Bad farlowella! - Plant Deficiencies - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 09-10-2013, 06:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bad farlowella!

Has anyone ever heard of their farlowella catfish eating holes in their plants, mainly the broadleaf plants? I've noticed a bunch of oval holes in were my farlowella likes to hang out and I can only assume that it's bc she's doing it.. What should I do? Get rid of her?
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad farlowella!

Could it be a potassium deficiency? Do you use ferts?
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad farlowella!

My tank is dirted, but I do use seachem flourish weekly.. It's odd bc it's like someone took a hole punch to a leaf and cut identical circles out.. How would I know if I have a deficiency in some of my levels?
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad farlowella!

Post pics so we can see.

Sounds like damage though, might be the fish.
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad farlowella!

Farlows are a loricariid, and many loricariids (such as Ancistrus) are well known for destroying certain plants. The usual case is with sword plants, as the leaves of sword plants are both large and stiff enough to hold up a pleco as it gnaws on the surface. Plants with small or very soft, delicate leaves (i.e. Nymphaea) can't hold up the fish, so if it tries to perch on them, the leaf just dumps the fish off. So, ironically, plants that are usually known for their sturdiness in the face of assault are the ones most likely to be attacked by rasping fish.

That said, I've also got two Rineoricaria parva (whiptail cats) and they can't be bothered with the Amazon sword in their tank, so it's not a universal thing among the Loricariidae.

Nonetheless, there's a very good chance your farlow is the one behind your plant troubles, especially since it's the broad leaved plants that are showing the damage. However, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to get rid of the fish, you might just switch those plants out for ones less susceptible to attack instead.
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad farlowella!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigeflashgordon View Post
Has anyone ever heard of their farlowella catfish eating holes in their plants, mainly the broadleaf plants? I've noticed a bunch of oval holes in were my farlowella likes to hang out and I can only assume that it's bc she's doing it.. What should I do? Get rid of her?
Farlowellas can be pretty voracious and if they do not have enough algae they will resort to nocturnal plant sucking. How big is your tank? Is it mature?
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad farlowella!

It's a 35 long that's been up for over 2 years. I have 2 pieces a driftwood that she is always swimming around and cleaning.. They have quite the appetite
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad farlowella!

Just supplement their feeding with spirulina wafers. Any algae eater will start eating plants when algae is not available. But they (almost) always prefer algae over plants so when your tank is algae free supplement their diet and your plants will be harmed way less.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad farlowella!

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Originally Posted by bigeflashgordon View Post
It's a 35 long that's been up for over 2 years. I have 2 pieces a driftwood that she is always swimming around and cleaning.. They have quite the appetite
Give her another bit of wood also if you can. Farlo's need to eat the wood surface 'scum' - bio-organics from the surface. I had one that loved blanched zucchini squash slices.

Blanching: tossing them in boiling water for a minute or two to kill bacteria etc and soften them a bit.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:52 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bad farlowella!

Feed kitchen vegetables, too. I blanch things like broccoli stems, zucchini and similar soft foods, and bake hard things like yams and butternut squash. Not too tender, though. Green beans are a favorite. The tender inside is attacked first, and the fish rasp their way out to the skin. The actual bean is good, too, and peas. I start with frozen peas, pop them out of their skin and drop the 2 half-peas into different spots.

My Farlowella seemed to spend the most time clinging to the wood in the tank, and did not seem to cause problems with the plants.
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