08-30-2010, 01:21 PM
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Agree with previous advice. You also have a problem looming. Common plecos reach 18 inches and this is far too big a fish for a 37g tank, even when "smaller." As fish grow they need "space" and the stable water parameters that come with more space. Won't get into all that now, but you will either have to get a much larger tank (at least a 4-foot, preferably 5 or 6 feet in length) for a common pleco or consider exchanging them at the store. Some fish stores will do this. I am not a biologist so I cannot say that the pleco's abnormal behaviour is due to the fore-going, but it is one possibility.
It would help to know the exact numbers for pH, hardness and nitrates. Also, check the water for ammonia and nitrite just in case. Any of these suddenly changing or being in excess (the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate) can also cause the symptoms you mention. I agree with previous advice to get a liquid test kit, API make a combo with pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate that will do you fine. Having a good test kit for esp pH and nitrate means you can test periodically and know the tank's "normal" range and quickly spot trouble when the value changes.
The "tetra" and barb are shoaling fish that need to be in a group of at least six of each species. Don't add more fish until this current issue is resolved, but for the future bear this in mind. Shoaling fish alone or in pairs will be subject to additional stress which brings on more health issues.
Last edited by Byron; 08-30-2010 at 01:31 PM..