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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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

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Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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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Yeah, this is very peculiar. I hope it works out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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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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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So there are caches of ammonia and nitrite in the tank just waiting to be released? Where?

Organic's from fish waste and fish food do find their way below the surface, and if area has not been disturbed for some time, and then suddenly we pull up a bunch of plant's,or scoop out a bunch of this substrate ,,the chance of ammonia also being released is fairly good.
As ammonia oxidizing bacteria is largely on hard surface area's,disturbing the area can release that which the bacteria feed's on.(Good bacteria only thrive in first few centimeter's)
For those who regularly vaccum a portion of the substrate on regular basis,(many don't)this may not be as likely, but for those with heavily planted tank's where little to no vaccuming takes place,then sudden uprooting of plant's, or moving about of the substrate, can cause brief ammonia spike which would/could also be followed by nitrite spike.
This sudden albeit brief spike in ammonia,is often credited with sudden appearence of algae and is why those who perform large changes in aquascapes,or re-planting's,,suggest large water change directly after such activity.
If new substrate was added over top of old substrate then some benficial bacteria is temporarily lost as it was smothered.
If some substrate was removed for new substrate,,then sizeable portion/or not was lost depending on how much was removed.
 

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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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I think with the water parameter's you mention, and water changes,the fish may indeed be O.K. not withstanding purchasing the fish from a tank holding dead fish.:roll:
In my expieriences with Bristlenose,,they are not nearly as fond of cucumber as they are of zuchinni,sweet red bell pepper,spinach leaves,romain lettuce,occasional shrimp pellet's,carnivore pellet's,New life spectrum pellet's (large).
They appreciate cool 75 to 78 degree F water with some movement of the water.
Would be leery of small plastic plant's that fish may accidentally ingest.
Although I've never seen a pleco make this mistake,,, I did once see a photo of a large goldfish who had ingested a portion of plastic plant and it was hung up in the fish half out,and half in, anal area.
Given the way plecos rasp on nearly all surfaces in the tank,I thought it worth metnioning.
Same goes for sharp object's in the tank where pleco could scrape/injur itself.
 

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.(Good bacteria only thrive in first few centimeter's)
So the deep sand bed theory is bogus?
 

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So the deep sand bed theory is bogus?

Not sure what theory you speak of.
Deeper in substrate,, the lack of oxygen creates anerobic condition, and anerobic bacteria further strip oxygen, resulting in nitrogen gas or hydrogen sulfide gas which you can readily smell if you have torn down many tanks with deeper substrates than say three inches.
In planted tank's,,plant's can transport oxygen to the root's and this seem's to reduce the chance of anerobic condition's.
Sand, if no more than two inches deep,has little chance of developing anerobic area as opposed to deeper sand bed's.IME(have sand tank's where sand is never disturbed)
Some claim the Hydrogen sulfide is harmless once it escapes and makes contact with oxygen in the water, but other's have different opinion's.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think with the water parameter's you mention, and water changes,the fish may indeed be O.K. not withstanding purchasing the fish from a tank holding dead fish.:roll:
In my expieriences with Bristlenose,,they are not nearly as fond of cucumber as they are of zuchinni,sweet red bell pepper,spinach leaves,romain lettuce,occasional shrimp pellet's,carnivore pellet's,New life spectrum pellet's (large).
for the leafy greens and sweet bell pepper - do you serve them fresh, or blanche them like the cucumber/ zucchini ?

Do you think I should keep trying to feed him different things if he hasn't pooped with that stomach bulge?

My old albino loved cucumber... And I'd read that it fit well into their "high bulk/ low yield" diet because its not super high in nutritional value, but at this point I'd like to see the new pleco either eat something or poop something so I know his digestive track isn't all jacked up.

He looks exactly like pictures I've seen of plecos that've over-eaten, and he doesn't seem distressed (not breathing hard, not darting around frantically) but Its day three and I have yet to see waste turn up in the tank so I'm certain he can't be feeling that great.
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for the leafy greens and sweet bell pepper - do you serve them fresh, or blanche them like the cucumber/ zucchini ?

Do you think I should keep trying to feed him different things if he hasn't pooped with that stomach bulge?

My old albino loved cucumber... And I'd read that it fit well into their "high bulk/ low yield" diet because its not super high in nutritional value, but at this point I'd like to see the new pleco either eat something or poop something so I know his digestive track isn't all jacked up.

He looks exactly like pictures I've seen of plecos that've over-eaten, and he doesn't seem distressed (not breathing hard, not darting around frantically) but Its day three and I have yet to see waste turn up in the tank so I'm certain he can't be feeling that great.
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I serve the leafy green's fresh, after rinsing, by wrapping them around a rock with rubberband.
Considering the fish is only fish in the tank, and that they are not too fond of salt,,I might try a half tablespoon of epsom salt per five gallons with water change after twelve hours with no salt and see if this help's.
Could be the fish has ingested a significant amount food containing animal proteins and just need's time to allow digestive process to work in passing it.
Could also be the fish is not healthy but your care /maint,as posted will give it best chance in my view.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So this morning the lump was gone and the entire tank had a greenish haze to it (so gross >_<)

Did a 40% water change and will probably to another at the end of the day.

BUT the pleco is happily rasping on some algae covered driftwood for the first time since I brought him home, so I guess he's on the mend.

Will try some leafy greens later.

Thanks again for everyone's input - I think the lil pooper is gonna make it.
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