12-14-2006, 01:01 AM
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Blue is right, on both counts. The shark doesn't belong in a 10 gallon tank, and won't last there for long, and live plants will help your tank tremendously, though I won't say that fake ones are useless. I coach people on how to have both in a tank, it depends on the setup.
The rubber pleco will outgrow that tank as well, but not as quickly. Eventually that rubber pleco will need a minimum of 55 gallons to keep it healthy and well fed. They are known to eat a lot, and they need room to move around decent. They also get to about 5 inches in length, and are sensitive to water quality. This is not the kind of fish to put into a new tank. It will need to be fed regularly during cycling because there is no natural food supply yet present. Live plants will help to feed the pleco, especially elodia (anacharis), which is one of its favorites. So, for more than waste reasons, I would suggest adding live plants to your tank. That may be what helps the pleco to survive.
Can you post water test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH? If you remove the shark, add live plants, and go easy on other foods, there is no reason we can't help you get this tank cycled with just the pleco, which I would highly suggest. The tank will cycle easier and quicker this way, which means safer for the fish.
Oh, and check the phosphate levels in both your tank and your tap water, and post those too, please. The hair algae you described is usually from phosphate problems. If that's what it turns out to be and it's in your tap water too, there are easy ways to eliminate it. Also, make sure your light is not on for more than 10 - 12 hrs/day.
We'll do what we can to help.