Albino Chocolate Pleco: A Species Care Guide

So, you’ve decided to add an albino chocolate pleco to your tank. Don’t do anything before reading this comprehensive guide.

Species Overview

Albino chocolate plecos are popular aquarium fish because of their small size and distinguished look. A true albino chocolate pleco has no pigment and boasts a white color and red eyes.

Albino chocolate pleco fish are great for a beginner in keeping fish. They are low-maintenance fish who are peaceful. They get along well with other fish. They keep your tank clean by eating algae off of the sides and bottom of the tank.

The pleco species originated in the waters of Peru in South America. In the wild, albino chocolate pleco fish grow up to 12 inches, though they usually don’t reach this size in captivity. They thrive in favorable environmental conditions in the wild in water temperatures of 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Distinguishing Features

The most distinguishing feature of an albino chocolate pleco is that they are pigment-free. Albinism is a genetic condition caused by a gene mutation of the genes that control the amount of melanin that your body produces.

The lack of pigment in an albino chocolate pleco gives them a distinct white or yellow appearance. Their eyes lack pigment as well, giving them a red appearance.

The pleco fish belong to the catfish family. Albino chocolate pleco fish fit the look of other well-known catfish. Because they are bottom-suckers, albino chocolate pleco have wide lips that suck algae and dirt off from the bottom ponds and lakes, or tanks, in this case.

Albino chocolate pleco fish have tall, thin dorsal fins. Their lack of pigment makes their thin fins translucent. The albino chocolate pleco has many see-through fins, including an adipose fin, pectoral fin, pelvic fin, and anal fin.

Albino chocolate pleco fish have a vertical caudal or tail fin. They use this large tail fin to help them navigate through the water. Their most distinguishing fin is their large dorsal fin.

Albino chocolate pleco fish has an elongated body. Unlike regular catfish, an albino chocolate pleco is covered in bony plates. An albino chocolate pleco is clad with an armor of bony scales everywhere on its body, except on the underside of the head and belly, as opposed to a slick catfish.

Albino Chocolate Pleco on Gravel


Albino chocolate pleco fish are originally from South America. They are in most of the inland river systems across South America. They are plentiful in the Rio Pacaya in Peru, the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, and the Rio Orinoco.

In the wild, an albino chocolate pleco lives amongst rocks and other formations in the tropical waters of South America. Most pleco fish are nocturnal, so they use these rocks and formations to sleep throughout the day and hide from the sun.

Because of their light color, albino chocolate plecos need extra protection from the sun. They use rocks and other things in the water to get the protection they need. Without this protection, their skin gets damaged.

The water that albino chocolate pleco fish live in is murky and muddy. The Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon river is known for their large size but not for their sanitation. Plecos are part of the sanitation process, but they cannot keep up with the demands of such a river!

The home water of an albino chocolate pleco is bountiful with plants. They swim amongst the plants and use them to get protection from the sun. Some examples of these plants include laurels, figs, Spanish cedars, bignonias, and ferns.

The Amazon river is the largest freshwater river in the world. The Amazon river contains 20% of the surface freshwater on earth. Parts of the Amazon may have brackish water, but the albino chocolate pleco thrives in the freshwater of the Amazon river.


The size of an albino chocolate pleco has a wide range. In an enclosed environment like an aquarium tank, common albino chocolate pleco fish only reach one and a half inches long. A large albino chocolate pleco gets up to 8 inches long but is still a little fish.

In the wild, an albino chocolate pleco grows 12 inches long. This difference in size may be the direct result of cramped living quarters. Another thing that could contribute to this drop in size is a lack of nutrients.

A female albino chocolate pleco grows to be a bit larger than a male. If there are two albino chocolate plecos in an aquarium, you can use this fact to help determine which one is a male or a female. The fish have to be the same age to use this type of gender telling.


The lifespan of an albino chocolate pleco fish depends on many factors. The environment the fish lives in is very important. The cleanliness of the water, the rocks, other formations available as shelter, and the other type of fish in the tank all contribute to how long an albino chocolate pleco lives.

