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Sick Common Pleco

This is a discussion on Sick Common Pleco within the BottomFeeder Discussion forums, part of the Freshwater Fish Breeds category;
Hello, I have a 3 inch common pleco named Fluffy (because when ever they move their fins fluff up). My ...

  1. #1
    Teenie Weenie Fish Mikael616's Avatar
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    Default Sick Common Pleco

    Hello, I have a 3 inch common pleco named Fluffy (because when ever they move their fins fluff up).

    My tank is a 30 Gallon (I know Fluffy will eventually outgrow the tank).
    Temp is usually hovering between 78-80
    Nitrate: 0
    Nitrate: 0
    PH: 7.0
    Amonia: 0

    But that's with my recent water change, I was too worried to check before I did the change, It had been about a week and a half sinse my last change and was hoping to wait the full two weeks to get the water change and new filter in at the same time.


    THE PROBLEM:

    My pleco, Fluffy, is your typical pleco at 3 inches, so picture this lettle fellah, now, take a white bead (if you've ever picked appart styrofoam, how it's made up on a ton of small little styrofoam beads) the bead is about that size. Take that bead and stick it to the fleshy part of the pleco's front left fin (Pectoral fin I believe). He does not have small white spots anywhere on him, so I really can't imagine this is Ich (if you think otherwise PLEASE let me know!) The only other issue is his tail fin seems to be having a hard time opening, the skin membrane part (the fin itself) just inside from the outter edge is a sort of red tinge in a backwards crecent moon shape following the shape of the fin. It does not spread through the whole fin, just a crecent moon shape redish.
    Aside from that nothing really appears wrong with him, the bead is really quite large and perfectly round. I have him in a hospital tank with salt added. I haven't added medications yet as I am unsure becuase I read on another forum that pleco's are sensitive to meds, not to mention I really have NO idea what he is sick with, the only thing I found was "Saprolegnia Fungus" or "Lymphosistis Virus" which is the more unlikely of the two as information sttes it rarely effects freshwater fish.

    Again the only white part is the rather large white bead on his front left fin, and then the tail issue which seems to disallow him to open his tail fin (looks like he wants to open it but end up just shaking, like a human when the muscle has been used so much it shakes when you try to use it as it's very tired.).

  2. #2
    Moderator catfishmike's Avatar
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    How long have you had the fish? What have you been feeding it? what other tank inhabitants are there? A singular white dot could be anything. I've found my plec would have one that would show up from time to time. Often time I would chalk it up to stress or perhaps an injury from thrashing about the tank(he sure loved messing up stuff)

    Though it does kinda sound like stress. Also i've never been a fan of hospital tanks for catfish. That was always the last stop...
    I still love catfish!

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    Teenie Weenie Fish Mikael616's Avatar
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    I can see what you mean about the hospital tank, my poor Pleco seems SO miserable in there and no real algea to eat, I put half a algea disk in there for him.

    INFO ON PLECO:
    AGE: I've had him for about 3 weeks now, I bought him along with another fish, a gold gourami, who died three days later of nearly EVERY fish disease I know of, the store took credit for the fish being extreemly ill (The Pleco actually came from the same tank as the gourami) I no longer shop there, terrible, terrible place.

    FOOD: I feed him half an algea disk during the daytime (other fish nibble it as well) and the other half before I turn off the lights for the night. This is suplimented by brine shrimp pellets (so long as my columbian shark doesn't goble them all up, usually if I toss one further back, he wont find them ^.- and again, I realise the columbian shark needs to be rehomed, the petco I got him from didn't give me correct info, not telling me he was brakish, or that they like being in multiples, OR how big they get! Even though I asked about specifics /cry)

    TANK MATES:
    1. Blue Gourami
    1. Fresh Water Eel (the smaller variety that gets to about 5 inches max)
    1. Columbian shark (who'll be going to a new home asap, or to a petstore that will take the poor guy)
    1. Rainbow Fish
    1. Clown Loach

    I do a water change Generally every sunday, 25% - 50% depending on how my water reads.

    I really want to put my pleco back in the tank, I hate seeing him so unhappy, I truly do, but I'm TERRIFIED he might be sick with something contagious and I'd be devistated if all my little fish got sick.

