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tmtpowers
06-15-2006, 10:57 PM
I just started a 55 gallon tank 5 days ago. Well three days ago I was offered a 10" pleco from a guy that said he wasn't having any luck with fish. When I got the pleco home I tested the water he was in (he was in approx a gallon to a gallon and a half for 30 minutes) and the test results where: Nitrate off the chart (above 200), nitrite 10.0, hardness 25, 0 alkalinity, Ph was too low for my test (below6.2)and ammonia was .50. So we started a water drip for quite a while. We could not get the nitrates down for the test to read it even after adding several gallons of our tank water. After about 45ish minutes we went ahead and moved him to the tank due to him showing signs of stressing. I noticed several spots on him that looked like carpet burn (skin rubbed) and some red sores on some of his fins. So I started to treat it with Melafix. Last nigh he looked as if he was improving. He started to swim about a lot more and looking for food. I tested our water last night and the ammonia was up a bit (again just new tank syndrome) so we did a partial water change (25%) Today the pleco has spent all day on the bottom floor. I noticed several patches of gray on his back (it doesn't look like fungus but I'm not super experienced in fish either). Well tonight he finally moved to the side of the tank and he has two large wounds on his belly side! Please someone tell me what to do! What has happened?!

Tank size: 55gallon
pH: 7.0
ammonia: .25
nitrite: .5
nitrate: .0
kH:40
gH: 75
tank temp: 80F

Fish Symptoms (include full description including lesion, color, location, fish behavior): Open wounds on belly, grey discoloration on back and sides, eyes appear to be pop-eye but not sure (haven't dealt with large pleco before this one)

Volume and Frequency of water changes: At this point one 25% water change

Chemical Additives or Media in your tank: Charcoal filter (removed for 2 days during melafix treatment)

Tank inhabitants: 10" pleco, 2 red tail dalmation mollies, one balloon molly, 3 dwarf sunset coral platies

Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): Yesterday we added three cabomba plants and one Anacharis plant. All fish beside pleco we have had for 2-3 weeks now (they were in a smaller tank) as well as other plants besides those listed.

Exposure to chemicals: Melafix

Digital photos:

wounds:
http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e91/tmtpowers/wound.jpg
http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e91/tmtpowers/wounds.jpg

Gray patches, eyes, and old wound on nose (wound on nose was there when we got him but appears to be healing :
http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e91/tmtp...eyesandbody.jpg
http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e91/tmtpowers/nose.jpg

Primetime
06-15-2006, 11:57 PM
Slowly lower the temperature to 77-78ish. Do more water changes, because ideally you want the ammonia and nitrite at 0 and nitrate less than 20. Maybe it had the sores and gray patches before moving into your tank because the results you posted of the before water were HORRIBLE. Surprised that hes still living, hope you can make it work for him.

tmtpowers
06-16-2006, 12:48 AM
Thanks for the advice. We did do a water change last night. I just moved him over to my quarantine tank that just finished its cycling earlier today and added melafix to the water as well as salt. I am positive that the patches and sores where not there when we got him home. He was a beautiful dark gray and his belly looked perfect. The only thing we noticed when we added him to the tank and got a close look at him was a rubbed sore on his nose, and a few small ones on his fins. He seemed to be getting better but now has became worse and seems to be getting worse by the minute! I am hoping by placing him in an already cycled tank and treating him with the melafix will fix him up.

As for the water he came from, I actually wonder if moving him from such terrible water to almost correct water is what could have triggered this? Sadly that guy I got him from just couldn't understand why he was having no "luck" with fish. UGH!

liss
06-16-2006, 12:51 AM
Hey I'm no fish expert but I did read that they like the temp lower like around 75-78, make sure you do it slowly. I agree with primetime I bet he had the sores before you put him in your tank. Good luck I hope he gets better soon.

Roan Art
06-16-2006, 9:04 AM
As for the water he came from, I actually wonder if moving him from such terrible water to almost correct water is what could have triggered this? Yes, it is.

Your pleco is suffering from osmotic shock that has been brought about by being moved too quickly from "bad" water into "good" water. You didn't know, so it's not your fault.

