Why Do Plecos Shed Their Skin? (Is It Normal)

Most fishes come with scales because of moving, protecting, and assisting them with hassle-free moves from one place to the next.

Plecos are another type of species that have some differences from other fishes.

But Why Do Plecos Shed Their Skin? The Plecos don’t come with scales like other fishes. But, they have shed a coat of their protective slime or mucus.

Why Do Plecos Shed Their Skin

Do Plecostomus Shed Their Skin?

The simple answer is no; however, the process by which they grow and mature is a bit more complicated than that.

Let’s take a closer look at how these fish grow and why shedding their skin isn’t part of the process.

Plecostomus are a type of armored catfish that originate from South America.

They are popular freshwater aquarium fish because of their scavenging habits and bottom-dwelling nature.

They can grow to be quite large, up to two feet in length in some cases.

As they grow, plecos will periodically shed their outermost layer of skin, which is actually a slime coat.

Why Do Plecos Shed Their Skin?

1. Aggressive with Their Tankmates

First and foremost, Plecos always keep cool and calm down in any situation and don’t like aggressive things from their tankmate.

So, you can’t keep any aggressive fish under the tank with Plecos because of injury and other problems.

When you keep aggressive fish with them, they use slime coats for a protective case.

They also use slime coats in their shed when they feel thread.

2. Growth of Plecos

Slime coat in their shed is essential for the proper growth of the Plecos. When they grow properly, the shed grows with them and becomes stronger.

Slime coats build up when they grow and release. It is a natural process, and every Pleco has a smile coat on their shed.

3. Tank Size for Plecos

According to my research and some journals, most of the Plecos come in large sizes. So, the tank size should come out to a minimum of 100 gallons of water.

When the Plecos don’t find this amount of water and tank size, they become stressed and use slime coats when they find insufficient space under the tank.

4. Food Scarcity

Plecos are sensitive to eating food under the tank. Especially since they are slow to eat food.

When you keep other fish with Plecos, they lose the food to eat because they can’t get competitive with other fishes to eat food.

And when they don’t find proper food, they start to open their shed with coat slime.

5. Insufficient Hiding Space

As you know, the Plecos are calm and cool fish and never love aggression or stress from other fishes; that’s why they wanted to get a perfect hiding space.

A hiding space helps them to hide when they feel threatened. So, you need to provide proper hiding space so that they can’t use slime coats.

Does Water Quality Matter to Shed Their Slime Coat?

Yes, water quality matters to shed their slime coat. The water temperature, PH level, and some things you need to keep in mind to keep Plecos.

The water quality also depends on health and happiness because of staying in the Plecos for a long-time.

However, it would help if you kept in mind some parameters to keep your Plecos healthy and happy.

It would help if you kept the water PH level from 7.0 to 8.0 because for proper health

The water temperature should come from 73°F to 82°F (23°C to 28°C)

And, of course, you need to maintain a water hardness of 20 to 35

When You Need to Worry About Pleco Shedding?

Pleco shades their coat slime from time to time when they are growing. An adult or teenage Pleco is not exact enough.

The basic thing is that you never need to worry about their shedding and coated slime.

So, Why Is My Pleco’s Skin Peeling?

On the other hand, if you see that your Pleco shedding is peeling off or pointing out, you need to understand that your Pleco comes with ill feelings and infection.

There are several things I found which affect the shedding of the Pleco.

For example, you, the Pleco, are always stress-free fish, which is why they don’t try to use slime coats to protect. You can also check out the above to get further information.

However, if the slime coat shed starts to peel or lose, you need to take proper advice from a veterinarian and take proper action.

You can also let us know about your Pleco condition so that we can help you out with this matter.


Is It Normal My Pleco Is Shedding or any type of Disease?

Plecos are a type of armored catfish that originates from South America. Their natural habitat consists of slow-moving rivers and streams with plenty of vegetation.

These fish are known for their hardy nature and their ability to thrive in a variety of different water conditions.

Plecos are unique in that they will shed their slime coats as they keep growing.

This process is normal and helps the fish to rid itself of any parasites or bacteria that may be present on its body.

The new slime coat is typically thinner and more transparent than the old one, which can give the pleco a “faded” look.

If you notice your pleco shedding its slime coat more frequently than usual, it could be a sign that something is wrong with the water quality in its tank.

Do Plecos Have Scales?

On the other hand, the coat also comes with a brown layer called a mulm. It is not to scale but shed, which is also an essential part of Plecos.

When Plecos used their coat, the fish owners and researchers thought that it was scaled. But it is not.