It's a simple looking question, but a very complicated one in reality. Well, plecostomus's are known for their ability to eat a lot of this algae. But that is when they are young, however many expert sources, and authors would all agree that they kind of get worse at their job when they are older. I know this first hand as well. It seems like after 5 or 6 inches, is when all mine slowed down.
Don't get me wrong though, they still do eat the algae, but just not at a fast rate like they were as a little fry. The are generally able to stand an Oscar's aggression, and some actually look very very beautiful when they are older, and cute when they are young. So they make good tankmates for Oscars....if you have the room...but that is not my question.
My question is: In the long run, are they good for the aquarium? They are great at cleaning when they are small, but as they age, they don't do as good of a job.
Here is my situation: I have a 55 gallon growout tank for my Oscar. He has a pleco with him now, and they get along GREAT! I know they are just babies, but they are pretty playful, EVEN for babies. But aggression always can change, so there is that factor :? And also, as they get older, their fins get bigger. I've noticed the Oscars don't apprecciate plecos swimming at night looking for food (hahaha) so the nocturnal-ness is another issue. Finally, the bio-load. It seems like plecos actually make the bioload a little better for the tank early on. Eating all the algae, and other fish waste that could make ammonia, but as they get older, they put out just as bad of waste.
I just need to know whether to return the pleco I got for the 55 growout tank or keep it. I have 3 more days to decide. Selling it later isn't an option either
Depends on the species. Function or fasion. And simply if you love plecos or not. It's a big mis-conception that a pleco will "clean" your tank. I have yet to meet a pleco that isn't a poop machine. Some species do a good job at eating algae throughout their life. My adult Pterygoplichthys won't let a spec of algae go untouched, but at the same time he produces a lot of waste, but I'm glad he does all the scrubing. Honestly, I think plecos are pretty boring fish.
Ya, it is official, I am going to take him back tomorrow. He is super cute! But I don't have en ough money to buy him algae wafers, and there:s not enough algae in the tank, so I don't wanna starve him. Besides, at night, I don't want it spooking my oscar (this has happened before and I woke up with the fish flapping under my bed before :/)