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Butterfly pleco - Dekeyseria brachyura

Butterfly pleco - Dekeyseria brachyura

Scientific name: Dekeyseria brachyura

Common name: Butterfly pleco

Family: Loricariidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 12 - 15 cm (4.72 - 5.91 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 5.5 - 7.2

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 3 - 18°N (53.57 - 321.43ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 24 - 28 °C (75.2 - 82.4°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels


South America; Butterfly plecs inhabit the Rio Negro, a large tributary of the Amazon River.


The expected life span for Dekeyseria brachyura is 5-8 years.

Short description

Butterfly plecs can darken to blend in with their surroundings. Using the right décor will help to keep them a brighter colour. They can be territorial to their own species but the fights are usually just a chase around the tank.

General Care

As these fish inhabit flowing waterways in their natural habitat this should be replicated in the aquarium. Their native waters are well oxygenated due to the turbulence increasing gaseous exchange, power heads can be used or even adjusting the outlet pipe of the filter so that it breaks the water surface. To give the Butterfly Pleco the best conditions add plenty of cover using rocks or wood, initially they may hide away a lot when first added to the aquarium. With patience they will settle down and become more active. Plants can also be added and make sure that the substrate used has no sharp edges which can injure the fish.

Food and feeding

In the wild Butterfly pleco survives on an algae diet, add plenty of vegetable matter in the aquarium, cucumber and zucchini are ideal for this. Wood should also be included in the setup as they will gnaw at this to aid their digestion.


These fish only develop differences between the sexes as they mature. The males will develop more pronounced pectoral spines and the growths on the nose area (odontodes) will be larger.


Butterfly pleco is one of the easier plecs to breed. Caves and pipe work should be added to the breeding tank. This will give the fish a choice of spawning sites. When the eggs are laid the male will fan and guard them, making them stay in the spawning site until they are fully formed. It will require some patience getting these fish to breed but once a pair is established they should spawn on a regular basis. The fry, once released from the spawning site by the male, can develop quite quickly and once free swimming do not require a special diet as they will consume the same food as their parents. The major problem with raising the fry is that they are extremely sensitive to poor water conditions so always perform daily water changes to start with and gradually decrease these as the fry develop.


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Butterfly pleco, picture 1 Butterfly pleco, picture 2 Butterfly pleco, picture 3 Butterfly pleco, picture 4 Butterfly pleco, picture 5 Butterfly pleco, picture 6

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