View Full Version : Diseased gold nugget plecos... what happened?

06-06-2011, 06:52 PM

I have a 60 gal freshwater tank, which I have established over the past 2 months. I had 2 gold nugget plecos (which don't come cheap, of course), which I bought soon after I bought the tank and they seemed very happy and healthy for about a month and a half.

A few weeks ago, I noticed one looked pale. I read online that this was due to "stress," so I turned off the aquarium lights on the side the plecos preferred and started feeding them more algae tabs.

He seemed to get better, but about a week ago one was very pale and died the same day. The next day, the OTHER one became pale suddenly, then died that night.

They did not appear to be starving or sick (no sunken bodies or eyes, only paleness as a symptom). I fed them algae tabs and they seemed to have plenty to eat left over from other fish as well (I feed my discus beef heart as recommended by their breeder, so they had some of that too). None of the other fish ever seemed to bother them, and since they died within 1 day of each other I don't think it was caused by general "stress"

The parameters of my tank seem fine: temp 83 (steady like this since day 1), ammonia 0, nitrite 0.25, nitrate 20, ph 7.0 ..... so my question is... any idea what happened??

Thanks for any ideas you might have... I am really sad to have lost them as they were my favorites in the tank, and I want to make sure I don't make the same mistakes if I decide to get another pleco.

06-06-2011, 07:03 PM
I feed my plecos zucchini, spinach, peas and cucumber. I have never heard anyone feed meat based food. I have know some hungry plecos that have eaten flake, but mainly they are vegetarian.

I am not sure about keeping plecos at such a high temp. I would look into that first.

06-06-2011, 07:12 PM
how long have you had detectable nitrite? 0.25 nitrite is not fine, the only fine amount of nitrite is 0. Any detectable amount of ammonia or nitrite can be harmful to fish.

06-06-2011, 08:08 PM
My uncle just had this same problem so I have him some test strips, it turned out his nitrates and nitrites were too high. You need to equalize them before you can have your fish living healthy with no stress. Do a 25% water change.

06-06-2011, 08:10 PM
My understanding is that gold nugget plecos are rather difficult to acclimate. All plecos should really only go into a well established tank. This gives your tank time to build up the mulm that some plecos including the gold nugget consider part of their diet.

You mentioned you had this tank for 2 months, but you've had the plecos for a month and a half meaning you have had them in a tank that was two weeks old? This could be a large part of your issue.

Did you have wood in your tank?
What is the water flow level like in your tank? Gold Nuggets prefer a significant amount of water flow.

06-06-2011, 08:31 PM
Thanks all for the input... I do realize that the Nitrites should be 0, this has developed only recently (last 2 weeks I think) but I did not think it was enough of a problem to kill any fish, especially not within a day of each other.

I did actually have them in the tank very early, so they have been through many ups and downs as the cycle established... since they never seemed effected by high ammonia during cycling, I didn't think the current relatively low nitrite level would be such a shock to them. But I supposed the cumulative effects of changes could have been the stressor....

I don;t have wood in the tank, which I now know I should have done with plecos. Water flow is good though.

06-06-2011, 08:36 PM
driftwood softens the water so I may suggest getting a few pieces to try and neutralize your nitrites.