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    Teenie Weenie Fish Mikael616's Avatar
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    http://img576.imageshack.us/img576/1897/sickpleco.jpg

    I don't have a camera to show my poor pleco so I attempted to doodle out what I'm seeing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikael616 View Post
    My tank is a 30 Gallon (I know Fluffy will eventually outgrow the tank).
    Temp is usually hovering between 78-80
    Nitrate: 0
    Nitrate: 0
    PH: 7.0
    Amonia: 0
    With as overstocked as your tank is, I'm surprised at these readings. How are you testing? You've listed nitrate twice. What about nitrite?
    Just my 2cents,
    OC

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    Teenie Weenie Fish Mikael616's Avatar
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    Sorry I always seem to double post nitrate >> the words are so similar, but the nitrite is 0, as I said though these reading are AFTER a large 75% water change as I was startled by the sudden issue on my pleco. I generally do a 25- 50% water change EVERY week not ever two weeks like most people. But this past week i did not which is what I'm thinking caused the problem, I was trying to get everything in sync so my filter was changed with a water change right at the end of the month which mean waiting 5 days longer then usual for the water change. I'm thinking this was a HUGE mistake. My poor Fluffy! All my other fish are perfect how ever, all well coloured and energetic <3

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    Teenie Weenie Fish Mikael616's Avatar
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    I couldn't bare it any more, I've placed my pleco BACK into the main tank, he has gone right back to his favorite spot, behind my filter and the general area on the walls and gravle on the left hand side of my tank. He has no issues clinging to the wall (I only state this because I've heard other sick plecos sometimes are unable to stick to things / too weak).

    If stress is the issue, I'd probably guess the main tank is less stressful then then smaller, blank hospital tank T-T

    Also you can bet I wont wait a single day longer to do my water changes regardless of a situation again! I feel so bad for my fish (I didn't realise I was over stocked, all my fish are really very small, my three biggest are Gourami at 4 inch, fluffy at 3 inch, and the columbian shark at 3.5 - 4 inch, the others are really very tiny, around an inch to and inch and a half each) When my fish get too big (aside from the columbian shark as he requires special needs) I have a friend whom will take them into their home with a 90 gallon and a 150 gallon custom made tank. So my fish outgrowing my tank isn;t too much of an issue, once they do they go to a new home ^^

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    Teenie Weenie Fish Mikael616's Avatar
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    More Updates: I've been reading around here and one thing that keeps comming up is the phrase "Plecos need driftwood!!!" I have been soaking a peice of lovely sinking wood i bought from petco for about a month and it's still leaking tanins. But I went snooping and stated that active carbon along with frequent water changes (as I do once a week) will keep the tea color from really getting bad, and the tanins if kept in low amount wont harm my fish.
    I added my driftwood and my sick pleco, fluffy made a dive for it, he is currently in the cave area on the wood, maybe he is indeed sick with stress from a lack of a nice hiding spot? (He ALWAYS hangs out beind my filter, but in half a second abandoned that spot for the driftwood).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikael616 View Post
    But I went snooping and stated that active carbon along with frequent water changes (as I do once a week) will keep the tea color from really getting bad, and the tanins if kept in low amount wont harm my fish.
    Tannins in high amounts will not harm your fish. It is only us humans that don't like the look of the stained water. A lot of fish won't feel comfortable enough to breed unless there are tannins in the water. Some buy 'black extract' for the stained effect (tannins in a bottle).

    I'm still perplexed about your test readings. You should have something (ammonia, nitrite, and/or nitrate) in the main tank with the bioload you have. What test kit do you use? Can you test again right before your next water change and post results here?
    Last edited by OrangeCones; 04-29-2010 at 08:03 PM.
    Just my 2cents,
    OC

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    Moderator catfishmike's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say the tank is overstocked, five medium-ish fish in a 30 ain't too bad.... unless the filter is not up to the challenge. Stress is usually from a few things, fish on fish aggression, poor water conditions, lack of space/hiding space, and too much tank maintenance.

    It's been a really long time since I've diagnosed fish, but I found that it was very unlikely to catch one of the few parasites that showed up as just a singular white dot.

    What are the odds of fish on fish aggression? Cause I would suspect it's an injury of sorts. Common plecos can be territorial and this brings them into conflict with other fish that share the same spaces. At least two of your fish do compete for those spaces. I forget what exactly a Columbian shark so I gotta look that one up.

    One other thought about hospital tanks is this, very few people keep a cycled running hospital running, waiting for fish. which means that hospitals are set up quickly, are uncycled and usually sparsely decorated if at all. that's like being shoved into a public restroom and being told get better.

    As for driftwood, For all the talk of needing driftwood, and how they would eat it ect. ect.... Honestly, I could never tell if they managed to eat any of the wood or not.
    But they sure did seem much happier for just the presence alone.

    For now monitor your tank conditions, and try feeding the plec a wafer with fresh garlic juice dripped onto them and maybe a bit of melafix. I have always liked melafix cause it's safe for scaleless fish, it's anti bacterial without harming the beneficial bacteria and helps to replace the slime coat and cleanse wounds. It's no miracle cure but it never hurts unlike some meds. The worst thing that happens? Your tank smells nice.
    I still love catfish!

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