• Species: L264

Keeping a Vampire Pleco (Available at Lee Valley Aquatics, Essex)

20 January 2020


Leporacanthicus joselimai (L264) is also known as the Sultan Pleco or even Vampire Plec. The reason they are commonly referred to as 'vampire plecs' is due to their unique upper jaw dentition (exhibited by members of this genus) unsurprisingly consisting of two large teeth which remind fish keepers of fangs. The exact use for these is not completely clear, although they’re probably used to grip small prey for example snails.

Another feature commonly observed in all Leporacanthicus is a small bony growth on top of it's head, for which the function is unknown also.

This particular species is easy on the eye, more so when young due to them displaying striking white fin tips as juvenilles. Unfortunately these fade as the fish grows and often disappear completely. They have an approximate maximum size is around 15cm.

When viewed from above, mature males have a significantly longer and wider head than females. They also have a bigger dorsal fin and more numerous odontotes than females.

Good ideas for tankmates are; characins, tranquil South American cichlids and peaceful catfish such as Corydoras. In a biotope setup with a lot of water movement choices are more limited, but possibilities include characins such as Anostomus, Hemiodus and cichlids which prefer faster moving waters such as Retroculus or Steatocranus.

A spacious tank is required, preferably with a sandy substrate. It is a good idea to provide hiding places and shade with some large peices of driftwood and even some smooth rocks.

Dim lighting is preferred, and it’s quite important to ensure the water is highly oxygenated, preferably with a high level of movement. This can be achieved by powerheads or large airstones in order to produce the desired effect. An efficient filter is also required to deal with the large amounts of waste this fish will undoubtedly produce.

This Vampire Pleco is territorial with members of the same species, especially within males. It is a wise idea to make sure there is sufficient aquarium space and potential territories if you want to keep these gorgeous fish a group.

These fish prefer a meaty diet. This may consist of live and frozen foods such as bloodworm, chopped mussel, prawn, sinking foods and dried foods. Algae and other vegetable matter is not often taken, but the occasional slice of cucumber or courgette might be nibbled at.


Tank parameter preferences are as follows: 24-26°C with a pH of 6.5-7.0 and a hardness of 2-15°H.

Overall the L264 is a very distinctive and highly prized pleco which would be sure to make any fish keeper very happy indeed. Lee Valley in Essex are stocking these fish at a size of xxx and they are currently priced at £.

Be sure to give them a call on: 01992 444393 or head over there soon before stocks run out of this highly sought after beauty.