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FAQs Giant Sailfin Plecos, Genera Glyptoperichthys, Liposarcus, Pterygoplichthys: Compatibility

Related Articles: Loricariids, OtocinclusFrom Pan-ack-ay to Pan-ack-zee, A Detailed Look at the Bizarre But Beautiful Panaque Catfishes by Neale Monks

FAQs on: Glyptoperichthys,Liposarcus, Pterygoplichthys, Sailfin Giants among the Loricariids 1, Large Plecos 2, FAQs on: Large Plecos Identification, Large Plecos Behavior, Large Plecos Stocking/Selection, Large Plecos Systems, Large Plecos Feeding, Large Plecos Health, Large Plecos Reproduction,

Related Catfish FAQs:  Loricariids 1, Otocinclus
Other Loricariid Genera: FAQs on: Ancistrus, Baryancistrus, Genera Farlowella, Loricaria, Sturisoma, Rhineloricaria: Twig Plecostomus, The Zebra Pleco, Hypancistrus zebra, Hypostomus, Peckoltia : Clown Plecostomus, Lasiancistrus, Panaque, Pseudacanthicus, Scobanancistrus, L-number catfish,
Loricariid Identification, Loricariid Behavior, Loricariid Compatibility, Loricariid Selection, Loricariid Systems, Loricariid Feeding, Loricariid Reproduction, Loricariid Disease, Catfish: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction Algae Eaters

Plec harassing my ADF    6/6/12
Hi,  I'd really appreciate your advice re a new addition to my tank - it's been up and running for about 4 months, (60 x 30 x 35cm, heater, Fluval sponge filter, bubble stone, live and fake plants, bog wood well soaked, a couple of ornaments) with a Siamese fighter, a small common Plec (about 4cm long at the moment, but steadily getting bigger),
<And MUCH too bug for this aquarium. Do understand that kept correctly he'll get to about 15-20 cm within the first year, and up to 45 cm by the second year. These are MASSIVE, MESSY fish with no place in any aquarium as small as yours. If you want an algae-eating catfish, then return this fish IMMEDIATELY and instead buy a juvenile Bristlenose Plec, a charming little catfish that does a better job at eating algae and only gets to about 12-15 cm in length.>
4 neon tetra and 4 penguin tetra, plus I recently added 3 platies. The fish all seem to have settled down with each other and seem happy, no behavioural issues and no illnesses, and the live plants are growing nicely, BUT - I added an ADF two weeks ago, purchased from my local specialty fish shop in good faith (having really quizzed the shopkeeper as to whether my setup was suitable), and several times I've seen the Plec harass him to the extent I've had to gently chase him off with the net for fear of damage to the poor frog.
<Yes, this combination is a bad one.>
I'm being very careful about making sure he gets his share of bloodworms, by distracting the other fish at the far end of the tank and then pipetting them down to his favourite corner and watching him eat several;
I'm also mindful of the water level and he seems quite happy taking a couple of strokes to the top for a gulp of air (plus he likes sitting on the top of the filter nearly out of the water) but I'm really very worried that the Plec and the little guy are going to prove to be incompatible. He has lots of hidey spaces to get away from the Plec, but I know that the slightest damage could be very dangerous to him and of course whenever he comes down to his corner to eat, if the Plec is near him it will dash over and very vigorously hoover his back. The rest of the fish pay him no mind at all. I thought perhaps that the Plec has a taste for frog slime and is greedily cleaning him up, but I don't know whether actually he's being aggressive and is trying to hurt him? I'd be really grateful for some advice here! I'd rather rehome the Plec than the frog (but if so are there any other bottom feeders that would be an appropriate substitute, or would a snail be better?)
<Nerite snails are outstanding algae-eaters and would work very well in this tank. Tylomelania spp snails would make fun scavengers; there are lots of them sold under various names, use Google to see pictures of them. Don't get an Apple (= Mystery) snail though -- they're difficult to keep and don't eat much algae anyway.>
I also read that they like company so would be very happy to get a companion for him if you think rehoming the Plec is the best idea.
<See above.>
Apologies for the long email, and thanks in advance for your input. Yours,  Alexandra
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Plec harassing my ADF – 6/6/12

Hi Neale, just wanted to say very many thanks for the fast and helpful reply - I'll see about rehoming the Plec immediately. Thanks again Alex
<Real good. Glad to help! Neale.>

