Sickness & Disease – Plecostomus Archive

We have comprised a list of the most common sicknesses and problems having to deal with pleco catfish. Hopefully these posts can help you and others. Good luck with your fish and remember to stay positive and DO NOT give up on fish keeping!

White Spots? Ich Problems
My catfish has these little white spots and I’m not quite sure why or how to get rid of them. What causes these spots? Is it something that I did in my tank?

Keep Dying? Or Died?
My plecostomus keeps dying and I’ve bought a couple of them now. Am I doing something wrong or is it just complete bad luck? I think my fish is going to die or on its way to dying.. what can I possibly do?

Won’t Eat? What to Do?
When I feed my fish I never see my catfish eat anything. He just won’t eat and I’m afraid he’s going to starve to death. What am I doing wrong? Is there a special type of food I should be using?

Turning White Color?
My fish has this big white spot on him. I’m not sure if it’s a heater burn or if it’s a parasite eating through it’s body or what.. I need some help on what may have caused this or how I can maybe fix the problem.

Floating to the Top?
My fish keep floating to the surface? Like there is air trapped inside my catfish. Is this a bloat problem or what could it be? I could really use some help. I’m afraid of the fish dying.

Missing from Aquarium?
I’ve looked everywhere in the tank for my plecostomus and there seems to be no sign of the fish. Has this ever happened to anyone else or am I completely loosing my mind? What should I do?

Upside Down Problem?
I’m not sure if it’s a problem or not.. but my catfish is always upside down like maybe he’s stuck that way? All I can think of is maybe a bloat issue. I don’t know. Please help. 

sick pleco catfish

My daughter’s rubber lip pleco just died and I’m trying to figure out why.

It’s a 55 gallon aquarium that I was doing a water change on. The pleco came out and was mouthing stuff while I was vacuuming and refilling the tank. I use a python, match the temperature, and dose prime in the tank. Today I double dosed the prime, because I’m always worried about the fish swimming in the water that’s coming in. I did just over a 25% water change.

Right after I finished filling the tank, I noticed the pleco tail up twitching a bit. I straightened it out. Quickly added a bit more prime and some stress coat. The pleco went completely pale before my eyes, then colored back up, all while I couldn’t see any respirations anymore.

It’s definitely dead, but what the heck happened.

All other tank inhabitants are acting fine.

Don’t know if it’s even feasible but could he have swam through the water stream and gulped up some chlorine before the prime could remove it? Not sure if that is what would happen even but it’s an idea.
I considered that. I always prop the python output on top of my sponge filter when filling, to help keep fish out of the outflow.

But, it doesn’t stop the juvenile guppies, which I’ve seen swim in it.

Nothing happens to them, but a pleco could react differently.

Yesterday was the first time it ever came out of hiding during a water change. But, it was during the removal of water, so it wasn’t a parameter shift that brought it out.

I’m just stumped.

I wouldn’t expect a death from a change in water quality to be so fast, I was still working on the tank.

I didn’t know what to look for when purchasing and discovered a couple days later that this pleco was absolutely emaciated.

But, I saw an improvement. Had it almost 8 weeks.

Belly was almost flat instead of concave.

However, I never saw it eat any of the foods I put in, only tank grazing. I tried veggies, algae wafers, pleco bug bites, repashy morning wood, repashy bottom feeder, and frozen blood worm cubes.

I’m wondering if being so badly emaciated left it damaged and it’s body just gave out.

I had basically the same thing happen while using Prime during a water change ( one fish sudden death, all others did fine).  

 What I believe happened was that I poured the full strength Prime directly into the tank and the fish swam directly through the “cloud “ of undiluted Prime. 

 I have continued to use Prime but now I dilute it in a large cup of aquarium water before adding it to the tank and have been pleased with the results.

Interesting, I’ll try that. I had it in a measuring cup, pouring a little here and a little there. But, that still makes clouds. I’ll try it your way.
Um…Ive had this bristlenose pleco for three years now and he just lost his bristles?? Has anyone heard of this before? 


Fluval 306 

Fully cycled, params good 

School of small tetras

Female bristlenose

Peaceful angelfish 

3 young clown loaches 

1 young redtail shark 

Sorry for the terrible picture he won’t come out

Following. Sorry I don’t have any answers. I’ve read some that they may change color/shed not sure if that includes bristles. Are they broken? Maybe substrate damaged? Hope someone offers more concise information.
I’d blame the shark first.. they get highly aggressive and territorial as they mature. I could easily see one harassing and eating the bristles off.
I would just in case, as a preventative. Bacteria can be in the cleanest of tanks, and you don’t want it getting into open wounds like that.