Once your tank is all set up and ready to go, the hardest and most fun thing to do is pick which type of fish to put in there.
They get BIG. They poop BIG. And they SUCK at eating algae.
Common plecos will easily reach about 1 foot in a decent sized tank. And they bulk up considerably and are pretty strong fish. So, your 30 gallon tank isn’t holding one of these full grown buggers. Once again, you are heading into the triple digits to keep a full grown common pleco. There size, mostly bulk, makes it so they will root up and knock over plants, rocks, heaters… if they get spooked for some reason your decorations are getting trashed.
|Well over a foot.|
Big fish = Big poop and the pleco is famous for its gigantic dumps. Most giant plecos create more algae than they eat due to the excessive amount of poop they create, leading to bad water quality and algae loves sub-par water quality. I have constantly seen plecos cruise the tank with a long piece of stringy poop hanging from them longer than the length of their body.
The last thing is the biggest tragedy of them all. They aren’t even good algae eaters. The older they get, the lazier they get. They will just start eating whatever you feed the other fish. So their algae eating will slow to a crawl and they will continue to poop a ton… creating more and more algae. If you have algae issues, this is not the fish for you.
Luckily, replacements for common plecos are numerous. Not only are there 100’s of species of plecos, but most look 1000 times better than commons. But, for most people, Bristlenose/Bushynose plecos or clown plecos will be their best bet. Both stay under 6 inches and actually eat algae. BNs are also pretty cheap (got mine for like 6 bucks) and somewhat easy to find. Both are great options for people with tanks under 50 gallons.
There are tons and tons of exotic plecos that are prettier and much smaller than commons, but that would make this post 200 pages long. So head over to Planet Catfish and just browse.