Category Archives: Care & Habitat

Quietest “Silent” Filter for Aquarium?

Topic: NEED HELP: What’s the Quietest filter on the market for smaller tank setups?? Maybe 10 gallon tanks. The sound of it needs to be silent. For college kids that want to bring their fish to their dorm room!


*Awarded Answer
Posted by Megan V: I went through the same problem with needing a silent filter. I had really good luck with the Aquaclear filters. They are still very powerful but keep quiet. They may be a little more noisy when you first start them up but it takes a week or two for some algae and muck to grow on all the internals and then they HUSH right up. They are also a top rated filter on the market

  • I have a little sponge filter powered by a quiet little air pump. The only thing you can hear is the bubbles, but it’s not loud at all, and you never have to worry about fixing squeaks or it breaking
  • I have betta duo tanks so they are quiet anyway but I used a sponge filter in my others.
  • I have the aqueon tanks too…when the filters is new it makes a little bit of noise but by day 2 it’s almost silent.
  • Why HASN’T anyone said internal filters?? They are inside the water and almost impossible to hear them. When something is submerged under water it’s very tough to hear it. I would think any HOB filter would be able to be heard because the motor is running on all of them.
  • The motors grow bacteria on them after a couple of weeks and it really helps make the motor more quiet because it’s almost like a slim coat on all the internal components.
  • I have a 2.5 gallon that came with a filter that is pretty much silent. Not sure if that helps!
  • Sponge filters, but changing filters can be problematic because the new filter won’t be cycled, run them tandem for a while.
  • Have you never transferred over media or squeezed out media right at the intake of the new filter before? Instant cycle.
  • Yes but I don’t believe it to be safe enough, my opinion.
  • Why? Its not the filter that holds the bacteria, its the media. So when you move the media from one filter to the next, the cycle is instant. I have transferred all the contents of a 55g into a brand new 220g. Since the media wouldnt fit as they were incompatible filters, i just squeezed out the sponges right at the intake and then added all the fish. Zero issues and I tested every hour for two days.
  • My comment was meant for if he chose to switch to a sponge filter, but otherwise I agree with just transferred media.
  • Ah, that makes sense. Although, to beat a dead horse, you can squeeze out the media inside the tank anywhere and it will work the same. Your water will just be super cloudy with detritus for a few hours is the only drawback.
  • New to this site. Love all of the videos. I have a few questions please..I have a 29 gallon tank..had a aqueon quiet flow 55/75 that I just replaced as I was thinking maybe an IF would be better? I got the National Geo IF40. How long until it gets established? I did transfer some bio filter pellets into it and in the top layer I put 2 small bags of activated carbon. How should I angle the nozzle for outflow? Mid tank? Bottom? Pic and Vid attached. Thanks
  • Green Nuphar japonica…a local aquarium guy’s offering this plant for decent price…Anybody has any experience or views on them in community planted tank? They were looking so damn good in his tank…these are the pics i googled up. Had no camera phone with me back when i visited him. He has some other exotic gorgeous looking plants too…they were quiet expensive….Will visit him again with a camera & post the pics with names here. But i do wanna get this one…tips or suggestions?
  • …finally…my discus was doing good but had a light issue for couple of days now. my laziness got my discus…so, the lights were kind of off, the plants didn’t take in amonia-nitrates, had a bacteria grow, which got the discus..i can see one or two white patches on my discus…looking for a cure. so far, i think it’s Ich…will take pic as soon as i get my dad’s phone & post it here. I really love that fish, & it breaks me to see him all weak & hardly eating & just resting in the corner over the heater….

    Update after 9 hours :
    Umm, guys, i switched on my main lights of the room & discus started swimming around just fine. Couldn’t see any white patches. Switched back to the temporary low light on the tank &…i realised that i got tricked by the lights. Joey seems all good. it’s been over 4 days since the tank’s main lights got messed up. Have to run it on temporary low light i created for the box i keep my plants trimmings in, for now. i guess light does effect fishes. their colours are bit washed up. But when i added some more medium lights, the tank sprang back to healthy life. Discus’s swimming around, roaming around his usual spot in the front at the thermometer (Room’s pretty quiet & dark all the time, just me, sleeping in for the night & hanging around for a while in day time in between jobs)…the water change helped…So…Is it so? can lights effects behaviour of our fishes? i think so…was so upset all sunday because of this but got cheered up by this. Thank you a lot for jumping in with the solutions though. Will keep me ready to roll if i bump into those. Have a sweet & warm week ahead guys…Long live the discus.

Best Food for my Pleco?

Topic: What is the best food for my pleco catfish? I’m new to keeping these catfish. I have them in a community tank with lots of other fish. It seems like when I give them food the other fish eat it all. What is the best food for them?


