Rubber Nose Vs. Angelicus Loach Pet of the Month
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Nov 18, 2006
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I guess I dont consider this an emergency as no one is sick or injured, but I'd like your thoughts on my current bottom feeding situation:

I've had a rubbernose pleco in with my loach for several months now. Tonight as I was doing my evening feeding I noticed a lot of aggression on the part of my pleco towards my loach. The pleco did some chasing and even looked like he tried to bite the loach (though, the loach was uninjured so I'm not sure what exactly happened). They're about the same size, give or take, and they were introduced the same day. Just two days ago I actually saw them sleeping together under the shaded part of my fake driftwood (see pic below). They seemed to have been pretty happy together...until I saw what I saw tonight.

I feed flake food 2-3x per day and at night add shrimp pellets and algae wafers...I had been cutting down as it was suggested to me that I was overfeeding. Could this aggression mean they actually need more food? For the last two months my loach has really come into his/her own and become very active and friendly. He used to hide for most of the day and run away when I looked in the tank, but now he swims excitedly to the surface during feeding time when he sees me and lets me watch him eat. The pleco is also much less shy these days and will let me watch him eat so long as I dont move much.

It was actually a running joke for a while, that our only indication that the two were getting adequate food was that neither was looking sick, since we never actually witnessed either of them eating anything. But now, suddenly no one seems shy when food is involved!

The loach is my favourite fish in my tank so I definitely want him to thrive, but I don't want the pleco to be unhappy either. I thought my tank would be big enough for both of them (especially since both are pretty small right now); it's a 38 gallon tank. I specifically got this pleco because I was told he'd get no more than 6" and that's exactly what I wanted - an algae eater that stayed small (the smaller the better). Of course this is coming from PetSmart and I know these guys are easy to confuse with one another. If you think there is a better algae eater for my tank, please do let me know as I do have friends who can take this pleco.

Here are some photos of the pleco and size comparison with my loach and a molly.


I honestly dont know much about either species but I am doing my best to learn all I can!
But it's only a 38 gallon tank. I can't see three, 6in. loaches being happy in such a tiny tank! Maybe a 55 gallon, but certainly not my small tank.

I just dont want the loach to get hurt, or the pleco to be unhappy, and am wondering if they are compatible, or what I can do to make it better, aside from separating them.
But it's only a 38 gallon tank. I can't see three, 6in. loaches being happy in such a tiny tank! Maybe a 55 gallon, but certainly not my small tank.

Not being funny, but when I read this I thought why did you get a fish that thrives on the company of it's own species if you couldn't provide that? If you can't provide it, it ight be better to hand him on to someone who can, as it's obvious you care for him. :)

As for what would make it better, Lisa's clearly outlined that, so no need for me to repeat it.
What a rude comment! No one told me that they should be kept in groups when I bought the loach. What do you expect, when the best pet store I have is Petsmart, and that's 2 hours away! I know tons of people with loaches and there was always just one in the tank. It never even occured to me to look anything up until now because the fish was doing just fine.

It's no wonder so many beginners stay just that - beginners - when the experts around are so rude and condescending. I thought this forum would be different, but clearly I was wrong.
I'm very sorry you misread the tone of my message - it was in fact a genuine question.

But when it boils down to it, whatever happened in the past is gone, and what's important is what you can do now. Lisa's outlined a decent plan for you. If that's not possible, maybe someone else can offer you different advice. My guess though would be that whether or not you keep them together, if you keep the loach, he'll need a group of friends. Yes he'll survive on his own, as you quite rightly pointed out. However, you asked for advice on how to help him thrive ("The loach is my favourite fish in my tank so I definitely want him to thrive"), and Lisa gave you very good advice.

Edited to add: I've at no point claimed to be an expert, and even if I were I wouldn't judge "newbies" any differently to any other person here.
And if more people researched their pets before they bought them, there'd be a lot happier fish out there ;)

All too often we see the "But they told me the plec would only reach 4"" or "I didn't know it needed to be in a group". Why didn't you make your first purchase a book, or come and ask before you bought them?

I know that sounds rude, but you wouldn't go out and buy a horse then say "I didn't know it needed a field!", or a car and say "I didn't know it needed petrol!" *lol*

If you want your fish to thrive, you keep them how they like to be kept. And with most loaches, that's in groups of 5 or more. If you cant provide that, you should think about returning them, and getting some fish you can provide for - which I'm sure are many other different types ;) It's not the end of the world ;)
It wasn't supposed to be a flame :(

It's supposed to be good advice? Do you have any or did you just post for fun?

I'd like to apologise to the OP for sounding horrible, but if you ask what a fish needs to thrive, then get a huff on when someone tells you what you need to do, saying you dont want to - then what really is the point?

All I said was they need to be in a group to thrive. If you want it to thrive you get a group. If you dont care, keep it on it's own. But if you really wanted it to thrive you'd provide what it needed or give it to someone who could.

That's not flaming. That's common sense.

Ps. There is a solution to the problem. Why not get a bigger tank? You know you want to ;) Go on...good excuse ;)

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