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FAQs on Loricariids, South and Central American Suckermouth Cats 1: Parasitic Disease (Ich, Velvet...)

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, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), 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,


Clown Pleco Skin Patchy-ness... medication poisoning, reading 10/11/08
Well, to start I have 9 Zebra Danios, 10 Neon Tetra's, 6 Harlequins, 2 Cory's, a rather peaceful Siamese Fighter, and a Clown Pleco. My tank was recently infected with the Whitespot disease which killed off all 6 or my Bleeding Hearts, my other Clown Pleco, a male and female Dwarf Gourami's (I still have 1 other female Dwarf Gourami but I suspect she won't make it) and all 7 of my Emperor Tetra's. (The Emperor's where the ones to bring it into the tank.) We used Exit
<www.eshalabs.eu/pages_eu/product_engels.html?zoom=2&download=1 - >
for the Whitespot and the treatment worked on the rest that didn't die but its started to come back on the Neon's and Siamese (who is dubbed Jackie Chan ^_^).
<Good name>
We're treating the Ick again
<I would be reading on WWM re... at least elevating temp. to bolster a cure here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwichremedyyes.htm
and the linked files above>
but my main problem at the moment is my Clown Pleco. He's chocolate brown with kind-of yellow spots and stripes.. So far he hasn't been affected at all by the Ick but I've noticed he's gotten some lighter patches on his skin.
<Is affected... more by the eSHa product likely...>
They seem to be crescent shape and go down his back (though this is in a regular pattern). He's also gone very quiet (whereas before he was quite active) and isn't eating as much. He's barely moved at all day.
<Being poisoned... have you measured any ammonia, nitrite...?>
I did a water test and the results came back fine aside from the pH which showed between 5-6.
<Dangerously low... likely not well buffered either... Do you know much re alkalinity AND pH? Please see WWM re, and possibly at least mix in some source water with appreciable hardness>
I don't know if there is something wrong with the Pleco but I'm quite fond of him and am not keen on losing any more fish. ^_^;
<Then... I'd be reading... Stat>
Any help would be much appreciated.
Jasmine Law
<Read. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clown Pleco Skin Patchy-ness, Ich 10/12/08

Many thanks for your help, it is greatly appreciated. I read on your site about raising the temperature to kill the Ick, and I've now raised it to 80 F however I am concerned about raising the temperature to the level required to kill off all stages of Ick as I know some of the fish I have, such as the Danios, tend to prefer cooler temperatures.
<Ah, yes>
Would it be ok, bearing in mind the different species I have, to raise the temperature?
<Yes... better by far than to suffer, perhaps perish from the Ich itself... or more medicine exposure. If they were mine, I'd go ahead and raise the temperature to 83-84 F.. This is not too high for Danios in the short term>
What temperature do you consider tolerable for the different fish in the tank?
<For all the species you list (below) in your original email, this temporary elevation will be fine... Do take care in a couple weeks however to lower it slowly... no more than a degree per day or so>
I've done another water change. And another water test. The results came back as:
GH - 180
KH - 180
PH - 7.0
Nitrites CNO2 - 0
Nitrates - 20
<Mmm, the Nitrates are borderline high... going forward I would read re such on WWM:
and the linked FAQs file above... and do what you can to reduce this level>
Also, in the past week I have done two 50% water changes (leaving a few days between each change) and another 25% earlier today.
I checked the Clown Pleco and I couldn't spy any patches on him. I hope this is an improvement. Though he is still quiet and not moving as much.
Thanks again for your help.
Jasmine Law
<Bob Fenner>

