The Leopard Frog Pleco (L134) is one of our all-time favorite freshwater fish. But they don’t get the attention they deserve!
Caring for this species is quite simple. They are soft, peaceful, resistant and very beautiful.
This is why we find ourselves recommending them to aquarists all the time! But if you want this species to thrive, you have to provide some very specific conditions.
This guide on Leopard Frog Pleco care will cover everything you need to know if you want to keep this species in your freshwater tank.
Leopard Frog Plecos (scientific name: Peckoltia compta) is a freshwater species that goes by a few additional names. Sometimes you’ll see them referred to as L134 or Imperial Tiger Pleco (the latter can make things a bit confusing at times).
This fish is found in South America (mainly Brazil) and the largest collection of them swims in the tributaries of the Jamaxim River and the Tapajós River. They are quite adaptable and can thrive in waters with currents ranging from slow to fast. You can usually find them on rocks using their sucker mouth to search for food.
Many of the Plecos leopard frogs found in the aquarium trade are wild-caught. Because of this, they can be difficult to find at your local fish store (and the price may be a bit higher, too).
Author’s Note: One of the main attractions of this species is its size. The L134 is not as large as many other types of plecos, making them a great choice for aquarists who don’t have room in their home for a large tank.
The appearance of the Leopard Frog Pleco is absolutely stunning. While they definitely still have the classic “pleco” look, this species has a unique style that we love.
First, let’s start with the colors.
This fish has a pattern of yellow and black stripes that covers its entire body. The stripes on the face and fins point backwards, while the stripes on the body run more vertically (getting wider towards the back).
>Sometimes the yellow is quite vibrant, and other times it’s a bit more washed out. This just depends on the specimen. However, yellows can be quite colorful fish.
In terms of the rest of his body, the Imperial Tiger Pleco’s appearance fits the pleco mold. Its body is thickest at the head and becomes significantly thinner behind the dorsal fin.
All its fins are large and open slightly backwards. You will usually see them open when this fish is resting on rocks, driftwood, or the substrate (which happens often). The very edges of their fins become semi-translucent, giving them a neat appearance.
The typical lifespan of a Leopard Frog Pleco is around 8-10 years. This is a relatively long period of time, especially for a fish on the smaller side.
Of course, this shelf life assumes good care. If you do not keep these fish in optimal conditions, their life expectancy will be affected.
Author’s Note: There have been reports of the L134 passing the 10 year mark, but that’s pretty uncommon.
The average size of the Leopard Frog Pleco is between 3.5 and 4.3 inches long. This makes them one of the smaller plecos on the aquarium scene (along with the Bristlenose).
This size is also a big plus for aquarists who want a pleco, but don’t have room in their home for a large tank. Many other plecos get pretty big, which means the minimum tank size ends up being pretty big.
Leopard Frog Pleco Care
Leopard Frog Pleco care is not very challenging. These fish can be successfully kept by aquarists with very little experience.
This species is hardy, peaceful, and generally low maintenance. As long as you do a good job of keeping the water conditions constant, you shouldn’t have any problems with them!
That said, it’s still important to do your research and know what they require. Hardy fish can still suffer in suboptimal habitat.
Here are the key care items to keep in mind:
The minimum recommended tank size for Leopard Frog Plecos is 30 gallons. This is manageable for most aquarists and is made possible by the smaller size of this fish.
Author’s Note: However, it is always recommended to go with a slightly larger tank if possible. This will allow you to set up a more natural environment and significantly improve the quality of life for your fish.
When it comes to Leopard Frog Pleco care, water parameters are a bit interesting. When you take a look at the numbers, there really is nothing to worry about.
However, the trick is to keep them stable.
Consistency is key when it comes to this species. While they are known to be quite hardy and adaptable to a wide range of environments, they can suffer in fluctuating water conditions.
So while it’s crucial to meet the conditions below, that’s only half the battle. Most of your attention should be devoted to ensuring that the parameters of the water in your tank are stable.
- Water temperature: 75°F to 86°F
- pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
- Water hardness: 6 to 10 dKH
To maintain consistency in your aquarium, we recommend purchasing a high-quality, reliable aquarium test kit. This will allow you to accurately monitor the condition of your tank and stop any parameter changes before they become a problem.
What to put in your tank
Setting up a Leopard Frog Pleco tank habitat is pretty straightforward. These fish are not too picky as long as you provide the essentials to make them feel at home.
You can be a bit flexible when it comes to the substrate. Both sand and gravel will be fine, as they will spend most of their time camped out on other objects near the bottom of the tank.
