Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps

Aquarium fish: Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps (Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps)
Size: 40 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 24-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 450 l

Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps (Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps) – A large-sized freshwater aquarium fish from the Arborvitae family.


Pterygoplichthys gibbicepss come from South America . A species with a very wide range, it inhabits rivers and streams both in the middle and upper Amazon basin and in the Orinoco basin. They can be found at the bottom of the river or near submerged trunks and trees.

Characteristics and disposition

The leopard armor in nature reaches 50 – 60 cm in length.

In an aquarium usually less – 40 – 50 cm. His body is massive and wide. The head is quite large, the pectoral and pelvic fins are wide. The dorsal fin is very tall and unlike the other fins it consists of 10 or more rays (other fins 8 or less). The entire body, including the fins, is covered with dark brown spots – of various shapes – separated by a light brown filling.

Gender difficult to distinguish. Sexually mature males can be recognized by the pointed shape of the genital wart. It is a relatively calm fish, only towards other fish feeding near the bottom it can be aggressive. He spends most of his time in the bottom zone. It forages at night, but it can get used to day mode.

He’s not a very active swimmer.

Nutrition and feeding

The main food of armorers is algae – they are especially fond of the soft, brown ones. They are not picky fish, they eat all kinds of food that sink to the bottom: dry, frozen and live. Their diet can be supplemented with vegetables, e.g. cucumber, lettuce, peas or spinach.

Adult fish can be fed shrimps or chopped fish fillets such as trout. In the absence of food, they will start tasting the plants.


They are not suitable for small and medium-sized tanks . These beautiful, huge catfish should be kept in an aquarium at least 200 cm long, equipped with numerous hiding places and roots from which the algae can scrape off. They feel best on sandy ground.

Due to their size and digging into the ground, delicate plants should not be planted in the tank. They require efficient filtration, well-oxygenated water and frequent changes. The leopard armor is a gentle fish, however, it should not be kept with small fish , which may become its food. Ideally suited to a social aquarium with large and aggressive fish. Barbells , African cichlids, tetras, angelfish , oscar cichlids , loaches will be a good company .

It is worth noting, however, that kept with side flattened fish, such as Skalar or Paletka , may deprive them of mucus at night when they are inactive.


Due to the size of this species , reproduction in the aquarium is impossible . Commercial fish come from breeding farms where for their reproduction special ponds with earth embankments are used, in which armorers can dig deep tunnels and spawn in them.


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