Plecos, hold the salt please -- 5/30/07 Hello, <<Hello, Julie. Tom with you.>> I have a question about adding salt to my freshwater tank. I have a 55 gallon tank. Currently, it contains black mollies, gold balloon belly mollies, zebra Danios and one 12 inch Pleco. <<Hmmm'¦okay. Mollies are typically categorized as 'brackish' water fish, Julie. Your Pleco has little, if any, tolerance for salt. Not ideal but let's see what we can do.>> My problem - the black mollies have Ich and I am having trouble getting rid of it. I read that my tank needs salt and this will aid in getting rid of and keeping the Ich out of my tank. <<Salt is one of the 'safest' ways to go, Julie, but not the only one. In this case, a 'treatment' level of salt for Ick will do your Pleco no good whatsoever. We need to look for an alternate course of action.>> I also read that my Pleco will not do well with too much salt in the water. <<True.>> Is there a certain amount of salt that I could add to my tank that might help my mollies but not hurt my Pleco? <<In this case, Julie, there isn't. Plecos can 'tolerate' no more than a dosage of one tablespoon of salt per five gallons of water and even that is 'iffy'. You'd likely need to up this to around two-three tablespoons per five gallons to effectively do battle with this parasite. Not an option, I'm afraid. You should consider Maracide here. Not quite as effective as other forms of treatment but 'scaleless' fish seem to do quite well with this treatment. 'Quick Cure' is a formulation of formalin and malachite green which is very effective, particularly when combined like this but, it does have 'safety' drawbacks as it's toxic to fish and plants if dosing isn't done properly or, if treated for a prolonged period. Treatments with this product can be very successful when half-dosed in 12-hour intervals, however. I'd go with the Maracide here, though. If this were a more serious outbreak, I'd direct you to go with the Quick Cure but I'd rather that you feel comfortable with this rather than put you on the spot. Also, remember to increase the temperature of the tank to 82-86 degrees F. over a period of several hours to speed up the life cycle of the Ick.>> Thanks, Julie <<You're welcome, Julie. Best of luck. Tom>>

Unlucky Loricariids, and Why To Quarantine Plants - 02/20/2007 Hi Crew, <Hi, Carmel!  Sabrina with you today.> I have an unusual situation which I have been dealing with since December. Several tanks all containing assorted catfish. Just prior to onset of illness (about 3-4 weeks prior) I added a new Longfin B/N and an Amazon sword plant to one tank.   <Quarantine, even of plants, is essential....  I have always recommended quarantining or dipping plants, and the one time that I chose not to, I introduced Ich into a well-established tank....  Sigh!  These things do happen.  I hope at least the new fish was quarantined, yes?> In a nutshell, peppermint b/n were the first to develop lesions on head and back areas, resulting in death. 4 weeks later the common b/n's displayed the same lesions. Have worked closely with LFS & vets, during the last 2 months and in desperation sent specimens and water to our Dept of Agriculture (who also work for our Fisheries Dept).  They have identified a protozoan, similar to Chilodonella, but which they cannot positively identify. <Often protozoan parasites are present even on quite healthy fish; this is usually not a big deal.  It's when the Protozoans opportunistically "take over" (fish is sick, weak....) and multiply to virulent quantities that you've got a problem that can then easily spread to your other healthy fish.  Sounds like this is what happened.> This report came to me today and I am about to commence treatment of formalin/malachite green in one tank &  Octozin (Waterlife) in another.  This still leaves me with more tanks & I was wondering if you may have any ideas on a treatment (result of cross-contamination) as we are all as unsure of the treatment as we are of the outcome. I think I will treat at the full dose, but gradually add the meds over a few hours. <Formalin and Malachite Green are toxic, especially to these scaleless animals....  There is a strong likelihood that even your healthiest Loricariids will not survive a treatment at "full dose".  I would re-thing this.  The Octozin, provided that it is Metronidazole as I suspect, is fine to use at the full recommended dose.  Try to find out if it is in fact Metronidazole.  Another option might be a salt treatment, though Loricariids don't "like" salt, it would be much less dangerous than a full dose of the Formalin/Malachite Green cocktail.  The method I would try, if I did this option, is detailed here:  http://www.aquariumadvice.com/article_view.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 .> It would seem these fish are doomed otherwise anyway.  Also, any ideas on a positive ID of the invader would be gratefully received.   <If you have any means of providing us with a microscope photograph of the protozoan, I would gladly try to identify; I have a fish pathologist friend that would probably be glad to take a look and tell us what he thinks.> Regards,  -Carmel <Best of luck to you and your Plecs,  -Sabrina>

Plecos Poor Survival in Tank  9/16/-6 Hi there, <Hi Cali, Pufferpunk here> I have a 20 gallon hexagon freshwater aquarium.  I've had it for about a year and a half now.  I have 2 red rainbow fish, 2 strawberry tetras, 2 silver/white mollies, 1 black molly, a frog, <Dwarf frog, I hope!> 1 powder blue dwarf Gourami and an upside down catfish.   <The Synodontis (upside down cat) can grow quite large & so do the rainbows--way too large for your tank, especially with the lesser swimming room in a hex.  The rainbows need a very long tank to swim across.> I have fake silk plants and some tank decorations.  I have tried several species of Pleco fish over the last year and none of them survive.  I have algae and when there is no algae I supplement with algae tablets.  The longest surviving Pleco was a butterfly variety and that lasted about 2 weeks.  Considering they are supposed to be hearty fish, I'm not sure why they keep dying.  Any suggestions? <You want to start by testing your water parameters for ammonia, nitrites (should be 0 at all times), nitrates (should be under 20) & pH (most Plecos prefer low pH but can handle neutral, 7.2).  If all that is good, then the next Pleco you buy (must be a dwarf species for such a small tank), be sure it has a nice convex tummy--not caved in.  Most Plecos are wild-caught & need to be treated for internal parasites after purchase or they will quickly waste away.  You might have better luck with the dwarf Bristlenose Pleco, as many are tank-raised.  ~PP> <<Likely the species involved need much more room as well. RMF>> Thanks, Cali Day

