Skip to Content

Why is My Pleco Hiding? (3 Common Reasons)

Why is My Pleco Hiding? (3 Common Reasons)

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

Plecos are popular fish that so many people like owning. They’re great additions to your aquarium.

Owning these fish will be a good time, but you might be worried if the plecos are hiding. If you recently bought plecos and they seem to be hiding all the time you’re going to be concerned.

Is it a bad sign when plecos start hiding in the fish tank? Is it an indication that something is wrong?

Continue reading to learn about why plecos might start hiding. It’ll help you to better understand why these fish sometimes act this way.

My Pleco Disappeared

Are you having a hard time locating your pleco fish in the tank right now? Sometimes plecos might be so good at hiding that it will seem as if they have disappeared.

If you have a lot of hiding spots for plecos in your aquarium, then there’s a good chance that the fish is simply hiding. It’s possible that something else could have happened, though.

Either the pleco is hiding somewhere or it might have been eaten by another fish. If a pleco dies, then the other fish in the tank might decide to eat it.

Also, if you have an aggressive fish that is large enough in the tank with the pleco, it could have been attacked. Hopefully, this isn’t the case since you shouldn’t put plecos in a community tank with fish that they aren’t compatible with.

Take the time to look through the tank to see if you can spot the pleco. You’ll likely find it, but if you don’t, perhaps the fish really was devoured by another fish.

Why Does My Pleco Always Hide?

Pleco at Bottom of Tank With Fading Colors

There are so many different reasons why plecos might hide. Plecos simply enjoy hiding and it’s normal for them to hide.

You don’t necessarily need to be worried about plecos hiding. It’s important to understand that plecos are nocturnal fish.

As nocturnal fish, they need to have hiding spots that they can utilize during the day. They need to be able to rest during the day, and they’re only going to be able to do that if they have proper hiding spots.

It’s important to have hiding spots in the fish tank for plecos. They won’t feel very comfortable if you don’t have hiding locations that they can use.

Of course, there are other reasons why plecos might hide as well. Some of them can be bad signs, and that’s why you should pay attention to how the plecos are acting.

1 – Stress

Stress can cause plecos to start hiding more often. If the plecos are constantly hiding and don’t come out much at all, it could be a sign that they’re stressed.

Many different things can cause plecos to become stressed. One of the most common reasons why plecos get stressed is due to poor water quality.

If the water is dirty or if the water parameters aren’t right, plecos will start to hide. They might also start to act sluggish.

It’ll be wise to test the water and see if the pH balance is right. You’ll also want to clean the tank and make sure that the water isn’t too dirty.

You should be doing regular water changes to keep the plecos safe. It’s recommended to change fifteen percent of the water each week.

Another source of stress involves food. If the plecos aren’t being fed properly, then that can cause significant stress issues.

2 – Hiding From Aggressive Tank Mates

Plecostomus on Glass in Community Tank

As you might expect, fish will sometimes hide when they’re dealing with aggressive tank mates. Having tank mates that are far too aggressive will put the plecos in danger.

Plecos are good community tank fish, but they’re only supposed to be kept in aquariums with compatible fish. It’s easy to find good tank mates for plecos, but they aren’t compatible with all freshwater fish.

You might have put the plecos in a community tank with fish that are too aggressive. These fish might bother the plecos and cause them to feel stressed.

Hiding could be a way to try to stay away from aggressive tank mates. Make sure that all of the fish in your aquarium are truly compatible.

If you do have fish in the tank that aren’t compatible, then you’ll want to separate them. Get a separate tank for the fish that aren’t getting along with the other community tank members.

3 – Acclimation Issues

Like many other fish, it can take plecos a while to get used to a new fish tank. If you recently bought the plecos, then they might still be acclimating to their new home.

The easiest way to get the fish used to its new environment fast is to float the bag before introducing it to the tank. This involves allowing the bag to float on top of the aquarium.

You slowly add water from the fish tank to the bag while draining water from the bag. It helps the plecos to slowly get used to the water in the aquarium.

The floating acclimation method usually takes around an hour. It can take a bit longer when you’re trying to acclimate a larger type of pleco fish.

Always take the time to acclimate the fish by floating it. If you don’t, the plecos will likely hide for long periods of time, and it’ll be harder to get them used to the new tank.

Do Plecos Need Hiding Spots?

Closeup of a Clown Pleco on Black Sand

Yes, plecos need hiding spots to thrive. It’s important to give the plecos plenty of hiding spots in the tank.

As mentioned above, plecos are nocturnal fish. They need to hide during the day so they can rest.

This is especially important when keeping plecos in community fish tanks with fish that are active during the day. Your plecos need to be able to hide properly so that they can function.

You should have many hiding spots in the aquarium for these fish. Most people include aquatic plants, little caves, and other such hiding spots in fish tanks that contain plecos.

What Are Good Pleco Hiding Spots?

There are all sorts of hiding spots that plecos like. Of course, they’ll hide among aquatic plants or artificial plants when you put them in the tank.

You can also buy caves that plecos can hide in. Plecos like caves and they’re even important if you plan to breed plecos.

Other good options for hiding spots include small tunnels, log ornaments, dark pipes, and wood. The plecos will appreciate it if you decide to put many hiding spots at the bottom of the fish tank.

Your plecos will be utilizing the various hiding locations all the time. They hide so that they can rest during the day.

Final Thoughts

Now you have a much better understanding of why plecos hide. Hiding is a normal action for these fish because they’re nocturnal.

Of course, hiding can also be a sign that the fish aren’t doing well. If the plecos are hiding excessively, it might be an indication that they’re stressed.

Do your best to look out for the plecos and solve any issues that are causing them stress. This means taking care of the water conditions and ensuring that they aren’t being bullied by tank mates.

So long as you look out for these fish, they’re going to do well under your care. They’re good fish that can live for a long time when you put in the effort.