Spotted hoplo Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Spotted Hoplo is a freshwater fish that is native to South America. It is a member of the Hoplosternidae family and is closely related to the common pleco.

The Spotted Hoplo is a brown or olive color with black spots on its body. It has a flattened head and an elongated body. The Spotted Hoplo can grow to be about 12 inches (30 cm) long.

The Spotted Hoplo is a peaceful fish that is not aggressive towards other fish. It is a good community fish.

The Spotted Hoplo is a bottom dwelling fish that feeds on algae and other plant matter.

The Spotted Hoplo is a hardy fish that is easy to care for. It is a good beginner fish.

The Spotted Hoplo is a popular aquarium fish. It is widely available in pet stores and online.

Species overview

Spotted hoplos (Hoplosternum littorale) are a type of freshwater catfish that is native to tropical South America. They are most commonly found in Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname.

In the wild, these fish inhabit slow-moving waters with a lot of vegetation. This provides them with plenty of places to hide and forage for food.

Spotted hoplos are peaceful fish that do well in most community tanks. They are not particularly shy and will often be one of the first fish to come out and explore their new surroundings.

These fish are very popular in the aquarium trade due to their interesting appearance and peaceful nature.


Spotted hoplo

The spotted hoplo is an armored catfish that is native to South America. These fish get their name from the spots that cover their bodies (more on that later).

The body of the spotted hoplo is long and cylindrical with a slightly flattened stomach area. They have a large head with a wide mouth that is filled with sharp teeth. These teeth are used to help them scrape food off of rocks and other surfaces.

The armor on this fish is made up of bony plates that are covered in a thin layer of skin. The skin is what gives the fish their coloration.

The base color of the fish is a light brown or tan. On top of this, they have dark spots that are black or very dark brown. The spots are arranged in a somewhat random pattern and can vary quite a bit from fish to fish.

The fins on the spotted hoplo are all rather large and well-developed. The dorsal fin has a long spine that runs the length of the fin. This spine is quite sharp and can be used as a weapon if necessary.

The pectoral and pelvic fins are both large and paddle-shaped. These fins are used to help the fish maneuver through the water. The caudal fin is forked and also quite large.

The spotted hoplo is a relatively large fish that can reach lengths of up to 18 inches (45 cm).


Spotted hoplos have a lifespan of around 5 years. However, there are a number of factors that can impact this number.

For example, if they’re kept in poor water conditions then their lifespan will be decreased. Additionally, if they don’t have a good diet then their lifespan will also be impacted.

Generally speaking, though, these fish can live for up to 5 years if they’re properly cared for.


Spotted hoplos can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) long, but are typically only about 4 inches (10 cm) long. These fish are relatively slender, so they don’t require a ton of space horizontally. A 20-gallon aquarium is typically sufficient for a small group of these fish.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a spotted hoplo is 50 gallons. If you want to keep more than one fish, you should add an additional 20 gallons for each fish.

As with most fish, the more space you can provide the better. These fish are active and like to swim so a larger tank will give them the room they need to stay healthy and happy.

Water Parameters

Spotted hoplos are a freshwater fish that come from the rivers and streams of South America. In the wild, they prefer slow-moving water with plenty of places to hide.

They’re a peaceful species that does well in a community tank as long as they have enough hiding places.

The water parameters you need to maintain for spotted hoplos are pretty straightforward. They prefer slightly acidic water with a temperature range of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind when it comes to their care.

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 4 to 16 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 2-12 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Spotted hoplos are a species of catfish that come from South America. In the wild, they can be found in a variety of habitats (including rivers, streams, and lakes).

As far as setting up their tank goes, you’ll want to replicate their natural environment as much as possible.

The substrate should be a mix of sand and gravel. This will give them a place to hide and feel secure while also providing them with a place to forage for food.

Plants are a great addition to any freshwater tank, but they’re especially important for a species like the Spotted Hoplo. Not only do they provide hiding places, but they also help with water quality.

We recommend using a variety of plants (both rooted and floating) to give them the best chance to thrive.

When it comes to decorations, rocks and driftwood are always a good choice. These can provide hiding places and surfaces for algae to grow on (which these fish love to eat).

Just be sure to avoid anything that’s too sharp or jagged. These fish are known to rub against objects in their tank, and you don’t want them to hurt themselves.

Common Diseases

Spotted hoplos are a very hardy fish, but they can still fall ill from time to time. The most common illness that affects this species is ich, which is a parasite that can infect both freshwater and saltwater fish.

This disease is characterized by white spots on the body, fins, and gills of your fish. If left untreated, ich can be fatal.

The good news is that ich is very easy to treat. There are a variety of products on the market that will kill the parasite without harming your fish.

The best way to prevent ich (or any other disease) is to maintain good water quality in your tank. A clean and stable environment will go a long way in keeping your fish healthy and disease-free.

Behavior & Temperament

The spotted hoplo is a shy fish that spends most of its time hiding. It’s a nocturnal fish, so it’s most active at night.

During the day, you’ll find the spotted hoplo hiding in caves, under rocks, or in other dark places. When night falls, it will come out to scavenge for food.

The spotted hoplo is a peaceful fish, but it can be territorial. If you have more than one in a tank, they may fight for dominance. The best way to avoid this is to keep them in a group of at least six.

Tank Mates

Spotted hoplos are another easygoing species that can get along with most fish. The main thing to watch out for is their size.

While they’re not the largest freshwater fish out there, they can reach up to a foot in length. As a result, they might see smaller fish as food.

That said, there are still plenty of compatible tank mates. These include:


Spotted hoplo are another species that is easy to breed in captivity. These fish will start breeding when they reach maturity, which is around six months of age.

Spotted hoplos are egg-layers. The female will lay the eggs in a cave or some other hidden area. Once she lays the eggs, the male will fertilize them. After that, the male will stay close by and protect the eggs until they hatch.

The eggs hatch pretty quickly, in just a few days. Once they hatch, the fry are on their own. They will hide and feed on microscopic organisms in the water. As they grow, you can start feeding them baby brine shrimp and other small foods.


The Spotted Hoplo is a great choice for a beginner fish keeper. They are very easy to care for and are very peaceful fish. They are also very interesting to look at and are a great addition to any fish tank.