Hello, Im new on here and wondered if I could get some advice, you seem like a caring fish bunch!
We have an 8" plecostomus catfish that we have had for about 14 or so years (we think!) and he has lived in a tank alongside other little fish, but now is alone in there & seems to be happy with that arrangement. We are of course aware of his ever growing size and know that he would be happier in a larger tank. He is currently in a tank 24" along and 11" of width and 18" high so we gathered we must have him, in about an 18 gallon tank?
Now, we assume that he has outgrown this tank and needs to be in a larger tank, so we have looked around to find something that is suitable and not too expensive, a corner unit seems to be the type that would fit the small area we are in. We have seen them in some local places but of course they are quite expensive. I asked in the aquarium/pet shop places some advice and it was a case of either, buying the new tank or they would have him and keep him in quarantine until they can rehome him to someone they knew who had a bigger tank. This sounded ok to us, but I am concerned that they don't know who they are passing it onto and I would be concerned.
I want to see out his lifetime with us but its the concern of the tank size. I also read on the internet that even if they don't appear to grow any bigger, their internal organs continue to grow inside, which worried me even more.
So, I suppose this email to you is really asking for your advice, on what we should do. We live in Kingston, Surrey by the way.
I would appreciate any help you can offer, Id like to read that you think he will be fine in the current tank he is in, but I know this is not going to be the case, sadly.
Is there any chance you could get a photograph of the little fella as there are many different types of plec out there? Some species can grow in excess of 24 inches whilst others only grow to around 8 or 9 inches. At 14 years and if he were a larger species he should be at least 12 to 16 inches by now. I have several plecs and my largest is now 16 inches and he is about 12 years old. I also have 2 8 inch plecs that are 4 years old and 1 4 inch plec who is 2 years.
If you can supply a photo then we can help a little bit more with identifying him.
Thanks ever so much for you reply, i have got two photos which I will try and add now. If I can work out how to do it!
I would appreciate it if you could let me know which species he is as that sounds like it will help us.
Can we introduce the food I have read that these fish like? ie courgettes and lettuce etc? after all the years he has had the tablet/wafter pleco food we have given him?
I would ideally like him to have more room so to swim and think we can only afford a 2nd hand tank but that brings its own concerns, however I do take on board what you said about where you go to ask or buy as i do know a lot of commecial organisations are there for profit only.
So as you said though, if we have had him roughly 14 years maybe a bit less - he may not grow anymore? how could we tell if he was unhappy in the conditions he is currently in? thank you for your help. His name is charlie by the way! Regards Jane
He would absolutely love Courgette, once he gets a taste for it. Also cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, and most other greens. sometimes it is best to blanch first.
Pretty definite he is a common Plec, and they can grow any where up to 18 - 24 inches. Not being picky but he does look a little on the thin side, so yes give him plenty of green stuff to fatten him up a bit. He also needs at least a 48 x 18 x 18 tank, as he does look a little stunted.
He just looks a little thin and in need of a good meal. He will need the bigger tank. Do you know what your waters pH is? Plecs like soft acidic water, so below pH 7.0. If you have a pH above this it wont be doing him any good. So softening the water slowly will help him.
Another thing that is essential for his health and wellbeing is a nice lump of bogwood. Bogwood serves two purposes:- Firstly plecs love to chew on it and get nutrients from it & secondly, it helps to lower the waters pH a little.
I just weight a leaf or slice of whatever down and plonk it in the tank, the plec will soon munch it down to size. Mine even like an occasional piece of tomato but not that often.