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Results 1 to 10 of 19
  1. Default pleco questions for a newbie


    0 Not allowed!
    Hi guys,

    i have a 65-70 gal malawi cichlid tank and i'm having some issues with brown algae. The tank is cycled and has been up and running for the better part of 2013. The algae i can clean off the glass easily, but it is slowly growing on the gravel and the ornaments too. including the fake plants. I cleaned the plants off once and it was quite hard to get off with a brush.

    I have bought a pleco in hopes that he would keep it clean, or at least the glass but he didn't really do anything. I didn't feed him anything and i think he just ate enough algae not to die. Bare minimum. I got rid of him and got another one, and same problem. they do nothing.

    My friends tank on the other hand is spotless! She was without a pleco for a while and algae started to grow and when she got a new one he's been working like crazy and keeps everything super clean.

    -Is there a reason they are lazy in my tank? What should i look for when buying a pleco?
    -Is there a particular age at which plecos are more active and after which they get lazier?
    -Are there better breeds of pleco to get for algae vs some others?
    -Are the smaller/younger ones better or one bigger one?

    The one i have seems to have like a cut up tail fin or something, so when he tries to swim he has to wiggle his body a lot and that even kicks up the stuff off the bottom and looks terrible. So at this point he's doing more harm than good haha.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    I keep saying this...

    There is no single species of pleco. It's a label stuck onto loads of different fish.

    In the states "pleco" tends to refer to fish from either the Pterygoplichthys or Hypostomus family. These are omnivores that will eat some algae when they are young. They also tend to get big, 10 to 18 inches for some species.

    There are very few fish that will actually touch brown algae

    The only fish I can think of that would work in a small malawi tank like yours is a "bristlenose".
    Personally I find it rather shocking that you're chucking in a fish, not feeding it and laughing at the fact that something has taken a nip at it and hurt it enough to handicap it.

  3. #3

    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by thunder_struck View Post
    The algae i can clean off the glass easily, but it is slowly growing on the gravel and the ornaments too. including the fake plants. I cleaned the plants off once and it was quite hard to get off with a brush.
    This algae sounds like diatoms which are common in a new tank - they dont' look nice but are easy to clean off - they disappear after a few months.

    I have bought a pleco in hopes that he would keep it clean Keeping the tank clean is your job : ), or at least the glass but he didn't really do anything
    It is always advised to never buy a fish to do a job for you. Fish should be purchased because you like them, want them in your tank and are the right size for your tank full grown.. I didn't feed him anything and i think he just ate enough algae not to die. Bare minimum. I got rid of him and got another one, and same problem. they do nothing. - Plecos are nice fish for people who like their looks and want a larger bottom feeder - not a waste/algae eater - if it happens to keep your tank clean, that's a bonus.

    -Is there a reason they are lazy in my tank? What should i look for when buying a pleco? - Look for one that is labeled "Efficient pleco housekeeper"
    Thanks!
    Please see my comments above.
    46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
    5 gal QT
    Remember: Our job is to take care of the water our fish live in

  4. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    If the tank is well established but you're still getting brown algae,then you might want to look at:
    1) reducing the amount of time your lights are on
    2) consider if you are overfeeding
    3) test your tap and tank water for phosphates. if they are anything but 0 you may have silicates in the water that is causing the algae. If so, try Chemi pure elite in your filters to see if that helps.
    4) check your rocks and decor to see if any of them may be heavy in phosphates and remove or change them out if that's the case


    I have 3 tanks. 1 is spotless = 0 brown algae. the other two have ongoing issues and all three tanks have been established for well over a year. Same water source. Same substrate. I have tried everything to get rid of it. No go. So, I clean it. That's just the breaks.
    good luck
    30 g FW planted:corys, ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, pair kribs, & nerite snails
    15 g FW planted: crown tail betta, neons, snails
    90 g FW semi planted: EBJD, congos, apple snails
    90 Gal Journal: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=93939
    Fishless cycling: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640
    Cycling with fish: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492

  5. #5

    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    +1 to the above responses you've already received.

    Plecos are not employees to be hired and fired, they are animals and you are responsible for their welfare.

    If you have algae problems you either have an immature tank (time will cure this), or there is an imbalance of nutrients in your water or light time.

