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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, relatively new to the site but I figured that this'd be as good of a time as any to ask away about Pleco compatibility and tankmates. So, I'm sitting at home, daydreaming about fish tanks as I'm sure many of us do, when I remembered an awesome 220g high custom tank that one of my LFS had a while back. It measured 48"L x 36"W x 30"H. Apparently, an adoration of plecos runs in my family, as my uncle used to keep Blue Eyed Panaques before they became rare, as well as Gold Royal Plecos. So, while I'm sure I can't realistically pick up this tank, it leaves me thinking about my "dream tank". So, here I am, thinking about how I'd stock it, and I'm left with a few questions.
1.) If I were to get a few L191/L190/L027 plecos, maybe four of the same type, assuming there is adequate filtration and all, would they theoretically have trouble with other types of plecos? I was looking at Green Phantoms and L114s as well, but, didn't know if it'd be asking for a bloodbath.
2.) What are some other cool plecos or fish that I might want to look into for stocking the tank as well? I'm not a fan of cichlids, save for dwarf cichlids and angelfish. I enjoy Denisoni Barbs, and other brightly colored, or torpedo shaped fish, but I'd love to find a new favorite! I'm open to almost any suggestion, seeing as I'm pretty much just daydreaming here!
 

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I keep several plecos, they are usually quite peaceful. Though there is a definite pecking order. The king of the tank is a bit of a bully, if he wants to go somewhere, everyone else must move, he gets his food first. Sometimes he chases another pleco (these slow speed chases, of i want to clean this area, now i want to clean where u just went, and again). Splitting up added veggies helps at feeding time. I will note that i never kept any royal plecos, mostly bristlenose varieties.
 

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You would also be doing major water changes at least every couple of days as plecos are major waste producers. I would suggest if you want groups I would just stick with one group. Not to many though if they are some that get to be bruisers. I kept 3 large plecos in my 220 and did large water changes 3 times a week.
 

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Would need every bit of 220 gallon's for the number's of fish(pleco's) mentioned.
L190,species grow very large 14 to 16 inches would not be uncommon.
Would consider sump for filtration with as much water movement as I could provide.
Much more dissolved oxygen in this way,and particulates would remain suspended longer for filter to pick up/trap.
Lot's of wood,smooth riverstones to make caves.
Adult's don't alway's like to share space like they may when juveniles.
maybe better choice would be one or two of the pleco's and a dozen or more smaller loaches like Yoyo loaches,skunk loaches.
Then could add some fast water loving fishes like colombian tetra's,barb's,Swordtail's.
just thinkin what I might try with this large of a tank.
 

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You would also be doing major water changes at least every couple of days as plecos are major waste producers. I would suggest if you want groups I would just stick with one group. Not to many though if they are some that get to be bruisers. I kept 3 large plecos in my 220 and did large water changes 3 times a week.
Would need every bit of 220 gallon's for the number's of fish(pleco's) mentioned.
L190,species grow very large 14 to 16 inches would not be uncommon.
Would consider sump for filtration with as much water movement as I could provide.
Much more dissolved oxygen in this way,and particulates would remain suspended longer for filter to pick up/trap.
Lot's of wood,smooth riverstones to make caves.
Adult's don't alway's like to share space like they may when juveniles.
maybe better choice would be one or two of the pleco's and a dozen or more smaller loaches like Yoyo loaches,skunk loaches.
Then could add some fast water loving fishes like colombian tetra's,barb's,Swordtail's.
just thinkin what I might try with this large of a tank.


Both bring up very good points! Due to adult size (and bio-laod.. I'm talking turd strands 3x as along as the fish and all over the tank) I'd HIGHLY recommend reducing your dream tank's pleco #s. Plecos in the same breed or family group tend to get very aggressive as adults, staking out their territories and such (BN are probably the most tolerant and lease destructive of the breeds in this regard though). I've seen videos owners have taken of some of the larger breed types bully other plecos to death, rasping their hides off quite literally. Even in a large tank with smaller breeds they take up a lot of space.

As for teh poop/cleaning/filtration.. don't underestimate how much of a mess it will be! I have a 9.5 inch Leopard Sailfin pleco (temporarily) in a 55 gallon tank.. I bought the strongest cansiter fitler I could find and it doesn't do squat for the poop (good bio filtration though). I have to siphon out poop 3x a week doing 10 gallons each time just to get the poop out. If I slack off the whole substrate will be covered in poop, if the pleco moves around it makes a tornado of flaoting poop... POOOP!! Ok sorry...Definately get the strongest sort of filtration possible and be prepared to clean often even with it. My nitrates stay around 20ppm with all the cleaning but I can't bring them down any lower. I wouldn't dare try putting another pleco of any breed or size in with mine, he's huge already and I don't need more poop to clean out.

