Trying To Save Puffy

Steven Burkhart
  • #1
My girlfriend has a 15 gallon tank with 1 pea puffer and a plecostomus. Has had the tank running for about 5 months the current puffer been in there about 4. He was always a good eater of mostly blood worms and a little bit of snails and always very active until last week he slowed down on eating and did not eat yesterday at all. instead of having a food baby as a belly he is starting to look skinny. Going to the pet store today to see if they have prazI guard and ordered paraguard off amazon also. But wondering if there is anything else I can do to help his chances?

Did a water test with a strip and everything is within range.
 
bizaliz3
  • #2
What did your strips test for? Many of them don't even test for ammonia which is one of the first thngs you want to test for. And strips are also known to be inaccurate.

A pleco in a 15 gallon is a LOT of waste in a small space. What kind of pleco? if it is a common pleco, it needs over 100 gallons.

How often are water changes done? in a 15 gallon tank with a pleco, it would need 2 times per week to keep the water stable. Weekly at the VERY Least.
 
Steven Burkhart
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I can check the strips when I get home and report back. but what is a better method to test?

Not sure about the pleco he was small when we got him but has gotten a little to big we were going to give him to a friend after this weekend and get a smaller one. We really just got him to clean up the algae. Does he emit more waste tho? Sorry I always thought they kept the tanks cleaner.

Its been a few weeks since I've changed water since it hasn't looked bad. I will do it tonight tho. I usually only take out about 1/2 the water when I do this is that ok?
 
bizaliz3
  • #4
I can check the strips when I get home and report back. but what is a better method to test?

Not sure about the pleco he was small when we got him but has gotten a little to big we were going to give him to a friend after this weekend and get a smaller one. We really just got him to clean up the algae. Does he emit more waste tho? Sorry I always thought they kept the tanks cleaner.

Its been a few weeks since I've changed water since it hasn't looked bad. I will do it tonight tho. I usually only take out about 1/2 the water when I do this is that ok?

Plecos do the EXACT OPPOSITE of making a tank clean. Any algae they do eat just gets cancelled out by excessive poop. Its great that you are rehoming him, but there is no reason to get another. Its just making it harder for you to keep the tank healthy. Do you vacuum your gravel when you do a water change?

If you want something to eat algae, especially in a small tank, get a couple nerite snails. They eat algae WAY better than plecos and have a very small bioload.

I highly doubt your water quality is good if you have been going 3 or more weeks between changes. Especially with a pleco living in there. The best testing method is the API liquid test kit. But at the very least, you need strips that actually test for ammonia. Yours may not.

50% water changes are good, but you should really be doing them weekly, not every few weeks. The water may LOOK clean, but that doesn't mean it is healthy water for fish to live in. It just means your filter is doing its job. But then the filter is full of nasty crud.

If you get rid of the pleco and just have the peapuffer and a couple nerite snails, you can get away with 10-20% every week rather than 50%. The amount of waste produced by the fish you choose to keep has a lot to do with how much water you need to change each time.
 
Steven Burkhart
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
very interesting. I'm going to run home on lunch and switch out the water in hopes we get this guy healthy. I have not vacuumed the gravel. usually just siphon water out and replace it. But I will purchase a vacuum. Been years since I owned a tank and forgot about some things. the gravel vacuum being one.
 
bizaliz3
  • #6
very interesting. I'm going to run home on lunch and switch out the water in hopes we get this guy healthy. I have not vacuumed the gravel. usually just siphon water out and replace it. But I will purchase a vacuum. Been years since I owned a tank and forgot about some things. the gravel vacuum being one.

EEEK. Ok, well then as soon as you stick your siphon/gravel vac into the gravel, you will see why the pleco is not desireable. I am willing to bet the water you suck up after sticking the siphon into the gravel will be BLACK. No lie! haha That might make you think twice about the current maintenance schedule and the current stock. LOL

edit: I am not laughing AT you. I am just laughing at the reaction you will likely have the first time you gravel vac a small tank that has been housing a pleco for months! I remember my first tank many years ago and I went a month or two at a time between changes. I have seen that black water first hand. Its nasty!!
 
Steven Burkhart
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
No problem I knew what you meant. Thanks for the help. Hoping its not too late and I can get the water switched before this guy gets too sick. I will report back after I get to her house and swap out the water
 
bizaliz3
  • #8
What kind of filter are you using? Have you done any maintenance to the filter at all?
 
Steven Burkhart
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
below link is the tank and filter fluval tank and filter. I took it out and rinsed it once a while ago. Sorry for rookie mistakes
 
bizaliz3
  • #10
Don't apologize!! Almost everyone goes through this stage making the rookie mistakes. But you came to the right place to get advice AND care! People on here really do care a lot!

Just so you know, you do want to "rinse" the filter media every few weeks if you can.... BUT..... when you do wash the filter media, do NOT use tap water. That kills off all the beneficial bacteria making you lose your cycle. (do you know about the nitrogen cycle?)

That is just a little warning that so many people are unaware of. What you want to do is fill a small bucket with water from your tank(tap water has chlorine that kills beneficial bacteria) Then scrub the media in the bucket of tank water. This will get the gunk off the filter media without you losing your much needed beneficial bacteria!
 
yukondog
  • #11
We've all been there, did you rinse the filter in tank water or from your tap? If you have house or veg. plants they love that BLACK water.
 
Steven Burkhart
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I used tap but will use tank water. I've read about the nitrogen cycle. When doing the water change I'm ok with tap water or should I use filtered?
 
bizaliz3
  • #13
I used tap but will use tank water. I've read about the nitrogen cycle. When doing the water change I'm ok with tap water or should I use filtered?

Tap is fine to use for the tank water as long as it is dechlorinated first. I highly suggest you pick up "seachem prime" as your dechlorinator. It also helps by detoxifying lower levels of ammonia and nitrites which the puffer will appreciate!

If you used tap water to wash your filter media last time, then you did start your cycle over again. That could be what has caused the puffer to become ill. Depending on how long ago that was.
 
Steven Burkhart
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
It was long enough ago that it wouldn't affect this guy. If I don't have time to grab dechlorinate till later can I add it later or use filtered water? Trying to run home on my lunch and get some of the water switched out won't have time to hit the pet store till after work
 
Steven Burkhart
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Update so I ran to the aquarium store on lunch and they didn't have the dechorinator you recommended but they had another brand so I grabbed it. Switched out about 60% of the water and fed Puffy a few worms. he did eat a couple. Later last night my girlfriend fed him as usual and he ate like he was at a buffet and ate some snails she added. We bought a vacuum and will wait a week to run it after we relocate pleco. Thanks for all the help! I'll read more on these forums and become more educated
 
bizaliz3
  • #16
Update so I ran to the aquarium store on lunch and they didn't have the dechorinator you recommended but they had another brand so I grabbed it. Switched out about 60% of the water and fed Puffy a few worms. he did eat a couple. Later last night my girlfriend fed him as usual and he ate like he was at a buffet and ate some snails she added. We bought a vacuum and will wait a week to run it after we relocate pleco. Thanks for all the help! I'll read more on these forums and become more educated

Glad things are looking up!!
I recommend you vacuum now rather than waiting another week. Do it now and do it again after the pleco is rehomed. This tank has never been vacuumed and needs it bad! And should get it weekly anyway!
 
midna
  • #17
I would suggest moving the puffer to a holding container while you vacuum and wait for things to settle. there can be some nasty stuff in there. this may cause more stress on the puffer though...
 

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