*Awarded Answer
Posted by Amanda H: Your pleco is actually nocturnal and that’s why your not seeing it eat with the other fish. When all the other fish are sleeping is when your pleco is going to come out and start feeding aggressively. You should get them some specific food for them. Like some algae wafers. Drop the food in right when the lights go off to ensure they are getting their amount they need. Here is a good brand of food that’s been around for ages.

Omega One Veggie Rounds 8.1oz
List Price: $11.95
Price: $11.95
Price Disclaimer

Some people swear by throwing some zucchini in the tank but I don’t really like that idea. You need to usually have a weight that you tie it down with because it wont sink. Then you have to fetch the weight when they are done with it… I would just rather toss some fish food in there and be done. Sinking shrimp pellets work great too! For the most part I rely on my pleco catfish to eat all the left over food that the other fish didn’t eat because thats SUPER important. Uneaten food in your gravel creates nitrates! Here are some of those shrimp pellets.

Omega One Shrimp Pellets 8.25oz
List Price: $9.62
Price: $9.62
Price Disclaimer


Posted by Harley B: I agree with the idea of making them scavenge on the other fish food that is left over first! I will sort of starve my catfish for a couple days so that I know all the gravel has been skimmed over by them and “cleaned”.. then I give them some of the pellets when the lights get turned off. I used the sinking shrimp pellets too. Shrimp has a lot of protein in it so you know they are getting some good protein levels too. They are omnivores and that’s important to know.

  • Can you put a plecostomus in an aquarium with red belly piranha? I’ve heard that the piranha cant bite through the pleco armor. Is that true? On the other hand I also know that red bellies will attack the eyes of their prey. What do you think? Is the belly of a pleco armored?
  • I think they would be fine.. but that’s just me. Some of the toughest predators just leave catfish alone.. it’s a hit or miss. You just have to watch over them for the first couple days.
  • i have a 3.5 gallon tank. im just setting it up. im getting a betta, but wanted a pleco as well. I understand i will need to upgrade my tank eventually but my question is this: Is a 3.5 gallon tank too small for a catfish and a betta?
  • I have 5 sailfin pleco: 3 are 12″ and the other 2 are 6″. They have lived together in the same 100 gallon tank for the past 3 years with no serious signs of aggression. So long as there are more hiding places than plecos they get along fine.
  • Albinos are smaller than those catfish though…. cause I had an adult one but my friend has a HUGE aquarium and I thought you know what….. gave my catfish and now got a baby albino pleco and I’ve seen other albino pleco and they were smaller than original plecos.
  • I was wondering, can you put a catfish in with a red ear slider? I have a red ear slider and a gourami in a tank together, and I was wondering if a catfish would do alright with the two, its about 8 inches long and is pretty docile. I have already put them together and been monitoring them, but will they do alright in the long run? So far I’ve seen the pleco on the turtles shell, cause he has a little bit of algae growth on it. I think it was just cleaning the algae.

Posted by Natasha B: Hi again! So I’m planning on stocking my 55 gallon in the next few months with a couple of dojo loaches, and 2 fancy goldies! I am worried about algae though because my water contains a lot of phosphates, is it possible to keep a bristlenose pleco with them or would the water be too cold? I’m not going to get a heater as I’ve been told goldfish are coldwater, as with the loaches.

  • Loaches and plecos are not recommended tank makes for goldfish 🙂 I’d say don’t get either and just use some good ole elbow grease for that algea.
  • As far as algae goes, it’s a tasty snack for goldies or can be wiped away – good maintenance and limited lighting periods can help, but at the “worst”, you’re providing a fantastic source of protein for your fatties.
  • Bristlenose plecs and most other plecs and loaches are in fact tropical fish. They do better at temps 25c so in answer to your question No Hun .
  • Dojo loaches need 18-24c water – they’re a cooler water species – however, still incompatible
  • My apologies I missed the Dojo bit 😀 But goldfish should be kept with goldfish.
  • I have an albino bristle nose, that was once came to the 1st knuckle on my thumb. I have been on vacation for 3 weeks but when I left he was the size of my thumb. I have no problem keeping him in my goldies tank.
  • I would recommend that you NEVER use Chinese Algae eaters as well. They do great a youngsters but when they grow, and the do get big, they become nasty and will suck the slime and holes in your fish. The Fancies, fantails , bubble eye’s etc are particularly vulnerable to them. And never never put channel cats in your goldie tanks. They will and I have seen a whole tank with goldfish and no eyes. They suck them out.
  • I have an angel plec in my goldie tank aka hill stream loach as they also temperate he does fine.
  • A lot of people do tend to keep algea eaters with goldies, but there is quite the risk involved! If you don’t feed your algea eaters properly (Mainly plecos) They WILL suck the slime coat off of your goldies, which isnt good at all!
  • This^ and unfortunately, even when well/properly fed. It’s ALWAYS a risk – you just have to decide if it’s one you want to take.

