Written by Rabbit(Scott)
The following is a species based informant on the general setup and requirements of the selected family/ species.
The majority of ancistrus species are straight forward. The requirements are that plenty of hiding places be supplied this is quite simple, by using driftwood's leaf litter slate and rock. Substrates are not required but anything can be used, in nature it is a mix of fine sand and pebble but this serves no purpose in breeding or feeding. A fast current isn't necessary but is often recommended. Numerous breeding caves are available and none seem more effective than others when ancistrus are involved. Driftwood whether for visual appeal or decor should be added as ancistrus will often graze on the wood chewing of small pieces. It is believed that due to the sheer length of the digestive tract similar to vegetarian plecs MAY indicate that they have a need for lignin or lignen a chemical compound most commonly derived from wood, and an integral part of the secondary cell walls of plants. Plants are not required but are not bothered and supply a great deal of visual effect being green amongst the standard colors of the rock and wood based aquarium and supplying shelter for the fish while grazing.
Hypancistrus or Hypan for short are a moderate species and require a little more care than the ancistrus sp. Woods, slates, and rocks should be used in forming caves and or refuge. Not all Hypans are the same some require more meats and some more vegetation but all should be regarded as omnivorous, taking this into account open areas amongst complicated tangles are recommended so that meaty products can be fed without to many complications. Hiding places again are necessary in supplying sub-dominant males and females with somewhere to hide from intrusive or harassing conspecifics or other tank mates. Plants are generally not bothered but when using sand as substrate hypans will often stir up the plants roots leading to uprooted plant life. Substrate again isn't necessary but preferred by many, anything can be used from common gravels to fine sands. I don't recommend quartz as I have found it to be quite sharp and Constant grazing to maybe later lead to infection. A fast current isn't necessary but in order to replicate the naturalistic look or scene a current should be supplied.
HYPOSTOMUS/ PETRYGOPLICHTHYS/ GLYPTOPERICHTHYS/LIPOSARCUS.
The more commonly available pleco species require a lot of room not many remaining smaller than 20-30cm and some stretching over the 60cm mark. Large territories are formed and are generally aggressive towards same sex conspecifics so large open areas and hiding places are recommended. Woods, rocks and slate are commonly used none recommended more than others but take into consideration the sharpness of certain rocks as these large species will quite often become stuck or take flight very quickly leading in injury. These plecs do not require woods but will often be seem grazing upon it. Plants are not bothered by theses plecs but are often up-rooted due there sheer size.
Panaqolus a smaller or dwarf like species of there extremely large rivals Panaque. Decor leads toward the naturalistic specifications. Wood is used as a food source as is believed theses fish have a symbiotic gut fungi which turns the wood into a food source for the mini panaque species. Slate rock and wood can all be used but would personally recommend just using woods as there is the possibility of grazing upon rocks and blunting the teeth. Along with the previous statement certain woods prove to be too hard for panaque and Malaysian and a few others are recommended. Substrate is not necessary but ad's to the appeal of most tanks. Plants are an issue as the harder more firm species of plants such as Anubius are eaten so would suggest soft plants like swords and ivy's. Panaqolus are often bred in holes in wood but a cylindrical cave should prove suitable.
One of the favorites peckoltia.
Peckoltia are often found in a medium current environment with a rocky substrate. This species seems to do quite well with plants and planted aquaria. Rocks slate and wood work well with this species and there requirements. Open areas the same as mentioned in Hypancistrus are recommended in order to feed meaty foods. Wood tangles are not necessary but provide a heightened appearance to aquariums and allow for refuge from other fish and conspecifics. Slate caves and fake logs have proven to be the most favored of breeding sites for this species.