Leopard Cactus Pleco Care Guide (Pseudacanthicus cf. leopardus L114)

Common NameLeopard Cactus Pleco, Demini Leopard Cactus Pleco
Scientific NamePseudacanthicus cf. Leopardus (L114)
OriginRio Demini
Water Parameters5.5 pH to 6.5 pH
Temperature80F – 90F
Adult Sizeup to 14 inches

Leopard Cactus Plecos are patterned fish that have black spots with an orangish-brown coloration to the rest of their bodies. This patterning is often compared to the spotting of a Leopard. They are a mostly carnivorous species of fish that spend their time scouring the bottom of the river bed looking for bugs to eat, but they are also described as scavengers who are opportunistic feeders.

Leopard Cactus Plecos are considered a hardy fish that does well in a home aquarium setup as long as they have plenty of places to hide. They are sometimes called Demini Leopard Cactus Plecos after the region in which they are found.

Leopard Cactus Pleco
Leopard Cactus Pleco

How to Care for Leopard Cactus Pleco

Leopard Cactus Plecos are considered easy to care for due to their hardy nature, and adaptability to the home aquarium that meets their needs. Leopard Cactus Plecos do best when given lots of space and plenty of hiding places for them to explore, claim as their territory, and destress if needed.

Temperature for Leopard Cactus Pleco

Leopard Cactus Plecos live in the warm, slightly acidic waters of the Rio Demini. They require a warmer temperature in the home aquarium at around 80F to 90F. To make sure that their temperature remains at a comfortable consistent level, you will want to invest in a quality heater, and make sure that you take the time to monitor their water parameters regularly so that you can correct problems before they cause harm to your aquarium fish.

Water pH for Leopard Cactus Pleco

Leopard Cactus Plecos prefer slightly acidic waters of around 5.5 pH to 6.5 pH.

Food & Diet for Leopard Cactus Pleco

Leopard Cactus Plecos are mostly a carnivorous species. However, their behavior in the wild depicts them as opportunistic scavengers that will happily eat plant material too if that is all that is available. In the home aquarium, it is important to make sure that they are given a high quality, varied, high protein diet. If they are in a planted aquarium, they will also consume algae that grows on the aquarium plants.

Leopard Cactus Pleco Size

Leopard Cactus Plecos can grow up to 14 inches at full maturity.

Leopard Cactus Pleco Lifespan

When cared for properly, you can expect your Leopard Cactus Pleco to live up to 12 years. Their longevity is largely dependent on how well they are cared for, and it has been reported that some owners of Leopard Cactus Plecos have had their fish live for longer.

Leopard Cactus Pleco
Leopard Cactus Pleco

Tank Size for Leopard Cactus Pleco

A single Leopard Cactus Pleco requires a minimum of 90 gallons to house in the home aquarium.

Tank Setup for Leopard Cactus Pleco

Leopard Cactus Plecos are a bottom dwelling species that spends most of its time rooting through the substrate for food. It is for this reason that it is important to use a fine gravel or soft sandy substrate so that the fish do not run the risk of getting hurt from sharp rocks, or rough substrate.

Leopard Cactus Plecos prefer a tank that has a slight current, dim lighting, and lots of oxygen. They also prefer a tank that is heavily planted. The plants are helpful to break up the line of sight in the tank, and give the Leopard Cactus Plecos more places to scavenge for food.

It is important to know that Leopard Cactus Plecos can be territorial and unhappy in a space that is not adequately prepared for them. Leopard Cactus Plecos like driftwood, and cave-like structures to hide in and claim as their territory.

How Do Leopard Cactus Pleco Breed?

Leopard Cactus Plecos are a cave spawning species. This means that when they are ready to spawn, the male will swim into a cave and the female will follow in after him. It is important to provide your breeding pair of Leopard Cactus Plecos with an appropriate sized cave that is at least 2 inches bigger than the male Leopard Cactus Pleco on all sides.

Leopard Cactus Pleco females will lay up to 500 eggs when they are ready, and the male will then fertilize them. Leopard Cactus Plecos may not be successful during their first try at spawning, but eventually they will figure it out and become successful. A separate breeding tank for them will make them more successful.

How to Tell the Difference Between Male and Female Leopard Cactus Pleco

It is much easier to determine which Leopard Cactus Pleco is male or female when they reach around 6 inches in length. You will be able to see the pectoral and ventral fins are visibly longer than the fins of the female. Male Leopard Cactus Plecos have larger and more square heads when compared to the more pointed look of the head of the female.

Common Diseases of Leopard Cactus Pleco

Leopard Cactus Plecos are susceptible to many of the same diseases as all freshwater fish. They can be infected with bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases. It is important to check their water parameters, and make sure that you are feeding them the appropriate diet to ensure that they do not become unhealthy.

Tank Mates for Leopard Cactus Pleco

Leopard Cactus Plecos are able to be housed with other fish as long as they are given enough space and are not overcrowded. Since Leopard Cactus Plecos are bottom dwelling fish, take care to select other fish that occupy different levels of the water column.

The best tank mates for Leopard Cactus Plecos are other fish that are of similar temperament, similar water parameters, and size. Any fish that are territorial, aggressive, larger, or occupy the same level of the water column as the Leopard Cactus Pleco will not make for good tank mates. As long as they have places to hide, they will be content.

Where Can I Find Leopard Cactus Pleco for Sale?

Leopard Cactus Plecos can be purchased from pet stores, and online from breeders for around $33 to $170 depending on the size of the Leopard Cactus Pleco.