Help. Pleico sick again??!! :-(

NilusFishFamily

Exodon
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Nov 7, 2018
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hi I feel like I keep coming back here for help - thank goodness you guys are here

My pleico is maybe 6 years old, he’s in a 35 gallon tank on his own and he’s a little over 12 inches long (measure varies through the glass to as much as 13 inches).

He’s been staying by the heater towards the bottom of the tank. It’s been 4 days. He will swim occasionally and did hide in his cave during the water change but he’s almost always back in that bottom corner all day and at night when I check on him.

Tonight is really worrying me. Usually he can be skiddish to noise and people in proximity to the tank but just a few minutes ago he looked like he might legitimately be stuck, positioned between air tubes angled down with his face by the bottom corner of his tank at the bottom of the heater again. I moved the air tube to the side to make sure he could free himself- and nothing. Zero movement. I moved the 2nd air tube and -still nothing. I closed the lid and watched for a second and he... readjusted... with a couple swishes to stay in that angled nose down position.

Water changes 30% every 2 weeks. Normal. The most recent was done just about 6 hours before I checked on him just now.

Last 2 weeks: santa brought him ‘bug bites’ pellets so he’s been getting these Instead of the shrimp for his protein - which he seems to enjoy. Until this last 4 days everything was fine.

Dec 15-24 per Advice on here we changed him to hikari shrimp pellets and algae wafers and seemed to be doing well. Normal behavior etc.

December 1st-15th
We were finding leftover shrimp pellets and I came here for advice.
 

phreeflow

Aimara
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Nov 19, 2007
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Have you checked water parameters? First problem is that tank is way too small for a foot long fish. Water changes every 2 weeks isn’t going to keep it clean enough. I’m sure it worked fine when it was smaller but at that size, it’s prodcuing a lot more waste.

The first thing you should do is increase frequency and amount of water changes, clean filters, vac gravel to see if it perks up. Also, are there any signs of illness other than sluggishness? What’s the temp, did you add any new fish, pooping solid or clear and stringy?

I’m assuming you have a common pleco...they tend to get super sluggish and lazy with age. It may be fine but the the real problem is you need a bigger tank to properly house that fish.
 

Warborg

Goliath Tigerfish
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I wouldn't worry about plecos not moving much, it's very common for them to be lazy. My 8 year old pleco still does different things I haven't seen before. Sometimes he just stays in the same spot for days. As long as he's alive and isn't wasting away, he should be fine. Check your water conditions often with the smaller tank and water changing patterns.
 

LBDave

Peacock Bass
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Nov 27, 2018
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Agreed with above. Test for Nitrites and Nitrates and let us know. You practically have a goldfish bowl for a 12" fish. Suggest 30-50% water change every week.
You could also use Vita-Chem to see if this perks him up. Use Seachem Prime if Nitrites are up. Need to make sure tank cycle is working and that Nitrites are 0. Filter and bio filter may be struggling with waste.
BTW-Plecos generally can go a long time without eating. Just want to visually check the fish to make sure he is not wasting.
 
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NilusFishFamily

Exodon
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Nov 7, 2018
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Sorry it took so long to reply.
He is the only fish in the tank.
He perked up after a diet change and we’ve shifted him to alternating hikari algae, shrimp, and the bug larvae pellets from day to day. The water levels have been fine, honestly maybe it’s because we keep 2 filters (120gal filter overkill and a 180sponge filter) along with a bubbler. We have had him a long time and follow all the stuff about not throwing out good bacteria/not changing all filter parts at once etc. About the only thing we ever get is occasionally the ph will drop a 0.5-1 pt too LOW and we correct it quickly. We use the API freshwater master test kit and double check with dip testing strips. The tank temp is 77, we have a temp adjust heater, a stick on thermometer and a floater thermometer to keep a check on it.
He’s definitely doing better with the diet change. I’d love to give him some driftwood but I’m afraid to use what I ordered online because I don’t know if they are trustworthy and reviews were mostly good but some blamed the wood for illness afterwards.
I’ll add some pictures- I’ve had mixed responses on the species ID, the optimal temp, and even the minimum size tank he should have (mostly I hear the 3” per gallon rule which would make him right at his minimum size in the 37 gallon [correction from 35]) but we want to give him more room to roam and have been debating if we have space and can afford 75gallon or larger...
lastly I think was poop, it’s long and stringy/solid generally. I haven’t seen any for a few days, unless I catch him in the act the filter clears it out pretty quickly.