As a side note, my pleco is only 1/2 down growing and will be getting a larger 200+ gallon range tank in the near future (gotta build it x.x) with a custome made sump underneath (also gotta build that) to suck pretty much everything but the fish down/out of the tank and spit it (water only) back in at a high rate of flow. For the time being though I am setting up an aquaponics system over the 55 (if successful will make a large one for the giant tank too) to grow plants above the tank and have water exiting the canister filter flow through and give nutrients, letting the plants leech up the nitrates so I can cut back on water changes a bit and just remove poop (but not 30 gallons of water a week... my back is killing me from it! I'm petite so 5 gallon buckets of water need moved around 4x in a day 3x a week sucks!!! But I love my pleco so I work hard to keep the tank clean.

Please don't think I am trying to scare you (or anyone) away from owning a pleco.. just so many people get them not realizing how much dedication they can take and the extra needs they have (especially the large growing breeds) and end up keeping them in horrid conditions until it dies. I can;t emphasize enough that they do need special care and extra attention to filtration and frequent water cleaning(changes).
Bottom line: don't get plecos unless you want to put the work in!... Or want a tank full of poop. More plecos=more poop=more work (also more $$ into filtration)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Both bring up very good points! Due to adult size (and bio-laod.. I'm talking turd strands 3x as along as the fish and all over the tank) I'd HIGHLY recommend reducing your dream tank's pleco #s. Plecos in the same breed or family group tend to get very aggressive as adults, staking out their territories and such (BN are probably the most tolerant and lease destructive of the breeds in this regard though). I've seen videos owners have taken of some of the larger breed types bully other plecos to death, rasping their hides off quite literally. Even in a large tank with smaller breeds they take up a lot of space.

As for teh poop/cleaning/filtration.. don't underestimate how much of a mess it will be! I have a 9.5 inch Leopard Sailfin pleco (temporarily) in a 55 gallon tank.. I bought the strongest cansiter fitler I could find and it doesn't do squat for the poop (good bio filtration though). I have to siphon out poop 3x a week doing 10 gallons each time just to get the poop out. If I slack off the whole substrate will be covered in poop, if the pleco moves around it makes a tornado of flaoting poop... POOOP!! Ok sorry...Definately get the strongest sort of filtration possible and be prepared to clean often even with it. My nitrates stay around 20ppm with all the cleaning but I can't bring them down any lower. I wouldn't dare try putting another pleco of any breed or size in with mine, he's huge already and I don't need more poop to clean out.

As a side note, my pleco is only 1/2 down growing and will be getting a larger 200+ gallon range tank in the near future (gotta build it x.x) with a custome made sump underneath (also gotta build that) to suck pretty much everything but the fish down/out of the tank and spit it (water only) back in at a high rate of flow. For the time being though I am setting up an aquaponics system over the 55 (if successful will make a large one for the giant tank too) to grow plants above the tank and have water exiting the canister filter flow through and give nutrients, letting the plants leech up the nitrates so I can cut back on water changes a bit and just remove poop (but not 30 gallons of water a week... my back is killing me from it! I'm petite so 5 gallon buckets of water need moved around 4x in a day 3x a week sucks!!! But I love my pleco so I work hard to keep the tank clean.

Please don't think I am trying to scare you (or anyone) away from owning a pleco.. just so many people get them not realizing how much dedication they can take and the extra needs they have (especially the large growing breeds) and end up keeping them in horrid conditions until it dies. I can;t emphasize enough that they do need special care and extra attention to filtration and frequent water cleaning(changes).
Bottom line: don't get plecos unless you want to put the work in!... Or want a tank full of poop. More plecos=more poop=more work (also more $$ into filtration)
Thanks for all the replies everyone, it's one of my first posts so I probably should have been a little more specific than I was. I aimed to make a rather large sump, at least 40g, but larger if I can find a tank that is a shape that will properly fit under said tank. I've been keeping the massive poop-factories that most people call plecos for years. I'm currently breeding albino Longfinned bristlenose plecos, and I've got a tiny Peruvian green royal Pleco (L418 maybe?) growing out in my 75g tank right now. The reason that I took the seemingly random number of 4 plecos was because they're nearly impossible to sex at a young age, and even tougher to find as mature adults. I hoped to have a Chance to be one of the few that has bred those cool fish. I know that it's extremely rare in captivity, I've heard about a few people breeding them in large tanks. It's still a long while down the road, if it ever happens, but, I figured I'd start now. Thanks for the help all!

Editing to add in about my filtration in the 75g, I've got a fluval 404, 2 aquaclear 50s and a big hydor koralia powerhead to tackle the mess that my pleco leaves behind
 

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Thanks for all the replies everyone, it's one of my first posts so I probably should have been a little more specific than I was. I aimed to make a rather large sump, at least 40g, but larger if I can find a tank that is a shape that will properly fit under said tank. I've been keeping the massive poop-factories that most people call plecos for years. I'm currently breeding albino Longfinned bristlenose plecos, and I've got a tiny Peruvian green royal Pleco (L418 maybe?) growing out in my 75g tank right now. The reason that I took the seemingly random number of 4 plecos was because they're nearly impossible to sex at a young age, and even tougher to find as mature adults. I hoped to have a Chance to be one of the few that has bred those cool fish. I know that it's extremely rare in captivity, I've heard about a few people breeding them in large tanks. It's still a long while down the road, if it ever happens, but, I figured I'd start now. Thanks for the help all!

