Bye Bye Plecy the Plecosthomus

We have this fish tank in my family that has been passed from household to household for almost twenty years. Long ago in my former teacher life I also worked part time at pet stores. Let me rephrase that to say that I worked in pet stores for the privilege of giving them my check each week. My whole check. Usually.

Actually, my first "real" job ever was in a pet store when I was 13. Looking back, I can't believe someone actually hired me at 13. But this guy not only hired me, he left me alone in the store for hours at a time. At 13!!!! Really.

I have several clear memories of that job. One was hanging out with a little neighborhood boy who would come in on weekends to look around. Together, he and I screwed up enough courage one day to HOLD THE TARANTULA!!!! Oh. My. God. Crazy. The other is my boss coming back after being gone for a while and finding the feeder goldfish tank running over the edge with bubbles. I had no idea what happened and hadn't seen anything unusual. He said rival pet store owners sometimes sent in undercover customer agents to do dastardly things, like put soap pellets in the tanks. All the goldfish died. It was sad.

But I digress.

I continued working in pet stores through high school and then again for a while after college. During the Pet Store Days (hereafter known as PSD) I bought the following. I am sure it is not a comprehensive list.
…..1 ten gallon fish tank and tons of fish
…..1 complete hamster set up and three pairs of hamsters
…..1 ten gallon fish tank and umpteen anoles
…..1 bird cage and two sets of parakeets
…..1 ginormous bird cage and 1 spectacled amazon parrot
…..bunches and bunches of cat toys, food, and treats

Also, towards the end of my last pet store stint I bought a used 40 gallon tank with the gravel and two pumps from a co-worker for my dad for Christmas one year. It was the best Christmas present I had ever bought for him and I was so proud. I think he loved that tank too.

Eventually he gave the tank to my brother, Ryan, who had it while he was in massage therapy school. After he graduated he was moving to Denver and couldn't fit the tank in his luggage, so it made its way back to me. With the tank I inherited a few fish including a red tailed shark and blue gourami who lived for five years and one pleco, which this post is about.

When I got the pleco he was about four inches long. Just a regular common pleco. Nothing unusual. A darn good algae eater, one of the best if I do say so myself.

I proceeded to stuff him full of yummy algae tablets, seaweed, shrimp pellets, and zucchini and he got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And then a little bigger. He outlived every other fish in the tank several times over and successfully moved with me to my new house without much fuss.

Lately, this big beautiful fish has outgrown the tank. From tip to tail he measures out longer than 14". He's huge! He's so big that people who come visit often don't even notice him in the tank – even when he is sucking on the front glass – until he moves. He is so big he just doesn't register as a fish. Ha!

For the past two weeks he's been swimming around, violently banging his nose into the walls and jumping up towards the glass top. Some of this kind of thing is typical pleco shenanigans, but this has moved from normal thrashing to where I have been worried about him and he has actually hurt himself.

So last week I made the decision to try and find him a new home. I placed a few personal ads. Yes, I really did. On a few aquarium enthusiast websites and on Craig's list. Lo and behold I got a response! Two, actually. But only one seemed to be a good new home for Plecy. So yesterday Plecy's new owner, Don, came and picked him up and today I got an email saying he is doing fine and has adapted nicely to his new extra large 55 gallon tank and tankmates.

This is my ode to Plecy. I am glad he has a new, better, home and I hope he lives many many more years and grows to be 24" long. It's possible!

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16 thoughts on “Bye Bye Plecy the Plecosthomus

  1. We're actually in the process of re-homing our own pleco (a gibbiceps), as he is getting too big for our tank! Funny that you were doing the same! I'm sure he'll be very happy in a bigger tank-good on you for being a responsible pet owner 🙂

  2. I've blogged about my own plec before. One of my best friends split with her husband and she decided she was going to flush his fish down the loo to spite him. I managed to talk her out of it by saying that I would look after them, and she could tell him whatever she liked.
    One of them was a plec, who at that time was only about 5 inches long. He positively thrived in my tank and grew rapidly. The kids decided he needed a name and so Spike became on of the family. He was a resilient beast. He managed to scratch his belly on who knows what and it healed beautifully. He was dropped more than once when we were cleaning the tank and when we picked him up and popped him back in the water, he'd give a swish of his tail as if to say 'whatever'.
    It's great that you've found him somewhere to live and I hope fatcat manages to find a new home too. (well, not for fatcat!)

  3. Where is your pleco blog? I'd love to read it!They are amazing fish, aren't they? I loved Plecy. He really was like a pet because I had him so long. I've read that you can get them to eat right out of your fingers after a while. I never tried it with mine, but he was very tame. Just a big old relaxed tank bully. He definitely was the big boss man. It's funny how happy the other fish seem now that he is gone! Ha.

  4. When I read the title I was afraid Plecy had died! You did the right thing. You are truly a selfless human being. That is what you get for being such a good mother, you have to watch them go away. It is a cruel, cruel world! Ooooh! No really though, that is a great thing you did for him and I am sure he is so content and he is missing his mother and his friend Recee.

  5. awwww, those things are so cool, I just called them suckerfish, there was one in a tank at a bar I used to go to. Glad you found him a new home, though it is kind of sad to see him go, I'm sure.

  6. I had two of them, Hoover and Oreck… Hoover was 19 inches long and Hoover was just 14. They lived peacefully in my 75 gallon tank until one fateful day my wife decided she was going to do me a favor and clean the tank…
    One died of stress, the other began thrashing about soon after and killed himself while I was at work. My wife called me, heartbroken, both times. She has been banished from cleaning the tank, ever. Not really her fault, her heart was in the right place, but no, no more cleaning.
    Neatest thing I ever had was barbs laying eggs that hatched into baby barbs. that was so neat. Love me some baby barbs…

  7. Wow – huge plecos and baby barbs – you must have a great tank. I thought it was pretty hard for barbs to breed in captivity. I currently have five million billion platys and mollies breeding away, I did not have five million billion to begin with. I am looking for a "natural" way to thin the herd. Perhaps another fish that likes to eat babies. The food chain theory. Any suggestions?

  8. A nice Oscar will do that for you. They like to eat. Also, I'm not sure on Convict fish eating other little fishies, but they look nice. Had a couple in the tank a while back. they didn't get on so well with everyone else. Have had Clown Loaches, Gouramis, several types of Barbs and lots of other fishies.
    I like the live plants too. The Barbs loved the baby grass I had in the corner and the big fishies couldn't get at them either. I let it grow kind of wild for a bit. My two Plecos would get pretty rowdy and I'd have to replant things once in a while after a rough night…

  9. Ha! My pleco would not allow me to plant anything. Everytime I tried he would uproot the whole tank. I just put a mix of fake and real plants in the tank and let them float around wherever they want. Most of them ended up floating at the top. I've currently got clown loaches, gouramis, rainbows, catfish, yo-yos, and of cours the five million billion platys and mollies. I'd be afraid an Oscar or other african would eat everything, not just the babies. Eep!

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