Bloated Bn Pleco - I Cannot Afford To Lose Him!

DixieFish

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Okay, here's the short version:

Male lemon BN Pleco, 3" or so long, age unknown. I brought him home healthy. Before I did, the pet store tested my tank water (API Test strips) and it tested:

0 Nitrites
0 - 5 ppm Nitrates
pH 7.4
kh 80 ppm (US numbers)
gh 180 - 220 ppm

I forgot to have them test for ammonia, because the day before, I did some major tank managing, including installing a new HOB filter, and it made the water unusually cloudy. I was out all day, picking up my new fish last, and when I got home, the tank was still very cloudy and I had some guppies with irritated gills. A 60% WC cut it down, but not enough. A 40% WC followed the next morning and the water finally started clearing.

Tank specs: 10 gallon, fully cycled for 3 full months.
Filters: new Aqueon QuietFlow 10 w/ additional filter fiber. 1x seasoned experimental "sponge" filter.

Water additives: salt, tetra AquaSafe dechlorinator, once weekly (if needed) dose of Excel and Flourish liquid ferts for the plants.

Substrate: sifted play sand

Plants: 5 marimo balls, 2 anubias, 2 vitamin vallisneria, 6 small strands of bacopa c.

Inverts: 1 assassin snail, a handful of small ramshorn and bladder snails.

Companion fish: this is my guppy sorority/grow out tank, recently thinned down to 15 half inch fry and 3 adult female guppies. (And I'm looking foward to further thinning next week.)

Lastly, tank temp: 75 - 78 (been unseasonably warm in these parts.

So, as I explained above, tank issues cropped up the day I brought this fish home, but not instantly. The problem (when I thought about it) started two weeks ago when my el-cheapo Wal-Mart brand internal filter died on me. I had to wait over a week to afford a new one. In the meantime, the sponge filter couldnt keep up with the bio-load - at that time cointaining close to 40 half grown guppies and triple the snails. I didnt notice anything wrong until I stirred up the sand.

But everything tested fine, and the water was no longer horribly cloudy, so I did the water changes mentioned above and acclimated the pleco to the tank.

I got him Friday evening, and today the water is clear and the guppies are happy, but the pleco is refusing to eat, and today his stomach is bloated and his poo is long, pale and stringy (but isn't really white or lumpy). He does have a couple pieces of poplar to chew on, but he is refusing the cucumber.

Is there anything I can do to help him out? I am thinking of placing him into a cozy quarantine bucket, if anything to ensure he is getting food. However, I don't know how to handle it, because I have no spare seasoned filters.

What should I do?
 

kallililly1973

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Changing your filter caused a minI cycle and a bacteria bllom hence the cloudy water. Need to ride it out and get the cycle back. If you don't have established media you shouldn't try to set up a quarantine bucket as it will be more harmful than helpful. Another suggestion is invest in an API test kit so yu don't have to rely on the pet store doing partial water tests and you can check your own water quick if you think anything is "off". Good luck!! Pics?
 
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DixieFish

DixieFish

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Thank you so much, you confirmed my suspicions! I was hoping I wasn't re-cycling, but at least I know what maintenance needs to be done now. I know the guppies will be fine. I just guess I will just have to watch this Pleco closely. And he might be doing better now - hes hiding back in the cave now and I just noticed part of the cucumber was missing, so he suddenly decided to eat. Oh, I really hope that's the reason for the belly!

Pics, sure! Lets see if I can get one of him in his cave without spooking him off it....

20190722_194739~2.jpg 20190722_194339.jpg

My pleco - okay, now he doesn't look so bloated. I guess that was cucumber poo I saw earlier... I'm still going to watch him.

The second pic is my current tank setup.

Again, thank you for your reply!
 

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