Pleco losses

Asinity
  • #1
I am having an issue keeping Pleco's alive in my 21G. I just lost my second one, and am dumbfounded as to why.

My parameters are fine, the only thing that I can see being a problem is the wicked algae growth. The walls are coated quite nicely with green algae, and the plants and gravel is covered in brown algae. Can excessive algae cause this problem? The thing that boggles me is that my swordtail fry are all still alive, I would have expected them to be the first to die if something was wrong.

I scrubbed down the walls and plants 2 weeks ago from all the algae and it grew back PDQ.

Any thoughts?
 
Sam Livingston
  • #2
Do you keep your tank in front of a window? Sun light will cause algae to grow extremely fast. Other than that I'm not too sure why the plecos would be dying they usually live forever, unless were sick or dying coming out of the pet store.
 
armadillo
  • #3
HI Asinity. If anything, the algae growth should be a good thing for them. I am sorry you've having such bad luck.

And there were no signs of disease at all? Flashing in particular.

Did you get them both from the same pet store? I wonder if you were just not particularly unlucky, but I understand that it's discouraging and that you're not about to get a third one any time soon.

Did you medicate the tank or use salt, or fertilisers, or is it possible that something not aquarium-safe found its way there, leaking toxins (e.g. a plastic ornament with glue, or a metal ornament)? As they're scaleless, they would be more sensitive to that sort of things.
 
bandito974
  • #4
I was having the hardest time keeping them in my 10 gallon, they all kept dying, I thought it was actually do to not enuff algae I finally found one that keeps, I was actually wondering if I could house 2 in a 72 gallon tank, anyone try that?
 
Sam Livingston
  • #5
2 in a 72 gallon would probably be fine, especially when there yuonger. 2 full grown pleco's I'm not so sure about I'll let someone else answer that for you.
 
darkwolf29a
  • #6
I have 6 of them in a 40 gallon. Yes, you can do that.

But...the question is...what kind of pleco are they?

Not all Plecos eat algae. Are you feeding your fish correctly? If not...what killed them is lack of food. My L15s won't touch algae at all. So, I feed them zucchini, kale, and a veggie mix that provides all the nutrition they need.

You need to research what kind of pleco you have, and what their dietary needs are.
 
armadillo
  • #7
That's a really good point, Darkwolf. The only plecos that are consistent algae eaters as far as I know are bristlenose and common.
 
pirateman
  • #8
I just bought a common pleco 2 days ago to put in with my firemouth. There was no algae apparent in the tank but the guy at the store said algae tablets would be fine. I woke up and my pleco was dead, with no signs of the firemouth hurting it. I was wondering if a small pleco was not able to eat algae tablets or if anyone had a guess as to what may have killed it.
 
Barbrella
  • #9
Even if your pleco didn't eat the tablet it wouldn't starve to death in two days, unless it was near starvation already at the store. I got a BN not long ago and it was extemely thin.

Did you acclimate it slowly to your tank water? Sometimes the water in the store tank is very different than our own, both in composition and temp.
 
pirateman
  • #10
I let him sit in the bag for 30 minutes. Then let him swim out of the bag on his own accord. He was active even with the light on for the first day (I put him in at about 7 and lights out was at 10). He hid behind the filter intake and the heater during the day, and swam about at night. I got him from a peto that had about 10 common plecos in the same tank, is it possible he was weakened from living there? Any suggestions on helping a new one survive?
 
susitna-flower
  • #11
HI all, usually common plecos and bristlenose are fairly easy to keep in a tank as long as it has algae visible. I still feed an algae wafer a couple times a week. The medications on the market that give warnings not to use with scaleless fish apply to plecos, however, and if ANY medication or salt were used in your tank, I would suspect that as part of the problem.

The first thing to notice about a pleco is if his "tummy" looks full or sunken in. If it appears to be sunken, he isn't feeding and is stressed or sick. NEVER buy a pleco from the store that is in this condition because they will just come home and die!

Several types of plecos need wood. This is a common thing, and even though they do eat some algae, it will mostly be off a piece of driftwood. Then a few plecos are more carnivorous, and need bloodworms and such in their diet. SO look to their food needs, do your research for the kind of pleco you have.

Next, excessive algae will not kill a pleco, but just like any time you see algae it is a problem with high light, OR high contamination. IF you have ANY ammonia, nitrites OR nitrates above 20 THAT will kill your pleco. So test the water, and be truly honest in this area. If you have nitrates over 10 do some water changes, and cut the light to no more than 10 hours a day, AND decrease the amount of fish food you use. In just a couple of days you should notice a big difference, but then be sure to do water changes, and vacuum to remove the dying algae as this too can cause a minI cycle and harm your fish.

