How To Get Pleco Out Of Tank: Tips for Removing Them from Your Tank

If you’ve ever owned a fish tank, you know that Plecos can be a great addition to your aquarium. They’re hardy, easy to care for, and can help keep your tank clean. But what happens when you need to get rid of them? Whether you’re moving, downsizing your tank, or simply looking to make a change, removing a Pleco from your tank can be a tricky process.

To get a pleco out of a tank, use a fish net or a plastic container to scoop it up gently. Alternatively, you can lure the pleco into a container or a bag using food or a vegetable clip. It is important to handle plecos gently and avoid injuring their fins or skin.

As someone who has owned a fish tank for years, I can tell you that getting a Pleco out of your tank is not as easy as it sounds. These fish are notorious for hiding in tight spaces and can be difficult to catch. But fear not! In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about safely and effectively removing a Pleco from your tank. From the tools you’ll need to the best techniques for catching them, we’ve got you covered.

So, whether you’re a seasoned fish owner or a beginner, read on to learn how to get your Pleco out of your tank and into their new home.

Pleco Pet people blog 26

Key Takeaways:

  • Assess the situation before removing your pleco from your tank to minimize harm to the fish and the aquarium.
  • Gather the necessary tools, including a net, a bucket, and a lid or cover for the bucket, before attempting to remove the pleco.
  • Empty the tank of any decorations or plants that may obstruct your view or make it difficult to catch the pleco.
  • Use manual removal or luring the pleco out techniques to remove the fish from the tank.
  • Clean the tank thoroughly after removing the pleco to maintain a healthy environment for your other fish.
  • Seek professional help if you’re struggling to catch the pleco.
  • Research the size and requirements of your fish before bringing them home to prevent overcrowding in your tank.

Assessing the Situation

Before attempting to remove a pleco from your tank, it’s important to assess the situation. This will help you determine the best course of action and minimize any potential harm to your fish and aquarium.

Understanding the Pleco’s Nature

First, it’s important to understand the nature of plecos. These fish are known for their strong suction abilities, which allow them to attach themselves to surfaces in the tank.

They also have sharp spines on their fins that can cause injury if not handled properly.

Additionally, plecos are nocturnal creatures, which means they are most active at night. This can make it difficult to locate and remove them during the day.

Evaluating the Tank’s Condition

Next, evaluate the condition of your tank. Look for any potential hazards or obstacles that may make it difficult to remove the pleco. This could include decorations, plants, or other fish that may get in the way.

It’s also important to consider the size of your tank and the number of fish you have. If your tank is overcrowded, it may be more difficult to catch the pleco without causing harm to other fish.

When assessing the tank’s condition, it’s important to remember that removing a pleco can be stressful for both the fish and the aquarium. Take the necessary precautions to minimize stress and ensure the safety of all fish in the tank.

Personally, I once had a pleco that had grown too large for my tank and was causing damage to my plants. After assessing the situation, I decided to remove the pleco and relocate it to a larger tank where it could thrive.

It was a challenging process, but ultimately the best decision for both the pleco and my aquarium.

Preparing to Remove the Pleco

NetUsed to catch the pleco manually or to scoop it out of the tank
BucketUsed to hold the pleco and the water from the tank
Lid or coverUsed to cover the bucket to prevent the pleco from jumping out
PVC pipe or plastic tubingUsed to lure the pleco out of hiding

Gathering the Necessary Tools

Before attempting to remove the pleco from the tank, gather the necessary tools to ensure a safe and successful removal. I recommend having a net, a bucket, and a lid or cover for the bucket.

The net should be large enough to comfortably fit the pleco and the bucket should be large enough to hold the water and the pleco.

It’s also important to have a plan in place for where you will place the pleco after removal. If you plan to return the pleco to the tank, have a separate container of water ready to acclimate the pleco before reintroducing it to the tank.

Emptying the Tank

Before attempting to remove the pleco, empty the tank of any decorations or plants that may obstruct your view or make it difficult to catch the pleco. This will also prevent any damage to the decorations during the removal process.

It’s also important to empty the tank to a level that will make it easier to catch the pleco. If the water level is too high, the pleco will have more room to swim and evade capture.

