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FAQs on Loricariids, South and Central American Suckermouth Cats 1: Infectious Disease  (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal)

FAQs on "Pleco" Disease: Loricariid Disease 1, Loricariid Disease 2, Loricariid Disease 3, Loricariid Disease 4,
FAQs on "Pleco" Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Trauma, Treatments,

Related Articles: Loricariids, OtocinclusFrom Pan-ack-ay to Pan-ack-zee, A Detailed Look at the Bizarre But Beautiful Panaque Catfishes by Neale Monks

Related Loricariid Catfish FAQs: Loricariids 1, Loricariids 2, Loricariid Identification, Loricariid Behavior, Loricariid Compatibility, Loricariid Selection, Loricariid Systems, Loricariid Feeding, Loricariid Reproduction,
Other Loricariid Genera: FAQs on: Ancistrus, Baryancistrus, Genera Farlowella, Loricaria, Sturisoma, Rhineloricaria: Twig Plecostomus, Genera Glyptoperichthys, Liposarcus,  OtocinclusPterygoplichthys, Sailfin Giants among the Loricariids, The Zebra Pleco, Hypancistrus zebra, Hypostomus, Peckoltia: Clown Plecostomus, Lasiancistrus, Panaque, Pseudacanthicus, Scobanancistrus, L-number catfish,

 

Genetic defect/health query- Albino Bristlenose    7/20/13
Howdy,
<Hi there>
I have noticed in my Albino bristle nose brood that one has a puffy looking enlarged mid-section, I was wondering whether it could be a genetic defect or whether there was something I could do to assist him/her.
<Mmm>
S/he has been this way for months.
<Unusual...>

I have attached a photo. If you are able to assist, please advise me of your thoughts.
Thank you.
Kind regards,
Tania
<This grossly appears to be some sort of bacterial/microbial infection (internal); but as you state it's been this way for half a year... Perhaps genetic/developmental. I would leave this fish and all else as is. Bob Fenner>

Re: Genetic defect/health query- Albino Bristlenose  7/20/13
Thanks Bob, this fella has been this way since s/he was quite small.
<Yes; as I understood you. Am asking Neale Monks here to respond
separately. BobF>
Cheers,
Tania
Genetic defect/health query- Albino Bristlenose     /Neale  7/20/13

Howdy,
I have noticed in my Albino bristle nose brood that one has a puffy looking enlarged mid-section, I was wondering whether it could be a genetic defect or whether there was something I could do to assist him/her.
<A good varied diet with fresh algae will help clear any constipation. You might also try using Epsom salt, which is an effective laxative for fish and completely safe. If used with an antibiotic can also help with early stage Dropsy.>
S/he has been this way for months. I have attached a photo. If you are able to assist, please advise me of your thoughts. Thank you.
Kind regards,
Tania
<Do read here...
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm
Suspect constipation may be an issue, often is with herbivorous fishes.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Genetic defect/health query- Albino Bristlenose     7/21/13
Thanks again Bob, Neale suggested we change the feeding and we will try some blanched skinless peas. Can't hurt to try!
<Ah yes>
Cheers,
Tania
<And you; BobF>
Re: Genetic defect/health query- Albino Bristlenose     7/21/13

Hi Neale,
Thank you for your advice. We'll give the peas a try.
Cheers,
Tania
<Most welcome and bon chance! Cheers, Neale.>

Red blood cysts 12/22/11
So i have a yearling Pleco and i noticed his tail had these red bubbles at the end of his tail. So when i went to check it out his tail was slimy and it had little white things under it. His tail is getting more and more
ripped. I was just wondering if you knew what it is and how to treat it.
Thanks so much, Emily
<Sounds like a bacterial infection, e.g., Finrot. So, what's the environment like? How big is the tank? What sort of filtration are you using? Plecs are extremely hardy animals, but they do have minimum
requirements in terms of aquarium size and filtration. Cheers, Neale.>

Odd growth on my Pleco's mouth 10/25/10
Hi there, I'm hoping you can help me.
Roughly a week ago I noticed this fluffy looking growth on the edge of one of my Pleco's mouths. I'm not sure how long it's been there but it doesn't appear to have grown any over the last 7 days. My other Pleco is unaffected and the one with the growth is still eating and behaving normally. The rest of the tankmates detailed below are also fine. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
Tank 200 litres
Temp 25 C
pH 7.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates <5mg/l
2 Plecos, 2 small angels, 5 red wag platys, 6 Scissortails, 5 zebra/pearl Danios, 2 African dwarf frogs, 4 japonica shrimp
Many thanks in advance
Claire
<Hello Claire. First things first, your aquarium will soon be much too small for your Plec, which is a Common Suckermouth, Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus. While I doubt that's the reason why this chap is sick, in the long term water quality problems are going to stress your other livestock. Plus, two Common Suckermouth will rarely cohabit in a tank this small, and often they fight, in some cases causing such damage the weaker fish dies. As for what precisely is going on here, well, your Plec has some sort of growth, but whether it's viral or bacterial is hard to say. Either way, it's likely to be "benign" in the sense of not causing any immediate health problems, but on the other hand there's no particular cure for these
sorts of things outside of a trip to the vet for surgery and suitable wound cleaning and antibiotics. It may heal in time, given optimal environmental conditions and a balanced diet. One last thing Claire, please do note that we ask for images to be resized down to 500 KB each, rather than the 3 MB images you sent, presumably fresh from the camera. Big files clog up our e-mail allowance and cause other people's messages to be bounced back.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Odd growth on my Pleco's mouth 10/25/10
Dear Neale, Many thanks for the very quick reply and the helpful info. I plan on getting another, larger tank and will now do that sooner rather than later. I'm obviously pleased that the growth is likely benign as I'd hoped that would be the case. With regards to the file size of the photos I must apologise. I had put them from camera into the computer and had a set with reduced size as well as the originals. I sent you the wrong ones. I will be more careful should I need to send pics again. Many thanks again for your help. Claire
<Glad to help, Claire, and no harm done. Good luck, Neale.>

