Belongs to the Family Loricarridae (Armour - plated catfishes). A very beautiful species - even for those who regard plecos as an ugly but necessary fish. Grows very large (more than 50 cm long) and is a beauty to see with its dorsal fin in the erected position. Not very tolerant of its own species, requires a big tank otherwise growth is stunted and the fish is unhappy. Keeping more than one per tank requires even more space. Gets very active in the dark though you can regularly see him in the daylight (especially during feeding time). Needs hiding places usually under rocks or driftwood. Eats algae even when grown up. This particular species will not give way to African cichlids not even to the biggest species. It happens very regularly to see a sailfin pleco chasing an African in midwater during the day. Believe it or not it is the cichlid that will give up. Sailfin plecos do not interfere with spawning cichlids (at least not up to now--they are currently about 23 cm long).
Minimum tank size : 150 cm (one individual) 200 cm (two individuals). Add another 50 cm for every additional fish. In small tanks the growth is remarkably inhibited and the fish becomes lethargic and underdeveloped. I initially purchased 5 individuals all the same size. After two years, the ones in the 500 liter mbuna tank are merely 13 cm long (two fish) while the ones in the 1300 liter tank have exceeded 23 cm. This clearly shows that, for large fish, space is important. Feed well at night.
See next page for more pictures.