To find out about the particular needs of your pleco,
planet catfish is a good resource. Good Luck

Merry Christmas :;gift
 
pirateman
  • #12
Any suggestions on how to pick out a pleco and prepare a safe/healthy habitat for him? It's not that I need one for the algae overgrowth as I have almost no algae in my tank at all, I just want to keep one around because I like them. I currently have some driftwood to supplement the diet.
 
susitna-flower
  • #13
The first thing I would ask is how big is your tank?

That is the #1 determining factor, that and what can withstand your firemouth. I wouldn't say just because you didn't see any evidence that it was abusing your pleco that it wasn't!

Even just aggressive swimming near a new fish in the tank can cause enough stress to overwhelm the new addition...

I don't have any aggressive fish, but love my plecos. In my 125 gallon I have a royal, a sailfin and 3 bristlenose. The first two weren't keeping up with the algae, so I cut the feed, and added the bristlenose and it is all clean again.

Plecos love caves, and hiding places. I have two LARGE pieces of wood, two sets of caves, and in each corner a large rock with holes in it placed in such a way that the tank gear in the corners is hidden. This gives lots of hiding places. It is normal for them to hide for the first week or so, then as they get comfortable they will come out more and more. My sailfin goes in (at the top corner, down behind his rock, and sticks his head out the hole) He feels very safe, and will come out 10 or so times a day and swims freely.

Don't get a common or sailfin unless your tank is 55 gallons or larger! These are probably the best suited though for use in a tank with a firemouth, I wouldn't get any expensive, speciality pleco, until you have successfully kept one of these.

Merry Christmas :;gift
 
pirateman
  • #14
It's a 35-gallon tank, there is a large ship which the FM made his home, and then there are plants and a large piece of driftwood which I was hoping the pleco would make his home. My plan was to upgrade to a 50 gallon this summer (when I'm done with school) and add more fish. The pleco was tiny, I was hoping that within the next 6 months or so he would grow and when he was starting to get too large, I'd switch tanks. Is it possible to start with a pleco in this smaller tank and upgrade later, or is there just not enough territory for them to co-exist? Also, a lot of reading I have done suggested that the bristlenose stayed smaller and was better suited for more aggressive fish, any thoughts? I appreciate all of the help I have been receiving, thank you very much and Merry Christmas.
 
plecogirl
  • #15
Sorry to hear of your troubles. I have a BN and a Common. I ran my tank for a long time with no fish and no chemicals. Then added fish; plecos last. Over the course of a month added one breed at a time and I have seven species of fish in my 66 gallon tank. All fish are thriving, well the iridescent shark is liking my loaches LoL. I would think your plecos are going hungry. My plecos won't eat the green algae but will eat the brown algae. The algae eaters will eat anything! All the fish like small hunks of spinach, lettuce, kale or the odd wafers, (but gold fish seem to like them the most)!
 
susitna-flower
  • #16
It's a 35-gallon tank, there is a large ship which the FM made his home, and then there are plants and a large piece of driftwood which I was hoping the pleco would make his home. My plan was to upgrade to a 50 gallon this summer (when I'm done with school) and add more fish. The pleco was tiny, I was hoping that within the next 6 months or so he would grow and when he was starting to get too large, I'd switch tanks. Is it possible to start with a pleco in this smaller tank and upgrade later, or is there just not enough territory for them to co-exist? Also, a lot of reading I have done suggested that the bristlenose stayed smaller and was better suited for more aggressive fish, any thoughts? I appreciate all of the help I have been receiving, thank you very much and Merry Christmas.

Since your tank doesn't have much of a problem with algae at this point, I would hold off getting a pleco until you have that larger tank. There are several problems with getting a bristlenose for you. #1 is that they are a bit fragile when small. Very easily stressed by an aggressive fish.
#2 They never do grow up big enough to be able to fend for themselves against an aggressive fish that grows to 4".

What ever you do, a suggestion about how to introduce the new fish. Take the ship out, rearrange the decorations so the FM is confused. Put him in something while you are acclimating the new fish, (for at least a couple of days).

The next time, you should place the new fish in the water from the bag in a container. Add a 1/4 cup tank water every 15 minutes, for 2 hours. If at any time he seems stressed, slow it down. Lastly, scoop the new fish out of the container and place in tank. Don't feed any food for 24 hours, and keep lights out. Of course a pleco will graze, but this is not hard on the digestion like food.

Hope this helps, and I really do hope you can find just the right tank mate for your FM
 
Barbrella
  • #17
I wouldn't say just because you didn't see any evidence that it was abusing your pleco that it wasn't!

I agree with this, especially if the pleco was really tiny.
 
pirateman
  • #18
Thank you everyone for the help. At this point I'm going to let the FM be and get a pleco when its safer for him. Thank you for being so helpful, and happy new year.
 

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