Armored Catfish (Loricariids) Devastating Florida....    4/23/12

Large Sailfin Pleco Questions... Sys., comp. ???   10/12/11
Hello, I have read looked through this site many times, but this is the first question I have asked.?
<Is it?>
I have a large Sailfin Pleco that I was given two years ago.?
He spends his summers in my roughly six thousand gallon Koi pond outside on? the eastern shore of Maryland.? He is about two to two and a half feet long.?
The Koi are roughly two to three feet with an occasional exception.? I keep mostly saltwater tanks, but this Pleco normally spends his winters in a tank with South American cichlids that I have had for years.? This year they have started to die off, I guess from old age as water parameters seem good, and they are around seven or eight years old.? (Is this a good age?)?
<For many, yes>
My question is, my wife has been asking for a peaceful schooling tank, like tetras etc.?
<??What is with the question marks?>
I was wondering if I could still overwinter a Pleco this large with small community tropical fish. It would be a seventy five gallon tank with assorted schooling species. ? I want to know, because this will be the last freshwater tank in my home.? I have found that I much prefer outdoor fish or saltwater for the challenge.?
<Should be fine, as long as there is room for all, sufficient aeration, filtration>
I know Plecos can suck on mucus membranes
<Mmm, not all species, no>
and be predatory if not given enough food, he eats a wide variety of vegetables when he is indoors and is pretty much invisible outside.?
Thanks for the help
<Please do peruse our "large Pleco" files:
and the ones linked above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Large Sailfin Pleco Questions 10/12/11

Thanks for the reply.? I had looked though the Pleco section, but was not sure about so large a fish with smaller ones.? I am not sure about the question marks.? Must have been formatting issue.?
Thanks again
<I guess so? Sometimes large specimens, species of Loricariids will go after smaller ones. Cheers? BobF>

Re: re: Crayfish changing colors? Now Pleco comp.    1/30/11
Thank you for your response. About the Plecos I had three. Two were about 4 inches. The third is 8 inches.
<Whoa! Big boy! These are generally fine w/ larger crustaceans, as long as the latter have sufficient hiding spaces to get away during molts>
I gave a friend the two smaller ones. They I think are Sailfin Plecos. Will the big one cause problems with the Cray.
<It might... I'd keep the two smaller ones, give the larger away. Please
read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BigPlecCompF.htm
And thank you again very much I highly enjoy your site. It has helped me diagnose and save many fish.
<Ahh! Deeply gratifying to read/understand that we've helped you. Cheers, BobF>
Three questions? Re Cray, lg. Plec...    1/31/11

Sorry about the two emails. Kids like to mess with stuff. Anyway how do I get the Pleco and crayfish to leave each other alone?
<Separate them>
The Pleco has rips in her tail from the Cray. She is living behind a filter tube while the Cray patrols the bottom.
In the tank is
4 barbs iam getting more soon I know they like to school
8 inch Sailfin Pleco
2 Chinese algae eaters I now know they get huge and mean.
1 4inch Cherax quad.
Again I am so sorry about the split email and for being a pain in the ass.
Thank you again
C. Conner
<Different systems. B>
Three questions? More re Crayfish, Pterygoplichthys    1/31/11
Hello again thank you for your answers to my previous question. I found out my Cray is for sure a female Cherax quad.
My first question is purple up safe to use in freshwater aquarium to supplement crays calcium and iodine requirement?
<It is>
Secondly my crayfish and Pleco seem to fight? Its not all the time and mainly concerns caves. The quad changes caves almost daily. And the Pleco gets evicted from her driftwood
<... these animals need more room... and/or different containers. B>
Re: Three questions? More re Crayfish, Pterygoplichthys   2/1/11

Thank you yet again for your response. I wish I knew as much about these critters as y'all do.
<Oh! You could... with study, time... application. Great to have a tool such as the Net for all to share what they "know" as useful, pertinent...>
I wont bug you again with such common sense questions.
Thank you again for your time and patience.
<Not a bother. BobF>

