Question about my Plecos...

  • #1
Hello Fish Lore folks!

I have a couple questions about my 3.5 inch (common? "Trinidad"?) pleco, Viktor, and my other 1.75 inch ("Adonis"?) pleco, Vincent.

First off, parameters:
Ammonia = 0 ppm.
Nitrite = 0 ppm.
Nitrates = 5 - 10 ppm.
Tank Temp: 77 degrees F.
pH has always been high, around 8.
Filter is a "hang on the side" unit, said to be able to handle up to a 20-gallon tank.

The tank has been established since April of this year...after I joined these forums to figure out what to do. It cycled beautifully in about 28 days total, and has been stable since.

Tank mates for the plecos are two black neon tetras, and 3 long-fin zebra danios. Also 1 dwarf gourami currently in quarantine.

This is a 16 gallon tank - we're upgrading to a 55 or 75 gallon at the end of the month for this guy when we move to our new house, and I'm so excited!

I clean the tank weekly, doing a 15-20% water change, along with gravel vacuuming.

The plecos are fed algae wafers, with occasional pieces of zucchinI or peas that have the skins removed. The danios/tetras/gourami get flake food and occasional freeze-dried blood worms.

Alright, so, down to the questions:

1. I had a dwarf gourami in this tank as well, which has recently been moved to a quarantine tank due to treatment for fin rot. I was using MelaFix for this, as recommended by my LFS. I'm pleased to say the the gourami showed much improvement (healing up nicely, acting normally, etc.), but the big pleco Viktor seemed to be very stressed by the treatment, prompting me to move the gourami to quarantine and do a massive water change today in the main tank to help. I was originally told to treat the whole tank as other fish could also have this issue or potentially have already caught it.

Anyway, Viktor was just laying on the bottom of the tank, not really moving, and only very occasionally breathing. He was not attached to anything, just propped up on his fins and being completely non-responsive. He also would not eat. I turned up the heater on the tank a little (it was low), and proceeded to try to make him feel better.

Was Viktor the pleco reacting badly to the MelaFix? I found that after cleaning the tank, vacuuming the gravel, and doing a 50% water change, his condition is back to normal. I heard from a friend that some plecos don't do well with MelaFix (something about poisoning their food?), but I got no reasoning. The tank levels were pretty optimal before the water change (nitrates still within range, etc.), so I don't think it was water quality...? I've never seen him do this previously, and since he was almost non-responsive, it has me worried.

2. Viktor also has an interesting belly, and this has been the case since we purchased him. He doesn't seem to be bothered by it, but I have never seen another common pleco with a white, mottled-looking underbelly before, so I am curious if there is something wrong. No signs of rubbing it against objects in the tank, etc., and no signs of it changing, spreading, or ever being different through the entire time we have owned him. He does get a little lighter when startled all over his body, but his belly never changes and is always whitish. I don't have a photo right now, but can post one later if needed. Anyone know if this is normal, or a sign of something that needs to be taken care of?

3. If anyone could help me with determining the L-classifications of these guys, or their "standard" names, it would be greatly appreciated. I was told that Viktor the big pleco would grow to be up to 18" (hence the tank size upgrade before he has problems!), and that Vincent the little pleco with a fully black body, really long tail fin, and white dots would grow to be about 6". Again, I can post pictures later if needed.

4. When I upgrade to the 55/75-gallon, I would love some help in picking out some other fish that will get along with Viktor, as I plan to keep Vincent in the smaller tank. I don't want aggressive fish that could potentially pick on him, nor do I want anything that is insanely difficult to care for, as I am still pretty new at this whole fish thing. What kinds of fish do your plecos get along with in a large tank setup? I kind of thought I'd like some glofish eventually (I think they are so pretty), but I'd like to get a couple larger, friendly, easy-going guys to put in there as well.

Thanks in advance for any help in answering my questions!

  • Thread Starter
  • #2
Update: I'm not able to get any good pictures of my guys, but wanted to show a photo similar to each of them.

Here is a photo that looks a lot like Viktor:

Viktor's belly looks like this (in the first photo on that thread), only whiter:

And here is a photo that looks like Vincent:

Hope this helps in determining what's going on/what the L-classifications are.

Thanks again!

  • #3
I'm sorry your fish aren't feeling well...I can say that plecs usually do not handle meds welll at all...which is probably what happened to him...and I can also say that fin rot is NOT contagious ]....some causes of fin rot can be injury or wound, bullying, water conditions(uncycled tanks, hI nitrates)& over crowding etc... ..those will cause fin issues and depending on the tanks parimeters, will depend on if it turns to rot....90% of fin rot issues can be avoided and treated without meds...prestine water changes, stress coat, fish protector, vita chem, and fresh garlic juice are among the most natural ways to treat far as your plecs belly, I have a common whose belly is much lighter as well..and depending on his mood, he sometimes gets lighter colors all over I wouldnt worry about that if otherwise he acts normal....goodluck and I hope you get your new tank soon!
  • #4
Dittto what Shawnie said
Welcome to FishLore!
This is the pleco commonly referred to as the Trinidad Pleco

Your Adonis is going to get too big for the 20 gallon also

  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks for the info, Shawnie and Butterfly! I appreciate it.

Anything more I can do for my poor gourami? He's not a happy little guy, even when moved away from the other fish. He's been getting MelaFix and Stress Coat, and I've had a friend recommend aquarium salts to help with healing, though I don't know much about that one. What is VitaChem, and where could I find that and/or fresh garlic juice? With the garlic, how much would I add to the tank if he's in a 5 gallon quarantine right now?

I'm pleased to say both of my plecos are looking like they feel much better since super tank cleaning yesterday to try to remove the medication from the tank they didn't like, and Viktor finally let me get a nice picture of his belly. Will post it soon!

Thanks -

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