55 Gallon Tank Pleco survived burn, now has frayed fin

PennieB

Hi Everyone,

I’ve had my 55 gallon tank set up for eleven years (I’ve moved it successfully 6 times) and all smooth sailing for the most part. My current family contains three parrot fish the size of a clenched fist (4-6”) and one common pleco at around 7” long.

My pleco is a character and really liked to lay on the heater (‍♀️) to the point where he would burn him self sometimes. I thought he was cold so turned up the heat a couple degrees - made no difference. He just likes the heat? When I bought him he was about 3 inches long so I know he’s getting fed enough: sinking Cichlid pellets, sinking shrimp pellets and a sinking algae wafer goes in two times a day for all the fish (too much or no?). The last time he got burnt though I noticed a case of fin rot (see pictures) and did water changes frequently. It’s been months - the burn healed completely, he seems happy. But the tail is still so frayed and even has a little hole in it Will this ever heal? Is he still suffering? I’m at a complete loss here.....

sidenote: I also bought him a large bubble line which he seems to LOVE (I catch him lounging in the bubbles all the time - trying to make it more Amazonian river-like for him)

Tank Parameters this morning
(25% water change yesterday - I do this weekly):

Temperature 78 degrees

PH 7.4

Ammonia .25 ppm -> my API test kit has not read zero to this point. Could be a test fluke OR could be the driftwood I added a month ago for my pleco?

Nitrite 0ppm

Nitrate 40ppm -> a problem or boarder line problem, no? Am I fighting the parameters of my 55 gallon tank because they all grew?

Sorry for the blurry photos - I took a video of him moving around but can’t upload it. These are the best stills to see the frayed fin. Dorsal fin seems relatively ok.

Help please!!

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mattgirl

Welcome to Fishlore

I truly hate to have to say this because I know how attached we get to these guys. Your pleco is going to have to go to a much bigger home soon. He is 7 inches now but can possibly grow to 2 feet long. Back before I re-homed Jethro, my 7 inch common pleco it wasn't unusual to see his fins split. They quickly mended but before long it would happen again. I concluded it was caused by the stress of being in a tank too small for him. My tank is also a 55 gallon.

Instead of looking for warmth your big guy may be trying to hide behind the heater if you don't have any good hiding places for him. I can't tell from the photos if he has a safe place to go to get out of the bright light.
 
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PennieB

Welcome to Fishlore

I truly hate to have to say this because I know how attached we get to these guys. Your pleco is going to have to go to a much bigger home soon. He is 7 inches now but can possibly grow to 2 feet long. Back before I re-homed Jethro, my 7 inch common pleco it wasn't unusual to see his fins split. They quickly mended but before long it would happen again. I concluded it was caused by the stress of being in a tank too small for him. My tank is also a 55 gallon.

Instead of looking for warmth your big guy may be trying to hide behind the heater if you don't have any good hiding places for him. I can't tell from the photos if he has a safe place to go to get out of the bright light.

Thank you so much for replying!

Ahhhh.. it's not necessarily something I don't want to hear, but it is definitely confirming the sneaking hunch I had about his current size in comparison to gallons.

He has a giant piece of driftwood and a few other low rock shelf coverings to get under, because that was my initial thought too - a potential hiding spot? Now I just angle the heater into the tank so he can't choose that 'cozy' spot anymore because he will still go for it if it's there regardless of the other coverings. Most of the time he hides in the driftwood corner, but many times he also chooses to suck the glass right beside where I sit on the couch. Social butterfly at times.

But I guess I'll start searching for a 75 gallon.... look at it as a coming-of-tank gift after 11 years Thank you again
 
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mattgirl

You are so very welcome. Common plecos are actually my favorite fish but since I can't provide the proper home for one I have settled for a much smaller species of Pleco. That is Elbert, my male bristle nose pleco over there in my avatar. He is about 5 1/2 inches long and is full grown. I could pick Jethro up. He would allow me to touch/pet him whereas Elbert freaks out if I move to quickly. Thankfully he isn't shy and is almost always out and about so I get to see him almost all of the time.

