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The Best (And Worst) Pleco Tank Mates

The Best (And Worst) Pleco Tank Mates

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You’ve probably heard that plecos are supposed to be good options for community fish tanks. They’re bottom-dwelling fish, which means that they will usually stay away from other fish in the tank.

Even so, plecos aren’t going to be good fits for every community fish tank. You need to put plecos in community tanks with fish that they are compatible with.

Some fish are going to be excellent tank mates for plecos. Others will be poor fits, and it’ll be dangerous to put plecos with some types of fish.

Read on to learn about the best pleco tank mates that you can find. This will ensure that you can find great options to build a community fish tank with plecos.

Can Plecos Live with Bettas?

Male Betta Fish Swimming at Top of Planted Tank

Bettas are considered to be somewhat aggressive fish. As such, you might be worried that they will be bad options for tank mates.

They can safely live with plecos, though. When plecos live with bettas, the bettas will not become aggressive.

Many people choose to pair these two types of fish in community fish tanks. They get along nicely since bettas don’t see plecos as threats.

Since bettas are such pretty fish, they’re going to look fantastic in a community fish tank setting with many types of plecos. They can be considered to be fantastic tank mates for plecos.

Can Plecos Live with Goldfish?

Red and White Comet Goldfish in Freshwater Aquarium

It should be just fine to keep goldfish in a community fish tank with plecos. Plecos are peaceful fish that generally won’t bother goldfish.

Of course, you’re going to need to have a big enough fish tank for things to go well. Also, it might not be a good idea to try to keep large plecos such as common plecos with goldfish.

Many people keep bristlenose plecos or rubber lip plecos with goldfish. It always works out just fine and some say that goldfish make particularly nice tank mates for those types of plecos.

It’s very common for people to keep bristlenose plecos with comet goldfish. Just make sure that you provide the proper care for each type of fish and things will go well.

Can Plecos Live with Crayfish?

Marbled Crayfish on Sand in Community Aquarium

It’s likely not going to be a good idea to keep plecos with crayfish. Crayfish are considered to be dangerous to peaceful fish such as plecos.

The likely scenario is that the crayfish would hurt the plecos in your fish tank. You should instead focus on finding truly compatible tank mates for the plecos.

There are some enthusiasts who say that they have managed to get crayfish to get along with plecos well enough. However, this is not a typical situation.

You’d be taking a great risk by putting crayfish in the same aquarium as plecos. There’s no reason to endanger the plecos by making them live in a tank with crayfish.

Can Plecos Live with Hatchetfish?

Silver Hatchetfish in Planted Aquarium

Hatchetfish are considered to be excellent tank mates for common plecos. These fish occupy completely different parts of the fish tank.

Plecos will stay at the bottom of the tank while hatchetfish will stay near the upper portion of the aquarium. They also have opposite feeding habits, and that means that they won’t fight over food.

The plecos will feed at the bottom of the tank scavenging for food while hatchetfish like to eat floating food near the top of the tank. You should have an easy time keeping these fish together in a community fish tank.

These are very neat fish that will add a lot of charm to your tank. They’re great community fish that won’t be bothered by the plecos.

Can Plecos Live with Arowanas?

Large Arowana Swimming in Tank With Others

You might think that arowanas would be a poor match for peaceful plecos. However, they can get along fine with larger plecos such as common plecos.

Common plecos are so large that the arowanas wouldn’t even think of trying to bother them. Plecos are also well-protected due to their spikes.

Arowanas are very pretty fish, and that’s the most likely reason why you’d want to own some. They’re also very hardy, and that means that they aren’t too tough to take care of.

One potential issue is that these fish produce a lot of waste. You’ll need a very good filter if you want to keep the fish tank clean and safe for the entire community of fish.

Can Plecos Live with Guppies?

Vibrant Male Guppy Swimming Toward Top of Tank

Guppies are very popular community tank fish. They’re pretty fish that are very active and fun to observe.

