Royal Pleco Best Care Guide, Species Summary & All | 2022

By: Martin McAdam
Updated: April 3, 2022

Royal Plecos (Panaque Nigrolineatus)are an exotic variety of Plecostomus popular in the aquarium trade. They are distinguished by their deep purple coloration and long, flowing fins.

These large, interesting fish come from Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Amazon River basin in South America. They make beautiful aquarium specimens; they are also known to be good scavengers and algae eaters.

Here we will take a closer look at the Royal Pleco, including its care and feeding requirements and some of the unique features apart from other Plecostomus species.

Species Summary

Scientific name: Panaque Nigrolineatus
Common name: Royal Pleco
Origin: Amazon River basin, South America
Max size: Up to 17 inches (43.18 cm)
Temperament: Peaceful
Nature: Scavenger
Tank requirements: 120 gallons or larger
pH Range: 6.6-7.5
Water Hardness: 5-10 dGH
Water Type: Freshwater
Temperature range: 72°F to 78°F
Care level:Moderate
Diet: Herbivores
Sexual Dimorphism: Males have longer flowing fins than females
Compatibility: Excellent with other peaceful fish
Life span: Up to 10 years

Habitat

Royal Plecos are tropical fish and require warm water temperatures to thrive. They prefer slow-moving rivers and tributaries with dense vegetation, where they can hide among the roots and branches of submerged plants.

Size & Growth Rate

Royal Plecos can reach up to 17 inches (43.18 cm) in length, making them one of the largest species of Plecostomus. They grow at a moderate rate and can be expected to reach their full size within 3-5 years.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Royal Pleco is 10 years, but they can live up to 15 years or more with proper care. These fish have been known to outlive other common plecostomus species.

Of course, there are no guarantees, and any fish's lifespan can be shortened by poor water quality or other improper care. So it is important to be knowledgeable and conscientious when caring for these majestic fish.

Appearance

Royal Plecos have a deep purple coloration with long, flowing fins. They are very handsome fish and make excellent aquarium specimens. They are large and impressive-looking, but they are also good scavengers and algae eaters.

This species has the widest range of coloration of any Plecostomus, with some fish exhibiting brown, green, or black shades. There is also considerable variation in fin shape and length among individuals.

Royal Plecos are a bit larger than most other Plecostomus species, reaching a size of up to 17 inches. They grow at a moderate rate.

The mouth is very large and upturned, and the eyes are small. On top of the head, a large, fleshy protuberance is used to attach to submerged tree roots and branches in the wild. Males have longer, more flowing fins than females.

Royal Pleco Breeding

Royal Plecos are a popular fish for breeding and can often be found in pet stores. They are known for being one of the easiest fish to breed and are an excellent choice for beginner breeders.

The best way to breed Royal Plecos is by using a 120-gallon tank with plenty of hiding places. The tank should also have a tight-fitting lid, as they are known to jump out of tanks. The water should be kept around 72°F to 78°F, and the pH level should be around 6.6-7.5.

The female Royal Pleco will lay her eggs on a flat surface, such as a rock or piece of driftwood. The male Royal Pleco will then fertilize the eggs. Once the eggs have been fertilized, they will hatch in about 5-7 days.

The fry (newly hatched fish) will need to be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food. They can be raised in a community tank with other small fish. By raising the fry in a community tank, you can help reduce the chances of them being eaten by larger fish.

By knowing how to breed Royal Plecos, you can help increase the population of this popular fish.

Behaviour & Temperament

Royal Plecos are calm, docile fish perfect for the home aquarium. They are known for their friendly temperament and will often greet you when you approach the tank.

They are also known for being very active fish. They can often be seen swimming around. You can add a friendly, active fish to your aquarium by owning a Royal Plecoium.

The only exception is when they are spawning, as they can become quite aggressive. These fish are known to be one of the easiest fish to care for and perfect for beginners and experienced aquarists.

Throughout the day, they will usually spend most of their time resting on the bottom of the tank. By knowing about the behavior and temperament of Royal Plecos, you can better care for them.

Royal Pleco Care Guide

The Royal Pleco is a moderate care fish and can be suitable for those new to plecostomus. They are hardy and relatively easy to keep but require some basic knowledge and commitment.

As with any other fish, water quality is critical to the health of your Royal Plecos. The water should be clean and clear with a correct pH range and proper water hardness. They can tolerate a range of water types but prefer freshwater.

If you're prepared to take care of a Royal Pleco, they make an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are peaceful fish and do well with other docile species.

Food & Diet

Royal Plecos are carnivorous fish and should be fed a mostly meat diet.

Some good food options for Royal Plecos include:

  • Live brine shrimp: This is a great food option for Royal Plecos, as it is high in protein and easy to digest.
  • Frozen brine shrimp: This is another excellent food option for Royal Plecos, as it is high in protein and easy to digest.
  • Bloodworms: These are a good source of protein and other nutrients essential for the health of your fish.
  • Cichlid pellets: These are a good source of protein and other nutrients essential for the health of your fish.
  • Beef heart: This is a good source of protein and other nutrients essential for the health of your fish.
  • Commercial algae wafer: This is a good source of fiber and other nutrients essential for the health of your fish.

