Leopard Frog Pleco: Care Instructions

This Leopard Frog Pleco care guide will cover all you need to know if you want to keep this species in your freshwater tank.

Species Summary

Leopard Frog Plecos (scientific name: Peckoltia compta ) is a freshwater species with several additional names. You'll sometimes see them called L134 or Imperial Tiger Pleco (the last one can sometimes make things a bit confusing).

This fish is found in South America (mainly Brazil) and its largest collection swims in the tributaries of the Rio Jamaxim and Rio Tapajós. They are quite adaptable and can thrive in waters with slow to fast currents. You can often find them on rocks using their mouths to forage.

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Many of the Leopard Frog Plecos found in the aquarium trade are wild-caught. As a result, they may be difficult to find at your local fish store (and the price may be a bit higher, too).

Note: One of the main attractions of this species is its size. The L134s aren't nearly as large as many other aquariums, which makes them a great choice for aquarists who don't have room for a large indoor tank.


The look of the Leopard Frog Pleco is absolutely amazing. While they certainly still have that classic "stylish" look, this species has a unique flair that we love.

First, let's start with color.

This fish has a yellow and black striped pattern that covers the entire body. The stripes on the face and fins point straight back while the stripes on the body run more vertically (wider towards the back).

A Leopard Frog Pleco on the bottom of the aquarium

Sometimes the yellow is quite vibrant, and other times a little lighter. This depends only on the specimen. However, the yellow ones can be quite colorful fish!

As for the rest of the body, the Imperial Tiger Pleco looks to fit the mold. Their body is thickest at the head and significantly thinner behind the dorsal fin.

All of their fins are large and rather fan-shaped. Usually, you will see them all spread out when this fish rests on rocks, driftwood or substrate (which they usually do). The edges of their fins become semi-translucent giving them a neat look.


The typical lifespan of a Leopard Frog Pleco is about 8-10 years. This is a relatively long time, especially for a smaller fish.

This longevity, of course, assumes good care. If you don't keep these fish in optimal condition, their lifespan will be affected.

Note: There have been reports of L134 surpassing the 10-year mark, but that's pretty rare.

Middle size

The average size of the Leopard Frog Pleco is 3.5 to 4.3 inches long. This makes them one of the smaller species in the aquarium scene (along with Bristlenose).

This size is also a big plus for aquarists who want a small aquarium, but don't have the space in their home for a large tank. Many other tanks become quite large, which means the final minimum tank size will be quite large.

Leopard Frog Pleco Care

Leopard Frog Pleco care is not very difficult. These fish can be successfully kept by aquarists with very little experience.

This species is hardy, temperate and generally low maintenance. As long as you do a good job maintaining the right water conditions, you shouldn't have any problems with them!

With that said, it's still important to do your research and know what they claim. Hardy fish can still crash in suboptimal habitats.

Here are the basic care factors to keep in mind:

Tank size

Refer: 25 of the most beautiful fish in the world that you can keep

The minimum recommended tank size for Leopard Frog Plecos is 30 gallons. This is manageable for most aquarists and made possible by the smaller size of this fish.

Note: However, you should go with a slightly larger tank if possible. This will allow you to establish a more natural environment and greatly improve the quality of life of your fish.

Water parameters

When it comes to Leopard Frog Pleco care, the water parameters are a bit interesting. When you look through the numbers there is really nothing to worry about.

However, the trick is to keep them steady.

Consistency is key when it comes to this species. Although they are known to be quite tough and adaptable to a wide range of environments, they can be affected in fluctuating water conditions.

So while it's important to meet the conditions below, that's only half the battle. Much of your focus should be on making sure that the water parameters in your tank stay consistent.

  • Water temperature: 75°F to 86°F
  • pH level: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 6 to 10 dKH

To maintain consistency in your aquarium, we recommend purchasing a high-quality and reliable aquarium tester. 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 their tank

Setting up the habitat of the Leopard Frog Pleco tank is quite simple. These fish are not too picky, as long as you provide the essentials to make it feel at home.

You can be a bit flexible when applying the base layer. Either sand or gravel will be fine as they will spend most of their time camping on other objects near the bottom of the aquarium.

