View Full Version : pleco help

03-21-2008, 05:31 PM
New to this site but found it because I need help. I have had a pleco in my tank since I have had a tank and they have always done well and lived a long time. I have a 30g tank and we don't overcrowd it with fish. Recently my 4th Pete died (he was about 5 yrs and about 7" long) and we got a new one and also added some live plants (which brought some apple snails). The snails are thriving but my new Pete died after about a week and I lost several fish to fungus. Got the tank cleared up and the plants died during treatment. So I decided to forgo the live plants and get another Pete and a few new fish. The new fish are all still with me but after 2 weeks my new Pete has passed on. I don't want to put another Pleco Pete in my tank if something is wrong that I am missing. I have never had to feed my Petes in the past but I am wondering after reading some if the snails are eating the food that my Plecos have eaten in the past and they are starving? I also can see algae on my tank walls so food was present in the tank.

Any ideas? And thanks in advance for the help.

03-21-2008, 05:34 PM
Hey Donna welcome to the Aquatic community you can post a introduction of yourself in the introduce yourself thread and let everyone know youhave joined the aquatic community!!

Sorry to hear about your plecos i do not know much. Someone will drop in and leave good advice

Post script
I hope you condition your water before replacing it allways and your tank is cycled but by the sound sof it this is not the case.

03-21-2008, 05:52 PM
Thanks for the welcome and about the introduction posting. I will do that.

When you say cycle the tank I am not sure what you mean? I do condition the water and test and maintain the ph when I clean the tank and add new water. I usually take no more than 1/3rd out to add fresh when cleaning out the funk on the bottom. I also try not to dig in the gravel very deep so as not to disturb the bacteria balance. Is that what you were asking me? Oh and I also add stress coat when adding new fish to the tank.

03-21-2008, 05:57 PM
Plecos are succestible to water problems,we need your ph,nitrate ,nitrite and ammonia readings.Are you feeding your plec extras,like algae wafers?tank algae is not enough.

03-21-2008, 05:58 PM
Yup your tank is allready cycled this mean that you have the biological filter set up and your ammonia readings are at 0 and nitrite is 0 and nitrate can be up to 40 but try to keep it under 20 ppm.

It sounds like you are doing to big of water changes. These are called large water changes(20%-50%) and moderate change is (15%-20%) as for the large water changes this stresses the fish and bacteria in your tank!

Very good that you dont disturb the substrate!

Remember weekly small water changes are much better than large water changes.

Hope this helps

03-21-2008, 05:59 PM
Agreed with smaug there to did not think about that! Give them a well balanced diet they need atttention too!

03-21-2008, 06:09 PM
Yes this tank has been set up for about 12 years and has a good biological filter set up which I don't disturb. I probably didn't say that right as I don't take water out unless I am treating an illness. Most of the time my tank stays clean enough that I can just add treated water to keep the level where it needs to be.

I have never given my Pleco's extra food and they have always grown to be very large but you are saying that they need other food besides tank algae? Now I feel really bad that I might have been starving them! I read in one of the other threads that you can give them veggies, too?

So the snails and the Pleco are ok together I just need to feed more? My tank temp is 78 and ph regulated and the nitrate is usually no more than 10 when I test it but often lower.

03-21-2008, 06:13 PM
Hmmm well this sounds all normal! Yup they do eat veggies to but if you want your veggie to sink for instance like cucumber... I donno if they eat these i have never read much about plecos but you can boil the cucumber to get rid of the air for it sink to the bottom

03-21-2008, 06:35 PM
I have a common plec in my 150gal, he's about 14" now. I change almost 50% of the water each sunday. As long as you condition the water, and the pH and temp are not way off, this shouldn't be too stressful on the fish.

When you say you adjust the pH, what do you mean by this? Do you just adjust the water before adding it to the tank to get it close to where the tank is, or do you adjust the whole tank. You fish will be healthier and happier if you simply let them adapt to the pH your tank is already at.

What type of Pleco's are you getting? I'm assuming a common plec, in which case a 30 gallon tank is way to small. Like I said, mine is 14". You may want to try some of the smaller species, such as a Bristlenose, Rubberlip or Gold Nugget.

03-21-2008, 07:20 PM
If they have always done well for you in the past and now they are dying quickly,its not the way you are feeding them that is causing there demise,I just mentioned that as a good idea.There is obviously a water proble that has arisen to cause your plecs tp die when previously you have not had problems.What is your ph regulated to?There is absolutly nothing wrong with wanting to keep your water at a set ph I have done that myself for awhile now.Your tank has been set up for 12 years?could be that its time for a new substrate as the old could be too loaded with nasty stuff to keep.Plecs do live right on the bottom and that could very well be the prob.

03-21-2008, 08:03 PM
Ok so if my substrate (which I am thinking is also the biological filter-please correct me if I am wrong) needs to be removed or is too old would that not mean totally breaking down the tank and starting over? Or would I just suction it out more than I normally do?

I use PH regulating tablets that fizz like Alka Seltzer when it gets too low or too high. I don't have to do that often as it seems to stay around 7 most of the time which I was told is optimum for most of the type of fish I have.

I want to say they are the Bristlenose that I have had as they really look like the photos of those but my brain is telling me they were listed at the store at common Plecos. The next one I get I will try to get a smaller breed so that they don't get so big!

Thanks for all ther replies! Such good info!

03-21-2008, 08:07 PM
Maybe others will have actual experiance with old substrate.I have been advised by some fishkeeping buds of mine that the substrate has a lifespan of about 3-5 years.I have not had a tank together for that period of time.

03-21-2008, 08:26 PM
I want to say they are the Bristlenose that I have had as they really look like the photos of those but my brain is telling me they were listed at the store at common Plecos. The next one I get I will try to get a smaller breed so that they don't get so big!

I'd go more by your judgement and comparing photos than what the lfs has them marked at. More times than not, you'll be right. Bristlenose look nothing like regular plecos, as they have "bristles" all long the top of the head. Ugly, IMO!

03-21-2008, 09:42 PM
The bristles on the nose were not very large but they were there. I searched the common pleco photo and I had one of those, too. He got the biggest and lived the longest (6 yrs).

I am going to do some searching on this site about the substrate and if you have to change it after time.

This site is great! thanks for all the great advice and help!