Common Pleco vs. Live Plants

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BriannaWV

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HI all,

Just yesterday my boyfriend I bought a 55 gallon aquarium that had 4 silver shark fish (forgive me if that's not what they're actually called), 1 large common pleco, and 2 black fish that I have no idea what they are. We had a 29 gallon aquarium for about a year but we wanted to upgrade and for 75 dollars this was a deal we couldn't pass up. Unfortunately, the "algae eater" listed in the ad on craigslist turned out to be a monstrous common pleco that has everything in the tank turned upside down over the course of one night. And on top of the fish they gave us, we also have many more -- but with them all in the tank there is still a lot of room left so it's not over crowded by any means.

Our goal was to eventually have a planted tank but it seems as if this isn't going to happen thanks to this big boy!

We don't want to get rid of him just because he is so fun to watch and cool but yet half of our plants were torn right from the gravel and are now floating on the top of the water. I know if we have a very planted tank it would be too difficult for him to move around in since he's not small enough to just swim between leaves and whatnot.

Do you think there is anyway to position my plants so that he won't smash them or tear them up? He seems to hang out mainly on the front glass and we left a good amount of space between the glass and the plants so that he can suck the glass but it was still unsuccessful.

Since we have the 29 gallon tank, would it be large enough for him to live alone or would he need to stay in the 55 gallon? I know they say "one gallon per inch of fish" and he's probably about 10-12 inches long and 3 inches wide. Right now we don't have enough room for both tanks to be set up but in a few months we're moving to a larger place so we should have more room. I really don't want to resort to this but I just want a planted tank!!!

Any suggestions would be nice, stories are good too. If you could give me some information on how to feed this pleco that would also be nice since I doubt he can be sustained on the small amount of algae growing in the tank - I give my bristlenose pleco algae wafers once every week or so.



Thanks for your time, everyone
 

Zachary_irving

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As far as feeding him goes the algae pellets that you give your bristlenose should work just fine. What kind of cover do you have in the tank? He might not like the lighting and feel exposed so he's tearing up the plants for some cover. If you can make some hiding places that may help him. I found that some flat pavers leaned against each other can work well for this. Be sure to soak them in freshwater for a few days beforehand though, as they contain calcium carbide because they are made from concrete.
 
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BriannaWV

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That is the picture of the tank from craigslist. The guy said he had him for 3 years and there wasn't much in the aquarium for him to take cover under, there were 2 fake plants, 3 rocks and an old wooden and rock fountain (don't ask )

It's a double hood, I'm not sure what the lights are. He seems content during the daytime with the lights on but once the lights go off he just has his way with everything in the tank. I woke up a few times last night (the tank is in our bedroom) from him making a commotion. The guy we got him off of said that he is quite active during the night, sometimes hides behind the heater but usually hangs out on the front left side of the tank.

In fact, he has yet to touch anything today and he's been stuck in the same spot since I turned the lights on this morning. I will definitely look into something for him to seek shelter in, though, we have little coconut shells with java moss on them for the fish to swim into but nothing for him since he's so big.
 

platy ben

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Hello and welcome to Fishlore!

Well your pleco is pretty big and I wouldn't recommend keeping him in anything less than a 65 gallon.
I would have to contradict you saying that there is plenty of room, because your tank is actually severly over stocked.
Those 4 silver sharks you have will eventually need atleast 150 gallon just for the 4 of them alone if they are to grow to full size and thrive.
Also having a goldfish in your tank isn't the best of ideas at all, goldfish are temperate water fish and prefer cooler temperatures, keeping yours at such a high temp may not do it any good in the long run.
It would also be helpful if you could post a pic of your black fish as they may be something aggresive or could grow large.

Finally, please don't follow the inch per gallon rule for big fish. Fish stocking is done on Bio-load and the Bio-load of a pleco is huge because they poop so much. The inch per gallon rule should only be followed for fish that grow to 2" at the most.

Sorry I can't give you any better news
 
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BriannaWV

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platy ben said:
Hello and welcome to Fishlore!

Well your pleco is pretty big and I wouldn't recommend keeping him in anything less than a 65 gallon.
I would have to contradict you saying that there is plenty of room, because your tank is actually severly over stocked.
You really think it's overstocked? Is it because of the pleco? Without it do you think that it would be fine?
Those 4 silver sharks you have will eventually need atleast 150 gallon just for the 4 of them alone if they are to grow to full size and thrive.
How large do they get? I don't know much about them since I didn't actually go to the store and ask a thousand questions like I normally do when I buy fish They're about 2-3 inches right now, the guy we bought all of this off of said that he traded another fish for those 4 shark fish last year sometime. How old are they usually when they get to mature size?

Also having a goldfish in your tank isn't the best of ideas at all, goldfish are temperate water fish and prefer cooler temperatures, keeping yours at such a high temp may not do it any good in the long run.
You are not the fist one to tell us this We actually had 4 of them that my boyfriend took home from where he worked at the time because they were just going to flush them since it was coming to the end of pond season. I don't really have anything else to do with the goldfish besides just letting it live out it's life in the tank, but I know that it isn't the best of fish to have in a tank.

