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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

A fellow forum user is being given a 30 gallon tank...containing a pleco "as long as the forearm" of the former owner. Needless to say, they can't keep the pleco in such a small tank, and I've offered to adopt it. I have a bunch of questions!

My tank is 75 gallons, has no other fish yet, with a sand-capped soil substrate and live plants. Yes, that does mean it is not cycled yet. I'll be dosing with Tetra SafeStart and testing the water regularly. It has a heater and 2 extra large sponge filters, one at each end. I have one small piece of driftwood, and will be hopping to the local pet store to pick up some larger pieces before he arrives.

I understand that I may end up having to rehome him if he outgrows my tank, too, but it's certainly better than the 30 gallon he's stuck in right now! The original owner bought him as a cute little 2 inch catfish at either Petco or Petsmart, and weren't prepared for what he turned into. AQadvisor didn't raise any alarms at my tank size with a hypostomus plecostomus, and I've been told it's pretty conservative.

We're not sure of whether the pleco is male or female, or even what species it is, although both of us think Hypostomus Plecostomus is a good guess. I'll post pics as soon as I get permission to reuse the OP's photos, and then maybe someone here can confirm. He is approximately 3 years old.

Questions:

1) At what age should he achieve the majority of his growth?

2) Transport: This fish is going to have to deal with a 4 or 5 hour drive. We'll be meeting in the middle to transfer ownership, since no one wants to spend 8 hours of their day driving. Does anyone have any transport tips? Our current plan is to get an insulated Styrofoam cooler or one of those inexpensive plastic coolers you can buy at Rite-Aid, fill it about a third with tank water, and carry him directly. Is this safe? He's a bit big for a covered bucket, and a bucket doesn't have any insulation to keep his temperature steady during a long trip.

3) Care tips: This will be my first large fish. I'd like to give him the best care that I can, obviously, or else I'm not doing him a favor by adopting him. Here's what I've looked up. Are there any corrections or enhancements?:

- He needs driftwood.
- I need to feed him plenty of vegetables and algae wafers, or he'll have a lovely lunch of my live plants instead. He might nosh on the plants, anyway. If he does, he does.
- He's tropical, and wants warm temperatures. My current plan is 77-78 degrees.
- He should not be housed with others of the same species.

Now, how do I prepare that food, and how often should he be fed? Should I be making him a little salad? Giving him one type of vegetable a day and rotating?

I'll probably be getting him on the 13th or 21st, so there's plenty of time to prepare. :-D
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Photos of the Pleco in Question

Pleco - from the top:


Pleco - from the side:


Pleco - belly view:
 

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At 3 years of age he has the majority of his growth. He will continue to grow but growth will be very slow compared to his first couple years.

Sounds like you have a good plan for him. Algae wafers and fresh veggies such as zucchini sbould be fine. I would also supplement with a shrimp pellets as he'll do fine with a bit of meat in his diet. Be aware he may uproot some of your plants simply due to his size. He's like a bull in a china shop. Lol

Good luck with him!
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Oh, dear. Well, I'll replant as needed. My husband is going to love this guy, so there's no hard feelings if he breaks a few pieces of china, so to speak.

Thank you!

If anyone else could chime in, especially about the transportation issue, I'd be grateful.
 

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Oh, on the transport, an insulated cooler would work fine. I've found the common plecos to be very hardy. What's the weather like in your area? If it's pretty mild temps he should be fine. You can get battery operated bubblers to add a bit of oxygen but i've never used them. Maybe someone else has tips on that.
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It'll probably be in the 90's. I'll have to have AC running in my car, or I'm gonna die. :oops: I was worried about the insulation because of the extremes of waaaaayyy too hot, and too cold in the car.
 

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A cooler with a top is pretty much standard for larger fish. Filled 1/3 with water is fine, the motion of being transported will create enough surface motion to keep the O2 level up. Fast him (her?) for a couple days before transport, double dose the cooler water with Prime before taking the fish for a scenic drive.

Best bet is probably the back seat, the AC generally isn't that cold back there in most cars. If it's a larger cooler with a plug to drain it tape that plug in (don't ask), a seatbelt to hold the cooler in place helps if you drive like me.
 
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Yeah plecos are extremely hardy. People in south america (namely the Amazon) catch them to eat, and keep them alive, stacked on top of each other, for hours on end at the local fish market until people buy them. They even sometimes chop all the fins (right down to the base) off, and the plecos still manage to live for hours out of water. It is cruel, yes, but demonstrates the hardiness of this particular group of fish.
 

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