My little Pleco might need help.

GuppieLover

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Hello everyone!

I'm new here and already love this forum. Great info plus good people to exchange with means great support and fun First I will give little history of my tank.

I have a 15 gallon tank in which I have had a flourishing guppy community. Unfortunately, illeness prevented me from taking care of the tank and,,, well let's just say most of my fishies are gone :'(
I gave tank a thourough cleaning and added 8 new guppies in it to help it restart. I also bought a Pleco. Tank went through a mild break-in period I guess though, cause I lost 4 of my new guppies and most of my juveniles I already had. Crisis is over I think, my new guppies and the juvenile that survived are doing good so far.

I am worried about my little Pleco, Oscar, though. He seems to be doing alright but I wonder if he is getting enough food. You see, my guppies are always picking at the food tablet I give him as he tries to eat it. He eats a while, then I guess he gets annoyed cause he goes to hide. I seem to have bottom feeding guppies ??? I had no idea they could do that. Anyone have suggestions as to how I could get them to stop pesturing my poor Oscar?
 

chickadee

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First of all Welcome to our site. Fishlore.com is a great place to meet other people who love their fish and to find information if you need help. I have been here almost a year now and I hope your experience is as pleasant as mine has been.

It sounds like your tank went through a mini-cycle to get back to normal and the ammonia and nitrites may have caused the death of your fish. To find out more about the Nitrogen Cycle, please read:

Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

It will explain the process the tank has to go through to make it safe for your fish. When something happens to the bacteria living in your tank it means that it must do a partiall or total recycle depending on how many of the bacteria died off. It is never a good idea to add more fish at this time as it stresses the fish and may end up in their deaths. Those who do survive will probably not ever be the most healthy and may have their lives shortened.

Now to the Pleco. You have a 15 gallon tank and Plecos become up to 12" long. With having the guppies, your tank does not really have room for a full grown Pleco so you may be needing either a larger tank or the possibility of taking him back and get another smaller scavanger. Cory Cats or Otos come to mind for the size tank you have.

Please do not worry about his hiding, he is a night creature and it is normal for him to hide out during the day, and most owners do not feed them until after lights out to keep the other fish from bothering them. The guppies will be less of a bother if you feed them at one end of the tank and the Pleco at the other. (put the guppies food in one end of the tank and quietly slip a wafer into the tank on the other end for the Pleco) Feed the guppies as far away from the Plecos home place as you can. He is also getting microscopic bits of food from the sides of the aquarium so he is not starving but remember he does most of his eating after dark.

I am so sorry to hear that you have been ill but am glad to hear that you are apparently doing better. If there is anything else I can do for you do not hesitate to ask. If I cannot help you there are many others on the forum and one or more of us will come up with an answer for you.

Rose
 
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GuppieLover

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Plecos actually grow THAT big???

I have always remembered a Pleco in this aquarium (It was my mother's before); and it did grow big but lived a good 10 years at least. And Mother always had guppies. I did ask about their growth at the pet store, and they said it would grow according to the dimension of the tank,,, which I assumed meant he would grow as much as he could in my tank and then stop.

If the tank will make Oscar sick because of lack of room, what other type of scavenger can I keep healthy in a 15 Gallon?

Thanks for the advice
 

ecnaj143

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It depends, some people believe it grows to the size of the tank, others believe they stunt their growth. I personally believe they grow to the size of the tank. Theres this Pleco:

Plecostomus Catfish
Scientific Name: Plecostomus Catfish, plecostomus sp
Grows to: 10"
Temp Range: 70-80
Number to Buy: 1 or More
Hardiness: A

General: Plecostomus catfish are very popular aquarium fish. There are many species of catfish that are called "Plecostomus" All have armored plates that protect them from predators. They are more active at night.

Feeding: They will eat standard foods. They will eat algae from the side of the tank. Be sure to use some food with green such as spirulina flakes. Supplement their diet with algae wafers

Housing: Give them some hiding spots. Some driftwood in the tank is beneficial. They like to graze on it.

Compatibility: Suitable for a wide variety of community tanks. They are not aggressive. There armored covering protects them from aggressive fish
 

Boxermom

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Yes, they do grow to the size of the tank. However, that's called stunting and its very bad and inhumane. What happens is the outside of the fish stops growing but the insides continue to grow. Imagine that happening to you. Is that something you want to do to another creature?

I've seen common plecos well in excess of 12". They can get quite large if they are properly housed and taken care of.
 

chickadee

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It makes little difference really whether they grow to 10" or 12" or more than 12", the 15 gallon tank you have is just simply overstocked at this point. Even having 8 guppies in the tank is pushing overstocking it. (without the Pleco) The general rule of thumb for stocking fish in an aquarium is 1" of fish body (not counting fins) for each gallon of aquarium size. There are two types of smaller scavengers that are great in the fish line for your sized tank. The first is a small school of Cory Catfish but here again the problem is that you have your tank full up with guppies and if you have Cory Cats they need to have company of their own kind. There are Dwarf Cories or Otocinclus catfish that are both very small but need to be kept in groups. I have heard that 3 is the optimum number, but I do have one tank with only 2 of my Otocinclus Catfish and they are doing fine.

