Jan 20, 2010

Pesty Plecos

Any self-respecting freshwater aquarist (such as myself) knows of the plecostamus. Also known as the janitor fish, they make for great tank cleaners. But to folks in the Philippines they are a menace.


The pleco was introduced to several river systems in the Philippines with the intent of having them clean up the rivers. The plecos dined on the waste, detritus, and filth. The program worked. But them the plecos, now running out of garbage to eat, began to turn to endemic species to feast upon.

Philippine officials are now scratching their heads and wondering what to do. These fish are nigh on indestructible. They've got armored plating, can eat anything, and have a rabbitesque ability to reproduce. Officials have turned to dredging the river bottoms in an attempt to slow down the advance and spread of the pleco. And local fishermen are of no help, since the pleco, with all of its garbage eating, isn't really edible.

Thanks for the pleco, Jelo from the Philippines. Have fun fishing anyway--let us know what they taste like.




16 comments:

Jelo said...

Evil bastard fish-spawn of satan!!!
Clubbed one of these bastards with a two-foot crowbar once and it only dazed the sucker! Beware the evil crap-feeding fish from hell!!!

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

dang.

SaraSABBATH said...

Okay that last one really scares the crap out of me.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on! they just look butt-ugly. Well, nothing good ever comes out when introducing foreign animals to a habitat...

Lorri said...

When I kept aquaria I always had one pleco per tank, a flock of corys and a couple of otocinclus. I never had algae problems.

That said, it's just stupid they introduced plecos to a foreign environment. Probably all they can do now is find out what predates plecos, and introduce those. Of course, those predators will no doubt prefer some other, less armored, tastier native species...

Wonder if you could take a pleco, put it in fresh water and feed it clean food like farmed catfish, if it would be rendered edible then.... hmmmm...

Jelo said...

Agreed, it was stupid. An ecological nightmare in the making, or in this case already made. I mean, they could have at least done case studies. Look at the cane toads in Queensland...

I head to the river once a week to dredge out as much of these demon-spawn as I can but there's only so much a handful of guys with nets and a healthy hatred of these fish can do...

Anonymous said...

I'm normally against killing animals to satiate the fashion industry's demand for "natural" products. However, in this case, the fish are clearly overstepping their bounds and they do have rather nice looking scales/armor. Vietnamese pleco handbags anyone?

A. said...

Holy macaroni, those are some ENORMOUS plecos. I would enjoy meeting them myself (as I have a soft spot for giant plecos), but it's a shame they're causing ecosystem problems.

LisaL79 said...

Poor plecos. Just doing what they were supposed to. Not their faults they breed like rabbits :D
I think the 2nd one looks pretty cool. They could probably sell that one for a hefty amount of $$ to aquarists.
I love my pleco.. although when they do get really big, they creep me out.

Vern said...

Yep, these suckers to get big. Like freaky big. And they always win in a staredown contest too...

BugLady said...

They should research how to turn pleco fishing into a profitable occupation. If there is a industrial use for any part of the fish, it'd be gone in no time. Fish oil, maybe? :|

Jelo said...

It makes excellent fertilizer BugLady. That's one way we've been able to manage the pleco population.

stonemaven said...

They're wreaking similar havoc in the San Marcos River in Tx. Seems the college kids at South Western State Uni tend to dump their aquariums over the bridge before heading home for the semester breaks...
On the other hand, why not net and sell them to the aquarium trade through wholesalers?

jerkie said...

As the other guy said, plecoed hand bags & shoes.. Im sure a Marikina Entrepreneur could figure out a way (or at least test) to make that armored scales profitable.
I had a -3 incher of that on my fish tank, but those behemoths you got looks like they have taken down a T-rex in their past life.
Good luck on your mission. And keep in mind the lessons of natural history.. That humans can push any species to extinction.

J said...

i had the privilege of spearing one of these.....i wondered as what they would taste like.....on a grill skillet with adobo (spanish seasoning),garlic,pepper,butter,onion powder...they are tastyyyyy....

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me what type of pleco the last pleco pic (pleco 3) is because I bought that type from my pet store. Can someone tell me how big it gets? Thank you.