Vampire Pleco (L240 Pleco) Guide: Care, Size, Lifespan, Breeding, and More

The Vampire Pleco (Leporacanthicus cf. galaxias(l240)) is a pleco fish that has been kept for a long time. They’ve been around for quite some time, and they’re a fan favorite in community aquariums. Despite this fish’s widespread appeal, we’ve encountered numerous instances of misinformation being spread about it on the Internet. Many inexperienced aquarists have been burned by following such flawed advice. Although these fish are adaptable and may survive in a variety of settings, it is still vital to provide a clean and stable aquarium for them.

This page will provide you with all of the information you require about Vampire Pleco. This includes information about their nutrition, size, recommended tank size, longevity, tank mates, and more!

Species Profile & Overview

The Vampire Pleco (L240 Pleco) is a popular type of pleco that can be found in the upper Orinoco River in Venezuela. They are among the most stunning armored catfish or Loricariidae family.

The members of this family are protected from local aquatic predators by a bony plate that runs the length of their backs. The shape of their bodies makes them ideal for living in the shadows of rocks while swimming. This fish has a striking appearance and pattern, hence it is popular among aquarium keepers.

Driftwood, plant matter, and large rocks populate the rivers and water basins where Vampire Pleco makes his home. All year long, the water is at a comfortable temperature, free of debris, and teeming with life-giving oxygen. Your fish will thank you for providing them with a habitat like this in the tank.

Most fish-keeping enthusiasts like this species because of its impressive size and beautiful markings. This means that, once they hit shelves, they’ll be a bit more expensive than they otherwise would be.


Galaxy Pleco (L240)

This stunning animal has the darkest coloring of any freshwater pleco. They’re totally covered in a stunning black hue and white dots. Vampire Pleco gets its name from the bright spots on its body, which makes them invisible at night. They stand out due to the striking contrast between the two primary colors.

Anatomy Of Plecos

The overall shape of the plecos is depicted in the above figure. Their bulky head and body gradually taper to a small tail fin. Two eyes on top of their heads allow them to keep an eye on everything happening in the water.

The pleco’s dorsal fin and tail fin stand out among the fish’s 8 other fins. The fins, like the rest of the body, feature distinctive patterns and hues. When they aren’t stressed and live in an environment free of conflict, they thrive and develop even darker colors.

Adult Size

Adult Vampire Pleco size is about 9 – 10 inches in length. This makes them one of the larger plecos that require more space than a standard aquarium can provide.

There are, however, accounts of considerably larger specimens. This is extremely unusual and does not apply to the vast majority of Vampire Plecos.


In pristine conditions, L240 Vampire Pleco lifespan is about 10 -15 years. This means they need a long-term commitment.

They are susceptible to infections that could shorten their lives if their tank isn’t properly cared for.

Behavior and Temperament

Vampire Pleco is timid fish that prefer to stay hidden among rocks and other ornaments. This species of fish is nocturnal, thus it feeds primarily at night. They may be difficult to spot during the day or while the lights are on, depending on the design of your aquarium. If the conditions are right, they will come out during the day as well.

Males can be very territorial and have been seen fighting other species of bottom-dwelling fish for control of their region. Having multiple males in your aquarium can lead to fights. The males in the tank will fight over territory and hiding places. in contrast to men. Females tend to be docile and avoid conflict, both with other females and with males.

More caves and hiding places reduce male violence. Each male pleco in the tank requires at least one cave. When males have access to a sufficient number of caves, they will each choose one to defend.

Vampire Pleco Care

Galaxy Pleco (L240)

Vampire Plecos are low-maintenance fish that require little attention. These catfish, which normally live in the muck, will quickly adjust to their new home in an aquarium. The aquarium will need some tweaks, though, to make it more comfortable for your fish.

They’ll require particular care and food that mimics their natural diet as closely as possible. Your fish will thank you for this later in life. In order to have this fish in a comfortable state and prevent any health issues, you should adhere to the guidelines we’ve outlined below. 

Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a single L240 Vampire Pleco is 60 gallons or more. You can get away with keeping juveniles in smaller tanks for a while, but you’ll need to upgrade eventually. Having a larger tank from the start is usually preferable.

While a 60-gallon aquarium is enough, a slightly larger tank would be preferable. This is especially true when trying to increase the number of plecos in a given tank. It stands to reason that larger aquariums would be preferable for housing such species. One advantage of larger aquariums is that they tend to have more consistent tank conditions.

If you want the best possible tank, don’t focus on how much water it can hold; instead, prioritize how much floor space it has. This means that broader aquariums are preferable to taller ones when housing plecos. With a wider aquarium, you’ll have more room to lay down rocs, slates, tiles, and other surfaces for your fish and other aquarium inhabitants to enjoy.

Tank Setup

Because of their timid nature, the L240 Plecos will require plenty of hiding spaces. You can make a natural environment for them by placing artificial ornaments or natural decorations. The fish’s stress levels will be affected by the conditions in its aquarium.

Your pleco will feel more at ease if you provide several hiding places, either artificial or natural, for it to use. However, there are many advantages to having natural decorations in a fish tank, so we advise against skipping them. Your pleco will feel secure if you furnish its habitat with plenty of rocks and driftwood.

A properly stocked aquarium with natural wood and pebbles can also aid in keeping water conditions stable. You should also build several caves for your pleco to use as shelter throughout the day.