Gill Flukes on Bristlenose Catfish HI, Love your webpage. I am new to fish keeping and therefore not familiar with diseases. I have 2 separate but possibly interconnected questions. My 4.5 cm Bristlenose Pleco (BN) male is living in a 50 ltr long tank with 3 platy and 1 Betta. The tank is cycled, heavily planted, has driftwood and terracotta cubby houses, heater 28 degrees, filtered, gravel sub, and 30 watt light. Ammonia zero  nitrites zero, nitrates, 10. pH 7. Tank established for 3 months. I feed the BN algae wafers (platy eat em too), pea, cucumber and zucchini (sp) and the odd brine shrimp or bloodworm might float his way also. About 3 weeks ago he was attacked by another BN in a different tank so I relocated him to his new tank (he one detailed above). The damage was missing skin at base of body where tail emerges. It is nicely healing now and he is seems active and happy (no clamped up fins). Yesterday I noticed his sucker was pinky/red sort of uneven. Is this normal? I am assuming not. Could it be heater burn? Could it be bacteria? Could it be a sign of gill flukes? What do you all think? <It "could" be any of the above. My bet would be bacterial, but it could be from something as simple as eating algae off of a rough rock. Keep the water clean, remove all but smooth rocks and watch her. I would not treat unless you see it get worse. Then a good broad spectrum antibiotic> Q/2 gill flukes. The reason why I raise this is that I think another BN died of gill flukes but I was too slow to act. I know that not all meds are safe with cats so I hesitated trying to work out what to use to kill the flukes. This is  a chronological list of change in behaviour. The BN was (probably female) 3cm, isolated herself, not hanging on the wood anymore, then, gasping at top of well filtered aerated tank waterline, and then spending all her time on substrate barely moving, before shooting up to top for air, and straight back down to substrate again. Initially, there was another female same size in there with her-which I immediately removed when the (now dead) one isolated herself (I thought they might be having a territory/submission issues). Again ammonia nitrite= zero nitrates 20, ph cannot remember, my tanks are usually 7. So gill flukes seemed to fit the symptoms. I am still not sure though what is safe on a BN to treat with? I'm in oz so limited meds available but it seems Fluke tabs which is Prazi (Praziquantel) or Para-cide which is Trichlorofon.    Anyone have opinions on what is safe out of these two? <Well, I'm not convinced it was gill flukes. Possible, but unlikely in tank bred fish. With your tough import/export laws I doubt they are wild caught, although they may have been pond bred. More likely Ick. Plecs have thick skin which offers them some protection, but not on the gills. You can use a half concentration of most meds, but for twice as long, on Plecos. If you find out it is Ick, use salt to treat. Don>      Jay

Sick Pleco Hi guys and gals. I've had a Pleco for about 2 months, rarely see him, but know he's in there doing his thing. Over the last week or so, I have seen him a fair bit and noticed that he has developed a white spot on his side/back that is surrounded in a milky colored haze (mucus?) I have been looking around the web to determine the cause, but not too successfully. The fish seems fine, i.e. not rubbing against things, energy seems good but like I said, I never really saw him before, now I do, so that's different. Any thoughts here on what it might be and what I should do?  By the way, the other fish seem fine. 35 gal tank. 12 fish, mainly tetras, platies, etc... Would appreciate any help. Thanks tons, Dave <Hi Dave, Don here. This could be a Protozoan infestation called Chilodonella. Treat the fish with Metronidazole for about 10 days. Should clear it right up. Move him to a QT if possible. Test the water whenever treating and correct any spikes in ammonia or nitrite with water changes. Replace med in new water. Good luck. Don>

