My Pleco is Turning White? Spots or Heater Burn

Topic: What’s this on my catfish’s back? My pleco has a white spot on it. I don’t think it’s ich because it’s not at all spotty. He’s super active and healthy, I have good parameters (at least I think so). I’m wondering what could have gone wrong or why this could have happened to my fish. Need help.


*Awarded Answer
Posted by Nick H: Sometimes what happens with plecos and other catfish is heater burns. A lot of catfish have a hard armor like skin and they sit on the heater (or next to) for too long and burn themselves. And because their skin is so tough.. they can’t feel it until it’s pretty deep. You may want to remove the fish and treat with melafix. That’s the common treatment for this. I buy it on amazon. Here is a link and picture:

pleco turn white spot

Upon moving my fish to a larger tank (75>210) my common pleco turned gray almost white in some spots for many weeks. He comes out of his tree trunk hideaway and swims for a second then heads back in. He isn’t eating much either. Testing 0-0-5. Other fish are all fine. His color is mostly back. Also seems to swim awkwardly at times. Any ideas?
My pleco changes colors when his environment has a change in it. Even the lights being brighter or dimmer than usual will cause his color to fade in some areas. Right when I sat his tank up, I thought he was dying because he stopped eating and stayed in one spot with his color going away.  He also isn’t active unless it’s dark. That’s the only time he’ll eat or swim around. Maybe he is just stressed from the move? Sorry i can’t be of much help.
That’s very similar to what I’m seeing on mine. The new tank has been running for about two months though so I would expect him to be back to normal by now.
When I got him he was dark all over. But once he was put under stress his colors changed and they haven’t been back to “normal” dark ever since. My tank has been set up at my house for about 3 months but he was in the same tank for about a year before I got it.
He eats great now but only when it’s dark  He didn’t at first though. It took a couple weeks. And he’s pretty active but he needs a bigger tank so I may be rehoming him soon.
I wish I knew the reason and I hope he makes it. I have someone making me a large hollow log with no holes thats completely dark. Maybe he’ll do better with that. Also lowered my lights.
Ooh I don’t know much about gouramis but I know goldfish get on my plecos nerves bc they don’t know what personal space is, so he tries to stay hidden from them.
Yeah it’s definitely not bullying in this case. Not sure what it was. It started immediately so I’d assume just the stress of the move, but I hope that didn’t permanently effect him or open him up to some disease.
Am I being paranoid or does that look like a heater burn on my bristlenose pleco? 

I’ve never noticed a giant pale spot on her back before. She likes to hide in the same corner with the heater but I’ve never seen any damage before. There also seems to be a small split in the dorsal fin there as well. 

If it is a burn what should I do?

Yeah, could be. Keep the water real clean and keep an eye on it. As long as it doesn’t get infected it should heal. Had it happen to a Syndontis cat once.
She’s in my 60 gallon black water tank. It’s always been my most stable tank. I usually only change water once to every other week, and only about 15 gallons. Should I increase that? Or just keep an eye on her and the water parameters?
That’s what I’d do, keep an eye on her and the water parameters. In fact, the tannins in a black water tank should help stave off infection, to some degree.
My tank parameters aren’t too high (0.5 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates, 7.8 ph). My tank won’t cycle (almost four months). I had an increase in algae so we bought a pleco. It died. 

This isn’t the first fish I have bought that died within a day of having it. Yet, I’ve had two angels live through fin rot, and whatever else is killing out the other fish. 

Can ANYONE tell me what is going on?? I’m sick of fish dying.

Edit: We DO slowly introduce all fish to the tank’s parameters.

Have you tried dosing the whole tank with Aquarium co-ops quarantine trio? It really helped clear up all issues I had with my main display tank at home.
Get some Seachem stability and prime water conditioner. When you use prime it detoxifies ammonia and nitrites making it safe for fish for 48 hours after that do a water change and add more prime. I wouldn’t add anymore fish until your ammonia is 0. Don’t clean your filter until your ammonia is 0.
Any ammonia is bad. It burns the gills and makes the fish more susceptible to disease. You can have a nitrite spike without even knowing it unless you have been testing your tank everyday. The pleco could of have something wrong before you even got him and just wasn’t showing any signs. I’ve had that happen before.
It’s a probably borderline issue, I’m wondering if the ammonia was higher before the reading… possible if there is an issue… but what up with the 0 nitrites..0 nitrates.???
I know the tank has to cycle. I don’t think it’s a disease because the only disease I know of that kills in one day is Columnaris. With Columnaris and that many fish deaths you should see signs of Columnaris. What is the size of the tank and what filter do you have? How often do you clean your filter?
I’ve had the tank for almost four months. My nitrates have never been above 2.5 and my ammonia is always present, mostly .5 but sometimes at 1. I test twice a week. 

Can’t seem to cycle but I really think there’s an issue besides my tank not cycling and my ammonia at 0.5. 

I had 6 cichlids live for a month or 6 weeks then they all died within a day. Ever since then, every fish I put in seems to die. My two angels I had since two weeks after I got my cichlids, they’ve lived through it all. Including fin rot which I managed to reverse.

I feel like the easiest solution is to just dose the bacteria yourself with any commercial aquarium product (safe start, Seachem stability, etc.) Or find a local aquarium hobbyist that will give you a filter pad out of an already cycled tank.
I’ve used safe start. Still didn’t help. 

I’ve also used sponges and filters from established tanks. 


I feel like whatever is causing these fish to die, which is currently my main concern, is also keeping me from cycling.

It’s possible. Although what the cause may be eludes me. I can’t imagine you’re running an unreasonable temperature? I’ve seen establishing tanks take a LONG time for some with no real reason, although I’m at the time I expected wit was a maintenance issue rather than anything overtly wrong with the set up.
i got fish from a local store, within a day they were dead.then i started loosing fish that I had for months.not all but alot,some were not effected at all thankfully. I also added sea salt to the water, recently added furan 2, went back to the store,they kept saying their fieh were not dying, 2 weeks later,after getting a diff med,that did nothing,i got furan 2, hmmmm, every fish that had been in guppy tank were dead.i actually went every week for 2 weeks.. the last 1,they had beautiful fancy tail guppies, decided to get furan 2, all those fancy guppies were dead, i took pictures of them on bottom of their tank…& on object. imagine for weeks they were selling sick fish… store chain.just posted big tank sale, & O fish sale too.