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Blue_Frog 03-24-2007 06:07 PM

Plecostomus shooting to the surface - is this normal?
My Plecostomus has been shooting to the surface quite a few times today, and I was wondering if this is this normal behaviour? I'm not generally around during the day to see if hes been doing it otherwise. I could just be neurotic, but i'd rather be safe than sorry.

Hes about 14" long, and has been with me for about 6 years now. Hes in a 95 gallon diamond shaped corner tank, with about 20 community fish (barbs, platys, clown loaches, and a couple of chinese algae eaters, and a raphael catfish).

I did a partial water change (2 old buckets out and in). Theres a large bubbler in the tank, and an Ehiem filter rated for that tank size, as well as an inline heater.

Any ideas?

Amphitrite 03-24-2007 06:12 PM

No, I wouldn't think that's normal behaviour. Have you tested your water parameters? If so, could you post them?

Blue_Frog 03-24-2007 07:20 PM

Ok, heres the results i got from the tests --

pH: between 7.0-7.2
(did the high range pH to confirm, and it was at the lowest result of that one)
Ammonia: 0-0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 10ppm
GH: about 18° (rated on the
Temperature: 81°

The tank has been established for quite a while now, and has 3 broadleaved plants in it (i can't remember which ones, but the fish ate the other ones that were there before, so i've been giving them spinach leaves and some zucchini to try to keep them off the plants)

I just didn't know if this was a common plecko behaviour -- hes swimming quickly to the top, making a splash, then swimming back to the bottom. On average, maybe hes done it 5 times since noon? Otherwise hes just been lurking and letting himself get cleaned by the loaches, and positioning himself at different angles to blink at me.

... and without trying to anthropomorphise the guy, maybe he just saw that i was home and was messing with me :|

musho3210 03-24-2007 07:56 PM

ammonia seems bad, .25 is high and toxic, do daily 10-15% water changes to get rid of it

Blue_Frog 03-24-2007 08:16 PM


Originally Posted by musho3210
ammonia seems bad, .25 is high and toxic, do daily 10-15% water changes to get rid of it

OK, i'll do that -- when i did the tests (i have the 'Aquarium Pharmacuticals' master test kit) the level was somewhere between 0 - .25ppm ... not quite 0ppm, but still not as high as .25ppm - the test goes up to 8ppm level.

So, with a 90gal tank, im looking at about 2 5gal bucket loads a day until the ammonia reaches 0ppm? Are there any other things you would recommend to get the levels down, and should i be worried about the Nitrate level?

Thanks again for your help :)

musho3210 03-24-2007 08:27 PM

the nitrate is fine, dont worry about a level of 10. If ammonia is gone and the fish still has problems and/or isnt getting better, tell us. You cant really do more about the ammonia.

Blue_Frog 03-24-2007 08:40 PM

Thanks again (from me and super-pleck) -- I'll keep an eye on him and let you know if he keeps doing the surface thing after the water changes.

None of the other fish are exhibiting any strange behaviours - maybe i'll try cutting down the food a little as well and see if that helps too :)

jandpgault 04-04-2007 08:54 AM

I don't know if this info will help, but I used to have a larger pleco (about 12 in.) and he would shoot to the surface all the time and he was always visible and eating. He was very healthy and the water params were good, so I just attributed it to his personality. I had to give him away later because he quickly outgrew my old 10 gallon tank. Perhaps yours just has a quirky personality :D

Now I have a 55 gallon tank and a small pleco. This pleco never comes out of all his hiding places so he is hardly ever visible. I rarely see him shoot to the surface at all. It makes me miss my large pleco who was always out and jetting around :cry:

Hope yours is ok :)

Blue_Frog 04-05-2007 03:44 PM

I guess I should post the sad update --

I did everything that was listed in the post, the water changes and brought the parameters down to the proper levels, but unfortunately he died on Sunday :(

I dont know if he was sick as well, and possibly emmitting some toxins into the water or whatever, but the day after he died the water cleared and has been crystal clear since then, and the levels of the water are all normal.

So, last sunday we had a fish funeral in the backyard at my dads, buried him beside the Big Guy (my dads cichlid), and toasted him with martinis. Poor guy - i had him for more than 8 years, and i feel terrible about it :(

amphibi-man 04-05-2007 10:03 PM

I have lost many too.
I know in my heart that we will be uniting not only with our loved ones ... in the afterlife ... but also with all the pets we have ever owned. Jesus is that good...

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