Physical description: Its body is covered everywhere but the belly with large bony plates. The head is large, broad, and flat. The mouth is located on the underside of the head and is shaped like a suction cup. It has one pair of barbels. The color varies depending on the age, species, and environment of the individual. Usually the body has a base color of light brown to black, but may be as light as white. The belly is white. The fish is striped with 5-12 orange to white stripes. Sometimes these stripes are so wide that they appear to be the main body color with black stripes. The fins are also striped like the body. The eyes protrude slightly from the head.
Size/Length: To 3" (7.5 cm)
Similar species: Other Peckoltia species.
Habitat: South America; sections of the Rio Negro near Moura (Brazil).
Aquarium: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). The tank should be well-planted with thickets for hiding places. This species will damage soft-leafed plants. Algae growth should be encouraged. Provide a cover of floating plants and some hiding places with roots, wood, or rocks. This catfish likes clear, clean water with a moderately strong current.
Water chemistry: pH 5.5-7.8 (7.0), 2-30 dH (10), 75-82°F (24-28°C)
Social behavior: A helpful, peaceful fish that can be kept with small tetras to medium sized cichlids. An excellent community fish. May harmlessly quarrel with others of its own species.
Suggested companions: Corydoras, Apistogramma, Discus, tetras
FOOD: The Clown Pleco lives almost exclusively on algae. Sometimes it will take food tablets and live Brine Shrimp.
Sexual differences: Very hard to distinguish. Occasionally a fish develops bristles on its head, which may indicate that the specimen is male.
Breeding techniques: Unsuccessful in captivity
Breeding potential: 10. Breeding has not been accomplished.
Remarks: Very hardy as long as there is algae to eat. Each fish needs at least 10 gallons (38 L) of algae population will be depleted. Nocturnal. Nineteen species of Peckoltia are known to the hobby making correct identification of a species difficult.
Difficulty of care: 3. The Clown Pleco is an easy fish to care for as long as there is enough algae for it to eat. A superb fish for a community tank.