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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a newly planted tank (4 months) and the focal plants are 2 larger swords and 2 compact swords. In this tank is also 4 ABN, which I thought were plant friendly.

At first I thought the center vein of the leaves turning a bit yellow was a sign I needed to dose with root tablet ferts. Now I've started to see holes developing in the leaves. All the leaves on 3 of these plants and a couple on the fourth plant.

Its got to be the ABN by the looks of the size of the damage. This so sucks!

What can I use as a substitute that will have the same bright green impact and not get munched by my ABN? I don't use CO2 and have no intention of it. The substrate is soil topped with sand. My pH is 8.4 and soft (GH) but has a really high KH. Medium lighting. The fish other than the ABN are angels and Serpae tetras.

I'm so bummed! They were starting to get some nice size to them.

I guess my other choice is to get something other than the BN. Replanting doesn't sound fun.
 

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I've got a pair of ABN with some basic plants in a breeder tank. They do not damage the plants that I am aware of; if they have, it's been slight nibbling at worst.

Your yellowing and pinholes sound like K+ deficiencies to me.

What are you dosing, how much light, and what tank capacity?

-Philosophos
 

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From what I understand the albinos should be plant friendly. The fact that it was turning colors before the holes developed would lead me to assume that its a deficiency rather than the plecos. I have 4 good sized swords in my tank and I do not use root tabs and my substrate is a pool filter sand. I does EI in my water column and used pressurized Co2. Are you substituting your co2 with excell? The plants need some sort of carbon. Also what lighting are you running?
 

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I don't think it is the fish. Do the edges of the holes turn yellow? If so, you may have a potassium deficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have no doubt this is BN damage. When I went down to take pics I discovered them nibbling on my bacopa, too. So now I have holes in those also. They are all over my plants.

I do feed my BN, and probably more than I should. They get a variety of meat and plant based sinking food, flake, frozen, occasional live, and fresh blanched assorted greens. That tank gets a lot of food, which is apparent by the bacterial bloom you can see in the pics now that the plants aren't pulling their weight. My fish eat WAY better than I do! I probably could do a heavier portion of fresh veggies tho.

I appreciate your spirit of helping, but now :icon_evil, getting back to what I asked. (I should have just posted the pics in the first place.)

What can I use as a substitute that will have the same bright green impact and not get munched by my ABN?
 

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If they are eating the plants switching to a differet plant I doubt will solve the problem. I would try feedig them blanched veggies and see if that helps.
 

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I think it is really from what they get use to when they're very young.

I had several adult BN Plecos that grew up grazing on the algae of fake plants. When I switched to a "real" planted tank they would eat holes in the leaves. All eight have now been re-homed.

I presently have very young BN Plecos both dark and albino and having grown up among real plants they have not eaten any of my plants. I don't expect them to do any damage when they're full grown either.

I have kept and breed BN plecos for years now and find the above to be true, for me anyway.

Despite what the "not the sharpest knife in the draw" LFS help tell you that "Nooooo, you don't have to feed them." Well, yes you most definitely have to feed them.

They also need a piece of driftwood to nibble on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Despite what the "not the sharpest knife in the draw" LFS help tell you that "Nooooo, you don't have to feed them." Well, yes you most definitely have to feed them.

They also need a piece of driftwood to nibble on.
Yes, that drives me bonkers when LFS tell people they don't have to feed bottom feeders!

I also have 3 good sized pieces of driftwood for them in there. You can see one of the pieces in the second pic.

...........

I wonder if its partially age. There's one male that's coming up on 3 years in there, but I also have 3 females that are not quite a year old. The 3 females seem to be the ones I notice on the plants the most, although the male has grazed, too.

The feasting happened in what seemed like over night. A week ago the plants all looked normal. Very strange.

All of these BN have been raised in live plant tanks. There's not much algae in there to speak of, and what is is that really hard type (sorry, I can't remember what its called). I haven't really noticed algae consumption to any great degree in any of the 5 tanks I have them in. There are other types of algae in the other tanks. I've tried leaving the algae for them, but have always ended up removing it myself. I guess they prefer the food I give them.

I think I'll try doing a dramatic increase on the fresh veggies and cut back on the others and see if that helps. If it doesn't work I'll have to rehome too. I already have BN in most of my tanks and don't want them in the tanks that don't have them.

Thanks for the input everyone!
 

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Andi you don't say how big your tank is. I'm just curious what size tank you're keeping 4 BN's in.

