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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
so out of interest of not stunting anymore large fish...
What pleco can I keep in a 15 gallon tank who will reach full size and not be stunted due to the small tank.

I have this problem with quite a few of my fish. Including a CAE.
who i have only recently switched from my 5 gal.

Optimally, i'd want to buy the pleco as a juvenille and then have him grow in my tank. as opposed to buying the adult version. which are larger ( and more expensive)
 

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Bushynosed/Bristlenose Plecos are the primary ones to look out, they max out at about 5" But even them might get stunted in a 15G.

Otocinclus would be your best bet for your tank, they only get to about 1.5".

Siamese Flying Foxes (aka Siamese Algae Eaters) can get up to 6" and need space. Be careful about Flying Foxes, they are very similar, but do not eat much algae and can be quite aggressive.
 

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for a 15g, keep 1-2 bristlenoses to grow up. Sell them when they are bigger. Then repeat the process again. Adz has many plecos babies for you to choose from. They are most likely a better choice for you.

But before adding fish, you should properly cycle your tank first.
 

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In a 15 gallon long term, with other fishes, nothing but otos will fit. They all get too big. I have a 15 gallon that I keep tetras in and grow out my BNP's. Once they get to a certain size, into the 125 gallon they go. It's pretty easy to overwhelm the bio-capacity of a 15 gallon with a full grown pleco unless you are able to achieve and maintain a delicate balance. If this tank were for plecos only, then sure, no problem, but with a heavy bioload already, impossible.
 

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I would agree that Oto cats are the best bet. Although Bulldog or Clown Plecos do a great job and stay quite small. Clowns are omnivores as well so they need Bloodworms etc occasionally but both would be fine in that size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
In a 15 gallon long term, with other fishes, nothing but otos will fit. They all get too big. I have a 15 gallon that I keep tetras in and grow out my BNP's. Once they get to a certain size, into the 125 gallon they go. It's pretty easy to overwhelm the bio-capacity of a 15 gallon with a full grown pleco unless you are able to achieve and maintain a delicate balance. If this tank were for plecos only, then sure, no problem, but with a heavy bioload already, impossible.
So BNP won't reach full size in a 15 gallon?
 

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So BNP won't reach full size in a 15 gallon?
No, you misunderstand. The problem is that it will and will produce a lot of waste. It'll be 4 - 5" fully grown and consume a lot of food and poop a lot.
 

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No, the boload remains inside the tank and has to be transported out via water changes. Filtration only converts ammonia and moves the detritus to the filter, but remains in the system. At some point in time it'll overwhelm the filter. It's better to get a fish more suited to the tank than trying to fix a problem that's not fixable. If you want more/bigger fish, get a bigger tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ok so as long as I do frequent water changes. I fix the problem... that's easy enough.
No, the boload remains inside the tank and has to be transported out via water changes. Filtration only converts ammonia and moves the detritus to the filter, but remains in the system. At some point in time it'll overwhelm the filter. It's better to get a fish more suited to the tank than trying to fix a problem that's not fixable. If you want more/bigger fish, get a bigger tank.
 

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To a degree, but at some point, such as people who put Oscars in 33 gallon tanks, the amount of ammonia overwhelms the filter and the filter cannot keep up with the bioload and now you no longer have nitrate, but free ammonia and nitrite in the tank, which is toxic at very low levels to fish. It depends on what you are willing to manage. 50% wc a week? 50% 3x a week, or 50% every day (like some discus keepers).
 

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:Dyou could always just get a bigger tank:D
like say a 55g ideal for what you are trying to stock in a 15g.
 

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Edarion I tried putting a juvenile pleco in a tank half the size of yours to give it a better chance to grow out. It's like they said, the bioload is surprisingly huge! Within a day my sand looked like mixed gravel as the poop almost coated the bottom. I had an AC20 in that tank and as good as bacteria is, the load was just to much to handle. If you're dealing with limited space you could also consider a cube or tall tank although plecos as adz1 told me enjoy a good footprint with driftwood (being a must).
 
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