View Full Version : URGENT!! Pleco turned white, dying...

02-01-2006, 2:01 PM
I have had this guy for quite a while, the main part of his body has turned white, and his top fin is almost gone, except for the bones (not sure of the proper terminology...), his tail is the same, but not quite as deteriorated. I will post the water parameters soon, but I am sure they are fine. He was in an established 180g tank, all the other fish look fine. This has happened with in the last 3-4 days. I know he looked fine on Friday or Saturday.

I have him in QT right now, what happened? And what treatment can I try? I'm afraid it might be too late.

02-01-2006, 2:07 PM
I've seen plecos turn white when exposed to low temps. Whan I was servicing my big tank, I kept one in an (accidentally) unheated tank for 4 days, and he was totally pale. However, after raising the temp he became brown again.

I've never seen how fin rot affects placos, but it could be that. Keep the placo in QT, and make sure you provide him with a cave to hide during the day. Remeber filtration is quite necesary for placos are messy fish.

For treatment, I'd go with some king of antibiotics, such as furan2. It has worked fine in cases of fin rot. But I'd need to see some pics.

good luck.

02-01-2006, 2:09 PM
check out bacterial and fungal fin rot comare to pics to figure out which one

i've heard malfix is great suff although i've never medicated a tank before

salt and a raised temp are usually good both help stimulate fish imune systems i'd put the temp at 80 (i believe for a pleco you don't want to get too hot) but you might do up to 82. don't do it fast

and start addiong the salt really gradually too since it's not ich i wouldn't put in a lot

i got a little fungus on a new fish a while back and had about a tablespoon for every 2 gallons set the temp to 82 and forced myself to be patient for almost 2 weeks and full recovery- it was a cory and they're fairly sensitive-

so i hope that helps good luck and i hope he pulls through!

02-01-2006, 2:11 PM
I had a Plex do the same thing and never figured out what caused it. Sorry to say, the critter died, so it looks like yours may be terminal.

Good Luck!

02-01-2006, 2:23 PM
Not sure what would have caused this though... No temperature changes, alot of the stuff on the web says that fin rot is caused by stress, poor water conditions, bullying, poor nutrition, none of which is the case

The nitrate is pretty high, about 80 or so, but I think that is b/c I have not done a water change in a few weeks. I know, I know, but I have an 8 week old, and school just started back up a few weeks ago. I will do one tomorrow. It is usually around 20-40 (hard to tell on the chart, probably about 30), and it was at that number a few weeks ago. I don't think that a few weeks of high nitrates would cause such an extreme situation. Heres the other #'s.
ph 7.4
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
temp. about 76

02-01-2006, 2:49 PM
Water change 50% today, 50% tomorrow, then test again. Get those nitrates below 10!

Increase temp to 80 over several hours.

Salt 1 tbsp/gallon.

Melafix 1 tsp/10 gallons.

Remove carbon.

My pleco Rufus had a stasis ulcer/ bed sore/ secondary infection. He healed up fine.

Good luck!

02-01-2006, 3:19 PM
that most definately would do it! that's a long time even a few days like that could do serious damage

i understand being busy but you can't put it off anylonger i'd do a little more gradual- 20% now couple hours later 20% again and a couple hours later one more time 20% then tomarrow i'd do a 50%

you don't want to shock him further but you do want to get those nitrates down asap


02-01-2006, 3:41 PM
High nitrates are definately not ideal, but a few weeks of them being around 80 will not damage the fish, at least not like this...Maybe you are thinking of nitrItes?

02-01-2006, 3:56 PM
that's not just a few nitrates i know the differnce between the 2.

it's not so much that the nirates hurt the fish directly but rather that having to deal with the nitrates over a prolonged period of time weakened the fish's defences and the fin rot is a secondary infection.

unless there is a variable i don't know about i'd say it has to be the nitrates.

sorry to disagree.

02-01-2006, 4:19 PM
I also doubt that nitrates of 80 for a few weeks would have attacked a healthy pleco. But definately getting the water changed is a must. It could be another factor in the old tank water that is leading to his ill health. But definately fresh water never hurts.

02-01-2006, 4:29 PM
The pleco is in QT, so I will definately keep him in fresh water there, until he is cured or dies. Should I consider euthanizing? since his top fin is down to the rays is he suffering much?

