White spots on new young bristlenose pleco

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Linwood, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. LinwoodValued MemberMember

    Just brought this guy home yesterday, and when he finally came out in light today eating, I noticed markings that on closer inspection may or may not be skin markings but instead some kind of white skin growth.

    Reading various sites has left me more confused than informed, so am hoping a closeup may allow someone knowledgeable to tell me if I have a problem? And if I've introduced a problem into my community tank?

    I have no quarantine tank but am perfectly willing to remove the one fish if that saves trouble in the tank. This is a relatively new setup, and while not a lot invested in stock, I'd rather lose one than risk all (unless it's too late -- he's been in about 14 hours).


    The image is quite high resolution, but the system here won't let me post it that way and show reduced, so I've posted a low res image you can see above, but if you use the link below the full image is available.


    That's about 10 megabytes so if you have a slow connection be patient. In some browsers it opens smaller but a click zooms.

    Tank details: 45G planted (lightly), cycled as of about 2 weeks ago, 78F, ph 7.8, ammonio and nitrites zero, nitrates about 10 (a bit under), KH6.5, GH 11, Fluval 306 filter, water clear. Substrate gravel + ecco complete. Lit 2 x 4 hrs with Current LED+.

    Stock: Adult striped raphael catfish, 5 x serpae tetra, 2 x congo tetra, 2 x small koi angelfish, a few snails and about 10 ghost shrimp. All happy and healthy.

    Plants: Jungle val, crypt wendtii, anubis, amazon sword (1).
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  2. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    Beautiful Pleco but IMO it does have an abnormal skin issue. It appears to be a scrape perhaps. I know for a fact that Pleco's can change their coloring according to their moods and for defense purposes but this doesn't look like the same thing to me.

    My best advice, continue to keep the water as pristine as you can and keep up with your water changes. Nothing beats fresh water for your fish and helping a fish to heal. If it worsens then you may need to take stronger measures.

    Is it contagious? I wouldn't think so but I have no way of knowing for certain.

    Another option, since you just purchased the fish, maybe you could take it back for one that is more healthy in appearance. Usually scrapes can mend on their own without intervention from us. Puncture wounds, bites, may be another story.

    Best wishes for your fish and please keep us posted.

  3. OP

    LinwoodValued MemberMember

    Thank you. But one of the nodules is inside the mouth? They are uniformly distributed over all sides of the body.

    You are saying scrape, like a scratch against something?

    I was going to go to the LFS today when they open (a while yet) and show them a picture. They seem very responsible about such things -- I wanted some more congo tetras and they told me to wait a week as they had just come in, they wanted to make sure they were all healthy.

    PS. I am talking about the tiny white discrete dots (you need the full resolution probably to see well), not the overall skin shades or pattern).

  4. OP

    LinwoodValued MemberMember

    Went to the LFS with high res photos. The freshwater guy there said it likely was ich, then went on to tell me "it's in all tanks, fish get it when they are stressed, don't worry about it, it will go away if he stays healthy and well fed".

    I didn't see it on his other plecos however I could not get a real close-up look either (though they have a common sump so if it is, it's probably in all tanks).

    I am torn as to whether to do as suggested (ignore it), or start treating just in case. My inclination is to start raising the temperature slowly so by tomorrow this time I hit 87 degrees and leave it there. My main reluctance is finding out the impact on all the things in it (list above). But most things I read say if you go slow it is well tolerated?

    Or just wait?
  5. NCE12940

    NCE12940Well Known MemberMember

    Raising the temp. will work. I did that with my two bristlenoses who had ich (in a community tank; none of the Rainbowfish had it). Did this for two weeks then gradually decreased the temp. back to 78. Everybody's fine now. Didn't adversely affect any of my plants, and I have a fair number.

  6. smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    Itch looks like salt grains on your fish and i cant see anything on either pic that makes me think itch. Raising your temp for a while shouldnt do any harm but i would still keep an eye out on him and make sure its not something else.
  7. OP

    LinwoodValued MemberMember

    That's why I was trying to get closeups, I don't know what I am looking for. So many example pics I've seen of it are so blurry it's hard to tell it from skin markings.

    I'm going to take a shot at including the full res image of a side view I just took. Hope this comes through.

    For scale this image top to bottom is about 1/2 inch, maybe 1/3rd.

    Notice that the white spots stick up above the skin (look just behind the eye on the left side where you are seeing them in profile).

    These could well be just some kind of pleco skin -- I have no real knowledge of what is normal. But it looks a lot like descriptions I've found (e.g. wikipedia has an image where you can see some in profile, though I can't tell scale there).

    Can you tell from this?