That pleco has been kept in a tank that has not had the water changed in WHO knows how long. The water in that tank is very "thick" and jello-like and that will affect a fish's osmoregulation -- the ability to adjust to changing water conditions. He's been living it in a while and his body has "adjusted" to it but that adjustment comes at a cost: he will be unable to adjust to a different water unless he is acclimated VERY VERY VERY slowly.

Do NOT change the temperature. He cannot adjust to changes in temperature. Do not do ANYTHING to the tank. Do not add anything to the QT tank at *all*. No more salt! Do not remove the salt you already put in, just don't add any more. You are increasing the thickness of the water every time you put stuff in there and the more changes you make, the sicker that pleco will get.

Keep the water as it is now until he is better. Change it often and add salt back in to make it the same as it is now. Do not increase the salinity or you will lose the pleco.

Do not put any meds in the tank at all. If you start adding meds you will change the water chemistry again and that's what he's having problems adjusting to. Just keep the water clean and constant in chemistry and cross your fingers. Hopefully he will pull through.


Sadly that guy I got him from just couldn't understand why he was having no "luck" with fish. UGH!Tell him to change his water once in a while! Those poor fish in his tank are going to die. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but they WILL die from that water.

Roan

tmtpowers
06-16-2006, 1:57 PM
Thank you SO much for the tips! I had added one dose of melafix last night but I won't add any more or change anything else! How often should I do partial water changes concerning he is 10" in a 10 gallon tank?

As for that guy's fish, they all had already died. Only the pleco was alive due to him expecting the tank to take care of it self.

Roan Art
06-16-2006, 5:31 PM
Thank you SO much for the tips! I had added one dose of melafix last night but I won't add any more or change anything else! How often should I do partial water changes concerning he is 10" in a 10 gallon tank?Good question. The answer is, "Just how is he doing today?" How do the wounds look? Any new ones? General health? Breathing?

If he is acting "better" or you see an improvement at all, do about 20% daily.


As for that guy's fish, they all had already died. Only the pleco was alive due to him expecting the tank to take care of it self.Sigh. Plecos are tough fish, but they are usually among the first ones to die. That this guy lived is amazing. Usually clown loaches and cories and any other catfish go first. Then the tougher suckers and mid/top level fish.

I'm glad you rescued him. Kudos!

Roan

tmtpowers
06-16-2006, 7:27 PM
Well earlier today he appeared a bit better, then I put the carbon filter back in to filter out the meds and he started to look a bit worse then.

Also, something I completely forgot to add, Those open sores on his belly did not appear nor did the gray patches appear until after I stopped the melafix. I don't know if this has any effect on what I should be doing but I thought it would be worth adding just in case since I've never in my life dealt with anything like this.

Roan Art
06-16-2006, 9:58 PM
Well earlier today he appeared a bit better, then I put the carbon filter back in to filter out the meds and he started to look a bit worse then.

Also, something I completely forgot to add, Those open sores on his belly did not appear nor did the gray patches appear until after I stopped the melafix. I don't know if this has any effect on what I should be doing but I thought it would be worth adding just in case since I've never in my life dealt with anything like this.
Adding melafix to the water thickened it. Put it back and keep putting it in. I didn't realize that it was something you had added along with the salt. Just don't add anything else :)

Leave the carbon out completely for now. You want the water a little "icky" because that's what he's used to.

The best way to deal with OTS victims is slow and easy.

Roan

tmtpowers
06-16-2006, 10:13 PM
Thanks again for the advice!!!

Now I just have one more question (at least for now LOL) when will I stop the melafix treatments and and put the carbon back in? How to I get him ready (when the time is right if he lives) to be put in the large tank? What would be indications that he is ready?

OK, that was three LOL I know I'm jumping the gun here but I want to know what I should be doing and when ahead of time so I will be prepared.

BTW (I'm adding a 4th here LOL) what does OTS stand for? Sorry new to the whole online fish world :P

Roan Art
06-16-2006, 10:47 PM
Thanks again for the advice!!!

