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Old May 12th, 2008, 07:50 AM
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My Pleco is being Weird

Well, phase three of my mass aquarium remodel is complete.

Phase one was moving my 20G to my new house without killing anyone (success!).

Phase two was erecting and adding water to my 10G that was in storage as well as my new 65G that I bought used in hopes of raising cichlids.

Phase three, my fave so far, was the purchase of 6 kuhli loaches for my 10G and a new tiny pleco for my 20G. The pleco I had in there had started out as a baby but is now pushing eight inches from nose to tail. Although he was not causing any problems in the 20, I thought he'd be much more comfortable in the 65. However, since I transferred him, he's been quite shy. All I've seen of him is the tip of his tail! He was hiding under a bridge for a day or so, and now he's under a pile of large smooth stones. When he was under the bridge, I was scared that he would not be able to get out because the

A couple of things I'm considering: He is now in a soft, sandy substrate. The substrate in the 20 was average gravel sized, and in each place he's hiding, he's nestling down into the substrate so far that he's pretty much resting on the glass bottom of the tank, and leaving piles of sand all around him. Also, the quality of light is different - the previous tank owner had live plants in the substrate, and was using an appropriate light for the plants. Also, this tanks is so much bigger, he may be a bit intimidated.

One thing he is not doing - Eating the algae that is on the insides of the tank.

I'm just concerned that he make himself at home quickly - my cichlids are going in tonight or tomorrow night, and although the Pleco will by far be the biggest fish in the tank, I'm worried that he'll be abused because he's in hiding and they will only see his tailfins.

Anyone ever experienced a shy pleco before???
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Old May 12th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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All of the pleco's I've ever had were nocturnal. Never saw them during the day, only saw them at night. Used to provide them with hiding places so they could sleep during the day. A large piece of pvc pipe cutin half to make a large cave would suffice for him.

Cindy
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Old May 12th, 2008, 11:46 AM
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My pleco is shy too. I very seldom see him during the day. Or at least I didn't when he was smaller. Now he is bigger he attaches himself to the outside of a log where he thinks he is hiding. Most plecos I have had are a little on the shy side. He probably was very comfy in his smaller tank and now isn't sure what to do with all the space. I would either give him a few days to get used to it or move him back to the smaller tank.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 11:47 AM
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I'll try that, but this one has always been happy being in plain view - maybe because his previous living quarters were too small for him to have a good hide.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 12:41 PM
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plecos are pretty shy but some things you shoudl check before writing this off as a shy pleco-

what was the pH in his other tank?
whats the pH in the new tank??
what are you feeding him?

do you test your water for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates?? if so, the first two should be ZERO!!! the last one below 40ppm.

-ashley
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Old May 12th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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There are no other fish in this tank, and his last tank was quite crowded, so I imagine the water quality would be BETTER in this one!
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Old May 12th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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did you give the bacteria a chance to establish itself?? meaning did you take soem old gravel or filter floss from the old tank and put it into the new one?? if not, do some hefty water changes over the next month, keep a close eye on the ammonia levels and nitrates. they both are part of starting new tanks. it will iron itself out over the next 4 weeks or so, but the ammonia and nitrites are both capable of killing him if you dont keep on top of water changes.

-ash
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Old May 15th, 2008, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danaekitty View Post
However, since I transferred him, he's been quite shy. All I've seen of him is the tip of his tail!
That's normal. Try leaving the lights off for awhile.

Quote:
When he was under the bridge, I was scared that he would not be able to get out
You're actually right to watch closely with that. I have known of plecos dying because they wedged themselves into something (usually driftwood) and could not back out when their spines got caught.

Quote:
The substrate in the 20 was average gravel sized, and in each place he's hiding, he's nestling down into the substrate so far that he's pretty much resting on the glass bottom of the tank, and leaving piles of sand all around him. Also, the quality of light is different - the previous tank owner had live plants in the substrate, and was using an appropriate light for the plants.
It's normal for a pleco to bury itself, he's just settling in.
What wattage and type of bulbs are in your light? You may actually want to change them out because if they were good high wattage plant bulbs (doubt it but possible) they will grow certain types of algae like CRAZY with no plants in there. That is good for your pleco only if it's the types he prefers to eat, but it likely won't be.

Quote:
I'm worried that he'll be abused because he's in hiding and they will only see his tailfins.
That's possible. Watch him, if he gets picked on at ALL remove him immediately. For temporarily removal of fish you can use a water tight rubbermaid tub until you can get them into other housing or to the fish store.

You also need to give him a hiding spot like clm mentioned, something he can completely fit in comfortably to hide.

Quote:
There are no other fish in this tank, and his last tank was quite crowded, so I imagine the water quality would be BETTER in this one!
You can actually stress a fish moving it directly from a tank with high nitrates, nitrites and/or ammonia into extremely clean water. He'll likely recover since they're tough, but that could be part of your issue.