I am sorry that we haven't been able to come up with a way for Oscar to be happy in the 15 gallon tank, but perhaps he can find a home with someone who has a bigger tank. Do you know anyone who has a larger tank who may have room for him or perhaps a local fish store or pet store who may be willing to see if they could find him a new home?

Rose
 

friend_o_fish

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HI I'm friend_o_fish and I'm new here too. One thing you should do is feed Oscar at night because Plecos are nocternal. try feeding him about a half houre after lights out this works for us and we have two gold fish with our Pleco and they just go check it out and then leave it alone and let Kerby our Pleco have it all to him selfe.
 

ecnaj143

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Boxermom said:
Yes, they do grow to the size of the tank. However, that's called stunting and its very bad and inhumane. What happens is the outside of the fish stops growing but the insides continue to grow. Imagine that happening to you. Is that something you want to do to another creature?

I've seen common plecos well in excess of 12".  They can get quite large if they are properly housed and taken care of.
I have wild Pleco's that live in the ponds outside my apartments. I've seen some 12+, but I have seen some that were 7" or less. Look, not all of the same kind of fish are the same. Just because you havn't heard it or seen it doesn't mean it doesn't excist. Think what you want, but I've seen plecos in 10gal and they have been in there for yrs.
 

Boxermom

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Obviously you have your mind made up and no one is going to change it. I'm not even attempting to at this point, I'm providing the information for other people who DO care about their fish and their fish's well-being. Yes, I imagine it was there for years and never grew. That's because it was stunted. Not quite sure what part about that you don't get. As I've said before, if anyone doesn't want to take my word for it, do some research. Research stunting, the causes and the consequences. Just because a fish can live a few years in an inappropriate environment doesn't meany anything. Particularly when the livespan of that fish, such as a pleco, is DECADES, not a few years.
 

hopesmom

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welcome to fishlore! I have a pleco too, and at first I worried he wasn't getting enough to eat, but then I watched him at night...BOY does he eat! He covers the walls, gravel, and plants sucking up everything. I feed my fish in the morning a little, my daughter gives them some more when she gets home from the babysitters, and then I give them a little more about 10 min before lights out..Waldo pigs out as soon as it's lights out..lol I need to get him the veggie tablets today when I'm at the pet store. I'm also looking for decent driftwood as I read plecos graze on it...I think it might be expensive though? I got a bigger tank to move him into, as I feel better safe than sorry on stunting. I was wondering how old mine is, since I "inherited" him, and he has grown already in the short time I've had him...I wonder if there is an "average" growth rate for fish per month? Anyway, enjoy your pleco - Waldo is really fun to watch, and he eats more than anyone else inthe tank probably!
 

ecnaj143

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Boxermom said:
Obviously you have your mind made up and no one is going to change it. I'm not even attempting to at this point, I'm providing the information for other people who DO care about their fish and their fish's well-being.  Yes, I imagine it was there for years and never grew. That's because it was stunted.  Not quite sure what part about that you don't get.  As I've said before, if anyone doesn't want to take my word for it, do some research. Research stunting, the causes and the consequences.  Just because a fish can live a few years in an inappropriate environment doesn't meany anything. Particularly when the livespan of that fish, such as a pleco, is DECADES, not a few years.
Nope, not gonna change it. Just like no one can change your mind since you know EVERYTHING about fish. Also, don't go accusing anyone about caring about their fish. I love my fish, I just believe different then you. Becuz I don't believe it stunts their growth. God made animals to adapt to their enviorment they live in. So don't sit there and tell me I'm wrong when you don't even know.
 
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GuppieLover

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Thanks for all the help guys.

My stand is more with hopesmom at this point: I'd rather be safe than sorry about stunting. I live in an appartment so at the moment, getting a bigger tank is just not possible. Guess Oscar will have to go :'(

I will be looking up those fish you recommended instead; just to be on the safe side.
By the way, how do you know the EXACT size of the tank? I've always thought it was a 20 gallon,,, until I did this calculation after my mother said she had no clue,,, and ended up with a result of 16.9 ??? Which I took to mean it was smaller than I though
 

Boxermom

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Here's a tank calculator you can use. The amounts are never exact. For example, 30 gallon doesn't really old 30g, it holds a tad less.
 

ecnaj143

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Boxermom said:
Here's a tank calculator you can use. The amounts are never exact. For example, 30 gallon doesn't really old 30g, it holds a tad less.
Here's another site that says that clown loachs can be small.
 

Isabella

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I understand that many of us may have very different opinions at times. Everybody's different, of course. However, even if we often disagree with each other, it does not mean that we cannot get along peacefully and respectfully This forum is intended to help people learn about the hobby without disrespecting each other. Also, remember the power of research when trying to educate others. We want to provide the correct and reliable information so that others could benefit from it. So, let us keep this forum respectful and informative
 

david

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here here .. .well said Isabella..somone had to say it..and u done it perfectly..lol
 

Isabella

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Thank you David. I am not experienced with plecos. Though I have to say, there must be various kinds of plecos, some of which grow large and some of which don't. But even the smallest pleco is too large for a 15 gallon tank. So while I agree with Ecnaj143 that some plecos don't grow that big, I also have to agree with Boxermom that it's better to keep any of these creatures in as large a tank as possible because stunted growth isn't exactly good for a fish. Though unintended, it may seem like a sort of cruelty. I personally wouldn't keep any pleco in a tank smaller than 75 gallons in volume.
 

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