Pleco Eating/pooping Issues

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So, for quite some time now belly of BN pleco was very rounded. I assumed she just got fat as she showed no other ill symptoms - she was very active for a pleco, always first to eat.

Few days ago she started having poop issues - poop became thin, clear, oozy thread, getting caught on everything around and just dragging behind her for miles (normaly it was breaking as she went). I've read up about it on the internet and immidiately excluded parasites, as she is round instead of sunk and never had anything attached to her nor sticking out of the anus (other than poop). She doesn't seem inflamed either, no redness around fins, nothing. So, I went under assumption I was just underfeeding as I was giving her something always having a day or two in between. I also added some sinking pellets for coris in case she was missing proteins.

Over last week she was showing less interest in food than normal. Yesterday, after I threw in boiled cucumber, she barely touched it. Then she proceeded to sit in the corner for majority of the day - something she never does, she prefers her driftwood, or coconut hut or other small crevices.

In the evening I had a hunch and did water tests. Both nitrite and nitrate were high, likely because I started suddenly feeding so much. Did massive water change with thorouhg gravel vac, today parameters are much better, with nitrite only slightly above 0 - will be checking on that in following days, to make sure it goes all the way back to 0 - and nitrates in healthy range. Pleco still sits in the corner with clear string behind her. My next best guess is bloat so I'll try fasting her now. But I thought maybe someone here has some better ideas? I'd rather keep away from medicine and salts for as long as possible just so I don't make things worse by accident.
 

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So, for quite some time now belly of BN pleco was very rounded. I assumed she just got fat as she showed no other ill symptoms - she was very active for a pleco, always first to eat.

Few days ago she started having poop issues - poop became thin, clear, oozy thread, getting caught on everything around and just dragging behind her for miles (normaly it was breaking as she went). I've read up about it on the internet and immidiately excluded parasites, as she is round instead of sunk and never had anything attached to her nor sticking out of the anus (other than poop). She doesn't seem inflamed either, no redness around fins, nothing. So, I went under assumption I was just underfeeding as I was giving her something always having a day or two in between. I also added some sinking pellets for coris in case she was missing proteins.

Over last week she was showing less interest in food than normal. Yesterday, after I threw in boiled cucumber, she barely touched it. Then she proceeded to sit in the corner for majority of the day - something she never does, she prefers her driftwood, or coconut hut or other small crevices.

In the evening I had a hunch and did water tests. Both nitrite and nitrate were high, likely because I started suddenly feeding so much. Did massive water change with thorouhg gravel vac, today parameters are much better, with nitrite only slightly above 0 - will be checking on that in following days, to make sure it goes all the way back to 0 - and nitrates in healthy range. Pleco still sits in the corner with clear string behind her. My next best guess is bloat so I'll try fasting her now. But I thought maybe someone here has some better ideas? I'd rather keep away from medicine and salts for as long as possible just so I don't make things worse by accident.
Picture?
 
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Serp

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Reading on nitrite is 0,025 mg/l or lower, nitrate is 20-30 mg/l. Water change was of about 65% of entire volume but because I have very thick layer of gravel (leftover from attempt at "hill" aquascape, it just mostly straightened out over time) it was impossible to suck out much more than that in one go. Yesterday before change readings were 0,5 mg/l and 80-90 mg/l respectively, with 0 ammonia and ph in neutral range (for ph I have strap test which makes it hard to get more than approximate reading on that).
I'll get to filling the form right away.
 
