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How Do You Move Pleco Eggs? (5 Easy Steps)

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Finding a batch of Pleco fish eggs raises the obvious question: how do you move them to a dedicated breeding tank?

However, this also raises several other questions. Is it necessary to move the eggs? What are the pros and cons of doing so? Are plecos likely to eat their own eggs?

Here, I’ll address all these questions and more, ensuring you have all the information you need. Let’s get started.

Also Read: Pleco Fish Eggs

How Do You Move Pleco Eggs?

Moving Pleco fish eggs to a separate tank is pretty straightforward. Here’s what you should do:

Step 1: Prepare the Necessary Materials

Preparation is the cornerstone for successfully moving pleco eggs. Having all necessary materials ready minimizes stress and ensures a smooth transfer for the eggs.

  • Gathering Materials: Obtain a soft brush, a suitable container, and water from the original tank. Ensure all items are clean and safe for use with Plecos.
  • Suitable Environment: Ensure the new location is ready. It should have proper water parameters and temperature similar to the original tank for Pleco comfort.
  • Organization: Organize all materials in close proximity. This allows for an efficient and quick transfer, reducing Pleco egg exposure to adverse conditions.

Step 2: Gently Detach the Pleco Eggs

Gently detaching the pleco eggs is crucial to prevent any harm. Use a soft brush to ensure the integrity of the eggs remains intact.

  • Soft Brush Use: Utilize a soft brush to gently pry the eggs. This minimizes the risk of damaging the delicate Pleco eggs during the detachment process.
  • Patience is Key: Take your time to ensure each egg is detached carefully. Hurrying the process can lead to accidental harm to the Pleco eggs.
  • Minimal Disturbance: Work gently to avoid stress and ensure the safety and health of the Pleco eggs, promoting successful relocation.

Step 3: Safely Transfer the Eggs to a New Container

Transporting the eggs securely is vital. Using a container filled with tank water preserves the eggs’ environment during the move.

  • Use of Tank Water: Fill the container with original tank water. This maintains a consistent environment for the Pleco eggs, ensuring their well-being.
  • Gentle Transfer: Handle the eggs gently while transferring to prevent shock or damage. A stable environment is crucial for the health of Pleco eggs.
  • Secure Container: Choose a secure, clean container for the transfer. It should adequately hold the Pleco eggs, ensuring their safety during the move.

Step 4: Ensure Proper Placement in the New Location

Proper placement in the new location is paramount for pleco egg survival. Ensuring the right conditions will aid in the healthy development of the eggs.

  • Check Parameters: Confirm that the water parameters in the new location mimic the original tank. This ensures a familiar environment for the Pleco eggs.
  • Adequate Space: Ensure enough space and suitable surfaces for the eggs. Proper space allows the Pleco eggs to thrive without overcrowding or stress.
  • Stable Environment: Make sure the new location is stable and secure. Stability is key for the continued healthy development of Pleco eggs.

Step 5: Observe and Provide Necessary Care

Post-move observation and care are crucial. Ensure the eggs are developing properly and the environment remains stable.

  • Regular Observation: Keep a close watch on the Pleco eggs. Timely observations can alert you to any issues, ensuring quick intervention for Pleco health.
  • Maintain Conditions: Regularly check and maintain the water parameters. Consistent conditions promote healthy development and growth for Plecos.
  • Provide Care: Be ready to provide necessary care and adjustments. Proper care ensures a healthy and successful hatching of Pleco eggs.

Should I Remove Pleco Eggs?

Yes, you should consider removing Pleco eggs in certain situations to ensure their survival and healthy development.

Removing the eggs to a separate, controlled environment can sometimes increase the likelihood of successful hatching.

  • Safety: Removing Pleco eggs ensures their protection from potential predators or aggressive tankmates, enhancing their chances for survival.
  • Controlled Environment: It allows the Pleco eggs to develop in a stable, controlled setting, offering optimal temperature, water quality, and oxygen levels.
  • Prevent Overcrowding: By transferring eggs, you help manage the tank’s population, ensuring it doesn’t become overburdened, which benefits the health and happiness of all aquarium inhabitants.
  • Increased Hatch Rate: Moving Pleco eggs to a dedicated space can contribute to a higher successful hatch rate, ensuring a better chance for the young Plecos to thrive.

When Is the Best Time to Remove Pleco Eggs?

The best time to remove pleco eggs is shortly after they have been laid and once the male has fertilized them.

This timing ensures that the eggs are in the early stages of development and have not attached firmly to surfaces, making the removal process less risky.

  • Early Detection: Observing Plecos and noting when eggs are laid allows for timely and safer removal, ensuring eggs’ optimum health and development.
  • Post-Fertilization: Waiting until after male Plecos fertilize the eggs ensures that you are moving viable eggs, increasing the chances of successful hatching.
  • Before Attachment: Removing eggs before they firmly attach to surfaces minimizes the risk of damage, promoting the well-being and survival of Pleco eggs.
  • Convenience: Timely removal means less stress for you and the Plecos, contributing to a more successful and smoother egg relocation process.

Also Read: How Many Eggs Do Plecos Lay?

