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Old 11-17-2008, 06:54 PM   #1
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Unhappy Placastamus cemetery

I have a 75 gallon aquarium and am having trouble keeping placastamus alive. In the past month I have gone through 3 or 4 of them. Yesterday I picked one up and he was already dead by night time. Shortly after I put it into the tank I noticed he was having trouble sticking to the wall of the glass. He would just slide down.
The water is testing good for nitrates and nitrites. The ph is ok but the water hardness is reading high, which I don't think is an issue. Other fish in the tank are 8 tetra, 2 black mollies, 3 platys - and yesterday I added 6 more platys. These fish are all fine.
Prior to this fall, I had a placastamus that was about 3 or 4 years old. I have a garden pond into which I put the fish in the Spring. For some reason the placastamus disappeared a day or 2 after putting it out. Suspect an animal or bird snatched it. Since then I have had no luck keeping one alive.
Any idea what is going so wrong?
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:42 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Can I ask a few questions?

What temperature is your tank set at?
You mentioned nitrIte and nitrAte readings, do you test for Ammonia? If so, what's that reading?
How do you acclimate the new plecos to your tank?
How long has your tank been established?
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Old 11-18-2008, 03:00 AM   #3
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Plecos can be difficult to acclimate to a new tank, but once they do, they are extremely hardy. They don't tolerate big swings in temperature, pH, hardness, or nitrates. If your tank water significantly differs from your lps tank water in these regards, you may simply have to spend more time acclimating them.

Have the lfs put the pleco in a large bag so you get a large volume of their water. When you get home, transfer the fish and the water into a CLEAN (no exposure to soaps ever) 2 - 5 gallon container or empty tank. Use some airline tubing to siphon water from your 75 gal and let it drip slowly into the container. I tie a loose knot in the tubing so the water drips out even slower. Allow two or three volumes of water drip into your container in this manner. Remove half of the water from the container and repeat the drip acclimation. This can take 1 - 2 hours - tedious I know, but sometimes necessary to acclimate some fish.

Plecos are stressed by bright light, so during the acclimation, keep the room dimly lit and provide the pleco with something to take cover underneath. Half of a clean clay flowerpot works nicely.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:40 PM   #4
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Thank you for the tips. The temp in my tank is in the 76 degree area. Today I purchased an ammonia test kit. The test came back with a tiny bit of ammonia between "0 and .25". When I first brought my pond platys inside in late September they had a case of ick and/or a parasite which I was not able to control. I was losing them day after day and soon gave up and decided it was time to "start over." I drained my tank down and replaced the water. I thought I needed to get the "ick" or "parasite" out of the tank. I refilled the tank 6 weeks ago and treated it with chlorine rid and bacteria supplements. My local pet shop told me it was a mistake to empty the tank, but its done and I have to take it from here. The last pleco I floated the bag in the tank for about 30 minutes and then put a small amount of tank water into the bag, let it sit there for a few minutes before moving the fish to the tank. He lived less than a day.
I am getting a growth of black algaelike substance on some of rocks and foliage. Someone suggested maybe I need to replace my light. I will try the technique of a slow transfer and a dark hiding place.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:22 AM   #5
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did you get the stripped ammonia test kit? if so, your readings suck lol. invest in a master test kit... they run around 25 bucks on ebay... liquid test kits are WAY more accurate... btw.. its a possibility your just getting bad fish.. i have had 4 plecos... only have lost 1 the 6+ months ive had my 3 tanks up.. if i can keep them alive.. you should be able too lol
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Old 11-21-2008, 11:49 PM   #6
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I have had people suggest I try a different source for the fish, that the store I have been frequenting might not have the healthiest of fish. I know they have a huge turn over, so the fish are maybe just acclimating to their tanks when I bring them home to yet another change.
My ammonia test kit is the strip type.
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Old 11-21-2008, 11:59 PM   #7
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Not the most accurate test you can get.. if anything go to your lfs and get a ammonia single liquid test kit.. the will tell you whats really going on in your tank.

On a side note... id get just the master kit.. little more.. but you can check your nitrites nitrates ammonia, high ph and range ph with 1 kit.. and they last for practicly forever lol
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Old 12-27-2008, 11:57 PM   #8
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I'm back. I purchased a placo from another dealer going on 2 weeks ago now. I took all the precautions when introducing it into the tank. Kept the room dark and even left the tank light off for the first day. It is the nicest placo I have had, and a little bigger too. My tank had a good growth of algae and that fish went to work as soon as I removed it from the bag. It has the tank looking so much better. Also, this placo is not as shy as the others have been. The others would quickly hide when I approached the tank, but this one does not. He even sits in the front waiting for me to drop in an algae wafer.
I think I am on to a better tank population!! Thanks for the adivce.
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