Editing to add in about my filtration in the 75g, I've got a fluval 404, 2 aquaclear 50s and a big hydor koralia powerhead to tackle the mess that my pleco leaves behind
Ah glad to know you're not just diving into plecos but have some background with them. Nice filtration set up! Makes me ponder adding some extra to help my canister filter along. Only change is, instead of siphoning poop from the substrate I clean out said filters of poop, but would give my back a break at least ^^ How frequently do you clean out your aquaclears and fluval?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I clear them out on a cycle, usually one a week or so, and then I clean a different one the next week so I don't reset my cycle. I have a siphon too, I usually "spot siphon" out about 2.5g of poop-water a week, depends on how things are that week. My royal is still about 4-4-1/2" long, so I've got time. If you check my post submissions at my tank profile, you'll see a huge stump where the Pleco spends most of his/her time, but it's at the cost of a giant dead spot. I put the powerhead behind it to move things around more often, but, I still have to clear off my fluval intake pretty much daily, or it clogs up. Bonus pair of pics of the Pleco!
http://imgur.com/IhWATsk

http://imgur.com/Bor5ew7 you can see the poo buildup before I put in the powerhead...

FTS from a few weeks ago, before I got my top-dwelling fish in http://imgur.com/gH52wuo
 

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I clear them out on a cycle, usually one a week or so, and then I clean a different one the next week so I don't reset my cycle. I have a siphon too, I usually "spot siphon" out about 2.5g of poop-water a week, depends on how things are that week. My royal is still about 4-4-1/2" long, so I've got time. If you check my post submissions at my tank profile, you'll see a huge stump where the Pleco spends most of his/her time, but it's at the cost of a giant dead spot. I put the powerhead behind it to move things around more often, but, I still have to clear off my fluval intake pretty much daily, or it clogs up. Bonus pair of pics of the Pleco!
http://imgur.com/IhWATsk

http://imgur.com/Bor5ew7 you can see the poo buildup before I put in the powerhead...

FTS from a few weeks ago, before I got my top-dwelling fish in http://imgur.com/gH52wuo
Nicve looking set up! Lucky you, you're doesn't eat all vegetation that enters the tank.. mine does (which is why I'll be using plants above/outside the tank to help with nitrates). Awesome looking pleco btw ^^
The poop gets worse the more they grow, I've had mine since he was 2 inches (so damn cute when tiny), and its gotten noticeably messier. I clean out my canister so infrequently since I don't have a back up and fear crashing the BB colony (did that when the fish-less cycle finished.. got to wait 2 extra weeks before fish could go in.. ops >.<) I think I will seriously considering slapping another filter on there though after hearing your tank's arrangement ^^
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nicve looking set up! Lucky you, you're doesn't eat all vegetation that enters the tank.. mine does (which is why I'll be using plants above/outside the tank to help with nitrates). Awesome looking pleco btw ^^
The poop gets worse the more they grow, I've had mine since he was 2 inches (so damn cute when tiny), and its gotten noticeably messier. I clean out my canister so infrequently since I don't have a back up and fear crashing the BB colony (did that when the fish-less cycle finished.. got to wait 2 extra weeks before fish could go in.. ops >.<) I think I will seriously considering slapping another filter on there though after hearing your tank's arrangement ^^
I'd love to throw some more/bigger filters on there, but my aquaclear 50s are right up against the wall. And there's not much space along the top, with the stump and all.
 

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It is good to hear you do have experience with plecos, I keep 11 species of plecos each in their own tanks. (breeding colonies) I've sold my 220 though but what I had in there was an 18 inch common a 14 inch common and a 9 inch sailfin. Was sad to see them all go but there was no way to set that monster up in the new house.
 

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Some old pics



A video of the tank. Also an 8 inch bn
Wow so many plecos (and other fish), and holy fish-o-ly 8 inch bn? I thought 6inches was their max!
this is my fella as a baby (2 inches):


at 9-9.5 inches (over past month...he doesn't like to pose for photos these days...)



Ok sorry i'll stop highjacking the thread, just wanted to share ^^''
 

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There is one bn breed that does get bigger. I did loose him after having him for 12 years. Never could find a female for him.
I'm sorry to hear :C I've only had mine for eh *does math on fingers* 16-18 months? Hope to keep him alive and happy for several years though ^^
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wow! That's nice! I assumed that you just had the three plecos in there and I was really confused about how that was fully stocked. I'm sure you have tons of filtration and all too. What was the stock in there? A saw a bunch of clown loaches... But I have no idea what those fish were
 
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