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Bristlenose Pleco Odd Death

Author Topic: Bristlenose Pleco odd death  (Read 3083 times)

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Offline Billy2

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Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« on: April 17, 2019, 09:41:31 PM »
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Hi guys/gals

Iím new here and a relatively new aquarist.

Iíll try and keep this as short and on point as I can😁

So, I have a 215ltr tropical tank that is about 10 weeks established, it was set up from a 64ltr tank (now the goldfishís home) that was about a month old.

I change between 40-45ltrs each week sometimes twice, have an Eheim pro 4 600 canister filter, have two heaters temps at 26 deg and a couple of air stones. Moderately planted.  I check the water parameters before every water change.

I may be a little overstocked but the fish seem (on the whole) happy, great colour and the filter is more than I need for this size tank and keeps aminos, nitrates and nitrites at zero.

Of all the fish, shrimps and snails I had I lost 6 Rumny nose tetra when changing the tank. since then Iíd lost a single Rummy nose tetra and a couple of Armani shrimps that unfortunately came out of the bag and went straight into the filter 😬

Other than that the rest have grown well and in general itís a happy community👍

Now finally to the issue, I wanted to give the details above as they may answer a lot of questions that may be posed.  I had until today a healthy Bristlenose pleco who Iíd had for circa 8 weeks.  He/sheíd been eating well, very active even at times during the day and had grown about an inch or just shy of. 

I had developed a real snail problem and so today removed all the plants from the tank, washed them in tank water (partial water change) removed over 40 tiny snails and quickly but considerately put the plants back.  There was still lots of snails Iíd missed in the substrate so bought 3 Assasin snails to help the situation.  After about an hour of the Assasins being in the tank (sure itís not connected) the pleco shot to the front of the tank swam up and down the tank erratically and then during this just seemed to freeze in the shape of a banana and then float to the bottom of the tank.  It was like heíd had a heart attack, he went mad shooting round the tank and then literally dropped dead mid swim. 

Sorry for the length of that and thank you if youíve got this far 😁 if you have then please can you throw some ideas out there as to what could have happened to the poor little fella, Iím gutted he had bags if character and my daughter will be distraught when sheís home from nanas tomorrow.☹️ I did remove all the hiding places from the tank for about 30mins when I took plants out so maybe I stressed him out but it was such an odd way to go,and would love to know what it could have been.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2019, 09:30:17 AM »
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Hello @Billy2   :wave:

Welcome to the forum, and sorry to hear that you have lost your bristlenose.

I have two bristlenose plecs, but have not experienced the sort of issue that you have described, so it may take a while to research the problem.

I hope you don't mind if I ask a few more questions.

What are the water parameters of your tap water? The information is usually found on your water providers website.

Had you cycled the 64L tank? Or perhaps used a filter bacteria starter product?

When upgrading to the 215L tank, did you transfer any filter media from the old tank filter, or use any filter bacteria starter products?

What other products do you use - dechlorinator, fertiliser for plants, planting substrate, root tabs, etc.

If you could also post a picture of your tank that may also be quite useful.

I have a few thoughts at the moment, and a bit more information will help us to try to pin down the answer for you.

Again, sorry to hear about your bristlenose, they can have a lot of character, I'm very fond of mine.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2019, 09:44:30 AM »
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More questions - what were you feeding your bristlenose? and was there any wood in the tank for it?


Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2019, 02:40:45 PM »
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Canít seem to send image, keeps coming up with error message? Any pointers😕

Offline Matt

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2019, 08:12:50 PM »
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Does the image comply with these rules?
Allowed file types: doc, gif, jpg, mpg, pdf, png, txt, zip, html, htm
Restrictions: 6 per post, maximum total size 6000KB, maximum individual size 3000KB

Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2019, 08:16:52 PM »
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Not sure Matt, trying to send a picture direct from phone. Not sure what the format is🤷🏻‍♂️

Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2019, 08:23:29 PM »
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Hopefully this will work 😬

Offline fcmf

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 03:19:55 PM »
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Lovely tank. Welcome to the forum and very sorry that your characterful bristlenose plec died under what must have been a scary episode to witness.

