Bristlenose Won't Eat. Almost 3 Weeks

cowgirluntamed

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Decided to go ahead and put this here instead of the discussion board. I just don't know what else to do. Here is a link to that thread that has a lot of information in it. I will sum it up here after. It also has pictures there and water test results that are around a week old. If needed I can do updated tests.

http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?/topic/441232-fussy-bristlenose-female-pleco-prob/


Anyway, Spots is a female bristlenose about 2 years old. Almost 4 inches in length. She is normally a very active fish...but not in the last three weeks. She doesn't move from the corner of the tank where the heater is(this has always been a safe place for her as she tries to look like it). At first she was on the driftwood for a while...I tried to do water changes when I noticed the behavior not changing and her not eating. (I did 2 50% changes in three days.) I thought maybe I disturbed her when I changed the water flow in the tank after adding water sprite. I changed it to a different direction, then back to the original position I had it in. It almost worked as she went back to her castle but then she just went back in the corner and has been there ever since. Won't eat...I've tried some zuchinni and water melon to no avail. I tried getting PVC pipes to put in the tank for more hiding. No luck.

One thing I noticed is the inside of her mouth. It doesn't look right to me. Here is a video with it showing what I mean. I don't know if this is an injury or what...or what to do about it. I'm upset that she's like this. I don't know how to help her. The only other thing wrong is she got burned by the heater as she was real stressed at one point and was leaning on it unable to keep a suction on the glass due to breathing too heavy. I moved it a bit and she doesn't do it now much.
Tank mates are 3 glowlight tetras and 7 black neon tetras. All of them are fine. She seems to be fine except for not eating or moving much(she can, just doesn't want to). Here is the video of her. Please help!

https://youtu.be/M9YTQ-2S58Q
 

Akasha72

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Hi, all I can think of to suggest is that you build her a cave from wood or rocks - something natural and see if she goes in. My BN has made himself a cave under my large piece of wood and he lives under there all the time. 
 
Have you left the courgette/zucchini in the tank over night and do you weight it down? I cut a small slit in courgette and pass a plant weight through so it stays on the sand and I leave it in the tank for about 2 days. In that time my SAE's will feed from it all the time but my BN will only come out and feed from it during the night.
 
I'd also suggest that you get a heat cover for your heater so she can't burn herself again. They are very cheap to buy and will protect all your fish from being burned. 
 
As for her mouth, I can't see anything obviously wrong but then I've not actually studied my BN's mouth to compare. What I can tell you is my BN is pretty much nocturnal, spending the rest of the time under the wood. When he was young he was very active but as he aged he became more reclusive. What you are seeing may be just a sign of her maturing
 
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cowgirluntamed

cowgirluntamed

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I don't think this in particular is a sign of her maturing though. She always loved to go in this castle I had when I first introduced her to the tank. It's fairly big. Lots of space on the inside with a part in a tower that actually is like a little cave almost. Tried to take the thing out to clean it once and barely got her out of there...and then I've taken it out before and tried other decor, a natural type cave-but still fake(no bottom, had gravel at the time too, currently have sand now), slate breeding caves supposedly design for bristlenose pleco breeding(one I had custom with an open back and front. She went in that one a tiny bit but didn't like the other ones that had only one opening much. They were kinda small to me, maybe 1 1/2 by 3? or close to it if those aren't quite right. Haven't had those in for a while.) She wasn't happy any of those times and I ended up putting the castle back in and bam! She was happy again. I have 3 pieces of driftwood in there and she's made a little cave type of thing underneath two of them before(well, a little hole underneath them anyway), but she won't go to them now.
 
The reason she burned herself is she was so stressed out(so much so I almost posted on the emergency board then) that she was breathing so hard she couldn't keep a grip on the glass...but she wanted to be up like that. So she leaned against the heater to help prop herself up. It was hard to watch :(  I think that's the day, or the day after that I did the 2nd water change and moved the spray bar back to its originally installed position and she calmed way down...she even went to the castle..but I guess I didn't see her come out of it and she hung out on the side for quite a while, sort of going back and forth along the outside of it, and then she moved to this corner of the tank and has stayed ever since. I'll look into the heater guard though. Didn't know they made anything like that so thanks for the tip!
 
I've left one piece of watermelon overnight that MIGHT have been eaten on but I wasn't for sure..and once piece of zucchini that wasn't touched. I weight it down with a fork. I put in an algae wafer for her yesterday that she didn't touch either. Right now I have a piece of watermelon in again. Maybe I'll leave it in longer than 24 hours just to see.
 
Now..just curious....I'm a night owl(not by choice...just by job...lol). I have the fluval aquasky led light. Normally when I'm home...because I have the tank in the living room where I have my tv....I cover the tank when I get up(lights are off when I get up). Could I turn the lights on and put them on their night setting with the blue light to see if I can monitor what she does? Or would that bother them too much do you think? She just seems to be in this same spot of the tank when I come home(normally before the light comes on and I uncover the tank) and when I go to cover the tank. It's like she just doesn't move anywhere.
 
As for the mouth part, it's just that one side of it looks different than the other. So it concerns me that this might be an injury. (And I'm talking about deep inside of it as well, not the outside part that sticks to the glass).
 
Oh and I took the pvc pipe out as she didn't seem to care for it. Figured less stress is better and all. Oh and as for the activity level...it's not like she moves all over the tank all the time...she hangs out here and there...moves around and kicks up sand...the tetras like to watch her when she's active. But she's always ate as well and been here and there...the only other times she hasn't moved around was when I tried to switch the castle out and she didn't like that.
 

