Plecostomus is also known as Pleco, is a freshwater Catfish. It’s an excellent addition to the aquarium or pond that lives at the bottom part of the water level. The Pleco or common Pleco feed on mostly algae, small crustaceans, and aquatic plants. Consequently, people want them to keep the pond/aquarium clean.
However, can you put a Pleco in a Koi pond? The Simple answer is Yes. Plecos are excellent bottom feeders that are compatible with Koi fish. They’re a great addition in a Koi pond as a bottom feeder and keep the algae controlled. However, Pleco isn’t overwintered fish. If the water temperature is below 55-59°F, you need to house them inside or apply a heater.
What type of Pleco is Best For a Koi Pond
Several species of Pleco are well-suited for a Koi pond. However, the hardiest and resilient Pleco is the common Pleco. It can survive as cold as 50 °F.
The common Pleco can live about 20-30 years and reach up to 18-24 inches in length. And caring for them is moderately easy in an outdoor pond. Moreover, the herbivorous common Pleco will eat the leftover of the Koi food.
Another hardy Plecostomus species is Bristlenose. It’s also known as bushynose Plecos. Bristlenose catfish is one of the most popular Plecos and easy to take care of. They can live around 12 years with a length of 12-15 cm (3-6 inches). This herbivore fish mainly feed on algae and aufwuchs.
The Sailfin Pleco could be another alternative to common Pleco for your Koi pond. It’s a medium-sized Pleco that can reach around 18 inches. The peaceful behavior and interesting look make it identical. And Sailfin Pleco primarily feeds on pond algae and other plant matters.
What is the best temperature for a Pleco in a Koi pond
The Plecos are primarily tropical freshwater fish. And they prefer mild water temperature for living. The best water temperature for Plecos ranges from 70-82 °F (21-28°C). However, they can tolerate 60-85 °F.
Here’s a good water testing kit you can check.
The common, Bristlenose, and Sailfin are some of the hardiest Plecos. Therefore, they can survive at around 50-59°F too. However, keeping them outside during winter at less than 55 °F isn’t recommended.
Will Pleco harm your Koi pond
Even though Pleco, aka algae eaters, aka sucker catfish, do well in aquariums, you can add it to your Koi pond, and it won’t hurt the pond’s environment. It’s a hardy fish that will help to keep the algae controlled by eating off the rock and bottom of your pond.
However, Plecos are tropical and only good for summer in the outside pond without a heater.
If you’re looking for a heater and De-Icer for Koi pond, check this product.
Also, it’s a messy fish that make the water dirty. Therefore, you may need a water filter for your Koi Pond to keep a healthy environment.
Here’s our recommended product for the best water filter for a Koi Pond.
Will Pleco Kill or Attack the Koi
The Plecostomus or Pleco isn’t aggressive fish (except to their own kind). With enough food and space, it wouldn’t bother Koi or any other fish in your pond. So, if your Koi pond has enough algae, you don’t need to be worried.
However, Plecos are known to suck the protective slime coats off the sleeping fish. This happens when only there is a scarce of food. But a possibility is always there.
Moreover, Pleco tends to carry some sort of disease that can cause death to your precious Koi. Therefore, the best practice is to keep them quarantined for few days before releasing them in the pond.
What other fish you can put in a Koi pond during winter Instead of Pleco
As we discussed earlier, Pleco isn’t overwintered fish. Even though some hardy Plecos can survive around 50°F temperature, the best practice is to house them inside below 60 °F.
Moreover, some areas have a longer period with below 60 °F temperature. Therefore, you’ll need an alternative fish, aka algae eater, to keep the algae under control.
Therefore, the other algae eaters you can put in a Koi pond during winter instead of Plecos:
- Grass Carp
- Pond Loach
- Otocinclus Catfish
- Channel Catfish
- Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark
These are the common algae eaters that can withstand some low temperatures. They’re a great alternative to Pleco you can consider.
Here’s an article regarding the most common and popular algae-eating pond fish.
Koi is an opportunistic Omnivore fish. Their diet primarily consists of different vegetation. However, most koi owners want a different species to keep algae under control. Among all the algae eaters, Pleco is one. However, can you put a Pleco in a Koi pond?
Yes, you can out Pleco in an outside pond. However, Pleco isn’t overwintered fish, And can’t handle below 60 °F water temperature (except a few). And the common Pleco is the overall best choice for a Koi pond.
Although Pleco can suck off the protective slime of a sleeping fish, attacking Koi fish isn’t usual if there is enough food and space. Moreover, Pleco isn’t aggressive in nature, except to their kind.
Also, if your weather temperature is low for a longer period, in that case, you should try other alternative algae eaters. Those can be Grass carp, Pond Loach, Otocinclus Catfish, Channel Catfish, and Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark.