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Old 11-08-2014, 12:45 AM   #1
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BN Pleco Baby - how did this happen?!?!

I have a relatively new 220G tank, and we bought 5 plecos. They all look young. Four look about the same color as in this photo, one is an albino a bit bigger.

None (none!) have the bristles on the nose, which I presume means they are juveniles or females.



The tank has no good caves. I planned as they matured to remedy that, but haven't. There is one big driftwood stump, and we have some square stones that make for a maze fish can swim through but no good closed off areas that we know of.

And did I mention none have bristles on the nose?

So where did this guy come from?



That's the base of an immature crypt, the thing on the bottom right is tiny poop and in the bottom foreground is a 1mm food pellet. So this guy is really small. My wife saw him, we got one photo and he took off and we haven't seen him again.

There's 6 angels in that tank (2 pair, 2 unpaired) and 15 congo tetras that have so far eaten all my shrimp I tried to establish. I'm astounded he exists in the first place, but baffled how he survived.

So can anyone speculate how old he is?

Anything I should do, or just let him find food and hope he survives?
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Old 11-08-2014, 03:01 AM   #2
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Hitch hiked with the other plecs? Maybe
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Old 11-08-2014, 07:53 AM   #3
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Looks a couple of weeks old at most after it got its colour.
The first pic looks very much like it has bristles forming. I've had a male fertilise eggs with bristles this about this big (if I'm seeing the pic properly) - very surprised.
out of a batch of 50, I'd be lucky to save 5 BN fry once they start leaving the cave if I'm very quick as the angels hunt them. they even poo what looks like cocooned whole fry.
given that you have no caves etc., I'd imagine they would be easy pickings.
I would assume the eggs were laid in the rock maze if it weren't a bizarre hitch hiking fluke...


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Old 11-08-2014, 07:59 AM   #4
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if you can't catch it, I'd imagine it would be taken by an angel very soon if not already...


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Old 11-08-2014, 09:45 AM   #5
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I'm sorry, for clarity the first shot above is one of the adults to show how [un]developed their bristles are. They are about 3" long and quite active, but no bristles other than little nubs.

The second shot is the only shot I have of the baby.

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Hitch hiked with the other plecs? Maybe
Not possible, unless they have a pouch like a kangaroo. The 5 originals were placed in a small (10G) quarantine tank from 8/30 to 9/11, and I observed them closely looking for issues there. The birth had to have been since 9/11.

As to saving them, I can't even find them at the moment. Amazing how big a 220G tank is when you're that small.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:31 PM   #6
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excuse my confusion, is the first pic one of your BNs? or from somewhere else for reference?


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Old 11-08-2014, 08:11 PM   #7
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excuse my confusion, is the first pic one of your BNs? or from somewhere else for reference?
I'm sorry, I should have been more clear.

Photo #1 is an adult pleco that is one of 5 in the tank. I say "adult" guardedly as all 5 look like this one -- no bristles. I showed this photo to explain why I was surprised to have any young - I thought all the plecos I had were immature.

The scale of that photo is such that the pleco is about 3 inches long.

Photo #2 is the baby we saw. It is much more enlarged, as that fish is less than an inch long.

My confusion comes from my understanding that the lack of bristles meant they were immature, and surprise they can spawn. They are the only 5 in the tank.

I was also confused WHERE they spawned, as there are no good caves. but we did have a thought -- we have a few large apple snail shells in there for decoration. I would have thought them too small, but it's a possibility they managed in one.

We have yet to see the baby today. He either was eaten, or has gotten better at hiding.
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:07 AM   #8
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OK. Look closely at this new photo, as we found him again. So far have only seen one at a time. Not sure if that means there is only one.

The photo has the adult (perhaps parent, do not know) pleco in the background, out of focus, but just above the eyes upside down on the leaf, notice the little guy, white tip of the tail sticking out.



The adult is pretty young, much smaller than most adults I've seen. The young one is very tiny in comparison.

I might be able to catch him but both community tank have fish that might eat him (notably angels, though one has congo tetras that I think are more aggressive). I'm hoping he can continue to hide out. We saw him once today in the crevices in the rocks we have. If he stays in there he's safe.
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Old 11-09-2014, 05:41 AM   #9
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Clear as mud now
My first BN pair bred around that size with barely a bristle - on the front only with none on top. they are much bigger now and have around 50+ fry each time, first batch was around 30 and I saved only 3. Months later 1 the same size appeared from my driftwood where I had earlier seen a few tiny ones hide out for a few weeks. They were in with angels, 1 DG, cories, zebra danios and guppies - they all had a go and got some.
In short, based only on my experience and not what is supposed to happen, I reckon they laid eggs, fertilised them and had fry hatch! most likely near a heavily planted area (judging by your pics) on/next to rock.
check your filter, I occasionally find the odd one in there.
I suppose BN teenagers have the ability to breed as much as adults...


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Old 11-09-2014, 10:29 AM   #10
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Clear as mud now
...
check your filter, I occasionally find the odd one in there.
...
I suppose BN teenagers have the ability to breed as much as adults...
I keep sponges over the filters for a variety of reasons, so no go there.

But yes, apparently life will find a way, even if immature and no good caves, somehow they got at least one alive as of yesterday (lights are not on yet today, haven't looked).

So any BN Pleco breaders... about how long from that size (maybe 3/4") to when they are big enough to make unlikely prey? Maybe 1.5 to 2"?
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Old 11-09-2014, 03:04 PM   #11
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it depends on the size of the predators' mouths...cories suck up and 'chew' until the fry are small enough or malleable enough to swallow...


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Old 11-09-2014, 03:08 PM   #12
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could be two weeks, depends on diet, space, parameters, stress etc., but from my experience, mainly diet. Fry to fry vary in growth rate also.


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Old 11-23-2014, 03:39 PM   #13
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Just to follow up, we have two or three babies at least in the tank, who are surviving, though I have no idea how given the hungry congos and angels.

We have seen a light grey and a dark almost black one, but never at the same time; it is hard to know if those are really the same one changing color.

But there's also an albino in there, that's definitely a different one. Plus the adult albino we have is starting to develop his (now I know it is he) bristles a bit, so I suspect but do not know he's the father.

Here's a poor picture of the black one. He lives in the cracks of the rocks.



And this another one stuck to the glass. He was at the very, very top hiding behind a pipe (which in this photo is slightly above him out of view). He's actually the grey one (or maybe the same as the black), but the color is a strong reflection on his scales (?) from the flash. When you see him in normal light he's almost transparent.



They are not growing much. A bit wider, not much longer - still right at an inch. I suspect they may be competing badly with the snails for food while hiding. I've tried to stick algae pellets under the rocks, but they get completely covered with Ramshorns quickly. Same with cucumber.

We haven't seen the grey or albino in a couple days, but hope we still have three. Definitely one.

I guess I need to get a more friendly environment set up for them to breed (or more precisely to grow out), since they are obviously willing to spawn despite pretty adverse conditions.
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Old 11-23-2014, 06:28 PM   #14
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I'm not surprised you have surviving babies. My Plecos spawn about every other month. I usually find one or two survivors. Some in my overflow box and one time I found one in my filter sock that my overflow drains into. The filter sock one was funny cuz I never cleaned it out for a couple months. However, it could very well have been in there only a day for all I know.

Regardless, it's survival of the fittest in my tank as I don't have the patience to try to net babies in a planted 75.


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Old 02-20-2015, 09:37 PM   #15
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Just a followup -- we now have at least three spawns in the tank, 1 from the first (who is pretty big and could almost be confused with an adult), I think two maybe three from the next, and at least one from the third.

I found the "cave", they are in a little hole in a stump. Unfortunately about 14" above the substrate. What's interesting is I have done a LOT of water changes that pulled down well below that. So either they do pretty well without water or there were a lot more spawns that were interrupted (I can see it now and will do more, smaller).

I also moved one male to another tank with a lonely female. That tank is more peaceful, so I may soon have more plecos than I need.

But they are so cute when they are tiny!
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