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Golden vampire pleco - Leporacanthicus heterodon

Golden vampire pleco - Leporacanthicus heterodon

Scientific name: Leporacanthicus heterodon

Common name: Golden vampire pleco

Family: Loricariidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 10 - 11 cm (3.94 - 4.33 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6.5 - 7.4

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 12°N (71.43 - 214.29ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 25 - 28 °C (77 - 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; Golden vampire pleco are found in the waterways of Brazil.


The expected life span for Leporacanthicus heterodon is 5-8 years.

General care

Although the Golden Vampire Plec may not be the largest plecs available in the fish keeping hobby, they still show an aggressive nature towards other bottom dwelling species and as such should not be housed with other fish that inhabit the lower levels in the aquarium. They tend to leave tank mates alone that inhabit higher levels so can still make a good addition to a community set up in general.

They will require a larger aquarium, at least 48 inches (~ 122 cm) in length and as they do like to burrow a sandy substrate should be used or very fine and rounded gravel to prevent any damage to themselves occurring during this process.

Hiding places should be provided using rocks or wood and as with most plec species, dim lighting should be used to make them feel more secure. They are high waste producers so use a filtration system that can handle this and keep the water well oxygenated by using small power heads or aiming the outlet nozzles from the filter towards the water surface to increase gaseous exchange.

Regular water changes must be performed, at least 10% on a weekly basis to maintain high water quality.

The Golden Vampire Plec gets its common name from the large teeth that it develops in it's upper jaw which look like “fangs” commonly associated with vampires!

Food and feeding

Golden vampire pleco need a varied diet to keep them at their best. Use a quality flake or pellets for the staple diet but vary this with cucumber, shelled peas, algae wafers. They will also require meaty foods like chopped cockles and mussels but only feed these as treats twice a week.


Males tend to display a brighter colouration and have a larger dorsal fin. Their head will be longer and broader compared to the females.


There are no reported cases of Leporacanthicus heterodon breeding in the aquarium.


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Golden vampire pleco picture 1 Golden vampire pleco picture 2

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