By lowering the water level, you will limit the pleco’s movement and make it easier to catch.

When lowering the water level, be sure to leave enough water in the tank to keep your other fish healthy and happy. A good rule of thumb is to leave at least half of the tank’s volume of water in the tank.

By gathering the necessary tools and emptying the tank, you will be well-prepared to safely and successfully remove the pleco from your tank.

Personally, when I had to remove my pleco from my tank, I found that having an extra pair of hands was helpful.

My sister was able to hold the bucket while I caught the pleco, making the removal process smoother and less stressful for both the fish and myself.

Removing the Pleco

Pleco Pet people blog

Manual Removal

One way to remove a pleco from your tank is to do it manually. This method is best used if the pleco is visible and you can easily reach it.

To do this, you will need to use a net or your hands. If using your hands, make sure they are clean and free of any chemicals or soap residue.

First, turn off all the equipment in your tank to prevent any damage to the pleco or yourself. Then, slowly and carefully move the net or your hand towards the pleco.

Be gentle and try not to startle it. Once you have the pleco in your net or hand, remove it from the tank and place it in a separate container filled with tank water.

Luring the Pleco Out

If the pleco is hiding and you cannot reach it manually, you can try luring it out. One way to do this is to use food as bait.

Plecos love vegetables like zucchini and cucumber, so try placing a piece of one of these vegetables in the tank. Wait for the pleco to come out and start eating, then use a net to remove it from the tank.

Another way to lure the pleco out is to use a PVC pipe or a piece of plastic tubing. Place the tube near the pleco’s hiding spot and wait for it to swim into the tube.

Once the pleco is inside the tube, carefully remove it from the tank and place it in a separate container.

When removing the pleco, be sure to handle it gently and avoid injuring it. Also, make sure to clean the container you place it in before adding the pleco to prevent any contamination.

Personally, I have had success with luring my pleco out using a piece of zucchini. It took a little bit of patience, but eventually, the pleco came out to eat and I was able to remove it from the tank with a net.

How to Pickup a Pleco?

If you have a Pleco in your tank, you know how difficult it can be to catch them. They are fast swimmers and have a knack for hiding in the smallest of crevices.

However, there are a few techniques you can use to make the process easier.

First, turn off the tank’s filter and lights. This will make it easier to see the Pleco and reduce the risk of injury.

Next, use a net with a long handle to gently scoop the Pleco out of the tank. Be patient and move slowly to avoid startling the fish.

If you don’t have a net, you can also use your hands to catch the Pleco. However, this method requires a bit more skill and patience.

Start by gently placing your hand in the tank and slowly moving it towards the Pleco. Once you are close enough, use your other hand to gently scoop the Pleco up and out of the tank.

When handling the Pleco, be sure to support its body and avoid squeezing it too tightly. They are delicate fish and can easily be injured if not handled properly.

If you are having trouble catching the Pleco, consider enlisting the help of a friend or family member.

Personally, I have found that using a combination of a net and my hands works best. I use the net to corral the Pleco into a corner and then use my hands to gently scoop it up.

With a bit of practice and patience, you’ll be able to catch your Pleco with ease.

Cleaning the Tank

Aquarium water change Pet People Blog
Thorough cleaningRemove any remaining pleco debris from the tank, scrub the tank with a non-toxic cleaning solution, and rinse it thoroughly with fresh water
Refilling the tankUse dechlorinated water to refill the tank and monitor the temperature to avoid harming your fish
Regular cleaningClean your tank regularly to maintain a healthy environment for your fish

Thorough Cleaning

When it comes to removing plecos from your tank, it’s important to give your tank a thorough cleaning. This will not only help to remove any remaining pleco debris, but will also help to prevent any future issues with your tank.

Start by removing any remaining pleco debris from the tank. This can be done with a net or a siphon. Once all debris has been removed, empty the tank completely and give it a good scrub with a sponge or brush.

Be sure to use a non-toxic cleaning solution, as any residue can be harmful to your fish.

After scrubbing, rinse the tank thoroughly with fresh water. Make sure you remove all soap residue, as this can also be harmful to your fish.

Once the tank is clean, replace any decorations or plants that you removed during the cleaning process.

