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Pleco In Big Trouble


Guest mluisa

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Tank is 10 gal with just one fish a tropical dwarf something besides our plecostomus. All the tests are normal. ammonia nitrite nitrate ph etc. In the last couple weeks we noticed this little things on the sides of the tank, We researched online and believe they are snails, they kept inscreasing in size and number but all advice online said not to worry. Anyways our pleco now seems to be very very VERY distressed, he keeps swiming to the top of the fish tank as if it were trying to jump out of the tank and its mouth is like very open and he is moving all over the tank and seems very agitated. We changed the water and measure all the levels again, and they are normal, Please can someone help??

We feed him those little algae drops and nothing else about twice a day . And we try to keep the lights off since someone told us that that could stop the "snails" from reproducing and growing.

Please help!!!! :(

Maria Luisa

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Hi, sorry you're having probs with your plec.

If his mouth is wide open chances are he is suffereing from some kind of poisoning. Can you give us some more info on your tank plse.

How many times do you change the water weekly?

What is the temperature at?

What is the pH?

What is the ammonia at?

What is the nitrite reading?

What is the nitrate reading?

When was the other fish added?

How long have you had your plec?

What kind of water conditioner do you use?

Any salt/stress coat/any meds added?

Snails carry disease, did you recently add plants? What kind of decor do you have? Gravel?

ALL these questions are fundamental for diagnosis. Plse answer as many as you can and post back so we can help :)

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Thank you so so much for replying!! Here is the info you requested,

the temperature is 80-82

ph is 7

ammonia is at 0

nitrite is at 0

nitrate is at 10

we got this tank about 3 months ago and the other fish and the pleco were added toghether about 3 months ago

we add stress coat when water is changed

2 tbsspoons of salt every water change

water change: this time (last night) almost 3 gls usually 15%

we added a few live plants when we got the tank but they disappeared!! We believe (according to internet info) that the snails or whatever they are ate them. Right now there is nothing else but the gravel that we started with and a deco thing were our pleco used to hide (now he is out in the wide)

In the last few days we noticed that there was like a white dust near the filter

the filter is the one that came with the tank set (TopFin power filter with cartridge)

IT also has an adjustable 50-watt US Heater

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We just measured a few mins ago the new water that we changed last nite, these are the new readings

Nitrate is btwn 0 - 5

Amonia is at 0.5

Nitrate is 0.25

PH is 7.6

High range PH is btween 7.4 and 7.8

Thank you so much for your help!!! We really appreciate it.

Maria Luisa

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hokay...the salt might be part of the problem. Plecos do not like salt and in high enough concentrations it can hurt them. What is your salt concentration? Why did you start salting to begin with?

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and about the salt concentration, We dont know how to measure that :( Is it measured in the same way as the other things? if so, then we do not have that one

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What kind of Pleco is it If its a common pleco your tank is way too small as they can grow up to half a meter in length. Mine is 16inchs without tail and he lives in a 60 gallon. Also plecos do not survive on algae they require a varied diet including krill and other fish derivatives.

As already pointed out the salt is not good for your pleco.

Dependant on illness determines how much aquarium salt is put in. Aqurium salt must always be mixed before adding to the tank.

for stress you add 1 teaspoon per gallon which gives salt concentration of 0.1%

12 hrs later you can repeat the above to bring to 0.2%

finally another 12 hrs repeat again this brings concentration up to 0.3% which will combat both parasites and fungus

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yes it is a common pleco and it is very small (about 2 inches long - tail included). We know it is gonna grow very big; we are preparing for that. It was doing fine, it was shy and was comfortable and all till now that, as i said, seems very very agitaded, keeps going to top of the tank as if trying to reach the surface and its mouth is wide open, and moves restlessly. Any suggestions on what to do??

Thank you for all your help

Maria Luisa

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Do you have a quarantine tank or a tub with heater etc you could place him in just now while treating the fish with salt. If you do I would suggest moving him. When you water change the salted tank then you could put him back. Its best to avoid using salt in a tank with him. I only salt my tanks to treat sick fish and that is always done in quarantine never in tank the plec is in.

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Thank you, we are going to put our pleco in a tank with less water, but i wanted to let you know that this problem started before the salt was added. Actually we added the salt thinking that it might help him get better and go back to normal. Anyways, as we said, everything seemed fine with the water and everything else in the tank except for those little things like snails that started showing up in the tank, and about a week later (2 days ago) our pleco begain acting weird.

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When you move the pleco be cafeful again of the salt. Unless theres illness in the tank that you were using the salt to treat I would recommend doing your regular water changes but not adding the salt back in. Moving a fish from salted water to non salted water suddenly can really stress then out, its best to do it gradually. So the issue with the plec started before the salt? Hmmm...I think blue asked if he was rubbing on anything, is he? Also is the tank aerated (air stone)? Do your other fish appear totally normal? Any little detail will help :)

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He is not rubbing but he is very very active, moving very fast all over the tank, specially the top of it, whereas before he was very very shy and spent most of his time hiding. He also has his mouth wide open as if desperately trying to get air or something

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If you bring a fish up to surface so mouth is out of water they automatically open it take a look inside I had a black moor that was choking on a peice of gravel once and had to use tweezers to get it out. Also when handling your plec be careful as there spines can rip through your skin something to bare in mind as he gets bigger.

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He is pretty much scratching the surface of the water now, and not moving much, even when we tried to make it move so that we could take a better look at his mouth, he barely moved :(

and as far as we could see, no, there is nothing in his mouth.

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Do you have a small torch you can shine down his throat as it could be far back in his throat if there is something

Best suggestion besides doing that is do a water change but do not add more salt. How much did you put in the tank ?

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The tank does have an air pump or whatever it is called. There is only one other fish (some sort of tropical fish) and he seems to be ok. We put about 2 tbspoos of salt (aquarium salt)

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I would do a water change as it is a high concentration of salt for a small tank as salt is ment to be added gradually not i a large ammount at once. Do a water change an see how he behaves. As usually fish trying to get out of the water by jumping at the surface does indicate a water problem which in the case of your plec is the salt.

Did you mix the salt and disolve it completely before you added it to the tank as undisolved salt can burn and irritate a fish if added directly to a tank

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People! Apart from Blue, no one has fully realised the significance of the enormous amount of salt Maria Luisa has been adding to her 10gal every water change!

"2 tb spoons of salt every water change

water change: this time (last night) almost 3 gls usually 15%"

1 tsp per/gal = 0.1%,

2tsp =0.2%,

3 tsp or 1 tbs = 0.3%

Maria has been dosing 2 tbs (!) with every partial water change. With less than a third of the water removed each change this means that the salt level has been escalating through the roof!

Hola Maria! De donde es? I'm sorry your fish is sick - it is very important to start reducing the salt immediately. To do this you must make lots of small water changes adding back only salt-free water. Salt does not evaporate and can only be removed through water changes. Try to match the temperature and add dechlor each time. You are aiming to slowly take out all the salt without shocking the fish.

Post back and let us know how things are.

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