Bristlenose with fungus? 08/04/09
Hi,
<Hello Kate,>
I have a Bristlenose Pleco who has been sharing a 40-gallon aquarium with a handful of African cichlids for the past 3 years. They normally get along quite well; the cichlids ignore the Pleco (but maybe there's a first time for everything...), and he usually stays out of sight in a cave among the rocks during the day.
<Ancistrus are at risk of being harmed when kept with the more aggressive African cichlids, particularly Mbuna.>
I had noticed that algae had been building up on the glass over the past few days, but I assumed the Pleco was holding out for an algae cookie, as he tends to do - he's a bit spoiled in that respect! This evening, when I moved the rocks around to do my weekly water change & vacuum the gravel, I was horrified to discover that the Pleco's snout was a mottled pale colour, and that his bristles were almost all gone. His snout also has a coating of some fuzzy white stuff that looks like fungus. He usually scuttles out of the way when I clean the tank, but this time he barely moved. He looks awful!
<Assuming it's fungus, which looks like white cotton wool threads, treat accordingly.>
I had some Maracyn (about a year old - is this ok?) on hand, so I dosed the tank with that,
<Unlikely to cure Fungus. The same goes for Melafix (tea-tree oil). You do need a genuine anti-fungal medication.>
and I added a bit of extra aquarium salt as well.
<Don't. Salt won't help, and some African cichlids, such as Mbuna, may develop bloating when exposed to saline conditions.>
All of the water parameters are normal.
<As in...? I need numbers, not judgments! Fungus is caused either by poor water quality or physical damage. So, check firstly you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Secondly, think about the companions. Some African cichlids are harmless enough when kept with Ancistrus, notably Kribs. But Mbuna would be a very bad choice of tankmates, since they'd persistently nip and buffet these poor catfish, causing physical damage.>
I realize that a separate tank would probably be best, but my old 10-gallon tank is in storage and doesn't have a proper cover (and with a new kitten in the house, this just spells disaster). Is it ok to continue dosing the main tank? Is the treatment even worth it?
<Yes. Fungus clears up pretty well.>
The Pleco seems to be in really bad shape and I don't want him to suffer needlessly if it's a lost cause.
<Well, the "suffer needlessly" bit assumes you're going to euthanise a fish in a way that doesn't cause pain. See here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
>
Thanks for any advice you can provide,
KW
<Cheers, Neale.>

Plecostomus Question 10/5/08
I have reviewed a ton of websites regarding my plecostomus.
<Oh?>
I have had him for ~ 3 years and he has been? very healthy. Just recently I noticed near his tail fin a small (about the size of a pencil eraser) area of white/pink, almost bubble-like tissue.
<Hmm... would assuming from the colour/texture this is some sort of external, opportunistic bacterial and/or fungal infection. Would begin by assuming this to be the case, and treat with Maracyn.>
I went to the fish store and tried to describe the area and he told me to just watch it for now OR try to "pick it off!"
<No... more likely to expose healthy tissue, making things worse.>
Unfortunately, besides the fact that this information does not sound right, even if I wanted to I could never catch that fish!? It doesn't look anything at all like Ick, so I don't know if its a mass of some type or something I should be treating.
<Yes; also review water quality and water chemistry stability.>
He lives in a 72 gallon tank with 4 parrot fish.
<Sounds busy, but assuming you have decent filtration, should be fine.>
Any thoughts or ideas?
Brenda
<Cheers, Neale.>