Is It Better to Move the Parent Plecos?

No, it’s generally not better to move the parent Plecos as it can cause significant stress and disrupt the natural breeding and care process.

  • Parental Stress: Moving parent Plecos can cause undue stress, potentially affecting their health and their ability to care for future eggs.
  • Disrupted Breeding: Disturbance can interrupt the natural breeding cycle of Plecos, hindering successful breeding attempts in the future.
  • Loss of Natural Care: Pleco eggs benefit from parental care, which is lost when moving the parent Plecos, possibly impacting the eggs’ development.
  • Aquarium Stability: Keeping parent Plecos in place contributes to overall aquarium stability, ensuring a consistent and familiar environment for all inhabitants.

Also Read: How To Tell If Your Pleco Is Pregnant?

How Long Can Pleco Eggs Survive Out of Water?

Fish eggs, including those of Plecos, generally cannot survive out of water for more than a few minutes.

The lack of a water environment causes them to dry out and die rapidly, making immediate water exposure essential for their viability.

  • Rapid Dehydration: Pleco eggs lose essential moisture outside water, leading to rapid dehydration and death, preventing successful hatching and development.
  • Lack of Necessary Oxygen: Out of water, Pleco eggs can’t access the oxygen necessary for survival and growth, leading to suffocation and failure to develop properly.
  • Temperature Fluctuations: Exposed to air, Pleco eggs encounter harmful temperature fluctuations, disrupting the consistent environment needed for healthy development.

Tips for Keeping the Eggs with the Parent Plecos?

Keeping pleco eggs with the parent plecos can often be beneficial as it allows natural nurturing and parental care.

To ensure success, a secure, monitored, and maintained environment is vital for both the eggs and the parent plecos.

  • Provide Adequate Space: Allocate at least 20 gallons for the Plecos, offering sufficient space for both parents and eggs, helping to minimize stress and promote healthy development.
  • Maintain Water Quality: Maintain pH levels between 6.5-7.5 and a consistent temperature around 25-28°C (77-82°F), offering optimal conditions for Pleco and egg growth.
  • Ensure Security: Introduce caves or dense plants to the aquarium, offering secure hiding spots for eggs, and protecting them from potential threats within the tank. I personally love this Jabukosu Aquarium Cave (link to Amazon).
  • Regular Observation: Check the tank every few hours to ensure the eggs are being cared for, adjusting conditions as necessary to maintain an ideal environment.
  • Proper Nutrition: Offer a nutritious and varied diet to parent Plecos, including high-quality algae wafers and vegetables. My recommendation: Invert Aquatics Mini Algae Discs (link to Amazon).
  • Limit Disturbances: Keep tank disturbances to a minimum, preserving a peaceful environment for the Pleco eggs and enhancing their chances of healthy development.
  • Control Tank Population: Avoid overcrowding by maintaining a balanced tank population, ensuring ample resources and space for the nurturing of Pleco eggs.

Do Plecos Eat Their Own Eggs?

No, generally Plecos do not eat their own eggs, but exceptional circumstances can sometimes provoke this behavior.

It’s important to monitor the aquarium and create a conducive environment for breeding.

  • Species-Specific Behavior: Certain Pleco species may exhibit different behaviors, with some being more prone to consume their eggs than others.
  • Stress-Induced Behavior: Stressful conditions can drive even generally docile Pleco species to exhibit unusual behavior, including eating their eggs.
  • Tank Conditions: Poor tank conditions, such as unclean water or lack of space, can negatively impact all Pleco species and their breeding habits.
  • Inadequate Nutrition: A lack of proper nutrition can lead to desperation and abnormal behavior in Plecos, potentially including consuming their own eggs.

How Long Does It Take for Pleco Eggs to Hatch?

Pleco eggs generally take about 5 to 10 days to hatch, with optimal water temperature and proper care being critical factors.

Maintaining a consistent, suitable environment will help ensure healthy, timely hatching.

  • Day 1-2: Eggs are laid and fertilized, maintain water temperature at 25-28°C (77-82°F) for optimal Pleco egg health and development.
  • Day 3-5: Keep a constant check on water parameters and cleanliness to ensure the healthy development of Pleco eggs.
  • Day 6-8: Continuously monitor the eggs and prepare for hatching, ensuring the environment remains stable for the emerging Plecos.
  • Day 9-10: Expect the Pleco eggs to hatch, and ensure the tank is secure and conducive for the new fry, with adequate food supply.
  • Post Hatching: Continue monitoring the fry and providing necessary nutrition and care for healthy growth and development.


For those of you who are just skimming through, here’s a short recap:

  • Proper preparation and organization are crucial when moving Pleco fish eggs to ensure their safety and well-being.
  • Gently detaching the eggs and transferring them to a new container with tank water is essential for a successful move.
  • Ensuring the right conditions in the new location is paramount for Pleco egg survival and development.
  • Removing Pleco eggs can enhance their safety and monitoring, but it comes with potential risks and additional resource requirements.
  • The best time to remove Pleco eggs is shortly after fertilization, before they attach firmly to surfaces, for a smoother relocation process.