Blue Phantom Pleco Care : A Complete Guide (With Pictures)

Blue phantom plecos are beautiful freshwater fish with beautiful armor and suckermouth designed for feeding.

The blue phantom pleco usually has dark blue and white dots colourful appearance and can grow to a large size.

These fish are omnivorous as they can feed on both plants and flesh, making it very easy to feed them.

Blue Phantom Pleco

Quick Facts

Temperament : Conditionally aggressive
Freshwater / Saltwater Fish : Freshwater
Care Level : Moderate
Colour : Dark blue with white spots
Diet : Fish Flakes, Blood Worm, Java Moss
Adult Size : 7-7.1 inches
Lifespan : 5-8 years
Water Temperature : 71.6-770F
Water Ph : 6.0-7.0
Tank Size : Min 5 Gallon

Overview

Blue phantom plecos are conditionally aggressive fish as they display aggression towards other plecos but are relatively peaceful with other fish species.  However, they are freshwater fish that love to swim and thrive in soft waters. They are also good algae eaters, like other plecos, but their diet does not consist mainly of algae.

Furthermore, they are native to the northern part of the Rio Orinoco River in Venezuela. They are healthy and rapidly growing fish, and they require moderate health care.

Typical Behaviour

Blue phantom plecos are peaceful fish when kept with other fish species but display a bit of aggression when kept with other plecos. However, they are active fish as they tend to swim from one end of the tank to another rapidly.

They feed on various kinds of food but tend to be picky when it comes to algae eating. The blue phantom plecos are very compatible with a wide range of tankmates provided you do not include other plecos.

Appearance

Blue phantom plecos are large size plecos that can grow up to 7 inches. Different blue phantom plecos grow to different sizes, with the largest growing to about 7.1 inches. They also come in beautiful colours.

There is a variation of colours in plecos’ appearance, but most plecos have a dark blue colour with white spots. They have a sucker shaped mouth designed for feeding. The fish also have beautiful armors that give them a good body shape and structure for hiding.

Life Span

The way you take care of your blue phantom pleco determines how long it will live. If you take good care of your pleco, feed it regularly, and provide the necessary water and tank requirement, your pleco will have a longer life span.

However, blue phantom pleco has the highest life span they can attain. They can live up to 5 to 8 years, depending on how much you take care of them. They live longer when they are in captivity than they do in the wild.

Size

How big do Blue Phantom Plecos get?

Blue phantom pleco is large size fish that can grow to a very large size. They can grow to about 7 inches and more. Healthy plecos grow a few inches above the stated value, while unhealthy ones do not grow to the stated value.

The healthiness of your fish can determine how much it will grow. You also have to feed it regularly with high-nutrient food to ensure its growth.

Sexing

How can you tell if a blue phantom pleco is male or female? There are several ways you can tell the sex of a blue phantom pleco, but the easiest is to examine the body shape. Male plecos are skinnier while females have a rounded body, and you can notice this when you view them from above. When you check them from the side, you will notice that the female has a rounded abdomen that is longer than the rest of the body.

Compatible Tank Mates

Due to its peaceful behaviour towards other fish, the blue phantom pleco is very compatible with varieties of tankmates and will live peacefully in a community tank. They will only have a problem with other plecos in the same tank as they will aggression and territorial behaviours.

They will also do well with other fish as long as you provide them space for seclusion. You can also provide structures that can serve as a hiding space to enhance their compatibility with other fish.

Compatible tank mates for blue phantom pleco fish include

  • Tetras
  • Silver dollars.
  • Prochilodus

Water Conditions

Fish live in water, which is their most essential factor for living. You have to consider the water requirements for the fish and ensure you meet them. Failure in meeting up with the fish’s water requirement can result in the deterrent of the health, terminal disease, or fish’s death.

You have to study them to know what they want and what they detest. You must understand that blue phantom plecos prefer soft waters and other factors. To make it easy, you can replicate the water conditions of their natural habitat to the tank.

Temperature

Blue phantom plecos like to stay in cool waters, which is what you should provide for them for their good health. The temperature of the water should range from 71 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure you keep to this value with the allowance of little or no deviation

It is recommended to use an aquarium heater to keep the water temperature at the recommended setting. If you are after a heater check out the ones available on amazon

PH Level

The water’s pH level is also crucial as it tells the water’s acidity or alkalinity. Blue phantom plecos prefer to stay in slightly acidic and neutral waters. The pH value for the water should range from 6.0 to 7.0 and should not exceed this range.

You can monitor your aquariums water using a PH water tester kit available on amazon

Oxygen level

As with most fish it is important for these fish to live in well oxygenated water, For this I recommend to install an air pump in to your aquarium as this will insure that the water is well oxygenated. You can pickup an air pump online from amazon.

