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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Question 1st time pleco questions

So I've never owned a pleco before, and I have a few questions.

Every few weeks or so at the local petsmart, there's a large pleco in the plant display tanks. Not the same one, I mean a large pleco is dumped off every few weeks because of people refusing to believe they get huge rather quickly. I always feel sorry for the poor fellows, who are often so large even the plant tank that's hree times the size of other displays can barely hold him. All the large pplecos are free to good home type deals, as petsmart can hardly maintain them at that size.

I live in south florida, and as it's been pretty warm here I was entertaining the idea of adopting one of these guys for my 500+ gal koi pond. It's in full sun, so it's pretty warm, probably about 70 right now, but I expect it to get much warmer in the summer.
I was going to add well water because my koi supplier keeps his fish in liquid rock and I dont want to shock them when i bring them home, but it's so extreme I might go back to tap.

my current tap is as follows:
Ph-7.2
Alk-120
Hardness-soft, 75 gh

and fully cycled, so zero nitrite/nitrate/chlorine.

(the well water is PH 8.4 GH 300 and alk high [300? my sister crossed the number out, i think thats what it is though])

with current and future water params, is keeping a pleco happy and healthy probable?

At what temperature should he be removed and placed in a warmer temporary setup, if a cold snap were to occur?

the temporary setup would probably be something along the lines of a 30g tub with airstone, few plants/ hidey tubes, possible heater if needed, and algae wafers.

Any comments, tips and suggestions appreciated. I'm here to learn =)
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 12:24 AM
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I take it your going to be buying a common pleco? species does make a big difference but if its one of the larger plecos they should be fine, plecos are among one of the hardiest fish species in the hobby i would take him out if it got below 50 otherwise i wouldn't fuss about it.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 12:30 AM
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I've tried keeping large common plecos in my 500g turtle pond as well as my 2500g koi pond, but they always died in the winter due to the cold weather (so i suspect). They seemed to do fine with the warm weather in the summer, but they probably can't tolerate anything below 55-60 or so... that's just IME though.


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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The one I'm looking to adopt is currently about 7", but I've recently seen a 14" and a 5" there too.
I'm pretty sure they are common plecos, as these are returns that people bring in once they get too large, and they only take back fish they sell, with the reciept.
http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...&lmdn=Pet+Type

I'm planning on taking it out when the temps get too cold to support tropical fish.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzFishKid View Post
I've tried keeping large common plecos in my 500g turtle pond as well as my 2500g koi pond, but they always died in the winter due to the cold weather (so i suspect). They seemed to do fine with the warm weather in the summer, but they probably can't tolerate anything below 55-60 or so... that's just IME though.
Have you had any problems with plecos sucking at the koi's slime coats? I've read that can be an issue for some people, but I figured I'll give it a shot and see what happens. If he's well behaved, I just got a free pleco out of a cramped tank, If not he'll be up for grabs again for someone else. really can't go wrong here.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Petsmart just gave away a large common, so I'm waiting for the next time. I'm Kinda considering a BN, just because they should get to a more manageable size. Are they as hardy as commons?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 04:24 PM
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even hardier. BN are as tough as they come and only reach a few inches.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 04:28 PM
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How deep is your pond? If it's at least 3' deep you should be fine year-round with a pleco. They live in the wild down here as an invasive species, unfortunately. I know there are breeding populations as far north as the Hillsborough River in Tampa, and probably even further...

A BN pleco would be a good choice if you're wanting a better algea eater, and I've never heard of them sucking on slime coats like I have with other plecos. I wouldn't be shocked by a report of them doing so, but I think it's less prevalent- they really are more herbivorous than common plecos are.

I think a BN would be a better choice due to bioload reasons. 500gal really isn't big if you've got any actual koi in the pond.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
How deep is your pond? If it's at least 3' deep you should be fine year-round with a pleco. They live in the wild down here as an invasive species, unfortunately. I know there are breeding populations as far north as the Hillsborough River in Tampa, and probably even further...

A BN pleco would be a good choice if you're wanting a better algea eater, and I've never heard of them sucking on slime coats like I have with other plecos. I wouldn't be shocked by a report of them doing so, but I think it's less prevalent- they really are more herbivorous than common plecos are.

I think a BN would be a better choice due to bioload reasons. 500gal really isn't big if you've got any actual koi in the pond.
I've never heard of that before, that's really interesting.

I think the deepest it gets is about 28", anything over 2 ft. is technically against code. (but who's gonna know? 8D) My plan was to winter him inside in a tub, but if that doesn't work out, there's my excuse to get a 90g.
500 is way smaller than I wanted it, but it's our first pond and my dad's ''in charge". Which means I do all the work and tell him what we should do, and he spends the money and says what we're going to do. xD
If I had my way we'd have a swimming pool sized pond. It's probably going to end up overstocked because my parents want 5 or 6 koi, and we have two already. I'm trying to keep it at 3 or 4 to compromise, but if they get their way it's not the end of the world, I made sure we're overfiltered.

If hardiness isn't an issue, BN pleco might win over common. Also like I said it's in full sun, and algae coats every surface. We need a good eater!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 04:49 PM
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See if you can get your dad to spend some time over on www.koiphen.com... it might change his mind about some things, especially if they really want that many koi in this small a pond.

Plus there are some AMAZING builds over there, and free advice from industry pros.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011, 12:33 AM
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I think you should be fine. If the winter gets colder I would put him inside, but in the summer you can definitely keep him outside.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, thanks for everyone's input.
I'm still torn between common and BN.
I really liked the idea of adopting one, especially because most larger fish have a tough time, but I'm worried about overstocking and slime coat-sucking. On the other hand, BNs seem almost too small, but I suppose as long as they stay out of the way the koi shouldn't bother them. hmm =/
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011, 01:53 AM
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I was thinking that the BN might be too small too. They might end up as lunch :/
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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I have a friend who has a 6 in, but some sites say they can top out at only 4 or 5. My koi are about 10 right now.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011, 04:36 AM
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fish are no different then any living creature - not all grow to the same size. 6 inches would be a large specimen, 4 inches a small.
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