Fungus on Pleco's head? 8/29/08
Hello,
<Ave,>
I have a Pleco who is about 12" long. I'm not sure of type or age since he was given to me. He is very healthy and looks great except for his nostril. I think it is a nostril on top of his head. It looks like it was full of a pink, flesh colored worm. I have treated with an Ick and anti fungus medicine.
<Could be Fungus, but equally likely Finrot or Mouth Fungus (this isn't actually a fungus despite the name). Need to treat with a combination Finrot/Fungus medication such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000. Do remember to remove carbon when medicating. A photograph would help us confirm.>
I have also done a good water change and am using metaflax.
<Melafix is pretty useless.>
The longer it goes, the more this pink pop-corn looking stuff keeps coming up out of the hole.
<Probably decaying organic matter, or pus to put it another way. Needs fixing, fast.>
Can you tell me what this is and how to get rid of it?
Chris
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fungus on Pleco's head? 09/07/08
Thank you for your quick response. Although things are not better. Sunday I started a treatment of Maroxy from Mardel. <Don't know this product, and looking over the list of ingredients it isn't one I'd recommend. With fungal infections and certain bacterial infections looking so similar, you want something that zaps them both. Hence Maracyn (in the US) or eSHa 2000 (in the EU) are my standard recommendations.> I also gave 3 treatments of Tetracycline tablets. <Do you mean Tetracycline? Again, not a recommendation I'd make (had made). There's a reason we recommend specific medicines: from experience, we know they work. While there's nothing to stop you experimenting with other medications, I have no more idea if they'll work than you do!> I also kept the tank in the dark since when I did a water change, I had fuzzy little pieces floating around. <Could be anything! Whatever they are, siphon out.> Today, I have taken the tank down and cleaned and re-set up. <Not what I'd do. When you're treating fish, you need to avoid causing problems by stressing the fish or upsetting the biological filter. Stirring the gravel and doing a decent water change prior to dosing the tank on Day 1 of treatment is fine, but after that leave it alone. The medication is often designed to be used over a series of days, and the people who did this assume you're NOT doing water changes in between. By altering things by removing water you're going to throw the medication off track.> In the process, I tried to pick the fungus off his head...now it is bleeding and only a small part came off. <I bet. Don't do this. Just like your mom said when you grazed your knee -- don't pick at it! Secondary infections set in because the skin is damaged; by picking at the skin you're exposing more of the delicate tissues under the skin, making things worse.> What now? <Grab either Maracyn or eSHa 2000 depending on where you live. Don't mess about with other medications. We know these medications work! Dose and use EXACTLY as the leaflet says. Do not alter anything through the treatment. Make sure there is no carbon in the filter. If this catfish is on its own, don't feed it while treating; that'll keep the water a bit cleaner.> Chris <Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fungus on Pleco's head? 9/20/08
Hello
Today is the 19th and I have done the treatment that you recommended. do you think this looks good? It is getting bigger.
<That's actually pretty nasty, and looks like an ulcer, seemingly coincident with the nostril. If Maracyn isn't working, switch to Maracyn 2 (Minocycline). These two medications have complimentary actions, one working on gram-positive bacteria, the other gram-negative. In other words, if Maracyn doesn't work, Maracyn 2 should do.>
Also, I have another 55 gallon tank that is overrun with bright green, furry algae. I have tried everything to get rid of it - closed tank for months and have taken it down, cleaned and put back. What do you recommend? Chris
<I'm guessing these is Blue-green Algae. This stuff looks like slimy, matted threads, and can have a dark blue-green colour. When removed from the water it has a very distinctive musty smell. Anyway, it's impossible to "eliminate" unless you fix the conditions in the tank. Blue-green Algae (BGA) is almost always a sign of three things: poor water circulation, high nitrate/phosphate concentration, and direct sunlight. Could easily be two or three of these. Often a real pest in overstocked, under-filtered tanks. Review, and act accordingly. The stuff could be Red Algae. Despite this name, freshwater varieties are green! Anyway, doesn't have the same smell as BGA and looks more like turf or long (often dark blue-black) threads. Most commonly infests solid objects and around the edges of plant leaves. Again, plague levels of Red Algae are difficult to fix because nothing much eats it vigorously, though Siamese Algae Eaters and a few other species will peck at minor infestations sufficiently well to keep them in check. The only 100% reliable way to control Red Algae is to provide intense lighting and use lots of fast-growing plant species. Somehow, and no-one really understands why, fast-growing plants have a strongly negative effect on these types of algae. Ensuring the nitrate/phosphate level is low will also help, particularly if you manually remove Red Algae on sight. It's worth mentioning that none of the fish or snails sold as "algae eaters" have much use in controlling outbreaks of either Red or Blue-Green Algae. Controlling algae is almost entirely about getting the environment right, in particular by balancing the fish with healthy, fast-growing plants. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Pleco? Hlth... 9/29/08
Hello it's me again. My Pleco still looks no better and I've done the treatment twice...just wait a little longer?
<If you've tried Maracyn, try switching to Maracyn 2. These two drugs treat different sets of bacteria, so often when Maracyn fails, Maracyn 2 works. Certainly do a water change between starting a different medication.>
thanks for your help Chris
<Cheers, Neale.>

