What's on my Bristlenose?

All posts regarding the care and breeding of these catfishes from South America.
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What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Redrain » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:08 pm

so I was just writing a thread and it got deleted while refreshing..
Anyway, my male brislenose seems to have some sort of external infection. He also seems to be less active and have his fins clamped most of the time.

Nothing has changed in the tank for along time.
Tank is ~30 us gal, bare with some wood and coconut shell.
stocking is another female bn and maybe 5 or 6 fry. none have the same issue.
temp 27 C
pH 7.4
WC used to be 60-75% a week but now 50% every other day because of the problem.
Filtration is a diy box with sintered glass and sponge

it's whats on the left side of his back, also in the fins.
Image
Image
Image

the white stuff is air bubbles from the pump. notice how he sits directly in the current, he doesnt usually do this.

So what is that and how to treat it? and what could have caused it so I can prevent it in the future? I haven't medicated but used maybe a half dose of "stress relieving salt" .

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by bekateen » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:22 pm

Hi Redrain,

The red marks look like wounds, either from fighting or a rough interaction if the male tried to mate with the female and she wasn't ready.

If that was my fish, I wouldn't do too much. Biggest priority is clean water (I'd change 75%-80% of the water weekly during this time), lots of oxygen (add an air stone or powerhead to the tank if you can, to increase water circulation and improve oxygen levels in the water), and make sure the male has lots of hiding places to get away from the female (add more wood or a pile of medium-sized rocks to create cracks and crevices to hide within).

If you have access to a medication like Melafix (which is a plant extract-based antiseptic), this can help the wound avoid secondary infections while it heals. But the wound should heal itself with time if you keep the fish safe and the water clean.

Good luck,
Eric

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Redrain » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:12 am

bekateen wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:22 pm
Hi Redrain,

The red marks look like wounds, either from fighting or a rough interaction if the male tried to mate with the female and she wasn't ready.

If that was my fish, I wouldn't do too much. Biggest priority is clean water (I'd change 75%-80% of the water weekly during this time), lots of oxygen (add an air stone or powerhead to the tank if you can, to increase water circulation and improve oxygen levels in the water), and make sure the male has lots of hiding places to get away from the female (add more wood or a pile of medium-sized rocks to create cracks and crevices to hide within).

If you have access to a medication like Melafix (which is a plant extract-based antiseptic), this can help the wound avoid secondary infections while it heals. But the wound should heal itself with time if you keep the fish safe and the water clean.

Good luck,
Eric
Thanks for the reply I appreciate it. So I shouldn't be too worried right? This is an already high flow system with the type of pump that draws air from the atmospheric air (sorry if you didn't get it, English is my 2nd language). So I'll work on forming some hiding places if I can find someting. The market is out of Melafix for months, but I'll give it a try. Thanks again

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Redrain » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:38 am

Update: Ok so I managed to find 1 bottle of Melafix and I dosed the tank yesterday. Today he seems even less active than yesterday, plus the infected parts got red (on the fins) but the back seems to have gotten better. So I half dosed today. I don't know is it a phase they go through while healing?(fins getting red) or something is going on.

Image
Image

A bottom view. The plants I added yesterday are tissue culture, so they didn't bring anything
Image

Also the female has a slight puff under her right eye, what is that?
Image


So what is happening? Are those for sure battle wounds? I'm a bit worried, I have a community tank setup should I move the female there? the temp is close to the bn tank.

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Redrain » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:48 am

Here's the whole setup if that helps anything. The pic was before adding plants
Image
Image

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Koi-fantast » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:18 pm

For me the fish looks thin and short so I don't think it has had enough of food and or water quality. It may be so that you and I have totally different fish and that your don't grow as big. How big is he?
I also think the wound could have come from a fail breeding attempt. One part was not ready for it.
I am also wondering about you filter media. How often do you wash it? And what is it?

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Jobro » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:28 pm

I am absolutley sure, that this was not a failed breeding attempt. And BN females do not hurt BN males... This is practically unheared of. This fish is slowly rotting away. It is not the result of a fight but of some bacterial or chemical infections. And I'm afraid this fish may die soon.

The fish is also not thin in my eyes. Looks like an Ancistrus male in quite good condition (regarding food at least)

How long is this setup running? It looks quite steril.

Did you put in the plants with the whole bucked and the stone wool? This could be a problem... there could be left a lot of harmfull fertilizers in there. Maybe he ate some of it...

