King Tiger Pleco, popularly known as the L066 or L333 Pleco, belongs to the Hypancistrus species. 

The well-rested King Tiger Pleco is considered the calmest and serene addition to a tank. They are more tranquil and friendlier with their own species, unlike some other plecos, as long as they have adequate tunnels and hideouts to explore.

Despite the fact that it is not included on the IUCN Red List as a vulnerable species, this fish is on the verge of extinction in its home Rio Xingu, Brazil.

Nevertheless, the pleco breed is an optimal option for all the aspiring fish parents who are just starting.

Let’s deep-dive into the nitty-gritty of this tank-friendly creature!

An Overview

Quick Species Facts
Scientific Name Hypancistrus Sp. L066/L333
Other Common Names King Tiger Pleco, Network Pleco, Scribbled Pleco, L066 
Family Loricariidae
Origin Freshwater Rivers of South American Region
Lifespan 10 years (+ with correct care)
Max. Size Approx. 12 cm
Type Omnivore
Base color Tan / Light colour
Pattern Worm shaped dark stripes

Origin and Similar Types from the Same Genus

There is a reason why this breed of fish is known as tropical fish. The fish is witnessed swimming in the rapid flows of the Xingu River, which is their place of origination.

King Tiger Pleco is abundantly found in the tropical lands and is popularly known as the American Suckermouth catfish. The predominance of tiger plecos in these places is due to the abundance of clay soil, which is rich in nutrients (perfect for fry growth) and preferred by them for its ease of digging little tunnels into which to hide.

There are many species of the same genus, which are often confused with them. The most popularly adoptive ones are stated below.

  • Yellow king tiger pleco
  • Tiger Pleco L002
  • White king tiger pleco
  • Alenquer tiger pleco
  • LDA01 gold tiger pleco

Modeling the natural habitat of any organism is the optimal way to ensure that you are providing them with a hospital environment. The high-water current and tropical climate of these states ensure the Plecos swim happily.

Image Credit: Map data ©2022 Google.INGI

How Large Can They Get?

Larger the fish, the larger the requirement of the tank, and hence, the more considerable the amount of investment. 

The primary reason why tiger plecos rank on top of an aquarium’s and fish keepers list is because of their size. They are big enough to enhance the tank and small enough not to take up all of the space. 

An adult tiger pleco’s size doesn’t exceed more than 12cm (6 inches).

Expert tip: Ensure while purchasing the fish it is not more than 5-6 cm. This is the onset period of a King tiger Pleco and you get to witness them take their grown form.

Basic Appearance

The water-dwellers are a treat to the eyes! Their pattern and color are something that makes them stand apart. 

The most basic description of their color is a light base with dark patterns.

Notably, a common King tiger pleco has a shape that starts as broad and ends in narrow. To add on, their mouth is comparatively smaller. 

The pattern’s composition, color, and intricacy can differ depending on the geographical conditions. To model the statement, some examples are mentioned below. 

  • The color of young tiger plecos is lighter, and the stripes are less prominent than that of adults. 
  • The pattern of L066 is comparatively bristlierthan the other genus and has white dots all over their body.
  •  L066 has straight stripes on its fins, while others have it along the direction of its fins. 
King Tiger Pleco L066 or L333 Care

Interesting Fact: Did you know plecos have the striped pattern on their fins, gills, and even inside their eyes! 

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Lifespan – How Long Do they Live?

The bitter part of fish keeping is that the life span of your scaly friends is limited. Hence, many individuals opt for fish that have a long life. 

King Tiger Plecos are welcomed and admired for a longer time than other tank fishes. The average lifespan of this breed is 10 years. Though, proper nurturing goes a long way.

On providing your plecos with the correct nutrition, environment, and friends, its lifespan can spike up to 5 years. 

Male or Female? The Differentiating Factor

Given that the keeper is well acquainted with the methods of taking care of this breed, it is only natural to think of getting a mate for your water-dweller.

But how to ensure that you didn’t end up purchasing the same-sex fish? Simple! By having an insight into the differentiating factor of their gender. 

Keep the following features in mind while attempting to deduce the gender of your fish. 

  • Colour: Male Plecos comparatively have a darker base color than a female. 
  • Pattern: The pattern on the males is more detailed and precise.
  • Mass: The female king tiger pleco has more mass.
  • Pectoral spine: The male has more bristles on his pectoral spine. 
  • Length of Odontodes: The length of the odontodes is much longer on the male tiger pleco. 
  • Shape:The adult female pleco has a narrower head as compared to the adult male. They are discovered to have broad and square heads.

Cost and Availability 

Given how in-demand the King tiger Plecos are, they are readily available in a local aquarium. Even if not, the digital boom has eliminated the requirement of traveling to the endemic place of the fish.

