Pleco Not Eating after Head Injury

crimsonpython24

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Hello all,

I have this pleco that stopped eating after it injured its head. It seems to be starving and stuck to the side ever since -- not going back to the aquarium floor. I dropped Hikari sinking tablets but it didn't went for it. It just kept sticking onto the glass.



It could have injured itself while squeezing through one of the decorations in the tank. There is another pleco in the same tank but nothing has happened to it -- so I think I have enough reasons to list out inadequate water parameters.


Speaking of water parameters, both nitrite and ammonia are close to zero. I haven't seen any apparent fin injuries. After it's injured, I gradually pulled the temperature up to 27 degrees Celsius since I've heard that it helps them recover faster.


FYI, it is perfectly fine two days ago and I found it injured yesterday. This is quite a short period so I don't think it's parasite or illness.


Can anyone please identify the problem and, more importantly, tell me how I can save it (make the wounds recover + let it start eating)?



Many thanks in advance.
 

CaptainBarnicles

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Not to be rude...but how could it have been fine 2 days ago if its this thin??

I've no experience with these fish because they freak me out but it looks awful, hope someone can help
 
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crimsonpython24

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As a matter of fact, I just stuck an algae disc (Hikari ones) and the fish is not eating it. Boiled-in-the-water-for-one-minute cucumbers didn’t work as well.

Could it still be traumatized or something?

It was literally fine Tuesday morning (gmt+8) and when I checked that afternoon (I.e. less than one day after) it’s like this. It could’ve gotten slightly thinner in the process tho. It’s Thursday night now.
 

CaptainBarnicles

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Fish can go many days without food and be just fine....this looks horrendous, like its not eaten in weeks. You can see the bones in its tail 😥
 

wasmewasntit

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Your water chemistry...you say that nitrite and ammonia are close to zero...they need to be absolutely zero

Have you fully cycled the aquarium before adding the fish?
How big is the aquarium? (since two Pleco in an aquarium need lots of room as one will get territorial and potentially starve the other)
What is the entire stocking?

To get as skinny as that takes quite a bit more than a couple of days...
 
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crimsonpython24

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The problem is that it doesn’t have an appetite at all…

The aquarium base is 1.2 meters squared — which, granted, is small. Do note that these two fish has been with each other for over a year and they’ve both lived until now.
 

PlasticGalaxy

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It's very emaciated, definitely looks like it's been starved for a while rather than just these last couple days. Plecs can go over a week pretty happily without food, so it's unlikely that the starvation started up at this level of severity just like that. Make sure you give it plenty of food and variety. If you have any sinking pellets for loaches, corys, e.c.t., try to put some of those in along with algae wafers and the cucumber you mentioned before.

If you've noticed that it's only stopped eating in the last couple days then it may have been stunned by the injury. But as others have said already, this definitely looks like it's gone far longer than just two days without eating.

Since you have another pleco in the tank, it may be likely that it's starving this one. Like @wasmewasntit said, some species of plecos can be very territorial and fight over food with other fish, leaving the other(s) to starve to death. It appears that your plec is an albino common, which can get quite defensive when food is on the line.

If you have a spare tank of an appropriate size, I would suggest moving one plec to that tank (once fully cycled, filtered, heated, e.c.t. e.c.t.) to see if it improves.
 

wasmewasntit

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That is not a fish that has no appetite for a couple of days, that fish is starving to death.

The bruising to the face may have been an issue for it, making it uncomfortable or painful to eat but the mouth seems to be wide open now, so whatever caused the injury will not be affecting the ability to eat

Looking at how completely emaciated that fish is, I strongly feel that you should euthanise it...put it out of its misery asap cos it has gone without food for a very long time to get to that state, its not going to come back from that stage of emaciation, its internal organs will be shutting down and could well be in significant pain as a result.
 
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crimsonpython24

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Will it be better if I just add more food into the tank (throw the pellets into different corners) as long as there won’t be leftovers?

The strange thing is, whenever I throw two 0.5” radius of algae wafers into the tank, it literally disappears after a few hours. I’ve been dosing that amount — should I try adding more then?
 
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crimsonpython24

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I totally understand the necessity of euthanizing fish, and I’ve done it once to a danio with a bent spine and another with a swim bladder disease that I've failed to cure.

I really hope that I can find alternative solutions other than to kill it as I could be underestimating how much a pleco eats and that I could save the other one by adding more food (or other solutions that somebody could hopefully propose)

But unfortunately, I don't have another tank large enough at the moment.
 

wasmewasntit

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Adding more food will spike the already upped ammonia, so no it will not help it will make matters worse

Your fish is dying, it will be in pain and its internal organs shutting down....the musculature of that fish is being eaten by its own self in order to stay alive

Euthanise the poor thing.....it is suffering and as its owner you have a resonsibility to put it out of its suffering. It is too far gone for help

Sorry if that sounds brutal but had you caught it a month or so ago that it was not eating well, then it might have been put right but the fish is on its last fins :(
 

Colin_T

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Put some driftwood in the tank and turn the lights up. Have lights on for 16 hours a day and get some algae growing on the glass. Then hope for the best.
 

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