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SpottedPleco 08-19-2012 12:44 PM

BN plecos Eating Sand?
 
Hi all,

So last week I added some live plants to my gravel-substrate tank, and they kept coming unburied and floating up to the surface. To solve this problem I added some sand to the substrate and secured the plants.

Within 2 days, I noticed my albino bn pleco, whom i've had since she was about 3/4" long, had stopped pooping. The next day, she spazzed out - darting around the tank with her cheek spikes out for about 15 minutes, then fell dead to the floor.

I was quite sad. When I fished her out, I felt her stomach and there was what felt like a marble sized wad of sand inside.

I assumed this was because she'd never been in a tank with sand before, and didn't know how to handle it, because everything I've read online says plecos do fine, even prefer, sandy substrate.

So yesterday I bring home a regular bn pleco and after acclimation he goes into his new home, but this morning I see he also has a rather plump belly, and I haven't caught him pooping yet.

He pooped in the bag during the acclimation process so I know he was fine yesterday, and it's only been a day so I shouldn't panic, but does anyone know of this happening to them? Is there a way to help this new guy not die an agonizing death of sandy constipation? (rediculous, I know)

Any ideas would be great.
Thanks in advance.

jaysee 08-19-2012 01:00 PM

I have 4 different pleco species with sand, including BN. Perhaps it's the sand you used? What are you feeding?

SpottedPleco 08-19-2012 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jaysee (Post 1205384)
I have 4 different pleco species with sand, including BN. Perhaps it's the sand you used? What are you feeding?

I feed them cucumber, zucchini, melon occasionally, and algae wafers

I am honestly not too sure what kind of sand it was- it came from my mother's planted tank. White and looked about the same "coarse-ness" of stereotypical beach sand.

jaysee 08-19-2012 01:24 PM

well beach sand is really REALLY fine, more so than most other sands. I used really fine sand like that once, but not with a pleco.

SpottedPleco 08-19-2012 01:55 PM

Bah. Most of it is Down under the gravel anyway. You'd think if it were that fine it wouldn't get clogged up in their system unless they were just sitting there eating mouthfuls and mouthfuls of sand

-_- I need to remind myself that as cute as these creatures are, their brains are very small. Here's hoping the new guy poops and not dies. X_x
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jaysee 08-19-2012 02:00 PM

Yeah, this is very peculiar. I hope it works out for you.

SpottedPleco 08-19-2012 11:30 PM

30 hours after introducing him into the tank and he hasn't eaten, pooped, or died.

::sigh::

He is hanging around the 4 corners of the tank at the surface, and he's still got a sizable lump right between his two back fins.

Anyone heard of remedies for a constipated pleco? >_<
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1077 08-20-2012 06:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpottedPleco (Post 1205372)
Hi all,

So last week I added some live plants to my gravel-substrate tank, and they kept coming unburied and floating up to the surface. To solve this problem I added some sand to the substrate and secured the plants.

Within 2 days, I noticed my albino bn pleco, whom i've had since she was about 3/4" long, had stopped pooping. The next day, she spazzed out - darting around the tank with her cheek spikes out for about 15 minutes, then fell dead to the floor.

I was quite sad. When I fished her out, I felt her stomach and there was what felt like a marble sized wad of sand inside.

I assumed this was because she'd never been in a tank with sand before, and didn't know how to handle it, because everything I've read online says plecos do fine, even prefer, sandy substrate.

So yesterday I bring home a regular bn pleco and after acclimation he goes into his new home, but this morning I see he also has a rather plump belly, and I haven't caught him pooping yet.

He pooped in the bag during the acclimation process so I know he was fine yesterday, and it's only been a day so I shouldn't panic, but does anyone know of this happening to them? Is there a way to help this new guy not die an agonizing death of sandy constipation? (rediculous, I know)

Any ideas would be great.
Thanks in advance.

You do not say how long the tank you are speaking of has been running with fish? What size tank?.
What does water test for ammonia/nitrites,nitrates indicate?
You also mention borrowing sand from your mother's tank.
We can sometimes stir up dissolved organic's when we muck about with the substrate to any large degree,and this in turn can foul the water briefly with toxin's such as ammonia/nitrites.
Helps to perform sizeable water change after any large changes in substrate, or replanting.
More likely the water parameter's for whatever reason,,became uncomfortable for the plecos given how quickly they seemed affected.
I suppose the fish could have ingested gravel or sand but with their dietary requirement's such as Algae ,vegetable mattter,and wood to help with digestive process,,,it is unlikely that the fish would become constipated. (would pass the sand ,gravel)
Must not rule out that the fish was unhealthy when purchased.

SpottedPleco 08-20-2012 11:45 AM

pH-7.8-7.9
Ammonia-0
Nitrites-0
Nitrates-0-5ppm
Temp-76-78F
Tank Size- 20gal

Readings before and after substrate change. I had rinsed the new substrate with tap water until it ran clear, then rinsed in twice more with water treated with Prime.

I usually vacuum the gravel/ do a 15% water change every other day just to get all the poop out, because up until now, there had just been the albino in the tank with driftwood, some plastic ornaments, and some fake plants.

The albino had been in the tank for about 3 years, since I had gotten her as a baby. She'd had tank mates which have come and gone, but was alone when she died.

I did my normal 15% gravel cleaning water change the day I added the sand, and two days later (which is how I noticed the albino had stopped pooping)

It is entirely likely the replacement pleco was sick when I brought him home. There was a dead tankmate in the store tank with him, partially eaten. I know that's a big warning sign, but I had just spent the day going around to every LFS in the area looking for a replacement bn, and my tank had no other inhabitants to affect so I risked it, figuring if he survived the ride home, he'd have a better chance in a clean tank all to himself than one with friends dying in it.

Also the 40% off all live fish sale helped convince me too <_<;

Anyway he's still alive today, still hasn't pooped, still has a nice lump between his back fins. Hasn't touched the cucumber or the algae wafer in the tank.

Any ideas?
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jaysee 08-20-2012 11:55 AM

Quote:

We can sometimes stir up dissolved organic's when we muck about with the substrate to any large degree,and this in turn can foul the water briefly with toxin's such as ammonia/nitrites.
So there are caches of ammonia and nitrite in the tank just waiting to be released? Where?


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