Max Size: 15cm

Butterfly Plecostomus L168 (Dekeyseria Brachyura)

Butterfly Plecos are peaceful community fish that you should keep with other peaceful fish of a similar size. Suitable tankmates for these Plecos can include Cichlids such as Retroculus or the African Steatocranus and other Loricariids requiring similar conditions. You can also keep Butterfly Plecos with more general community fish as long as the water is well aerated.

The ideal aquarium setup for the Butterfly Plecos would be a biotope setup. However, this species prefers a spacious well-filtered aquarium with plenty of hiding places made up of flat rounded rocks, driftwood and caves. These Plecos usually don't harm live plants if they are adequately fed. This species also requires well-oxygenated water with a great degree of movement.

Butterfly Plecos bodies are fairly slender and are covered with alternating defined brownish-black and gold striping. This Pleco is a master of disguise as it can change colouration, chameleon-style, rapidly. If these fish are kept on a very dark or black substrate, they will go almost black, and if you keep them on a lighter substrate, they will show a pretty striped pattern during the day.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameDekeyseria Brachyura
Other NamesChameleon Pleco
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan5 - 8 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.0
GH2 - 12
77 - 82℉
25 - 27.8℃


Butterfly Plecostomus L168

Natural Habitat

Butterfly Plecos are endemic to the Rio Negro River Basin in Brazil in South America. They inhabit moderately fast-flowing streams and tributaries where the water is usually stained a tea colour due to the release of tannins caused by decaying organic matter.

Rio Negro


Butterfly Plecos are primarily algae eaters; however, you should feed them on a varied diet mainly containing vegetable matter such as cucumbers and blanched spinach. These fish will also accept dried food such as algae wafers and spirulina tablets and live and frozen food such as bloodworm and daphnia.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is relatively straightforward to distinguish the males from female Butterfly Plecos. Males are slightly slimmer than females and will develop noticeably larger odontodes on their snout, while mature females are broader in their mid-section than males.


Butterfly plecos are one of the easier plecos to breed, providing your water conditions are suitable. You will need a fair bit of patience getting these fish to produce; however, once a pair has been established, they should spawn regularly.

It would be best if you added caves and pipes to the breeding tank, as this will give your fish a variety of spawning sites. But, again, Tight-fitting, rectangular caves are best. In addition, the breeding tank should contain soft, acidic water.

A large water change with cool water to simulate the rainy season will encourage your Plecos to spawn.

Plecos will lay their eggs in the available caves; the male will then fan the eggs with his fins and guard them against intruders. The eggs will hatch between 7 and 10 days later, and the male will force them to stay in the spawning site until they are fully developed.

Once the fry has been released from the spawning site by the male, they can develop quite quickly. Also, when the babies are able to swim freely, they will not require a special diet as they will consume the same food as their parents.

The biggest issue with raising the fry is that they are susceptible to poor water conditions; therefore, you should always perform daily water changes to start with and gradually decrease these as the babies develop.

Other Plecostomus of interest

Bristlenose Pleco(Ancistrus Cirrhosus)
Flash Plecostomus(Panaqolus albivermis)
Galaxy Plecostomus L029(Leporacanthicus galaxias)
Gold Nugget Plecostomus(Baryancistrus xanthellus)
Golden Bristlenose Plecostomus(Ancistrus sp)
Green Phantom Plecostomus(Hemiancistrus Subviridis)
View all Plecostomus
Date Added: 30/08/2021 12:13:38 - Updated: 22/11/2021 15:49:34