Like Littlefish, I also have a couple of thoughts as to the potential cause, but if you answer her questions, that might help us narrow down the potential cause and indicate whether each of us is along the right lines or not.

As far as the goldfish tank is concerned, you will need to upgrade that soon, I'm afraid - http://injaf.org/aquarium-fish/the-goldfish-section/what-size-tank-for-goldfish/

Looking forward to hearing the answers to the questions, so that we can help establish what went on and hopefully prevent any similar episodes among the remaining inhabitants.





Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2019, 07:28:48 PM »
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Thanks fmcf, the link to the goldfish info was an eye opener to say the least.  Itís because of the goldfish I discovered my passion for fish.  Iíve always been an animal lover but apart from sharks which Iíve had a fascination for since a very young age I had never seen the point in fish as a pet.

My 5 year old daughter was given a 15l bowl with a lemon goldfish and a common goldfish as a present from my sister in law (who I now understand has fish for their ornamental properties).  I had very little to do with them until the lemon one had gotten sick. More for my daughters benefit I did some research and tried to nurse the little guy back to health (pretty sure he had swim bladder). Alas my efforts were not sufficient and the poor little guy passed, my daughter was inconsolable and I promised her a new one once we had buried him in the garden in a purpose built coffin (overkill I know but hey itís what she wanted 🙄😁).

I ended up buying the 64l tank to set up as a tropical tank for her but soon realised the bowl was not sufficient for one let alone the two fish that had been housed their for over 2 years so soon after bought the bigger tank so that the goldfish could have more space.

I was told in the aquatic shop that they needed 30l per goldfish so was happy that it would be sufficient and in fact got a replacement for the dead one (a black moor she called Moby).  Goldie, the common goldfish settled in really well and looked happy wizzing around doing lengths in his new abode (something heíd never been able to do before).

I have a raised flower bed I built that Iíve convinced the wife to allow me to turn into a pond.  I will send an image of that and maybe you could tell me if you think this would be sufficient, itís an odd shape.  Having said that Iím unsure now reading the link you sent whether the black moor can go outside or not but your advice would be greatly received.

Iíve just noticed that a lengthy reply I sent to littlefish has not appeared in the thread so I must have done something wrong (not been one for forums in the past so not entirely comfortable with how everything works!) I did answer all the questions but will have to send again later, have to make dinner now and the wife is chasing lol 😂

Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2019, 10:01:46 PM »
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Ok, Iíll try this again.  Thanks littlefish for your reply and kind welcome.  As said I thought I had post all this in reply so not sure what happened to it when I pressed post last night 🤷🏻‍♂️

So the 64l tank was cycled for three weeks.

When I changed tank I ran the internal filter from old tank in unison with the new canister filter for 3 weeks before removing (using the same media).  In those three weeks I did 15% water change every other day and added one capful of seachem bacteria each day (2 on water change days).

I add a capful of seachem plant fertiliser every 3 days and have added crystal clear once or twice.  I obviously use dechlorinator on every water change and ammonia remover each time I add new fish (not really sure why but I guess you canít have too little of it 😁).  The only other chemical Iíve used is some white spot treatment when my Cardinals got ich a few weeks ago.  I added some carbon sponge to my filter for 24 hrs after the treatment was finished and they had all recovered.

In general I feed the fish a varied diet alternating between good quality flakes, pellets and frozen foods (bloodworm, artemia, cyclops and daphnia).  I have on the odd occasion put live insects in the tank which theyíve gone mad for but thatís a rarity.

