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Sick Common Pleco and Platy

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by Silencedogood, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If you had the aquarium water temperature on 86F for 2 weeks, it is highly unlikely you have whitspot in the tank unless you have added new fish or plants since then.

    The pleco does not appear to have whitespot. If you post pictures of the other fish I can check them but you can do it yourself too. Just look for small white dots on the fish's bodies and fins, they will be about the size of a grain of salt. Infected fish will usually rub on objects in the tank.

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    Any filter that is running continuously in an aquarium for more than 2 months will develop colonies of beneficial filter bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrite, and nitrite into nitrate. This is the normal nitrite or filter cycle that we talk about in fish keeping. On average it takes about 4-6 weeks for this cycle to complete and during that time you get a build up of ammonia (caused by fish food, fish waste, rotting plants, dead fish, or anything else that breaks down in the water). After a couple of weeks you get colonies of good bacteria that appear in the tank and filter and they eat the ammonia and convert it into nitrite. The ammonia levels then come down and the nitrite levels start to go up.

    When the nitrite levels start to go up, you get more good bacteria that start to grow in the filter and these convert nitrite into nitrate. A few weeks after these bacteria have appeared in the aquarium, the nitrite levels should drop to 0 and the nitrate levels will start to go up.

    When the ammonia and nitrite levels have both gone up and then come back down to 0, and the nitrate levels start going up, the filter is considered cycled.

    If your filter is only 3 weeks old, then you are only half way through the cycling process and probably have some bacteria eating ammonia and converting it into nitrite, but the second group of bacteria that eat nitrite and convert it into nitrate have not yet developed. This is why you have a low nitrite reading now.

    The easiest way to reduce ammonia, nitrite or nitrate in an aquarium is by doing big daily water changes and reducing the food going into the tank. You should do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate any day you have an ammonia or nitrite reading above 0. And do a 75% water change if your nitrate level is above 20ppm.

    Some countries have nitrates in their tap water and if you have 20ppm of nitrate in the tap water, then just do a 75% water change each week to try and keep the level at 20ppm.

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    If your tank and filter are only 3 weeks old, do not clean it until it is at least 6 weeks old because you can upset the newly established bacteria and cause the cycling process to start again.

    Once the filter has cycled, you wait a couple of weeks (usually around the 8 week mark), and then you can start cleaning the filter. Try to clean the filter at least once a month and preferably every 2 weeks.

    If you have a power filter, sponge filter or box filter, you should wash the filter materials in a bucket of aquarium water. When they are clean, rinse them in a second bucket of tank water and then put them in the tank. Wash the filter case and impellor assembly under tap water. Then reassemble the unit and get it running again.

    If you have an undergravel filter they gravel is the filter material and will be cleaned when you do a gravel clean.

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    In your first post you said the fish has been unwell for several months. In your last post you said the tank has only been running for 3 weeks. Can you clarify that for me, how long have you had the fish and how long has the tank been running for?

    If there is ammonia or nitrite in the water, it can damage a fish's fins and is the most common cause of fin rot.
     
  2. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Fanatic

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    The tank has been established for roughly 7 years. I had three goldfish in there and two years ago I added the pleco. When the last goldfish died in August, I did a 50% water change and added platys, guppies, and neon tetras. Two months after adding the new fish, the ick started (October). When treatment and heat didn't do anything, I set up a QT tank and broke down the thirty gal. That's why its only been running for 3 wks.

    I've had the pleco for two years.

    The pleco is currently in the QT tank and the nitrite levels are 0 ppm. I don't know the ammonia levels, though. Is there any other reason why she would get fin rot? And does it look like the pleco has fin rot?

    The pleco didn't get ick at all. The only signs of illness were discolored skin, mild bloating, labored breathing, loss of appetite, buoyancy trouble, and the possible fin rot. The only signs of illness NOW are occasional discoloring and the fin rot.
     
  3. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Fins get damaged by physical contact with rough, sharp or hard objects. They can be damaged by other fish. The most common cause of fin damage is poor water quality that lets bacteria and protozoa infect the damaged fins.

    Even tho the fish in the pictures has little bits of fin missing, it doesn't look like fin rot.

    Discoloured skin, mild bloating, laboured breathing can all be caused by poor water quality, excess chemicals in the water (possibly from the whitespot medication), or disease.

    Protozoan infections can irritate the fish's skin and the fish produces more mucous over its body to help get rid of the parasites. Poor water quality or chemicals in the water can also irritate the fish and cause it to produce excess mucous.

    Mild bloating can be an internal bacterial or protozoan infection but these usually kill the fish pretty quickly. Chemical poisoning can cause the internal organs to become inflamed and the fish looks fatter than normal. Incorrect diet can cause intestinal bloating and inflammation.

    Laboured breathing can be from poor water quality, gill flukes, chemical poisoning or lack of oxygen in the water.
     
