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Old 11-09-2005, 12:11 PM   #1
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Need Help Making a Hiding Spot For My Pleco

I'm trying to think of a DIY project to make some sort of cave / hiding spot for my Pleco. When I purchased him back in July he was probably about 2-3" long so he fit just about anywhere he wanted to go. Now he's already gotten to be about 5" so his favorite hiding spot is getting to be to small for him. As it is right now he has to slightly bend himself to get to where he wants to be. He may be comfy in this position, but to look at him I'd say he's probably not.

So... I'm more or less looking for ideas and advice on what kind of structure I should make for him. Should it be more of a longer structure since he's going to be growing mainly lengthwise? Should I make it so that it's taller with platforms for him to rest on or will the substrate itself be good enough? I'd like to make something that looks good in the aquarium, but also makes my Pleco happier to have a nice place to hide in. I'd like it to be as practical and natural in terms of what the Pleco's needs are. Basically, I'm open to any ideas at this point!

Also, one last thing. If any of you have any photos you'd be willing to share of your DIY hiding places/caves, please feel free to provide links so I can view them. I think that links would be the best route (just in case there are many photos posted) so there aren't to many photos being stored on the AA database!

Thanks!
- Mandy
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Old 11-09-2005, 01:23 PM   #2
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i did a quick search, and found this thread
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewto...028&highlight=

i followed the procedure in that thread for my plecto, who was about 4-5 inches then and now 6-8 months later he's about 6-7 inches in length , and he likes the cave i built him and uses it most of the time expect he still still hides under powerheads and the lip of my biowheel 60 from time to time. i used a 3 inch Y pipe if i remember (maybe a little bigger) but you could always just use a straight pipe if you wanted, or make your own Y from a straight pipe to get the length you wanted.

as plecto's grow they grow in length in width at the same time, usually in a 1:.5 inch ratio. in the wild they can actually obtain sizes of 3 - 4 ft in length, i have a friend who has one thats alittle over a foot in length and maybe 6inches in width. when he got the plecto (it was maybe 3 inches in length) he took a terra cotta pot broke it half and used that as a cave for the plecto, (and after some algea growth the pot looked pretty good in the tank) anyway after yrs the plecto grew to about 7-8 inches in length it would still try to take refuge in the pot, but only about 1 inch of him would actually fit in the pot and it was sort of funny to watch.

anyway though if you don't like the pvc cave idea, you could also get some drift wood mounted to slate, that the plecto will use for shelter, it doesn't have to be a 'real' cave, just something to offer some subdued light for them to be happy and alot of plectos actually like 'chewing' on the wood.

you could also make a visit to local lake/river/creek and pick up some rock, (Slate would be the easiest to work with) and make a real cave with the pieces you collect and aquarium sealent, after 'curing' the rock in a mild bleach solution.

those are the 3-4ish main ideas that come to mind, just remember plectos prefer subdued lighting to no lighting and that if they really like a spot don't expect them to change.

bry
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Old 11-12-2005, 06:43 PM   #3
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Ok - I decided on what I'm going to make. Here's my list of supplies...

(1) 1.1 Gallon Rubbermaid Container (plastic / rectangular)
(1) 3oz tube of Aqua-Tech Non Toxic Sealant (I know I'll most likely need more)
(1) 3lb bag of gravel/rocks (brown shades)

I'm planning on cutting a circle one of the top corners as a top exit/entrance and also an oval shaped exit/entrance on one of the sides. They'll both be large enough for the Pleco to get in an out of easily. Both holes will be on the same side so one side of the cave will be kept as dark as possible. Once the holes are cut I'll be using the silicone to glue the gravel on to it. Does this sound like a good plan? Any recommendations on what I should or should not do?

Also, I have a couple of 'stupid' questions...

1- How should I clean the plastic container?
2- Should I clean it before or after (or even both) the gravel is glued on?
3- Should I let the gravel soak in water (like you do prior to putting it in the aquarium for the first time) before gluing it?
4 - Do I need to worry about putting new gravel in the aquarium? In other words, will it screw up the cycle at all?

Any other info you're willing to offer would be appreciated!

- Mandy
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Old 11-12-2005, 07:32 PM   #4
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well the list of supplies is a good start, i used 2 - 3oz tubes of sealent, i would suggest you get another tube before you start, you will make a mess of everything during the construction and its better to have 1 big mess than 2.

my other suggestions:
1. i would remove the paper lables from the rubber made container, using water and a scotch brite, try not to use any chemicals, expect for elbow grease, and try to get most (if not all) of the adhesive off.
2. i would clean the plastic container it in a vinager solution before applying the gravel.
3. just rinse the gravel in a strainer before using, and allow to dry throughly. just to seperate the gravel from the dust.
4. no you don't need to worry about messing up your cycle at all, it won't be affected.

my last suggestions..
wear rubber (better yet silicon) gloves, have plenty of sealent on hand, use a fairly large grain size of gravel if you can, (i used a fairly small grain size, and i had to touch up areas 3 times to hide the white plastic of the pipe.) and when its completely dried, give it a rinse under the tap. when you are finally happy with its turnout, make sure the water level in the aquarium is a little low before you add your peice.

hope that helps.

bry
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Old 11-12-2005, 08:20 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info! I never thought about wearing gloves. Guess I'll buy some while I'm picking up a couple more tubes of sealant.

When you say clean it in a vinegar solution do you just mean vinegar and water?

I'm anxious to get started. I'll post pics of my progress!

- Mandy
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Old 11-13-2005, 12:39 AM   #6
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You can buy GE brand sealant and it is is aquarium safe.

GE012A

About the same price as the 3 oz tube but you get 3 x as much.
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Old 11-13-2005, 01:04 PM   #7
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I think DAP makes one as well..
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Old 11-13-2005, 03:04 PM   #8
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sorry, yes vinager and water is what i was referring too, i should have clarifed before, its probably not neccessary, but it can't really hurt anything.. you know?

looking forward to seeing pics now, good luck
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:00 PM   #9
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Well... my plan hasn't been to successful yet!! Turns out, I don't have enough muscle to cut through the plastic container. So, I've been making a plan B. My new idea is to just buy some of those polished river rocks that you can get at craft stores and use the silicone to glue them together. It'll be topped off with a piece of slate. Should work right? Now my next series of questions are...

1- Do I use the same water/vinegar solution to clean the rocks and slate?

2- Will the slate or river rocks effect the Ph or anything else that I should be concerned about?


TIA,
- Mandy
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:45 PM   #10
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Check out Xzaps idea with slate also: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=59896 . IIRC Jchillin made caves out of slate too.

Both types of rock should be fine. If they fizz with vinegar they are not fine.
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