Specific to the bristlenose I would give him plec pellets by vitalis every other evening or plecostomus by King British as well as the odd slice of cucumber.  To be honest I never really saw him eat anything I put in the tank.  Would see him regularly on the glass or on the top of the heater casing and sometimes on ornaments et al.  Tbh I could drop a pellet right next to him and he wouldnít take it but he must have been getting enough elsewhere as he had a decent paunch on him.  The pellets, tablets and cucumber would all be gone by the morning but the other fish showed an interest and my two yellow rabbit snails also have a keen penchant for cucumber.

Finally, I have two pieces of bogwood, a decent sized piece of driftwood and a large spider wood in the tank which to be fair I got partly as hiding places for all the fish but mainly for the bristlenose (who btw my daughter named Milo)

I have a Fluval Aquasky light which I have set for sunrise between 5-7am then cloudy until the evening and then sunset between 8-10.  I have the night setting as 2% blue (moonlight) every other night and have it switch off the alternate nights.

The only question I canít answer is the water parameters from the tap, need to ask the wife who the provider is.  She sorts the bills, I give her the money 😬

PH in the tank is 7 if that helps at all.

Thanks 👍

Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2019, 10:08:23 PM »
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Additionally theres so much confusing literature on the net about feeding regimes that Iím still unsure on whatís right.  However I feed the fish once a day in the morning, some say this is correct others suggest multiple feeds throughout the day so maybe you guys have some advice on this.  The evenings where I would put plec pellets/tablets and/or veg they would be additional to the morning general feed

Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2019, 10:43:17 PM »
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One final thing and this is predominately for fcmf, this is the flower bed I want to turn into a pond to put the goldfish in.  I intend to cut the internal corners out a considerable amount (as crudely highlighted) to give a more uniform swimming route as I donít think they would appreciate having to constantly zigzag round it. My questions would be would this give sufficient space especially the turning circle the link spoke of.  If so how would you go about first filling the pond, do you need to dechlorinate or does this happen naturally if left to settle and how long would you leave it before transferring the fish.  I understand theyíre quite hardy and tolerable to different temperatures but coming from an indoor tank thatís generally around 19 degrees how would you go about transitioning them.  Should you put anything in the pond, plants, soil, stones/gravel? 

Anything else you could suggest I may well have missed out please let me know.  Would that be better than getting a larger tank for them? Mind you Iíve already got two fish tanks in HER kitchen so getting another at least double the size of the larger one wonít be an easy sell.  I suppose I should be grateful that sheís agreed to give up get flower bed 😁 thanks in advance 👍

Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2019, 10:45:24 PM »
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With correct picture 😁

Offline daveyng

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2019, 08:39:09 AM »
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Would it be easy to rearrange the Ďblocksí into a more formal shape (rectangle or L shape). I was thinking that it might be a bit of a nightmare to fit a liner into the shape youíll have after cutting the blocks.

Offline Sue

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2019, 09:09:12 AM »
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One thing that stands out to me is the amount of chemicals you are adding to the tank. All you need is a dechlorinator and plant food. Everything we add gets into the fish.

If your water company uses chloramine rather than chlorine to disinfect the water supply you need a dechlorinator that also detoxifies ammonia. If you test some plain tap water for ammonia and it shows a small reading, the company uses chloramine. If it doesn't, they use chlorine. For chlorine, the best dechlorinator is API Tap Water Conditioner as that one contains the least chemicals. I don't like dechlorinators which contain aloe vera as that can damage the fish's gills. But there is little choice if you have chloramine in your tap water as those dechlorinators which 'detoxify' ammonia also contain 'something to promote the slime coat' which is often aloe vera.

You don't need to add a separate ammonia remover - and yes, you can add too much of anything you add to the tank, even dechlorinator.

You don't need to add bacteria unless the tank is not cycled, and in that case Tetra Safe Start is a better product.

The "crystal clear" that you added a couple of times - is that something that clumps fine particles together so the filter can catch them? This type of product is not recommended as it can affect the fish's gills.

