keeping the common pleco in a smaller tank

maz53

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Hi to all pleco enthusiasts

I have had a common Pleco in my 120litre or 31gallon tank for 6yrs already.
I bought him as a baby, and believed the bad advice from the shop owner, that he will suit my tank size.

My pleco has not grown to the size that I have read bout in most common information sources about pleco's.

I have attched two pics of my Pleco, my attempts at measuring him result in a bout 9-10 inches.
I feed him algae pellets and tetra's shrimp and algae wafer mix.

Has anyone else had experience with keeping their Pleco in a smaller tank?
What has been the experiences of any of you out there that have had a Pleco not grow to full size ?

He is a very peaceful Pleco, a gentle giant, he shares the tank with a pearl gourami, a green barb , two ruby barbs , one columbian tetra, one phantom tetra, and 7 bronze cory's.

I am very attached Mr Pleco, I have previously enquired at numerous pet sores(including the one I purchsed him from) and not one of them adopt large Pleco's or assist in re-homing them.
I dont thave friends that share my aquarist hobby either.

I am happy to be stuck with Mr Pleco, but I am concerned that he may get stressed should he start to grow any larger.

Any and all comments are happily accepted!
 

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PheonixKingZ

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It is possible that he is very stressed, that’s why he isn’t growing to his full potential.

Do you have any bigger tanks to put him in? A tank of that size (and orientation) makes it difficult for a Pleco to do anything except stay stuck to the glass.
 

Guyb93

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You hve stunted the fish , it should be 14 inches plus by now and with Plecos there organs will carry on growing to some extent meaning it’s body is too small for its organs , my guess this fish will live only half of its life span I’d very shocked if you get 20years out of the fish , very bad information by the fish store
 
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maz53

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It is possible that he is very stressed, that’s why he isn’t growing to his full potential.

Do you have any bigger tanks to put him in? A tank of that size (and orientation) makes it difficult for a Pleco to do anything except stay stuck to the glass.
I feel terrible....
I dont have a bigger tank.... I will have to look around for a larger tank

Feel terrible for Mr Pleco.....:-(
 

Slaphppy7

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"believed the bad advice from the shop owner"

Sadly, it's all too common in this hobby....shop employees are there for 1 purpose only...to make money.
 
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maz53

maz53

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You hve stunted the fish , it should be 14 inches plus by now and with Plecos there organs will carry on growing to some extent meaning it’s body is too small for its organs , my guess this fish will live only half of its life span I’d very shocked if you get 20years out of the fish , very bad information by the fish store
I had no idea their organs keep on growing:crazy:
Do you know where can I get all the latest and most accurate information about Plecos?

I am looking into getting another tank, just for Pleco
hope its not too late
 

PheonixKingZ

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I feel terrible....
I dont have a bigger tank.... I will have to look around for a larger tank

Feel terrible for Mr Pleco.....:-(
It’s ok, don’t be so hard on yourself. You were given bad information. :)

If you could find a bigger tank, that would be awesome.

SF doesn’t have a profile on a CP, but I’ll keep looking around.
 

PheonixKingZ

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PheonixKingZ

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Thats just cramming a fish in a tank though PK. If you can't fulfil the animals needs, give it to someone who can, surely?

On top of all of this, after 6 years, the damage is done. That pleco is stunted now
Oh, I was just saying that a 75g would be better than the tank it’s in now. Obviously the more room the better, but usually people don’t have room for a 150g tank.

Sorry if that came across wrong. :)

Edit: That also came across wrong, ugh. ?

I meant if the Pleco is already stunted, it’s not like it’s going to get much bigger, correct? If so, then a 75g tank should be able to house a stunted common Pleco comfortably. (Or as comfortably as possible)

If it was not stunted, then a bigger tank would be necessary.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I feel terrible....
I dont have a bigger tank.... I will have to look around for a larger tank

Feel terrible for Mr Pleco.....:-(
I'm sorry you were given such bad advice, I'm afraid that's all too common, so you're not alone. This species of pleco really shouldn't be sold to the general public, since very few people are willing or able to provide the huge tanks they need to grow and thrive. Sadly, they're often sold as "good algae eaters" while they're tiny babies, and wind up stunted since they're in normal, small tanks not suitable for a common pleco :( Or, misguided pet owners release their pet pleco into the wild, figuring it'll be better off there than in their small tank... only for these dumped pets to breed and devastate the ecosystem they've been released into, since they're non-native and invasive.