Pleco problems - Warning a little long Hi Bob and All! <Gage here, avoiding real work at all costs.> Wow! Your site is fantastic. I've never found so much good info in one place :) <lots of info on worms too if you use the Google search tool.> Background: I was reading your Pleco Q & A as I have one common Pleco and like to know all I can. My water baby, Puc, could really use your help. Puc is about a year and a half old and about 7 inches long. He (I think, and since I don't know how to tell, will continue to think of him as male) lived in a 10G tank for about 3 months with 2 Corys (who sadly passed on of unknown reasons). During that time we ended up with some strange looking worms in the tank. I never knew if Puc brought these into the tank or where they came from or if these worms killed Hamlet and Othello (the Corys). He was then moved to a 20G (fishless cycled, one fake plant, one arch, Millennium 2000 filter, 12" air bar, 1' gravel) where he has since lived alone and with no worms - until two weeks ago, so now I figure he is the host. Problem 1 & 2 & 3 (air gulping, worms and a split pec fin) Puc has always enjoyed sliding down from his perch on the glass to the gravel and then flying up out of the water to "catch some air" but started doing it so often - sometimes gulping air - going to the bottom "burping" out the air and doing it again - that I started to get scared and really scanned his tank which is how I noticed the worms again. My web-research tells me they are either anchor worms or nematodes (more likely nematodes since they don't attach to him) but they do have a sort of forked head. Considering all of this and even though the water parameters were stable (no ammonia or nitrite to speak of, pH 7) I set up a fresh QT tank. I set it up "new" because I was afraid the main tank was contaminated and didn't want to stress him further by using water from it - although cycling a fresh 10G may be worse? I added salt and ammo-lock as well as conditioner and Stress-coat well before I transferred him, so hopefully he'll be ok (its been 3 days and he looked much more relaxed after the first day in there - but now it is getting VERY cloudy - so I did a 20% water change today - he looks no worse). He has only gone up for air once or twice so far. Regrettably, while netting him - or should I say trying to net him, damn is he strong! - it looks like his right pec fin was injured/split just after where the edge meets the fan. Main tank treatment I added salt to the main tank (which unfortunately I haven't done in some time and probably could have prevented this outbreak) which seemed to kill most of the worms and clear the water from extremely cloudy to beautifully crystal clear. Then, after speaking to an actually knowledgeable person (surprising) at my LFS about anchor worms (still assuming they could be that) I decided to use Clout to treat the main tank while Puc is in QT. But then read that Levamisole (the farm animal dewormer) is actually an actual "cure" for the worms. But, as far as I can see, the worms are dead - and after thoroughly cleaning the tank and gravel and doing a massive water change I want to let Puc go home. Questions 1. Are you familiar with the type of worm I have described? and are they harmful to Puc or any other fish I might want to add - if they come back? <Not quite sure what type they are, usually worms appear in a tanks with excess food, too little circulation, or not cleaning the gravel bed well enough. Are the worms actually on the fish, or are they on the glass and in the gravel?> 2. Do I need to actually treat Puc for worms? and is there any other effective way to cure Puc without using farm animal Dewormers? <Depends on if the worms are actually on him.> 3. Have you had any experience with Clout? I plan to ask the manufacturer if the carcinogens become inert/or less potent when added to water...I'm afraid to dump the waste water when I do the water change to public disposal. 4. Could Puc just be bored and that's why he's jumping so often? I've heard that Plecos aren't tolerant of their own kind so I don't to get him a friend that he will hate. <It is perfectly natural for Plecos to swim up to the surface and gulp for air. Some Plecos are more tolerant towards others, but I would not add another one to the 20gal tank, Puc will probably be needing a larger tank shortly these fish get large, not sure what species Puc is, but he will probably grow to be a little over a foot.> 5. Is there anything further I should do to help heal the split pec fin or will the salt and time heal it? <Good clean water, salt, and time.> 6. Would it be too much stress to move him back so soon? <Chances are these worms are harmless if you are having a hard time keeping good water conditions in the QT tank, and the main tank has appropriate and stable water quality, I would move him back. If you can keep the water in the QT clean and within the proper parameters I would let him hang out in here for a little longer, maybe a week or so. The back and forth is going to stress him out too.> I know this is a lot to ask but we'd really appreciate your help. <please get back to us if I missed anything.> Keep jolly, <I'm working on it.> Dana <Best Regards, Gage>
Pleco Problems
Thanks Gage, I appreciate your input. The worms were not attached to the fish, just down in the gravel and on the inside of the hood. Overfeeding was probably the problem. It often looked like he had eaten all his food, but he must have been hiding it. <Sneaky devil> You stated that you don't know what kind of Pleco Puc is...from looking at a few of the pics on the site it looks like he is a snow king (great head shot). <If he looks like the head shot of the snow king, he is probably either a snow king or a Hypostomus, either way, a big fish.> I do plan to get him a larger tank but he seems to be doing fine for the time being and tank stands being as expensive as they are I'll have to wait. <My 125gal is currently setup on some cinder blocks and plywood. Some stores carry pine stands that are not painted or stained yet, these come with a slightly smaller price tag.> Concerning Clout, I called the manufacturer (Aquarium Products) and asked about the carcinogen warning label and was told that they are required to put the label on in the State of California as the state has very strict disclosure rules. They have no studies regarding the effects of dumping waste water into public waste water treatment in any state, but I was assured that the amount of the chemical is miniscule and no other state has expressed concern over its use or dumping. So, I'll take that with a grain of salt and hope for the best. <That is good to know. Thank you for taking the time to research that, good to see some folks still care.> Thanks, again! Dana <Thank you, let us know if anything else comes up. Gage>