The white spot med could have had an adverse effect but I do understand the need to treat fish. It's not as though the med is added routinely.



Re the hardness of your tap water, all you need is the name of the company, then google it. Their website should have a page for hardness and water quality somewhere. Mine hides in the section 'in your area'  :)
With most UK water companies, once you find the page you just type in your postcode to get the result. We need a number not some vague words, and we also need the unit exactly as they give it. They could use any one of half a dozen different units.

Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2019, 11:35:41 AM »
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Hi daveyng thanks for the reply.  I agree it would be much easier but I laid the patio to suit as my wife wanted something a little different that complemented the garden so I think Iíd be pushing my luck if I wanted to change it now unless I was going to reshape the patio.  Tbh as the father of a 5 yr old and 3 yr old twins I honestly donít know when Iíd find the time lol 😆

Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2019, 11:54:29 AM »
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Thanks sue, your advice is greatly received as with other responses.

As I said Iím very new to this and am determined to do right by the fish.

I no longer use the bacteria, was only whilst the new tank was settling.  Re the ammonia remover that hasnít been used for a while and is there now for emergencies only.

The dechlorinator I add to the buckets of new water only and each one has the recommended amount added 2ml for each 10ltr bucket (normally change 30ltrs a week).

The crystal clear is as you described it and was used probably 2 weeks ago to try and help clear the water up as it was still a little cloudy.  Itís looking good now and am happy with the clarity so again this wonít be used again any time soon.

I will check the tap water as you suggested when I get a chance later today and the water company info too.

I still canít get my head around the nature of his death, had I found him one morning having noticed a deterioration before hand it would not have been such a shock but it was the behaviour displayed before and the instant death that really had me puzzled. 

As well as testing my water weekly I also take a sample to my local aquatics store every time Iím in (probably every couple of weeks).  Iím told the parameters are very good and the fish all seem healthy and their behaviour is as it should be for each species based on the research Iíve done for each.

Thanks again for the advice, Iíll certainly take on board the point re the chemicals and the crystal clear product. 

Offline Sue

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2019, 12:03:21 PM »
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Just to warn you about shops - a lot of them haven't a clue about what is good or bad about water conditions. Some will say that having a bit of ammonia or nitrite in the water is fine, when zero is the only safe amount. And nitrate should ideally be under 20 ppm, though some regions have a lot more than that in the tap water.

Always go by the numbers  :)

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2019, 06:50:28 PM »
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As far as your feeding regime is concerned, that's what I do.  I only feed once a day, and the tanks with the BNs get a mix of things, including occasional bloodworms, veggies & pellets. BNs are a bit more omnivore than complete herbivore, and will take bloodworm if they find them. You've got wood in the tank, which is essential for a BN, so I can't see any problem there.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2019, 10:15:45 PM »
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Sorry for my belated reply, @Billy2.

Alas my efforts were not sufficient and the poor little guy passed, my daughter was inconsolable and I promised her a new one once we had buried him in the garden in a purpose built coffin (overkill I know but hey itís what she wanted 🙄😁).
Definitely not overkill for a much-loved fish, I can assure you.

I was told in the aquatic shop that they needed 30l per goldfish so was happy that it would be sufficient and in fact got a replacement for the dead one (a black moor she called Moby).  Goldie, the common goldfish settled in really well and looked happy wizzing around doing lengths in his new abode (something heíd never been able to do before).

I have a raised flower bed I built that Iíve convinced the wife to allow me to turn into a pond.  I will send an image of that and maybe you could tell me if you think this would be sufficient, itís an odd shape.  Having said that Iím unsure now reading the link you sent whether the black moor can go outside or not but your advice would be greatly received.
Fantastic that you're planning on creating a pond - that would be great for Goldie but Moby / fancy goldfish would indeed be better in a tank. In time, hopefully you'll be able to upgrade but, in the meantime, ensure that you do sufficiently large and frequent water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 and nitrates at no more than 20 ppm above the level of nitrates in your tap water. This might require up to 50% water changes daily in a small tank but daily monitoring of the water quality (ammonia, nitrite and nitrates) will help determine what is required.

