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Queen Arabesque Plecostomus

Last Updated: 3/3/21

My Queen Arabesque pleco on 1/14/07.

Quick Information
Setup and Water Preferences
My Queen Arabesque Pleco
Links and Pictures

I am relatively new to keeping a Queen Arabesque pleco (1/14/07) so please feel free to e-mail me with information about them or web site links. For information on my Queen Arabesque pleco's tank, visit my 50 gallon tank page.

Also, check out my common plecostomus page for more general plecostomus information. I also have a page on bristlenose plecos. I used that page and altered it for this species to create this page.

Quick Information

Common names: Queen Arabesque plecostomus or pleco, Queen plecostomus or pleco
Scientific/Latin name: Hypancistrus sp.
Maximum length: 4 inches
Colors: Brown base color with white or yellowish squiggly lines
Temperature preference: 73 to 83 degrees F
pH preference: 6.5 to 7.5
Hardness preference: Medium
Salinity preference: Low to medium
Compatibility: Good
Life span: Estimated at 10 years
Ease of keeping: Moderate
Ease of breeding: Moderate to Hard


The Queen Arabesque pleco, Ancistrus temminckii is gorgeous. They come from Brazil. They are the L260 number. The closest relative that I could find in my fish atlas was the zebra pleco, Hypancistrus zebra. There is an entire web site dedicated to that fish, zebrapleco.com.

Queen Arabesque plecos stay small, only growing to four inches according to most sources but six inches according to my store (and we know they are always right, right?).

Setup and Water Preferences

Queen Arabesque plecos like water that is near neutral (pH 6.5 to 7.6) and medium in hardness. They do well from about 73 to 83 degrees F according to web sites apparently preferring to be a bit warmer than other plecos. Queen Arabesque plecos are very peaceful and shy. They will hide most of the time. Like most plecos, they are nocturnal. Also, like most plecos, they like to have some strong current someplace in the tank and need lots of dissolved oxygen (aeration). Some sites say they prefer a fine sand substrate. My tank has regular aquarium gravel, and the pleco seems fine with it.

Unlike most plecos, Queen Arabesque plecos seem to prefer animal-based foods as much as or more than plant-based foods including algae. They are not great algae eaters, better appreciated for their beauty than hard work. Like most plecos, they may eat some algae as well as sinking algae wafers or pleco foods, cucumbers, squash, green beans, peas, and other green vegetables. Cucumber, squash, and zucchini can be prepared by slicing a 2 to 4 inch piece of vegetable and cutting it in half. Remove the seeds with a grapefruit spoon. Attach it to a sinking vegetable holder (used to be sold by aquarium suppliers but not anymore apparently), tie it to a rock with anything aquarium-safe, or use a clip on a suction cup to otherwise hold the vegetable (well, they are actually fruits) in place. Also, as with all plecos, the Queen Arabesque pleco perhaps should be provided with some driftwood to chew on for roughage. At least one site says they will not actually chew on driftwood but just hide in and around it. These plecos should not eat plants.

For their animal-based foods, Queen Arabesque plecos will eat most fish foods with a preference for those that sink (and those that the other fish do not eat before the pleco gets to them). I think sinking shrimp pellets are a good choice. Brine shrimp, bloodworms, and shrimp are all suggestions.

A few weeks after I added Queen to my tank, an odd thing started to happen. The back glass wall became bright and the huge driftwood in the tank started to go from black to brown. What was happening? My "not-supposed-to-eat-algae" queen pleco has been eating the algae! I am confused then by reports that they do not eat any algae. Maybe she just scraped it off and dumped it into the water?


Females are reported to have a solid white stomach while males are supposed to have one that is mottled. Mine had a solid white belly on 1/20/07 but when I saw it again on 1/27/07, it was mottled so maybe they can change color like many catfish. Males are larger and have plate odontodes.


Although not common (probably because they are not that common), Queen Arabesque plecos have been bred in captivity. They are egg layers. As with bristlenose plecos, the males guard the eggs and newborns.

My Queen Arabesque Pleco

Queen on 1/14/07 shortly after she went into my 50 gallon tank.

