Help with L52 Butterfly Pleco

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JAWar117
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Help with L52 Butterfly Pleco

Post by JAWar117 »

I've tried to get my daughter a butterfly pleco and have lost 2 of them and just don't understand what's going on
Water parameters are good the fish act fine for the first day or two and then they just die with no warning All our other fish are fine and thriving i have bristlenose pleco and a green phantom even our tiny neon tetras in the same water and they have been completely fine.
We do have well water but it is not very hard Our ph is slightly more alkaline about 7.6 but i wouldn't think that in itself is enough to kill a fish
I have read on several websites that these type of pleco typically come from neutral ph is it possible that us having 7.6 ph is just too much for them to handle and transition into.
I will usually let tank water into bag wait 15 minutes then add a little more water and wait 15 more mins i try for at least 30 to 40 mins to help acclimate some before i let them out of the bag they came in. Its just crazy bc the butterfly pleco isn't acting distressed or anything it was eating some hopping around the glass hanging out with our corys and then few hours later it died. Id really like to get another L52 but don't want to lose another one Is there anything else i can try to make their transition easier or is our water just too much for them to handle?
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Re: Help with L52 Butterfly Pleco

Post by dw1305 »

Hi all,
I'm sorry for your loss, it is horrible when a fish dies. I'll add in @bekateen, <"he keeps these">.
JAWar117 wrote: 29 Apr 2024, 13:33 ..... Water parameters are good the fish act fine for the first day or two and then they just die with no warning ........
Could we have a picture of the aquarium? Often the parameters we are interested in aren't ones that are easy to measure.

It is likely that pH isn't an issue. Personally I'm obsessed with dissolved oxygen, partially because often come from fast flowing, oxygen rich water and partly because it is the parameter that has to be right 100% of the time.

cheers Darrel
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Re: Help with L52 Butterfly Pleco

Post by bekateen »

JAWar117 wrote: 29 Apr 2024, 13:33 I've tried to get my daughter a butterfly pleco and have lost 2 of them and just don't understand what's going on
Water parameters are good the fish act fine for the first day or two and then they just die with no warning All our other fish are fine and thriving i have bristlenose pleco and a green phantom even our tiny neon tetras in the same water and they have been completely fine.
We do have well water but it is not very hard Our ph is slightly more alkaline about 7.6 but i wouldn't think that in itself is enough to kill a fish
I have read on several websites that these type of pleco typically come from neutral ph is it possible that us having 7.6 ph is just too much for them to handle and transition into.
I will usually let tank water into bag wait 15 minutes then add a little more water and wait 15 more mins i try for at least 30 to 40 mins to help acclimate some before i let them out of the bag they came in. Its just crazy bc the butterfly pleco isn't acting distressed or anything it was eating some hopping around the glass hanging out with our corys and then few hours later it died. Id really like to get another L52 but don't want to lose another one Is there anything else i can try to make their transition easier or is our water just too much for them to handle?
dw1305 wrote: 29 Apr 2024, 15:14 Hi all,
I'm sorry for your loss, it is horrible when a fish dies. I'll add in @bekateen, <"he keeps these">.

Could we have a picture of the aquarium? Often the parameters we are interested in aren't ones that are easy to measure.

It is likely that pH isn't an issue. Personally I'm obsessed with dissolved oxygen, partially because often come from fast flowing, oxygen rich water and partly because it is the parameter that has to be right 100% of the time.

cheers Darrel
Thanks for the tag, Darrel. Yes, I do have these. :-)

Hi @JAWar117. Welcome to PlanetCatfish!

The one parameter I didn't see in your description is tank temperature, but as with Darrel's comment on pH, I would also say that temperature is not too critical as long as it's mostly in the mid 70s (I currently have some at 78F and neutral pH, but I used to have a big breeding tank that fluctuated from 68F to 81F (+/- 1 F) on a daily basis and had a pH of 4; in both of my setups, the water is/was soft, about 50-75ppm TDS).

