Clown Pleco is sick

swishandflicc

Hi all. Long time lurker, but now I need some help.

I have a 29 gallon tank that has been running for about three months. I cycled it first, then moved everyone over from other tanks. They have been together in the tank for about a month with no issues so far.

My Clown Pleco, Gherkin, has something happening, and I don't know what it is or how to help.

Last week, I switch the filter media from the carbon pad to fluval sponges, and I floated the carbon pad in the tank for a week to help the cycle not get shocked. Clearly it didn't work, because this morning I noticed a dead orange neo shrimp. I checked levels and they were pH 6.8, Ammonia 2ppm, Nitrites .25 ppm, and Nitrates 20ppm. I did a water change four days ago, and it was fine.

I started a water change, and took the old filter pads out of the tank to discard. My clown pleco was stuck to one of them, and wouldn't budge. He wasn't moving, and I feared the worst. I pulled it out, and he still wasn't moving. I poked him a bit, and he flopped a bit. He was stuck in the floss. I pulled him off and put him back in the tank, but he is in a bad way. He looks a bit like he's having movement issues, almost like atrophy. He has a bad rash on his head that is mostly white discoloration of his skin on the top of his head with red around the edges. Depending on how long he was stuck in the floss, this could be from being against the glass? Or perhaps ammonia burn?

He's swimming, but barely, and breathing hard. I tried to feed him, but he wouldn't eat.

I just completed an 80% water change, and he retreated into a hide.

Should I be worried? Will he heal, or should I medicate?

In the 29 gallon tank with an Aqueon 30G HOB filter:

12 Ember tetras
6 peppered corys
3 mystery snails
2 ghost shrimp
2 nerites (1 horned, 1 tiger)
1 bamboo shrimp
1 clown pleco (the patient in question)

Pics attached.
 

A201

I've seen new Plecos arrivals to my favorite LFS w/ similar white patches. Initially I thought the Plecos were suffering from Columnaris, but within two weeks the white patches were gone & the Plecos appeared healthy.
Best guess is the Plecos reacted to an ammonia buildup in the transport bag. Perhaps the ammonia spike in your tank affected the pleco in a similar way.
 
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swishandflicc

I've seen new Plecos arrivals to my favorite LFS w/ similar white patches. Initially I thought the Plecos were suffering from Columnaris, but within two weeks the white patches were gone & the Plecos appeared healthy.
Best guess is the Plecos reacted to an ammonia buildup in the transport bag. Perhaps the ammonia spike in your tank affected the pleco in a similar way.

That's comforting. I've handled the spike, and I double dosed some stresscoat, so I'm hoping it helps. He's moving around, so that's good. He seems to have a crook in his tail that he didn't have before, so I hope hes not hurt. I'll keep an eye on him as best as I can (which will be hard because he likes to hide).
 
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DoubleDutch

What is it fed exactly ?
 
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swishandflicc

What is it fed exactly ?

I feed this tank a staple food of imagitarium brand micro pellets twice a day for the ember tetras and the bamboo shrimp. Just a small pinch each time. The bottom feeders suck up the rest. Then, each day I do a dedicated feeding for the bottom dwelling community right before bed. I have home made snello blocks, crab cuisine, hikari algae wafers, frozen bloodworms, and blanched veggies. I just alternate between those things.

That being said, he's been hanging out in the open, under an anubias since this happened. I have tried putting crab cuisine pellets and algae wafers directly near him, and he seemed responsive but didn't eat them. I did watch him eat a piece of java moss, so I don't know what's happening.

There is a bloom of cotton wool fungus that appeared today as well, and I just ordered some Maracyn to treat the tank. Perhaps that's the issue? He has plenty of driftwood in the tank, so I don't know.

He was fully trapped in the fibers of the filter pad, and there's no telling how long he was there. After getting a closer look at him, it looks very much like he took off some of his scales and rubbed his skin raw and beat up his tail by struggling against the webbing. I'm just hoping he pulls through.
 
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DoubleDutch

I feed this tank a staple food of imagitarium brand micro pellets twice a day for the ember tetras and the bamboo shrimp. Just a small pinch each time. The bottom feeders suck up the rest. Then, each day I do a dedicated feeding for the bottom dwelling community right before bed. I have home made snello blocks, crab cuisine, hikari algae wafers, frozen bloodworms, and blanched veggies. I just alternate between those things.

That being said, he's been hanging out in the open, under an anubias since this happened. I have tried putting crab cuisine pellets and algae wafers directly near him, and he seemed responsive but didn't eat them. I did watch him eat a piece of java moss, so I don't know what's happening.

There is a bloom of cotton wool fungus that appeared today as well, and I just ordered some Maracyn to treat the tank. Perhaps that's the issue? He has plenty of driftwood in the tank, so I don't know.

He was fully trapped in the fibers of the filter pad, and there's no telling how long he was there. After getting a closer look at him, it looks very much like he took off some of his scales and rubbed his skin raw and beat up his tail by struggling against the webbing. I'm just hoping he pulls through.
Okay, that isn't causing rhe issue I assume.
It is weakened in some way. It being out in the open and get stuck isn't a good.sign.
They don't have scales but it must have damaged itself. Maracyn is an antibiotic aqainst bacterial issues. A fungus is a different thing.

Can you seperate ? Hoping it will pull through.
 
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MacZ

So close and still missed it. Fish Emergency Template | 376562 | Freshwater Fish Disease and Fish Health
Could you answer the questions you didn't give information to already, so further questions are minimized? Especially about waterchange schedule and the most recent parameter readings.

The white patch looks like an abrasion. The fins don't look good either.
Catfish don't have scales, even the armoured species like plecos have scaleless skin over it.

Also I wouldn't expect plecos eating immediately when feeding. My experience with plecos often was putting food in in the evening and only finding leftovers in the morning, with a full-bellied pleco next to them. I wouldn't be worried about not seeing it actually eat.

Doing big volume waterchanges frequently for a while and maybe adding indian almond leaves and alder cones would be the best one can do now. Please don't use meds until absolutely necessary and until it's clear what exactly you have to medicate for. Bacteria and fungi can look very similar, I'd be very wary. Also, you have inverts in the tank that might not react well to the meds.
As DoubleDutch said, treating it in another tank would be a good idea.
 
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