So whatever you do, please don't release him into the wild! The ecological damage this very species has done due to people doing this is massive. Better for him to live out his remaining lifespan with you, even in less than ideal conditions.

I'm happy that my LFS doesn't sell these unless someone special orders one, and has a suitable tank ready for one. They also take in and rehome some of these where people were mis-sold them elsewhere.
"believed the bad advice from the shop owner"

Sadly, it's all too common in this hobby....shop employees are there for 1 purpose only...to make money.
Not all shop employees... have to be fair here, there are plenty of committed hobbyists running aquatic stores who are passionate, knowledgeable and ethical. Feeling defensive here because my parents owned an aviaries and aquatics business for years, and gave real solid advice, even when it cost them sales. They were not handing over animals willy nilly with no care for their welfare, and my LFS has always acted ethically too.

Of course, there are awful, mis-guided, unethical and uncaring stores and employees out there too, giving terrible advice and caring only about profit or getting through their day as easily as possible...

The trouble is, a beginner hobbyist isn't going to have the knowledge base yet to know which one they're dealing with...

I had no idea their organs keep on growing:crazy:
Do you know where can I get all the latest and most accurate information about Plecos?

I am looking into getting another tank, just for Pleco
hope its not too late

I'm sorry that you're getting this news :( I wish we could say that he'll be fine, but sadly it likely is too late for this guy in terms of being stunted. However, that doesn't mean it's too late to give him a better life now! Even if his overall lifespan is shortened, there's still a lot you can do to give him a better life now :)

Firstly, get the largest tank you can acquire/afford/have space for. The footprint of the tank is most important here, see how he's having to lie at an angle in yours? Or stuck to the glass? You want one where he can stretch out comfortably, his full length long the width as well as at least twice his length along the front. The tank he's in now is tall rather than long, you want one that's long rather than tall :)

Once you have a larger tank, look into things that plecos like. Invest in a good sized pleco cave, build hidey holes and caves out of driftwood and stone (and plecos do need to be able to rasp some driftwood, so it's important to have some in his tank), use a good sandy substrate rather than gravel, add leaf litter etc. Make it a little haven for him :D

Spoil him with a good, varied diet. Vegetables as treats, bloodworms now and then, a quality pleco wafer etc. Veggie and tank decor ideas here: https://aquariumtidings.com/common-pleco/
Thats just cramming a fish in a tank though PK. If you can't fulfil the animals needs, give it to someone who can, surely?

On top of all of this, after 6 years, the damage is done. That pleco is stunted now

I agree that this one isn't likely to reach full adult common pleco size now, he's bound to be stunted. But he might still catch up a little and improve when given a much larger tank, so don't fee hopeless, OP! You can give him a much more comfortable life, and he may grow some more if you can give him a much larger home. I'm reminded of a youtube channel I watch, Snake Discovery. They have a rescue alligator that someone had kept in a 4 foot by 4 foot wooden box for 27 years :-( Since being rescued, she is and will remain stunted, thanks to the terrible previous conditions, but they also found noticeable improvement in her physiology after being rescued, well-fed and given adequate space and care. Even after 27 years, there was room for her to improve, and she certainly enjoys a much better quality of life now! So you never know. :)
 

dsch132

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If you are still looking to re home your pleco, I would post about it here and on other aquarium forums. Maybe someone has the space and interest. I live on a different continent and don't think I could add another fish that large to any of my existing tanks. However, I will ask around on social media and another forum to see if anyone in your area is able to accommodate your fish. To others reading this, I invite you to join me. Contact any friends you may have in Maz53's area and post on other sites. Let's see if we can help. Best of luck!
 
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maz53

maz53

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Thank you so much for all your replies.
I spoke to the original pet store owner, and he agreed to re-home Mr Pleco for me.
I took him there immediatley, (this morning)
He was put into a much larger tank with one other fish.
A huge weight has been lifted, I feel he now has a chance at a better home.
I have shed a tear for Mr pleco and the suffering he mustve endured,.
I will miss him, but he deserves a better home.

I have learned a valuable lesson, to thoroughly research any species before I decide to add it to my tank.
and to not rely only on the information given to me by the store clerk or assistants.
 

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