“Common Pleco” Species – Catfish Species Guide

The usual bottom feeder catfish that most pet stores carry is referred to as the common Pleco. It’s somewhat of a vague term to use just because it usually references to numerous species of plecos. The most common types are the Sailfin Pleco, Bristlenose Pleco, Amazon Sailfin Pleco, and the general Suckermouth Pleco.

fish common pleco

They are all so closely related that it doesn’t really even matter what species you get because taking care of each will be the same. Let’s jump into the facts regarding how to care for these awesome catfish.

Aquarium Tank Size

Almost all beginners have no idea that these catfish can commonly grow up to 15 inches long and up. Somewhat of a scary topic… but it’s the brutal truth. These cute little catfish are sold at around 3 inches long and commonly placed into 20 gallon aquariums. A fish that grows up to a food long will need a tank size of 100 gallons (rough estimate). The rule of thumb for aquarium fish is 1 inch of fish needs 10 gallons of water.

Granted, it takes the fish years to grow that long but just a heads up on possible tank upgrades you might need. Some aquarium owners just sell the fish when they outgrow their tanks. Pet stores can sell larger fish for a higher price so they will sometimes buy the fish right from you. I’m not trying to scare you but instead just properly educate. This video is a great guide if you enjoy learning from videos more than articles.

Growth Size, Full Size?

Like I already mentioned, Plecostomus catfish can grow up to 2 feet long. That’s 24 inches folks! Crazy large. These catfish will grow large in small habitats too. The size of their habitat does not stunt their growth.

Feeding Plecos

pleco bristlenoseThese fish eat both sides of the food chain. They are omnivores and mostly love algae but will also take advantage of a meal indulged in meaty food. You will commonly see them eating dead fish on the bottom of your tank. Great scavengers at that!

Feed them algae tablets right before your aquarium lights go off. This helps to rid other fish of stealing these algae tablets and eating them. Because remember the the tablets need to fall all the way to the bottom in order for the bottom feeder catfish to eat them. Other fish love to steal them when possible.

Lifespan and How Old?

Did you know these fish are almost prehistoric? Ok.. I made that up but don’t they sort of seem like it? These fish live up to 20-30 years long! I mean.. WOW! That just adds to the value of why I am in love with these awesome creatures.

Habitat Setup for Aquarium

It is said that Plecos need wood in their habitat to live healthy lifestyle. I have owned dozens of tanks without any type of wood successfully with Plecos. Just to be safe though, you can add some wood to their habitat. The most important aspect for their habitat is hiding places. Make sure that when you common Plecostomus goes to run and hide.. that it has plenty of places to go to. I use black pipes and other decor that the bottom feeders love hiding in.

Live Plants Taste Good!

Does it seem odd that a strong algae eater would eat your live plants…? Nope. So word to the wise, these fish love to eat live plants. Sturdy and very strong plants may survive but your just tempting fate trying to grow tasty plants around a plant eater.

Gravel Versus No Gravel

Bare bottom tanks work with Pleco catfish just fine but I have found that they appreciate a tank with a substrate much more. Because they use their sucker to slowly move around and search for food in crevices, gravel just makes for a better setup. You can ideally use any substrate with these fish though.

Water Temperature

Most fish aquariums are “tropical setups” in the water temperatures of 72-84 F range. Plecos will do just fine I’m that and even lower temps. Even down in the mid 60 degrees Fahrenheit. A pretty adaptable fish when it comes to water temps really. Maybe that’s why they are multiplying in huge numbers down south haha!

Have Any Questions or Comments?

Posted by Kelly Niuy:
Can a person keep Plecos together in the same tank? Or what catfish tank mates can live beside them?

Reply from Admin Chris:
It is said that it’s fine to keep juvenile Plecos together in the same tank but having larger ones together is not a good idea because their aggression levels are higher. Even though these fish seem to themselves.. when you add another of the same species you will quickly learn their real aggression levels. Hope that helps.

Posted by Sarah N:
My daughter has a 10 gallon aquarium and we have a Plecostomus and some other fish. Is this a terrible idea and what happens when the tank is too small for fish?

Reply from Admin Chris:
To be completely honest.. ten gallon aquariums are not good for pet fish this size. There only a handful of species that do well in that small of a tank. Catfish are not one of them. This happens all the time and we get this question a lot. All I can say is I urge you to get your child a bigger tank and maybe indulge in the awesome hobby of fish keeping. A 30 gallon tank would be a great start.