Pleco with Ich It seems my Pleco has Ich.  I have been studying up but would like to act fast.  He is the only one in the tank and my QT doesn't have a heater yet. <Does the heater from the main tank fit in the QT?  If he is the only one in the main tank you can treat him here, but there is a chance you will kill off your beneficial bacteria which means more water changes.> I have read many things on meds <Me too, always very blurry, but the Reef Invertebrates book has a lot of pretty pictures.> but am very unsure on what is safe for him.  So at the moment I am raising the temp (slowly of course).  How high can I go with him and can I use freshwater salt? How much? Temp, at only 73 right now but slowly increasing. <You could go up to around 82 over a period of a few days, be sure to keep your water well aerated.  When you bring the temp back down drop it about 1/2degree per day until you reach around 76-78.> I really don't want to lose him.  No rubbing or hanging at the top yet, but he definitely has a couple of white spots on him.  Did an 8 gallon change already.  Please Help ASAP.  I am going to keep studying your website to see if I can find info on Plecs and Ich.  Water conditions still the same, Ammonia 0.6, nitrite 0 and PH 7.5 <Check out this page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm "The too-common infestations of Ich can be quickly resolved with malachite with or without formaldehyde preparations. Be wary of utilizing too much salt, metal (copper) or insecticide (DTHP, Masoten, Dylox, Neguvon) medications on these catfishes; they succumb to these treatments more readily than the apparent cause you're treating."  The Ich meds will have the ingredients listed on the back of the bottle.  Best of Luck, Gage> Thank you very much A very worried Tracy
Plec with Ich
Good Morning Gage, <Mornin Tracy!> My Plec looks to be Ich free. <Whoo Hoooo!> I went to the forum for help and was told to use salt and high temps.  The person assured me the Plec could survive this.   <Good plan, there are good people on the forums.> LOL I was skeptical but he was getting worse by the day so I went for it.  It worked! I thought at a couple points I was going to lose him but he made it through.  Not a spot on him now.  I am going to continue the treatment for four more days and then very slowly return him to a more normal environment. His color is back to normal and his fins look great.  So far so good.  He has become more of a fussy eater.  He is refusing wafers and peas but will eat romaine lettuce. <Romaine in not as healthy, let him starve for a while, I know it sounds mean, but he will be fine, after that he should be happy to get the wafers back.> I am going to try zucchini after the lettuce is gone, again. <You could leave him with a piece of zucchini as well, wait until he will probably eat the center first and leave the skin, leave the skin in there until he eats that too (unless it gets nasty) that is the healthy part.> I have friends that think I am nuts to have done all this for a 4 dollar fish. <All my friends think I am nuts!> But I believe all life should be cared for.  (except maybe mosquitoes)   <I agree!> I had a therm that was giving incorrect temp in the tank so when I did water changes it was off about two or three degrees.   So I am pretty sure that is what caused the Ich outbreak. <Very possible, I hate it when that happens.  I have three hydrometers that all read the specific gravity differently.> Now I just use my new floating therm that is in the tank for water changes as well.  The hydrometer was crap but it had a therm on it and that is what clued me into the temp problem.  He is at 87 degrees and 1.002-1.003 SG.  The sea test hydrometer is a pain to get an accurate reading in case anyone asks. <My floaty type hydrometer appears to be more accurate than the swing arm type.> Better to spend more money and get one that is more accurate.  All in all he is doing better (knock on wood). <Drift wood? LOL, I love bad jokes.> I enjoyed your last email about his waste products decorating the tank for Christmas.  You aren't kidding!  He is one big poop machine.  LOL, I still love him though. <Just wait till he is 12in long and larger.> I am hoping (although I will miss the humor) I will be able to sit back and enjoy him and spend less time on the comp trying to keep him alive.  BTW, the heater just might have fit in the QT.  Never even thought about that.  Good call.  I am going to get one for the QT now just in case he ends up with a secondary infection that he might need meds for. <Or of the Ich comes back, it may be at a stage in its life cycle where it has fallen off the fish and is incubating in your tank waiting to come back.  It is best to let a system infected with Ich run for a month or so with out any fish (hosts) to infect.> The Danios are going to have to wait a month before I can purchase them, just to make sure the terrible Ich is gone.  You guys are awesome, saved many a fish I am sure.  Take Care!  Let's hope you don't hear from me and hypopleco for some time. <Thanks, happy holidays, Gage> thank you thank you Tracy