These fish could be good tank mates for certain types of plecos. Smaller plecos such as bristlenose plecos will be able to get along fine with guppies.

Guppies are peaceful fish that will add color and vibrancy to your community fish tank. So long as you’re keeping them with the right type of plecos, it’ll be a good experience.

You won’t see guppies come into conflict with plecos. Don’t hesitate to buy some guppies for your community aquarium.

Can Mollies Live with Plecos?

Yellow Molly Swimming Near Plants in Tank

Mollies will be good choices for beginners. These fish can get along fine with plecos and they are easy to take care of.

These fish will grow to be four and a half inches long. They should make good tank mates for many of the smaller types of plecos.

It’s great that mollies are such peaceful fish. The temperament of mollies matches up well with the plecos.

Just make sure that you put the fish in a large enough fish tank. Mollies don’t like feeling crowded, and you’ll have a better experience if all of the fish have plenty of room to move around.

Can Platy Fish Live with Plecos?

Closeup of a Bumblebee Platy in a School of Platies

Platy fish are a peaceful type of freshwater fish that many people love. Since they have a calm and peaceful demeanor, they’ve become popular community tank fish options.

As such, they’re going to be good fish to put in a community fish tank with plecos. These fish enjoy living in small groups, but they aren’t technically schooling fish.

Ensure that you have enough space for several platy fish in the community tank. It’s also important to have a cover on the tank since these fish are great jumpers and might jump out of the tank.

So long as you keep all of this in mind, they’re going to be very good tank mates for plecos. It’s also nice that there are many types of platy fish that you can choose from, and that makes finding different color variations simple.

Can Plecos Live with Swordtail Fish?

Orange Swordtail Fish Swimming With Plants in the Background

Swordtail fish are popular aquarium fish as well. They’ve become popular because of how nice they look as well as how easy they are to care for.

You’ll love these fish as community tank fish because they are quite peaceful. They aren’t going to bother other fish in a community aquarium.

It won’t be hard to keep swordtail fish and plecos in the same aquarium. They’ll get along fine and the two types of fish will leave each other alone.

The only thing to know about swordtails is that putting two males in the same tank can lead to them fighting each other. If you avoid putting more than one male in the tank, then that won’t be a concern at all.

Can Cory Catfish Live with Plecos?

Horseman Cory Catfish in Aquarium

Cory catfish are bottom-dwelling fish that are very popular overall. They’re considered to be some of the most peaceful fish that you can buy for your fish tank.

The only concern that you might have about keeping plecos with cory catfish is that they occupy the same zone in the tank. Plecos are actually known to get along fine with cory catfish.

You should try to ensure that the fish tank is more than big enough to make things as comfortable as possible for both fish. So long as they have enough space, there’s no reason why cory catfish and plecos can’t get along swimmingly.

It’s also fantastic that cory catfish are hardy and easy to care for. These will be good fish to put in a community aquarium alongside plecos.

Can Gouramis Live with Plecos?

Dwarf Gourami in Tank With Plants and Rocks

Gouramis are some of the most popular fish that you can find. These fish are beautiful, and many types of gouramis exist.

There are gouramis of various sizes that you can look into. Some are very large while others are quite small.

These fish can indeed be kept in community tanks with plecos. They won’t bother the plecos since they mind their own business at the bottom of the tank.

Just remember that gouramis need to be kept in fish tanks that have plants. So you’ll want to ensure that there are plenty of live plants in the fish tank to keep them happy.

Can Otocinclus Catfish Live with Plecos?

Otocinclus Catfish Resting on Leaf

Otocinclus catfish are similar to plecos in certain ways. Most people refer to these fish as otos because it’s much easier to say.

Otos are scavengers that hang out at the bottom of the aquarium. They like to look for leftovers that they can eat.

These fish can live with plecos and thrive. Just ensure that you have a fish tank that is the right size and things will go well.

