or during breeding time. 



Although Plecostomus are omnivorous, their diet is primarily algae and plant material, wood fibre and crustaceans. Feed them algae wafers, green foods and sinking pellets.  Other supplements can be offered include vegetables like blanched spinach, zucchini and peas,  brine shrimp, live worms, small crustaceans, and insect based foods. Ensure plenty of natural driftwood in the aquarium to feed on. 

Check out our extensive range of aquarium fish foods.

Tank Setup:

Aquarium Filtration

Water quality is vital. This catfish produces a large amount of waste, so an excellent filter with good water flow is essential. Make sure the filter suits for the tank size, and here are some great ones to consider:

Shop our comprehensive range of aquarium filters here.

Aquarium Heater

This fish enjoys temperatures between 23 - 29° C. A thermometer is recommended to monitor the water temperature for stability. 

Aquarium Plants for Sailfin Plecos

Use hardy plants such as anubias and swords, as the plecostomus sailfin can damage delicate plants as they move around grazing on algae growths. Adult fish may eat plants if hungry or they have softer leaves. 

Interested in live plants for your aquariums? Browse live plants here.

Aquarium Decorations for Sailfin Plecos

Sailfin Pleco's require driftwood in the aquarium, not only for shelter and somewhere to rest, but for their diet. Sailfin pleco's feed on wood fibre and aids digestion. Other aquarium decorations suitable include caves, terracotta pots and large ornaments big enough to hide in. 

After more nice quality decorations? Check our Aquarium Ornaments.


These fish enjoy lower light levels with lots of shade and dark spaces to hide. If keeping live plants, they will need sufficient light to grow. Dimable LED lighting options are a great idea to adjust lighting as required. 

Standard aquarium lighting is appropriate. Shop aquarium lighting here.

Aquarium Substrate

Aquarium sand is ideal for plecos as they are bottom dwellers and will forage through substrate for food. If you prefer to use gravel, use a smooth and rounded gravel to protect their bodies.

A variety of Substrates are available at Coburg Aquarium. 

Additional Information

Fish Keeping Snapshot :

Preferred Water Parameters :

Aquarium Set-up Service:

Our design team enables us to create the tank you desire, install your tank where you wish to and provide a maintenance service to ensure everything runs smoothly. We can create almost any aquarium from the small home aquarium to large commercial aquariums for offices, hotels or restaurants. Coburg Aquarium, Australia's leading aquarium shop.

Please contact us if you need any custom tank services.