Can you eat bottom feeder fish
Can a bottom feeder (Pleco) clean an aquarium filter and / or extract nutrients from it?
So I have a 15 gallon aquarium at home with just a few fish and a plecostomus bottom feeder that keeps the glass and things there clean, but of course I have to keep replacing my filter every time it gets filled with trash of all the fish in there.
I'm curious considering that the Pleco is eating all the trash out of the aquarium. Could I just take the dirty filter, put in a clean filter, and toss the dirty filter in the tank - and if I did, would the Pleco clean it to be reusable? Or would the Pleco even clean it just to feed it - would it be nutritionally for the Pleco?
Is that just silly or does the idea I'm talking about have any value?
No, it won't work. Plecos don't eat trash: they are often viewed as "clean fish" because some species conveniently eat algae and scraps and because they tend to be fairly inconspicuous, but none of them thrive long on debris. The dirt in your filter media is a mixture of rotting food, fish droppings, and bacterial growth. Even if they could completely clean it, it would not be a healthy diet for them.
There are hundreds of species of plecos (or more formally loricarids), and all of them have a specific diet consisting of plant matter, microorganisms, meat, and even driftwood. And of course, a diet that works for one species may not work for another. You probably have something that was sold as an ordinary Pleco that probably Pterygoplichthys pardalis is , but could be one of several similar types. All fish sold under this name are omnivorous, and as pastures that need to be eaten almost constantly, they eat a lot of plant material - they eat algae when they are young, but they benefit from blanched vegetables like pumpkin or zucchini, and that type of plant material becomes more important in their diet as they grow.
(As a warning, anything sold as "common pleco" will grow out of your 15 gallon tank and a few more. They can grow up to two feet long, and even if they're relatively small, they're heavy duty poop -Machines Overloading the Filtration of a Small Tank My open mind is that these Plecos aren't really suitable for most home aquariums.)
Incidentally, some filter media can easily be rinsed off with a light hose - although you must of course be careful not to kill your biofilter. A lot of hang-on filters don't look like very durable media cartridges to me, but sponge and canister filters can be cleaned and reused.
Given enough nutrients, it would hardly need any other possible nutrients on the filter (assuming they exist). This is unlikely to result in any significant cleaning of the filter, and even then all of the active parts of the filter will have been used up so there is really no potential for reuse.
In other words, I'd just toss the filter.
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