Quote:
Also, the water cycled for over a week before I put the pleco in.
Sorry to say, you let the bacteria die then, unless you were adding an ammonia source. Cycling the water doesn't culture the denitrifying bacteria on the filter. You let the bacteria sit with no food source. Some may have survived if there was already detritus in the substrate releasing ammonia, but they will still have to build back up. It's part of the nitrogen cycle.

Read Freshwater Cycling

Quote:
I have no idea what the ph is, I don't have a test kit.
Please please please by a master test kit. (pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate).
You can't know anything about your water quality without testing. Water can look clear and pristine and be quite toxic.

Quote:
I've been dropping in his algae wafers, and they disappear - I hope he's eating them. I'll try the vegetables, thanks.
He's probably eating them, he just doesn't wanna come out.
Veggies are always good, you may wanna drop a worm in there too, they love those and they actually benefit from a meat source periodically, though not as a staple.

I'll have to disagree with want4rain on blanching though, that's mostly to get the food to sink. None of those veggies absolutely need to be blanched, in fact they're more nutritious rinsed and whole. My plecos and clown loaches have no trouble eating raw veggies, they just have to be weighed down or they'll float.
You would be surprised what plecos can chew on. I had one once that cracked open all my hard plant bulbs abandoning them one by one as he realized nothing he wanted to eat was inside..

And now I'm done because my posts are WAY too long. Sorry guys!
(That'll teach this website to have a fish section .)

Last edited by MyBirdIsEvil; May 15th, 2008 at 04:40 AM.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 06:49 AM
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you know in all this time ive kept fish i have never kept a pleco?! nor cichlids.

-ash
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:12 AM
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EvilBird: THANK YOU!!! You've made me feel a little more confident about at least giving this co-habitation a try. I've been so nervous I was about to give up on cichlids completely and stick with regular tropicals, but at least now I know it's possible, and that his current behaviour is normal.
I didn't know that you could buy a complete testing kit - I imagine they're quite expensive...but I do go to my fish store pretty frequently, so I guess I'll bring my water in more frequently.
Fingers crossed! And please, I love your posts! Don't shorten them!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:14 AM
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w4r: Plecos are COOL!!! I love how their markings develop as the get longer, especially on their bellies. I just got a teeny weeny one to replace the big one in my 20g and haven't seen it since I plopped him in there...the little ones, although cute as a button, are not quite as striking.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:31 AM
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you know in all this time ive kept fish i have never kept a pleco?! nor cichlids.

-ash
Lol.

I started out with a betta and then kind of skipped over all the normal fish to oddballs at first. The BN plecos I only got because they had a whole ton of babies at one of the stores in town and they were labelled as common plecos so they were cheaper than they should have been.
The sunshine pleco my husband ordered in. Actually that's why we have so many fish, we both are into the hobby so when we see things we want we tend to buy them and it adds up. There is no "Don't we have enough fish?" or anything.

Speaking of the sunshine pleco, when we first got him he wouldn't even eat and we just started seeing him come out recently even though we've had him for several months. At one point we thought he was dead because we couldn't find him, so there's a good example of how they can be when you put them into a new enviroment. I dunno how long he went without eating, but his belly was kinda flat for awhile. Now he's pretty fat but still kind of shy.
Plecos can be kind of moody.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:45 AM
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Danaekitty, liquid test kits run 15-20 dollars here, I dunno about there.

This is the one I use http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...54&pcatid=4454.

Well, at this point I don't buy master test kits because I never run out of the same solutions at the same rate, but that's the brand I use.

And I just realized I keep calling my husband's pleco a sunshine pleco when it's a gold nugget. They do look similar, but I should probably know the approximate species of my own fish
If you want good color they look very nice http://planetcatfish.com/catelog/spe...species_id=154
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:49 AM
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And I just realized I keep calling my husband's pleco a sunshine pleco when it's a gold nugget. They do look similar, but I should probably know the approximate species of my own fish
If you want good color they look very nice http://planetcatfish.com/catelog/spe...species_id=153
COOL!!! That one pic of the guy holding a huge one at a lake...the fins look crazy! I really like the spots. There are some really cool plecos at my local fish store right now - they're so expensive though.

I wish my bf were more interested in this hobby. He likes to say that it's cruel to keep them and makes fun of me for killing everything, even though there hasn't been anything I haven't been able to save for quite a long time (except for my poor blue tetra that I'm pretty sure had a parasite). Anyway, his lack of interest hasn't stopped me any - the sound of lights, pumps and running water fills our house!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:45 AM
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Sunshine pleco, eh? Do you have a pic?

That makes sens that they're moody - I've often thought by looking at their eyes that there is more intelligence there than in any other of my tropicals.

