Plecostomus floating on surface Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Iain, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. IainNew MemberMember


    I wonder if anyone can help me work out how to help my sick Plecostomus catfish. A couple of days ago he started floating upside down on the surface of the tank, and now is spending his whole time suckered to the back of the tank with the middle part of his body sticking out above the water surface - also for a short period yesterday he was apparently wedged into the hollow log at the bottom of the tank.
    From what I've read online it seems likely he has a swim bladder problem, but I have no idea how to treat this. Commonly this seems to involve a bloated stomach, but if anything my fish's stomach looks sunken.

    He also has a few other symptoms - a sore on his side (though this looks better today, and may just be a heater burn), some erosion to his fins and he doesn't seem to be eating at all. I have tried putting cucumber in the tank which I have seen suggested by some people for swim bladder problems, but he hasn't touched it. I also think he looks a little paler than usual but it could be my imagination! He seems lethargic and unresponsive to my gentle attempts to touch his tail and encourage him to move around a bit.

    I have had my water tested, which is fine in all regards - at the suggestion of a local tropical fish shop I have done a small water change and instead of using standard dechlorinator as usual I have used API 'Stress Zyme' and 'Stress Coat+', and am putting in an antibacterial medicine called 'Melafix' (also by API) daily.

    If anyone has any suggestions of how I can help my fish I would be extremely grateful. As mentioned he is 18 years old, and is the only fish in the tank so cross contamination/stress etc. are unlikely to be causes of any infection or illness.

    Thanks very much for your time.
  2. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to the site. I wish it were under better circumstances. 18 years is a nice, full life and I think your fish may be nearing the end. All I can say is if it were a dog, it may be time to make that final vet appointment....sorry.
  3. bettafish2816

    bettafish2816Fishlore VIPMember

    welcome to fishlore, i'm so sorry to hear about your pleco :( it does sound like an issue with his swim bladder which unfortunately there isn't much you can do for. i would just keep him as comfortable as possible, continue with water changes and adding the melafix. 18 years is a great life for him

  4. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    poor pleco :(
    welcome to fl, I'm sorry it is under these circumstances.

  5. platyfishValued MemberMember

    Thats really sad...:(

    I think we all know what it feels like to loose a fish, but not after 18 years of having it!!
    He have grown to be very large!! I have to pleco's now and they are about 5 inches, I can't wait for them to grow!!
  6. OP

    IainNew MemberMember

    More information

    Thanks for all your replies.

    I've noticed today that the side of him which is floating upwards looks a little swollen and is sore/red, which I assume just confirms that it is his swim bladder - but I mention it just in case anyone has any other suggestions based on this.
    I've heard that putting peas in can help with swim bladder problems? Problem is I don't think he'll eat them if I do, as he's not touching anything else.


  7. rae64

    rae64Well Known MemberMember

    18 years is well over his 10-15 year lifespan. I think think the best thing for him right now is to put him out of his suffering. I think it would be great if you can get your hands on some clove oil and vodka. Here is a link discussing euthanasia as pertaining to fish:  

    I am terribly sorry, it must so hard to be so close to loosing a fish you have had for so long.
  8. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Good article, but I must disagree with what they say about hypothermia (ice bath). An ice bath, when done right, does the job in less than 5 seconds. The only thing I've seen work faster is the shot the vet gives animals - takes about 3 seconds. 5 seconds, when compared to how long a fish has been suffering before the decision is made, is nothing.

    How big is the pleco??
  9. platyfishValued MemberMember

    This is awful to talk about :(
  10. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I agree it's not pleasant, but keeping a pet means you're responsible for ALL aspects, not just cleaning and feeding.
  11. Fish'd

    Fish'dValued MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore.

    Holy cow, that's an old fish! I can't really help you here, but I just want to tell you that I hope your Pleco gets better. He seems to have had a good life, though.

    I know you made mention of peas- the only way to find out is to try it. It couldn't do any harm to try.

    Good luck~
  12. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    If he's not accepting peas, and you want to keep trying, daphnia works as well, for constipation. My LFS sells it frozen and also freeze-dried. I would go with the frozen. If you do the freeze-dried daphnia, you want to presoak it in a bit of garlic juice (you can buy minced garlic in a jar with the spices at the grocer). Presoaking it will keep it from expanding in his stomach and making the situation worse. That's why I suggest going with frozen if available.

    If he won't eat that, you could try soaking the peas in garlic juice and see if that peaks his interest.
  13. rae64

    rae64Well Known MemberMember

    Oh, the only part that I read through was the clove oil part.... Ice baths work fine I think..... I just don't know if I could do that.

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