Now I just have one more question (at least for now LOL) when will I stop the melafix treatments and and put the carbon back in? How to I get him ready (when the time is right if he lives) to be put in the large tank? What would be indications that he is ready? When the wounds heal and he is in 100% fresh water and looking good, you can move him.


BTW (I'm adding a 4th here LOL) what does OTS stand for? Sorry new to the whole online fish world :PSorry, I should have explained. OTS is "Old Tank Syndrom". Its what happens to the chemistry in a tank that does not get enough water changes.

There are natural processes that go on in the tank that produce something we cannot measure in the hobby: DOCs (Dissolved Organic Compounds). We have no way of testing for DOCs because the "ingredients" list is astronomical. This is why changing the water is so important. It's not just the nitrates we need to remove.

Now, if the water is not changed the DOCs increase, so does the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). The water thickens -- imagine jello that is just starting to set. That's what it's like to the fish in there. Setting jello. Because the water is so "thick" the fish can no longer regulate their bodies (osmoregularity) and respond to any changing conditions: temperature, water changes, stress -- anything that causes any physical or mental stress and they cannot deal with it.

If you take a new fish and put it in an OTS tank with older fish that are used to the water, the new fish will die -- immediately. BOOM! Evetually the older fish will die as well. That part you've seen.

Here's an article by RTR on it. He explains it in more detail:

http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/small/ots.html

Roan

tmtpowers
06-16-2006, 11:35 PM
Thanks for the explanation!

Now let me make sure I understand what I am suppose to do:
Once the pleco's wounds heal and the gray patches are gone, I should slowly decrease the melafix to allow him to adjust to the water over a period of time correct? As for the salt, is it not a good idea to allow plecos to live in salt? I have always kept my tanks at .08% Currently that is what he is sitting at as well as the main fish tank.

new2tanks
06-16-2006, 11:48 PM
i think its wonderful that you are trying hard to save the poor plecos life.

Kudos to Roan and all that have offered such wonderful advice.keep up the great work.

Roan Art
06-17-2006, 7:51 AM
Thanks for the explanation!Welcome :)


Now let me make sure I understand what I am suppose to do:
Once the pleco's wounds heal and the gray patches are gone, I should slowly decrease the melafix to allow him to adjust to the water over a period of time correct?Yes


As for the salt, is it not a good idea to allow plecos to live in salt? I have always kept my tanks at .08% Currently that is what he is sitting at as well as the main fish tank.Freshwater fish do not need salt added to the tank, nor should salt be used on a long term basis.

Remember that explanation I gave you on DOCs and stuff? Salt actually adds to the problem and it will also affect their ability to osmoregulate. On a short term basis for medicinal purposes salt has its uses.

Using salt all the time is a very old aquaria myth and one that just refuses to die. Fish that are said to "need" salt -- mollies, livebearers et al -- really do not need salt at all. They need hard water. You don't make water harder by adding salt to it. All you do is make it thicker. Take a water softener -- the type you add to your house to "soften" your tap water. What it does is replace the magnesium and calcium ions with salt ions -- ergo "softer" water. That's not what you want to accomplish, that's for sure.

To make it hard you need to add calcium, magnesium, potassium and a whole lot of other "iums" :)

Here's an article on the salt myth:


All Salt Was Not Created Equal, by RTR (http://aquafacts.net/wiki/index.php/All_Salt_Was_Not_Created_Equal)

Most fish do not need their water harder, or softer or whatever, except for difficult species that you intend to breed. They've been kept for generation in regular water and are far removed from whatever water their ancestors lived in.

Roan

DeputyChiefJR
06-17-2006, 8:01 AM
Roan, you said that plecos are tough creatures and you weren't quite sure why they, loaches and cories go first...Could it be because the water level that they live in would receive the least exchange with the open atmosphere as well as containing the highest amounts of undisolved solids in the tank....Water density would be higher at their level and thus, although appearing less able to cope, they would actually be coping better because the water chemistry at the time of their death would be worse than that of their upper dwelling denizens?