Another big factor in the lifespan of an albino chocolate pleco is the nutrients it receives from its food. It is important to provide your fish with ample nutritional value in the food you give it. Lack of nutrients will decrease the lifespan of the albino chocolate pleco.

In a tank with ample conditions, an albino chocolate pleco has an average lifespan of ten to fifteen years. If you provide your albino chocolate pleco with the right tools, it can last a good portion of your life! They are great childhood pets because of their long lifespan.

In the wild, albino chocolate pleco fish typically have a shorter lifespan. In the wild, albino chocolate plecos may not have ideal environmental factors or may suffer from diseases or predators. An albino chocolate pleco lives up to ten years in the wild.

Albino chocolate plecos are great beginner fish because of their ease of care and long lifespan.


Owners need to know the gender of their fish. Like most creatures, there are ways to tell what gender your fish is without seeing the sex organ. The four easiest ways to tell male from female albino chocolate plecos are size, body shape, bristles, and behavior.

The size of the fish is a good indication of whether it is male or female. Female albino chocolate plecos are larger than their male counterparts. You have to be careful using this method of determining sex, however, because the fish have to be the same age. Albino chocolate plecos grow at a slow speed, so an older fish tends to be larger from the outset.

The shape of an albino chocolate pleco is also a good indicator of the gender of the fish. Female plecos have a much more rounded body than male plecos. The wide bodies of a female albino chocolate pleco differ from the skinny, elongated bodies of the male fish.

A distinguishing feature plecos have are bristles that grow out of the pectoral fins, along the mouth, and along the edge of the head. Most species of plecos feature these bristles on both males and females. Male albino chocolate plecos have larger, more pronounced bristles.

The behavior of an albino chocolate pleco could give away the gender of the fish. Most albino chocolate plecos are very peaceful fish. If one does show any aggression, it is likely a male.


The temperament of a fish is important to know before buying it. Whether you are starting a new tank or adding to your collection, combining different species of fish can be tricky. You want to make sure you are not putting two kinds of fish together that end up fighting or even killing each other.

The temperament of a fish is a driving factor for its popularity. Aggressive fish are not typically purchased to put in a tank with other fish. Peaceful fish are the kind of fish you want if you plan to have multiple species of fish in the same tank.

Albino chocolate plecos have a peaceful temperature. They are great fish to add to a well-established tank or a new tank with multiple species of fish. They are calm fish that do not bother other species of fish.

They tend to stick to the sides or bottom of the tank, staying out of the way of other fish. They spend their days consuming debris, waste, and dirt as they clean the tank and glass of the tank. With this being said, small shrimp are not good fish to pair with an albino chocolate pleco, because their small size fits inside the plecos mouth, leading to them getting eaten.

Both male and female albino chocolate plecos have a peaceful temperament. During the breeding season, male albino chocolate plecos may show some aggression, but typically stay very mild.

Underside of Albino Chocolate Pleco

Tank Parameters

Set your tank up properly to give your fish the best possible chance to thrive.

Minimum Tank Size

An albino chocolate pleco needs a tank of at least 75 gallons of water. Smaller spaces affect them mentally and physically. They may get claustrophobic if kept in a tight tank.

Water Parameters

Having the correct water parameters for your albino chocolate pleco is important. These environmental factors will help them live long, happy lives.


The first thing to get right in the water is the temperature. Albino chocolate plecos thrive in waters of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures reflect their home habitat of tropical waters in the Amazon river.


Albino chocolate plecos have a wide range of pH levels they can live in. They thrive in waters with a pH from 6.5 to 7.8.


In the wild, albino chocolate plecos live in freshwater rivers. They can live in brackish waters, but not straight saltwater tanks.

Tank Setup

The tank setup is important for the well-being of your albino chocolate pleco. Giving them plenty of room to move around and plenty of rocks and caves to hide in is imperative.


The best substrate for your tank containing albino chocolate plecos is chunky rocks. These rocks mimic the rocky floors of the albino chocolate pleco’s natural habitat.