Pleco head -10/28/08 Hi I've been speaking with Neale about a Pleco with some kind of growth on his head. The water is fine, he is acting fine but the growth has not went away. I have tried 2 5-day treatments of Maracyn and Maracyn 2. It is in his nostril and has ripped it open. the ulcer itself looks like fleshy, popcorn. Any suggestions? Chris <Hi Chris. If I recall correctly, the nostril has been infected. On the plus side, on fish the nostrils don't connect to anything important, so the infection isn't likely to be fatal. But the infection will certainly take a long time to fade away; the dead tissue will need to fall away, and then the wound close up. This will surely take some months. Antibacterial medications are the best you can do to speed things up, so far as I can judge. Use them carefully and not excessively (wait a few weeks to a month after one treatment and then decide if it needs to be used again). You're essentially trying to make sure things don't get worse, and then wait for the fish's immune and repair systems to put right the damage. Cheers, Neale.>

Mystery bumps on edges of Pleco fins (plus some other random questions involving goldfish)  12/30/07 Happy holidays to the WWM crew! <Thanks!> Thanks again to Neale for the helpful responses a few weeks ago -- Ginger the goldfish seems to have more or less recovered from the whole ordeal and has been back in the main [35g] tank for a couple weeks - Fancy (the little Ryukin) seemed quite happy to have Ginger back, if that's possible... though I'm wondering if Ginger is really male and Fancy a female, after reading the FAQs on fish sexing? <Goldfish are difficult to sex outside of breeding condition; in breeding condition, males develop very obvious white spots (tubercles) on their heads.> There was quite a bit of "tail bumping" and not-overly-intense chasing of Fancy by Ginger yesterday, which seems to have resulted in a tail tasting -- I assume the small 'ribbon' of missing tail will heal up uneventfully, but will it regrow? <Fin should grow back, though possibly a different colour.> I'll keep an eye on the tear to make sure no infection/fungus takes hold, and continue to maintain the water change/testing schedule for now. Fancy seems otherwise content and isn't having any trouble swimming. A photo of the 2 (Ginger's the orange one, Fancy's the calico; the arrows point to the tear in Fancy's tail, and what I suspect are 'breeding stars' on Ginger?): http://appj.com/photos/fish/gingerfancy.jpg <Looks like Ginger is indeed a male. The give-away is if the pattern of white spots on each side of the head looks about the same. Ick (Whitespot) never does.> [Grr... my stupid webmail client just ate the detailed paragraph I wrote on my Pleco... for lack of energy, here's an abbreviated version, below] <Oh dear.> My Pleco (Hypostomus sp?) has some strange, whitish-clearish-fleshy, gelatinous growths on the edge of the left ventral fin and the top of the caudal fin. The small bump on the tail fin appeared several days ago, but seemed smaller the last couple days and hasn't really changed much. The Pleco's still eating/moving normally, but was cleaning the front glass this evening despite the aquarium light being on -- not completely normal for him. That's when I noticed that a much bigger cauliflower bump had appeared on the edge/underside of another fin in the last day. There's no apparent injury underlying these bumps, which "saddle" the outer edge of a fin. There had been a bit of a spat between the Pleco and Fancy over a particular algae wafer last night (despite the other 2 identical wafers next to it in the tank!), so maybe the stress of that exacerbated whatever condition this is: http://appj.com/photos/fish/plecobump.jpg <Hmm... could be Lymphocystis, a viral disease with no cure other than time. Rarely fatal, but does take a long time (potentially many months to a couple years) to clear up. Fairly convincingly ascribed to less than perfect water quality issues. Lympho tends to be an issue with "advanced" fish, so this may in fact be more akin to Fish Pox, an equivalent disease found on carps.> Currently, there are no bumps quite like this on any other fish, though Ginger has had a small whitish bump/discoloration "in" her/his tail for several weeks now. I'm guessing it's unrelated, unless it's some sort of viral thing? I'm hoping the Crew may have a potential diagnosis / treatment recommendation. <Does sound similar. Either way, these sorts of cysts/tumours/warts can't be treated directly except by improving water quality. Do make sure conditions are otherwise optimal. Since Plecs are tropical fish, do make sure the temperature is adequate.> Thanks in advance :) - Jen [p.s. see "goldfish 911 (lethargic, anorexic)" FAQ thread from a couple weeks ago, for more setup/background info] [p.p.s. I'll be writing again soon with some questions on the new 125g tank I just purchased for my aquatic critters - too exciting!] <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Pleco L260 w/ Fungus... real "Fix"es    10/21/07 Hello, I have a Queen Arabesque Pleco, my daughter has named Darling, in a 44 gal planted tank. All of the Nitrates, Nitrites, Ph Levels are where they should be. The temp of the tank is 79ish. There are a School of Tetra (15 members), Rasboras (5 members), 2 shrimp, and a Clown Pleco also in residence in the tank. Everyone else seems to be ok. I noticed a couple of small non-symmetrical whitish fuzzy spots on one side (only on her right side) of the Queen (located at the tip of her tail, on the shaft of her tail and on her side). I talked to a couple of fish guys, to get ideas on treatment. I was told that is sounds like Fungus and told me to use MelaFix and PimaFix (they would not hurt the other tank mates). The tank has been in treatment for 6 days (as of 10/20/07). I also got on the web to see what I could find. My conclusion is that she has fungus. These do not seem to be working. Her fuzzy spots seem to be getting larger and now she seems to have a film covering a portion of her side. She is still active and her belly looks like she is eating. What types of cures are there to use. I do not have a quarantine/treatment tank to put her in. So I will have to treat the whole tank. I also have "Ich Attack" by Kordon, which is 100% organic and treats diseased caused by Ich, Fungus, Protozoans and Dinoflagellates. Which I have yet to use out of fear of killing the others. Ich Attack does not speak to its use on Plecos or scaleless fish. MelaFix and PimaFix say they are safe for Plecos. Can you help me please! Sincerely Steve <Steve, most of us here at WWM consider Melafix and Pimafix a waste of time. They may have some value against minor infections or as prophylactics where fish are slightly damaged but not infected with Finrot or fungus. But as a treatment against established Finrot and fungus, they have limited and very variable usefulness. For treating fungus I would be using a standard anti-fungal medication. I happen to like eSHa 2000, a Dutch medication widely sold here in the UK and in my experienced perfectly safe with sensitive fish. I have used in several times in tanks containing things like pufferfish as well as numerous different types of catfish (Corydoras, Synodontis, and Panaque, in this case a Royal Plec, but the same genus as your Clown Plec). If you can get this medication in your country, then definitely try it out. One thing I like about eSHa 2000 is that it treats Finrot, Fungus, and Mouth Fungus simultaneously, removing the need to diagnose these different but easily confused infections. There are other medications that will also work against all three (Interpet Anti-Fungus and Finrot, Seachem ParaGuard etc.). Ask your retailer. If you stick with Melafix and Pimafix, I'm concerned (read: certain) your catfish will simply die. The whole "medications are bad for catfish" discussion seems to be very ambiguous, and largely based on old fashioned medications less commonly used. Many brands of medication will specifically say "safe on sensitive fish" or similar, and these are worth using. I can only speak from experience, which is that used properly, medications don't seem to have harmed any catfish I've looked after. Do remove carbon from the filter, and don't forget to increase aeration. Have a read of the catfish disease FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/catfshdisfaqs.htm . Cheers, Neale>

