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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.

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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.

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Old May 12th, 2008, 04:16 PM
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It should be good. I used the filter and substrate from the previous owner - the filter had been rinsed out but the substrate still had a lot of the original moisture to it - quite heavy! Also, the water cycled for over a week before I put the pleco in.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 08:57 PM
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cool, you could try putting shelled peas, cucumber (but cut the ring so he doesnt get stuck) or zukes.... lettuce... make sure they are all lightly blanched (dipped in boiling water for a few seconds) so he can munch it away. any drift wood in there?

also, what was the pH before you got him and then the pH after you got him?? some of this lethargy could be pH shock. especially if you dropped more than a few points down.

-ash
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Old May 13th, 2008, 07:17 AM
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I have no idea what the ph is, I don't have a test kit.

He's hanging in there, though. Still hiding. It looked like his hiding place had collapsed on him this morning, so I moved one of the rocks and he swam around like crazy for a couple minutes, stirring up everything, looking for more places to hide...I put the "roof" back on his hidey spot and he swam right back in there...I swear he glared at me.

I do hope he's okay - the only reason I didn't switch him with a smaller one at the store ages ago was because I knew he would be comfortable as soon as I put him in the 65.

I've been dropping in his algae wafers, and they disappear - I hope he's eating them. I'll try the vegetables, thanks.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 07:19 AM
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I do have a hunk of wood in there too. And some lava rock - peppered with algae.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:27 PM
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I had a pleco once in with Lake Malawi cichlids.

And they ate his eyes and eventually killed him.

You didn't mention which type of cichlids you wanted to add, but just be careful and watch out for the pleco.

http://www.fishfantasyworld.co.za/ma...s_article1.htm
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:31 PM
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Oh my!!!
I certainly don't want that. I am getting cichlids from Lake Malawi! I was under the impression that as long as the Pleco was much bigger than the cichlids, he would be okay?
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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:05 PM
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Well in the wild they don't come from the same area and/or water type. And many African cichlids are quite aggressive.

There are a lot of horror stories out there of plecos being ripped to shreds by Malawi cichlids. It's not pretty. Some people have had a bit of luck using the barbed types, but in general it's not recommended (at least those I have talked to about it in the past) to have plecos with Malawi cichlids. There are even stories of plecos just rotting away (fin/tail rot) not long after being introduced to the tank. Something about pH?

However I have heard rumor online in fish forums that some plecos can live, even breed in tanks with Lake Tanganyikan cichlids. Just another lake in Africa with slightly different cichlids.

The only way I could keep my 50 gal tank free of algae was to manually scrub the glass every few days and then let the external tank filters take care of the rest. If it gets really yucky, you can do a partial water change.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:33 PM
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Thanks, Ceara! I do have a long-armed algae brush, so I'll work on maintenance.
I also have been getting mixed opinions on this topic. I've posted my question on a cichlid-specific forum, I'll see if they have anything useful to say.
Will keep you posted!
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:11 AM
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to also say, regular weekly water changes to keep your nitrates under 40ppm will keep algae to a point where you are scrubbing bi-monthly.

-ash
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Old May 15th, 2008, 04:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CearaQC View Post
There are even stories of plecos just rotting away (fin/tail rot) not long after being introduced to the tank. Something about pH?
Severe infections cause that, or else the other fish ate it. Fin and tail rot is usually easily treatable, there's no excuse for letting the fish rot away.

Quote:
However I have heard rumor online in fish forums that some plecos can live, even breed in tanks with Lake Tanganyikan cichlids. Just another lake in Africa with slightly different cichlids.
No, not if you keep the pH to that for Tanganyikan fish. Lake Tanganyika has an even higher pH (sometimes slightly above 9) than Malawi. They're not just slightly differnt lakes, they're extremely different ecologically.
Common plecos are from South America so they should have low to moderate pH at most (not above 8), never high pH (though the hardy species can survive in most water types, which is why they're invasive in Florida).
As far as Malawis eating a plecos eyes, it's possible, plecos often get picked on by other fish, but it also depends on the type of Malawis. Some aren't all that aggressive, but it's always a risk with African cichlids. Tank size and setup is also a factor. The larger tank, less stocking and more places to hide for the pleco (which can be nearly impossible for a very large pleco) the less likelyhood for issues, but still a possibility.

I have two bristlenose plecos and a sunshine pleco in a tank with 3 tanganyikan cichlids and various other fish, but the pH is 7.4-7.5 out of my tap and I don't adjust my water for most of my tanks no matter the species. Most fish are adaptable as long as the pH is stable. My BN plecos breed in there.

Quote:
The only way I could keep my 50 gal tank free of algae was to manually scrub the glass every few days and then let the external tank filters take care of the rest. If it gets really yucky, you can do a partial water change
Algae is not adequate to properly sustain a common pleco anyway. They need to be supplemented with stuff like peas, zucchini, romaine lettuce, and algae wafers.
If you want to keep your tank healthy water changes should be done weekly regardless. The only exception I personally make to this is a 29g tank I have with one small fish in it. Nitrates barely even read in that tank.
-----

Ok...now I'll try to answer some of the original posters questions, sorry my posts are so long, lol. I just have a lot of various knowledge.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 04:38 AM
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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 .)

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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, 07:45 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, 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, 07:53 AM
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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!
I switched links, try clicking again. Accidentally posted the wrong one the first time (there's 3 species listed as gold nugget). That's what he has, but all 3 species are really neat looking.

Don't feel bad about killing fish, I accidentally killed quite a few at first too...Even after I know what I'm doing I've stilled killed a couple for really stupid reasons when I should have known better. I've also had several die over stuff that wasn't my fault, it sometimes happens.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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Ever had to euthanize one? I probably should have euthanized my blue tetra but simply couldn't bring myself to do it.
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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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Mister- Black LabX, M, 08/06(?)
The Shadow Stalker- Gray Tux DSH, M, 04/04
The Mighty Hunter- Black Tux DSH, M, 04/04
Baby Girl- Tabby DMH, F, 12/03(?)
Frances- Tortie, DSH, F, 2007(?)
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  #29  
Old May 15th, 2008, 08:39 AM
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danaekitty danaekitty is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: London, Ont
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Catfish really are ridiculously cool. I also LOVELOVELOVE loaches, all of them! I just got 6 kuhlis, and my clown is the coolest. Bottom feeders seem to have such great character.
I really like gouramis too, but I had a bad experience with a bully dwafr that killed off any other mid-tank dweller I put in with him.
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  #30  
Old May 15th, 2008, 08:56 AM
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want4rain want4rain is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 2,445
i had some of these until just recently. they found new homes!! but they were some of the coolest fish i have ever kept. my little freshwater dolphins.

-ash
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