My dad says I tend to give animals human qualities to the point of ridiculousness, but I SWEAR my last betta was constantly copping attitude with me. I don't think he liked me AT ALL. He had a very strong personality, that's for sure.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 08:31 AM
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i never got a pleco because i knew how much went into them before i had a tank large enough. *grin* my dream tank is a 150-200g with a pair of scarlet (ugly buggers arent they) plecos(L025), 6 discus, 20 or so oto cats or goby plecos(LDA25).... a dozen or so cory cats (not sure which yet) and 30 or so dither fish.

plecos have to be, hands down, some of the most... alluring fish ever. maybe a pair or trio of L200?? call them all Green Lantern.... 1, 2 and 3!

i could go on and on and get lost in planetcatfish for hours.... lets just say its quite the desire.

-ash
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 07:28 AM
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So I moved my large clown loach into the bigger tank - it was difficult. He flipped out of the net at the wrong time and ended up on the floor. He flopped around for a few seconds before I got him into the tupperware I was going to use to acclimatise him, and made it to the larger tank, but I didn't get to acclimatise him properly and he was breathing funny for awhile. Seems okay now. The two baby clowns have found him and the swim around in a herd, he seems in good spirits, he's already chasing the gouramis. I put some extra water conditioner in to help his natural slime...I hope he'll be okay. He's my fave.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 08:49 AM
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i wouldnt use a 'water conditioner' as all it does is irritate their skin/scales to create a thicker slime coat. i dont think there is a single fish that cant handle 1tbs/10g of salt and quite a few that will benefit from it used regularly. clown loaches apparently are one of them!! they are of a family of fish that are considered 'scaleless'. ive kept loaches and used salt with them as an ICH treatment (2tbs/5g) and they were fine but im not sure of the long term use. there is quite a bit of literature on treating them with salt for ICH but very little on keeping them in a brackish or low end brackish system... although a great deal about them venturing into near SW conditions through out their life.
platies do considerably better with hard water and roughly 2-4tbs/10g of salt in their water although they adapt quite well to purely freshwater.

here are some articles for you to read on them-
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/poeciliids.htm

and your loaches-
http://www.loaches.com/species-index...a-macracanthus

and your pleco-
http://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog...species_id=580
http://badmanstropicalfish.com/profiles/profile34.html

i like www.wetwebmedia.com for most of the information on fish although i try to use most of the sources i find. if i had to make a suggestion, put the pleco in with the loaches in the 65g and keep a real close eye on the water parameters. if it looks like your nitrates are manageable (ie under 40ppm at the end of the week, resolved down to 20ppm after WC) then see abotu adding a few platies. ive only had smaller tanks, nor have i ever kept a pleco or clowns but a few clowns and a pleco seems like a lot for a 65g. BUT neither species should be kept in anything under a 45g.

if i had to make a harder suggestion, take the laoches back and get some smaller ones. the loaches ive kept are quite silly little guys and they dont even get a fraction of the size a clown does. yoyo loaches, blue skunk, zebra loaches all stay small also.

oh and one last thing, it is dangerous to net loaches or plecos. they have spines all over the place that can get stuck in the net and become damaged. i prefer to use cups or... well in your case BUCKETS to catch them in. also ive known some serious pleco people who have found their plecos half dried up behind the tank that survived. moral of the story?? fish are amazing creatures!! just keep up with the water changes to keep the water perfect, your loach should heal just fine.

-ashley
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Old May 28th, 2008, 05:14 PM
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if i had to make a harder suggestion, take the laoches back and get some smaller ones. the loaches ive kept are quite silly little guys and they dont even get a fraction of the size a clown does. yoyo loaches, blue skunk, zebra loaches all stay small also.
You run into the problem of someone buying them for an even smaller tank when taking them back.
Clown loaches take an awfully long time to grow, so they won't outgrow a 65g for years. Once they reach several inches they go for LOTS of money ($60 for 5 in. isn't a bad price, larger than that it goes up even more since large loaches are very uncommon - you can be looking at hundreds of dollars for a fully mature adult), so in this case I'd recommend keeping them and finding an actual collector to take them if you fear them outgrowing the tank.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 06:13 PM
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oh my gosh dont go saying things like that!!!!! i want clowns soooooooo badly but have always talked myself out of them because my largest system (currently) is a 20gT.

-ash
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Old May 28th, 2008, 07:35 PM
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Well a 20g wouldn't last long enough for me to recommend that, especially a tall, lol.

A 65g will last quite awhile, though a 75g would really be a better growout.

The main thing with them is overall they're not as hardy as the yoyos and such, so you really really have to keep up on water changes with them and not let the nitrates get too high. They're also happier the larger the shoal, so though 5 is an ok number, many more would be better. The larger the tank the better because then you can have a proper shoal.
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