If you’re wondering why your pleco has been hiding, it’s likely just because it’s nocturnal, which is why you don’t see it much during the day swimming and feeding. It could also be stressed which is usually caused by poor water quality or aggressive tank mates.
A pleco is ideal for first-time aquarists as this fish is fun and easy to maintain, although it can get shy. Given that, there’s no reason to be turned off by its coyness.
Read more about why your pleco hides a lot in its nook.
Why Is My Pleco Always Hiding: Two Probable Reasons
There are two reasons your pleco may be in constant hiding; its nocturnal nature and innate shyness or stress caused by various factors.
Let’s discuss each one of those in depth.
Your Pleco Is Nocturnal and Naturally Shy
Relax. Your pleco doesn’t hate you.
A pleco is a nocturnal fish. It’s natural for it to come out at night to feed and interact while it spends the day resting, staying hidden in the tank’s safe spaces.
Considering its shy nature, it would be great for the pleco if it had plenty of places in the aquarium to stow away from other fishes. It loves hiding in nooks, such as empty logs, pipes, or plants that you can place as decors in the fish tank.
These places serve as its haven because they feel safer.
Apart from being active at night, a pleco fish has a withdrawn nature, just like a timid person. You can’t force it to be outgoing. It’s innately shy, so there’s no need to fret if you don’t see it coming out the entire day.
Your Pleco Is Stressed
Stress can make a pleco hide even more than it usually does. Three reasons can cause stress to your pleco: abnormal water parameters, lack of food, and hostile tank mates.
Check on these three things to know what could be distressing your pleco.
Abnormal Water Parameters
Unideal water parameters can stress your pleco to a great degree.
To ensure your fish is healthy, you should closely monitor water parameters such as pH levels, temperature, carbonate hardness, general hardness, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
If the levels are off, this can affect the behavior of your fish. It will hide more and even become lethargic.
Lack of Food
If your fish is not eating right, expect to see more sluggishness and hiding. Your pleco can also become malnourished if underfed, just like us humans.
Feeding your pleco regularly with a variety of food packed with nutrients is vital to prevent stress related to food intake.
Hostile Tank Mates
Some fish tank mates can become too much for your pleco. For example, if you choose the wrong kind of fish to place in the tank with your pleco, it can cause distress or trauma to your fish.
Choose fish species whose temperament is compatible with your pleco’s to make it feel comfortable with its surroundings.
Tips to Encourage Your Plecos To Come Out More Often
Have you been standing for hours by the aquarium, hoping to get a glimpse? You must wonder if there’s a way to encourage your plecos to come out more often.
Here are a few ideas:
Provide More Hiding Zones
It may sound odd, but plecos need more hiding spots to make them appear more. To understand this logic, you have to put yourself in their place.
Plecos are known to be shy and good at hiding. The more you provide them with potential hiding zones, the more comfortable they’ll be. These spots offer them natural cover from danger.
If the aquarium doesn’t give them enough hiding places, they will start burying themselves or hiding in unusual places such as behind the heater or filter to feel safe.
Add Other Active Plecos in the Tank
Adding an energetic pleco or fish in the tank, such as a bristlenose pleco, will help a shy pleco come out of its shell.
There’s a great possibility that your shy pleco will mimic the behavior of the active one!
You can also introduce some playful bottom dwellers to influence the behavior of your fish.
Reconsider the Ratio Between Your Male and Female Plecos
Only one alpha male will dominate the tank and mate with the females. If you have more male plecos than females in one tank, these males may be competing with each other.
As a result, it will cause the less dominant plecos to hide more often.
It would be good to have a ratio of one male pleco mating with two female plecos to avoid competition for dominance.
Additional Tip: Replicate Conditions in the Wild
A pleco feels safe and becomes more active if the conditions in its aquarium are similar to what it has in the wild.
Take note of the things you can do to make its tank a second home.
Fish Tank Size
It’s vital that you consider the tank size for your fish and the suitable species of pleco to go with it. Some pleco species can grow as much as two to three feet in length and can be too big for your aquarium.
You wouldn’t want to end up with the wrong kind with the aquarium you bought!
The bigger the tank, the better it will be for your common pleco. It will have lots of space to hide and swim.
In addition, you must ensure the tank has lots of circulation to simulate streams.
Remember that a pleco is a tropical fish. It’s accustomed to warm waters and would need a heated freshwater tank with a filter.
The ideal water temperature range is between 72 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
pH Level and Water Quality
There’s also an ideal pH level you should keep an eye on for your pleco fish tank. Anywhere between 6.5 to 7.5 is good.
Plus, it’s important to check and maintain the tank’s water quality regularly to ensure the healthy living conditions of your fish.
Pleco fish is an ideal fish to start with as a first-timer for many reasons. It can live harmoniously with other fish species in the aquarium, it’s not high maintenance, and it’s easy to look after.
While it can be shy and in constant hiding, there’s no need to worry the next time you don’t see your pleco swimming or interacting.
It’s just probably enjoying its me-time in that peaceful hideaway!