Re: Pleco L260 w/ Fungus 10/21/07 Neale, Thanks for the info. I am running out this morning to try to obtain some new Meds. She has even got worse since I sent my original email. I will update you either way on the outcome. Lets hope it is a good one. She is a beautiful fish and a member of the family. Thanks again and Cheers, Steve <Steve, catfish are basically tough, so you have a wide window of opportunity to turn things around. Treat swiftly, keep tabs on the water quality, increase aeration, and pray to the Fish Gods. Yes, these big Loricariid catfish can become "one of the family". My Panaque has been with me since I graduated, which is substantially longer than any of my girlfriends! And in their own way, they do become tame and even friendly. So it's worth making an effort with them. Good luck, Neale>

Re: Pleco L260 w/ Fungus  11/4/07 Neale, After 15 plus days of treatment with meds, it looks as if the Queen Arabesque has come through with her fight with fungi. She seems to have a scar on her tail were the worst patch was. However, she is eating and totally active, with no signs of fungi for a few days. I could not find eSHa 2000; however, I was able to pick up some Seachem ParaGuard. It took awhile to work, but everyone in the tank seems to be OK. Knock on wood!!! I cannot thank you enough. So thanks again and stay well, cheers, Steve <Hello Steve. I'm glad things are working out. I've seen Plecos recover from the most amazing injuries. They are tough old birds! So provided you keep the water sweet and the diet offered the fish nice and varied, your fish should do well. Please do keep us posted! Good luck, Neale>

Infect-a-Plec - 10/22/2006 Hi: I would appreciate if someone could have a quick look at the attached two photos of one of my two Plecostomus who has over the last month developed an increased white coating to the head region. None of the other fish in the tank including the other Plec have any such signs. Is this fungal, bacterial? Thank you, Tom <Ouch! Your fish is in bad shape. I would start with pristine water in a QT tank. Then treat for a bacterial infection. I would also add about two to three tbls of aquarium salt per 10 gallons of water. Under no circumstances should you treat in the main tank. Doing so will nuke the beneficial bacteria needed to control your water quality. An ammonia spike is the last thing your Plec needs right now. Good Luck, Don>

