Couldn't resist sick pleco at Petsmart, now trying to get a plan to save him

ZeldaNerd

Hello all! I took two trips today to two separate fish stores (a very dangerous game for me and my impulsive fish love as it would seem). My LFS that's owned by a very knowledgeable and dedicated couple was the first destination, and after talking to them a bit about my cycle and water parameters, we agreed it's ok to add fish (this tank has been cycling for 1 1/2 months so you can imagine my excitement)!! They didn't have the fish I was looking for, so I decided to go to a Petsmart that I saw had some plecos that my LFS has never carried. I try to go to my LFS as often as possible, they're an amazing business to support, but they don't carry the clown pleco I've been wanting. On a whim I had gone to that specific Petsmart for more fish food and saw they had the plecos I wanted, so I vowed to come back and get one when my tank was ready. So when I got there they had one tiny clown pleco all alone without any driftwood and looking rough, and it broke my heart. He looks to have fin rot, and I know it's not wise to get a fish that is sick previously, but I just couldn't help myself with his little face! He's already my baby named Poe and I'm looking for ways to heal him up. One train of thought is that the tank I'm putting him in has infinitely better water quality and might really help, but I haven't had time to observe his eating habits yet so I don't know if he's eating. He doesn't seem to be too lethargic compared to what I've seen of other plecos, he just has his fins rotted. I have all the food for him and driftwood he can munch on, but he hasn't gone to the driftwood yet as I expected him to. I have now made it my mission to make him better, any advice on how to best do that??
 

GuppyGal7

Ahhh, I hope he gets better. I hate seeing mistreated fish. Can you post some pictures of him please?
 
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ZeldaNerd

Ahhh, I hope he gets better. I hate seeing mistreated fish. Can you post some pictures of him please?

PXL_20210418_070349115.jpg
Sorry for the glare, fish tank pictures are hard lol!

Edit: Also, that little clump of green is a tiny piece of Algae Wafer I left in there for him to munch on
 
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mc12345


PXL_20210418_070349115.jpg
Sorry for the glare, fish tank pictures are hard lol!

Edit: Also, that little clump of green is a tiny piece of Algae Wafer I left in there for him to munch on
If you trust your LFS, you could bring him in or a clear pic of him to see if they have any suggestions. They may carry something there to help him like medication, stress coat, etc. I can't diagnose anything from the picture so I don't want to give bad advice. I know better water conditions will make a big difference so keep up with water changes. Hope Poe gets better.
 
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ZeldaNerd

If you trust your LFS, you could bring him in or a clear pic of him to see if they have any suggestions. They may carry something there to help him like medication, stress coat, etc. I can't diagnose anything from the picture so I don't want to give bad advice. I know better water conditions will make a big difference so keep up with water changes. Hope Poe gets better.
Thank you! I might just watch him for a couple of days and see if he's improving or if he's eating. My best guess was fin rot, but I'm not sure, definitely not a professional fish diagnosiser

Update: Ok, not a very encouraging sight when I checked on him just a second ago. He doesn't seem like he moved an inch throughout the night and hasn't touched his algae wafer

But on the brighter side he's still alive, so that's something. I think whatever he has is pretty bad, but I've never had experience with stuff like this so I don't know. The only meds I have on hand (and I know this is terrible to just have one) is melafix from when I tried to treat a sick fish a while back (I'm not sure if it worked because it arrived a day after my fishie passed) and stress coat if that even counts as meds
 
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Charlie’s Dad

Continue to do water changes. I believe most conditions are a result of poor water chemistry. You will be blessed for your efforts.

Poe is a handsome lad indeed!
 
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mattgirl

Fresh clean water is going to be the best medicine you can give this little guy. Do you know or can you find out what he was being fed? If not algae wafers maybe this little guy doesn't know what you are offering him is food. If possible feed him what he has been fed and once he has settled in you can gradually introduce various other foods.

A very low dose of aquarium salt might be needed here. Just add a third of what is normally recommended. Be sure to fully dissolve it before pouring it in the tank.

Also give him quiet time with the light off. We want him calm and stressed as little as possible.
 
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ZeldaNerd

Fresh clean water is going to be the best medicine you can give this little guy. Do you know or can you find out what he was being fed? If not algae wafers maybe this little guy doesn't know what you are offering him is food. If possible feed him what he has been fed and once he has settled in you can gradually introduce various other foods.

A very low dose of aquarium salt might be needed here. Just add a third of what is normally recommended. Be sure to fully dissolve it before pouring it in the tank.

Also give him quiet time with the light off. We want him calm and stressed as little as possible.
I'll try and call the store when they open to find out, thank you for the advice! I've never used aquarium salt before, a complete newbie in that area so don't know if this is a dumb question, but would it affect any of my plants in a bad way?
 
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mattgirl

I'll try and call the store when they open to find out, thank you for the advice! I've never used aquarium salt before, a complete newbie in that area so don't know if this is a dumb question, but would it affect any of my plants in a bad way?
The amount I am recommending shouldn't affect them. I know if you read up on using salt it is frowned on by many and has been deemed as old fashioned and should not be used in a freshwater tank. Even old fashioned treatments still have their place in this hobby.