Do you feed your big guy his fresh veggies? All of my plecos love their fresh zucchini. All I do is wash it off and remove the seeds. I don't peal it or cook it. In fact Elbert's favorite part of it is the skin. Raw zucchini is going to float so will have to be weighted down. If your guy has never had fresh veggies it may take him a while to discover it is good food. By putting it in there raw you can leave it a couple of days before it starts causing an issue with water quality. If he's not got a taste for it yet remove that piece and put another one in the same place. Continue doing this until he finds out it is good food. Once he gets a taste for it you can put it anywhere and he will find it.

With a common pleco and the other large fish you may want to consider changing out more than 25% of the water in this tank each week. I actually change out 50% of the water in each of my tanks weekly and then once a month I change out even more. Fresh clean water is the very best thing we can give our water pets. As long as we temp match and add our water conditioner these big water changes will not harm our cycle and will help keep our water pets healthy.

A 75 gallon tank is an upgrade but even bigger would be better if at all possible. I know it isn't always possible so do the best you can.
 
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PennieB

You are so very welcome. Common plecos are actually my favorite fish but since I can't provide the proper home for one I have settled for a much smaller species of Pleco. That is Elbert, my male bristle nose pleco over there in my avatar. He is about 5 1/2 inches long and is full grown. I could pick Jethro up. He would allow me to touch/pet him whereas Elbert freaks out if I move to quickly. Thankfully he isn't shy and is almost always out and about so I get to see him almost all of the time.

Do you feed your big guy his fresh veggies? All of my plecos love their fresh zucchini. All I do is wash it off and remove the seeds. I don't peal it or cook it. In fact Elbert's favorite part of it is the skin. Raw zucchini is going to float so will have to be weighted down. If your guy has never had fresh veggies it may take him a while to discover it is good food. By putting it in there raw you can leave it a couple of days before it starts causing an issue with water quality. If he's not got a taste for it yet remove that piece and put another one in the same place. Continue doing this until he finds out it is good food. Once he gets a taste for it you can put it anywhere and he will find it.

With a common pleco and the other large fish you may want to consider changing out more than 25% of the water in this tank each week. I actually change out 50% of the water in each of my tanks weekly and then once a month I change out even more. Fresh clean water is the very best thing we can give our water pets. As long as we temp match and add our water conditioner these big water changes will not harm our cycle and will help keep our water pets healthy.

A 75 gallon tank is an upgrade but even bigger would be better if at all possible. I know it isn't always possible so do the best you can.

Oh my goodness picking him up hahaha I love it! I'm going to try the zucchini again then. I was putting it in for about a month and he never touched it. How do you go about making yours stay at the bottom? I was using a fork but that seems a bit excessive

When I move into a permanent house and stop renting apartments in the city, it will be time for a massive tank! Until then, I just bought a 75 gallon. Any advice for getting it set up for them? I've done this more than a few times but I would love to hear your thoughts.
 
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mattgirl

Since you already have a cycled tank you can just move the cycle from one tank to the other. If you plan on running both tanks you will still be able to seed the new tank with media from the 55. If you are just going to have the 75 up and running just move everything from the 55 to the 75.

As I am sure you already know bacteria is growing on everything in the tank so moving all of it over to the new tank the new one should have enough bacteria to handle the bio-load of the original fish. You will be leaving behind the bacteria growing on the walls of the tank but it shouldn't be enough to cause much of a glitch if at all.

I hold the zucchini down with a wand from a mini-blind. It is plenty long enough to reach the bottom of the tank with enough sticking out the top to be able to put it in and take it out without having to reach in the tank. I use a drinking straw to poke a hole in the zucchini to insert the wand into. It may still try to float at first so I kinda wedge the zucchini up against a piece of driftwood.
 
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