Sick Sailfin - 10/22/2006 We have a Sailfin Plec who is very poorly.  He seems to have developed some sort of fungus/disease (I thought it was the disease 'Velvet' at first) which has made large parts of his body discolored, almost red raw and what  must be extremely sore. There are approx 3 whitish 'eaten away' marks on his body and he has redness along his fins, tail and top lip as well as near the white marks. He has lived happily and problem free for a number of years in our tank and has always been a hardy fish so we are upset at watching him decline in this way and are feeling quite helpless. He has been lying on the bottom upside down breathing quite rapidly and seems to be stressed. We  were told to try applying sea salt to his wounds which we did approx 4 days ago where his condition seemed to improve but now seems to have taken a  downward turn. No other fish in the tank are effected (we also have  Corydoras, tetra and silver dollars) and we are at a loss at what to do. We have also changed approx 50% of the water following the salt treatment.   What would be your advice? Many thanks. M. Bradshaw    Devon, U.K <If he is laying upside-down on the bottom it would seem your fish is near death. There may not be anything you can do at this point. But since the salt seemed to work, I would pull him away from the others and add about two tablespoons of aquarium salt to the water. Take the temp up to 82 to 84 and add an airstone. Good luck. Don>

Re: Pregnant Aulonocara died - could it be Mycobacteriosis? and Loricariid sel. hlth.  6/3/06 <Mmm, possibly>   <<If this was indeed Mycobacteriosis, what are the chances her baby fry will have it?>> >Frightening to consider... Mycobacteria are pretty much ubiquitous... can become virulently pathogenic under "right/wrong" circumstances. I do suspect this strain, species is still about< I've attached photos of my pregnant female Aulonocara who died recently hoping I could get your opinion.  I thought she had an extreme case of black spot when I got her. <Black spot... as in Velvet? Looks more neurological...>    About a month after her first brood (which are all healthy and 2 months old) she began looking unhealthy and a little bloated.  Mycobacteriosis kept entering my mind and I decided I would isolate her and try to treat her for whatever, when before I could, she was holding a 2nd time.  I decided to wait till after her hatch and lost her.  The first 2 photos were taken a month or so earlier when she wasn't pregnant.  The last 2 were taken recently (one while holding and the other right after).   She started swimming nonstop for 48 hours after moving her into an isolation tank, just 3 days before her eggs should have hatched.  The eve before her due date I saw 2" or so of something black hanging out her gill.  It fell off and appeared to be a black filamentous fungus (in hindsight, maybe it was gill filament).  More bits and pieces are shown on the white nylon bag covering the intake.  More trailed out shortly after and I spotted a dead baby fry in the tank.  She was manic and still making egg tumbling movements with her mouth, swimming in a frenzy and her gills were all swollen.  I realized something was wrong and either the eggs had fungused or she had dead fry in her mouth.  I placed her in a Methylene Blue dip and she spit dead fry.  She seemed better and her gill swelling went down.   The next two days she refused to eat and never rested completely.  Suddenly she darted like a missile across the tank into the walls twice and flipped upside down. I thought she was dead, but then noticed shallow breathing so I rushed her into another MB dip with aeration.  She was able to upright herself and swim.  I diluted the dip and kept her there for an  hour or so (making sure to keep the temperature constant).  I placed her back in her tank, added a few drops of MB and 1/2 dose of Furan 2.  She died several hours later.  I examined her gills and the filaments were completely gone and she had a gaping hole on each side under her operculum where you could see into her mouth and out her lips.   The gill areas were completely flesh colored with no evidence of anything black remaining. Cindy <The swelling, and raw areas could be bacterial in nature. I do wish Chuck Rambo wasn't incommunicado. If this were a breeding facility for Kaiserfishche/Aulonocaras, I'd treat all with a Furan Compound... Likely Nitrofuranace, after isolating all systems thus mal-affected. Bob Fenner> <<Is it safe for me to treat her 9 week old fry?>> >Yes, but I don't know that I actually would. Likely not infected to the >point of actual disease, perhaps some acquired immunity in fact as a matter >of exposure< <<The other female Aulonocara that was in the same tank  is mouthbrooding again.  She doesn't have any of the black markings like the other female had.  She hasn't been looking as healthy lately and does have some fraying of her fins.  Should I treat her tank now, or wait until after she spits her fry and I remove them?>> Cindy Bob,  off the record.. I got this Aulonocara from Cichlid Exchange in Portland.  My LFS orders from them (when they can't get stock from African Northwest in Seattle).  I'm furious after this Aulonocara and recently receiving a special order King Tiger Pleco from them last month with a severe case of sunken belly (take a look at the photo attached). >Did you bring this up with them?< My LFS told me they'd recently received a number of Plecos from them in this condition that died. >Not surprisingly... Not good to let Loricariids get this thin/debilitated<   The LFS didn't put two and two together until I explained to them that these aren't captive bred, they are wild caught. What kind of distributor operates this way? >Poor ones... though many exotic aquatics are still wild-collected< They must ship them out as soon as they receive them.  These Plecos don't have a fighting chance unless they get them eating again and fattened up. >Agreed< I spent 5 weeks trying to save this King Tiger's life because I knew if I returned him to my LFS he wouldn't have a fighting chance.  I fed him you name it 5-6 times a day, did daily water changes, and even ran out to the grocery store one night at 10:00 p.m. to get eggs (to paint egg white on rock and cover it with crushed peas, zucchini & yam), all in an attempt to try to save him.   I got him eating again with a healthy appetite, then he suddenly took a turn for the worse. He died yesterday, so sorry if I'm sounding a little bit angry right now. >No worries< I appreciate all you do with your website.  I love all creatures great and small.  I believe when I adopt something it is my responsibility to care for it as if it were my own and to not treat pets as disposables.  My cats have lived to ripe old ages, averaging 19 yrs, because I spend the money to feed them the best foods available and to get them the best veterinary care.  I try to do the same for my fish. >Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner<