As I said, just add a third of what is normally recommended. Once you start seeing improvement in your little guy you can start water changing the salt back out. Short term use of a low dose of salt shouldn't harm your little guy and could very well help.
 
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mc12345

A very low dose of aquarium salt might be needed here. Just add a third of what is normally recommended. Be sure to fully dissolve it before pouring it in the tank.
Plecos don't have scales and aquarium salt tends to be extremely harsh on fish without scales. A lower dose might be ok but I'd be worried that it would make him worse. Then again I've never had experience with treating with aquarium salt.
 
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mattgirl

Plecos don't have scales and aquarium salt tends to be extremely harsh on fish without scales. A lower dose might be ok but I'd be worried that it would make him worse. Then again I've never had experience with treating with aquarium salt.
I know I constantly read this but I have personally added low doses of aquarium salt to tanks with plecos and even corys with no adverse reaction at all. Had I never used it I would be hesitant to recommend doing this.
 
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mc12345

I know I constantly read this but I have personally added low doses of aquarium salt to tanks with plecos and even corys with no adverse reaction at all. Had I never used it I would be hesitant to recommend doing this.
Well that's good to know. Again I've never treated with aquarium salt so I don't have much experience. I just based this off of a little research because I was originally going to recommend the same thing. Maybe it will help the little guy.
 
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Leeman75

Just found this thread and I'm wondering if he's moved much since your last post?

I got a Rubber Lip Pleco from Petsmart once and was really worried about him as the store employee really messed him up trying to catch him. He was stark white when I put him in the tank and he also did not move overnight. I know that feeling that you must have!

Hopefully, he has moved more and is up and about at this point in the day. That driftwood will be really good for him. I don't think my Clown Pleco really went to the driftwood for a couple of days when I got him.
 
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ZeldaNerd

Just found this thread and I'm wondering if he's moved much since your last post?

I got a Rubber Lip Pleco from Petsmart once and was really worried about him as the store employee really messed him up trying to catch him. He was stark white when I put him in the tank and he also did not move overnight. I know that feeling that you must have!

Hopefully, he has moved more and is up and about at this point in the day. That driftwood will be really good for him. I don't think my Clown Pleco really went to the driftwood for a couple of days when I got him.
I left my house about an hour ago, but from when I left he hadn't moved from my knowledge since I woke up at 9, but if he did it seems to have been only a couple of centimeters if even. I left my lights off in hope the darkness may give him more courage, but I'll update y'all when I get home definitely

And I know right, I just want to rescue all of the sweet babies at the store!! It takes everything in me to just walk past the Betta section and not get one, oh the agony...

Update (for some reason it kept merging my posts): Hello all again...I just got home to a very saddening sight that Poe has passed away...

I'm glad I gave him one day at least of a good tank, and thank you everyone for your help and suggestions, I think his case was so far along nothing could've helped. It's always sad when this happens, but I'm looking on the bright side and it's better I'm able to mourn for the little guy instead of him just being thrown away at Petsmart. Again, thank you for your help and efforts to save him
 
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Nianichole

I left my house about an hour ago, but from when I left he hadn't moved from my knowledge since I woke up at 9, but if he did it seems to have been only a couple of centimeters if even. I left my lights off in hope the darkness may give him more courage, but I'll update y'all when I get home definitely

And I know right, I just want to rescue all of the sweet babies at the store!! It takes everything in me to just walk past the Betta section and not get one, oh the agony...

Update (for some reason it kept merging my posts): Hello all again...I just got home to a very saddening sight that Poe has passed away...

I'm glad I gave him one day at least of a good tank, and thank you everyone for your help and suggestions, I think his case was so far along nothing could've helped. It's always sad when this happens, but I'm looking on the bright side and it's better I'm able to mourn for the little guy instead of him just being thrown away at Petsmart. Again, thank you for your help and efforts to save him

Sorry your fish died I also had a pleco from petsmart die last week. Part of it was my fault, but I also think he was sick when I bought him.

I hope your next pleco is super healthy ❤️
 
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Leeman75

So sorry to hear about that. My Rubber Lip that I referenced before did end up dying too, so I have been there. As you said, at least he had a good day of tank and care.
 
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mattgirl

I am sorry to hear this little guy didn't make it. Hopefully the next time you get one it will be a healthy one and you can give it many happy healthy years.
 
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GoldieLove

You are a saint for adopting that pleco. I'm so sorry he left us! You did the right thing though. Sick fish should be treated equally like a sick cat or dog in my opinion.
 
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mc12345

I left my house about an hour ago, but from when I left he hadn't moved from my knowledge since I woke up at 9, but if he did it seems to have been only a couple of centimeters if even. I left my lights off in hope the darkness may give him more courage, but I'll update y'all when I get home definitely

And I know right, I just want to rescue all of the sweet babies at the store!! It takes everything in me to just walk past the Betta section and not get one, oh the agony...

Update (for some reason it kept merging my posts): Hello all again...I just got home to a very saddening sight that Poe has passed away...