The fish in the main tank all seem very healthy and happy, plan to do the water change tomorrow. The only change to the tank recently was the addition of a piece of driftwood, but I got it from big als, so I'm assuming it was pretty safe.

02-01-2006, 4:51 PM
I don't euthenize my fish, even if they don't look like they're going to make it. I just make them as comfortable as I can with clean warm water and hope for the best......I'd give him a shot...and see how he does in QT.

When I loose a fish....they go in the planter out on my front step... :D

02-01-2006, 5:04 PM
yeah i'd say there's a good chance he'll pull through fins re-grow especially if the bone is still there.

02-01-2006, 5:13 PM
You need to do the water change today!@#?

02-01-2006, 5:18 PM
The pleco is in clean water in QT. The main tank will have to wait until tomorrow unless you want to come babysit my 8 week old and complete a paper for a graduate level economics class that is due tomorrow :rant:
I realize that high nitrates are not ideal, but another day is not going to hurt. I am a very responsible fish keeper, and this is not a regular occurence.

02-01-2006, 8:00 PM
The pleco is in clean water in QT. The main tank will have to wait until tomorrow unless you want to come babysit my 8 week old and complete a paper for a graduate level economics class that is due tomorrow
I realize that high nitrates are not ideal, but another day is not going to hurt. I am a very responsible fish keeper, and this is not a regular occurence.

So THERE !! ;)

02-02-2006, 8:33 AM
Sorry Holly9937, if you don't have the time to care for your fish maybe you think about finding them a new home.

02-02-2006, 10:57 AM
Sorry Holly9937, if you don't have the time to care for your fish maybe you think about finding them a new home.

Just because she doesnt have time to do a water change today doesnt mean she shouldnt have fish. She is taking time to find out what is wrong with them isnt she? At least she is doing something by moving the pleco to a QT tank. Just by having a QT tank she is doing more than alot of the people on this website. Geeze, sometimes you people are just too harsh. Especially when someone is actually trying to do something right.

02-02-2006, 11:06 AM
there's definately an obligation in taking on keeping a creature alive and happy

however it sounds like holly's got her priorities straight and her other fish probably already held out for the extra 12 hours

we really do get carried away with the harshness on this forum sometimes.

last night at the LFS a man came in and wanted to tell the clerk that his fish were all dying suddenly b/c his filer kicked the bucket- he refused to accept that not doing a water change for a year and half was the problem or that his filter stopped working b/c he hadn't replaced the evaporated water yet and it burned up b/c it couldn't reach the water anymore
(plus he was using RO for replacement with crushed corral in the filter).

Now he deserves harshness not Holly

02-02-2006, 11:10 AM
I agree Kyle...it just kind of upsets me when people come here looking for help and instead of advice they get criticism. Everyone learned somehow ya know? Most of us made tons of mistakes in the beginning, but I think some people forget about their past mistakes.

02-02-2006, 11:14 AM
too true, too true

02-02-2006, 11:28 AM
I have a 180g tank. do you know how long it would take for nitrates to reach 80? My nitrates increase about 5 between weekly water changes of 50%. Do the math, thats ALOT of weeks without water changes.

"Fish will feel the impact of nitrates by the time the levels reach 100 ppm, particularly if levels remain there. Furthermore, conditions that cause elevated nitrates often cause decreased oxygen levels, which further stress the fish."

02-02-2006, 12:06 PM
hey i'm not arguing with that read my earlier posts-

i'm just saying lets not scare em away- they'll stop listening to our good advise
(not that we'll scare you away holly, i mean others, particulary newbs that get berated first post and never come back)

02-02-2006, 12:18 PM
Geez, give Holly a break! She has been here for quite a while now, has been a very active member, and has given a lot of good advice...and, I may add, has been considerate and fair in her responses time and time again.

She has a legitimate question about a fish which she has put into quarantine. I'm sorry, I don't have any specific advice about the sick pleco. Perhaps someone has experience with this situation and can help?

02-02-2006, 12:19 PM
Don't auume that because your water levels change a certain in between water changes that everyone elses do as well. Many people have a level of nitrates in their change water. I know my hardness is non existant and my pH will crash if I let my tank go for 2 weeks. But many people don't have that issue. Give avdice based on the information given, ask for more info if necessary. She said a few weeks, I have to believe that. And a few weeks at high nitrates will not kill any healthy fish.