Florida Gar and Pleco, comp., nutr. of Loricariids   7/24/08 Hi all-- I love your site, and have spent many hours reading in the last few months since I discovered it. However, I've had an issue come up that I have not been able to find an answer to. I have a seven-inch Florida Gar in a 125 gallon tank, with six larger-sized silver dollars and a Pleco. I am not sure of what type he is, but he is definitely not the "common type". He is brown, with a short, wide, compact body, about seven or eight inches long. <Do bear in mind some of these fish will get extremely large; Gar will exceed 60 cm and potentially 90 cm in captivity if they are among the common species traded, such as Lepisosteus platyrhincus, the species usually sold as the "Florida Gar".> Lately, we have noticed him interacting with the gar in a way we had not previously observed. He appears to be sucking on the gar. I know from reading your site and others that this is a bad, bad thing. <Has been reported between these species, and yes, is damaging to the Gar. When the skin is abraded, the mucous is lost and it becomes much easier for secondary infections to get started.> We chase him away and offer algae disks, which he goes for (lately, he's seemed overly ravenous, often eating four times the amount of disks that he used to). <People tend to underfeed Loricariidae. Understand this: they are constant grazers and mud sifters in the wild, and don't understand the "two meals per day" notion many aquarists prefer. You need to give them vegetable foods such as courgette, sweet potato or carrot that they can nibble on through the day, plus bogwood for fibre.> My question is this: is the Pleco suffering from some type of nutritional imbalance that we can remedy? <Likely not an imbalance, but quite probably not enough fibre, so that the fish feels hungry because it isn't full. These catfish are adapted to feeding on a bulky rather than concentrated diet.> If he's just being rude, and that's definitely possible, we can take him to the LFS. However, due to their lack of adequate space for larger fishes, and the fact that hideously overprice any fish that aren't tetras or mollies, therefore forcing the fish to be there in less than ideal conditions for a long period of time, I fear for his life. This would be a last resort. Please help! Thanks. --Melinda <Seemingly no simple answers here, but very likely these fish will need to be separated. Perhaps try offering a better (more vegetable-rich) diet, but if that doesn't help, you will need to rehome one or other fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My Florida Gar and his Pleco Friend, comp., fdg. -- to Neale 8/9/08 Hi Neale-- Melinda here again. <Hello!> You responded to my email a few weeks ago regarding our Pleco (have since found out he is a rhino Pleco) and our Florida gar. <Hmm... Pterygoplichthys scrophus, rather a nice catfish! Not common in the trade, and I think quite a handsome beast.> The Pleco was getting a little too friendly with Fluffy (the gar), and seemed to be trying to snack on him. <Can happen; not commonly, but does happen.> You suggested feeding a variety of fiber-rich veggies, but predicted we'd eventually need to separate the two. Well, Dino (the Pleco) had no intentions of eating any of my tasty veggie offerings. In any case, we have separated them. <Let's see if this helps. If not, then back to the drawing board. I suppose you could try offering her some meaty food. My Panaque is ostensibly a vegetarian, but she enjoys raw mussels in the half shell, partially shelled shrimp and other such delicacies. You may be able to tempt your cat to eat these things instead of her tankmates...> Thank you for your advice. --Melinda <Good luck! Neale.>

Common Pleco in a planted tank......  6/30/08 Hey there, Quick question....can I put a common Pleco in a 150 planted tank? By common, I am referring to Pterygoplichthys pardalis. I am working on a 3D background, etc, and plan on having various plants growing along the back wall space-in-creation. The bottom/mid level will house various shapes of large driftwood protruding from the "river bank"....the very bottom will have various boulders, gravel, and large driftwood. I am worried about a Plec eating plants and disrupting their locale. That is the common complaint that I've found on chat boards and bio-pages. However, more than once I have read of the "exception". So I am confused and looking for a blunt opinion in plain English. I have one that's about 8 or 9 inches currently living in a bucket. (It would be funny if I stopped this email right there, eh?) He was in a 55......I parted that tank out. Had him in a 20 temporarily. I also parted out my 150 reef and moved that in a 55 high current reef......planned on getting a couple of large freshies to put in the 150.......after 12 hours of moving the 150 inhabitants I went on the back porch to have a beer. I heard a loud *!Crack!*....... the 20 gallon, sitting on the counter with the tiniest little nick in the corner glass finally gave way (had been running for over 2 years). I chugged my beer laughing. All fish were saved (Plec and some baby Cichlids that showed up one day in another tank).....and they all now live in a 5 gallon bucket. The cichlids are going to a different tank...... Well, my neighbor has a gnarly fresh water planted tank and he turned me on to the idea of that rather than a couple of big meanies. So....... Can this Plec go in the planted tank? (Could have started and ended this whole damn email with that one sentence!) Thanks in advance for the info. It's funny that sometimes the simplest answers to the simplest questions are the hardest to find. I've searched everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jon <Hello Jon. The short answer is that Pterygoplichthys spp. tend not to eat plants directly, being omnivores with a preference for algae and benthic invertebrates such as bloodworms. This contrasts with, for example, Panaque spp. that are almost entirely herbivorous and feed on plants and wood rather than algae. However, this distinction is somewhat academic, because large Plecs can and will uproot or otherwise damage all but the most sturdy plants. They swim like bricks, as you probably realise, and don't so much avoid plants and bulldoze through them. In the process they will uproot small plants and break the leaves off bigger plants. They also like to burrow, and this sand or gravel shifting can easily end up smothering plants. Finally, they have rasping teeth that can damage soft-leaved and waxy-leaved plants in the process of their grazing on algae. The best plants for tanks with Plecs are robust but flexible and fast-growing species, such as Giant Vallisneria. Java Fern can work well too, partly because it is tough, but also because it doesn't need to be planted in the substrate, so isn't uprooted or smothered easily. Anubias might work well, though when kept with Panaque it ends up being reduced to a Swiss Cheese Plant, so I'd not necessarily recommend it. I'd also mention the fact Panaque destroy painted polystyrene/resin backdrops that go inside the tank; Pterygoplichthys may be different (it has less robust teeth) but I wouldn't bank on it! Bottom line, large Loricariid catfish generally do best in rocky tanks with bogwood and Java Ferns where they can't do too much damage! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Common Pleco in a planted tank......  - 7/1/08 Thanks Neale, I was thinking along the same lines as your "bulldozer" idea, regarding the Pleco in a planted tank, the more that I thought about it today. I am thinking that with the setup that I will be having, smaller cleaners are definitely the way to go here. I have to set up another rocky tank anyways. He can stay in that bucket for a bit longer. Thanks for the info and thoughts on the subject! Jon <Hi Jon. For planted tanks, your best bets on the algae-eater front are invertebrates, in particular Nerite snails and algae-eating shrimps such as Neocaridina spp. If you want to supplement these with fish, then go with small Ancistrus spp./Crossocheilus spp. as grazers and perhaps Jordanella floridae for thread algae control. That said, invertebrates on their own do a much better job when used in sufficient numbers. For example, I'd reckon on at least 4 Nerite snails plus 10 Cherry Shrimps per 30-40 litres. Cheers, Neale>

