20 Gallon Tank Will a pleco work in my tank?

KiwiFish22

Member
Hi all. This is my first post here and im very new with keeping fish! I've had a 20 gallon tank set up for about a month and a half now, its cycled and everything. I had 5 guppies and wanted an algae eater when I went to get more guppies and was shown an albino pleco so I got him and 3 more guppies. I now have 8 guppies and the albino bristlenose pleco but I've been doing research after getting him (like I said I'm new to keeping fish and trusted the person selling him so I didn't think to research them beforehand) and now I'm worried my tank is going to be too crowded/have too much waste. The person I talked to when buying the pleco told me he'd be great for helping keep my tank clean and I thought he looked so so cool but now I've read about how they add a lot of waste to the tank. If I keep up on my weekly 10% water changes will that be enough? Or is my tank gonna get gross fast? The guppies all have enough room so I'm not worried about that but I am worried about the water quality now. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated!!!
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
Gonna have to do more than 10% changes for sure. Closer to 50% water changes. Plecos poop a lot.
 

StarGirl

Member
KiwiFish22 said:
Hi all. This is my first post here and im very new with keeping fish! I've had a 20 gallon tank set up for about a month and a half now, its cycled and everything. I had 5 guppies and wanted an algae eater when I went to get more guppies and was shown an albino pleco so I got him and 3 more guppies. I now have 8 guppies and the albino bristlenose pleco but I've been doing research after getting him (like I said I'm new to keeping fish and trusted the person selling him so I didn't think to research them beforehand) and now I'm worried my tank is going to be too crowded/have too much waste. The person I talked to when buying the pleco told me he'd be great for helping keep my tank clean and I thought he looked so so cool but now I've read about how they add a lot of waste to the tank. If I keep up on my weekly 10% water changes will that be enough? Or is my tank gonna get gross fast? The guppies all have enough room so I'm not worried about that but I am worried about the water quality now. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated!!!
Welcome! You may want to up your water changes to 50% but I think you will be fine. Just vacuum good during changes. My Albino BN loves Red Bell Pepper and Zucchini.
 

AggressiveAquatics

Member
Plecos produce a lot of waste and especially bristle nose in my experience. I would recommend rehoming it but there are other options. Also you should be doing more than 10% water changes 25-30% is the usual amount so I would recommend upping it to maybe 40-50% if you want to keep him. Also unless you specifically got all male or female guppies things are gonna get crazy really fast
 
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KiwiFish22

Member
StarGirl said:
Welcome! You may want to up your water changes to 50% but I think you will be fine. Just vacuum good during changes. My Albino BN loves Red Bell Pepper and Zucchini.
Will that stress out my guppies changing so much water every week though?
AggressiveAquatics said:
Plecos produce a lot of waste and especially bristle nose in my experience. I would recommend rehoming it but there are other options. Also you should be doing more than 10% water changes 25-30% is the usual amount so I would recommend upping it to maybe 40-50% if you want to keep him. Also unless you specifically got all male or female guppies things are gonna get crazy really fast
I made sure to get all male guppies cause I don't wanna deal with them breeding lol I'm not prepared for that yet.
Would it be best to rehome the pleco? I only got him like 2 days ago so I feel bad bringing him back already but the guppies are my main focus honestly. I thought the pleco looked super cool but if it could be detrimental to the guppies idk if I should keep him then. What would you recommend for an algae eater if I rehomed him?
 

StarGirl

Member
KiwiFish22 said:
Will that stress out my guppies changing so much water every week though?
It shouldn't. I think a large amount of members do this every week. It cuts all of the bad stuff at least in half. Think of it as a smoky room, take a 1/4 of the smoke out it is still pretty smoky right? Well the same is true of waste and bad stuff in your water. Fish love nice clean water.
 