Re: Imported Loricariid death/s  6/5/06 Bob,  off the record.. I got this Aulonocara from XXXX.  My LFS orders from them (when they can't get stock from African Northwest in Seattle).  I'm furious after this Aulonocara and recently receiving a special order King Tiger Pleco from them last month with a severe case of sunken belly (take a look at the photo attached). >Did you bring this up with them?< > >I returned the dead Pleco and talked to the manager of the fish department.  He's worked there for years but was only recently promoted to manager when the previous manager graduated with his PHD in Marine Biology and left to pursue a career in environmental ecology.  He has a lot to learn now that he's in charge of inventory and ordering and appreciates that I take time to do research and share it with him.  He hasn't placed an order with Cichlid Exchange since I got this Pleco with sunken belly and explained to him these are wild caught, not captive bred Plecos and that's the reason he's been having so many recent Pleco losses.  I told him what happened with my Aulonocara and my concern that the breeder's facility might have an outbreak of Mycobacteriosis or some other serious bacterial problem.  He said after hearing this he doesn't plan on ordering from them again.  He has had a number of recent Aulonocara losses and some were large expensive fish.   He thought the problem might be with the Aulonocara species in general and had even considered discontinuing stocking them.  Do you know any reputable breeders/distributors you would recommend for Cichlids and exotic Plecos?  He could use some help now, especially after receiving a shipment of saltwater with cyanide poisoning (? I know nothing about saltwater) that forced him to shut down half his tanks for a week.<< <Am referring this question of supply to our most able Cichlid expert, Chuck Rambo. Bob Fenner>  
Re: Pregnant Aulonocara died - could it be Mycobacteriosis? Finding A Source For Plecos and Cichlids 6/5/06
Dear Bob,/Cindy A few comments concerning this email. 1) Pregnant Aulonocara I know the cichlid exchange has been getting in many wild Aulonocara species direct from Lake Malawi. After getting this email I am sure that the fish was not pregnant and indeed died of Malawi Bloat. The stress of being shipped half way around the world takes its toll on many of the fish but especially the females for some reason. I don't know the area Cindy is in but it appears to be the NW area of the US where the water is usually very soft and somewhat acidic. Her tank may be set up for Malawi fish but I wonder if the store itself was set up for wild fish. Captive bred fish are much hardier than wild fish when it comes to water conditions and pH. I suspect that the store was not experienced enough to handle wild fish and did not modify the water as needed. Not ordering these wild fish would probably be a good move for the store, the fish, and their customers. Tank bred species would be better but stores and customers are reluctant to wait while these fish grow and color up.  2) Hollow Bellied Pleco That was really bad. I would recommend that Cindy contact the Cichlid Exchange herself at their website and send along her photo to back up her story. It is true that they are wild fish but that particular fish should not have been sent out. The trouble is, that the suppliers that have good Plecos are very expensive because they hold on to their Plecos for awhile and the Plecos die on them. They make up for the losses by passing the additional costs on to the price of the living Plecos. Many times these prices are too high for many retail customers to buy.  3) Finding A Source For Plecos and Cichlids. If you are interested in Aulonocara species then there really is no better source than the Cichlid Exchange. The owner is one of the most renown experts on this field in the entire world. Next time I would recommend that you order captive bred fry and grow them up. They are the best and are usually as good or better than wild fish without all the problems that wild fish come with. The wild Plecos are a crap shoot. I see these Plecos all the time at my local wholesaler. Some come in with nice full bellies while others right next to them are skeletons. Apparently when an order is placed it may take three weeks for the collectors to get enough Plecos to fill a box. At day one the first Pleco is caught and placed in a container. It stays their until enough Plecos are caught to fill the box. It has not been fed and so lives off its reserves. The recently caught fish look great. The first ones caught resemble the ones in Cindy's photo. There are many good Plecos from vendors at aquabid.com. But the pricing and shipping may make a purchase cost prohibitive.----- <Thanks much for these insights Chuck. Will post/share. BobF>
Cindy Du Mond Questions, Skinny Pleco   6/9/06
Dear Fearless Leader, I talked to Steve at the Cichlid Exchange and forwarded Cindy's email. He said it was entirely possible that a skinny Pleco went out with out him knowing about it . <Easy to have happen... for sure> The store that they sell fish to in her area never bought any small or female peacocks. They checked their records and the only things they ever buy is adult show males so they don't know what is the problem is  with the female peacocks. <Mmmm> Steve never heard anything back from the store about the Plecos until this email. Steve will contact her and will work something out. I asked Cindy to contact me when things got resolved. I don't think you want to make WWM an aquatic version of Consumer Reports <I don't mind at all> so I will try and get everything done offline. Can you imagine the emails we would get if every aquarist started to complain about their local fish store!!!!!YIKES!!! <A way to make things better... Cheers! BobF>

