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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A few weeks ago after a major cleaning and replanting, my 3 dwarf bristlenose plecos went missing. I understand they hide a bunch so I didn't worry much till I saw an Amonnia spike. I did find one carcass but not the other two. So I did another very thorough check the other day and have another idea...and it's not pleasant.

The wood in my tank is not drift wood but a piece of root from some type of African tree that I got at the LFS. (You may be able to see it at You may be able to see it at http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i182/lonbeme/tank7-4-06.jpg - It's the lighting etc, the water is not green) It's got moss and ferns growing on it and is a major part of my tank. There are numerous holes that start big and then make turns just like small caves.

I remembered back when all was good with the little guys cruising all over, I had to actually rescue one once. It had gone in and couldn't back out getting it's fins stuck. It wiggled frantically in one place for a long time till I finally had to help it out. I put some gravel in that hole so it wouldn't happen again, not thinking of the other holes.

So...maybe they got way in there and couldn't get out. Here's wher it gets worse. I thought of this after having the wood out of the tank for an hour or so while I searched the tank.

Anyone ever hear of this as a problem with the dwarfs or the African root?
 

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I had some ottos in my shirmp tank and one of them died without me knowing. It ended up poisoning the water and killing off a half dozen shrimp. You may want to make sure they aren't in the wood for sure, and plug those holes. I don't think the wood could cause the spike, especially if it's been there a long time and hasn't caused any trouble before. How old is the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the reply

The tank is 3 or 4 months old. I checked the amonnia again today and it appears to be 0 or very close.

How can I plug the holes??
 

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That happened to my cory cat. I used to have this ornament that was a house on stilts. The cory would put his head under it because he thought that he was all the way in. well, he couldn't go further foreword, and he didn't know haw to swim backwards, so I would have ro move the ornament. Finaly I just gam=ve up, and took it out. (same thing happened to a dog I was baby sitting, with a desk).
 

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Ah yes, fish that get stuck or disappear in holes, usually catfish. Happened to my sister once. Let me let her tell you in her own words. She posted this on a family forum:

I have a Jaguar Catfish I got when he was very small. They are from the Amazon which has dark water so they like dark places. I found two clay pipes, one a bit larger than the other, that Bill had in his box of extra fish stuff, so I put them in the aquarium for the fish to hide in. He promptly went into the smaller pipe and hid. Since he would only come out in the dark to eat, he was rarely seen, unlike the two little Blue Rams in the same tank who are all over the place. Then lately I noticed his tail poking out of the smaller pipe. Hmmm, I thought, he's getting kind of big. I told Bill that if he got much fatter, he was going to get stuck in the pipe. Well, he got fatter. He got stuck and could not get out. He tried but just managed to turn the pipe upside down with him in it. How do you get a fat fish out of a pipe? Can't grease him up. There was only one thing to do. I asked Bill for help. He got a towel (one of the best ones of course) and wet it down in the fish tank, then took out the pipe with the fish in it and rolled it in the towel. Then, as he raised the hammer (my best one of course), I heard a mewling sound from the towel. Sounded just like a kitten in trouble. It was the catfish! He thought he was going to die! Bill smacked the pipe in the towel, pulling back, the pipe cracked in two the fish flopped free and he got dumped back in the tank. He lives!
This was over a year ago and that Jaguar Catfish is still around, although last I heard one of the Rams had died (probably due to old age.)

The only way I can think of to stopper up the holes off hand is either to a: get some more driftwood of the branch variety and carve some plugs and whack them in b:fasten some mesh over them with stainless steel staples/nails/screws what have you (good luck finding them!) or possibly c: (probably the easiest route) filling in the holes with spray foam. There is some foam that's supposed to be made for pond/water feature use that is a dark/black color. It's used to seal spaces between rocks when constructing waterfalls and suchlike. Don't know where to find it offhand though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Foam filler??

RoseHawke said:
.....filling in the holes with spray foam. There is some foam that's supposed to be made for pond/water feature use that is a dark/black color. It's used to seal spaces between rocks when constructing waterfalls and suchlike. Don't know where to find it offhand though.
Thanks Cindy!

If anyone has any info on this foam stuff, please let me know.
...or what about silicone?

Thanks
 

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Just googled "waterfall" and "foam" and got quite a few hits. It's not cheap though :(. About 12-13 bucks a can looks like. As far as I know this is the same stuff as regular spray foam which is about 4-6 dollars a can, but in any case if you decide to go that route I would let it cure really well before placing it back in the tank. One other thing I just thought of is that, depending on how much foam you ended up putting in the driftwood piece, it will probably add to the buoyancy of the wood unless it's just a little bit. Generally speaking you don't have to worry about rocks floating ;).

No reason silicone wouldn't work depending on the size of the holes. Make sure you get a silicone that does not have a mildewcide in it (the ones manufactured for "kitchen and bath use" most definitely will have it, some of the others might as well.) Back up the hole with a bit of something so you won't be filling a huge void, a bit of sponge or filter batting comes to mind, then have at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
oh, THAT stuff! I have a can right here!

Thanks to both of you for your search efforts!

I've used this stuff around the hose for insulating, etc. It does indeed go a LONG way - too long usually and then needs to be trimmed. I found a web site on it http://greatstuff.dow.com/index.htm but it sure says nothing on aquarium use.

I'm liking the silicone idea for control as well as cure time (I think).

THe wood has lots of Java fern and moss on it. Will this die if out of water for as long as a day?
 

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I would suspect so, yes. Put some damp paper towels on it, and try to keep them damp with an occasional spritz of water from a spray bottle (plant mister.)

Yes, if you don't mind the yellow/cream color it's the same "stuff" . . . so to speak ;).
 

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LonBeMe said:
but it sure says nothing on aquarium use.
THe wood has lots of Java fern and moss on it. Will this die if out of water for as long as a day?
I've never used it for aquariums , but I have used it in ponds without any side effects.

The moss (java??) can last a long time out of the tank.
 

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one suggestion that hasn't come up yet... perhaps you should consider drilling "escape" holes so that a fish that wriggles in the hole can have a straight path out the other side of the wood, or even enlarge the hole enough that fish can easily find their way out.
 
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