New Bristlenose suddenly became albino?

Jonathan P
  • #1
I realize that transporting him home and letting him loose in the newly cleaned, planted. and rearranged 29 gallon community tank can be quite stressful. But this is really dramatic.

He has changed from a dark spotted brown to almost completely albino. Including his bristles.

How can I help to destress the situation and get him acclimated in a manner that is easier for him?

The temp is 81, nitrites 0, nitrates 40, ammonia 0, ph 6.8-7.2. Currently there are a fake ship wreck, java fern "mat", 2 corys, 4 rasboras, 2 platys, and 3 medium angles (plans are to thin our the group as animals grow). Lighting is the standard inexpensive light that came with the hood.

I'll add pictures tomorrow morning.
  • #2
Do you have the temp up to 81 for a reason? If you are treating for ick it needs to be over 82. But if not you might try dropping the temp by a couple of degrees to around 79.

First thing that really stands out to me however is that you need to do a significant water change. Nitrates can be around 20, but 40 is much too high. Your angels will start getting fin rot at that level.

Can't say what is going on with your pleco, except it is stressed, and maybe in a few days, with waterchanges and just having a chance to settle in, it should be ok.
  • #3
What size tank is this, and how often are you doing water changes?

Agree that both temp and nitrate are way too high. A water change and lowering the temp to 76 - 78 is necessary.
  • #4
Lowering the temps to 78F won't hurt but I keep my BN's in tanks that are 82 (angels prefer that temp) and don't have a problem.
In a tank without live plants the Nitrates need to be as low as possible. Other than that give him a good water change and plenty of places to hide. BN's as well as other pleco species change color to reflect environment and mood to some degree. They also like to be fed after lights go out.
Enjoy your new BN they are cool little fish.
Jonathan P
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks for all the advice. This is a 29 gallon tank that has been up and running for about 6 months. I do weekly 30% water changes at which time I also vacuum the gravel. So far I have had zero luck lowering my nitratesthis way. I also change the filter monthly or sooner if needed.

I have now added the Java fern mat you can see in the picture below in hopes that, that may help some. I would rather avoid chemicals if possible.

As to the temperature, it was raised at one point for Ich but now I keep it a bit warmer as the angels really seem to like it and thus far the rest have not complained,. I will however start to lower it a bit.

I hope he is doing better this morning, as I see he is hiding in the ship you will see in the picture, and he is back to his nice dark color this morning.

I have some driftwood soaking so that I can add it to the tank in a few days and am considering adding a clay pot as additional hiding space in the near future.

He really is a great looking fish (IMHO) and I would hate to think I caused him harm and didn't do everything I could to help his transition.
  • #6
Your BN is adorable!

Just a couple thoughts: What water conditioner do you add when you do changes? I suggest Prime. It detoxifies nitrates/nitrites and is an excellent product.

I also change the filter monthly or sooner if needed.

Do not change the filter floss/sponge. If you do, you remove all the helpful bacteria necessary and can cause nitrate/ammonia spikes in your tank. If the filter floss is gunky, just rinse it in the tank water you siphon from the tank during cleanings.

Also, do not vacuum all the gravel at the same time. I would do a quarter of it each time I do a water change.

The BN was probably stressed for a number of reasons, one of which is no doubt the tank is bright with little cover for him. I suggest you add more plants, rocks and a piece of driftwood for him.
Jonathan P
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Got it. Good advice. The driftwood is soaking and the clay pot is on the way. I will also look into more plants. This week is my first attempt at a planted tank.

I haven't tried using any conditioner yet. I guess my research wasn't thorough enough. When I asked the lfs about Prime they thought it was not necessary. Guess I have to reconsider this and also vacuum less of the gravel.

Currently I put in a little aquarium salt, some buffer, and dechlorinater.

As to the filter, since it has a bio-wheel, I don't touch that only the disposable filter cartridge. I even leave last months filter in there and add a new one, since it can hold 2 cartridges. This way if I ever want to seed a new tank it's easy and it's less likely to disturb the bateria growth.

I will continue to listen to and learn. And hopefully give all my friends a good life.
  • #8
What are you using for a dechlorinating agent? There are a lot of good ones out there but prime does do some other things besides just dechlorinate. I just use a plain dechlorinator. Your Bristlenose looks fine and the higher temps for the angels will be fine for him also. He is definitely cute
Adding fast growing plants like Hornwort, water sprite and wisteria will suck the Nitrates right up. I love Java ferns but they are slow growing and don't use Nitrates up fast.
  • #9
When I asked the lfs about Prime they thought it was not necessary.