Double Whammy FW, Pleco, fungus? - 03/27/06 Hi, sorry to bother you guys but I have been reading your forum and I think u guys are great and full of info, I hope you can help me-I don't know what to do???!!!! I have a Pleco which I have noticed in the last couple of days has had some kind of stringy cotton-like thing hanging from his fins-no other patches or anything like that, I didn't know what it was so I decided to just watch him.  Well last night the cotton like web was all-over his dorsal fin, it looks like he went through a spider web and it attached to him, very strange!  I had to go to work, so today I went to check on them and saw that my guppy (female)-who is in the same tank- has some kind of cotton ball over her Right eye and on most of her face, and she looks really sick just laying there not doing well.  I'm looking to see if anything else is wrong with the rest of the fish (2 ID sharks, 1 male guppy) But the rest of them look fine. Except there is a white line on one of my id sharks that goes from his top lip to his bottom, very small but I don't remember if he has always had this!!!! I started searching what this thing on my guppy and Pleco could be and the only thing that comes up in my search is possible "cotton mouth"???? If it is this what do I do, I just started this 20gal tank and I don't have another one to isolate my fish into, also this is very contagious should I treat the whole tank with all my fishes in it??? And if so with what??? I'm very confused (new at this) But I don't want my fish to get sick and die! I just did my parameters: pH 7.4 AMMONIA 2.0!!!!! Nit:0---Ammonia is very high, I am going to do a 30% water change but in the mean time what do I do if my fishes if they have this horrible bacteria???? I also read in some sight that if my fish have this I should wear gloves when I do water changes, is that true?? If so why?? Thank you so much for your time, I hope you all can help me!!!! Wen <Hi Wen, Don here. Yep, that "Don", FishSoup in the forums. First thing we must do is lower that ammonia to near zero. You need to up your water changes to about 50%. Two the first day, a few hours apart. Then daily until ammonia and nitrite stay at zero without a water change. Also, please read here: http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/articles/columnaris.html. Sounds like a double whammy of a Columnaris infection and an uncycled (or lost cycle) tank. They list a few meds you can use to rid the tank of the infection. The problem will be treating for the infection while you do water changes. The meds will need to be replaced during each water change. That can get expensive. Most will also kill off the good bacteria along with the bad. The use of a QT tank for the fish while allowing the main tank to run fallow (or bleaching and re cycling) will save a lot of money and effort. As you will read in the link I provided, a high amount of organic matter in the water is a contributing factor in the Columnaris outbreak. I feel this will continue despite your best efforts until you heed the advice given you in the forum and return the ID sharks. There really is no practical way to keep these monsters in a home aquarium. The Pleco (if the "Common") will also outgrow your tank in time. But they grow much slower.>

Pleco markings... I have a Plecostomus in a ten gallon tank with a glass catfish, two Gouramis, a male Betta, an angelfish and a Chinese algae eater.  The Plecostomus has developed these white fungus looking growths all over his mouth.  They kinda look like cauliflower, more rubber like in texture than cottony.  The other fish do not have any growths and the Plecostomus has had this for about two weeks now.  I don't know if I should medicate the tank and what I would use since I can't diagnose this disease.  I did introduce a live plant and a mystery snail into the tank about a week or two ago, but other than that I can't figure what this might be.  Does anyone know what this is and how to treat it? <Good Morning, if the appearance is more rubbery than cottony it could be a viral infection.  It is hard to say with out a picture.  This fish should be removed to a separate quarantine tank and treated with Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone.  Your tank sounds a little crowded, I would recommend an upgrade real soon.  The Pleco, Angel fish, and possibly the Gourami (depends on what type) will out grow this tank in no time.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm>

Plec Problems I've had my current Pleco for about a month and I just started to notice that both front fins on my Pleco have started to form some sort of "bubbles" at the front. Both front fins look the same and the fish seems fine otherwise.  Here are some pictures with red arrows pointing to the "bubbles". http://www.rbartick.com/cf/pleco_1.jpg http://www.rbartick.com/cf/pleco_2.jpg http://www.rbartick.com/cf/pleco_3.jpg http://www.rbartick.com/cf/pleco_4.jpg http://www.rbartick.com/cf/pleco_5.jpg http://www.rbartick.com/cf/pleco_6.jpg Has anyone seen anything like this before? <To be quite honest, taking into account the damage to the fins, I'd say you're most likely dealing with fin rot.  I would isolate the fish in a separate aquarium and treat with Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone (proprietary names include "Kanacyn", "Spectrogram", and "Furacyn" [Aquatronics] and "Kanaplex" [Seachem]).  I have had scaleless fish fare very well with these meds.> Regards,  Ross Bartick <Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina>
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