L168 Butterfly Pleco (Dekeyseria Brachyura)
The Butterfly Plecostomus (L168), also known as the Chameleon Pleco, is a smaller pleco species known for its stunning and dynamic pattern. Remarkably, this fish has the ability to adjust its coloration based on its environment. When in a setting with a light-colored substrate, the Butterfly Pleco showcases a vibrant pattern. Conversely, in a darker substrate or low-light conditions, it exhibits a much more subdued, darker pattern. Interestingly, when this species was first discovered in the wild, it was during nighttime when its pattern was darker. The subsequent color change in different conditions initially led to confusion among the discoverers, as it appeared to be a completely different fish. The Butterfly Pleco reaches an adult size of up to 5.5 to 6 inches.
The Butterfly Pleco is a shy, peaceful species, making it a good choice for a community aquarium. They are not the most active fish during the day unless there is food to be eaten.
When considering tank mates for Butterfly Plecos, it's important to choose species that are also peaceful and non-aggressive. They are peaceful, and unlike many other plecos, the Butterfly Pleco does not appear to be overly territorial with its own kind. An ideal choice for tankmates includes Tetras, Rasboras, Hatchetfish, Gold Barbs, Danios, and other Loricariids requiring similar conditions. However, it's best to avoid housing them with overly aggressive or vigorous fish as the Butterfly Pleco can become very retiring and will easily be outcompeted for food.
In terms of diet, the Butterfly Pleco is primarily herbivorous. They are particularly fond of algae and will happily graze on any that grows in the tank. Provide them with sinking pellets, algae wafers, spirulina tablets, as well as vegetables such as zucchini, blanched romaine lettuce, spinach, crushed peas, cucumber, and squash. While they primarily feed on plant matter, they will also accept other protein-based food, such as frozen daphnia or bloodworms. They don’t eat wood but will readily eat the biofilm from its surfaces. The Butterfly Pleco tends to be more active during the night, so offering them food in the evening is recommended.
In terms of habitat, the Butterfly Pleco thrives in well-oxygenated soft water with moderate to fast flow. They prefer tanks that mimic their natural habitat, which includes riverbeds with a soft sandy substrate where they can forage for food and occasionally burrow. The tank should be furnished with plenty of hiding spots using driftwood, rocks, caves, slate, terracotta pipes, and live plants that provide relief from the light. Floating plants are a good option to provide them with additional subdued lighting.
Regarding their water parameters and aquarium size, the minimum recommended aquarium size for Butterfly Pleco is 30 gallons, and a community aquarium should be at least 50 gallons. The ideal pH range is between 5.5-7.0, and the hardness should be within 2-12 dGH. The temperature should be maintained between 72-78°F (22-26°C).
The Butterfly Pleco needs highly aerated water with a good aquarium filtration system. Regular water changes are necessary to maintain water quality and prevent the buildup of harmful nitrates. As with all tropical fish, consistent water parameters are needed for the Butterfly Pleco. Sudden or inconsistent swings in pH, temperature, and dGH readings can result in stress and health issues.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.