Holly, start doing the water changes when you geta chance, perhaps starting with smaller ones if you feel the change water chemistry is vastly different. And if large weekly water changes are too much to cope with then what about doing smaller ones when ever you get the chance, that may be 3 small ones a week. I knwo if I am busy that is what I try to do.

02-02-2006, 1:04 PM
I have a 180g tank. do you know how long it would take for nitrates to reach 80? My nitrates increase about 5 between weekly water changes of 50%. Do the math, thats ALOT of weeks without water changes.

well, I have a 250 gl tank filled with carnivourous fish and my nitrate levels rise almost 20 ppm weekly. My other 50 gl. tank, wich is planted, with regular fish, takes 3 weeks to rise 10ppm of nitrates.

Don't give advice or judge people solely in your individual experience: conditions are not the same in everyone's tanks.


02-02-2006, 1:10 PM
Back to business. Holly, how is your pleco doing? Has there been any change in his behavior or color?

02-02-2006, 3:45 PM
Thanks for sticking up for me guys :hi: !! Unfortunately, he didn't make it, he was in pretty bad shape, I wish I had found him sooner, maybe I could have done more.

As for you budrecki, if you want to continue this, how about we talk about that ID shark.... A 180g is WAY too small for such a fish. At least my fish only suffered temporarily from missing a few water changes....

02-02-2006, 3:50 PM
i agree those guys get over 4 feet long! start filling your basement ;)

and holly i'm so sorry for your loss plecos have so much personality i'm sure u're going to miss him

02-02-2006, 3:54 PM
thanks kyle, I've had him for at least a year, maybe 2 I can't remeber. I bought the 180 to accomodate him and my balas, and I was looking forward to having a huge pleco since I had the room, I think they are really neat when they get so big, unfortunately most of them don't have the chance. I'm not sure if I will replace him or not. :(

02-02-2006, 3:59 PM
if you decide you want a new one i've heard you can find larger ones

some pet stores buy them from people whose fish out grew thier tanks- i know some people buy common plecos with this in mind

you could call around

my fav LFS gets people trying to give them thier fish -they take as many as they can house but even if your LFS doesn't usually do this i bet they get asked to do it a lot if you told them you were on the lookout for a larger pleco i bet they'd be sure to take it in if they knew you'd want it.

by the way how'd the paper go? hope you aced it!

02-02-2006, 4:19 PM
Thats actually a great idea, maybe I can rescue a pleco!! My only concern is that I only have a 10g QT tank, I couldn't go too big without making him miserable for a few weeks...

the rough draft and all my graphs are due today, so I'll find out some feedback on Tuesday. Hopefully I did well, but we'll see if she laughs at me, my math skills are non existent :laugh:

02-02-2006, 4:26 PM
DO you think I bought a 180g tank for platys? I did the reaserch on both my pleco and id.

"Common sense comes to play here. A fish that grows to an average size of 30 inches, like the I.D. shark, in the wild would grow no smaller than half that in the proper environment in an aquarium, so planning for an average size of 15 inches or more is essential."


"36” in the wild, 6-12” in most tanks"
"we never saw an iridescent shark exceed 18 inches. You’ll be lucky to grow one longer than 12 inches. Happily, most top out at 6 to 8 inches"


"Usually not more than 12" (30 cm) in captivity"


02-02-2006, 4:28 PM
mine stink too!

but u know a couple weeks in a 10 gallon with lots of water changes and veggies is better that dying b/c of stunted growth i bet he'd be darn happy in the end

02-02-2006, 6:17 PM
budrecki are we talking about the same iridecent shark?

according to www.fishprofiles.com and many other sources they grow to 50" or more. more than 4'.

02-02-2006, 10:42 PM
Holly, I'm so sorry about your pleco. Is it possible that he was just old or had a shortened life-span from possible tank problems in the past? I completely sympathise with you. I know you're busy but it will get better once the baby gets older and you finish up with school. Just stay on those water changes as much as you can and don't let those with high and mighty attitudes get to you. Most of us realise that life is hectic and you're doing the best you can.