I felt my 50 gallon tank needed a small pleco. The tank has a colony of rosy barbs; one mature, real Siamese algae eater; a panda cory; and an old otto. That was it. I thought a pleco sucking in there to eat some of the algae and java moss would look nice. I also wanted to buy my first expensive fish. I looked at about four species that were $40 to $50 and picked the $39.99 Queen Arabesque pleco. Only later with reading did I discover she is one of the meat-loving plecos, perhaps more-so than my pair of bristlenose plecos in my 20 gallon tank who do not do much algae sucking. I hope Queen (her appropriate name for now) can get enough leftover fish foods from the feisty barbs. The tank is loaded with java moss and plenty of places to hide in it. The first day, she has not moved much or done much. As her species tends to be, she is shy. I will call her a she since the name is Queen but I do not know what sex Queen is. Her stomach is white so she may be female as males are supposed to have mottled stomachs. When I got Queen, she was already two inches long. So far, Queen has stayed on the bottom and hiding in the tons of java moss and not sucked on the glass much.

A week after I saw Queen's white stomach, I saw the stomach again, and it was mottled. Many fish can change colors and patterning so that may be the case here. I do not know how accurate the method of mottled or not on the stomach is for sexing. If it is accurate, then my fish went from girl to boy in a week (which is not possible)!

Update 2/28/07: Queen is doing just fine.

As of 1/20/08, Queen is still doing well. She has not really grown as she will stay small. Even though they say her species does not eat algae, she has been removing it from the large driftwood in the tank. She sleeps at its base during the day, always in the same spot even if it is not covered from above with java moss or other cover.

On 9/20/08, Queen was laying against the glass so I measured her length. She is 2.5 inches long.

I saw Queen on 9/4/14. I had not seen her in many months and had assumed she had died but she is still alive! She is probably 8 years old!

I saw Queen on 11/19/14. She now has some lateral line erosion and missing parts on her pelvic fins.

I saw Queen on 8/20/15 for the first time in 9 months! She is alive but eroded. I saw Queen on 9/17/15. I saw her on 11/30/15. Yes, I go months without seeing her.

I had a confirmed sighting of Queen on 1/6/18, Wow, it has been two years since I recorded a sighting! She did have a lot of fin loss and white from the lateral line erosion and fin rot but she was moving! she is now more than 11 years old! I saw her again on 2/10/18. I saw her on 11/3/18. I saw her on 6/8/19 and 6/9/19. She was out again on 10/3/19. She still looks bad but must be strong.

On 11/21/20, I noticed that Queen was upside down and gasping for air sort of out in the open. It seemed like this would be the end after 13 years. Yet, later, I cleaned the tank, and she was back in hiding. It seems that the heater is not working as the tank water is in the upper 60's (same as the air) while the heater is set much higher. I am ordering a new heater.

After dying for a long time, Queen finally passed away on 3/1/21. I had her for 14 years. She spent most of that time hiding.

Photos of my Queen Arabesque pleco are below under pictures.

Links and Pictures

Queen Pleco page on planetcatfish.com.

Queen Pleco

Queen Arabesque Pleco Information

Planet Catfish - a UK catfish page with information on lots of catfish.

Photos of my Queen Arabesque pleco:

Photos are listed from newest to oldest.

Queen on 10/18/15. Her lateral line erosion (the white infected area down the length of her body) is quite evident but she has had it for years and yet lives on.

Queen on 5/12/15.

These photos from 4/22/12 showed the Queen Arabesque pleco in the fake log as well as a leopard cory in the back.

Queen on 7/3/10.

Queen on 8/29/09.

Queen on 8/15/08 with some rosy barbs.

Queen on 2/16/08.

Baby tears on 1/8/08. This photo was to show the new baby tears plants. My Queen Arabesque pleco is also in the photo in the upper right.

Queen on the driftwood in the 50 gallon tank on 3/24/07.

Queen on the driftwood in the 50 gallon on 3/24/07. The rosy barbs kept swimming in the way of the photo!

Queen waiting in a bucket during the 50 gallon tank cleaning on 3/17/07 with a small rosy barb and an otto. See the tank redo page for details from that day.

Queen on 1/14/07 in a bucket when I first got her.

Queen on 1/14/07 once she was in the 50 gallon tank.

Live Aquaria sells Queen Arabesque plecos. Click on the photo below for more information.

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