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Sucker Fish Freshwater: How To Take Care Of One

Who would have thought that a fish who sucks or a fish that sucks exist? Yep, that is your suckerfish. This fish might have baited your attention in aquariums or on the internet because it literally sucks their foods and sometimes sticks on the surfaces of the tank, booing you.

That is because suckerfish belong to the family of Loricariidae that have a suction disk underneath their heads as their distinct feature.


What are suckerfish?

Suckerfish are marine animals that often called common plecos
Suckerfish are marine animals that are often called common plecos

Suckerfish are marine animals often called the common plecos and belong to the Loricariidae family, the most prominent family of catfish in the entire marine ecosystem. These fish are also sometimes called sucker mouth fish, suckermouth catfish, armoured suckermouths, or armoured catfish.

This suckerfish or common plecos can be recognized through their distinct body feature, its suction disk on their base, which came from the Latin translation of plecostomus that translates as “folded mouth”. Other than that, they have an elongated, flattened body, and they are a bony kind of fish.

Expert Tip: Sucker fish typically live in fresh and brackish water and can be seen in rivers. But they are a great home-bud fish that can play a pivotal role in fish tanks.



There are over half a thousand numbers of these fish added each year in the present times. Though scientists cannot (yet) entirely determine their exact species, they are coming up with the “L” naming system to identify their counts.


How big do suckerfish grow?

How big do suckerfish grow?
How big do suckerfish grow?

For starters, suckerfish are usually small when they are born or sold in the market and placed in aquariums, but they are huge as they grow. Suckerfish are sluggish in growth. However, they can effortlessly surpass a tank with the right and proper care of the fish.
Common plecos grow up to 24 inches (60 cm) or two litres of soda bottles combined.

Thus, making these fish require extra special conditions to grow, especially when kept at home. They will need a larger tank size. A larger marine environment to swim freely. Although there are different types of suckerfish, their family typically grows only in the range of below an inch (2.5 cm) to 39 inches (100 cm).


What foods do suckerfish eat?

These plecos and other suckerfish are omnivores. Meaning they eat both plants and meats. Suckerfish play a pivotal role in the ecosystem, especially when put inside an aquarium or fish tank. They eat algae out of the tank making the environment free from green and murky waters.

They do this by sucking and scuffing the surfaces engulfed with algae. These fish are super smellers and supertasters. Suckerfish have a keen sense of smell and a more robust perception of flavours. Suckerfish can dive at the bottom of the tank to eat the leftovers, foods that other fishes disregarded.

Some suckerfish eat meat. Yes, they indeed use their suction disk to scuff off surfaces, in spite of they can use this feature of them to shred off the meat from rotting fish present in their environment. Those suckers are crazy.

Surprisingly, suckerfish munch woods. It is comforting to add chunks of wood in a tank to have a midnight snack. Supplementary foods are also suitable for suckerfish. Moreover, green and fresh vegetables are the best treats for them. You need to be mindful of the diet of these fish, especially if your fish tank is marched with algae.


How long do suckerfish live?

Based on the life expectancy of these suckerfish, they are alive for about 10 to 20 years. Some live for 15 years. And due to their longer lives, they grew big and can outgrow tanks despite being sluggish in growth.

However, the lives of these fish may vary. Without the proper care guide for suckerfish, one might fall to demise shorter than their life expectancy. That is because the environment where they are being kept might harm their health and overall well-being.

Expert Tip: The tank size is mostly the cause why suckerfish died.

Remember that some can outgrow tanks? So, in the end, it falls to the keepers’ hands.


What is the biggest threat to suckerfish?

Larger fish tends to prey on smaller fish, especially baby suckerfish
Larger fish tends to prey on smaller fish, especially baby suckerfish

Another factor why suckerfish died without reaching the tenth mark of their life is due to predators. Being preyed upon or a predator is simply part of how nature works. This predation works in a food chain system.

Being deprived of proper knowledge of how these suckerfish work inside fish tanks and mixed with other fishes can result in the end of suckerfish, other fishes eating them. Suckerfish are primarily compatible with their roommates in a tank. However, their biggest threat is the predators present.

These predators are fish larger than suckerfish. Larger fish tends to prey on smaller fish, especially baby suckerfish. Yes, suckerfish can be aggressive in times, but this only applies to fellow suckerfish. These fish can also be predators. Without a doubt, they can chase smaller fish inside the tank and chunk their meat through their suckers.

Keep the similar size of fishes inside an aquarium to ward off predation. Predation sucks when you are the one playing the prey. Kept larger suckerfish with larger other marine life, smaller suckerfish be partnered with smaller ones. Jot down that sucker fish’ biggest threat in the wild are human activities besides their natural predators.

Suckerfish, also named plecos, are algae-eaters. They eat through their distinct feature, suction disk beneath their head. It is done by sucking and scuffing surfaces off the tanks. Plecos are promising if you are planning to keep them in aquariums. Match their size to the size of the tank as some can outgrow tanks.


If you still have unanswered questions, comment on it. Suggestions are ideal too! To keep suckerfish require only a care guide, this one. Everything should be enough to sustain your suckerfish, a fish who sucks, and that sucks.

About Grace Hocker

Hi, my name is Grace and I am a pet lover. Ever since 5 years old, I've owned some sort of pet from Bearded Dragons to Rabbits. I have dedicated my life to helping pets, and am here to help you get the best for your pet!