Tank Setup

There are certain things we need to consider when we are selecting a tank; we know the needs of this fish are

  • Prefers a lot of space as they are active and love to swim around
  • They love decorations in their tank because it helps them hide very well.
  • Blue Phantom fish need moderate lighting to enhance their survival.
  • Requires a smooth sandy substrate for their comfort.
  • The addition of plants will also liken the tank to their natural habitat.

With this information we can now select a tank.

endlers tank setup

Tank Size

The size of a tank is a necessary factor to consider when you are keeping a large fish. Smaller fish do not need large tanks as they can do well in small tanks, but large ones require space in which only big tanks can provide them. Blue phantom plecos are large fish, and they require a large tank to thrive.

Due to the fish’s large size, it is best to keep them in a 20-gallon tank. The fish like to swim, so you should ensure that the tank’s width and breadth are large. It is not compulsory to have a very tall tank, but it’s no big deal if it is.

How many blue phantom pleco to keep in a 5 gallon tank? Blue phantom plecos require a large tank to thrive, which is why you have to provide a large tank for the fish. It is ideal for keeping one blue phantom pleco in a 5-gallon tank. Ensure you do not keep more than a pleco in a 5-gallon tank to avoid overcrowding.

If you are looking to purchase a fish aquarium I recommend you check out the aquariums on amazon

Filtration

The cleaner your tank water is the more chance your fish have of thriving and living a happier and healthier life. I have always used a fluval aquarium filter which I highly recommend, Check them out here

Heater

It is recommended to use an aquarium heater to keep the water temperature at the recommended setting. If you are after a heater check out the ones available on amazon

I also recommend that you monitor your aquariums water temperature by using an aquarium digital thermometer. Check out these ones from amazon

Tank Decorations

Tank decorations are necessary for the healthy living of the blue phantom pleco. The decorations also help liken the tank to the fish’s natural habitat giving the fish the feeling of home. You can add several decorations to your pleco’s tank, including rocks, caves, shale slabs, and sandy substrate.

You can also add plants to the tank to enhance the tank’s beauty and ensure the fish’s interaction with its environment. Plants you can add include; driftwood, cucumber, yellow squash, etc.

Diet

How often do blue phantom pleco fish need to be fed? It is ideal for feeding your blue phantom pleco every two days. The way you feed them depends on how much algae you have in their tank. If there are little algae in the tank, you should feed them more frequently, but if there are many algae in the tank, you can reduce the rate at which you feed them.

What should I feed my blue phantom pleco ? Blue phantom pleco likes to feed on daphnia, bloodworms, brine shrimp, etc. which is what you should feed them. You can also feed the plecos with vegetables like spinach and other green plants. They also feed on algae, so you can ensure there are algae in the tank.

How long can blue phantom pleco live without food? A blue phantom pleco can live for 5 to 7 days without food. They also tend to last longer when there are algae in the tank. Once the water requirement is intact and perfect, the fish can stay alive without food as long as you are away for a week.

Breeding

Breeding is a necessary characteristic of life. It simply entails reproduction and the birth of a young one due to mating between different sexes of animals. The blue phantom pleco also breeds as they need to give birth to new offspring to answer life’s necessities.

How to tell if blue phantom pleco is pregnant?

The best way to know if your blue phantom pleco is pregnant is by its appearance and behaviour. They become bloated and start to develop a bigger stomach, with the stomach increasing as the eggs develop. You will also start to notice them resting and staying in a cool undisturbed place in the tank.

Diseases

The last thing I want to go through is the common diseases these fish could suffer from.

Ich

The ich is a parasitic disease that affects freshwater fishes, including blue phantom plecos. This disease thrives in poor water conditions, and you start to notice coarse white spots on the fish’s body. You can increase the water temperature to speed up the parasite’s life cycle or seclude the tank’s fish to apply quick medications.

Dropsy and fin rot

The fin rot or tail rot and dropsy are bacterial diseases that affect the fish’s fin and body. The main symptom for fin rot is rotting of fins, lethargy, and loss of appetite, while that of dropsy includes; loss of colouration and bloating. You can make use of tetracycline and also feed the fish with high-nutrient food to treat them.

Fish fungus

The fish fungus disease is from water molds called oomycetes. It affects the skin of the fish with grayish or white fungal growths. It would be best if you treated it quickly to prevent it from spreading by consulting a specialist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the frequently asked questions about this fish

What is the best substrate for blue phantom pleco??

The best substrate you should use for your blue phantom pleco is a smooth sandy substrate that ensures comfort and doesn’t harm the fish when it swims along with it.

What is the smallest pleco?

The smallest pleco is the white-spotted dwarf Hypancistrus pleco that grows to a small 3.8 inches, about 10 centimetres.

What is the most expensive pleco?

There are various expensive plecos, but the zebra pleco emerges the most expensive one.

Can you keep different Plecos together?

You can keep different plecos together, but it is not advisable because they are aggressive towards each other, leading to both of the fish being harmed.

Do Plecos clean your tank?

Plecos help clean your tank by eating up algae from the walls and surface of the tank. Their constant eating of this algae helps to keep your tank clean.

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