plants and fish? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-12-2009, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Post plants and fish?

i was planning on just having a few neon tetras with some snails and shrimp in my planted tank but i found some really cheap bristlenose plecos and i was wonder if a 20 gal tank with plants is enough for it. also do they eat plants?
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-12-2009, 08:39 PM
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Bristlenose Plecos tend to leave most plants alone and usuallly won't 'chew' on them other than to clean algae off the leaves.

They eat mostly algae so be sure to pop in an algae wafer or two every evening for them. Be careful not to get too many, they'll grow up to be about 5" each so remember to keep it under the 1" per gallon rule depending on your filtration.
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-12-2009, 09:03 PM
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Also, bristles will appreciate a good piece of driftwood to gnaw on, as it aids in their digestion. If it were me (and it's not!) I'd only keep one in a 20gl.

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-12-2009, 10:43 PM
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just a total random thought here about "common pleco's" there is a jacks aquarium here (Chain pet/fish store) and they have these little posters everywhere with aquarium tips. and i remember one of them saying you need 1 pleco for every ten gallons of water, so i thought to myself those guys have a crazy bio load and get mega big why would someone need so many? for instance i have a 55 would i really need 5 of those things? cause in a year my tank would be overflowing with common plecos. keep in mind i dont buy anything from these guys its just marysvilles ONLY pet store and i buy equip there sometimes, my real LFS is about 45mins away. so anyways is this really that great of advice?

o yeah sry about the random tangent

o yeah AK, USC got lucky we were leading most of the game.........

Last edited by MoneyMitch; 09-12-2009 at 10:47 PM.
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-13-2009, 11:24 AM
No, a common pleco can grow way more than a foot. Their bioload is often rated as almost twice their size. 10 gallons is way too small for a pleco. However, a lot of LFS and pet chain stores tell you this ebcause they know the pleco won't reach their max size before dying of starvation due to not enough algae, since most places also tell you you dont need to feed the pleco and it will eat only algae, and/or be stunted by the tank as they grow. When i first started keeping fish i was stupid and always got plecos, i was told that i didnt need to feed them and that they would max out their growth at 5-6 inches. Well what i discovered was they grow to about 5-6 inches, I had a algae spotless tank, and then the pleco starved to death.
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-13-2009, 12:08 PM
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Otos Otos Otos! I love my otocinclus catfish (I have 2 in the 20g... would get them friends if only I could get them to eat algae pellets!) And they are AWESOME! They work really hard, have a low bioload and even deour brown algae with relish. I had big-time algae problems but my otos cleared them all up within a few days. Plus, they won't outgrow your tank and like I said, have a practically negative bioload.
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-13-2009, 04:31 PM
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If you really want a pleco because you like the fish, choose a small species; there are some that grow to 3-4 inches max, although they are usually rare and expensive.

But if you are looking to buy fish for algae eating/control, consider one of the smaller species as someone mentioned. Ottos can't be beat; they need to be in a group, minimum 3 would be OK. Make sure you have algae in the tank when you get them, else they frequently die quickly; once established they will readily eat tablets if algae is scarce.

Or a Farlowella [these are phenomenal algae eaters, comparable to ottos] which like to be in a group but can work singly in my experience. They grow to about 6 inches but they are so thin and produce very little waste by comparison to a pleco. Water qualtiy and parameters are important though, so if the water is hard and fairly alkaline, not a good choice. Whiptail cats are also interesting, and comparable to the afore-mentioned in their algae efforts and effect on the bioload, and a bit more adaptable respecting water parameters.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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