An abundant number of websites and online aquarium stores bridge this gap. 

The price range of purchasing a 2-3-inch pleco is $40-$80. Moreover, many fish forums sell this breed for a price as low as $30.

In a nutshell, the price of king tiger plecos is pocket friendly, and they are easily acquirable for every tank enthusiast. 

Guidelines for Taking Care of Tiger Pleco

Quick Care Sheet
Care Level Easy
Socializing Prefers to stay alone but harmonious
Temperament Calm
Food Habit Omnivore
Breeding Process Easy

 Behavioral Traits

The majestic tiger pleco is a peaceful fish that doesn’t require much interaction. They would be the last fish in the tank to cause any form of chaos and show null aggression.

There is no reason to sweat out their socializing factor as they are harmonious and can fit in well with any fellow tank mates. 

Though, they enjoy their time alone in their caves. Hence, it is optimal to integrate a good amount of dark and spacious caves in the tank. 

What to Feed Them?

Unlike the rest of the Hypancistrus genus, Tiger plecos do not consume algae.

King Tiger Pleco is not a fussy breed when it comes to food, either. Since they are omnivores, there is a wide variety of options for them (both live and frozen) that can keep your fish healthy. 

The list of highly recommended food that can be readily available and nutritious for your Plecois stated below. 

  • Sinking wafer 
  • Pellets 
  • Shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Blood worm 
  • Brine shrimp 
  • Mussel 
  • Artemia
  • Larvae

Asides from the above, you can also feed veggies to them occasionally, such as:

  • Cucumber
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Mussels
  • Courgette
  • Carrots, etc.

Since they are low-maintenance, it is essential to feed them only once a day. 

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Author’s note: While many other species of fish feed on wood, it is not necessary to include it in the tank. The only use of wood for a pleco is to hide! 

Reproduction- How Does it Occur?

The Breeding Procedure 

The count of the King Tiger pleco is decreasing dramatically. Hence, it is suggestive of breeding the existing fish in your tank. 

It is essential to render a favorable and comfortable environment for the correct breeding process. 

Each Pleco prefers to have its cave, where the mating process takes place. Ensure the caves are integrated at the bottom of the tank. 

To attract the female Pleco, the male ensures the cave is clean, further to which doesn’t leave the female Pleco until the spawning procedure is complete. 

An Insight into Spawning

When the eggs are released, the male keeps fanning them until it is hatched. It is evident based on the repetitive tail-wagging motion of the fish. This is to keep from any dirt and fungus getting on the egg.

Though, there is a possibility it might take little breaks from the fanning process.

It approximately takes one week for the eggs to hatch, on the occurrence of which the fry can then be separated from the tank.

It is recommended to transfer the eggs to a breeder box as it could be incompatible with the lifestyle of the tank mates.

The Pleco can be added back to the tank once it matures.

Ideal Conditions for Mating and Spawning

Keep the following points in mind to make the spawning and breeding procedure uncomplicated. 

  • Change 40-50 percent of the water every two weeks. 
  • The ideal temperature for the longevity of the fry is 78 F.
  • Do not disturb the male Pleco during the frying procedure.
  • Ensure the curvature and circumference of the cave are optimal.
  • It is suggestive to keep a layer of pea gravel in the tank. 
  • The space is provided to the plecos must be 55 gallons or above.
  • If necessary, some certified and doctor-approved hormones can be utilized in the case of failure in reproduction

Interesting Fact: The fanning procedure becomes more prominent and aggressive when the egg is about to get hatched.

Health Issues

Symptoms to Look Out For

It is quite likely for a tiger pleco to fall ill. The external environment, water current, temperature, and food play a vital role in the health and development of the creature. 

Half the battle is won if the keeper can detect the symptom of illness in the tiger Pleco. 

Listed below are the most common symptoms:

  • They tend to decrease their interaction and movement. 
  • The fins are inseparable from the body, as though they are jammed 
  • It is noticed they prefer to stay in their caves for longer than usual. 

If you detect any of the mentioned symptoms, it’s critical to get the Pleco tested for conditions including Ich, popeye, velvet disease, dropsy, fungal infections, and other common freshwater fish diseases. Distinguishing the symptom right in time can avoid the death of your scaly friend. 

Measures to Avoid Any Potential Diseases. 

While the limited lifespan may not be in the hands of the caretaker, it is necessary to mitigate all the external factors that can cause diseases and death in the king tiger plecos. 

Mentioned below are some measures that the fish keeper can take. 