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Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? tank is 25L but because of gravel and some space left between lid and water surfece I guess effective volume is 20L or above.
How long has the tank been running? about 10 months
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? around 25C with some fluctuation if my room gets hotter than that.
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) BN pleco, Zebra Nerite, two Mystery Snails + small wild animals introduced with plants whom I just let live

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? weekly
How much of the water do you change? 20% of total volume so a lot more of actual water volume
What do you use to treat your water? Prime, sometimes half a dose of betta salt (pulling back on that one lately)
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I do vacuum substrate every water change

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? zoolek kits for nitrite, nitrate, JBL kit for ammonia, JBL 10in1 straps for ph (nitrites and nitrates are included on that one but they are awful)
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0 mg/l
Nitrite: 0,025 mg/l as of last reading, normally 0 mg/l
Nitrate: 20-30 mg/l as of last reading, normally doesn't go above 50 mg/l
pH: can't get accurate reading, it's 7,2 or above but below 7,8

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? schedule was food - 2 days of break - food, sometimes shortened to 1 day of break
How much do you feed your fish? quarter of algea wafer, as those are way too big for all of my animals combined to eat whole within a day (they aren't fans of those) or a slice of some boiled vegetable, favourite being zucchini
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Tropical
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? no

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? just over 7 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? can't quite tell. She has to have been round for at least two months now, maybe even more - as I said, she was doing just fine for so long that I assumed it's just fat. I picked up on poop problem somewhere last week.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? gross long threads of clear poop, letargy, unwillingness to eat, bloated belly
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no meds were added, though I used Tetra Nitrate Minus as an aid for recent spike.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? she was scavanging around even with lights on, starting on afternoons and going through the night. Now she just sits there.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now) That's in the first post
 

Momgoose56

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Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? tank is 25L but because of gravel and some space left between lid and water surfece I guess effective volume is 20L or above.
How long has the tank been running? about 10 months
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? around 25C with some fluctuation if my room gets hotter than that.
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) BN pleco, Zebra Nerite, two Mystery Snails + small wild animals introduced with plants whom I just let live

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? weekly
How much of the water do you change? 20% of total volume so a lot more of actual water volume
What do you use to treat your water? Prime, sometimes half a dose of betta salt (pulling back on that one lately)
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I do vacuum substrate every water change

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? zoolek kits for nitrite, nitrate, JBL kit for ammonia, JBL 10in1 straps for ph (nitrites and nitrates are included on that one but they are awful)
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0 mg/l
Nitrite: 0,025 mg/l as of last reading, normally 0 mg/l
Nitrate: 20-30 mg/l as of last reading, normally doesn't go above 50 mg/l
pH: can't get accurate reading, it's 7,2 or above but below 7,8

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? schedule was food - 2 days of break - food, sometimes shortened to 1 day of break
How much do you feed your fish? quarter of algea wafer, as those are way too big for all of my animals combined to eat whole within a day (they aren't fans of those) or a slice of some boiled vegetable, favourite being zucchini
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Tropical
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? no

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? just over 7 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? can't quite tell. She has to have been round for at least two months now, maybe even more - as I said, she was doing just fine for so long that I assumed it's just fat. I picked up on poop problem somewhere last week.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? gross long threads of clear poop, letargy, unwillingness to eat, bloated belly
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no meds were added, though I used Tetra Nitrate Minus as an aid for recent spike.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? she was scavanging around even with lights on, starting on afternoons and going through the night. Now she just sits there.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now) That's in the first post
It may very well be an internal parasite problem. The weird poop and bloat may indicate that. Try putting a piece of blanched (full boil for 1 minute only) not fully cooked broccoli in the tank this evening and a few frozen peas, thawed, blanched and skin removed.
Just feed the broccoli and peas for a couple days, no other food-the fish will eat peas too if peeled and crushed partially with your fingers. If you see no improvement in poop consistency or belly girth in 2 or 3 days of this, you can try an epsom salt bath (that's used for swim bladder, bloat and constipation). For that, you dissolve 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (not regular aquarium salt) in 1 gallon of tank water, put your pleco in that solution for 10 to 30 minutes then net him out and put him back in the tank. If at any point he acts distressed ie gasping, swimming frantically, or otherwise behaving weirdly, remove him immediately and put him back in the tank. Cover the container partially or use a bucket with high sides so he can't jump out. Plecos can jump really far when they want to! If this doesn't help, I'd go ahead and treat the whole tank for parasites.
 