By providing your Royal Pleco with a diet mainly consisting of meat, you can help ensure it stays healthy and happy.

Diet Foods To Avoid

There are some diet foods that you should avoid giving your Royal Pleco, as they can be harmful to its health. Some of the diet foods to avoid include:

  • Tubifex worms: These worms can contain harmful toxins that can be harmful to your fish.
  • Vegetables: While it is ok to give your small fish amounts of vegetables, too much can cause health problems.
  • Bread: Bread is not a healthy fish food and should be avoided.

Avoiding these diet foods can help keep your Royal Pleco healthy and thriving.

Tank Size

Let's start with the basics: Royal Plecos require a tank size of at least 120- gallons. If you want to keep more than one, they will need an even larger tank. Because they grow quite large, it's important to provide them with enough space to swim and explore.

Ideally, the tank should be decorated with plenty of plants and other natural decorations to simulate their natural habitat. Royal Plecos are not particularly active fish, so a tank with plenty of hiding places will make them feel comfortable and secure.

Tankmates

Generally, non-aggressive fish can be kept with Royal Plecos. Some good tank mates for Royal Plecos include:

  • Other Plecos: This is a great option, as they will enjoy the same type of diet and environment.
  • Angelfish: Angelfish are beautiful fish that will add color and variety to your tank.
  • Tetras: Tetras are colorful and small fish perfect for smaller tanks.
  • Corydoras Catfish: Corydoras Catfish are a peaceful and popular catfish that make a great addition to any tank.
  • Guppies: Guppies are colorful and lively fish perfect for larger tanks.
  • Swordtails: Swordtails are colorful and active fish perfect for larger tanks.
  • Mollies: Mollies are popular live-bearing fish that come in various colors.
  • Platties: Platties are a popular live-bearing fish that come in various colors.

By choosing suitable tank mates, you can create a well-balanced aquarium perfect for Royal Plecos.

Fish to Avoid

  • Goldfish: Goldfish are a popular fish, but they should not be kept with Royal Plecos, as they can be very aggressive.
  • Other larger fish: Other larger fish can be aggressive towards Royal Plecos and should be avoided.
  • Fish that require a different water temperature: Royal Plecos prefer cooler water temperatures and should not be kept with fish that prefer warmer water.
  • Fish that require a different pH level: Royal Plecos prefer a pH of 6.6-7.5 and should not be kept with fish that prefer a different pH level.

By knowing what fish to avoid, you can help keep your Royal Pleco healthy and safe.

Water Parameters

Royal Plecos are tropical fish and prefer water temperatures between 72°- 78° Fahrenheit (22.22° -25.55° Celsius). They cannot tolerate cold water and will not thrive if the temperature drops below 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).

  • pH Range should be 6.6-7.5
  • Nitrate levels should be below 20 ppm for best results.

Royal Plecos should have at least 25% water change every week. More frequent changes may be necessary, primarily if the tank is heavily stocked or the water is not clean.

Filtration

A sound filtration system is essential for keeping Royal Plecos healthy. A filter that can handle a large tank size is preferable, as it will be able to keep the water clean and clear. Additionally, a weekly water change is necessary to remove waste and pollutants.

Some of the famous filters are:

  • AquaClear 70 Power Filter for Aquariums: These filters are trendy because they are very reliable and can be used on tanks up to 70 gallons.
  • AquaCzar ACZ611 Automatic Aquarium Fish Tank Canister Filter: This powerful filter can be used on tanks up to 150 gallons and has an automatic self-cleaning function.
  • SunSun HW-404B 5.5-Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank Power Filter: This small filter is perfect for tanks up to 5.5 gallons and is very affordable.
  • Fluval FX6 High-Performance Canister Filter: This top-of-the-line filter is perfect for tanks up to 350 gallons and has many features that make it easy to use.

Heater

Royal Plecos require a tropical environment and, therefore, a heater to maintain their desired water temperature. A good quality heater is essential for the health of your fish.

Some of the famous heaters are:

  • EHEIM Jager Heater: This heater is very popular because it is very reliable and has a 5-year warranty.
  • Heater for Aquariums, 300W: This heater is perfect for tanks up to 55 gallons and is affordable.
  • Aquarium Heater Submersible, 250W: This heater is perfect for tanks up to 55 gallons and is very affordable.

Lighting

Royal Plecos do not require a lot of light, but some are necessary for their overall health and well-being. A basic aquarium light will be sufficient.

Some of the famous aquarium lights are:

  • Marineland LED Strip Light: This light is trendy because it is affordable and energy-efficient.
  • Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light: This light is perfect for planted tanks and comes with a built-in timer.
  • Aquarium Hood with Light: This hood comes with an essential light perfect for small tanks.

Aquarium Decor

Royal Plecos are beautiful fish and deserve an attractive aquarium to live in. There are many types of aquarium decor available.

