Is this pale coloration normal for plecos?

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Amberrousan

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Feb 22, 2020
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I dont normally pay much close attention to our fish because my boyfriend does all of the upkeep and such since I work a lot, but i recently noticed this white patchy coloration on our pleco. I've briefly seen it before but he would always swim away when I tried to shine a light on him. I asked my boyfriend about it and he insists that it's normal. I've seen many big plecos close to ours size and never seen this on others. It's on his other side as well. Just couldn't post the picture.
 

fishorama

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There are "calico" BNs that look kinda like that. I'm not sure that's what yours is. When in doubt about fishy health I do lots of water changes, daily if you can.

What are your tank's parameters? Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? Tap water? How long have you owned the pleco?

Start with 20-30% each water change & go up from there...How big is your tank? It shouldn't be a huge effort up to, say, 55g or so. Think of it as helping your fish & getting an upper body workout at the same time. Good for either or both of you, my husband helps me often...but not always. Any help is good!
 

Amberrousan

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Parameters are .25ppm ammonia, 0 nitrite, 40ppm nitrate. We've had him for around a year I believe. It is worth mentioning that we took him as a rescue. We currently have him a 55 gallon.
 

fishorama

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Well, whatever it is, clamped fins are not a good sign (it seems awfully dark for a "common", whatever that may mean).

Any ammonia is harmful & 40ppm nitrate is too high, both especially after a year. Do 20% water changes as often as you can to get ammonia to 0 & nitrate under 20. Daily or every other day should be doable. Use a dechlorinator like Prime, it helps neutralize both.

What other fish do you have in there? What & how much do you feed?
 

Amberrousan

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He can move his fins, simply was still in the picture, so I'm not sure he has clamped fins. My boyfriend told me that the parameters are at ok levels that wont harm the fish. I'm not as knowledgeable so I usually just accept what he says. He also said that the water changes he does have not helped the levels. He does 50% once a week and uses prime.
 

the loach

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Your boyfriend is right, it is fairly normal. This is a Pterygoplichthys and they can change color. Being in an empty tank with sand bottom causes him to partially take on a sand color. Clamped fins don't mean nothing in this pose.
But he doesn't look big at all, how big is he? Remember they are only big in the 1 to 2 foot range. You won't be able to keep him in a 55, contact the Ohio Fish Rescue on Facebook if you want him to be in a proper sized tank, they will come get him for free.

If you want him to be happier/ have a better coloration supply wood, hiding places (floating)plants and dither fish. An almost bare tank like this is not a proper way to keep a pleco.
 
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Amberrousan

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Sorry I didnt mention, we just put him into this new tank. It is not scaped yet but we are going to add in many plants and hiding spots for him. I pushed for him to be moved first before our other fish because I was worried about him. He is only about 6 or 7 inches. He has not grown much since we've had him. As I said we took him as a rescue. He was in very bad conditions for a long time. If I got a picture while he was flaring his fins you would notice that they are not full.all of his wounds to this point have healed so I'm not worried about that. But I believe his growth may have been stunted from being in such bad conditions for so long? And it is also worth noting that this is his first time being in a tank with sand substrate. So I'm not sure that is the right explanation for this. Before we moved him he was in a tank with aquarium gravel. And I have noticed this coloration far before we moved him. Thanks
 

fishorama

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Good call on a gibby, TL. But I disagree on clamped fins, high nitrate & any ammonia being "normal". Change more water as often as is doable & vacuum out the big poo strings a healthy well fed plec should produce.
 
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