F7CE62FD-4A6C-425B-948E-BEEC2D589E7E.jpeg
 

duanes

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I agree with the others the tank is too small, I go by the more realistic rule, 10 gallons per inch, when dealing with large fish, so a 125 gallon would be more appropriate.
But if you are bound and determined to keep it in a 35 gallon, you should be doing at least 2 wter changes per week, of about 40-50% of the tanks water each time.
 

NilusFishFamily

Exodon
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Nov 7, 2018
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Wow 10 gallons? I haven’t never heard that. I mean no insult, I honestly just never have. I would LOVE to give him That but I’m honestly not sure if I can afford it and (after researching tanks and stands) if my floor will support that much weight. It’s considerably higher than I imagined it would weigh. I had more realistically planned to upgrade to a 75gallon. Can you recommend a good tank/stand- even a 125 if it’s a different shape and distributes the weight maybe? I don’t know...
why would you water change so often with the chem levels unchanged? Even after a change with vacuuming etc his levels are good - we love him and want to do whatever we need to do, I’m just trying to understand.
Also still looking for recommendations on driftwood?
And recommendations on how *much* to feed him- we have always given 2-3
Wafaers each night as he doesn’t eat more than that(truly for all these years- he *just* turned 7 I believe). Is he getting enough?
Not a lot of activity here- wondering if I should start a new thread...
Thank you all for your help!
Btw- So far so good With the recommended brand change on his food thanks to everyone’s responses in December. Seems like he gets sick when he gets too many of the bug larvae pellets which is likely what prompted the start of this thread- but once I went back to the brands folks here had recommended, the hikari shrimp and algae, he returned to his old self.
 

Warborg

Goliath Tigerfish
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Sep 2, 2009
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It's a Sailfin (Gibbiceps). There is a pleco section that might get more attention by pleco fans.
 

jwitty

Plecostomus
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Dec 27, 2018
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Wow 10 gallons? I haven’t never heard that. I mean no insult, I honestly just never have. I would LOVE to give him That but I’m honestly not sure if I can afford it and (after researching tanks and stands) if my floor will support that much weight. It’s considerably higher than I imagined it would weigh. I had more realistically planned to upgrade to a 75gallon. Can you recommend a good tank/stand- even a 125 if it’s a different shape and distributes the weight maybe? I don’t know...
why would you water change so often with the chem levels unchanged? Even after a change with vacuuming etc his levels are good - we love him and want to do whatever we need to do, I’m just trying to understand.
Also still looking for recommendations on driftwood?
And recommendations on how *much* to feed him- we have always given 2-3
Wafaers each night as he doesn’t eat more than that(truly for all these years- he *just* turned 7 I believe). Is he getting enough?
Not a lot of activity here- wondering if I should start a new thread...
Thank you all for your help!
Btw- So far so good With the recommended brand change on his food thanks to everyone’s responses in December. Seems like he gets sick when he gets too many of the bug larvae pellets which is likely what prompted the start of this thread- but once I went back to the brands folks here had recommended, the hikari shrimp and algae, he returned to his old self.
Where would the tank be going in your house say if you did get a 125ish tank? Most floors should be able to easily handle that much weight and more. Unless there is damage to the floor joists you should be perfectly fine. Or I guess if it’s a really old house or wasnt built correctly but more than likely it’s fine. I wouldn’t think twice about putting my 120 upstairs but carpet is another story lol. Long time ago we had a 55 gallon upstairs but that was with old carpet.
 
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