What Are the Best Pleco Tank Mates? 16 Compatible Pleco Aquarium Roomies

While plecos can’t stand being with their own kind in aquariums, they’re generally very docile with other species. If you want your plecos to have friends, consider the following options:

1. Hatchetfish

Members of the Gasteropelecidae family, Hatchetfish are native to South America so they prefer the same water parameters as plecos.

They’re peaceful fish that live in schools and tend to stay just below the surface of the water — a sharp contrast to the bottom-dwelling plecos.

The average size of Hatchetfish is between 2 and 4 inches.

2. Arowana Fish

Arowana fish belong to the Osteoglossidae family and occur all over the world, which means they’re hardy and can thrive in various water conditions.

They can be a bit aggressive, but they’ll probably never cross paths with plecos as surface dwellers.

Arowana fish are better suited for experienced aquarists. They can grow up to 48 inches long.

3. Neon Tetra

Part of the Characidae family, Neon Tetras are one of the most peaceful fish you can come across.

They’re perfect companions to plecos not only because they’re docile, but also because they spend most of their time dwelling at the water’s surface.

These popular tank inhabitants grow no more than 2 inches and live in schools.

Neon Tetra

4. Danio Fish

Danio species include small fish that are native to South Asia, which means they can take the tropical water conditions of plecos.

Zebra Danios, Giant Danios, and Pearl Danios are all great options to pair with plecos. These schooling fish are generally peaceful and grow between 1 to 5 inches.

5. Glass Catfish

Scientifically known as Kryptopterus vitreolus, Glass Catfish are known for their extremely unique transparent bodies. Their appearance also grants them other common names such as Phantom Catfish and Ghost Catfish.

This species is very peaceful and fairly easy to care for if you have intermediate experience. Its size usually falls between 4 and 6 inches.

6. African Butterflyfish

Also known as Pantodon buchholzi in the scientific scene, the African Butterflyfish or Freshwater Butterflyfish sports a cool camouflage pattern. It’s a close relative to Arowana fish and can grow up to 4 inches.

It can get somewhat aggressive and territorial with other fish species dwelling at the surface, but they won’t interact with the bottom-dwelling plecos.

7. Black Ghost Knife Fish

Scientifically referred to as Apteronotus albifrons, the Black Ghost Knife fish is also native to South America, so it prefers the same water conditions as plecos.

Although its name sounds bold and aggressive, this fish is actually peaceful and shy. It can grow up to 20 inches long and demands an intermediate care level.

8. Silver Dollar Fish

Silver Dollar fish is the common name of the Metynnis species. Native to South America, this fish is quite docile and lives in schools.

It can grow up to 8 inches long, with a diet that exclusively consists of plants. As such, you need to provide plenty of veggies so both plecos and silver dollars can share without issue.

9. Guppy Fish

Guppy fish is one of the most popular options for plecos companions. Scientifically known as Poecilia reticulata, these fish are very peaceful and docile but they’re also social, so they can live in perfect harmony with various tank mates.

If you’re a beginner aquarist, Guppy fish should be right up your skill level. Their average size falls between 0.5 and 3 inches.

Guppy with Blue Green Black and Orange

10. Pencilfish

Part of the Nannostomus species, Pencilfish are native to South America. They thrive in tropical water conditions and can get along very well with plecos.

Growing up to 2 inches, Pencilfish come in many colors so they’re also a treat to look at. They’re schooling fish with a generally peaceful temperament.

11. Platy Fish

Belonging to the genus Xiphophorus, Platy fish are mellow tank mates to pretty much any type of fish you want them to befriend. They’re also very easy to care for, so they’re a great choice if you’re a beginner.

Platy fish live in schools and can get quite active once they feel safe in the environment. They prefer to stay away from the bottom portion of the tank, so they’ll rarely interact with plecos.

12. Tiger Barbs

Looking for a showy fish to pair with your plecos? Well, meet Tiger Barbs.

Also known as Puntigrus tetrazona, these fish are native to Southeast Asia and can grow up to 4 inches long.

Tiger Barbs are peaceful for the most part and almost always steer clear of plecos.

13. Molly Fish

Mollies, or Poecilia sphenops, are peaceful fish that average between 3 and 5 inches long. They’re easy to care for and prefer living in small groups, so be sure not to overcrowd your tank.

Black and Yellow Molly Fish

14. Mystery Snail

If you didn’t know before, plecos and snails can live as tank mates. One of the best species to pair with said fish is Mystery snails.

They’re curious and incredibly peaceful critters. However, they should be coupled with an efficient filtration system to handle their heavy bioload.

15. Clown Loaches

Poecilia sphenops, or Clown Loaches, are fish native to Southeast Asia. They’re peaceful schooling fish that grow up to 12 long.

16. Angelfish

Last but not least, Angelfish is a fantastic tank mate to plecos thanks to its South American origin and peaceful nature. They thrive in the same water conditions and will rarely bother other fish unless the tank is too crowded.

Angelfish in Front of Colorful Plants

Wrap Up

As you can tell by now, many fish species can live in harmony with plecos. From Arowana fish, Neon Tetra, and Glass Catfish to Black Ghost Knife fish, Guppy fish, and Platy fish, you have plenty of options to choose from and enrich your aquarium!