Pleco with possible parasite

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MelodyFish123

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Feb 25, 2021
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I found my pleco dead today. He was by himself, and was found with his head and tail shredded, and a hole in his stomach, like something came out or went inside him, and there was what looked a little like a bit of poop coming out of his bottom. Unfortunately I don't have a picture, but he has had a red spot in the area since he was a baby, though he never grew much, and rarely ate. Although he was never in discomfort, he'd end up hiding when someone would get close to him or accidentally bump the tank. I think I've had him for two years, and he never seemed unhealthy, in fact he was swimming around yesterday. Normally I'd say a fish attacked him, or he got caught in something, except he was alone in the tank, and there was nothing he could've gotten caught on or hooked on in the tank, and no signs he was struggling anywhere. I'm unsure what to do with the tank now, because I don't know if it would be safe to put my hands in the water to clean or move things around, in case there is a parasite/parasites in the water. Any help in solving this mystery is appreciated :) If it helps, the tank he was in is 40 gallons, it has a castle, fake plants, and cichlid rocks in it, a heater, and a good filter that was small enough he couldn't get inside, and it had plenty of algae for him since he wasn't eating much, though I did try to keep it clean without stressing him too much, and he also used to be given pleco wafers, but I stopped putting them in because it was making the algae worse. Oh, and he was bough at PetSmart.
 

MelodyFish123

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Feb 25, 2021
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Update: I'm looking for a picture of him when he was younger. I took a few, and I'm hoping in one you can see the spot on his stomach. If I can find one, I'll send it here. That might help find answers
 
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Wyomingite

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What other fish do you have in the tank?

Are there any snails in the tank?

Based on what you posted, it sounds like he died during the night and snails and/or fish feasted on his soft belly and internal organs. I've seen this dozens if not hundreds of times over the years. At this point it's probably impossible to determine what the red spot on his belly was. Considering that it has been there for a while, I seriously doubt that it was a parasite(s) and that this parasite(s) bursting from the belly is what the hole is from. It was more likely inflammation from a diseased organ or tumor that finally caught up to him and killed him.

WYite
 

MelodyFish123

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Feb 25, 2021
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What other fish do you have in the tank?

Are there any snails in the tank?

Based on what you posted, it sounds like he died during the night and snails and/or fish feasted on his soft belly and internal organs. I've seen this dozens if not hundreds of times over the years. At this point it's probably impossible to determine what the red spot on his belly was. Considering that it has been there for a while, I seriously doubt that it was a parasite(s) and that this parasite(s) bursting from the belly is what the hole is from. It was more likely inflammation from a diseased organ or tumor that finally caught up to him and killed him.

WYite

He was the only one in the tank, no other fish or critters, which is what makes it so bizarre.
 

Sprinkle

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Mar 21, 2020
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He was the only one in the tank, no other fish or critters, which is what makes it so bizarre.
Maybe he was dead before you knew he was dead and started rotting, maybe it was some weird bacteria that ate away soft part of his body, maybe it was an ulcer, maybe TB but not a parasite. If it would be a parasite, he would get thin but not seem like he ‚exploded’ suddenly.
 
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FreshyFresh

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Sorry if I missed it, but what type of pleco was this? If it was sold at Petsmart, I'm assuming it was a common pleco? What concerns me is you say it never grew. Did you ever feed the pleco specifically? Commons need pellet foods, blanched vegggies and lots of wood to rasp on. He could have just wasted away over time. If this is the case, chalk it up to a learning experience. We've all been there!
 

Wyomingite

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He was the only one in the tank, no other fish or critters, which is what makes it so bizarre.
Okay, sorry I missed the part about no other critters in the tank in the original post. I'm still leaning more toward a disease that killed him, but I won't rule out parasites. A parasite that just bursts out of the stomach would have to be something large and strange for an aquarium, though. The hole could also be from the body bursting due to the build-up of gases in the body cavity after death.

At this point all of the conjecture is moot, really. As FreshyFresh said, chalk it up to a learning experience. I can't think of any reason you should be worried about putting your hands in the water. Do a water change, take care of regular maintenance, and start over.

Maybe an alien? ;) jk
I watched "Aliens" one night a couple of weeks ago, and I thought about that when reading the post the first time. I pictured this little alien head suddenly bursting out of the pleco's belly, lol. I didn't want to seem sarcastic to someone new to the forum, though. And still don't. But that is pretty funny.

WYite
 

Sprinkle

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I watched "Aliens" one night a couple of weeks ago, and I thought about that when reading the post the first time. I pictured this little alien head suddenly bursting out of the pleco's belly, lol. I didn't want to seem sarcastic to someone new to the forum, though. And still don't. But that is pretty funny.
Oo i never watched Aliens, I dont think i ever heard about it but yeah thats pretty much what i meant about the poor pleco.

oh i tend to make a lot of jokes which either hurt someone else or you know.. but i never mean to so i guess i understand what you mean.
 
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MelodyFish123

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Feb 25, 2021
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I don't remember what type of pleco it was, but I did feed him pleco pellets, and there was plenty of algae for him to snack on. He wasn't thin, he just didn't grow much. He could've been a type that stays small, because he did grow a little, just not a lot. His spot could've been some kind of ulcer or something maybe, and it could've burst, or maybe an infection that rotted? I just don't know what would have left parts of him in ribbons, and left his tail bone out. Could that happen if he got caught in the current? It's not fast, but maybe that could do it? And don't worry, I've seen alien, and I think that's a funny way to put it lol
 
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