Akasha72

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Have you tried her on other things apart from courgette and watermelon? There is a list on here of all the foods they can have - it might be worth checking that out and trying something else. My BN likes cucumber too
 
I know I have tried loads of different wafers for my BN and he won't take them. He likes New Era/Vitalis plec pellets though ... in fact if he wants it he'll chase the SAE's off to get at it and he's a real shy boy. Not sure if you can get those in America though as they are made by a British company
 
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cowgirluntamed

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I haven't tried anything else yet. I wanted to get a cucumber but they were out of them at the time. I'll get something different soon. These are Aqueon algae wafers. She grew up on these. A little bit ago my dog actually got into my fish food and ate most of it...including the algae wafers and a bunch of freeze dried stuff...and the flake food...(he didn't seem to like the daphnia..that was all over the floor *rolls eyes*). Anyway...Since I had to get the freeze dried stuff online(hikari) I also got the hikari mini algae wafers to save a trip to the store. Well..other than being way too small...she didn't want them one bit. So I ran to the store and bought her regular stuff. She ate one.  Then everything just stopped with her :( I just posted that video on a facebook group for bristlenoses and someone said that her mouth was really really closed up. :( He's not sure what the white thing is. I'm just wondering if it's something stuck in there....If it is..I have NO idea what I'm going to do. :( The only thing I can think of is get some clove oil and figure out how to anesthetize her and get it out...IF it's something stuck in there...I don't want to go pulling on stuff that's supposed to be there and is just injured. So if her mouth is swollen..which it does sort of look like it to me, at least on the inside...could be why she's not moving much if she can't breathe good. I assume they suck water in through their mouth and put it out through the gills?
 

Akasha72

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Hi again, I've sorted something for you. One of the other members has a list of foods pleco's can have and I've asked him to add it for you to look over. It's here http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?/topic/441281-nicks-veggie-list/
 
Regarding her mouth ... do you have a vet nearby that can help? It might be worth checking your local area for a vet that can look at her mouth rather than you trying to do it. Be careful with the clove oil - too much and it will put her to sleep perminantly
 
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Actually, he gave me the list already on my post in the discussion forum about this. I just thought it seemed time to post stuff here to see if anybody else had any ideas, especially about her mouth. :(

And I really doubt there is any vet around here that do fish. I can ask the vet place I go to now to be sure though, but I kind of doubt it. I would only try that myself as an absolutely last resort. I know clove oil is used to do it permanently too. Though when I read up about it before...it's usually dosed to put the fish under first and then more is added to kill it after. I would look it up again for sure but right now I'm not too that point yet.

I've thought about turning my 9watt uv light on that my canister filter has but not sure that is the right course either. I'm looking into getting some Indian almond leaves maybe as well. The other thing that the guy on the face group book mentioned was a disease called duck lips. But he's never heard of it in plecos, mostly cichlids. It is treated with trisulfa(sometimes successful sometimes not). I have api triple sulfa so don't know if that would help or not.
 

Akasha72

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glad you'd already got the list - I thought it might help to try her with other things to see if you can get her eating. As for her mouth - I wish I could help but I admit to not knowing enough about these things.
 
I hope you can get someone to help you :)
 
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Thanks akasha. I will try other stuff with her. I just didn't want to buy too much all at once and have it go bad. What do you think of the treatments I'm thinking of? Oh and I emailed the vet so just waiting to hear back now.
 

Akasha72

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it won't harm to turn the UV on, all that does is kill anything nasty that you don't want although you can't run the UV if you are adding a treatment - such as an anti-biotic. I'm not familiar with the other things you mention. Fish medicines in the U.K differ wildly to what you have available in the U.S - you'd be best talking to someone from the U.S for that :)
 
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Thanks again! If I decide to treat with medicine I'll remember to turn the UV light off. I didn't know it could hurt things. I do think I will try the Indian almond leaves. Lots of great properties in them so maybe they will help. I'd rather do something more natural especially if the other fish are nice and healthy. I suppose if I have to I can find a plastic tote to hold ten gallons of water and treat her separately. It just might stress her out more. I have an extra small heater. Not adjustable so it'd only be at 75 and not the 77 but that shouldn't be too bad of a change. Also, on the heater guard...does it fit snuggly over the heater or loose? Gotta get some measurements and such to be able to purchase some!
 

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the almond leaves will lower you pH/gH and kH so if it's low already be careful. I added some oak leaves and alder cones recently and dropped my pH from 6.5 to 4.5 ... it made some of my fish poorly. 
 
If you do it, do it slowly and keep testing the pH and be ready to pull them if it starts falling too low. 
 
What you could do without affecting water parameter is add some redbush tea. It needs to be pure redbush with no additives, flavour etc and you'll need to go slow with that too but it does have anti-bacterial properties aswell as having anti-stress properties too
 
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Well my ph is 8.2 so I don't think it will hurt it to be lower. My gh is 15 and my kh is 13. The driftwood I've had in there has never touched any of these. I had started out with a huge piece of mopani that took up almost half the tank. Lots of tannins from that. The almond leaves may work differently then the tannins from that though I guess. I planned on adding slowly. I will keep testing though I think these will be the best natural option for me.
 

Akasha72

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a pH of 8.2 may point to why the BN isn't well ... they are a soft water fish after-all. Lowering it may help in that case :)
 
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Hm...didn't realize she'd be a soft water fish too. I don't know if I ever really looked that up. I don't know if that's the cause of her stress though but I'm sure it doesn't help. At least everything stays stable though. So that's good. (Though my 5 gallon betta tank is way different and has softer water....not sure why as it has same source water! Lol). Though if the leaves do lower it I'll have to watch out for ph swings and figure something out for water changes. I know the tetras would like it more too. I love my small fishes! One of the reasons I didn't want to do cichlids. In a bigger tank I can have a bunch of small fish that'd be awesome.
 
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