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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, i've got a large Synodontis catfish (roughly 5-7") in my 180 rio and I do love this fish (named Anubis for being the boss of everything) yet I am torn on whether or not to keep him or give up to the LFS.

My tank is heavily planted and he has a large cave with other options to hide, but the problem is he keeps uprooting my plants and therefore undoing all my hard work -_-. He's like a kitten in a sandbox who keeps destroying the castles.
I also have 2 chocolate talking catfish and a Gibbiceps pleco who have dug deep craters in the substrate under their bogwood on their side of the tank. Those 3 get along fine, while them and Anubis have a current "agree to disagree" relationship.

What would you guys do in this situation? Remove Anubis or another catfish, or keep managing as is? Or any other ideas? Thanks :).
 

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Had a similar issue when I "collected" a "Brindle Matdom" from the lake near my house one night. Kept it long enough to find three different possible max lengths. The smallest would have worked but not either of the other two. No 5" fish in a 10g. Not my 10g
anyway. But obviously I didn't have all that much time invested either.
Perhaps...majority rules..?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just google imaged that, cool looking cat but yeah too big for a 10g. Majority might rule in the end after all, and actually i've a lone congo tetra who could do with some fellow schoolers. Maybe the LFS might trade?

I'm still on the fence about it though, I do love this fish!
 

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I'd say it all depends on you. Does your frustration with him uprooting your plants outweigh your enjoyment of him? I personally would put my fish before my scape, but that's just me. Maybe the plants are being uprooted because they're in his way? If you try a different arrangement he might not uproot them. Or you could look into pots and weights to keep them in place better. This is all assuming he gets along well enough with your other fish. If it's a concern about their health and quality of life, then rehoming would be a good idea if you don't have space for him elsewhere.
 

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One option

I've got a 7" featherfin catfish that uprooted many plants after turning the tank into a planted tank. I couldn't imagine giving him up after having him for seven years, so I decided to change to a finer substrate (blasting sand) and switch to plants that develop large, strong root systems. The background plants now hold up to him darting through them. The foreground plants were grown in a different tank until they developed big root systems, then transferred into the 55g threadfin cat tank. So far, they are holding up well, too. The pots aren't my favorite, but he seems to like using them as caves. You can see him heading into the left pot.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Maybe try potted plants in the background and ferns/mosses tied to rocks/driftwood in the foreground? I've seen some really lovely tanks set up this way (including the one above- nice job!)
 

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If you have some spare vertical space, I find it works to make a bit of bench of stone where I plant on top and fish like catfish work underneath. If you are fortunate enough to find a hollow log of the right size, that will work as well. Catfish tend to be bottom folks so elevating the plants may seperate them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'd say it all depends on you. Does your frustration with him uprooting your plants outweigh your enjoyment of him? I personally would put my fish before my scape, but that's just me. Maybe the plants are being uprooted because they're in his way? If you try a different arrangement he might not uproot them. Or you could look into pots and weights to keep them in place better. This is all assuming he gets along well enough with your other fish. If it's a concern about their health and quality of life, then rehoming would be a good idea if you don't have space for him elsewhere.
My frustration is usually short lived, he's a loveable fish and actually the more I think about it the more I don't want to give hime away. Good idea changing the arrangement, I might try shifting some foreground plants a bit as they're the ones he keeps uprooting now with their shallow roots.
I wouldn't hesitate in returning him if there was a health concern, but thankfully there isn't :).

I've got a 7" featherfin catfish that uprooted many plants after turning the tank into a planted tank. I couldn't imagine giving him up after having him for seven years, so I decided to change to a finer substrate (blasting sand) and switch to plants that develop large, strong root systems. The background plants now hold up to him darting through them. The foreground plants were grown in a different tank until they developed big root systems, then transferred into the 55g threadfin cat tank. So far, they are holding up well, too. The pots aren't my favorite, but he seems to like using them as caves. You can see him heading into the left pot.
Would you have changed anything if you knew before what you know now? In future I think i'll keep large catfish and heavily planted tanks separate, although they're both a passion of mine :confused1:. Good idea with letting the FG plants develop a bit first, I trimmed the roots on mine to make planting them easier, but unfortunately that now means they're uprooted easily.
Very nice fish! Mine's an Ocellifer, how big is your tank?

Maybe try potted plants in the background and ferns/mosses tied to rocks/driftwood in the foreground? I've seen some really lovely tanks set up this way (including the one above- nice job!)
I probably would have went with this from the outset lol.

If you have some spare vertical space, I find it works to make a bit of bench of stone where I plant on top and fish like catfish work underneath. If you are fortunate enough to find a hollow log of the right size, that will work as well. Catfish tend to be bottom folks so elevating the plants may seperate them.
Yes i've seen some very nice tanks using vertical space with sandy bottoms for catfish and tannins in the water to give it that river look.
The hollow log idea has sort of planted a seed, i'm thinking about possibly removing the woodscape at the back of the tank and replacing it with a hollow log with the existing wood on top to keep it submerged.

Maybe a reptile log like this one?

It might remove the need for the CT's and the pleco to keep digging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here is the current setup with the Chocolate talkers, Pleco and Anubis. Sorry about the sun glare. The water's also a bit murky because of the digging.

In the left/middle where the massive crater is (lol) that's where the CT's and Pleco are bunking it in. You can sort of make out Anubis on the right under the log.

Edit: another pic added.
 

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The people who "noodle" catfish often find them in hollows like that so it might be that he would move right in and not try to tear up the tank building one. I work with cichids and often find I need to figure out what they want if I don't want to have a full time job putting back what they rearrange.
 

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What would I have done differently? I'd not get another large catfish, since they are not ideal for the planted tank! Honestly, I think I would have found a couple nice driftwood pieces to use as caves and attached moss and other plants to it and I would have started the tank out as simply a planted tank...let the roots really establish themselves, then added the fish to the tank 2-3 months down the road.

The tank is a standard 55g tank...about 48" long, 20" tall, 12.5" deep.
 
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