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I'll try doing that, thank you!
Just to be clear - you mean american gallon, yes? I remember running into issue with that before as british gallon is slightly different to american one. Also, are you sure it's a table spoon, not tea spoon? It seems to be a lot for a 30 minute bath, especially for a scaleless fish.
 

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I'll try doing that, thank you!
Just to be clear - you mean american gallon, yes? I remember running into issue with that before as british gallon is slightly different to american one. Also, are you sure it's a table spoon, not tea spoon? It seems to be a lot for a 30 minute bath, especially for a scaleless fish.
Oops yes, american gallon, sorry.
 

Momgoose56

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Oops yes, american gallon, sorry.
No, a tablespoon is right, 3 teaspoons. I don't think scales matter with epsom salt. If he shows no signs of stress, he can stay in up to 30 minutes, no longer. If he poops while in the bath, take him out. You can try 15 minutes the first time and see if he improves and repeat the bath in 24 hours if necessary.
 
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Okay, I'll do that if veggies won't work then. Thank you again!
 

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No, a tablespoon is right, 3 teaspoons. I don't think scales matter with epsom salt. If he shows no signs of stress, he can stay in up to 30 minutes, no longer. If he poops while in the bath, take him out. You can try 15 minutes the first time and see if he improves and repeat the bath in 24 hours if necessary.
Make sure water is same temp as tank and treated with dechlorinator before adding epsom salt.
 
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I tried to combine fasting with peas and broccoli, to no avail - from what I saw, pleco didn't touch it anyway. So, I tried epsom salt yesterday and she got a tiny bit more mobile and quality of poop improved slightly, her belly however stayed roughly the same size if it didn't get any bigger.
So, I went to local pet shop to look for something for parasites, the best they could offer me was sera omniforte which is general purpose medicine. Didn't decide on dosing tank with it just yet, however, if I was to get something more appropriate for the problem, I won't have it for next couple of days or even a week because of time it takes some of these people to even send the thing.
So, I'm unsure what to do. And if I was to look for some parasite-killer online after all, which substance would be best for the problem, knowing that plecos can't take some of those? And also snails. Could take them out and put in a bucket but having something snail safe would spare a lot of trouble, both for me and them.
 

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How long was she in the epsom salt bath?
You can repeat the Epsom salt bath if you think it helped at all.
A couple of treatments for internal parasites:
Seachem metroplex
API General Cure
The active ingredient in these is Metronidazole. It is not safe for invertebrates and probably not for snails. Your snails would be fine in a bucket for a few days. If you decide to use medication, be sure to do a water change after the treatment is complete as instructed on the packaging and add carbon to your filtration for about 24 hours to remove any residual medication before putting the snails back in the tank.
 
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About 20 minutes.
Thank you, I'll look for those!
 
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There is no male. Or any other fish in general. If it was something like false pregnancy though, would it stop her from eating?
 

Momgoose56

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There is no male. Or any other fish in general. If it was something like false pregnancy though, would it stop her from eating?
Are you sure she's not eating? I hardly ever SEE my pleco during the day, but 2 AM he's all over the tank.
Have you done another water change since the one that got you nitrates down to less than 40? If that was a week ago, you need to test your water again and do another water change.
What else besides cucumber (you never need to boil vegetables for adult plecos) do you feed her?
 

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Oh, never mind, I remember. Try putting a whole algae wafer in there tonight where the current won't move it and see if it has been moved a distance in the morning. She definitely doesn't look thin and bony like other skinny plecos I've seen. Can you post another picture of her today? If she hasn't eaten in over a week she may be getting thinner and you may not see the change since you look at her all the time.
 
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She generally starts being active at about 5 pm and likes to hide on the side of the filter or in space between heater and glass so I see her most of the time. Maybe she does munch on something at night though usually she is first to eat, does not matter if lights are up or not. I would try to test it with algae wafer but that won't give us any results. Snails like to eat them, too.
I did water change on Friday. I'll check nitrates and give you photos in a second.
 
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