Can it? it's the only indoor fish I have left. I have a small pond outside with three small goldfish in it.
I understand that the pleco cannot survive a New York City winter, but could it withstand the summer in an outdoor pond?
yes. we have them living in the wild down here in Florida. They get MUCH bigger than you think though. Somewhere around 2 ft or so.
I agree with you--it would do well during the summer, but it would probably die in the winter. Could you keep it in the pond and then take it back to the store in the fall before it gets cold? My pet store is happy to take fish back if they appear healthy. I recently exchanged a 8" pleco for a 2" pleco in the classroom aquarium. The kids thought the pleco shrank overnight!
We put a large pleco in our fish pond one summer. It was full of algae stuck on the sides. That fish really cleaned the pond! Caught him in a net in the fall (not easy) and took him to the pet shop.
If there isn't much algae in the pond, you might have to continue feeding him.