Questions regarding BN Pleco - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Questions regarding BN Pleco

Hello all,

I just had just a quick couple of questions regarding BN Plecos.


1. Would a 20 gallon tank (24x12x17) be sufficient for one BN Pleco? I have read contradicting resources on this. Some say you need 30 gallons +, others say you just need to consider the bio-load.

2. I have a heavily planted, organic potting soil substrate. I assume a BN Pleco would be great for my set-up? They are notorious for a high output of waste. I assume this would be very beneficial to the plants and helpful to re-invigorate the soil?


Thanks for any thoughts!

*I currently am cycling my tank. No fish are currently in the aquarium. I am anticipating only having a few (4 or 5) small fish with a low bio-load (tetras or something) and some shrimp.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 06:11 PM
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My history with them has shown that when immature they do well, but once they get old they tend to tear up my plants, as far as bioload they are big poopers so 1 would be fine with adequate filtration
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 06:27 PM
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I don't view fish as something helpful because of their waste production -plenty of fertilizers for anything that might be deficient can be dosed in much more precise amounts. BN plecos do however do a good job consuming certain types of algae if that's a concern. I keep a few of these and would say a 20 is on the small side, but enough for all but the biggest Ancistrus. Males can get a little boisterous with other fish their size, and I wouldn't recommend either gender with delicate plants or anything easily uprooted. This species might be a little more of a tank than you had in mind.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 06:42 PM
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In my experience a few Otos or Farlowella vittata do just as good a job with algae consumption as Ancistrus and are smaller, less destructive, and produce less poop.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your thoughts.

Otos are notoriously hard to introduce and keep alive, so as a beginner I will probably stick with the more hardy Pleco.


I am researching a BN Pleco because I just generally like the fish; not because I need algae removal. I actually don't have any algae. My plants are outcompeting the algae for all the nutrients. The plan would be to add different appropriate foods for the BN Pleco as there is no algae to eat. (BN Plecos shouldn't eat just algae anyways)


"I don't view fish as something helpful because of their waste production"
It would be one way to add nutrients back to the soil that has been diminished. Another way is through the extra fish food and water changes (minerals in my tap water).

"My history with them has shown that when immature they do well, but once they get old they tend to tear up my plants, as far as bioload they are big poopers so 1 would be fine with adequate filtration "
Thank you for the input. That is concerning then that they might go after my plants. I'll have to evaluate that carefully. My filtration is being done through beneficial bacteria and the plants.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 01:53 AM
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I don't think the concern was them "going after" you plants so much as them just plowing through everything and breaking it apart and/or pulling it up.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 04:48 PM
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I have never had any issues with my super red ancistrus tearing up the plants, on purpose or otherwise. They can get a little boisterous though.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triport View Post
In my experience a few Otos or Farlowella vittata do just as good a job with algae consumption as Ancistrus and are smaller, less destructive, and produce less poop.
I've got both otos & a BN pleco juvenile, and IME the otos do a much better job on the plants, and the pleco in keeping the glass clean of GDA--esp near the substrate where it's hard for me to reach. I assume it's also cleaning up after my angels who are extremely messy eaters--as I haven't been feeding it anything, and it has already tripled in size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmid21 View Post
"My filtration is being done through beneficial bacteria and the plants.
So are you doing a Walstad-type tank with no filter? That would probably be okay with the few small fish & shrimp you mention, but an adult BN pleco would likely produce enough waste to overload such a system. So you might want to consider adding some sort of filtration--even if it's a simple sponge or HOB filter.

If you're relying on fish waste and tap water to supply most of your fertilizer (along with your soil substrate--at least initially), you might want to consider a fertilizer supplement for trace minerals and other missing nutrients to ensure good plant growth. I'm sure many of the fertilizer experts on here can advise you on what you should use.

Completely agree that they're a very personable fish, not just an algae cleaning machine. The super reds--esp the long fins--are particularly beautiful, if somewhat pricey.

Keep us posted on how your tank progresses
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