I'm glad I gave him one day at least of a good tank, and thank you everyone for your help and suggestions, I think his case was so far along nothing could've helped. It's always sad when this happens, but I'm looking on the bright side and it's better I'm able to mourn for the little guy instead of him just being thrown away at Petsmart. Again, thank you for your help and efforts to save him
Sorry about Poe. I have had quite the bad luck with fish lately. I bought a whole school of Colombian tetras from a chain pet store and they all had mouth rot. It wiped out the school within 3 days. It's sad because like you I wanted to do everythong I could to help them. Unfortunately some things are just out of control. Despite that, we know their last few days were in a clean healthy tank, which I know is a much better way to go than in an overcrowded dirty tank at a pet store.
 
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DoubleDutch

I left my house about an hour ago, but from when I left he hadn't moved from my knowledge since I woke up at 9, but if he did it seems to have been only a couple of centimeters if even. I left my lights off in hope the darkness may give him more courage, but I'll update y'all when I get home definitely

And I know right, I just want to rescue all of the sweet babies at the store!! It takes everything in me to just walk past the Betta section and not get one, oh the agony...

Update (for some reason it kept merging my posts): Hello all again...I just got home to a very saddening sight that Poe has passed away...

I'm glad I gave him one day at least of a good tank, and thank you everyone for your help and suggestions, I think his case was so far along nothing could've helped. It's always sad when this happens, but I'm looking on the bright side and it's better I'm able to mourn for the little guy instead of him just being thrown away at Petsmart. Again, thank you for your help and efforts to save him

Sorry to hear, but please please please don't buy unhealthy fish anymore how tempting this might be.

The only thing you do is keep the LFS's doing the things they do and making their problems yours. They'll make profit out of mistreating and selling sick fish.
 
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pagoda

This sounds terribly harsh but in all honesty it would be better to report the shop to local animal welfare (charitable organisation or government agriculture & fishery dept) than to try and take on an animal that is suffering any form of injury or health issue.

We as human have a soft spot to try and do the best that we can when we see an animal in distress, but sometimes a supplier will take advantage of that soft spot and all they will see is the kerching of the cash register.

Report the supplier, that way the supplier will be checked out and where necessary their husbandry standards will be improved and monitored or they might even get their licence revoked. That has a greater effect towards improving the lives of livestock for sale longterm.
 
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ZeldaNerd

I know the general rule of thumb for that, and I did realize my mistake as I was making it, I wish I did have a stronger spine. I have a very big soft spot for animals that I know are dying or aren't going to make it, especially from experiences when hatching poultry and such. I'll make sure not to make the same mistake twice. Even though my LFS might not be that big and have huge stocks, I'm only going to shop there from now on and just fingers crossed they get fish I planned on stocking with. The whole system of chains is definitely sickening in the fish department, and I'll look into who to talk to about it. But my thought is I'll probably not the first or last to complain about this, as I've also seen on the forum many who share this opinion, and as a nationwide chain store what does it take to fix it or can it be fixed?
 
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pagoda

I know the general rule of thumb for that, and I did realize my mistake as I was making it, I wish I did have a stronger spine. I have a very big soft spot for animals that I know are dying or aren't going to make it, especially from experiences when hatching poultry and such. I'll make sure not to make the same mistake twice. Even though my LFS might not be that big and have huge stocks, I'm only going to shop there from now on and just fingers crossed they get fish I planned on stocking with. The whole system of chains is definitely sickening in the fish department, and I'll look into who to talk to about it. But my thought is I'll probably not the first or last to complain about this, as I've also seen on the forum many who share this opinion, and as a nationwide chain store what does it take to fix it or can it be fixed?

It can absolutely be fixed.

Complaining via social media and websites is brushed off, usually ignored by suppliers.

The way to really force them into making changes is by reporting them to the local government/federal authorities who issue their licence to trade in livestock. If enough complaints are made to those authorities either directly or via welfare organisations/charities, then the authorities have to look into those complaints and they will do unannounced site visits, check water quality, food quality, health and welfare of all livestock. Once done they will issue order to change what needs it with a time limit, they will revisit unannounced to make sure their orders are being carried out.

If things are very bad on first visit it could be a heavy fine or even licence revoked....that could still be the penalty if even after issuing orders to change its still not done.

The livestock licences cover all aspects of husbandy, welfare, deceased disposal and point of sale...and often aftersale.....those licences can and are frequently suspended or removed entirely from suppliers if they do not measure up.

But it takes customers to make a stand and to complain to the right people, until that happens these animals with health issues will continue to be sold.
It is a legal requirement, worldwide, that the licence to trade in livestock (regardless of type) should be displayed on the wall or desk beside or close to the paypoint instore.

The licence will give the name and address etc of the issuing authority who can and should be contacted if there are any welfare issues regarding livestock treatment and care.

Failure to display that licence in full view is against the rules of having the licence and the supplier should be happy to give you a copy if requested to do so. That goes for online suppliers too, they are legally obliged to produce their current licences to trade and welfare standard upon request.
 
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