Peckoltia compta on the tank background

And speaking of objects, that's where rocks and driftwood come into play.

These are definitely the most important items to have as they are found all over 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. This will give them somewhere to hide if they want to feel safe and secure.

Note: Aim for rocks and driftwood that are reasonably sized for the size of these fish. Of course, your tank size will affect how big things are, so take that into account.

Feel free to experiment when it comes to plants. Leopard Frog Plecostomus is a very plant-friendly species that doesn't destroy or uproot anything. You can even try some floating plants if your tank is big enough!

Common diseases that can occur

L134 pleco is tough and resistant to disease, but that doesn't mean it's invincible. Like any freshwater fish, this species can certainly still get sick (especially when kept in sub-optimal conditions).

Ich is one of the most common diseases that can affect your Leopard Frog Pleco. Also known as white spot disease, this parasitic disease can quickly latch onto your fish and negatively affect its health. 

Fin rot and ascites are two more culprits that you'll want to look out for. Both can progress quickly, which means you must act fast if you notice early signs.

In general, the best way to keep this species healthy is to prevent disease outbreaks in the first place. Always take care of the water quality, feed them healthy food and don't put anything in the tank that hasn't been tested first.

Prevention is always easier than treatment!

Food & Diet

See more: Neon Tetra – Instructions for Care and Breeding

There are several types of food that you can feed Leopard Frog, this is one of the easiest parts of taking care of them!

These fish are omnivores and should be provided with a diet that includes both plants and protein-rich foods. Some kind of sinking tablet or sponge cake is a good starting point and you can also add bloodworms, brine shrimp and tubifex.

To mix things up, feed them some vegetables. Here are some good options:

  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Salad
  • Spinach
  • Peas with pods

Note: Contrary to popular belief, these fish are actually not among the best algae eaters out there. They may sip it from time to time, but it's not something they pursue aggressively.

Behavior & Temperament

Leopard Frog Plecos have a great temperament for keeping fish. This species is peaceful, calm and will not cause trouble with other fish in the tank.

The only situation where you might find these fish a bit aggressive is when you have a lot of males and not enough space. Males can sometimes gain a bit of territory (this is not unusual for fish). However, if you give them enough room this will rarely happen.

In terms of their general behavior, there's also a lot to like! Unlike many other benthic fish, Leopard Frog Plecos are actually quite outgoing!

Sure, they will spend a lot of time hiding out. But they will not hesitate to show up and go exploring from time to time. This makes them a great choice for aquarists who enjoy observing the behavior of their fish.

Note: These fish are nocturnal. However, this cycle can change a bit as they get used to their aquarium.


There are many compatible mates that you can consider if you own an L135. These fish are very peaceful and will often ignore other species in the tank.

As long as you don't feed them with anything extremely large or aggressive, your Leopard Frog Pleco should be fine!

Here are some tank mate options for you to consider, but feel free to experiment as long as you find non-aggressive fish with similar water requirements.

  • Apistogramma
  • Ember Tetra
  • Gourami honey
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Serpae Tetra
  • Pearl Gourami
  • Platys
  • Neon Tetra
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Emperor Tetra
  • Guppies
  • Cardinal Tetra

Note: They can also be kept with larger shrimp such as Bamboo or Amano. However, smaller shrimp can be eaten!

Leopard Frog Pleco looks like

Raising Leopard Frog Plecos is certainly doable in captivity. However, it can be a bit more complicated than breeding other freshwater fish.

If you want a realistic photo of the breeding of this species, it is important to provide them with caves and hiding places. These fish use these places to spawn and will not initiate the process.

We strongly recommend lowering the water temperature a bit to trigger spawning. Some breeders find it helpful to add a little water to the tank through water changes as well.

Once the female has placed her eggs in the burrow, the male will guard and take care of them. It shouldn't take more than a week for the eggs to hatch, and you'll see little babies swimming freely in a few days!

Make sure to feed them brine shrimp at this age to help them grow.


The Leopard Frog Plecos is an amazing freshwater fish that we recommend to aquarists of all experience levels. Doesn't matter if you're just starting out or simply want a low-maintenance species, L134 is a great choice!

Out of all the commonly kept fabrics, this is possibly our favorite for color and raw beauty. They stand out in most tanks.

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