PLECO in planted tanks, bad idea? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2015, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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PLECO in planted tanks, bad idea?

I know plecos can get a bit bulldozy at times kicking up substrate and potentially uprooting plants. I have heard they are not recommended in planted tanks, but I still have seen some people successfully keep plecs in their planted tanks.

Just wanted to get more personal experiences from people, that do or have tried keeping plecos in planted tanks.

I am considering getting a Ancistrus pleco (smaller sized plecs that have bristle noses). Only questions/concerns I have are will these smaller plecs uproot plants constantly? Would their sprinting around at times, bend/break/crease leaves or stems?
Also I forgot, but do Ancistrus plecos eat wood at all? I know they don't require it like some other species of plecs, but do they eat wood at all? Just wouldn't want my driftwood to (especially my moss covered manzanita branch/tree) get messed up.

I am guessing well established root systems wouldn't get uprooted, especially with coarser, heavier, more porous substrate, but I have fine grain sand (but it does compact a bit).

Just debating whether or not I should get a pleco for my tanks. I already have plenty of algae eaters, but I just like the look of them and like to have more diversity to my tanks. But then again I have light colored substrate and don't really like the sight of giant long strands of pleco poo everywhere haha.





By the way, instead of posting a whole new thread, if anyone has kept Giant Blue Wood Shrimp AKA Vampire Shrimp or Bamboo Shrimp AKA Singapore Flower Shrimp (both larger size filter feeding shrimp with fan hands), can you comment as to whether or not they can break leaves of plants? I have wanted some, but was thinking their big size would break off or crimple skinny leaves, making a planted tank look a bit trashed.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2015, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by WaterLife View Post

By the way, instead of posting a whole new thread, if anyone has kept Giant Blue Wood Shrimp AKA Vampire Shrimp or Bamboo Shrimp AKA Singapore Flower Shrimp (both larger size filter feeding shrimp with fan hands), can you comment as to whether or not they can break leaves of plants? I have wanted some, but was thinking their big size would break off or crimple skinny leaves, making a planted tank look a bit trashed.

i've never seen them break a leaf and i've been keeping them on and off the last three years. the only leaves ive seen mine of are anubias leaves. one time they tried my madagascar leaf but i don't think they liked it to much since they never went back.

they tend to cling to the more solid things with in the flow.

Will
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2015, 01:14 PM
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I've got them in a few of my planted tanks with no trouble.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2015, 02:36 PM
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My pleco is 4" and I think sometimes he might be the one who uproots new plants that haven't gotten long roots yet. I'm not sure though, could also be my mystery snails.

My bamboo shrimp are harmless to plants, I adore them!


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2015, 02:38 PM
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I've never had issues with the plecos I've kept. I had/have L144's and L204's (the 204's being wood eaters), and I've never had issues with substrate being uprooted or plants being messed with or even noticed a difference in my driftwood (that the 204's have to have munched on in the 2+ years I've had them).

I've also kept bamboo shrimp and agree with the other poster that they seem to prefer the more solid surfaces, but I never saw them harm any of the more delicate plants either.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2015, 03:03 PM
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I had a BNP in my 90 gallon with Ecocomplete substrate. He lived "under" my driftwood most of the time ... he created a cave under the driftwood by digging into the substrate. As he grew, the cave got bigger. He came out at night and if there was anything that startled him, he darted into the cave. There was no way to grow anything near the cave due to the disruptions to the substrate as he darted into it. I finally decided to rehome him.

While he seemed to prefer the driftwood, I did not notice any gnawing on the wood itself. He loved to eat the skin off zucchini tho'.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2015, 06:55 PM
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Plecos snorfle around a lot and can uproot things, but the smaller species shouldn't uproot any decent-sized plants.
Also, bamboo shrimp are safe for small plants. They don't break leaves, they only stand on things that are stiff enough to support them. I'm not sure about viper shrimp, but those get quite large. I'd suspect they might cause damage just by walking through the plants, and I think they'd be a bit too large to stand on most plants. They need a perch in a high-flow area, so they'd need driftwood to stand on under the filter outlet.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-14-2015, 04:43 AM
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The fish sold as Common Pleco are any of several species, and can get 12" to 24". These are the ones with a reputation for being bulldozers.

The many smaller relatives are less clumsy, as noted above, but it also depends on the tank size. A mid-sized fish (perhaps Bristlenose) in a too-small tank can be a bit more destructive. The same fish in a larger tank will confine his digging or other activities to certain areas, perhaps claiming an arch of driftwood or a cave.

Otos (the smallest Loricariads, several species, several related fish, Otocinclus, Parotocinclus) are light enough to perch on most leaves without problems. They can live just fine in tanks as small as 10 gallons without disrupting anything.

Small Loricariads (Candy Stripe, Rubber lip, the smaller Ancistrus and many more around 2-3") may be wood eaters. The ones in the Panaque genus seem to require wood. The ones that were grouped in the genus Peckoltia need more protein in their diet, a carnivore wafer or sinking pellets are good. Some in this size range are good algae eaters.

Mid sized Loricariads such as bristlenose (several species of Ancistrus) are good algae eaters. The males claim a cave, so might do a little digging around it. If the tank is large enough the digging is not such a large area to be a problem. Many Panaque and Peckoltia are in this size range, too; not all fish this size are good algae eaters.

Slightly different Loricariads such as Farlowella and Sturisoma eat some algae, and are interesting fish. Not usually relied on for major algae control, though. Mine usually hang out on or under branches.
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