Of sand, and plants and plecos and such
So, brought home a new, to me, 125 gallon set-up yesterday - and ever since my mind has been running 100 miles a minute, often in circles, as I try to start wrapping my head around what I'm going to do with it.
The one thing I DO know is that the common pleco from my son's tank is going in it, he has all but outgrown his current home, which was part of my decision to get myself something a bit larger. I *really* want to do a sand substrate, but I am not sure if that is compatible with having Mr. Awesome (hey, the kid named him) in the tank - any input on that? As it is now he can really cause a stir if/when he is startled or decides to zoom around the tank, it's gravel based, so I have this mental image of giant sand clouds if he were to be in a tank with sand. I absolutely adore kuhli loaches and corydoras - and was hoping to have them in this tank, but that would require a substrate that would be friendly to them (ie sand) - and that's where I start going in circles.
I was also completely sold on the idea of finally trying my hand at live plants, but then read that the common pleco is not plant friendly - is this true? What is the issue of plants and common plecos - is it destruction due to eating them or being to destructive/disruptive for the plants to grow?
So, until I know what substrate I am going to use and whether or not it can be a planted tank I can't even begin to decide what I will be stocking the tank with (which I have had a hundred and one different plans already) - and I feel like I'm back at a dead end -- this was supposed to be fun, and right now it's just frustrating.
I have kept cories for years in gravel substrate with no problems whatsoever- they even had babies in there! I have heard that plecos love to uproot plants, but my pleco only has plastic to mess with. Curious to know the size of your pleco, Mr. Awesome (great name). I have a pleco that i've had nearly 9 years named Karl Katfish (named after Karl Rove...) who is about 8" long. He is so ugly he's cute!
Good luck with your tank. what fun it is to plan a whole new big environment!
I just put 9 emerald cats in my tank on Saturday and already they have uprooted all but one of my red ludwigia stems. I haven't gotten around to replanting them yet. These guys are 1.5" so I can imagine that a pleco could do worse. They are big and probably just knock the plants out of the bottom.
For plants I would suggest going with some substrate rooted ones, they will have to most holding power due to a more extensive root system, amazon swords , dwarf amazon swords , crypts and the like.
If you keep stems tight to a wall they might be more out of harms way and they are good backdrop plants anyway with the height. Fastest growing, for me in lower light, are the dwarf hygrophila . They seem to put down decent roots fairly quickly too. ludwigia don't seem to root up so much so they will pop out easily.
Java fern you can tie to rocks and wood so it is a out of immediate range of the pleco... and being tied down and hardy will stay put well enough.
Another thing that can help, plant immediately beside decor, rocks, wood or whatever you use, as the pleco will scoot past this and might not bump the plants. I really don't think that they uproot plants for the sake of uprooting them, maybe they do, but I would think that it is more incidental damage due to their size and activity.
Go with the sand BUT if you are concerned with dust clouds in the water, rinse it REALLY well. When you think that you have rinsed it enough, do it again. I've stirred up my sand and even picked it up from the front and dumped it in the rear and there are zero clouds of dust. It might as well just be small gravel at that point as all the silt and dust is gone. This keeps it from compacting at the depths that we might have in an aquarium too. When you put it in, put 4" at the rear for the stems to be planted into, the more depth, the better odds of their roots taking hold and, meanwhile, they are held in place a bit better.
Plants are great for so many reasons that they are ALWAYS worth any effort. If something doesn't work, try something else. I have 12 varieties in my 37 gallon tank for this reason, I figured SOMETHING has got to work. I've only had two of the original 14 species that didn't.
it mostly big size that plecos uproot plants by mistake but if it is a flexable plant rather than on that could snap if bent and pushed to much around the stem that would work better for the plecos also the sand could also help futher encourage staying at the bottem for scavaenging also why do common plecos go to the tops of tank and back to botttom are they also air gulpers also a made an awsome discouvery about common plecos they have eyelids that`s right i said eyelids i found this out by staring at my pleco two days in a row (except sleeping and eating times) and about every 5-10 minutes he would blink is this a crazy discouvery or am i crazy or is he deformed also plecos like fruit and beef strips wash of all seaoning first then tear into small pieces also hiding these foods fruit being tropical-subtropical are oranges and tangerines also other fish enjoy them and as was saying before hide some in the sand substrate others exposed to allow natural scavenging insticts to kick in the fruit is and meat is for adult plecos that outgrow algae stage also it helps for balanced nutirtion for omnivoires of veggie and proteins also plecos as adults every now and then have veggie eating urges so the oranges help with that alos mine had an urge yesterday and was nibbling on a plastic plant stem because he didn`t have any veggies in over 2 weeks and all i left was for him to scavenge so giving him fruits should detere him from eating plants hen he gets urges
If you want, an amazon biotope would be awesome, since plecs are from there and such, you could have a bunch of amazon fish. Some floating plants up top is all you'd really need:
With or without the stained water. I think it's a great look, you don't see good natural amazon 'topes as often as planted tanks, with some nice driftwood it could look very unique.
Have you read our fish profile for common pleco? Might have some info on tankmates and such.
As for the sand, once it's settled it's settled. My fish (and I) are always tossing sand around and it sinks down quick. The only thing is that with HOB filters it can mess up the impeller, not sure if the effect is as large on canisters though, you will probably be getting a canister for this tank.
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Just keeping the intake 5" off the bottom alleviates this anyway. Not much sand will get that high in the tank unless you are playing in it... than just turn off the filter.
A common pleco will reach up to 20 inches, and these do not suit planted tanks. Most (all) successful common pleco are kept in large tanks with fine gravel or sand, lots and lots of bogwood, and floating plants.
Thank you, Byron, I like the idea of floating plants. Any particular suggestions of plants to try or avoid for an absolute live plant newb?
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