Please Help - Can't Keep Plecos Alive! - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2011, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Please Help - Can't Keep Plecos Alive!

(LONG, SO SORRY!) Hi everyone! This is totally not betta related, but I know that a LOT of you own a type of pleco or two. I know OFL is experienced with albino bushynosed. I think I'll need her help on this one.

So, last July I decided I wanted an albino bushynosed pleco (thanks LionMom :) ). I got him right before I went on a 3 week vacation and put him in my solitary angelfish tank which was in the care of my mother. He had an odd bubble under his tummy when I bought him but he was very active so I thought he was normal. He died about a week and a half into my vacation. No ammonia in the water, no nitrites, minimal nitrates per usual. Always an algae wafer, mysterious death. Water stays at a stable 79 degrees.

Bought another ABN when I got back from vacation. He lived 3 days again in my angelfish tank, but when I did a 20% water change on the tank, he suddenly started bleeding out of his gills! I pulled him out of the tank into QT, he was gone less than 15 minutes later.

Furious and broken hearted that I can't seem to keep alive the easiest aquarium fish, I waited until yesterday to try again. This time, I got two brown bristlenosed babies about 1" long each. I put them in a 10g QT tank and stabilized their temperature at 76 degrees, boiled driftwood, and a filter for aeration. I also popped in an algae wafer and acclimated accordingly to the tank. They were very active. However, I feel the water may not have been oxygenated enough because every so often they would rush up for air*.

I get home today and I ask Will how the plecos were. He said they were alive when he got home earlier at about 4. Four and a half hours ago. I look in the tank and they both look fine - full finned, just sitting in the tank.... Just sitting. I look closer at their faces and see "whiskers" coming out either side that I didn't see there before. Those same "whiskers" appeared when my second ABN died... Wanting to get some of the poop out of the tank, I reached the net in there just to see if they would move...

Nothing. I essentially was just pushing them along the floor. I was mortified; and so was he. I checked my water. Minimal ammonia, no nitrates, no nitrites. Plenty of food. Temp of the tank at 74 - low end, but not enough to KILL them. Worried that it was the heater, I popped in a stronger heater to bump it up 2-4 degrees, seeing if they'll come around...

But I think they are once again dead.

Someone please help me. I really wish my bottom feeders would stop dying.

Taking a break from fish keeping


R.I.P All my lost fishie friends

I cycled my 5 gallon fishless. Here is a diary of my cycle. :)
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=51470

Last edited by Ajones108; 10-02-2011 at 08:45 PM.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Bumping this up. If anyone has any ideas at all please throw them this way. I love brainstorming sessions.

Taking a break from fish keeping


R.I.P All my lost fishie friends

I cycled my 5 gallon fishless. Here is a diary of my cycle. :)
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=51470
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 12:44 AM
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I have no idea. I have a common pleco, she's over 6" long. I got two baby long fin bristle nose plecos a month ago, one died in transport and the other grew a large lump on its side and died 2 weeks after I brought it home. I gave up. I've always been told plecos are not an easy fish to take care of? Hrrmm. I do know babies can be quite sensitive. Good luck! Do you have drift wood for them??


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Yes. Every pleco I've kept thus far has a large piece of driftwood to graze on. And I've never added salt to a tank with a pleco.

Taking a break from fish keeping


R.I.P All my lost fishie friends

I cycled my 5 gallon fishless. Here is a diary of my cycle. :)
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=51470
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 01:05 AM
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I don't know what to tell ya :( I'm not an expert on plecos. I got stuck with mine, the guy dropped the tank off on my step with fish I didn't know about. I had to buy a 29g tank, and recently got a 50g just for the pleco. Urgh. Hope someone can offer help. Did you try the tropical part of this forum?


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah. No results there yet.

Taking a break from fish keeping


R.I.P All my lost fishie friends

I cycled my 5 gallon fishless. Here is a diary of my cycle. :)
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=51470
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 10:22 AM
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How odd...sorry you are having so much trouble with your plecos.....

What kind of substrate do you have and how deep, how old is the system, type of filtration, water change schedule, other livestock, tank size, live plants, type of additives used.....how did you acclimate them when you first got them....

I have an idea about what may be going on-but I need a few question answered first and we can go from that point......
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Oh thank God, it's OFL! ... This is going to be a lengthy post, since I have to describe 3 different instances I had plecos...

ABN Pleco #1: 10g solitary angelfish (which is ready to be moved to a 30g tank). Just moved it to my mom's house 2 weeks prior (held its cycle). Solid 78 degrees. Plain gravel. Piggyback filter for up to 15gallons. Water change/gravel vac once a week 20% (cycled). Two anubias nana. Small cave. Prime W/C. Acclimated for 45 minutes gradually adding in tank water to his bag before being released. Lasted for about a week and a half.

ABN Pleco #2: Same tank. Same gravel. Same filter. Same fish. Same schedule. Same W/C. Established tank for about a month and a half (moved it back home, held its cycle). Lasted for about 4 days, started bleeding from gills immediately after water change. Died within 15 minutes.

BBN Plecos #3 and #4: 10g QT tank. Filtered. Heated to 76. Driftwood to rasp on. Half of an algae wafer. Very active, no signs of stress or trauma. Bought from a different place. Found dead last night. They looked like little stone statues on the bottom of the tank, fins were full-sail. Had I not prodded them with the net, they could have been mistaken for alive. I have pictures if you want to see. Acclimated per my usual schedule. No plants, it's a QT tank. No gravel in this one as well. Prime W/C. Was going to do a water change right when I found them dead to rid of the .2ppm of ammonia that had crept up over the day. pH was at 7.6. No nitrites or nitrates.

Taking a break from fish keeping


R.I.P All my lost fishie friends

I cycled my 5 gallon fishless. Here is a diary of my cycle. :)
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=51470
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 03:58 PM
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Are you sure they are not stunned, I mean the last one really. My pleco likes to swim and then freeze mid tank and float to the bottom and stay like that. She sometimes doesn't move. She also floats upside down frozen. Do you have a space for them to hide? Plecos need to bide during the day. Wow I'm so sorry you're having so many issues with them. I used mine to cycle my tank, well had to as the stress of removing her mate killed him.


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2011, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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The driftwood I have forms a nice cave to hide in, and the dark side of my filter and heater is another placed they liked to hang around - the day they were alive. I thought they may have just been stunned too, so I didn't take them out of the tank until I got home this afternoon. They had already started decaying. :(

Taking a break from fish keeping


R.I.P All my lost fishie friends

I cycled my 5 gallon fishless. Here is a diary of my cycle. :)
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=51470
Ajones108 is offline  
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