  • Upon learning the nature and behavior of the plecos, it can be inferred that they require a harmonious and calm environment. Hence, ensure there is no extreme chaos in the tank. 
  •  The size of the fish is relatively large; hence it is crucial to avoid overcrowding at all costs.
  • A prevalent reason a pleco can catch a disease is due to overfeeding. Ensure it is not fed more than once a day. 
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Setting Up Your Tank 

Quick Tank Facts
Minimum Size Minimum of 40 gallons (150-200 l)
Water Temperature 76 to 84 F or 25 – 29 C degree
Water Hardness 6 to 10 dKH
Water Ph Level 5.8 to 7.5 (acidic neutral)
Water Current Strong to moderate

Tank Size

King tiger pleco requires a spacious and mature tank, and the size of the tank determines the level of crowding. 

Since overcrowding can be fatal for this species, the size of the tank should be kept in mind. 

The ideal size of the fish tank must be at least 40 gallons. Though, they don’t require more than 55 gallons even while mating. 

Compared to other species, their mobility is low, so they are a good fit for any tank that provides an average space. 

What All to Include?

Paying attention to detail to the following factors is highly crucial. 

Substrate 

The only way of curating a similar environment to the creature’s place of origin is by integrating the correct substrate. . 

Pebbles and rocks with pertinent enzymes and nourishment are recommended to comply with Pleco’s lifestyle.

The most important addition to the tank for the Pleco is caved. The cave and wood comply with their hiding and mating purposes.

Pro tip: While setting up the tank for breeding, make sure the bottom is as bare as it becomes easier to clean. 

Filtration

To add on, the requirement of the tiger plecos ratify the need to integrate a heavily filtered system. Ensure the filter is HOB and above in the quality level. 

The filtration must be at least tenfold the size of the tank.

Plant Mates and Decoration

The inclusion of plants in the tank always adds to the aesthetic. While it is not necessary for this particular species, it is always welcome.

Plants such as water lettuce, Salvinia, and duckweed can be suggested. Though, eliminate the usage of fast-growing plants. 

The addition of driftwood and bogwood is a good decor to have in the tank. It is, in turn, a great change for the Pleco from their caves. 

Water Parameters 

King tiger pleco are tropical fishes hence the standard water parameter can help model their ideal living standards. The ideals are stated below. 

  • They don’t like a basic PH level; hence it is vital to ensure the water doesn’t cross 8 Ph.
  • The water current can be moderate or high due to their spiked threshold. 
  • The temperature of the water should be on the warmer side. Anything between 76-84 degrees Farheineit will work fine. 
  • The water hardness mustn’t be more than 10 Kph.
  • Maintain a nitrate concentration of less than 50 mg/L.
  • Because they defecate a lot, it’s critical to clean the tank monthly with a 20-30% water change.

The Right Tank Mates

The cordial and harmonious tiger pleco have almost null issues when socializing. Even though they like to spend the majority of their time in solitude in their assigned caves, they do come out to mingle. 

While thinking of getting your Pleco some friends, be sure to include the following fishes: 

  • Large Amano 
  • Neons and corys
  • Ornamental snails 
  • Another fellow Hypancistrus
  • Green Lace 
  • Small tetras 
  • Shrimps 

The King tiger pleco might be a calm tank mate, but they are a little territorial when it comes to other plecos. So, don’t stuff the tank with too many of them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of food should the tiger plecos avoid?

While there is no particular food that might be fatal, avoid acidic fruits. Foods like algae wafers and wood might be left unattended. 

What is the ideal age for the plecos to breed? 

It is unlikely for the tiger plecos to breed and mate before the age of two. Upon gaining maturity, they distinguish the gender and look out for mating. 

How many caves should be set up for the creature? 

Each Pleco requires an individual cave for their lifestyle. It is necessary to ensure the size of the cave is larger than the diameter of the fish for comfort. 

Parting Words – Is it Beneficial to Include King Tiger Pleco in your Tank? 

The straight and simple answer is a Yes! Their social capabilities, maintenance level, and features are ideal for any water tank.

Not only are they beginner-friendly, but their gorgeous pattern and color also add value to the aesthetic of the tank. 

It takes knowledge of only a few critical factors to ensure they live a comfortable life in your tank.

Related Fish Profile Care:

Rubber Lipped Pleco Care Guide

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About the Author

Shelby Crosby

Shelby is a passionate fishkeeper who has been writing about fish for over 5 years. She is a pro aquarist and holds a BSc Honors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries. She creates her own beautiful aquarium layouts and loves to share her knowledge of tropical fish with other hobbyists.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

  • BSc Honors in Wildlife and Fisheries in 2011 (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Completed her undergraduate thesis on the effects of zoochlorella supplementation on the growth and health of fish.

Writing Experience

Miss Crosby is a Freelance blogger; many of her articles are posted online on various blogs. She has also written a few short articles for "Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine" in the past. She is a regular contributor to FishParenting.com. Her education, first-hand experience with fishkeeping, and in-depth knowledge in aquaculture make her one of the most competent writers in the industry.

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