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KiwiFish22

Member
StarGirl said:
It shouldn't. I think a large amount of members do this every week. It cuts all of the bad stuff at least in half. Think of it as a smoky room, take a 1/4 of the smoke out it is still pretty smoky right? Well the same is true of waste and bad stuff in your water. Fish love nice clean water.
That makes sense. It seems like everywhere I read it says to only do 10% a week so I was worried that changing that much would stress out the guppies and mess with my bacteria levels. I hope the 50% water changes would be enough for the pleco! I'm so worried now
 

StarGirl

Member
KiwiFish22 said:
That makes sense. It seems like everywhere I read it says to only do 10% a week so I was worried that changing that much would stress out the guppies and mess with my bacteria levels. I hope the 50% water changes would be enough for the pleco! I'm so worried now
Just keep an eye on your ammonia and Nitrates for awhile. It will be enough. I wouldn't add any fish until you are sure it is totally cycled and everyone is happy and healthy for awhile too.
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
StarGirl said:
It shouldn't. I think a large amount of members do this every week. It cuts all of the bad stuff at least in half. Think of it as a smoky room, take a 1/4 of the smoke out it is still pretty smoky right? Well the same is true of waste and bad stuff in your water. Fish love nice clean water.
Best analogy i have heard!
 
  • Thread Starter

KiwiFish22

Member
StarGirl said:
Just keep an eye on your ammonia and Nitrates for awhile. It will be enough. I wouldn't add any fish until you are sure it is totally cycled and everyone is happy and healthy for awhile too.
Okay thank you so much! Is there qny tricks/tips to make sure the water changes go as smooth as possible? I've never changed that much of my water at once so I'm really nervous to lol
And I think im at my limit for fish for my tank so I won't be getting any new ones for a while hopefully
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
KiwiFish22 said:
Okay thank you so much! Is there qny tricks/tips to make sure the water changes go as smooth as possible? I've never changed that much of my water at once so I'm really nervous to lol
And I think im at my limit for fish for my tank so I won't be getting any new ones for a while hopefully
The best thing is to try and get the new water temperature matched with the tank water. The closer, the better.
 

Phildaint

Member
I would say you’d be fine with bigger water changes, if you wanted something else that is smaller and will do the job you could get 3 or 4 ottocinclus, they stay small and spend all day eating algae. And you’ll actually see them, plecs tend to stay hidden most of the time it’s a rare treat when mine make an appearance! Ottos are a staple in most of my tanks...
 

StarGirl

Member
Betta'sAnonymous said:
Best analogy i have heard!
I think its a mash up of all of the cycling threads I've read over the years.
KiwiFish22 said:
Okay thank you so much! Is there qny tricks/tips to make sure the water changes go as smooth as possible? I've never changed that much of my water at once so I'm really nervous to lol
And I think im at my limit for fish for my tank so I won't be getting any new ones for a while hopefully
I just use a 5g bucket. Fill it up with a 2g bucket. Just make sure you don't forget the dechlorinator. And match the temp.
 
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KiwiFish22

Member
Betta'sAnonymous said:
The best thing is to try and get the new water temperature matched with the tank water. The closer, the better.
I've done pretty good matching the water temp. Should I let the water conditioner sit in the water in the bucket for a bit before I pour it back in? I only have a 2.5 gal bucket so it would take a while to refill the tank if that's the case then
StarGirl said:
I think its a mash up of all of the cycling threads I've read over the years.

I just use a 5g bucket. Fill it up with a 2g bucket. Just make sure you don't forget the dechlorinator. And match the temp.
Wait, what why do you use the 2 different sizes of buckets? And from what I understand water conditoner is the same as dechlorinator right?
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
KiwiFish22 said:
I've done pretty good matching the water temp. Should I let the water conditioner sit in the water in the bucket for a bit before I pour it back in? I only have a 2.5 gal bucket so it would take a while to refill the tank if that's the case then
I don't. Hasn't caused me any problems yet over the years. But you can if you want.
 

StarGirl

Member
KiwiFish22 said:
I've done pretty good matching the water temp. Should I let the water conditioner sit in the water in the bucket for a bit before I pour it back in? I only have a 2.5 gal bucket so it would take a while to refill the tank if that's the case then

Wait, what why do you use the 2 different sizes of buckets? And from what I understand water conditoner is the same as dechlorinator right?
Yes it is the same. I use the smaller one because its easier to dump in the tank. Picking up a 5g bucket is heavy...lol
 
  • Thread Starter

KiwiFish22

Member
Betta'sAnonymous said:
I don't. Hasn't caused me any problems yet over the years. But you can if you want.
I hadn't been letting it sit but saw something recently about letting the water sit overnight and that isn't possible with my one little bucket I currently have haha so glad to know I'm doing that part right!
 