>And speaking of those objects, that’s where rocks and driftwood come into play.
These are definitely the most important items to include as they are found throughout the natural habitat of the Leopard Frog Pleco. These fish will use them to hide, feed and relax throughout the day.
Try to build some natural caves for them using these materials as well. This will give them a place to hide if they want to feel safe and secure.
Author’s Note: Aim for reasonably sized rocks and driftwood relative to the size of these fish. The size of your tank will affect the size of everything, of course, so keep that in mind as well.
Feel free to experiment when it comes to plants too. The Plecostomus leopard frog is a very plant-friendly species that does not destroy or uproot anything. You can even try some floating aquarium plants if your tank is big enough!
Possible common diseases
The L134 pleco is very strong and resistant to disease, but that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. Like any freshwater fish, this species can definitely get sick (especially when kept in suboptimal conditions).
Ich is one of the most common diseases that can affect your Leopard Frog Pleco. Also called white spot disease, this parasitic disease can quickly take over your fish and negatively impact their health.
Fin rot and dropsy are two other culprits you’ll want to keep an eye out for. Both can progress quickly, which means it’s important to act quickly if you see the first signs.
In general, the best way to keep this species healthy is to prevent disease from occurring in the first place. Stay on top of the water quality, feed them healthy foods, and don’t put anything in the tank that hasn’t been tested first.
Prevention is always easier than treatment!
Food and Diet
There are a number of foods you can feed Leopard Frog plecos, making this one of the easiest parts of their care!
These fish are omnivores and should be fed a diet consisting of plant and protein rich foods. Some sort of sinking pellets or wafers are a good starting point, and you can also add some bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tubifex.
To mix things up, feed them some vegetables too. Here are some good options:
- shelled peas
Author’s Note: Contrary to popular belief, these fish are actually not one of the best algae eaters out there. They may nibble on it from time to time, but it’s not something they aggressively pursue.
behavior and temperament
Leopard Frog Plecos have a fantastic temperament for fishing. This species is peaceful, calm, and will not cause problems with other fish in the tank.
The only situation where you may see these fish get a bit aggressive is when you have multiple males and there is not enough room. The males can get a bit territorial at times (which is not unusual for fish). However, if you provide them with enough space, this will rarely happen.
In terms of his general demeanor, there is also a lot to like! Unlike many other bottom-feeding fish, Leopard Frog Plecos are quite outgoing!
Sure, they will spend a lot of time hiding. But they won’t hesitate to surface and explore from time to time as well. This makes them an excellent choice for aquarists who enjoy observing the behavior of their fish.
Author’s Note: These fish are nocturnal by nature. However, this cycle can change a bit once they get used to their aquarium.
There are plenty of compatible tankmates you can consider if you own an L135 pleco. These fish are very peaceful and will generally ignore other species that are in the tank.
As long as you don’t keep them with anything extremely large or aggressive, your Leopard Frog Pleco should be fine!
Below are some of the common tank mate options for you to consider, but feel free to experiment whenever you find non-aggressive fish that have similar water requirements.
- ember tetra
- gourami honey
- prickly nose pleco
- serpae tetra
- gourami pearl
- platypus fish
- neon tetra
- dwarf gourami
- emperor tetra
- cardinal tetra
Author’s Note: They can also be kept with larger shrimp like Bamboo or Amano. However, smaller shrimp can be eaten!
Leopard frog pleco hatchling
Breeding Plecos leopard frogs is something that is definitely possible in captivity. However, it can be a bit more complicated than raising other freshwater fish species.
If you want to have a realistic chance of breeding this species, it is important to provide them with caves and hiding places. These fish use these places to reproduce and will not start the process otherwise.
We strongly recommend lowering the water temperature a bit to activate playback as well. Some breeders have found it helpful to add a little water to the tank as well through water changes.
Once the female has stored her eggs in the cave, the male will protect and care for them. The eggs shouldn’t take more than a week to hatch, and you’ll see the little babies swimming freely after a few days!
Be sure to feed them brine shrimp at this age to help them grow.
Leopard Frog Plecos is a great freshwater fish that we recommend to aquarists of all experience levels. No matter if you are just starting out or just want a low maintenance species, the L134 is a great choice!
Of all the common plecos, this might be our favorite in terms of color and natural beauty. They stand out in almost any tank.
If you have any questions that have not been answered by this care guide, we will be happy to help. Simply contact us on Facebook or through our website and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!