I can't keep a clown pleco alive for the life of me

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Improperbeard

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Apr 30, 2020
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This is my second one that died in a year.

Parameters:

Gh 30 ppm
Kh 40 ppm
pH looking 7.2
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0/10 ppm

Heavily planted tank, no co2 anymore.

Various lighting settings.

Fish include: dwarf gourami, lemon tetras, otocinclus (assuming four but have only seen one today after four days), bamboo shrimp, Cherry shrimp, amano shrimp, invasive snails.

Acclimated in bag: one 5ml syringe of my water into its bag, every five minutes for about 45 minutes.

Active and moving for first three days, sucking algae off the wall.

Day four dead. Stiff as a board.

Output has a flow bar to help aerate the water at night.

pH at 7.2 when I tested 7am.

Tank has been cycled for a month, heavily planted, bacteria and sponges from an old filter, new bacteria, bio balls, filter floss, etc.

Temperature stays at 78-81.

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Improperbeard

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Oh yes, two rainbow fish as well.

According to google, the name is Panaqolus maccus, but I only know it as clown pleco.

Went to an aquarium center near me, where I've only seen healthy, active fish. Picked this pleco because it was the most active.

Source water is tap. Not sure their source, but my tap parameters are similar to my tank. I dechlorinate it using prime.

And thank you for the compliment. My damn bamboo shrimp topples my Amazonia soil granules into the sand lol and that bothers me.
 

the loach

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My damn bamboo shrimp topples my Amazonia soil granules into the sand lol and that bothers me.
It bothers him as well; he is starving. You need to target feed them with green water, egg yolk and finely crushed flake food. They are not really suited to community tanks.
I don't see anything that causes the death of the 2 clown plecos but bad luck, but it should be noted that your tank isn't really suited for them either; they mainly eat wood so they need a tank with lots of driftwood. Apart from that, they need to be supplemented with vegetables and frozen foods.
 
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Improperbeard

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Could it be a pH spike at night time for some reason that killed the pleco? Do they need different parameters than I have? He was destroying the algae and there's plenty more, especially on my rocks.

I've been putting a sinking wafer near the bamboo shrimp also to try to let him fan it in. Do you think he's better off in my ten gallon Betta tank? If he would just sit under the damn current he could sweep up all the flakes.

What is green water and how do you feed them with that?
 

the loach

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It depends on how big the pH spike is. Your parameters are fine except they need a lot of wood and current. Clown plecos are not really algae eaters so he probably didn't get properly fed in the store. Do they have driftwood in that tank?
If your betta tank has a lot of current (but betta's don't like that) yes he would be better off in that tank you have to target feed them in the current, they are filter feeders and can't pick up wafers or whatever from the bottom like other shrimp. Green water is microscopic algae...phytoplankton. You have to put old tank water (if it has enough nitrates) in the sun and when it turns green you drip feed it in the current where the shrimp is.
 

Improperbeard

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I didn't see wood there, just plants. Damn, I thought they were algae eaters also. I got it cause I couldn't find my oto fish and thought they died and got eaten by the shrimp.

The wafer dissolves into powder and floats so I assumed the bamboo could fan it in. I'll try the yolk or I'll move him to the Betta tank.
 

the loach

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Did you get the pleco and oto cause you loved them or cause you were led to believe you require algae eaters?
Bamboo shrimp can't effectively fan in food, they just sit in the current and catch things all day long. The normal behavior would be sitting in front of the filter outlet, catching plankton. You have to feed them there, like I wrote they are something for specialized fish keepers. They would be great for tropical ponds (providing they are in an area where the fish can't eat them). Ground a piece of algae wafer and put the powder at the outlet of the filter, so the shrimp can catch it.
 

Improperbeard

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I prefer the intricate fish. The small details. I pay more attention to my shrimp, snails, otos and plecos vs the other fish. I'm more interested in an active ecosystem, with top feeders, bottom feeders, algae eaters, etc than "pretty fish".

I don't really love fish. I love the ecosystem component, but I am sad if fish pass as I feel like I failed them.
 

the loach

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That's all fine, my point is you don't need algae eating fish in a tank, if you have the right conditions for plants they will outcompete the algae. If you don't, you will still have to feed the algae eaters as after a couple of days they will have consumed all algae. For an ecosystem this small, a couple of ramshorn snails or 1 nerite snail is enough.

Was this the same tank that had CO2 injection (even going on at night?)? Too much CO2 will certainly kill fish, it's not the pH but the CO2, the pH just goes down cause there is a relation, but that is not the cause.
 
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