Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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fishman 11-17-2006 11:28 PM

Sick Pleco
I have a question about my common pleco I was hoping someone could help me out with it. My pleco just stays in the same spot all the time and he is getting really fat and doesnt seem to be eating. Can anyone help.

JouteiMike 11-18-2006 12:38 AM

Can you answer a few questions first?

What are you water parameters? (Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)
What's the temperature and pH of the water?
What other fish you have in there?
How big is the tank?
What are you feeding the pleco?
Any other physical symptoms besides being bloated?

fishman 11-18-2006 12:46 AM

im not sure what the parameters are but the temperature is about 27 degrees celceus, 20 gallan tank, with 2 red eyes, 1 bala shar, 2 guppies, they all have been in there for a year or more with no trouble. the pleco seems healthy other than being really fat and not eating. i feed the pleco algea waffers.

JouteiMike 11-18-2006 01:11 AM

You should look into getting liquid test kits, preferrably the master test kits, to test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Those are vital numbers that determine the well-being of your tank.

How big is the Pleco? I hope you realize that the tank is too small for the Pleco and Bala shark, the can both get over a foot long. Bala sharks also do best in schools of at least 5, and to house a school of them, you would need a much bigger tank. I hope you plan on getting at least a 55 gallon.

As for the Pleco, it would be nice to have more information, especially your water parameters, and maybe a picture. Try cutting up some zucchini or cucumber, maybe he'll eat that.

How often do you do water changes and how much do you take out?

fishman 11-18-2006 01:17 AM

I will get some test kit stuff. the pleco is aboutg 3 to 4 inches long. I was planning on getting a bigger tank in the new year. I also had more bala sharks a year ago and they died and i am afriad to add new fish in the tank because i dont want to bring in disease. anyway thanks for your help and i will let you know when i get the test kits tomarrow and in the mean time i will feed him some peas if that is ok for the pleco.

JouteiMike 11-18-2006 01:21 AM

Yeah I'm sure the pleco would appreciate some peas, just make sure you take the shell or skin off the peas

bettababy 11-18-2006 01:27 AM

2 things... I notice you said you feed the pleco algae wafers... any sign that they're "disappearing"?
Also, have you watched the pleco once the lights are out, at length? It is very possible that he is eating just fine... too good, in fact, which would cause him to get fat, and that he has a favorite spot he returns to for resting. Remember that plecos are nocturnal, and most of their activity level will happen once it's dark.
Water params will surely help.

fishman 11-18-2006 01:55 AM

ya i took the skin/shell of the peas first. Also I have watched him the light have been off for a few hours now and he still hasnt moved. when i feed him algea waffers the just disolve and leave stuff on the rocks in the tank he doesnt eat them, just stays in the stop and moves there a little bit. maybe he is constipated?

JouteiMike 11-18-2006 02:48 AM

A lot of times plecos are just really stubborn with eating, and can be frightened very easily.

Do you have some hiding spots for him where he can feel secure?

bettababy 11-18-2006 03:17 AM

JouteiMike has a good point. I also am curious to see the water params... if the pleco isn't feeling well because of something in the water quality, he's not going to have much of an appetite, and he could in fact be dealing with internal parasites, and water params have to be good enough before it's safe to medicate. Have you counted your other fish lately? Also, have you noticed if he's done any cleaning of the glass or rocks in the tank? Even if you don't see him, if nothing is growing in there, I'd think he's finding food at some point.
For sure get some hiding places in there, they tend to like large pieces of driftwood where they can get beneath it, but rocks stacked against each other can make nice caves too. Make sure the cave is big enough for him to get completely into it.

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