Refilling the Tank

When refilling your tank, it’s important to use dechlorinated water. Chlorine can be harmful to your fish, so be sure to treat your water before adding it to the tank. You can purchase a dechlorinator at any pet store or online.

Once you have treated your water, slowly add it to the tank. Be sure to monitor the temperature of the water, as sudden temperature changes can be harmful to your fish.

Once the tank is full, turn on your filter and heater, and wait for the water to reach the appropriate temperature before adding your fish back into the tank.

Remember, cleaning your tank regularly is important to maintain a healthy environment for your fish. By following these steps, you can ensure that your tank is clean and safe for your fish to live in.

Personally, I have found that using a gravel vacuum is an efficient way to remove debris from the bottom of the tank. It’s important to take your time when cleaning the tank, as rushing can lead to mistakes and potential harm to your fish.

By taking the time to properly clean and refill your tank, you can ensure that your fish will live in a healthy and safe environment.

Recommended Product As Per The Article

  1. Gravel Cleaner – This is a powerful and easy-to-use gravel cleaner that is perfect for removing debris from the bottom of your fish tank. It comes with a long hose and a hand pump, making it easy to clean your tank without disturbing your fish.
  2. Penn Plax Fish Catch Net – This fish net is perfect for catching Plecos without harming them. It has a soft, fine mesh that won’t damage their fins or scales, and a sturdy handle that makes it easy to maneuver in your tank.
  3. COODIA Internal Green Water Killer Filter – This filter is designed to remove green water and other impurities from your tank, making it easier to see and catch your Plecos. It’s also easy to install and maintain, making it a great addition to any fish tank.
  4. Tetra Whisper Air Pump – This air pump is perfect for keeping the water in your tank oxygenated and healthy for your fish. It’s also quiet and energy-efficient, making it a great choice for any fish tank.


Getting pleco out of your tank can be a challenging task, but it’s definitely doable. After trying different methods, I found that the best way to remove pleco is by using a fish trap.

It’s humane and effective, and it doesn’t require you to disturb the other fish in your tank.

Remember to be patient and persistent when trying to catch pleco. It may take a few tries, but eventually, you will succeed.

Don’t forget to remove any hiding spots or decorations that may be making it difficult for you to catch the pleco.

If you’re struggling to catch the pleco, consider seeking help from a professional. They have the experience and tools necessary to remove the pleco without harming it or the other fish in your tank.

Overall, getting pleco out of your tank is a necessary task to maintain the health and balance of your aquarium.

With the right tools and techniques, you can successfully remove the pleco and prevent any further damage to your tank.

Personally, I found it rewarding to successfully remove the pleco from my tank. It was a challenging task, but it taught me a lot about the importance of maintaining a healthy aquarium.

Don’t give up, and you’ll be able to remove the pleco in no time!

“Learn how to keep your pleco healthy and happy with our Pleco Care 101 guide – the ultimate resource for all pleco owners!”


Here are some frequently asked questions about getting pleco out of a tank:

Q: Can I just catch the pleco with my hands?

A: It is not recommended to catch the pleco with your hands, as they have sharp spines that can cause injury. It is best to use a net or a trap to catch the pleco.

Q: How can I prevent plecos from getting stuck in the filter?

A: To prevent plecos from getting stuck in the filter, make sure the filter intake is covered with a fine mesh or sponge. This will prevent the pleco from getting sucked into the filter.

Q: What should I do if the pleco is too big to fit in a net?

A: If the pleco is too big to fit in a net, you can try using a trap. There are many different types of traps available, but one simple method is to bait a plastic bottle with food and place it in the tank. The pleco will swim into the bottle to get the food, and then you can remove the bottle from the tank.

Q: How can I prevent plecos from overpopulating my tank?

A: To prevent plecos from overpopulating your tank, make sure you have a suitable tank size for the number of plecos you have. Also, do not overfeed your plecos, as this can contribute to overpopulation. If you do end up with too many plecos, you can consider giving them away or selling them to a pet store.

My personal anecdote:

When I first got my pleco, I didn’t realize how quickly they could grow. Before I knew it, my 20-gallon tank was too small for my pleco. I had to upgrade to a larger tank to accommodate my growing fish. Lesson learned – always do your research before getting a new fish!

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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