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Old 12-09-2013, 01:07 PM   #1
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Large Pleco move to my cichlid tank?

Hi all -

I'm posting here though I wasn't sure which would be the best forum.

I currently have 2 tanks - a tall, 30 Gallon Hex with typical community fish (tetras, barbs, swordtails). I also have a really large (16" - 18") Pleco that I have had for years. He seems healthy enough and has grown to his current size in this tank. But I feel badly for him since the tank is relatively small and the vertical orientation just doesn't leave him a lot of space to move around.

I recently (~1 month ago) started up a 50 Gallon rectangular bow front tank with Africans in it. I have 6 varied fish, all about 1" - 2" long, plus a smallish Pleco and a 2" - 3" Raphael cat. I got really excited to have cichlids again and I think I'm right at the edge of overpopulating the tank - sorry...

Anyway, I am thinking the cichlid tank would be a better home for my favorite big Pleco but I have some concerns. What does everyone think about these worries:

1. How is he likely to adapt to the change in temp and chemistry? The cichlid tank is new so the water is probably not cycled as hard as it will eventually be. but it will be warmer and the chem will be different. I would expect to titrate his water to acclimate him and not shock him.
2. I'm worried about harming or killing him simply by the move process. and I can see having to take a bunch of water out of both tanks to acclimate and move him which will mess with both tanks as well. Thoughts?
3. Is my 50 Gal tank already too overpopulated to add this big guy to it?
4. How will he handle and be handled by the smallish cichlids?

Really appreciate any advice. I love this fish and don't want to hurt him (or his new tank mates). Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:34 PM   #2
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I would think a 50 gallon would even be too small for a 18" pleco., I would upgrade or rehome.. He has to be miserable in a 30 tall.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:04 AM   #3
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A common pleco really should only be in a large tank, 90 gallons plus. They produce a large amount of waste, and the fact that yours is still alive is highly surprising to me, as commons generally get stunted when in small tanks during their growing process for extended periods. I would recommend rehoming the pleco to be honest
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:22 PM   #4
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Wow folks, I had no idea this was such an untenable situation but that seems to be the consensus. He's lived in this tank for years and grown to his current size over time (although my wife has pointed out to me that I am a typical male in that the fish is actually about 12" not 18" as I originally guessed). I'm also not positive of his exact species but I was told he was a sailfin when I adopted him many years ago. That seems to match the pics I'm finding on line.

Does that change anyone's opinion on his move to my cichlid tank or willingness to help me do so if I choose to keep him?
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:30 PM   #5
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No difference lol ,, I know it sucks to hear , but those are big fish and if bought or adopted must be kept in appropriate tanks.. He may live forever and may be perfectly healthy , but most of the time stuffing a fish like that in smaller tanks just involves more work keeping everything right.. It's your fish , but if it was mine A.) if I had the money I would just upgrade and ditch the 55 and put all in there. B.) if a is not a option , find him a good home .. That should make you feel good knowing he will be happy.. Just my 2 cents.. Good luck
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:40 PM   #6
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He'd be better off in the 50, but really needs a much larger tank than that unfortunately. The main issue with common plecos in with rift lake cichlids is that they tend to try and pick out the plecos eyes for some reason. I've heard of several cases of them having both eyes plucked out in a rift lake tank
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:09 PM   #7
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Wow, I hate to hear all that. I appreciate the candor tho. Guess I'll have to make the hard decision.
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