Originally Posted by Fishguy2727
The pleco is a bristlenose, not a common. No need to treat it like a 2' fish.
Yes, although we cannot measure all the other stuff that builds up in a tank's water, they all correlate very well with nitrate unless there is something removing nitrate specifically and not the others (like live plants, nitrate absorbing media, etc.). If the nitrate is kept minimal with adequate water changes then the other things that build up will be kept minimal as well. So that is not an issue.
Yes, freshwater fish excrete a lot of urine, but since this is freshwater it is very dilute. The small portion of urine that isn't water is ammonia and being consumed by the nitrifying bacteria.
I do agree that larger water changes are always better (if done properly) so although I do not disagree that 50% every week would be better, the fact that the nitrate concentration/water quality is so good says it is not NEEDed in this tank, yet.
Surface area doesn't matter when it comes to aeration unless the tank is completely stagnant. Any filter or air stone will provide adequate aeration in almost every situation, whether it is 2 square feet of surface area or 12. I do always recommend an air pump in any freshwater tank though. If the filter is your only aeration and it fails at some point (which definitely happens) then you can start losing fish in as few as a couples hours. If you have a strong air pump on the tank it could go a week or more without any issues.
Yes, any fish creates waste. But if the goal is to reduce waste production then you should get rid of all the fish. A pleco is an extremely valuable member of any tank. They are not only a cool addition (unless you hate them for some reason) but they actually help keep the tank cleaner meaning less work and more enjoying for you. They are more than worth having IME.
You have the honor of being the only person I have yet to correspond with,(40 year's) who seem's fairly knowledgeable, that would express that larger surface area provided by standard rectangular tank ,does not provide better oxygen exchange at the surface than column tank.
Having kept, and am keeping ,various pleco's of all sizes,species,(love them) I can only chuckle at your belief that they somehow keep the tank cleaner.
These maint fish as you call them excrete two to three times the waste of smaller group of fish such as tetra's,barbs, depending on activity level's of particular species.If it's more fish you want, then forget about pleco's for the input from fish to the system is greate than a few smaller tetra like fishes .
Many of them(plecos) require their own diet (omnivores,carnivores,herbivores) for long term health, which can add also to waste created in the tank and most prefer moderate to swift current's which some,, (ok alot) of smaller species don't appreciate.
I also am amused, by your opinion that a simple air pump could support a tank for up to a week with no mention of plant's or bio-load.
Sure ,bacteria on substrate exist's, as well as on decor, but biological oxygen demand(BOD) is also high depending on number's of fish and organic input, and bacteria in filter that shoot's crap's begins to die off fairly quickly,(perhap's sooner than a week) and dead organics are then pumped back into the system once the filter return's to service.
Can create very low oxygen situation until filtration resumes.
Larger surface area is agreed by most, to support better oxygen exchange at surface than smaller surface area, and I have yet to hear any opinion's,nor expierienced anything that would lead me to believe otherwise.
Simple DO meter would provide more accurate assessment than my or your opinion.