I've seen numerous reports from people with amazon swords that the BN's were damaging them. BN's eat 90% plant based foods and 10% animal proteins. Their #1 preferred food is Aufwuchs which consists of mainly green and brown soft algaes (biofilm and diatom) which covers our plants, gravel, decorations, and glass. They do not eat any other sort of algae.

Taken from planetcatfish: "Their main diet should consist of fresh vegetables. Cucumber, green and yellow squash, asparagus stems, spinach leaves, and broccoli stems are all eaten with gusto. This diet can be supplemented with specialty "pleco" foods, but be wary. Many specialty pleco foods are based on animal proteins such as shrimp or fish meal and contain very little plant matter. Check the ingredients list closely! You might be surprised to find that your "pleco tablets" have the exact same ingredients and nutritional values as your "carnivore" pellets. Frozen and/or lives foods can be offered rarely as a treat."

I can also add romaine lettuce leaves to this list of foods. Dark outer leaves clipped to the side of the tank will eventually get soft enough from being in the warm water for the plecos to be able to eat.

Their upper and lower jaws bear very tiny curved teeth, which usually are asymmetrically bicuspid. The enlarged lower lip carries papillae with keratinous unicellular epidermal brushes or unculi. Teeth, and probably unculi too, assist in scraping food off substrates. This is also how they are able to rasp on driftwood. And while they eat tiny particles of driftwood while rasping, it aids their digestive tract and is not eaten for nutrition.

Without enough biofilm, Aufwuchs or the regular addition of vegetables, I'm sure they are getting some sense of vegetable from continuously rasping over the amazon sword leaves. Their leaves are one of the very few plant leaves that can support the weight of a full grown BN, so they can spend a lot of time there rasping. While they cannot just take a bite and leave a hole, they can continue to rasp over a period of time until it weakens the leaves even further, making them so paper thin that holes begin to tear in them.

Although I don't care to keep amazon swords, my adult plecos are all in heavily planted tanks, they get veggies regularly and my plants are in tip top shape.
 

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Yep, that's definitely getting munched on. I've never had issues with my BNs and swords, but I sure did with Gold Nugget plecos. :(

You might try Crypts instead if you want something similarly-shaped. No guarantees that those won't turn into snacks, either, but no harm trying.
 

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My ABN’s would not eat anything except swordplants for awhile. I tried veggies, algae wafers and spirulina. Once I put some Blyxa Japonica in the tank, they mowed it down in one night.
Now the swords are gone and they finally are eating cooked sweet potato and squash.
A lot of folks say it aint so, but it is true.
For any non-believers out there, I’ll plant another sword and take pictures a few days later to prove it.
Charles
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I do have some crypts in there and so far they haven't gotten munched. The crypts I have are ones in the reddish tones and so far haven't put much size on. What crypt varieties are there that are that bright green and get big?
 

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I do have some crypts in there and so far they haven't gotten munched. The crypts I have are ones in the reddish tones and so far haven't put much size on. What crypt varieties are there that are that bright green and get big?
My 75G planted pleco tank is chock full of crypts and for the past almost one year has been home to 9 L144 BN's. Green wendti and luteus get large and lush....this is their home...
 

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My 75G planted pleco tank is chock full of crypts and for the past almost one year has been home to 9 L144 BN's. Green wendti and luteus get large and lush....this is their home...
Pink
That’s a beauty.
What is your lighting and fert schedule?
I may stick a bunch of crypts into the tank w/ABN’s.
Charles
 

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Extremely low tech. Regular river gravel for substrate, rarely use ferts, standard double bulb hood with 10,000K bulbs. My lights are on a long time because of my long days - 4:30 AM until 10:00 PM, I have hard water and change out 75% weekly. I think crypts really like hard water.
 

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Extremely low tech. Regular river gravel for substrate, rarely use ferts, standard double bulb hood with 10,000K bulbs. My lights are on a long time because of my long days - 4:30 AM until 10:00 PM, I have hard water and change out 75% weekly. I think crypts really like hard water.
No ferts and a long photo period.
I’m surprised that you don’t have a bad algae problem.
Nice tank.

Charles
 

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I initially had only one bulb running but the tank seemed too dark. When I ran the second bulb I began to get some staghorn algae on the crypt leaves closest to the light. I wanted to run both bulbs to get the full color of the crypts so I added two siamese algae eaters. The only staghorn I have left is on the crypt retrospiralis leaves which are on the surface of the water right under the lights. Other than that, my tank is algae free.
 
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