Hypostomus luteus

Photo: Ole Paulsen


Hypostomus luteus is a quite spectacular and unusual Pleco. Only in recent years has it become a new sensation in the aquarium hobby, and it’s among the most expensive Plecos on the market. It hails from the border region between Brazil and Argentina, which means it should not be kept in too warm water (18-24 C). One of the extraordinary traits of Hypostomus luteus is how it changes it appearance from juvenile to adult; young specimens are dark grey/black with small golden spots and a yellow caudal fin. As they age, they gradually transform into all golden/orange adults. If the temperature requirements are met and enough space and food is given, Hypostomus luteus is a hardy and easy to keep Pleco. It’s currently not allowed for export from Brazil, so most indivisuals are exported from Argentina and Uruguay.


Name: Hypostomus luteus (Godoy, 1980)

Trade names: Golden Sailfin Pleco

Origin: Rio Pelotas, Rio Canoas, Rio Uruguai, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil/Argentina/Uruguay.

Maximum size: 45 cm / 18”

Hypostomus luteus is a large growing feeding machine, most of all a herbivore. They need great amounts of vegetable matter to do well, and will produce quite a bit of waste as a result of their feeding habits. This requires good filtration and frequent water changes, as Hypostomus luteus is not happy with water containing too much nitrates. As they grow, mature males may be a little quarrelsome, so provide enough space and shelters for every individual. Hypostomus luteus has been bred in captivity, but details are scarce. It will nonetheless require lots of space, and a thick wallet to make this happen due to the price of each individual.

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