Aquaponic Gardening

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I'd like to add some fish to help clean by tank and sumps.  Is anyone using catfish or pleco's.  What other fish are helpful.  Any downsides?  I've read that large pleco's can kill other fish.  Any experience with this?

Thanks

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I have some 4in african catfish. The clean the bottom of my ibc tote pretty good. Well the corner they like to stay in is clean anyway lol
I have used plecos in every tank and they work great. They are very hardy at all sorts of temps. I also use channel cats. They work great but grow rapidly and are aggressive.

Saying a catfish cleans a tank is kinda like saying that a broom vacuums the floor.  Channel catfish tend to sweep the bottoms of the tank and hopefully your circulation is such that those re-suspended solids can get sucked out of the tank but the catfish are not actually "cleaning" anything, just stirring it up.

Smaller Plecos on the other hand may be able to help you if your tank is building up a lot of surface algae and that is what you want to clean off.

Keep in mind adding extra creatures to your system still adds to the bio-load of the system so only do it i your water quality is good and all indications point to your bio-filtration, circulation and aeration being able to support more fish.  If your water quality is not so good, adding more fish is NOT going to help and is NOT a good idea even if you do mean them to help clean.

Linda

A Pleco is a catfish variety.or so I have read.

I have an 18 inch Pleco in my 80 Gallon Tilapia Nursery no problems yet (1 Month). My Tilapia are 2-5 inches.

I have read that catfish will eat the fry which is a way to control Tilapia population.

I would like to put the big pleco in my 700 gallon Tilapia grow tank grow tank just to control algae.

I also have a tent shaped closed ended 1/4" mesh screen enclosure on the bottom of the big tank (Vinyl coated) ,which I hope will protect future broods.

I am hoping you get lots of informed responses.

Can I get catfish at an aquarium shop?  Or should I look for a catfish breeder?

When you say smaller plecos may help clean surface algae what length are you thinking?  I found one here that is 11" but am concerned that it will be aggressive at that size.  If my tank is 8X3X2.5, how many could I add.  I have 9 tilapia and about 30 goldfish.

Another question, ammonia is 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 80 ppm, my pH runs around 6.8  I heard someone say that water aeration could be holding my nitrates high.  I have a good amount of plants.  It is hard to keep kH registering though gH take 4 drops. 

Thanks for any help

Linda



TCLynx said:

Saying a catfish cleans a tank is kinda like saying that a broom vacuums the floor.  Channel catfish tend to sweep the bottoms of the tank and hopefully your circulation is such that those re-suspended solids can get sucked out of the tank but the catfish are not actually "cleaning" anything, just stirring it up.

Smaller Plecos on the other hand may be able to help you if your tank is building up a lot of surface algae and that is what you want to clean off.

Keep in mind adding extra creatures to your system still adds to the bio-load of the system so only do it i your water quality is good and all indications point to your bio-filtration, circulation and aeration being able to support more fish.  If your water quality is not so good, adding more fish is NOT going to help and is NOT a good idea even if you do mean them to help clean.

Robert, I think you will find a pleostomus is in  complete different family from catfish. They also are pretty much a total vegetarian.

Matt, I am sure you can find small cats pf several different species at your local pet store but be prepared to pay several dollars each. Your best bet is go down to the local feed and seed store or farmer's coop and see if they know fish suppiers for pond stocking. In my area they all do.

I talked with 2 stores, each using different suppliers  and getting deliveries monthly. They do not hold the fish..your contract is with the fish breeder, I imagine the store might get a small percentage of sales for hosting. Plus they sell fish food.

One of those suppliers offers 4-6 inch channel cats for 40 cents (in lots of 100) each. the other supplier offers 3-5 inch fingerlings for 27 cents each, but 25 cents if you make your order online.

You might find somebody in your area to split an order if you can't handle that number of fish, but $25 will NOT buy you many fish at a pet store... AND you can eat channel cats if you keep them alive long enough to grow up.

Reply http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleco

Pat James said:

Robert, I think you will find a pleostomus is in  complete different family from catfish. They also are pretty much a total vegetarian.

Matt, I am sure you can find small cats pf several different species at your local pet store but be prepared to pay several dollars each. Your best bet is go down to the local feed and seed store or farmer's coop and see if they know fish suppiers for pond stocking. In my area they all do.

I talked with 2 stores, each using different suppliers  and getting deliveries monthly. They do not hold the fish..your contract is with the fish breeder, I imagine the store might get a small percentage of sales for hosting. Plus they sell fish food.

One of those suppliers offers 4-6 inch channel cats for 40 cents (in lots of 100) each. the other supplier offers 3-5 inch fingerlings for 27 cents each, but 25 cents if you make your order online.

You might find somebody in your area to split an order if you can't handle that number of fish, but $25 will NOT buy you many fish at a pet store... AND you can eat channel cats if you keep them alive long enough to grow up.

i stand corrected. they are in the same family. To some  of the texts, any bottom feeding fish is a catfish. But not in the same genus:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_catfish  So they do behave very differently.

I would not worry about a plecostomus injuring fry unless those fry just swam into the pleco's mouth...

Plecos you will likely find in pet stores or from tropical fish suppliers.

Channel Catfish and other types of "farm pond" catfish you probably want to find the pond stocking suppliers to get them from unless you need only a tiny quantity.  Beware the channel catfish can grow big, relatively fast.  Here in central FL in outdoor unheated systems, I've found the channel catfish grow far bigger, far faster than any of my tilapia did.  (I can usually get from fingerling to between 3-5 lb with the channel catfish in a year and I've never gotten a tilapia over 2 lbs, actually I was usually lucky to get over 12 ounces with my tilapia since I was growing mixed gender (if it was warm enough for them to eat well, they were into breeding behavior even through I had them caged up off the bottom of the tank) and by the way, you can't expect a well fed channel catfish to go to much effort to eat the tilapia fry or fingerlings.  Large well fed channel catfish are really quite lazy and not nearly as maneuverable as the little tilapia.  Catfish may make good work cleaning up the lethargic tilapia when the weather gets too cold for them but I wouldn't count on catfish taking care of a breeding problem with tilapia if you are feeding the fish any pellets.

That helped clear things up. My concern is that I want the Pleko's to keep algae under control but not interfere with Tilapia breeding. I sense going forward I will have to curtail the breeding.



Pat James said:

i stand corrected. they are in the same family. To some  of the texts, any bottom feeding fish is a catfish. But not in the same genus:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_catfish  So they do behave very differently.

I would not worry about a plecostomus injuring fry unless those fry just swam into the pleco's mouth...

If you are having green water issues, I don't think the Plecos will help.

If you are having green surface algae in the tank, the plecos will eat that but I don't really think surface algae is generally much of a problem in aquaponics and tilapia will eat it some too.

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