Roan Art
06-17-2006, 8:33 AM
Roan, you said that plecos are tough creatures and you weren't quite sure why they, loaches and cories go first...Could it be because the water level that they live in would receive the least exchange with the open atmosphere as well as containing the highest amounts of undisolved solids in the tank....Water density would be higher at their level and thus, although appearing less able to cope, they would actually be coping better because the water chemistry at the time of their death would be worse than that of their upper dwelling denizens?I would say so, yes.

However, I didn't say I wasn't sure why they went first -- you pretty much summed that up -- I said I wasn't sure as to why HIS pleco didn't go first. That's one really tough pleco!

Roan

tmtpowers
06-17-2006, 12:08 PM
Alright, thanks for the info once again! LOL Its pretty clear I still have a lot to learn!

tmtpowers
06-17-2006, 6:29 PM
Sorry, I have yet another question.
The pleco started with a sore on his nose the day we got him. Again it looked like carpet burn where the top layer of the skin is rubbed. Well It has slowly became a hole and it appears to be getting deeper. Is there anything different I should be doing for this?

tmtpowers
06-18-2006, 12:37 PM
Well his nose is looking better today. No bleeding/red spots but still a bit deep.

liss
06-21-2006, 4:10 PM
Hey hows he doing? is he getting any better? I think it is so great to see you trying so hard.

tmtpowers
06-21-2006, 10:03 PM
Yes, he is doing so much better thanks to Roan! His ulcers are healing over and are now patches of new light gray skin. The gray patches on the skin are also healing up and returning to normal color. His large hole in his nose is actually healing up as well. I really did not think the hole would heal over to where there was no hole but thus far it appears that it will heal 100%. He still has a bit of fin damage but I'm sure that will take time to heal. He is also much more active. When I try to get him to move where I can see his belly now he flies across the tank. Before I could gently take is tail and guide him to the nearest wall so he would go up it. Makes things harder now to check on his progress but that's a good thing :) He is also eating now which just thrills me :) He still has a long road ahead of him before he looks like a normal healthy pleco but he has come a long ways too.
Tomorrow we are starting to wean him onto normal healthy water by cutting back the melafix. We've already weaned him from the salt. So far so good :) Our biggest problem is his eyes which look worse in the pictures than what they are but they are still a bit cloudy.

Anyways, here are a few pics to show just how well he is doing. Again, sorry for the crappy quality. I'm still working on mastering taking pictures of fish :P

You can see his eyes pretty good in this one as well as the patches that have improved a lot! You can also see the hole in his nose that looks worse on camera than in real life.
http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e91/tmtpowers/updatenose.jpg
http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e91/tmtpowers/updatepatches.jpg
http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e91/tmtpowers/updatepatcheseyes.jpg
The white spots in the middle of his tummy is where those blood red ulcers were. As you can see they look MUCH better!
http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e91/tmtpowers/updateulcers.jpg

And for some reason this picture is coming out larger than what it has been re sized to so here is the link:
http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e91/tmtpowers/P6210001.jpg

Roan Art
06-21-2006, 10:31 PM
Oh, man, thank you for the pictures and the update. You have REALLY made my day and so has the pleco.

Hey, does he have a name yet? A survivor like that has to have a name ;)

Roan

tmtpowers
06-21-2006, 11:01 PM
Well unfortunately my 2 year old jumped ahead of me and named him...UGH, I don't want to say it....Barney. Yes, after that big stupid dinosaur... LOL Poor fish, lives through a terrible situation only to be named after a purple dinosaur....

Roan Art
06-22-2006, 2:40 AM
Nah, Barney's cool (the name, that is), I've small kids, too.

You could think of him (when the little one is not around) as either Barney from the Simpsons or Barney from the Flintstones :D


Roan

tmtpowers
06-22-2006, 1:45 PM
LOL I could try.

DeputyChiefJR
06-23-2006, 7:36 AM
or Barney Fife, wasn't he a tough old detective?

Roan Art
06-23-2006, 7:55 AM
or Barney Fife, wasn't he a tough old detective?
Heh, no, that was Don Knotts in The Andy Griffith Show :joke:

Are you thinking of Barney Miller with Hal Linden in the title role? The 12th precinct? I loved that show!

Roan