The Albino Sailfin Plecostomus Catfish is a variant of the common Sailfin Plecostomus Catfish found in South America's inland river systems. They are widely distributed in the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, as well as the Rio Pacaya in Peru and the Rio Orinoco. It is known by various common names, including Sailfin Pleco, Leopard Plecostomus, Gibby, and Spotted Sailfin Pleco.
Sailfin Plecos are large and long-lived catfish. They can reach a length of about 35cm and live for more than 20 years in the wild, although their lifespan in captivity is typically between 10 to 15 years.
These plecos have an elongated, dark brown body with a large head. Their body is covered in bony plates, except for the flat belly. They have small eyes positioned high on the head.
One distinctive feature of the Sailfin Plecostomus is its beautiful dorsal fin, which can be several centimeters high and resembles the dorsal fin of a marine Sailfish. The ray count of its dorsal fin is also a distinguishing characteristic, with more than 10 rays. Juveniles exhibit similar coloration to adults.
The Sailfin Plecostomus is relatively easy to care for as long as there is an abundance of algae or other algae-based foods provided. This makes them a suitable choice for beginner fishkeepers. Water chemistry is not critical, but the overall water quality must be good.
It is important to note that Sailfin Plecos grow quickly and become quite large, so they require a spacious tank as they age.
Although Plecostomus are omnivorous, the majority of their diet consists of algae. The Sailfin Plecostomus is known to consume undesirable algae, and it does not harm plants. However, it is essential to ensure the aquarium is well-established and to provide supplemental foods such as algae wafers, green foods, sinking pellets, blanched spinach, zucchini, peas, brine shrimp, live worms, small crustaceans, and insect larvae. They have a particular affinity for vegetables and must have their share.
Maintaining good water quality is crucial for Sailfin Plecostomus due to their significant waste production. Adequate filtration and regular water changes are necessary to manage the bio-load. Recommended water changes are around 10-15% every other week.
A minimum tank size of 400 liters is recommended for the Sailfin Plecostomus. While they can be kept in smaller tanks when they are small, it is important to remember that they are fast-growing fish and will soon outgrow their initial space. The tank should contain ample wood for the fish to chew on, as this serves both as a means to remove algae and as a digestive aid. Wood decor also provides hiding spots during daylight hours. It is advisable to choose hardy plant species in a well-planted tank, as these plecos can potentially damage delicate plants while grazing on algae. Adult Sailfin Plecos may also consume plants.
Sailfin Plecostomus are highly popular due to their peaceful nature and ability to control algae in the aquarium. They can be housed with a variety of fish in a community tank setting. They are not aggressive and pose no threat to smaller fish, except for the most highly aggressive species. However, they can be territorial toward their own species and may outcompete less social plecos for available food. Additionally, Sailfin Plecos have been observed removing slime from laterally flattened fish like discus, angelfish, and occasionally goldfish while these fish are sleeping.