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by bekateen » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:03 pm

Jobro wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:28 pm
I am absolutley sure, that this was not a failed breeding attempt. And BN females do not hurt BN males... This is practically unheared of.
Hi Jobro,

I don't know how rare or common it is, but it happened with my ABNs and it happened with a pair of BNs in my friend's tank too. I think the initial wounds could be from a fight or failed spawning attempt, but the reddening is likely a secondary infection associated with water quality.

That said, the sores on both fish at once could be result of a battle between equally matched fish, but might also point to a larger, systemic problem of bacteria and water quality in the tank.

Regards, Eric

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Redrain » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:22 pm

Koi-fantast wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:18 pm
For me the fish looks thin and short so I don't think it has had enough of food and or water quality. It may be so that you and I have totally different fish and that your don't grow as big. How big is he?
I also think the wound could have come from a fail breeding attempt. One part was not ready for it.
I am also wondering about you filter media. How often do you wash it? And what is it?
Around 10cm. Filter media is eheim substrat pro with some broken sera rings, with coarse sponge beneath. Usually once a week or 2 weeks. The sponge is with every wc

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Redrain » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:29 pm

Jobro wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:28 pm
I am absolutley sure, that this was not a failed breeding attempt. And BN females do not hurt BN males... This is practically unheared of. This fish is slowly rotting away. It is not the result of a fight but of some bacterial or chemical infections. And I'm afraid this fish may die soon.

The fish is also not thin in my eyes. Looks like an Ancistrus male in quite good condition (regarding food at least)

How long is this setup running? It looks quite steril.

Did you put in the plants with the whole bucked and the stone wool? This could be a problem... there could be left a lot of harmfull fertilizers in there. Maybe he ate some of it...
The setup is running for at least 9 months with no problems in the past (the media came from the tank they were previously in, and the tank isn't lighted) also it is a high flow setup made for plecos, so debri doesn't settle except where the flow ends. I try to feed almost exclusively fresh foods (diy mix, frozen, etc..)
I placed that plants with the wool but I rinsed it a few times, I'll remove it right now and do a wc.
Last edited by Redrain on Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Redrain » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:34 pm

bekateen wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:03 pm
Jobro wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:28 pm
I am absolutley sure, that this was not a failed breeding attempt. And BN females do not hurt BN males... This is practically unheared of.
Hi Jobro,

I don't know how rare or common it is, but it happened with my ABNs and it happened with a pair of BNs in my friend's tank too. I think the initial wounds could be from a fight or failed spawning attempt, but the reddening is likely a secondary infection associated with water quality.

That said, the sores on both fish at once could be result of a battle between equally matched fish, but might also point to a larger, systemic problem of bacteria and water quality in the tank.

Regards, Eric
Hi Eric,

So I isolated the fish in a net box (the largest size I can get) with his coconut cave so he can retreat to it if he wants to.

So I need your advice on what to do to repair the fish? That specific fish is dear to me and I don't want to lose him.

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by bekateen » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:41 pm

I don't consider myself a master of medications, but I would stick with my original advice - excellent water quality with frequent water changes, Melafix, or you can try a real antibiotic depending on what's available to you, and hope for the best. I try to avoid strong medicines because I've seen more fish die while treating with strong medication than I've saved with them. (Melafix is not considered a strong med)

Good luck, Eric

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Jobro » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:10 pm

But how would a female hurt a male like this? When a male traps a female, she is in no position to bite his back or his fins. At least not from any of the trappings I saw.

Eric, are you sure you had a female attack a male? trapping and eating away at him? This sounds so unusual. I see males fighting other males and eating females while they are trapped. But the pectorals are usually not the spot to be chewed.
It's usually the back of a female that is chewed on. But a males pectoral being eaten like that from a female? It's even the very base of the pectoral...

And now the female has something on her face as well. How are chances that she chews on his pectorals while he chews on her face? I don't see that happening. There is not even a propper pleco cave in this tank from what I can see... How would a female force herself on a male like that if he does not even sit in a cave? This is a big BN, he would easily force her away, or not?

On the other hand, if a male takes all of these bites to hold his "cave" why would he be sitting out in the open afterwards?

Also, Redrain, please don't put plecos in an illuminated bare bottom tank. It is just not fair for the plecos.. they want it dark, and the light gets reflected from all sites of the tank. There is no shade at all...

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by bekateen » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:24 pm

Jobro wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:10 pm
But how would a female hurt a male like this? When a male traps a female, she is in no position to bite his back or his fins. At least not from any of the trappings I saw.

