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Old 01-28-2018, 01:49 PM   #1
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Paralyzed pleco

Hallo everyone,

I have a question concerning my 4 year old 10.6 inch pleco. Tank mates: one guppy, one otocinclus.. in a 20 gallon tank. I had this fish gang for 2 years together now, with only minor problems. I adopted the guppy and the pleco from a colleague so they have been together for quite a while before.

A few days ago (Wednesday night) the pleco started acting weird..not being able to suck on the glas anymore for a long time, not being able to swim properly (almost like paralyzed; laying only on his side) and certainly no appetite. It takes a lot of strength for him to pull himself up and it is so painful to watch.

There were multiple occurrences before that within the last two months: filter broke and I had to wait a few hours over night to get a new one from the store. The radiator in my apartment broke and the fish were in the cold (- degrees) for a while (the guppy almost died). Due to this incidence we decided to move them after everything had stabilized to the new apartment since there is more maintenance there compared to the previous one. We changed quite a bit of water in the process. I actually wanted to keep more of the old water, but a guy who helped us move the fish (he called himself an expert) said we only need one or two gallons of the old water...still mad that I let this happen. The move was over 3 weeks ago.

I got the tank water checked on Thursday morning and all the values ammonia, nitrites, nitrates were almost off the chart. The person working at the pet store gave me the bacteria mix they use for their tanks and we carefully changed a bit more than a quarter of the water over the last few days not to shock the pleco even more.
Tested the water again yesterday, ammonia went down as well as the pH. Nitrites and nitrates are still high. Added some more bacteria yesterday and now I play the waiting game.

Could this be ammonia poisoning, stress or swim bladder problems? The guppy and the otocinclus are perfectly fine. Was it just too much stress for the pleco?

I hope you guys can help me. Thank you very much in advance.
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:57 PM   #2
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Update:
He just turned on his belly for the first time in 4 days. Hopefully he is getting better.
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Old 01-28-2018, 03:06 PM   #3
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Sounds like a water quality issue then. I'd do a 25% daily water change until your water parameters come down to 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and no more than 20 on nitrate. You are essentially doing a fish in cycle.
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Old 01-28-2018, 11:27 PM   #4
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Plus on water changes..
The amount of ammonia and nitrite removed will be the % of water changed ..
So off the chart is like 8 on ammonia and 25% change still leaves with 6 ammonia..
I would do multiple 50% changes..
You did not need to bring the old water[the expert was right ]..
You only needed to keep the old filter wet and not mess with it...
Did you change or clean the filter when you moved it ???
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:44 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by coralbandit View Post
Plus on water changes..
The amount of ammonia and nitrite removed will be the % of water changed ..
So off the chart is like 8 on ammonia and 25% change still leaves with 6 ammonia..
I would do multiple 50% changes..
You did not need to bring the old water[the expert was right ]..
You only needed to keep the old filter wet and not mess with it...
Did you change or clean the filter when you moved it ???
Hard to know what off the chart is. Lol. A number would be better to work with. I agree on your water change percentage as well. I should have said multiple water changes every 4 hours.
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:31 PM   #6
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Yes, I changed the filter, because the pleco started more than a week ago to go up to the surface for air. That's also when I made the water change. But since Thursday it has been this bad.
So this morning he had pulled himself up on the glas like he used to and seemed to be okay. Came home some time ago and he looks like this now. Still breathing, but oddly laying in the tank. It seems to go up and down. Just while I am typing this he wiggled his way up on the glas again.
Spoke to the vet just now. She suggested that he has another thing going on linke an infection, etc.
I am really desperate since the pleco hasn't eaten since last Wednesday.
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:32 PM   #7
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Sorry, here is the pic.
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:54 PM   #8
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Your tank is not cycled .
Do you know what the levels are now?
Change water.
50% temperature matched and dechlorinated.
Leave the filter alone[for like a month].
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:15 PM   #9
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Thank you very much for your suggestions.

We are slowly changing the water right now. I am conditioning the water and it is in bags in the tank to adjust to the temperature.
I don't know the levels. The guy in the pet store told me to let the bacteria work and come back this Wednesday.
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:16 PM   #10
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Is there anything else I could do for the pleco? He hasn't eaten in a while.
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