The Vampire Pleco (L-240, Peckoltia greedoi) is a freshwater or cold water fish species that belongs to the Loricariidae family of South America. This species is also known as Peckoltia gouldoi, Panaque greedoi and Plecostomus vampire.
This fish has become popular due to its size, shape and unique appearance; however, it can be challenging to care for properly at first.
This complete guide provides beginner aquarists with all they need to know about what it takes to keep a healthy Vampire Pleco. This article covers all aspects of complete care from Identification, size and age to water parameters, tank mates and more.
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Table of Contents
- How Does Vampire Pleco L-240 Look Like?
- Vampire Pleco L-240 Origin
- Average Vampire Pleco L-240 Size
- Temperament of Vampire Pleco L-240
- Conditions Required For Vampire Pleco
- Accessible Tank Decorations
How Does Vampire Pleco L-240 Look Like?
The Vampire Pleco is one of many species in the Loricariidae family. It has a typical pleco body, which means it has large bony plates all over its side.
This fish comes from the L-series, which means it is close relative to the popular Clown Pleco (L-136). This fish can grow up to 12" in captivity.
The easiest way to sex this fish is by looking at the bristles on its pectoral fin. Females have a lot of bristles while males have only a few.
Vampire Pleco L-240 Origin
This fish is found in the Rio Tocantins river system of Brazil, South America. The fish inhabits mainly muddy waters with lots of vegetation.
The Vampire Pleco prefers to hang out by wedging itself between rocks or roots where it waits for food to come towards it before engulfing it whole. This species is nocturnal, which means it hunts at night.
Average Vampire Pleco L-240 Size
The average vampire pleco size is 6-12" (15 to 30 cm) or larger. Females are usually smaller than males. This fish grows quite slowly, however, the size varies based on tank conditions. When kept in ideal conditions, this fish can reach over 12" (30 cm) within 2-3 years.
The Vampire Pleco can grow to a respectable size and as such it requires a large aquarium of at least 55 to 75 gallons (210-285 l) for a single fish. Do not keep these fish with smaller fishes as it will eat them.
Temperament of Vampire Pleco L-240
The Vampire Pleco is a nocturnal fish but will usually only emerge from its hiding spot at night on rare occasions. This species should never be handled by the aquarist because it may jump from your hands and injure itself.
This fish is best kept in a species only tank but can do well with other peaceful, small to medium-sized fish as long as the Vampire pleco has plenty of hiding spots to choose from.
This fish is not good with fast swimming fish and should only be kept with other peaceful species such as tetras or hatchet fish. These fish will help clean the tank by eating leftover food that has settled to the bottom of the tank.
The Vampire pleco can be a nervous fish and does not do well in tanks where it cannot seek shelter in the rockwork.
The Vampire Pleco has been bred in captivity but the fry is rarely collected for aquarium use. This species is difficult to sex at a young age but the male will usually have longer pelvic fins.
This fish has not been bred in captivity on a large scale so it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase fry from local breeders.
Conditions Required For Vampire Pleco
The Vampire Pleco require a lot of care but keeping them is not very hard if you follow these guidelines.
The Vampire Pleco is a hardy fish but would benefit from some beginner aquarist know-how as far as "hiding" goes. This means making sure it has plenty of rock caves and roots to swim between so that the Vampire pleco feels safe at night.
The Vampire Pleco is not currently bred commercially and very little information exists about this species breeding habits in the wild.
If you wish to breed this fish it is best to separate the males and females into their own aquariums before introducing them into spawning conditions (plants, dark substrate etc.)
Common Diseases & Cure
The Vampire Pleco is not known to be affected by any of the common pleco diseases. It may be susceptible to velvet or cottonmouth if exposed to colder temperatures for long periods of time.
Velvet disease is caused by a parasitic worm that attaches itself to the fish's mouth. Cottonmouth, on the other hand, forms as a result of the fish frequently rubbing its mouth on tank decor or sides of the aquarium, which causes white tufts to form in its mouth.
Liquid medications are usually ineffective against Vampire pleco diseases because this fish has a protective slime coat that protects it from harm.
How Much & What To Feed?
The Vampire Pleco is a nocturnal omnivore that feeds on algae, rotting fish food, and leftover food that has fallen to the bottom of the tank. This species loves to eat all kinds of vegetables such as blanched zucchini slices or cucumber slices, which can be found at most local grocery stores.
The Vampire Pleco will usually only eat food once it has fallen to the bottom of the tank so be sure to feed this fish at night when it is more active. This species should only be fed algae wafers, vegetable pellets, and sinking catfish pellets because these types of foods are easily digested by these fish.