Any decorations that act as a shelter or territory marker are good for an albino chocolate pleco tank. These types of decorations help the fish feel safe and relaxed. Large rocks and caves are good examples.


Albino chocolate plecos enjoy some plants in their tank but do not want to be overwhelmed with plants. Plants are not necessary, however, because the fish will likely eat the plants in its tank.


Albino chocolate plecos do not like it very bright. Their sensitive skin does not handle high amounts of light, so keep their tank lighting from low to medium.


Albino chocolate plecos prefer a clean tank. Having a good filtration system is important for keeping your fish happy and healthy. They will help clean the tank, too!


Albino chocolate plecos need warm water. If you live in a cold climate, you may need to get a source of heat to keep the water temperature between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.


The diet of your fish is very important to its health and well-being. Like with any living creature, albino chocolate plecos must get the required nutrients from the food that they eat. Without a good diet, the lifespan of your fish will greatly decrease.

There is a common myth that plecos only eat algae. If an albino chocolate pleco only ate algae, it would be missing important nutrients. A diet that is unbalanced like this would lead to malnourished fish.

An albino chocolate pleco needs both meat and vegetables, making them omnivore. The typical diet of an albino chocolate pleco is 75% vegetables and 25% protein. Most of their diet is algae, but they also eat other plant matter and small crustaceans like small shrimp or supplied meat meals.

Below is a list of food items and supplements that will benefit your albino chocolate pleco.

  • Earthworms
  • Shrimp
  • Algae wafers
  • Flakes
  • Pellets
  • Bloodworms
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Cantaloupe
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Papaya
  • Honeydew melon

Do not feed your albino chocolate pleco acidic vegetables or fruit because their digestive systems cannot handle that level of acidity.


Most fish have different ways of breeding and fertilizing their young. Some eggs are fertilized before being deposited by the female, while other times the eggs are fertilized after the female lays them. The many types of breeding in aquatic life are fascinating.

A female albino chocolate pleco finds a cave or other enclosed structure near her natural habitat to lay her eggs. She finds a flat surface and deposits hundreds of eggs. The eggs are bright orange, attracting a male.

The male fertilizes the eggs outside the female’s body. The male aerates the eggs with his fins, cleans them up, and prepares the nest for the young. The eggs hatch in three to ten days, depending on the water temperature.

After hatching, the fry will live off of the yolk for another five to ten days. The male albino chocolate pleco protects the eggs and young until they are old enough to live on their own. The male gets aggressive while protecting his eggs, contrary to typical albino chocolate pleco temperament.

Common Diseases

Most diseases for albino chocolate plecos are avoided with a good filtration system and a clean tank. However, your pleco can still happen upon a disease from other fish or a big grime left behind from the filtration system.

Some common diseases that affect albino chocolate plecos include the following:

  • White spot
  • Dropsy
  • Fin Rot
  • Fish Fungus
  • Hole in the Head
  • Pop-eye

Most of these diseases are caused by environmental factors like sand or rocks getting under the bony plates or from bacteria found in their environment. Check your fish regularly so you can catch any diseases quickly and treat them before they become critical.

Good nutrition and supplementation will also help keep your fish healthy. Even if they encounter bacteria, their immune system will fight off the disease if it is equipped with the right supplementation.

Potential Tank Mates

Albino chocolate plecos are great fish to have with other species. They have a peaceful temperament and rarely get aggressive. If you have a male and female that breed, the male may get aggressive with other fish while he is protecting his young, but he will typically stay docile.

Some species of fish that work well with albino chocolate plecos include:

  • Cichlids
  • Platies
  • Guppies
  • Barbs
  • Hatchets
  • Bettas
  • Mollies
  • Gouramis
  • Loaches
  • Angelfish
  • Other catfish species

The only type of aquatic life to avoid putting with albino chocolate plecos are small shrimp or other small crustaceans. Because plecos are omnivores, they will eat small creatures like miniature shrimp as a snack!

You do not have to worry about your albino chocolate pleco being aggressive with any other fish species. They are docile and peaceful fish that stick to themselves and like to swim along the bottom or sides of the tank.