Phildaint

Member
StarGirl said:
I think its a mash up of all of the cycling threads I've read over the years.

I just use a 5g bucket. Fill it up with a 2g bucket. Just make sure you don't forget the dechlorinator. And match the temp.
on my smaller tanks, I have a trusty 10L watering can with the sprinkler on the end tap water and then use the kettle to match as best I can. It takes several trips back and forth but it does the job well and doesn’t disturb the substrate etc

on the bigger 550litre tank I just use the hose pipe from the garden.
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
KiwiFish22 said:
I hadn't been letting it sit but saw something recently about letting the water sit overnight and that isn't possible with my one little bucket I currently have haha so glad to know I'm doing that part right!
Everybody has their little water change rituals. Some just because, some out of necessity. Before water conditioners came around, it was a necessity to let water sit for a couple days.
 
  • Thread Starter

KiwiFish22

Member
Phildaint said:
I would say you’d be fine with bigger water changes, if you wanted something else that is smaller and will do the job you could get 3 or 4 ottocinclus, they stay small and spend all day eating algae. And you’ll actually see them, plecs tend to stay hidden most of the time it’s a rare treat when mine make an appearance! Ottos are a staple in most of my tanks...
I think if the pleco doesn't work out I'm gonna get some ottos. After reading more about plecos I kept seeing ottos mentioned and I think those would be my next bet. Yeah it is pretty sad the pleco hides all day, he's so cool looking I wish I could see him more
 

StarGirl

Member
KiwiFish22 said:
I think if the pleco doesn't work out I'm gonna get some ottos. After reading more about plecos I kept seeing ottos mentioned and I think those would be my next bet. Yeah it is pretty sad the pleco hides all day, he's so cool looking I wish I could see him more
Mine is out and about quite often. Maybe he has to get comfy first. Put a veggie in there I bet he comes out. Getting Ottos I would wait until your tank is really established and has lots of biofilm and algae for them to eat. They are not known for eating regular fish foods.
 
  • Thread Starter

KiwiFish22

Member
Betta'sAnonymous said:
Everybody has their little water change rituals. Some just because, some out of necessity. Before water conditioners came around, it was a necessity to let water sit for a couple days.
Fair enough! Im sure ill get a ritual for water changes once I'm more used to everything. Right now I'm still in the stage of "please don't let the fish die because of my actions" haha
Phildaint said:
on my smaller tanks, I have a trusty 10L watering can with the sprinkler on the end tap water and then use the kettle to match as best I can. It takes several trips back and forth but it does the job well and doesn’t disturb the substrate etc

on the bigger 550litre tank I just use the hose pipe from the garden.
Ooh I like the idea of the watering can! I'll have to look into that thank you!
 

Phildaint

Member
StarGirl said:
Mine is out and about quite often. Maybe he has to get comfy first. Put a veggie in there I bet he comes out. Getting Ottos I would wait until your tank is really established and has lots of biofilm and algae for them to eat. They are not known for eating regular fish foods.
You must be lucky, I’ve had my pair of golden nuggetsFor 2 years and rarely come out unles the light is in dusk/night mode, maybe I’m being too nice and always given them lots of good shaded hiding places.

... just as I’m typing this, one came out. It’s like he knew!
 
  • Thread Starter

KiwiFish22

Member
StarGirl said:
Mine is out and about quite often. Maybe he has to get comfy first. Put a veggie in there I bet he comes out. Getting Ottos I would wait until your tank is really established and has lots of biofilm and algae for them to eat. They are not known for eating regular fish foods.
I hope mine comes out more when he's more comfortable! I've seen him at night the 2 nights I've had him but during the day he's nowhere to be found. Im still figuring out the process of feeding veggies. Ideally I want something him and my guppies will all like
 

StarGirl

Member
KiwiFish22 said:
I hope mine comes out more when he's more comfortable! I've seen him at night the 2 nights I've had him but during the day he's nowhere to be found. Im still figuring out the process of feeding veggies. Ideally I want something him and my guppies will all like
That may or may not happen. The veggies you can either blanche them first or like a zuc or cuc you can just put in raw if you want. You just need something to weigh it down. I use plant weights. I don't think guppies like veggies but they will eat the wafers if your pleco lets them near it. I usually try to feed veggies closer to water change day in case you get extra poops or seeds all over. You can seed the veggie first though.
 

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