    What is your water change schedule and how much do you change?
    What filtration do you have?
    How often do you clean out your filter and do you swill it in tap water or used tank water?
    "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." Carl Sagan

    ~ 350 Litre Tank Journal ~ ~ 30 Litre Tank Journal ~

  6. #6

    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    First, I would doubt the "brown algae" is diatoms, but more likely a form of brush algae. Some members have given info for diatoms, if that is what you have, but your comment that it is hard to remove suggests brush algae. I have seen this as "brown" or brown-black, and very tiny (not the normal "brush" appearance).

    Algae is normal, and not a bad thing except when attached to live plants as it can then suffocate the leaf and plant. But without live plants, there is no harm in algae; it is actually good, as it performs some of the same functions plants do by using nutrients and producing oxygen. Keeping it off the glass is easy with a scraper; I find if you use one of the sponge models on the front glass every week during the water change, you will never see it on the glass. I leave it alone on wood and rock; an aquarium without algae is probably not that healthy (unless planted, that is a different story). Fish produce waste which become organics and nutrients, and with light, algae will appear.

    To the pleco. I agree with those who do not recommend getting any fish to deal with any "problem." Find the cause of the problem and fix that. Fish have needs and requirements. A rift lake cichlid tank is no suitable environment for the South American plecos, Bristlenose or other. There are some suitable Synodontis species from Africa, though I've no idea how effective they are with algae. Not many fish will touch brush algae anyway; I'm only aware of two species.

    Byron.
    Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

  7. #7

    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by talldutchie View Post
    I keep saying this...
    Guess you need to keep saying for our new members.
    When in doubt, do a water change.

    "This ain't rocket science!"

  8. #8

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Taurus View Post
    Guess you need to keep saying for our new members.
    Yep! And hopefully sometime it will be the first hit in the search function. And i don't mind much, didn't mind here until the haha bit.

  9. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by talldutchie View Post
    I keep saying this...

    There is no single species of pleco. It's a label stuck onto loads of different fish.

    In the states "pleco" tends to refer to fish from either the Pterygoplichthys or Hypostomus family. These are omnivores that will eat some algae when they are young. They also tend to get big, 10 to 18 inches for some species.

    There are very few fish that will actually touch brown algae

    The only fish I can think of that would work in a small malawi tank like yours is a "bristlenose".
    Personally I find it rather shocking that you're chucking in a fish, not feeding it and laughing at the fact that something has taken a nip at it and hurt it enough to handicap it.
    The fish came to me with a messed up tail. It was probably a trade-in at the store i bought him. I don't know his history nor what caused it. Not sure why you'd assume it was my fish that did that. But, yes, i do find it funny that he swims about as well as I do ... The mess that he kicks up while doing so is not so funny however.

    I'm aware that there isn't a single species of pleco. That's why i asked if one breed of them was better than others for eating algae and which would be a better bet. A friend of mine had her pleco for 4 years and never fed him anything. He just kept her tank spotless and so i assumed that was just their job.

  10. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by fishmommie View Post
    If the tank is well established but you're still getting brown algae,then you might want to look at:
    1) reducing the amount of time your lights are on
    2) consider if you are overfeeding
    3) test your tap and tank water for phosphates. if they are anything but 0 you may have silicates in the water that is causing the algae. If so, try Chemi pure elite in your filters to see if that helps.
    4) check your rocks and decor to see if any of them may be heavy in phosphates and remove or change them out if that's the case


    I have 3 tanks. 1 is spotless = 0 brown algae. the other two have ongoing issues and all three tanks have been established for well over a year. Same water source. Same substrate. I have tried everything to get rid of it. No go. So, I clean it. That's just the breaks.
    good luck
    Thanks for the feedback on what to check. I'll give that a try.

    Yes, people often hear "brown" and just say diatoms, but from what I've read diatoms are easy to clean. THe first time i cleaned this off some fake plants it was very difficult and i still didn't get it all off. I used a stiff toothbrush and it was hard work. The gravel i use has crushed coral mixed in so once it gets into the little pores of the gravel, cleaning that is next to impossible. I'm sure i could take it all out and bleach it or something but that would requiring disassembling the entire tank and it's not bad enough for me to do that yet.

    Yes, it does come very easily off the glass ... but that's just because the glass is smooth im sure.

    Interesting that you have that one tank where you can't get rid of it .... hope your figure it out eventually.

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