General African Cichlid Discussion • Plecostomus in Cichlid tanks?

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Plecostomus in Cichlid tanks?

Postby sisonek » Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:34 pm

I am very new to African Cichlids having only had them for about 2 months and I need to put some kind of algae eater in the tanks with them. The first tank that I tried to put one in was a Mbuna tank that has been established for about a month with only the Cichlids in it. So I put a bushy nosed Plecostomus in with them. The Cichlids are all still less than 3 inches and the Plecostomus that I put in there was about 5 inches immediately the Cichlids started attacking the Plecostomus picking at his tail and the bristles in-between his eyes ,so I took him out and put him in my wife’s community tank.
So my questions are:
Will the Mbuna pick him to death or are they just annoying him but not actually causing any harm?
Will they get use to him after a few days and not bother him anymore?
Would he being in there even if it is not really hurting him stress him out?
Is there a different kind of fish that eats algae that is better suited to Cichlid tanks?
Would it be better to cycle the tank with a Plecostomus first then start introducing Cichlids?
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Postby ladybugzcrunch » Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:43 pm

My mbuna do not play well with plecos. The last one I tried was bigger than them and was torn up really bad so I removed him. I think it depends on the mbuna and their aggression level. Mine seem to be very mean toward them.
Too many tanks!
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Postby amazonfriend » Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:03 pm

wow - those guys are nasty!
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Postby ridley25 » Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:14 pm

It sounds like the tank you're describing isn't going to work well with a pleco. It's hard to imagine them getting less belligerent toward it over time, so you did the right thing by taking it out. I have had a pleco happily existing in my 38 gallon Malawi tank through two different groups of mbuna, but that only proves that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
One thing I've learned from a few different aquascapes is to keep my rocks away from the glass in those places where I don't want to see algae - that way I can scrape it off by hand from time to time.
But I'm a guy who likes algae on my rocks - not everyone has the same taste.

Malawi 125g: Labeotropheus fuelleborni, Labidochromis sp. "Hongi SRT," Metriaclima sp. "Msobo," Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei," Pseudotropheus sp. "Williamsi North," Syndodontis njassae
Tanganyika 15g: 'Lamprologus' multifasciatus species tank
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Postby kelen » Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:30 pm

I have been reading on the boards about nerites (snails). Once i actually have an algea problem i plan on getting some. My tanks are pretty new and i dont have a need atm. here is the link i was looking at. ... ostorder=a pics of the snails are on third page. Some people say they are ok with mbuna, others not.
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Postby steelers fan » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:43 am

a bristle nose pleco is in my experiance your best bet they are non-stop algea eaters that are armor plated. if you really want one...with your next water change add your pleco then take your time and proceed with your water chacge, also take out all your decor before starting, then afer the waterchange re-arrange your decor...should help
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Postby D.T.M » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:28 am

Yeah, I have 3 bristlenoses in my tank, all smaller than the Mbuna and they are all fine. The Mbuna largely ignore them unless they wander into a spawing cave.

Id try introducing a few at once after a big decor re-shuffle. Hopefully the Mbuna will be too busy scrapping amoungst themselves over territory to both the plecs. Im not sure about the water change - for me this triggers breeding behaviour and high aggression (and colour) from the males.
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Postby MalawiLover » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:29 am

If you are having an algae issue, it would be a better idea to deal with the cause of the algae, rather than the end result.

Proper tank maitenance (water changes, ect.) should keep algae to a minumum
125gMale peacocks/haps
95g-Malawi Mbuna
55g-Mixed community
30g-x2 Grow out
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Postby uganationaltitle » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:57 pm

i have 1 albino bristlenose pleco in my tank and 5 neurite snails, the pleco dont take #%$& from no one but the snails get turned over all the time and i have to turn them back over. Make sure that if you have salt in ur tank that you get a bristlenose and not a common pleco it will kill them.

hope i helped

Oh if you get neurite snails get big ones and they need salt too.
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Postby BOOP » Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:19 am

So is that really true? Because i've been putting salt in my tanks for about a year now and it hasn't affected my plecos at all.
75g 2 Dempseys, 2 Black Belts, 4 Red tailed blk shark
55g 7 Labs, 12 Demasoni, 2 Synodontis, 2 Plecos.
55g 6 Labs, 6 red finned trewavas, 6 Tiger barbs.
29g 1 Kenyi
10g Fry tank
10g Hospital
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Postby uganationaltitle » Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:40 am

Oh yeah I had a budy that bought two different common plecos and put them in his cichlid tank and they both were dead bye the hour. And both tmes they were very healthy and were put in a hospital tank before being put in the cichlid tank. And also know an along time hobyist that said they would also die in water with salt. About yours I don't know maybe just not alot of salt in it. But my bristle nose does awesome in it and can take the salt
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Postby Dewdrop » Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:46 pm

Some people have trouble with cichlids eating the eyes out of plecos. Other people have no trouble at all. I have plecos in all my cichlid tanks with no problem. I'm sure luck has alot to do with it but there are other things that can help with it too.

When I started out with my first tank (55g.), I added a small pleco along with my first small cichlids. For a while one might occasionally nip at it's tail or something but the pleco would move away and that would be the end of the story. They wouldn't chase it down or anything and soon left him alone completely. I think adding them at the same time while they are young and letting them grow up together helps. Having a large enough tank helps too. If they feel the pleco is taking up room they need they might try to kill it and if you don't feed the cichlids enough that could give them another reason not to want it there. These are just my ideas about it and not proven facts or anything (that I am aware of anyway:lol:).

If you have at least a 55g. tank, I would try rearranging the rocks and stuff in the tank to take their mind off the addition of the pleco & try putting him back in then. Maybe even add a few more new cichlids at the same time, if you can. Just keep an eye on him.
55g. mainly malawi mbuna tank, 29g. N. brichardi & pleco, 20g. grow out, 10g. fry, 10g. quarantine/hospital, 1.5g. 1st. stage fry/misc., 1.5g. snails & ghost shrimp
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Postby fox » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:46 pm

I had to take a pleco out of my african tank. They compete for food and the cichlids went after the pleco's eye. We were able to save him and his eye but have not introduced another pleco into that tank.
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Postby oldcatfish » Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:51 pm

Dewdrop brings up a great point---when you add a fish is a very important and often overlooked factor. If I were going to add a pleco to an established cichlid tank I would do the following:

1) Quarantine the pleco for one month and fatten it up with a variety of appropriate food. If I could, I would also have heavy algael growth in both the quarantine tank, as well as the cichlid tank.

2) I would re-arrange all the decorations in the cichlid tank, then add the pleco late in the evening....then turn out the lights immediately.

Even then, your success will vary from tank to tank.
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Postby wildcat567 » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:42 pm

Try flying fox. They're excellent algae eaters and they're fast.
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