Do Plecos Need a Heater?

Plecos do need a heater. They are tropical fish that need a minimum water temperature in the mid 70’s degrees F. Unless you can maintain that temperature naturally, plecos do need a heater.

A heater maintains the temperature of a fish tank. It keeps the tank from getting too cold and ensures a steady temperature throughout the day.

If you want to know more about why your Plecos need a heater, this article is for you. So, stick around!

Do Plecos Need a Heater?

Do Plecos need a heater? You’re probably wondering the same question yourself if you have these cute pets.

Generally, all tropical fish like Plecos need a heater set up between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. If Plecos are kept at a lower temperature, it can result in stunted growth and potential health illness for your pets.

You can keep your fish tank in a warmer area at your home but without a heater, the water temperature can fluctuate during the day. Just to be on the safe side, install a heater on the tank. Preferably, adjustable heaters.

This way, you can easily maintain the water temperature.

Snowball Pleco L201 on Driftwood

Can Plecos Live Without a Heater?

Originally, Plecos came from Amazon rainforests, where the water temperature is warm all year round. Thus, Plecos can’t thrive in cold water and hot water.

Plecos may tolerate a temperature that’s too high or too low but improperly maintained fish tanks will lead to health issues or worse, death. So, to take better care of your pets, you’ll need a heater to monitor the temperature.

Although placing your fish tank in sunlight might sound like a good idea, it’s not. It doesn’t mean that the water will be kept at room temperature all the time. Chances are, the water temperature will keep fluctuating without a heater. Worse, it might lead to overheating.

Can Plecos be Kept in Low-Temperature Tanks?

Plecos tend to get lethargic when kept in a low-temperature tank. A cold temperature can affect their growth rate and weaken their metabolism, which means they wouldn’t be able to digest their food properly. Therefore, they will eat less.

To conserve energy, they will refuse to move around the tank. Eventually, Plecos are going to stop eating completely. Without food, the Plecos will be too weak to fight off diseases like fin rot or life-threatening parasites.

Can Plecos be Kept in High-Temperature Tanks?

If kept in higher temperatures, Plecos will be unusually active. Since there’s less oxygen in high temperatures, your Plecos will tend to swim up to the top of the tank to take in some air. While being active can be a positive behavior, it’s not a good sign.

Plecos tend to have strange behavior when they’re in discomfort. If temperatures stay high, it will lead to your Plecos’ suffocation, and eventually, death.

What’s the Best Heater Temperature for Plecos?

Plecos come in different shapes and sizes. Here’s the best heater temperature for your Plecos according to their species:

Bristlenose Plecos

A Bristlenose Pleco stands out with its bristle-covered heads. This type should be kept in water tanks with temperatures between 60 degrees F and 80 degrees F.

Zebra Plecos

As the name suggests, Zebra Plecos have white and black stripes. This species requires a water temperature between 79 degrees F and 88 degrees F.

Birger A [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Clown Plecos

Clown Plecos is usually the low-maintenance type of Plecos. They don’t need a specific water temperature. However, they enjoy temperatures between 73 degrees F and 82 degrees F.

Gold Nugget Plecos

In terms of appearance, Gold Nuggets Plecos can stand out from other types. Hence, they’ve become one of the most famous species of Plecos. This type requires 75 degrees F to 85 degrees F temperature.

Sailfin Plecos

Sailfin Plecos have a sail-like fin which makes them a stunning species. This type is high-maintenance and usually needs a water temperature between 73 degrees F to 86 degrees F.

Snowball Plecos

Like Gold Nugget Plecos, Snowball Plecos have distinctive color spots. Also, they must be kept at a warmer temperature, preferably between 72 degrees F to 86 degrees F.

Royal Plecos

Royal Plecos commonly have an intimidating appearance due to their darker striped lines like grey or black. This type thrives in 75 degrees F to 85 degrees F water temperature.

What Are the Best Heaters for Plecos?

Generally, a heater is essential to provide the best care for your Plecos. Here are the best heaters that you can find for your pets:

Submersible Heaters

As the name implies, a Submersible heater is submerged in the fish tank. A Submersible is attached vertically or horizontally to the back of the tank, near the substrate. It heats the water as it streams and circulates in the tank.

Furthermore, a great example of a Submersible heater is ViaAqua’s Quartz Glass Submersible.

Hanging Heaters

A Hanging heater, also known as a Hang-on-Tank heater, is mounted onto the side of the fish tank. Unlike a Submersible heater, it’s not completely submerged in tank water and is less consistent and efficient in heating water. So, it’s not ideal for larger fish tanks.

However, if you do install a hanging heater in a bigger tank, make sure to mount two or more on the sides of the tank. One of the best hanging heaters is the Finnex Hang-On Electronic Controller Aquarium Heater.

External Heaters

External heaters, or In-line heaters, are placed outside of the fish tank. This is great for smaller tanks as it doesn’t take up space inside the aquarium. Moreover, External heaters can warm water as it passes through the tubes.

Typically, External heaters have a digital display and buttons to adjust the temperature settings. The perfect choice for external heaters is Hydro In-Line External Heater.

Wrapping Up

So, do plecos need a heater? Yes, Plecos need heaters in their tanks. Heaters will keep a permanent temperature, mimicking their natural environment. However, if the temperature is too cold or too high, it can greatly affect their metabolism and behavior.

Plecos might try to endure improper temperatures but look out for strange behaviors. This can imply that the temperature isn’t right for them.

Remember to keep the water tank at a standard temperature which is around 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Also, you can set up your heater based on your Plecos’ species.