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Clown Pleco damage
> Has anyone else kept these guys and found
> that they do damage plants?
2-3 different species are sold as "clown plecos", so it's difficult to pass
a generic guilty verdict on them all. Panaque maccus and P. gnomus are
definitely two of the spp. thus identified. There are likely to be small
Peckoltia spp. as well as others (L74?) that also go by this name.
I have 2 (maybe 3) different species of "clown plecos" in a heavily planted
30 gal tank, which also holds several other small spp. of plant eating
Loricariids (e.g., L15, Peckoltia vittata). To limit the grazing damage to
the Echinodorus leaves, I put lettuce or cucumber into the tank every night.
I often see the 'clown plecos' grazing on both the lettuce (especially) and
the cucumber. By morning, only the veins are left on the lettuce. So the
answer to your question is almost certainly "yes, 'clown plecos' DO damage
Despite the veggie supplements, the fish turn many of the sword leaves into
lace. Every two weeks or so, I manually remove large quantities of damaged
leaves. Fortunately, the plants grow vigorously, so new growth more than
keeps pace with the removals.
There is not a hint of algae anywhere in the tank, despite direct morning
sunlight, heavy bioload and heavy feeding.