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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve never had an aquarium prior to this month, however, a friend's Grandparent had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was going to flush her two fish Common and Bristle-nose Plecos). I begged her not to, bought a 55 gallon tank (they were in a 20gal) , stand, fluval canister filter, seachem flourite gravel (thoroughly washed and soaked prior), plants, spider wood, driftwood (boiled and soaked for a week) and two pleco caves. Now, I have since learned that the Common Pleco may grow and need a larger tank and am saving towards getting a larger one. I used a 4 step RO buddy to add water to the aquarium (this took forever), added a heater (set to 76) and added a small amount of algae wafer because I read I must do this to let the tank cycle. After a few days, the water tested perfectly (0 chlorine, low nitrate, PH within range for Plecos). I added the fish (slowly in bags of their previous tank water) and left the aquarium lights off so they could settle. Last night (10 days later) I tested the water and the nitrate seemed high so I vacuumed the tank, removed 30% water and added RPO buddy filtered water back in at a matching temp to the tank. When I tested again today the nitrates showed as being in the “stress” levels and the Bristle-nose Pleco was lying on it’s side. I rushed out and bought a master aquarium test kit so I could fully test the water. The nitrates were low but ammonia was at 1.0. I added some API water conditioner to the tank (15ml, to start - recommended dose is 25ml) whilst preparing more water to change. I’m concerned i’m feeding too much/not enough), could anyone advise on this please? I feed my Plecos before I go to bed because if I add food during the day, it does not get touched. Also, is there a chance the bristle-nose Pleco had fallen from his cave and just landed on his side? When I picked his cave up, he immediately swam back into the top of it with little effort. Both fish hide and seem scared, not sure what to do but want them to be happy and feel safe and healthy. I would appreciate any advise and or criticism. My goal is to ensure the fish are healthy and happy, so i’m open to feedback.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for responding. I added plants and water from an aquarium store but will head back and see if I can get some other form of media. From what you are telling me about feeding, I think i’m definitely over feeding. I was worried about the fish being hungry since the tank has no algae, i’m going to follow your advice.
I remove uneaten food and poop each morning with a pipette and net but I suspect now that the uneaten food sitting in the tank overnight may be the issue.
I ordered Prime yesterday (it should get here on Thursday), I treated with a little API water conditioner today and am going to retest tomorrow morn to see if the ammonia has dropped.
Is the RO buddy problematic or just unnecessary? We do not have a water softener and i’ve read that Plecos need soft water. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yikes, I was not aware of minerals and have not added any.
I will test my tap water, it is not well water and likely heavily chlorinated but I’m guessing people are using water conditioners for this purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’ve not focused on the alkalinity, (on the scale I have) though it looks to be between 40-80kk.
My ammonia has been 1.0 and nitrate has been about 20-30 ppm depending on what day i’ve tested. I have been using aquastart but switched to Prime today. I dosed 1 cap for my 50gal tank. I did a 30% water change on Monday and again today. I honestly read about cycling and tried to cycle my tank before I put the fish in but admit, I misunderstood what I was looking for and also how long it would take. I understand that this is urgent and crucial and am doing my best to make sure I stay on top of the ammonia and nitrate readings. I hadn’t considered asking if I can keep them at the fish store for the time being but will try that.
My tank is kept at 77/78 with a heater.
the Plecos hide during the day but can sometimes be seen moving around the driftwood and spiderwood, suckering themselves to the surface. Each morning it looks like an army of landscapers have been set loose on the tank. I added another cave today, so they have multiple hides. I’m running the LED lights from 8am-3pm but i have blocked part of the strip off ao they have the option to be out of direct light if they choose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update: another water change last night, nitrites and ammonia were lower and nitrates were higher before the change. I did another 30% water change and dosed the new water with a capful of Prime before I added it to the tank. I also cleaned the sponge filter, replaced the carbon filter and bio filters in my filter. I once again vacuumed all of the waste from the substrate. One thing I did notice this morning that I had not seen before was a tiny snail in my tank. I think it may be a pond snail that hitchhiked on one of my plants;
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update for everyone; I have since learned that my Bristlenose Pleco is a goofball. He likes to hang on the driftwood upside down and occasionally falls off. He’s come out of his shell and has quite the personality. He seems quite healthy and my tank water parameters are good.
 
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