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Old 11-06-2005, 01:57 PM   #1
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Driftwood question

Good afternoon. First time poster here. Found your site about a week ago. I have a question about driftwood. I've read that with plecos, it is a good thing to have a piece of driftwood in your tank so they can chew on the cellulose? So I go to one of the local big pet store chains and a kid there tells me that I shouldn't put driftwood in my tank because all it will do is rot and give my pleco Ick and kill it. Is this kid just nuts or is there something to be concerned about?

Stats on my tank are that it's a 5 gal tank with one 5" pleco in it (pulled it out of my pond to overwinter it).

Thanks,
Mo
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Old 11-06-2005, 02:19 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA MoSinister!

Depending on the type of pleco that you have, the driftwood may or may not be needed. The wood will not rot and it will not kill or give your pleco ich. At least none of the driftwood that I have ever seen. I am more concerned about a pleco being in a 5 gal tank. If he is already 5 inches, chances are you have a common or another type of pleco that grows large. Have you kept it in the 5 gal tank before? Large water changes are going to be needed at least once a week since pleco's are big poopers.
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Old 11-06-2005, 02:42 PM   #3
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The 5" pleco would be a lot better of in more than a five gallon tank!

And besides, the kid was just nuts ! Probably didn't have a clue about aquaria but giving advice - those are the best ones !
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Old 11-06-2005, 02:44 PM   #4
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the only thing you need to worry about is driftwood bringing your pH down too low in such a small tank. Frequent water changes will prevent this. Driftwood will release tannins that make the water more acidic, but usually this is a good thing for plecos. I think there are only a few who like harder water.
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Old 11-06-2005, 07:09 PM   #5
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I'm guessing he (she, who knows) is a common variety Hypostomus plecostomus (pic enclosed, and that's a fake piece of wood). Yes, he is a poop machine too. I am performing partial water changes each week.

Funny story about that actually...the first vacuum cleaner I bought was too big, and I sucked up almost 50% of the water in barely a minute and a half. It was like defusing a bomb. I'm vacuuming poop like crazy, and the wife is like, "70%...60%...you'd better hurry up!" But hey, I'm learning, so that's good. Went back to the store and got a new one that is the right size.

Regarding the pleco's size, I'll be keeping an eye on him. I bought him in the spring and put him in my pond out back (about 250 gallons I'm guessing just by eyeballing it) to take care of my algae issues. Surprisingly, he didn't grow that much. He was probably 3 inches when I got him. Seven months later he's five inches, even though he had a basically unlimited supply of food and space *shrug*. If he shows any growth in the next month or two, I'll re-evaluate his needs.

I plan on putting him back out in the pond next spring when the water temp stays above 70°F. I don't believe he'll be back for a second term in that tank even if he stays pretty small (unlikely). I must say that I'm enjoying having him inside. I'll probably have to get new fish when I put him back just to have some indoor fish.

[edit] added pic

~Mo
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Old 11-07-2005, 05:11 AM   #6
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Well I know you must like that pleco alot if you've taken the time to provide winter quarters Mo. It's pretty hard to tell if a pleco is comfortable or not just by looking since they're basically nocturnal and don't move around much.

My concern with keeping any pleco in a 5 gallon tank has primarily to do with water quality. You've already noticed that it's a poop machine. IME plecos are extremely intolerant of ammonia spikes. That's just what you're apt to get in such a small environment and such a large waste producing fish.

I'm hoping that you've provided a filter with an established nitrifying bacteria colony. Even with that I would be doing water changes daily. Otherwise the ammonia will build up and poison the fish. JMO
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Old 11-08-2005, 02:33 PM   #7
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Thanks so much everyone for the advice.

I certainly don't want to stress/injure the fish, but had no time to spare when coming up with living quarters. The water temp outside went down to 56°F. From what I've read, at that temp, he wouldn't have lasted long (of course, it's now 85° outside...man, I hate Texas weather).

I'm planning on these quarters being temporary for him. The wife and I are trying to decide on whether we'll be keeping him or donate him to a lfs or friend. We're trying to simplify somewhat, not add responsibilities and money output. However, we've enjoyed having him inside, so a friend suggested considering buying used. Sounds like something to look into should the wife and I decide an indoor aquarium can fit in our lifestyle.

Brian, I'm beginning to perform pwcs every day. How much do you suggest I change per day? 25%...50%?

Lastly, would anyone living in the North Dallas area pm me with vendors they like to deal with? If I am to keep fish, I want to deal with the best people.

Regards,
Mo
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Old 11-08-2005, 02:51 PM   #8
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you might want to check out the regional forums and post in there for more responses from people in your area
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Old 11-08-2005, 03:00 PM   #9
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I've never done it myself but I have heard it suggested a few times......there are people who house fish in large rubbermaid tubs over the winter. Some how they are able to hook up a filter and aeration hose and the fish has a nice big CHEAP winter accomadation. That may work better than the 5 gallon for ya and save you from having to give away your fish.
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Old 11-08-2005, 04:49 PM   #10
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I would be doing between 40-50%. Hope it all works out for you and the pleco Mo.
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