Know that otos can be sensitive to water parameter issues. You only want to add them to properly established tanks, and you’re going to need to do a good job of monitoring the water conditions to keep them healthy.

Can Tiger Barbs Live with Plecos?

Male Tiger Barb Swimming Near Black Rocks at Bottom of Tank

Tiger barbs are common fish that you’ll see in community tanks. But can they be kept in the same tank as plecos?

Yes, they should do well as tank mates for your plecos. These are peaceful tropical fish that won’t cause problems in a community aquarium.

You do need to know that these are schooling fish. It’s necessary to keep at least five of them in the fish tank together.

They’re great fish that are easy for beginners to learn how to take care of. Plus, they have a great look that you’ll surely wind up loving.

Can Angelfish Live with Plecos?

Koi Angelfish Swimming in Planted Tank

Angelfish are among the most popular types of freshwater fish. There are so many interesting types of angelfish out there.

You can find angelfish that have different colors and markings. They’ll look great in a community fish tank.

These fish work fine as tank mates for plecos. These fish are semi-aggressive, but they won’t bother plecos in any way.

One thing to know is that the angelfish prefer to keep things a bit dim. That’s not a problem for plecos since they’re nocturnal fish.

Can Neon Tetras Live with Plecos?

Closeup of a Neon Tetra With Aquarium Plants in the Background

Neon tetras are also common additions to community fish tanks. They’ll be a good choice when you’re looking for tank mates for plecos.

These aren’t very big fish at all since they only grow to be one and a half inches long. They’ll be good tank mates for some of the smaller types of plecos.

They’re peaceful fish that don’t act aggressively in any way. Neon tetras can get along with all sorts of fish, and that makes them excellent for just about any community aquarium.

Your plecos will have a good time living with neon tetras. Just ensure that there are plants and driftwood in the tank since neon tetras need those to feel comfortable.

Can Kuhli Loaches Live with Plecos?

Kuhli Loach With Aquatic Plants in Aquarium

Perhaps you’d like to get a different type of fish for the community tank. Loaches can be interesting additions to fish tanks.

Kuhli loaches are considered to be great tank mates for plecos. It’s a bottom-dwelling fish like the plecos, but this fish won’t come into conflict with your plecos.

Just make sure that you’re feeding the kuhli loaches well. They’re omnivores that like to be fed live food from time to time.

They’ll also eat fish pellets and flakes, though. Owning kuhli loaches can be a lot of fun, and you’ll enjoy having them in your community tank.

Can Danios Live with Plecos?

Closeup of a Pair of Celestial Pearl Danios

Danios fish grow to be between one and six inches long. They’re very hardy fish that aren’t going to cost a lot of cash to own.

You should be able to use danios fish as tank mates for common plecos. These fish like to stay near the upper or middle portions of the fish tank.

Since they operate in a different section of the tank than the plecos, they’ll never come into conflict. They’re also peaceful schooling fish that don’t act aggressively toward their tank mates.

Since they’re schooling fish, you’ll need to keep a group of them in the tank. Adding some danios fish to your community tank might be a very good choice.

Can Rummy Nose Tetras Live with Plecos?

Single Rummy Nose Tetra Against Plant and Rock Background

Rummy nose tetras are really cool fish that you’ll want to look into. They are considered to be good tank mates for plecos.

They’re very popular fish that you’ll commonly find being sold at pet stores. It’s also nice that you can buy these fish at low prices.

You need to keep these fish in either small or large groups. So you’ll want to buy quite a few of them.

Rummy nose tetras are fairly docile fish that are easy to take care of. Even beginners will have a good time taking care of these pretty fish.

Can Rosy Tetras Live with Plecos?

Closeup of a Rosy Tetra Swimming in an Aquarium

You’ve heard about a few other types of tetras so far. So what about rosy tetras?

Will rosy tetras be good tank mates for plecos? Yes, they’ll work out nicely as tank mates for plecos.