Some of the popular aquarium decorations are:

  • Aquarium Driftwood: This wood is perfect for adding natural beauty to your tank and provides a place for your fish to hide.
  • Aquarium Plants: Plants are not only attractive, but they also provide your fish with a place to hide and eat.
  • Aquarium Rocks: Rocks are perfect for adding texture and interest to your tank.
  • Aquarium Ornaments: There are many types of ornaments available, including castles, houses, and bridges.

Other Tank Accessories

In addition to a heater, light, and filter, there are other items that you may need for your Royal Pleco tank.

Some of the popular aquarium accessories are:

  • Aquarium Net: This net is perfect for removing fish from your tank or rescuing them from the bottom.
  • Aquarium Gravel Vacuum: This vacuum is perfect for cleaning your gravel and removing any waste or debris.
  • Water Test Kits: These kits are essential for testing the water parameters in your tank and ensuring that they are within the desired range.
  • Aquarium Thermometer: This thermometer is perfect for monitoring the temperature of your tank.
  • Aquarium Heater Guard: This guard is perfect for protecting your heater from accidental damage.

You can create a healthy and attractive home for your Royal Pleco with the right equipment.

Cleaning The Tank

It is important to clean your Royal Pleco tank regularly to remove waste and pollutants.

Some of the recommended methods for cleaning a tank are:

  • Use a gravel vacuum to clean the gravel at the bottom of the tank.
  • Removing any dead plants or debris from the tank.
  • Washing the aquarium glass with a non-toxic cleaner.
  • Disinfect the tank and all of its accessories with a diluted bleach solution.
  • Checking the water parameters and making necessary adjustments.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your tank clean and healthy for your Royal Pleco.

Now that your tank is clean, it's time to add your fish! Be sure to add them slowly, so they have a chance to get used to their new environment. And remember, always use a de-chlorinator to remove harmful chemicals from the water.

Common Possible Diseases

Royal Plecos are hardy fish and are not usually susceptible to diseases, but it is still important to be aware of the most common diseases.

Some of the most common Royal Pleco diseases are:

  • Ichthyophthirius: Also known as ich, this is a parasitic infection that can cause lesions and skin ulcers.
  • Fin Rot: This bacterial infection causes the fins to rot and fall off.
  • Dropsy: This serious disease causes the fish to swell up and develop lesions.
  • Columnaris: Also known as "flexibacteriosis," this is a bacterial infection that can cause tissue damage and death.
  • Velvet: This parasitic infection causes the fish to lose its scales and become covered in a velvety film.
  • White Spot Syndrome: This parasitic infection causes white spots to form on the fish's body.
  • Septicemia: Also known as "blood poisoning, " a severe bacterial infection that can lead to death.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your Royal Pleco, take the fish to a qualified veterinarian for treatment. By being aware of these common diseases, you can help keep your fish healthy and thriving.

Treatment And Medications For Diseases

There are many treatments and medications available for Royal Pleco diseases.

Some of the most common treatments are:

  • Ichthyophthirius: The most common treatment for ich is "malachite green" medication.
  • Fin Rot: The most common treatment for fin rot is " tetracycline " medication.
  • Dropsy: The most common treatment for dropsy is a medication called "betamethasone."
  • Columnaris: The most common treatment for columnaris is a medication called "chloramphenicol."
  • Velvet: The most common treatment for velvet is " acriflavine " medication.
  • White Spot Syndrome: The most common treatment for white spot syndrome is a medication called "metronidazole."
  • Septicemia: The most common treatment for septicemia is a medication called "ceftriaxone."

Using the proper medications and treatments can help your fish fight off these diseases and get back to their healthy, thriving self.

Advantage Of Having Them In Your Tank

The first advantage of having a Royal Pleco in your tank is that they are a friendly and active fish. They will spend most of their day swimming around the tank and interacting with other fish.

Another advantage of having a Royal Pleco in your tank is that they are one of the easiest fish to care for. They do not require a lot of maintenance and can be kept in various water conditions.

Royal Plecos are also a popular fish for breeding and are found in many pet stores. By breeding Royal Plecos, you can help increase the population of this fish.

By knowing the advantages of having a Royal Pleco in your tank, you can better care for this popular fish.

Disadvantage Of Having Them In Your Tank

The main disadvantage of having a Royal Pleco in your tank is that they can grow up to 17 inches long. This can be too large for some tanks and may require you to get a larger tank.

Another disadvantage of having a Royal Pleco in your tank is that they can be very aggressive towards other fish. They may attack other fish, eat their food, or even steal their territory.

By knowing the disadvantages of having a Royal Pleco in your tank, you can better care for this popular fish.

Conclusion

Royal Plecos are a popular fish for many reasons. They are friendly and active, easy to care for, and popular for breeding.

However, they can also be aggressive towards other fish and may require a larger tank. By knowing the pros and cons of having a Royal Pleco in your tank, you can decide whether or not they are the right fish for you.

Disclaimer

AquaMarinePower.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their aquatic friends. However, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

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