It would also be helpful if you could post a pic of your black fish as they may be something aggresive or could grow large.
They're not as black as I thought, they're more of a gray color. I'm not sure if you could see it, it's a crappy cell phone pic. I think they're some sort of algae eater but I'm not entirely sure.
Finally, please don't follow the inch per gallon rule for big fish. Fish stocking is done on Bio-load and the Bio-load of a pleco is huge because they poop so much. The inch per gallon rule should only be followed for fish that grow to 2" at the most.

Sorry I can't give you any better news
It's okay. I didn't think the pleco was going to be compatible anyways - he might just need to find a new home. Any suggestions on what to do with him now?
 

gremlin

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You could try making a cave under the plants. Use a plastic "In" tray from WalMart or something - one that has a side opening rather than the end opening. Or use a piece of acrylic to make a shelf. Half bury it down in the gravel, but keep it kind of hollowed out so there is room for the pleco to go down under the shelf. Put the plants on top of the shelf and down the sides a bit so they disguise the shelf. That way the pleco will have a place to go hide without uprooting the plants.

You could also anchor the plants to pieces of driftwood to help hold them down.
 

platy ben

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You really think it's overstocked? Is it because of the pleco? Without it do you think that it would be fine?
Because of the pleco and the silver sharks. Without them it would be fine.

How large do they get? I don't know much about them since I didn't actually go to the store and ask a thousand questions like I normally do when I buy fish They're about 2-3 inches right now, the guy we bought all of this off of said that he traded another fish for those 4 shark fish last year sometime. How old are they usually when they get to mature size?
They can reach about 14" and I've heard that some reach 18". They could probably reach about 10" in a couple of years if kept in a big enough tank, but in your tank they will unlikely grow as fast and become stunted, which could damage them internally. I will also warn you that silver sharks are tank busters, when they get big, they can easily crack a tank.


Those fish look to me like columbian sharks, they are a brackish fish and will therefore not thrive in your tank, but please look at some pics of columbian sharks to confirm my identification.
 

izzyfishfarmer

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look like an algae eater
 
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BriannaWV

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platy ben said:
They can reach about 14" and I've heard that some reach 18". They could probably reach about 10" in a couple of years if kept in a big enough tank, but in your tank they will unlikely grow as fast and become stunted, which could damage them internally. I will also warn you that silver sharks are tank busters, when they get big, they can easily crack a tank.


Those fish look to me like columbian sharks, they are a brackish fish and will therefore not thrive in your tank, but please look at some pics of columbian sharks to confirm my identification.
I do believe they are columbian sharks. I just read that they have venomous dorsal spines! EEEK!

I'm going to have to have a talk with my boyfriend and tell him the new fish have to go. They sound like too much of a problem to take care of even in an extremely large tank.
 

potatos

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if you really like plecos, you could consider getting a smaller variety such as a bristlenosed, who is still messy because he is a pleco, but much smaller than a common pleco and produces less waste.they are also great algae eaters and do not harm plants.
of course this would involve getting rid of your current pleco, who is has a huge bioload, leaving less room for other fish. perhaps a friend or fish store would buy/take him.

this is a great site to help with stocking, it is much more accurate than the 1" per gallon rule.
aqadvisor
 

ariolex

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Welcome Brianna!!

I have no idea of what it is but for sure It is not a columbia shark.
The 'silver sharks' they are bala sharks beautiful they are very active and indeed they need a huge tank given that they get over a foot long. I am in the same boat I need to rehome mine

Good luck
 

proudtobeafarmgirl

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I was given a big pleco once, and had to keep him in my 10 gallon for a short time with my goldfish long time ago. He would go nuts and ended up hurting my goldfish, even with a makeshift house for him to hide in. I was glad to see him go as he made such a mess, pooped more than my horse and did not clean the algae very well. I have finally decided to not have any more plecos as I find them very ugly but they are even uglier when they are dead and you have to fish them out of your tank and do not have a net big enough and they are too big to flush down the toilet. (long story, kinda funny now) My cherry shrimp and unwanted pond snails are a great algae cleaning crew.
 

Regal

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Welcome to Fishlore!

You got a great deal on your new tank!

I have tried to keep a Common Pleco in a 75 gallon planted tank and I can promise you it is really not going to work. He uprooted nearly every plant every night.
 

JRDroid

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As mentioned above, the silver sharks are balance sharks. A 55 gallon is not big enough for even one adult. It sounds like you inherited a mess lol. I think the best idea would be to donate them to a local pet store because they do seem to sell well so a store should be willing to take them.
 

lanlesnee

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I wouldn't do a pleco in a live plant set up. My small pleco in my 125 gallon would eat the new growth on the plants keeping them all very shaggy looking. Finally moved all my plants to a 40 g and they are doing very well now.

I have a pleco about the same size as yours in a 55 gallon. The tank has double the filtation and I keep up on the water changes. He's been in there for 2 years without problems.
I have a large flower pot for mine to hide in. He loves his flower pot. I feed mine algae wafers and seaweed with galic.
 
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