Crab Eating Plec or is it Plec Eating Crab? - 10/21/2006 I have a rather large common-sail fin cross Pleco that is showing signs of discoloration and his armor it starting to stick out. I have tried krill shrimp to boost his color I have treated with a medication made for many illnesses including parasites and scaling. I even tried feeding him algae wafers. I am all out of options. I have seen that one of my fiddlers is missing can a Pleco eat a fiddler by accident if so can this make him sick? He is a male. I was also wondering if I need to get him a mate or another larger Pleco. I have tiny tot the baby Pleco, it is the same breed as he is, which by the way is fat and happy. I did put my Bettas in the tank with him while I cleaned their tank and the female is a bit more aggressive than the male which made them chase each other and the female beta did challenge big boy. Could they of stressed him out? I feel I am running out of options he's not even full growth potential yet, he's supposed to get up to 18 inches and he's only 10 could it be old age he is a rescue fish from a lady that didn't want him anymore. Do I need to get him more tank mates? Please help in stuck up the creek without a paddle... and need as much help as I can get. <It may be that a bit of crab shell is the underlying problem. Bloating is usually caused by either constipation or an infection. If this is a blockage, and he's still eating, you can try some fresh or frozen veggies. Shelled raw peas work well to get things moving. If he's not eating you can try adding Epsom Salt to his water. One heaping tablespoon per 5 gallons of water. For an internal infection medicated flake is called for. But only if he's eating. Internal infections that progress to a point where the fish is not eating are very difficult to treat. In that case your best chance is keeping his water pristine with very frequent (daily), and very large (50%), water changes and crossing your fingers that his immune system will kick the bug. I doubt a three inch Betta stressed out a ten inch Pleco. Also, there are no crabs that can live a full life in freshwater. So no more crabs, OK? Don>   This is the edited copy I am sorry I sent it before I checked last time I hope this is better on your eyes. <Thank you!>

Subject: leopard Pleco and royal Pleco best friends? Hello me again. I am setting up a new 110 gallon tank and was wondering if I could put a leopard Pleco  (Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps) and a royal Pleco (Panaque nigrolineatus) could be put together in the same tank because I know Plecos belonging to the subfamily Panaque are aggressive to each other. <Mmm, am inclined to dissuade you from this mix... but actually don't know how well these two Loricariids would get along... In all the years I retailed the more popular Panaque we kept them one to a tank as adults... If the system were big enough I guess you could try them together... observe if there is much negative interaction... I doubt if there would be much damage with these highly armored cats in a short trial. Bob Fenner> 

Plecos and Goldfish Hi, I was just given a 12" Pleco that had outgrown it's tank. After three days I noticed it was trailing long ropelike poop. Is this normal? If not what is the cause and what should I do? < This is normal for large algae eating Plecos and requires no attention> Also, I have several large goldfish. Are there any problems keeping them together? < Your Pleco comes from South America were the water is soft , acidic and warm (80+). Your gold fish like cooler water below 70. So if you try and keep it around 75 they will survive but may not thrive. If either becomes ill then you may have to place them in their own tanks with either warmer or cooler water depending on the species.-Chuck> Doug

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