One final thing and this is predominately for fcmf, this is the flower bed I want to turn into a pond to put the goldfish in.  I intend to cut the internal corners out a considerable amount (as crudely highlighted) to give a more uniform swimming route as I donít think they would appreciate having to constantly zigzag round it. My questions would be would this give sufficient space especially the turning circle the link spoke of.  If so how would you go about first filling the pond, do you need to dechlorinate or does this happen naturally if left to settle and how long would you leave it before transferring the fish.  I understand theyíre quite hardy and tolerable to different temperatures but coming from an indoor tank thatís generally around 19 degrees how would you go about transitioning them.  Should you put anything in the pond, plants, soil, stones/gravel? 

Anything else you could suggest I may well have missed out please let me know.  Would that be better than getting a larger tank for them? Mind you Iíve already got two fish tanks in HER kitchen so getting another at least double the size of the larger one wonít be an easy sell.  I suppose I should be grateful that sheís agreed to give up get flower bed 😁 thanks in advance 👍
Fantastic that you have been allowed to convert the raised bed into a pond. What is the capacity/volume of the pond? Would it have enough space for Goldie to turn without a problem if he grew to 12-18" which is likely to occur very swiftly post-transition to the pond. The pond needs to be deep enough and provide sufficient cover and protection for Goldie to hide from winged or other predators too. I don't have experience of building and maintaining ponds, unfortunately, but @Matt has built one recently and may be best placed to advise on this.


Offline Matt

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2019, 10:21:54 PM »
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Afraid I cheated and went for a preformed pond liner...

Offline jaypeecee

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2019, 10:24:45 AM »
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Hi Billy,

I'm just wondering if your Bristlenose had swallowed one of the tiny snails (probably Malaysian Trumpet Snails). Apparently, Bristlenose may even eat Assassin Snails and here's the evidence:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXVzyBVj0is" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXVzyBVj0is</a>

JPC

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2019, 08:59:34 AM »
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I've spent some time rummaging around the internet, but can't pin down a definitive cause for the demise of your bristlenose @Billy2 .

Your feeding regime is similar to mine - and I can't see anything that's amiss with what you have done. You've got wood in the tank for grazing, and provided a mixed diet.

I was wondering if perhaps you'd had a mini ammonia spike, or released something from the substrate when rearranging plants, but I often remove & replant small areas of tanks without removing the fish, and have not seen any problems.

You were monitoring your water parameters, and had stopped using some of the chemicals that you mentioned. Also, I can't find any specific information on other forums that account for the way that your bristlenose passed.

I'm sorry that we can't find the reason for what happened, sometimes these things just happen, or you may have had a fish with a congenital problem that you would be unaware of. Sorry I couldn't be of more help here.


Offline Billy2

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2019, 07:44:29 AM »
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Hi guys, sorry Iíve not replied had some problems recently.

Thanks for your responses and the snail theory would make a modicum of sense, had no issues before and was within an hour or so of putting assassins in that he died. 

Annoyingly they donít even seem to be doing their job as I have a new infestation of the little buggers 🙄

Anyway I guess Iím just going to have to forget it and move on

Offline jaypeecee

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Re: Bristlenose Pleco odd death
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2019, 02:07:12 PM »
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Thanks for your responses and the snail theory would make a modicum of sense, had no issues before and was within an hour or so of putting assassins in that he died.

Hi Billy,

Yes, it points to the snails. It would never have occurred to me that Plecos may eat snails. But, a quick scour of the internet found that video. We tend to think of Plecos as herbivores but they are omnivores meaning that they will eat both vegetable and animal products. But, that aside, it must have been upsetting for you to lose a fish under those circumstances.

JPC

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