  4. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Fanatic

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    Since it seems like the pleco doesn't have fin rot, is it safe to add her to my main tank? Or could the missing pieces of fin be an early stage of fin rot? How long does it usually take for fin rot to develop? Would water changes clear fin rot or physical damage? Also, since I have the platy with ick in the QT tank with the pleco, should I just treat both of them for ick?
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If you have whitespot in the tank it needs to be treated. If you took a fish out of the main display tank because it had whitespot, then you should put it back in the main tank and treat it there. The whitespot parasites will be in the tank that the platy came out of.

    The safest way to treat whitespot is to raise the water temperature to 30C (86F) and keep it there for 2 weeks. Then reduce the temperature.
    *NB* Increase aeration/ surface turbulence whenever you raise the temperature or add chemicals to maximise the oxygen levels in the water.

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    Finrot takes a few days to show up but damaged fins can appear overnight (in a few hours) if the water quality is not perfect. Basically if there is any ammonia or nitrite, or even a high nitrate level in the water, it will damage the fish as soon as the fish is exposed to that water. The fish's mucous layer gets damaged within a few minutes and then the skin gets damaged and that allows bacteria and protozoa to infect the fish. Within 24 hours of being in bad water, bacteria and protozoa will be growing in the skin and causing damage.

    Cleaning up the tank (big daily water changes and gravel cleaning the substrate) dilutes the nutrients and disease organisms in the water and allows the fish to heal itself.

    If the bacteria and protozoa have been allowed to grow in the fish for a few days or a week and the fish's fins show any red lines, inflammation or fungus, then it needs to be treated with a medication because the disease has advanced past a point where water changes will fix it.

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    If your main display tank (where the platy and pleco came out of) is clean, well filtered and has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and less than 20ppm nitrate, then do a 75% water change, gravel clean the substrate, put the fish back in that tank, turn the temperature up to 30C and increase aeration. Let it run at 30C for 2 weeks then lower it back down.
     
  6. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Fanatic

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    Thank you so much for all of your help!

    If, by any chance, the pleco's fins get worse, should I treat with medication?

    Thanks Again!
     
  7. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If the water quality is good and the tank (filter and gravel) is clean, and the fins get worse, then yes you can treat it with medication. However, only treat as a last resort and put the fish in a quarantine tank when doing so.
     
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  8. BeckyCats

    BeckyCats Member

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    I used "Marineland All-in-One Remedy" with good success in 2 different tanks, but please research it before using in your tank to make sure it will be safe for your situation. I will say that ever since my tank got fully established (about a year old) I haven't had any problems since. Good, clean water is the best thing for fish, so keep up on your water changes. Best of luck!
     
  9. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Fanatic

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    BeckyCats,

    Thanks for your reply!

    Did you lose any fish while treating with Marineland All-In-One Remedy? When I used the Marineland Ick Remedy, I lost 4 fish. Also, did you have any snails in your tank when you used Marineland? I have a mystery snail and when I used the treatment his shell basically eroded. ( I did use the treatment for a couple of months straight).
     
  10. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Fanatic

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    Colin,
    What do the scabs from the ick look like? Sort of like white flakes? My platy has some and she is going through ick for the 3rd time.
     
  11. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    white spot looks loike small white grains of salt have been sprinkled over the fish. in minor cases there will only be a few white dots. In heavy infestations the entire fish's body and fins will have little white dots.

    If you post a picture of the platy I will have a look at it.
     
  12. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Fanatic

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    Update:

    My platy died last night. Her scales were coming off, she had specks of blood on her, torn dorsal fin and right pectoral fin, and it was almost like she couldn't swim. She was going upside down and spinning around. My pleco tried eating her a couple of times. She also got stuck to the filter at least 6 times and the filter is not that strong. The strange thing is that she was fine in the morning and then later on, this just started all of a sudden. The only thing that I did differently, was that I had added a treatment that attacks a broad range of problems. ( As a preventive). My pleco is still in the tank undergoing treatment; does it seem like the platy's problem is from illness or from treatment?

    ( Treatment is the Tetra Lifeguard and its not antibiotics. I had been treating for two days).
     
  13. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If the fish was fine in the morning before you added the new medication, you might have overdosed the tank or there might have been some other chemicals in the water (from previous medication).

    If you increased the temperature to 30C (86F), the high temperature would have put the fish under quite a bit of stress and any chemicals added to the tank would have pushed the fish over the edge. I don't know if you did but you should never use chemicals if you have increased the temperature to 30C because it is too much for most fish.
     
  14. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Fanatic

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    Temp is 82F. This tank has never had any treatment before. Also, before treating, the platy had clamped fins. That's partly why I treated.

    Should treatment kill the fish, though? Or maybe the platy had something going on internally?
     
    #29 Silencedogood, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  15. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Fanatic

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    Pretty sure I didn't overdose. I read the label 5 times before dosing.:)
     

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