Don't listen to them. Ever. About anything.

I even leave last months filter in there and add a new one, since it can hold 2 cartridges.

That's good! But you still don't need to put a new one in every month. I didn't change mine for years, until it was falling apart!

And hopefully give all my friends a good life.

That's great to hear. You're certainly on your way.
Jonathan P
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Butterfly - The dechlorinator that I have been using is the lfs generic bottle. It's only for declorinating. Should have gone with my research and gut and started using Prime. I will.

So how does ph affect nitrates? Does it? I just retested my tank after the cleaning and additions, it's been about 26 hours and the ph is a bit higher at 7.2 - 7.6, but nothing else has changed. I guess I didn't use enough buffer at the water change. The tap water here is in that ph range, no ammonia, no nitrite, and nitrates in the 10 - 20 range.
Boy am I glad I asked these questions!

Ok. So I can ease off on the filter changes, slow down on the % of gravel I vacuum each week, have options for additional plants, temp is ok, and the little guy is coming around. He is even venturing out of the boat now. Won't let me take a picture, but still.

That's why I love this site so much. So many people willing to share their experience and knowledge to improve the hobby/trade.

My fish and children will be the true beneficiary of all your help.
  • #11
Most fish will adjust to just about any stable PH and a stable one is much better than a fluctuating PH and 7.2-7.4 is fine. The fewer chemicals you use the better
Jonathan P
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
(Sorry if you have already seen this under the photos. I meant to post it hear with the update)

He seems to be doing better now. He's out exploring, even in the light. Seems when he isn't hiding he likes attaching to the front glass on the same side as the filter.

From what I have read on Planetcatfish his position in the tank makes sense as they like the water flow. And I saw that some plecos change colors like a chameleon to react to stress or surroundings. (Amazing what I can learn when I read ) He is changing fairly often. When he is in hiding he is dark brown and out - light brown with a pattern.

Thanks again for all the advice. Algae wafer and driftwood going in tonight - I'll be making some of the veggie wafers this week.

Hope you like the photos.
  • #13
How big is this little guy? Do you know what species he is?

If you aren't sure you can ask on Planetcatfish.
Jonathan P
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
He is currently 2.5 inches long.

As too species, I have posted on Planetcatfish and there are a few people trying to help me identify it. Unfortunately it is captive bred and the lfs had no information from the wholesaler. From what I have been told so far, bristlenose plecos are notoriously hard to assign to a specific species. But if I find out I will update.
  • #15
Yes it can be hard to ID them. I'm curious because yours has such large and numerous tentacles at such a small size.

Hopefully PC can help you. They ID'd my Rio_UcayalI for me.
Jonathan P
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
So far the votes seem to favor Ancistrus sp(3), and the fact that this was captive bred by a wholesaler seems to support this. But another possibility that has been suggested is Ancistrus triradiatus.

Each day he seems to be becoming more and more comfortable in his new surroundings and venturing futher from the boat. Additionally his coloration is becoming more consistant and I was even able to see his spots clearly today.

I'll update as more information comes in.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
  • #17
How's the little guy doing now? Has his colour stabilized?

Maybe you can a female from the same place and have wittle baby BNs!
Jonathan P
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
He's doing well. His color seems to have stabilized at about a hershey chocolate color with a few light spots.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed still, but think we are over the hump.

Thanks for asking. I will post updated pictures when he cooperates.

Today was the first day I have ever seen him leave the left side of the tank. It's the side with his hiding spot (the boat) and the fast flowing water from the filter.

He ventured, in the light, to the other side to dine on what I found out to be a dead snail and hid for a few moments in the java ferns.

I am very excited that he is progressing. Maybe I am actually doing something right.
  • #19
That's good! Did you add the driftwood and are you feeding veggies?

Remember, the more cover he has, the more he'll be willing to show himself.

Here's an example. My tank, with my BNs out in the open on the glass. They really never hide since they have so many options if they wanted to hide! Even the little albino isn't shy.

Don't you just love these little guys? I'd like to have a dozen.
Jonathan P
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Beautiful tank! I can see where they would really like that. Thanks for showing me.

So far I only have a few hiding places, but working on increasing the number. I have java ferns, fake plants, a partial shipwreck, and a piece of driftwood.

He has finally found the driftwood. He also appears very happy when I drop in pieces of algae wagers and the homemade veggie wafers that I found a recipe for on planetcatfish.
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