This fish is not an effective algae eater because it does not eat the green, hair-like strands of algae that other plecos prefer to feed on. Because of this, I do not recommend housing this fish with other plecos if you want to keep your tank clean of excess algae growth.
How Much Gallon Tank Vampire Pleco L-240 Needs
The Vampire Pleco is most active and safe from predation at night when it can freely swim through your aquarium in search of food scraps and uneaten fish food. I recommend housing this fish in a 30 gallon or larger aquarium with plenty of hiding spots for the Vampire Pleco to escape to at night when it is most active.
The Vampire Pleco should be housed alone because they are territorial and will harass any tank mates they do not consider their equal in size. This species thrives in planted aquariums with lots of driftwood and rocky overhangs for hiding.
The Vampire Pleco will usually be seen resting upside down underneath plant leaves during the day so it is important to leave plenty of floating plants in your tank to act as both hiding spots and added security should your Vampire Plecos feel threatened while out in the open.
Do not keep the Vampire Pleco with any species that may swallow it whole by accident or that will harass it during the night when this fish is naturally awake and active. The safest tank mates are other small to medium-sized, peaceful fish such as tetras and hatchet fish.
Preferable Water & Temperature Condition
The Vampire Pleco is adaptable to both high and low pH water but prefers soft water with a pH of 6.0-7.2 and GH 5-15 dH. The temperature should remain between 70-82° F (21-28° C).
The Vampire Pleco is not known to have any specific enemies in the wild but it may fall prey to large predatory fish such as Aurochs, Tigers and Piranha if they can fit it in their mouths.
Points Needs To Be Kept in Consideration
The Vampire Pleco has an incredible ability to attach itself to glass or plastic with its suckermouth and can be transported in this way without being hurt. This fish should never be handled because it may jump from your hands and injure itself, especially when coming into contact with sharp objects such as aquarium gravel.
The Vampire Pleco is not an aggressive fish but may harass other species once the larger ones have been consumed. This species is even known to bully slow-moving fish such as bettas and gouramis.
This fish is not a very effective algae eater because it does not eat the green, hair-like strands of algae that other plecos prefer to feed on. Because of this, I do not recommend housing this fish with other plecos if you want to keep your tank clean of excess algae growth.
If you want to feed these fish vegetable pellets or sinking catfish pellets, take the uneaten food out after an hour to ensure that it does not fall down into the substrate where it can cause water quality issues.
It is also important to be careful about feeding vegetables to plecos because too many vegetables in their diets can cause digestive problems.
It is recommended to feed your pleco vegetables for one meal per week, or two meals per month, with the exception of green peas which are known to be safe to feed every day.
Vampire Plecos are not picky eaters so it is important that you only feed the fish food that will easily be digested by this species.
This fish should only be fed algae wafers, vegetable pellets, and sinking catfish pellets because these types of foods are easily digestible by the Vampire Pleco.
It's important to make sure that all uneaten food has been removed after an hour to avoid any issues with substrate-based foods.
Accessible Tank Decorations
The Vampire Pleco Fish lives in specific conditions or special kinds of tank decorations to enable it to grow and survive easily.
The Vampire Pleco needs plenty of hiding places in the aquarium-like Jungle Val because it is nocturnal, which means it sleeps during the day and goes out to hunt at night.
It also prefers to stay close to the bottom of the tank.
Vampire Plecos love to burrow and prefer a soft substrate such as sand or fine gravel that is at least 2" deep.
Adding driftwood roots or rock structures will help provide more places for your fish to hide, while also making the tank look more natural.
Nocturnal fish such as Vampire Plecos do not need bright lights, but it is recommended to add some low-intensity light bulbs to your aquarium.
If no sunlight is available although adding too much light will make this fish active during the day. Keep in mind that this species does not like bright lights and prefers relatively dim light.
The Vampire Pleco is a nocturnal omnivore that feeds on algae, rotting fish food, and leftover food that has fallen to the bottom of the tank.
This species loves to eat all kinds of vegetables such as blanched zucchini slices or cucumber slices, which can be found at most local grocery stores.
The Vampire Pleco will usually only eat food once it has fallen to the bottom of the tank so be sure to feed this fish at night when it is more active.
This species should only be fed algae wafers, vegetable pellets, and sinking catfish pellets because these types of foods are easily digested by these fish.
The Vampire Pleco are easy to care for and rarely show any signs of illness, so they require minimal attention compared to other fish. They are easy to keep if they are provided with the conditions for survival and all if the requisites are kept in mind.