bought two plecos . . .

EliK

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About a year and a half ago, I bought two identical 2 inch plecos - no idea which variety specifically. One went into a tropical tank with an assortment of fish, mostly tetras, and the second into a cold water tank with common goldfish. Other than the temperature (68-72'F vs constant 82'F), the parameters of both tanks were nearly identical for the entire period. The only other difference is that the cold-water tank is in a place which gets more natural light and is therefore lit up for more hours every day.

The one in the tropical tank has grown to close to five inches and turned almost entirely black, and is active only at night and hides during the day. Even when it does come out, it is extremely skittish, and if the light is turned on, or someone touches the tank - or even touches the shelving unit the tank is placed on - it swims to it's favorite spot behind the filter, and will not come out again for at least a half-hour.

The one in the cold-water tank has grown to about 4 inches, and is often active during the day as well as at night. It is a light brown with darker brown spots, and it seems to be scared of nothing. Even when guests poke or hit the tank (I hate when they do that, but some people are just clueless), it continues whatever it's doing.
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I'm just curious - are these actually the same variety? Did I by two different fish without knowing? And if they are the same, why the huge difference in coloring and behavior?
 

PlasticGalaxy

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I believe these are both common plecos. They can grow up to 24" (yes, inches, not cm) in length and can live for well over twenty years if properly cared for.

Despite being the same species, there is a surprising amount of variation in their colourations, and can range from pale, reddish browns to near-black.

How big are the tanks they're in? They require massive tanks of at least around 80 gallons, and preferably ones that are at least 5ft in length.

In their first year, these plecos can grow up to 6 inches in length, and then will continue to grow rather quickly for the rest of their lives (unless stunted due to improper care, which can lead to a premature death).

Plecos are tropical fish, they are not compatible with goldfish and prefer to be in warmer waters. While they can tolerate lower temperatures, it is not ideal.

Plecs are typically shy and skittish, especially when their tank(s) is/are not in a room where there is constant movement from people. Over the course of four months, my sailfin pleco has become less skittish due to being in a room where there is almost constant human activity (aka me in my bedroom).

Many members here who keep plecos have said that their plecos (especially clown plecos) are hard to spot and rarely leave their hiding spots, so there's definitely no abnormality in your plecos in terms of how often or how little you see them.

If your tropical tank is big enough and won't be overstocked after adding another pleco, I would advise you to put the pleco from the goldfish tank in the tropical tank. Make sure to properly acclimate it to the tropical tank, as the sudden shift in temperature could shock it if you aren't careful.
 
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EliK

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If your tropical tank is big enough and won't be overstocked after adding another pleco, I would advise you to put the pleco from the goldfish tank in the tropical tank.
Actually, last month, I removed all the goldfish from the tank, and the pleco is currently there alone. I haven't decided what to do with the tank yet (keep/sell, or what type of fish if I do keep), but at this point I can certainly gradually raise the temperature for the pleco, and choose new fish accordingly (if I go that route).
Fishkeeping resources I've seen in the past all list the temperature for plecos anywhere between 65-85'F. I never knew lower wasn't ideal.
 

PlasticGalaxy

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Actually, last month, I removed all the goldfish from the tank, and the pleco is currently there alone. I haven't decided what to do with the tank yet (keep/sell, or what type of fish if I do keep), but at this point I can certainly gradually raise the temperature for the pleco, and choose new fish accordingly (if I go that route).
Fishkeeping resources I've seen in the past all list the temperature for plecos anywhere between 65-85'F. I never knew lower wasn't ideal.
How big is the tank?

If you do choose to get new fish, plecos are wonderful community fish as I'm sure you already know. Nippy fish such as white skirt tetras, barbs and cichlids will nip at their tailfins but - as far as I'm aware - will not be able to significantly harm a pleco of that size.

And yes, they're capable of living in cooler climates but will thrive in warmer water (71-78f/22-26c).
 
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EliK

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How big is the tank?
20gal, but at this point, I'm leaning toward selling. I don't have as much time as I used to, and can't care for as many tanks.
If you do choose to get new fish . . .
I have some skirt tetras with the other pleco, along with some other assorted tetras and angels, and they never seem to bother each other.
 

PlasticGalaxy

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20gal, but at this point, I'm leaning toward selling. I don't have as much time as I used to, and can't care for as many tanks.

I have some skirt tetras with the other pleco, along with some other assorted tetras and angels, and they never seem to bother each other.
I would rehome at least one pleco personally. It'll be easier to find them a new home when they're still small. 20 gallons is too small for most plecos, let alone a common which can easily get up to the size of the tank by the time it's fully grown.

Are both tanks 20 gallons?
 
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EliK

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I would rehome at least one pleco . . .
I've already posted some notices locally that I'm looking to give away the 4" pleco - hopefully I'll find a suitable home for it. As I wrote, I posted this thread more out of curiosity, since I've noticed such a difference between them - but I've been hoping to get rid of it all along. Like I said, I'm probably going to get rid of the whole tank anyway. I just can't manage it anymore. I also have a 6gal up for sale, for the same reason. At this point, I'm probably going back to just one tank - my first.
Are both tanks 20 gallons?
The other pleco (the one with tetras etc.) is in a 60gal - my first tank, and the only one I'm keeping
 

PlasticGalaxy

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I've already posted some notices locally that I'm looking to give away the 4" pleco - hopefully I'll find a suitable home for it. As I wrote, I posted this thread more out of curiosity, since I've noticed such a difference between them - but I've been hoping to get rid of it all along. Like I said, I'm probably going to get rid of the whole tank anyway. I just can't manage it anymore. I also have a 6gal up for sale, for the same reason. At this point, I'm probably going back to just one tank - my first.

The other pleco (the one with tetras etc.) is in a 60gal - my first tank, and the only one I'm keeping
Ahhh alright, gotcha.

I'm sure others on the forum would beg to differ and probably scream at me for saying this, but right now the 60g is alright for a 5 inch pleco. However I will warn you that if you keep it, you will eventually need a larger tank. I'm currently in the same boat as you, as my 44g currently houses a 6 inch sailfin pleco and I've been looking at upgrading to a much larger tank soon.

While plecos certainly don't grow overnight, they will grow faster than you expect. It's important to provide them with large hides with lots of shade, and a proper diet so that they don't end up malnourished. Having a large piece of driftwood in your tank is necessary for plecos, and feeding them algae wafers and sinking pellets is advisable.
 
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EliK

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I got all that about the pleco - it's pretty much the setup/feeding I have already.
And I've found that all my fish have grown much faster than I expect . . .
 

PlasticGalaxy

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And I've found that all my fish have grown much faster than I expect . . .
Oh, definitely. You never realise how much they've grown until you look back at their baby photos from when you first got them!! Then when you look back at your tank they look like giants!
 
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EliK

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I noticed it when I bought some more.
I went to the store and bought three skirt tetras, thinking, those are exactly what I have at home.
I put them in the tank - and suddenly realized that my current fish were three times the size.
 

PlasticGalaxy

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I noticed it when I bought some more.
I went to the store and bought three skirt tetras, thinking, those are exactly what I have at home.
I put them in the tank - and suddenly realized that my current fish were three times the size.
The same happened to me when I got in some more corys. My six original ones look HUGE compared to the new ones!
 

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