Armored Catfish

Biologist Geoff Camp with an armored catfish at a lake in Cape Coral, Florida.The Loricariids, also known as “armored catfish,” are a popular aquarium fish that use their suckered mouths to clean algae and detritus build up from the tanks. This cleaning behavior, which is helpful in tanks, is devastating to aquatic plant life since their activities erode local shorelines up to ten feet.

These prehistoric looking catfish have thick, boney plates and are also referred to as Plecostomus or Plecos. Depending on the species, they can grow to lengths up to 24 inches and can weigh up to three pounds. They are native to tropical South America and Central America and were introduced to Florida in the 1950s for use in aquariums.

In the wild, armored catfish will create long burrows along a shoreline, and the female will deposit her eggs. The burrows can collapse from the weight of a human, making them a nuisance and a hazard that can cause injury and increase the likelihood of erosion along canal and shorelines.

Armored catfish have been added to the growing list of non-native fish in local waters, and they are likely not going anywhere due to their adverse impact on the balance within the environment. Contact us today at 1 (800) 666-5253 to learn more about our lake and pond management services.

Biologist Geoff Camp with an armored catfish at a lake in Cape Coral, Florida.