Plec with Ich, cont'd
Hello Gage, <Actually, Sabrina here - Gage and I have discussed your issue, and he asked that I respond, so here I am!> I thought I would update you on my poor little Plec.  He isn't doing so well.   <Sorry to hear it!> The Ich seems to be gone but his gill movement is very rapid.   <Could be from the salt, or the water quality, or a combination of them, as we've discussed at length in the forum, or even possibly a return of the Ich. He has turned a caramel color.  I found out I had ammonia right out of my tap but I think it was a little too late.  He went through ammonia then nitrite problems.  Amquel seems to have fixed the water quality problems but I fear it may be too late.  Poor guy doesn't look very good.   <Sad, indeed.  Gage and I both have our fingers crossed for him.> He went through a Kanacyn treatment for red spots on his fins which have not gone away. <As I've mentioned in the forums, I think the very small size of your Plec, along with how heavily infested he was, along with the water quality issues you've been dealing with, made him very sensitive to the salt - I still very much think this is the problem with the blood streaked fins (a strong sign of something in the water that the fish can't tolerate). Right now I just have him in the dark (in case of velvet), salt 1.001 SG ready to go back up if Ich appears, temp 86.   <Personally, I'd eliminate the salt.  This Plec has taken a beating - don't know for sure if the salt is affecting him, but I suspect so.> I am going to start lowering his temp today to 82.  I think I may just leave him and then euthanize him when he stops eating and moving about normally.  He is in such bad shape I am not sure I want to use meds. <Good to use caution, here, yes.  Do not consider euthanizing unless he stops eating - a fish that is eating isn't bad enough to want to die yet, in my opinion.> Otherwise, he is eating well and going about his day normally.   <*Definitely* a good sign.> He always comes over when I am checking on him.  He is much more personable than I would have ever thought.  He is a sweet little fish.   <Plecs can be very personable.  Some of the Loricariids are some of my very favorite fish.> I feel terrible to have put him through all this, but I didn't have a clue.   <You are learning, and have learned a lot - that is what's important in this.  You have done a lot and are still trying.  You and your Plec have been very strong through this - don't give up hope yet.> I trusted a pet store and that was wrong. <It is unfortunate how much bad information can be had through some pet stores, out of ignorance (and worse).> I now know a heck of a lot more, and through all this, found a really good fish store.   <Wonderful to hear!!> I figure after he passes I will let the tanks run for a month to kill any parasites, then look at getting some Danios.   <An *excellent* plan!> We still would like to have a common Plec but won't get one till the tank starts to grow algae.  That will also give us time to save for larger tanks. <Do please look into some of the other Plecs that stay smaller and eat meaty foods, like L-260 (just happens to be my absolute favorite).  Browse through some of the L-numbers in the "common name" section of the "Cat-eLog" at http://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog/com_index.htm and see if you find something that interests you.  I think there's a suitable Plec out there for just about anyone.> He is in the QT right now and we are working on getting the 33G water conditions perfected.  Still showing nitrites.  I am sure water changes with Amquel will fix that tank in time just like it did in the QT. <Yes.> Thank you very much.  Between you and the forum I have learned so much valuable information.  I think when it is time to get more fish, I will make less mistakes thanks to you guys.  Keep up the good work.  Tracy <Gage sends his regards, and we are both very glad to have been able to help.  Thank you for the kind words, and good luck with your little Plec!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

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