View Full Version : pleco is bloated, red and has bubbles?

10-11-2008, 10:13 PM
My son noticed that his pleco was developing these little white bubbles on his sides. In searching forums, it almost sounded like some sort of gas disease. But then the fish was up on the side of the tank, and we noticed his whole underside was red, and his belly is really bloated. This happened very suddenly. I read some of the symptoms in a thread about dropsy. Is this what he has?

I feel bad. My son is very responsible with his tank, and has always made sure they're fed properly, and we check the chemicals on a regular basis. He's had this tank for probably 2 years or so, and the pleco is about a year old.

If anyone has some idea of what this is, and how to address the issue, I would appreciate it.


Below is a photo. If you want to see a larger photo, click here (http://orchardvalley.net/temp/fish/Dsc_0004-smaller.jpg).


10-12-2008, 12:44 AM
I really have no idea but it does not look good. I am sorry to hear about your fish:

Welcome to the AC!

Lady Hobbs
10-12-2008, 02:49 AM
Man, he looks very bad but no help from me either. I've never seen that before. I wonder if he's full of worms? Possibly some anti-parasitical food may help. Also makes me wonder if he could have swallowed a stone and his intestional track is blocked. Poor thing.

10-12-2008, 03:04 AM
I think you may be right. I just took a look in the tank, and there is no trace of pleco poop, which usually there is quite a bit of.

That would explain his bloating. Poor thing is right. Is there anything we can do to help him, or do you recommend we do "the humane thing"?

Lady Hobbs
10-12-2008, 03:28 AM
Try taking all food away from him but for some frozen, blanched pea's. Do you have a separate tank you could put him in? If not, possibly a plastic storage box or a cooler may work with an airstone in it.

I have heard of using Epson Salts to help with constipation but the fish can only be in it for a short time, like 10 minutes or so, then returned to the tank. That would be last resort as some fish don't tolerate the treatment well.

He does appear to have a blockage and could even have an abcess or something that is preventing him to empty. Or worms. I just don't know but he does not look like a happy camper.

Has your son used any medications in that tank? He almost looks burned with those blisters.

10-12-2008, 03:36 AM
Ive heard something similar to this before. Except it had something to do with poison gas build up. Stick your finger in the tank and pull it out if bubbles stick to your finger than it is poison gas.

10-12-2008, 03:51 AM
looks like septicemia to me, which is a painful and almost always fatal disease. If he gets extremely lethargic, it would be best to put him out of his misery, the disease slowly rips away the circulatory system and eventually hits the heart which is painful

Lady Hobbs
10-12-2008, 03:56 AM
cocoa, could this possibly be gas bubble disease?

10-12-2008, 04:05 AM
thats still a possibility, but septicemia attacks often only the belly of the fish and sometimes the lining of the fishes fins.

10-12-2008, 04:19 AM
No bubbles on my finger.

He's already lethargic. I moved him to a hospital tank, and he didn't even put up a fight. This is a fish who flipped out every time we'd add water to the tank during a change. I feel horrible. Is there anything we could have done to avoid this, assuming it is septicemia?

10-12-2008, 04:27 AM
If youve got poor water quality, that can do it. this disease is evil, it can even pop out of nowhere in clean water, ive had a fish get it out of nowhere and he died

Sorry you have to do this, but if hes extremely lethargic, it might be best to let him go to the amazon river in the sky. puting him in a container with water and puting it in the freezer is a painless way, same as puting clove oil in a small tank for him to make him sleep, then puting him in pure vodka, instant death

if your son is too young to understand death, maybe wait until you can get a replacement pleco without him noticing

10-12-2008, 03:02 PM
Just an update. He died sometime overnight. As sad as it is, it was probably for the best. My son had his cry last night, and he was relieved this morning to see that he passed.

Thank you everyone for your replies and suggestions. I do appreciate it.


10-12-2008, 03:37 PM
I am so sorry to hear about your sons pet :11: ,It looked like a nasty way to go.I hope his pain passes quickly.
I am also sorry that there was nothing we could do to help on time.
I hope you plan on remaining a member of this wonderful site . It is a great place to research all your new fish and all kinds of aquarium ideas:19:

Chat with you soon!:c3:

10-12-2008, 04:22 PM
I am so sorry for your loss.

10-12-2008, 06:25 PM
Thanks for the condolences. He is still a bit sad, but he's feeling better.

I do plan to get involved more on this forum. I see there are a lot of great things here, and to be honest, I had been a lurker some time ago- probably even back when we first started his tank. I think it was here at least. We learned a lot about starting up a tank. I thought it was 1) buy tank, 2) fill with water, 3) put fish in. We would have had dead fish and not have any clue why. At any rate, the tank has been very successful and enjoyable for the most part.

One quick question- since this pleco died of something we still aren't sure what it was, is there anything we should do for the other fish to assure their health?

thanks again,

Lady Hobbs
10-12-2008, 06:49 PM
Also sorry you lost the peco. Strange but fish get many of the same diseases we get. Abcesses, infections, TB, cancer and who knows what all.

10-12-2008, 09:26 PM
All I would suggest is do a good gravel cleaning while doing at least a 50% water change and if you feel it need be ,clean the plecos favorite spot really well.If it is a rock or a piece of driftwood ,remove and give it a good scrub under hot water.Boil it if you can for 20 min.(not the rock,just hot water) just the wood.
Glad to hear you will be hanging around!!:19:

10-13-2008, 10:43 AM
sorry for you andyour sons loss

10-13-2008, 08:19 PM
Sorry for your loss. From just one picture it's pretty hard to tell, but it sort of looks to me like he had an intestinal infection, probably from eating too much protein. Although this condition usually effects bristlenose plecos more than commons (at least that I've heard), I believe it can strike a common pleco who doesn't consume enough vegetable matter or fiber. Plecos (particularly BNs, but commons as well) require large amounts of vegetable matter and wood fiber to keep their intestines healthy, particularly if they consume a lot of protein rich foods, like excess fish food on the bottom of the tank. Did this pleco have a piece of driftwood to gnaw on, and did you feed him vegetables on a regular basis?