    Yeah, and I did start taking it up, but I hate doing unnecessary changes in environment, especially on a new-ish tank (about 6-7 weeks old now).
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  8. NCE12940

    NCE12940Well Known MemberMember

  9. smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    It might be a bit easier yo see if you posted a zoomed out pic.
  10. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

  11. OP

    LinwoodValued MemberMember

    I don't quite understand -- the first (in original post) was pretty zoomed out. Would it be better with one yet further away?

    Thanks. I had read that, and a few others as well (my reaction to things is mostly to read for hours and try to find a consensus among all the conflicting advice). The more scientific (sounding) articles all agreed Ich is NOT always in a tank, and is allowed but not caused by stress, you have to have the parasite present, and you can get rid of it completely. All the descriptions seem to match what I see, though at present only on one fish and mild.

    So yesterday I raised the temp 4 degrees, and this morning I set it for another 4. If by evening they are tolerating it well, 2 more and I'll be at 88 (my heater only goes by 2) and leave it there for 5 days after the last signs disappear, no salt, no drugs for now, see how it goes. Hopefully very few creatures go into the water column before the temp goes up and those will die.

    Now for what seems like a silly question but I think isn't --

    I want 3 more Congo tetras, that will complete all I want to put in the aquarium. Same LFS that I got this from (while I'm a bit annoyed at this, they do seem the most competent in town, and seem to take the best care).

    I'm thinking to bring them home tomorrow with the tank at 88, adjust them to it, and hope for the best.

    The rationale is this -- if they are infected, OR carriers, then bringing it into the tank will just kill it now.

    If I wait until I'm back at normal temperature, and bring them in (I have no quarantine facilities, not to mention it sounds like often it can lie relatively unseen in fish), I may just re-infest the tank later.

    So while a bit stressful to get that hot (I'll warm the slowly), overall does it make sense as that will (assuming this strain responds to heat) make sure I don't reinfest, and have to go through it all again?
  12. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I highly suggest you leave the temperature increased (86 to 88 degrees) for a full 2 week period to stop the life cycle of the parasite. I had 100% survival rate with this increased heat method and no salt.

    Since you are just beginning the treatment, I see no reason why you cannot just add the new fish to the tank being treated. Use the drip acclimation process if possible:


    Keep an eye on your water parameters: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and pH

    Best of luck!

  13. OP

    LinwoodValued MemberMember

    Thanks, Ken, perfect, thanks for being patient with a new comer.
  14. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    Glad to help as we all are, any time! :)

    Keep us posted on your progress.

  15. OP

    LinwoodValued MemberMember

    Took 28 hours to go up from 78 to 88 degrees, interestingly about half way the water turned very cloudy, but overnight cleared up again. Some kind of bacteria I guess got happier or sadder or something as it changed, but the fish, plants and inverts all seem to treat it as a non-event, so now it's just waiting.

    The pleco doesn't look worse, which I guess is a good sign as I've read that typically they do as the heat rises.

    I brought home three new Congo's, which I think is the last addition to the tank we plan. It is hard to tell if they have any (it came from the same LFS), there are some spots on the fins but that may just be nipping scars. Regardless, 2 weeks in the hot tub will hopefully clear them up as well, then no near term opportunity to bring more into the tank.
  16. OP

    LinwoodValued MemberMember

    So is this the Tomont phase? I started getting some white spots on gravel that were not there before. I guess it could be some precipitate from raising the heat, but seems doubtful. Here's a closeup of two of them. This is very enlarged; the larger of the two is about half a millimeter. I've seen micrographs of Ich but always it's the parasite itself, I can't seem to find example shots of it anchored on substrate.

    I was rather hoping they would die as they fell, not anchor and form cysts, at 88 degrees. The pleco is a bit worse today by eyeball estimate, no signs on other fish yet. Day 2 at 88. I'll note changes here if any in the hope it may help someone else later (or provide reading material as distraction as they wait through treatment).

    PS. Click the image for an enlargement. For scale the boulder in the foreground left is a grain of ecco complete.

  17. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Nerite snail in the house ???
  18. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    I am serious in doubt it is Ich on your BN !!
  19. OP

    LinwoodValued MemberMember

    Indeed I do. Eggs? I have 4, been in the tank for about a week.

    OK. I hope you are correct. What are those spots on the BN then? I compared to a couple others found in LFS's in the area (all buy from the same place for most of their fish). Two had nothing like it, one had spots. I called it to the attention of that manager, and asked what it was, he said "Ich - guess I better treat". He could have been wrong of course.

    And I am real new at this and would be delighted to be wrong. But they are forming and disappearing over the days.
  20. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Those are nerite-eggs then!! They won't hatch but there could be hundreds of them !!!

    Watched the first pic and those spots doesn't look like ich to me, but could be cause the pic is enlarged as well.
    Is it possible to place a non enlarged pic? I'll have a look on a "normal" PC tommorow (now on my cellphone).

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