Eric, are you sure you had a female attack a male? trapping and eating away at him? This sounds so unusual. I see males fighting other males and eating females while they are trapped. But the pectorals are usually not the spot to be chewed.
It's usually the back of a female that is chewed on. But a males pectoral being eaten like that from a female? It's even the very base of the pectoral...
I cannot say how it happened. I had a breeding pair in a tank with some babies (little babies) and no other fish. The male had spawned with the female 5 or 6 times already. Then one morning I woke to find the dad dead in his cave with his belly chewed open.

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Jobro » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:14 pm

bekateen wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:24 pm
I cannot say how it happened. I had a breeding pair in a tank with some babies (little babies) and no other fish. The male had spawned with the female 5 or 6 times already. Then one morning I woke to find the dad dead in his cave with his belly chewed open.
Allright, I stand corrected then. I did not see anything like this before so I could not even imagine the female being that aggressive and also the male being the dominated one. My ancistrus females are only 2/3 the size of the males... And I never see aggression or bitings from the females...

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Redrain » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:29 pm

So I've removed the rock wool from the plants and rinsed them well. The whole coconut you see in the image have been hollowed out and I've had at least 3 or 4 successful spawns that happened right there, the male actually prefers it over stuff that I've offered in the past, so I removed them and kept the coconut. I've seen them shoo each other but haven't witnessed any actual fighting yet.

I'm waiting rn for the water to match the tank temp to do a wc.

Also I've done a water tests and here's what came out:
NH: <0.25ppm
NO2: Undetectable
NO3: 5-10ppm
Image



So is it still poor water quality?
I personally don't think it is because, I was out of the country for 1.5 months and nobody could do water changes for them. They were only fed. And nothing ever happened to them, not even the tiniest one of them. (that was a couple of months back not now)
So what exactly is this?

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by bekateen » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:12 am

I would stand by the idea that aggression or unrequited love is the original cause. Water quality probably didn't create the wounds. But even slight problems with water quality can delay healing and promote secondary infections.

Good luck, Eric

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by pleco_breeder » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:39 am

I have to agree with Eric on this. A couple of things to note which makes me believe this. First, bristlenose prefer larger (more open) caves than most other plecos. Some species will outright refuse traditional tube type caves. This is likely the reason so much luck has been had with the coconut shell. I personally prefer to use 4" flowerpots for most Ancistrus. It should be noted that all the damage to the male is on one side as if he'd squared off for a territorial dispute with another Ancistrus. Images aren't loading for me at the moment, but assume the same of the female based upon the description.

As for water quality, there shouldn't be any testable levels of NH in an established tank. If the kit is showing anything above 0.0 there has likely been a bit of a disturbance to the nitrogen cycle (too much food or overcleaning filter are both common causes) and will slow recovery and allow for secondary infection. My advice is to keep the tank clean till water quality gets back in check and use prophylactic doses of whatever anti-bacterial and anti-protozoal medication you have confidence in.

Larry Vires
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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by Redrain » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:17 pm

pleco_breeder wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:39 am
I have to agree with Eric on this. A couple of things to note which makes me believe this. First, bristlenose prefer larger (more open) caves than most other plecos. Some species will outright refuse traditional tube type caves. This is likely the reason so much luck has been had with the coconut shell. I personally prefer to use 4" flowerpots for most Ancistrus. It should be noted that all the damage to the male is on one side as if he'd squared off for a territorial dispute with another Ancistrus. Images aren't loading for me at the moment, but assume the same of the female based upon the description.

As for water quality, there shouldn't be any testable levels of NH in an established tank. If the kit is showing anything above 0.0 there has likely been a bit of a disturbance to the nitrogen cycle (too much food or overcleaning filter are both common causes) and will slow recovery and allow for secondary infection. My advice is to keep the tank clean till water quality gets back in check and use prophylactic doses of whatever anti-bacterial and anti-protozoal medication you have confidence in.

Larry Vires
Hi Larry,
Thanks for the reply. I indeed have been feeding heavily to make sure that the male gets his share of food,

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Re: What's on my Bristlenose?

Post by fat meloe! » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:32 pm

Jobro wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:10 pm
Also, Redrain, please don't put plecos in an illuminated bare bottom tank. It is just not fair for the plecos.. they want it dark, and the light gets reflected from all sites of the tank. There is no shade at all...
I am not experienced with plecos, but judging from your tank pic I think that even with a dark bottom plecos would highly appreciate sleeping shelters which are more deep and enclosed. It could make the fishes less stressed and thus healthier.

Of course, redecorating the tank when fish are still unhealthy would terrify fish and probably cause additional problems.
If you have a pond or 1000 gallon aquarium, it is always a good idea to leave plenty of space so you can adopt tank-busting "donation" fish from others.

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