View Full Version : What's wrong with my Plecos?

07-29-2014, 04:05 AM
Hi everyone,

I don't know what's wrong with my Plecostomus. A few days ago, it jumped out of my tank and my dad found it barely alive on the floor right outside. He put it back into the tank afterwards. But ever since that incident, my pleco has been "sick". The day after the incident, I noticed tat it's fins were bleeding and that there was a line on it's stomach that looked like a cut. But I have no idea. And now when I got a chance to look at it again, the skin is all white, it looks like it's falling off and there's red raw skin showing. It looks like hurts him a lot. :( Here are the photos I could get of what he looks like right now. I don't know what to do.



07-29-2014, 06:20 AM
For a "pleco" to do this there must be something seriously wrong in the tank. Looking at the state of it I'd say it's time for the clove oil

07-29-2014, 08:59 AM
Welcome to the AC, wish I could say that under better circumstances.

07-29-2014, 10:35 AM
Poor thing. Can you tell us more about your tank? How big is it, water parameters, other tank mates. I'm not sure there is much you can do for him at this point but that doesn't mean there is something going on that could still hurt your other fish.

07-29-2014, 04:59 PM
Yikes... he looks pretty bad. Almost looks like flesh eating bacteria or something. Plecos are not known for jumping out of tanks, so it's possible you have something really nasty in there or the parameters are terrible. Did you cycle your tank?

07-29-2014, 05:22 PM
The damage from a fish being out of the water too long is severe - systems shut down and the fish dies over the next few days

07-29-2014, 11:08 PM
Thanks for reading this everyone.

The tank he was in before was a 40 gallon tank. I moved him into a bigger one (60) yesterday because I was worried he wasn't having enough to eat.
Yes I did cycle the tank before I moved him into it.

Water parameters
Temperature: 79
pH: 6.8
I don't have anything to test for nitrates, nitrites, or ammonia and I don't have a ride to any pet stores. :(

The tankmates he's with right now are just guppies. The tank makes he was with before were a green spotted puffer, albino catfish, and some(6) tetras (3 neon, 3 black).

I don't think it could be a flesh eating bacteria because I noticed the original cut on his stomach an hour after he was back into the tank. When he jumped out, he managed to crawl about 2 and a half feet over marble and stopped there. Is it possible that he cut himself on the marble tiles since the edge slightly sharp?

As of right now, it's been 5 days since he's jumped out and when I checked on him again this morning. The skin on his belly is peeling off like loose skin and the raw skin underneath is pink. But it isn't bleeding so that is a good thing.

I think he accidentally jumped out of the tank when he swam up to the top to get a breath of air and over estimated. I recently moved him into the 40 gallon from a 10 gallon (He's still a baby, about 4 inches long).

Thank you again everyone ^^

07-30-2014, 12:18 AM
How do you know it's cycled without knowing your water parameters and not having test kits?

I've never actually heard of any flesh eating bacteria in the fish tank, just making a note of what it reminds me of. Btw, I've never seen my plecos swim up to the top of my tank for a breath of air and I have 5 of them. It sounds to me like your parameters are off and the oxygen in your water column is depleted.

What temperature do you have your tank set to, what kind of filtration do you have on them and how often do you conduct water changes?

07-30-2014, 01:43 AM
At the time I was borrowing someone else's test kit and the numbers were good. I could only do a pH test because I have pH test strips laying around.

I don't think the water could be depleted of oxygen because I have an air stone running. I have three other plecos who do come up to the top for air too and they are in separate tanks. At least I think it's coming up to the top for air. It swims up to the top very fast and then comes back down. They do that very often.

All the tanks I have are set at 75-79 F for temperature. The filtration system I have on the 40 gallon is a tetra whisper ex45. I conduct water changes once every two week, taking out about 50%.

As of right now, I've moved the pleco into a small tank for itself in case if it was any kind of bacteria. The skin on it's stomach has fallen off.. But other than that, it looks normal, there's no more bleeding anywhere. Do you think that the skin could regrow and become normal again?

07-30-2014, 02:23 AM
With many partial water changes to keep the fresh water flowing, yes, your pleco can/will heal. Fish are able to recover from wounds all the time, but I think you need to reevaluate your current maintenance schedule.

I know that there are a lot of companies that tout pwcs every 2 weeks, but the reality of the situation is that once per week is going to keep your water full of essential nutrients and clear the water of waste. Every week, your water column will fill up with detritus/waste, which eventually turns into nitrates, and even though trates are less toxic than ammonia or nitrites, they can still stress/kill your fish in high quantities and if exposed for long periods of time.

How many fish do you have in the 40 gallon, anyway? I'm curious if your filtration is adequate for your current bioload. Also, an air stone is okay, but if your filtration isn't adequate and you don't have live plants, it's possible that you're not getting enough oxygenation to support your bioload. We'd need more information to ascertain what could be causing your plecos to surface for air (which is not the norm).

07-30-2014, 03:37 AM
Thank you, I will start changing the water every week. :]

In total, I have only 9 including the pleco if it was in there right now. The other ones I have in the tank are 3 neon tetras, 3 black tetras, a albino catfish, and a dwarf green spotted puffer.
I also have live plants in my 40 gallon, though I don't know what kind they are.

07-30-2014, 04:05 AM
No problem. Thank you for being as open to help as you are. Many aren't. lol It seems to me that your bioload is pretty underwhelming, so that shouldn't be a problem. I'd still recommend adding an additional filter to the tank. We typically suggest doubling up your filtration. So, for instance, you have a 40gal tank. We would suggest filtering for an 80gal tank, so you have more water turnover, which means more of your water is filtered/cleaned every hour. This ensures optimal biological bacteria colonies, as well.

So, here's my suggestion:

1. Add a 2nd 30-40gal filter to the tank, on the opposite side from where your original filter is. If your current filter is on the left side, add it to the right. This will ensure that all areas of the tank are getting equal treatment in filtration, hopefully eliminating dead spots.

2. Start changing 50% of your tank's water once per week.

I think you'll notice a big change in your fish's behavior and you'll be surprised at how cathartic fresh water can be for injured/sick fish.

Something else to consider is adding to your existing schools. If you have 3 neons, you could comfortably add another 7-10 to this tank, comfortably. The same holds true for the black tetras. What kind of albino catfish do you have? Is that an Albino Cory?

I wouldn't add fish until you've taken care of the first two steps, but those are just my suggestions for making a happier community tank. =] The tetras will really appreciate the added fish to their schools and will likely become much more active/showy. If you have an Albino cory, I'd add to that group, as well. You could comfortably add another 11 to this tank.

07-30-2014, 04:14 AM
Oh, and I almost forgot. Go pick up an API Master Test Kit from your LFS (or Amazon). That's one of the best investments you can make in fishkeeping.

This is it: http://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwater-Master-Test-Kit/dp/B000255NCI/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1406693676&sr=1-1&keywords=api+master+test+kit