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I have a Plecostamus that is around 14 in long in a 75 gallon tank with 1 large tiger oscar (9" long) and a smaller one (4" long)that is growing rapidly. we also have 2 convict cichlid's, and 1 African cichlid. was 3 and 2 but our oldest cichlid died from ick and the other african died when our old pump stopped working when we were gone... every one is back to healthy no ick and i know i need a seprate tank for the oscars for their size and that i hope they turn out to be opposite sex and breed, been researching... but my actual question is,,,,,

my plecostamus either hovers over air bubbles or swims out the top of the water and gasps air (very loudly) and goes down then blows the air out... i don't know if he's having fun or gasping for air but we got plenty of bubblers in the tank and good filtration i don't know... i mentioned the other stuff up top just to see if i should or should not do anything i said up there... i am currently building a 300 gallon tank... building i know fish's weird actions i do not

please get back to me

Hi Josh

Well you do have too many fish in the 75 gallon for as large as they are. As for the Pleco, he could be suffering from ammonia poisoning. Swimming to the top gasping for air is one symptom. My Plecos swim to the top and back down and dash around the tank in a playful manner, but they don't gasp for air. I would check your water parameters, or take a sample of your water to your local fish store and they will test it for you free. Do a 30% water change regardless. In my Oscar tanks which also contain Plecos, I do a 30% water change twice a week as Cichlids are messy. If after a 30% water change and your water tests fine he is still acting this way and the other fish seem fine, I wouldn't worry about him. He may be playing, but that's unusual behavior for a Pleco that large.

Hope this helps you, good luck!



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Richard Hight


I own and maintain several freshwater aquariums from 2 to 180 gallon. I can answer most questions about freshwater aquariums, including setup, cycling, maintenance, compatible tank mates, feeding. Moving? I've moved fish both across town and across the country and can help you get your little aquatic friends to their new home safely. I know and have experience with most freshwater community fish, South American Cichlids and African Cichlids. I don't answer questions about Goldfish or keeping Goldfish with Tropical Fish. I also don't answer questions about keeping crustaceans (shrimp, snails, crabs etc) with Tropical Fish, nor questions about saltwater fish or aquariums. I'm not available to answer questions on weekends, this is when I do maintenance on my own tanks.


Many years of personal experience with fish and aquariums

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