The substrate of the aquarium should also be carefully considered. These fish are hiding out at the tank’s bottom, and they have a very tender underbelly. As a result, they’ll need a cushiony base. The best substrate is sand, however, smaller pea gravels might also work. Many types of plant substrates are suitable for use in pleco aquariums. A planted substrate can be utilized in a pleco tank if vegetation is to be included in the setup.

Vegetation is crucial to the health of any ecosystem. Aquatic plants may both filter out harmful substances and provide cover for your fish. Plants, whether they float or not, can enhance the aesthetic value and practical utility of your aquarium.

Water Parameters

The vampire squid Pleco lives in warm, oxygen-rich rivers. Driftwood and other decaying plant materials provide a natural food source for animals in these rivers. Due to the decaying driftwood, the water will turn slightly soft and acidic. These fish can, however, survive in water conditions that differ from their natural habitat.

Below are the tank parameters you can keep L240 Plecos in: 

  • Temperature: 80 – 86 Degrees Fahrenheit 
  • PH: 6.5 – 7.7
  • TDS: 60 – 120 PPM

If your municipal water supply is ph-neutral, you can keep this fish with no issues. The tank’s ph must be consistent for this fish. When the difference in TDS between the tap water and the tank water is small, Plecos can tolerate water changes of up to 90%, which is far higher than the tolerance of most fish. You may find out how many dissolved solids are in the water of your tank by using a TDS meter. when it’s time to replace the water, etc.


Galaxy Pleco (L240)

Vampire Pleco can adjust to any level of illumination if it is correctly put up. These fish tend to stay in the dark throughout the day and only surface at night. It’s important to match the tank’s lighting to the plants you have in it.

Filter System

L240 Pleco needs clean water, so an established tank is necessary. When the water in your tank isn’t kept perfectly clean by the filtration system, your fish could get sick. Internal or external infections, illnesses, or even death are also possible outcomes.

Common Diseases and Prevention

Vampire Pleco is susceptible to illness if their tank conditions are not optimal. Diseases can also develop in this fish after prolonged stress. Moreover, they are extremely susceptible to any of the usual aquarium diseases that new fish could introduce to your tank.

Never introduce new fish or plants to your tank without first adequately quarantining them to ensure they won’t spread any infections. The potential for outbreaks among tanks will be greatly diminished if this is done. It’s also vital that you maintain a clean tank. The risk of bacterial infections and, maybe, internal or external worms increases when food is left in the tank after being eaten.

Galaxy Pleco (L240)

Diet and Feeding Requirements

Although vampire Pleco is technically omnivores, they appear to prefer feeding on flesh rather than plants. Protein-based meals should serve as the foundation of their diet, but they also require plant-based foods to thrive. Occasional consumption of naturally occurring tank-grown biofilm and algae is also possible. If you want to maintain your tank algae-free, though, you may need to look elsewhere, as L240 Plecos don’t consume algae.

You should feed this fish once or twice daily because it will continually scavenge for food in the aquarium. The protein in bloodworms, brine shrimp, tubifex, prawns, shrimps, and other small critters is excellent for them, and these items can be fed to them either fresh or frozen. As long as the food can fit in their mouths, they will eat it.

Your pleco should be fed a commercially prepared fish meal every day, such as sinking pellets, shrimp wafers, or algae wafers. Your fish will get all the nourishment it needs from this combination of dry foods. Feeding them a balance of high-protein pellets or fish flakes and a small amount of plant-based foods is best.

The majority of their diet should consist of commercially prepared foods supplemented with fresh or frozen options. Plecos forage for food at the tank’s bottom, so it’s important to stock up on sinking fish foods that can make it there. It’s best to feed them at night, and only give them as much as they’ll devour before daylight.

Vampire Pleco Breeding

Pleco Fry

In the correct settings, L240 Pleco can be successfully bred in aquariums. Vampire Pleco breeding, however, is a tricky and often tedious endeavor.The ideal conditions for breeding are moderate-moving warm waters. a powerhead might be necessary to create more movement in the tank.

If you want to breed L240 Pleco, you should wait until they are at least three to four years old. You can begin preparing your fish for breeding after you know for sure that you have both males and females in your breeding group.

Vampire Plecos are protective of their eggs and like to spawn in the caves to protect themselves and their fry. The female lays around 50 to 150 eggs depending on its size and the eggs will hatch in 7-10 days. The temperature and water hardness affects their development time.

Fry typically spend the first few days after hatching in the cave and continue to eat the remaining of their sac. The male will guard the fry for another 10-12 days in the cave before they are ready to escape the cave.

Vampire Pleco Tank Mates

As long as the tank has enough bottom space, vampire pleco can be a wonderful addition to any tank. This fish will act differently depending on how you’ve designed and decorated their tank. Pay particular attention to the “Tank Setup” section of this article to ensure the safety of your tank for L240 Pleco and any other inhabitants.

The vampire pleco is compatible with most South American aquarium fish. It’s best to get fish of a comparable size that aren’t very hostile to one another. As a species that prefers to live below the ocean floor, this predator has no interest in pelagic fish. To ensure the health and happiness of your L240 Pleco, it’s important to pair them with fish that share similar water parameters and aggressive nature. Good company for your pleco includes the following:

Galaxy Pleco (L240)


You have now successfully completed the first step in becoming an expert Vampire Pleco caretaker: learning the basics. These fish are relatively docile and won’t cause too much trouble in a community aquarium. In order to thrive, the L240 Pleco needs a nice, toasty tank. If you stick to the advice in this manual, you shouldn’t run into any problems.