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 Common Pleco

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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Common Pleco   Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:12 pm

Hey guys, sorry its been so long between posts.  When things are going well, there isn't much to converse about.  But I encourage everyone to find awe in some common things....like the common pleco.


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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:25 pm

Yes, the common Plecostomus! These guys had been a staple in my show tanks for years. In my opinion, they rid a tank of algae much better than any other fish including Otocinclus. I loved the way they would keep algae under control but they can get huge.  So, I don’t keep them any more.

Because, I’m into Angelfish the large size sometimes caused a problem. Large Plecos in the same tank as my Angels would discourage the Angels from breeding. They would dominate the feeder when I fed Blackworms and would ruin an entire spawn of Angelfish eggs in seconds if the lights went out. My work around would be to only place young smaller Plecos in with my pairs. As they got larger I would move them to my planted show tanks. They sometimes grew to about 6 to 8 inches in length.

The fish I now use to keep algae under control is the Bristled Nosed Pleco. My observation is that it cleans algae as well as the common Pleco. It does not get as large or aggressive. I haven’t noticed  a pattern of attempts at egg raiding. Even with the Bristled Nosed Plecos, I keep smaller fish in with the pairs. My regret is that it took me so long to discover them. The common Plecostomus has had a huge place in my tanks… Cool

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     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
55 gal. Planted Community Show Tank
(Swordtails, Neons, Kuhlii Loaches and Bristled Nose Plecos)
30 gal. Bare Bottom Adult Angelfish Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Fry Tank
10 gal. Planted Show Tank
(Guppies and Bristled Nose Plecos)
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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:00 pm

David, I'm completely charmed and awed by this great pic of your common pleco!
I assume the fish is as awesome as his photo. How big is he now? And about how long did he take to get to the size he is now?

I'd like to use your spectacular portrait on the forum "front page", i.e. the Home page, if that is okay with you. Also on the facebook page.

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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:12 pm

you are always welcome to use my photos, Thanks!

I would say the Pleco is about 6" long and it took 16 months to get that size.

However, his diet has not been consistent, I feed once a day and i recently switch to Hikari Seaweed Extreme (small pellets) and that actually works better. The Rainbow shark also really likes those.

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Fward
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:47 am

Everyone calls the regular Pleco a poop factory. They get huge! I was telling my buddy that fish will not get stunted in a tank. He said they did. He had two large plecos in a 20 gallon. Then I read somewhere that fish do get stunted, but there organs never stop growing. So the body stays small, and the organs don't. I hate to imagine what would happen with that. They swear by a Bristlenose pleco saying they do not get as big, and they eat more algae. I find people get really serious about there Plecos!
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:16 pm

"Common Pleco" is a trade name for several different fish.  20 years ago the majority of "common plecos" were Hypostomus species; now they're mostly Pterygoplichthys species (like ddavis's fish above).   Count the dorsal fin rays behind the front dorsal spine: Pterygoplichthys have 10 to 14 rays while Hypostomus have 7 rays (not counting the front spine). The Hypo species mostly grow to 8 to 18 inches, while the Pterygo species can grow 18 to 28 inches.
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:20 pm

gerald wrote:
"Common Pleco" is a trade name for several different fish.  20 years ago the majority of "common plecos" were Hypostomus species; now they're mostly Pterygoplichthys species (like ddavis's fish above).   Count the dorsal fin rays behind the front dorsal spine: Pterygoplichthys have 10 to 14 rays while Hypostomus have 7 rays (not counting the front spine).  The Hypo species mostly grow to 8 to 18 inches, while the Pterygo species can grow 18 to 28 inches.

Wow! I love this place. That may explain why my Plecos back in the day (25 years ago) never got as large as my more recent kept Common Plecos. I thought I was just doing a better job...too much!

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     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
55 gal. Planted Community Show Tank
(Swordtails, Neons, Kuhlii Loaches and Bristled Nose Plecos)
30 gal. Bare Bottom Adult Angelfish Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Fry Tank
10 gal. Planted Show Tank
(Guppies and Bristled Nose Plecos)
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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:19 am

David, can you check the pattern on the underside of this fish? Is it a spotted pattern or a pattern of wavy lines or squiggles? Or neither?

Would you be able to count the dorsal fin rays? Note if there are MORE than 10 rays.

Also, if possible, a full body shot in profile would be great.

With those three keys we can get an exact ID on this catfish. Very Happy

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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:17 pm

The pattern on the bottom is the same as on the tops and sides, but just a paler color.

I think I counted 12 or 13 dorsal fin rays.

I also think my pleco has some kind of severe deformation. That the spine and tail of the fish on the back half of the body looks twisted, stunted, and in all around bad shape. I will try to get a better picture of the overall body, but it spends time hiding, so I will need to camp out some to get the shot.

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20 Gallon Long Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 30"x12"x13"


Watch my updated aquarium video!
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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:12 am


I got these pics on my cell phone, I think you can see the dorsal fin pretty clearly for spine counting


Terrible picture but low light and not sitting still, but you can make out the underbelly to see that the pattern on the body is continuous.  Also the clown pleco photobombed him and you wanted to see him as well.  The clown pleco is the oldest fish in the tank at almost 3 years.

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20 Gallon Long Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 30"x12"x13"


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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:26 am

Was the spine bent like that when you got him, or has it grown more bent over time? It could be either a genetic deformity, or injury when he was tiny, or disease-caused. A few of my tank-bred rainbow shiners grew up with crooked spines like that. I think they might have been low-oxygen-stressed as eggs, messing up their growth as embryos. They grew up and produced normal offspring, so it apparently wasn't a genetic defect.
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:03 pm

The pleco was pretty small when I got him, maybe 2" and did not show signs of spinal deformation. It was something that seemed to happen slowly over time. Here are the hypotheses I have so far:

- Genetic/inbreeding issues
- Unknown injury during shipping or tank transfers/netting
- stunted due to environment (tank size)
- Also it likes to hide in this one spot that was fine when small but is now way too small. Don't know if hiding place effects that
- Diet - not enough food or wrong kind of food.

I have had 50-60 different fish over almost 3 years in this tank, and I would say 4 or 5 of them have had twisting and deformation of the spine. a little less than 10% seems significant, so I don't know if its a reflection of something I am doing wrong or the prolific nature of deformities stemming from fish breeding.

Thoughts?

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gerald
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:23 am

Some infections, like Mycobacterium, can cause spinal and/or jaw deformities, but if the fish seem healthy otherwise and don't develop sores or bloating then it's probably not that. Diet seems plausible ... maybe something about Ca/Mg ratio, or vit-D deficiency? Is your water hardness extremely low, like less than 1 GH (18 mg/L)? What other fish species beside the pleco have gotten bent spines?
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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:01 am

I have some more information about ID.

As the pattern on the underside (belly region) is a mixture of both spots and wormy lines (vermiculations, in catfish lingo), the fish might be either P. pardalis or P. disjunctivus, or a hybrid of the two. It all depends on how much we can rely on belly patterns for species identification. In fact, a future revision of the genus Pterygoplichthys may reveal that P. pardalis and P. disjunctivus are one and the same animal.

According to Shane Linder, mixed belly patterns are common in all locations where feral populations of this catfish have been established, such as Taiwan, Texas, Florida, and Singapore.

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PostSubject: Re: Common Pleco   Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:57 pm

Just based on visual comparison, body, mouth, and head, shape and patterns, I would vote for "Pterygoplichthys lituratus". However, who knows if these fish were wild caught, or farm raised and if they had some hybridazation. Add on top of that the deformation in the body and its impossible to tell for sure.

But awesome research work!

I have not tested the hardness yet.

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