This is another type of fish that is good for beginners. They’re peaceful fish that won’t bother their tank mates, and that makes them good choices for most community aquariums.

These fish live in the middle of the aquarium. So long as you feed them well, they’re going to thrive and will live for at least five years in your tank.

Can Siamese Algae Eaters Live with Plecos?

Siamese Algae Eater Near Rocks in Planted Aquarium

What about Siamese algae eaters? Some types of plecos are considered to be good algae eaters, but perhaps you’d like to give them some help.

Siamese algae eaters are good fish when you want to get some help keeping the tank clean. When paired with plecos, they’ll do a great job of keeping the tank algae-free.

They’re also very peaceful fish that get along with other species in a community tank setting. You can keep these fish in small groups, but they also do well in large communities.

It’s nice that they’re omnivores that aren’t picky eaters, too. Feeding them should be a simple task even if you’re a newcomer when it comes to this hobby.

Can Oscar Fish Live with Plecos?

Tiger Oscar Against Planted Background

Oscar fish are cichlids that are considered to be fairly aggressive. At first glance, you might not think that they would make good tank mates for plecos.

Since they’re big fish, they’re going to be appropriate tank mates for only some types of plecos. Some of the smaller plecos might not be the best fits for fish tanks that contain oscars.

To get this to go well, you’re going to want to have a big fish tank. So long as you put the fish in a tank that has more than enough space, everything is going to be fine.

Oscars can be very interesting fish to keep in a community tank. So long as there is enough space in the tank, it’ll be able to stave off problems with aggression.

Can Flowerhorn Fish Live with Plecos?

Two Flowerhorn Cichlid Fish With Plants in the Background

Flowerhorn fish are sort of strange fish that have what appear to be bumps on their heads. They have large heads, and they also come in many interesting colors.

These fish can be good tank mates for plecos so long as the tank conditions are right. You’ll need to have a large tank to keep these fish and plecos safe.

It’s advised to only keep flowerhorn fish and plecos together if you have a 70-gallon tank or something larger. Otherwise, this won’t work out.

You also need to keep these fish with larger plecos. Plecos that are too small might get attacked by the flowerhorn fish.

These fish aren’t the best tank mate for plecos, but they are technically compatible. Just pick a pleco that is close to the same size as the flowerhorn fish and all should be fine.

Can Silver Dollar Fish Live with Plecos?

Silver Dollar Fish Swimming in a Densely Planted Aquarium

Silver dollar fish are compatible tank mates for plecos. They’re also just really awesome fish that will look great in your aquarium.

These are visually stunning fish that will stand out even in a community fish tank. They have a nice silver color that you’re going to love.

You’ll find that silver dollar fish are very friendly overall. These fish are energetic and will be fun to observe in the fish tank.

Many people choose to buy many of these fish for their fish tanks. You can put quite a few of them in the aquarium with your plecos.

One potential issue is that silver dollar fish will munch on aquatic plants. Keeping them in a planted aquarium might not be the best idea.

Can Pencilfish Live with Plecos?

Closeup of a Couple of Pencil Fish in a Freshwater Aquarium

How about pencilfish? These are small schooling fish that only grow to be two inches long.

You’ll be buying these fish in groups and putting them into the community tank. They’re very easy to take care of and they’re colorful, too.

It’s easy to find pencilfish in a variety of different colors. They will add color and beauty to the community aquarium.

These are good tank mates for many different types of plecos. It’s well worth looking into getting some of these.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned about various options that you can use as tank mates for your plecos. There are lots of fish that will work out well in community fish tanks with plecos.

Just be sure to look up specific information about the type of pleco that you own. Some plecos might be either too small or too large to be put into fish tanks with certain types of fish.

Regardless, the information above should make it easy to put together a great community tank. You’ll love how the fish tank looks and you’ll know that your plecos will be safe when you’re choosing tank mates wisely.

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Friday 9th of June 2023

I'm leaning towards different tetras and Koi!