Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Pterygoplichthys pardalis is a tropical fish, a Plecostomus in the Armored Catfish family (Loricariidae). Some synonyms for this species are Hypostomus pardalis, Liposarcus pardalis, Liposarcus varius, and Liposarcus jeanesianus. It is one of a number of species commonly referred to as the Common Pleco or "leopard Pleco" by aquarists. It will grow to a maximum length of 42.3 centimetres (16.7 in) SL. Pterygoplichthys pardalis is sometimes confused with the Hypostomus plecostomus (another armored catfish known as the "Common Plecostomus"). The two species can be distinguished by their number of dorsal rays. P. pardalis has 11–13, while the H. plecostomus has only 5–8 dorsal rays.
P. pardalis is native to the Amazon River Basin of Brazil and Peru and prefers water with a 7.0–7.5 pH, a water hardness of 10.0–20.0 dGH, and a temperature range of 73.4–82.4 °F (23.0–28.0 °C). Although normally a bottom-dwelling fish, they have the ability to breathe air from the surface of the water during dry periods and those in which dissolved oxygen is too low. As an aquarium fish they are hardy and suited for beginners. Peaceful and well suited for most "community" tank environments, they are mainly herbivorous but will feed on a wide range of fish food offered to them. They are often known for their cleaning ability and will indeed eat algae off tank walls. However, the fish themselves often excrete relatively large quantities of waste. They are mildly territorial towards other large Plecostomus.
There is also an albino color variation of this species, usually referred to as an "Albino Plecostomus".