I think the oxygenation is potentially problematic. As Darrel said, loricariids tend to come from faster flowing waters, but I'd add that Dekeyseria may be more sensitive than many other loricariids in this regard. You look at their body and you see a wide flat body profile that does not stick up very high into the water flow, an adaptation that would help the fish in strong currents. You also see a large suction disc on the mouth and large lateral fins. These features are pretty typical of loricariids from very fast moving waters.

It's not so much a sideways current that they will need, but even adding additional air stones to the tank will be helpful.

Also, I'd second the request for photos of the tank.

Cheers, Eric
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Re: Help with L52 Butterfly Pleco

Post by Acanthicus »

Hi,

D. picta lives in biotopes with a pH around 4. Your water simply doesn't seem to match their needs and instead of getting a third one I'd look for something in the P. vittata complex or maybe a Panaqolus species, they are good looking too and pretty similar in pattern. The oxygen level might be a problem of course, but I don't think it is the critical point in this case. Looking at some biotopes of D. picta you will get a score of around 8 mg/l, at temperatures between 29-30 °C (at the surface).
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Re: Help with L52 Butterfly Pleco

Post by Shane »

Daniel is spot on. When these started showing up at exporters in Bogota about 2002 I bought several as they were very inexpensive. My results were always the same... dead fish after a few weeks. I eventually had a chance to talk to collectors and found out they were by-catch when collecting Altum angels much further up river. Although shipped from Puerto Carreno to Bogota they were not collected in that area and needed water parameters suitable for wild Altums. For success you'll need very soft, acidic, and clean water.
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Re: Help with L52 Butterfly Pleco

Post by bekateen »

Acanthicus wrote: 02 May 2024, 07:35D. picta lives in biotopes with a pH around 4. Your water simply doesn't seem to match their needs and instead of getting a third one I'd look for something in the P. vittata complex or maybe a Panaqolus species, they are good looking too and pretty similar in pattern. The oxygen level might be a problem of course, but I don't think it is the critical point in this case. Looking at some biotopes of D. picta you will get a score of around 8 mg/l, at temperatures between 29-30 °C (at the surface).
Shane wrote: 02 May 2024, 12:02Daniel is spot on. When these started showing up at exporters in Bogota about 2002 I bought several as they were very inexpensive. My results were always the same... dead fish after a few weeks. I eventually had a chance to talk to collectors and found out they were by-catch when collecting Altum angels much further up river. Although shipped from Puerto Carreno to Bogota they were not collected in that area and needed water parameters suitable for wild Altums. For success you'll need very soft, acidic, and clean water.
-Shane
Both posts are spot on about picking a fish that likes your water rather than changing your water to please the fish. There are several lovely species of and that would be ideal and also very nice fish to keep.

That said, I'd also make a counterpoint to the criticality of pH. As Darrel has pointed out multiple times (I think) in older threads (@dw1305, please correct me if I'm wrong on this attribution), since pH is a calculation based on ratios of acids and bases, the pH becomes less critical as the water gets very soft. In other words, with really soft water, a minor shift in water chemistry can bring about acidification without significantly raising the absolute concentration of hydronium ions, H+ (I imagine pH can swing in the other direction too, but I've never experienced that in my very soft water tanks). Therefore, when I'm keeping and breeding fish in very soft acidic water, I don't focus on the pH but rather the hardness. Once I get that water really soft, it will more than likely become acidic over time even if it's pH 7-7.5 initially. With the exception of one of my tanks (my tank in which I add stockings/socks filled with peat moss), I don't add any chemicals to my water to get pH down to 3 or 4. It starts out at 7-7.5 and it drifts down to 3 or 4 over a week or so because I'm mixing 1/2 to 3/4 RO with 1/2 to 1/4 tapwater.

I don't say this to encourage the OP to ignore the advice here of @Shane and @Acanthicus, but rather to provide the OP with a path to keeping Dekeyseria picta in the future, if that's their ultimate goal.

Cheers, Eric
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Re: Help with L52 Butterfly Pleco

Post by dw1305 »

Hi all,
bekateen wrote: 02 May 2024, 18:38That said, I'd also make a counterpoint to the criticality of pH. As Darrel has pointed out multiple times (I think) in older threads (@dw1305, please correct me if I'm wrong on this attribution), since pH is a calculation based on ratios of acids and bases, the pH becomes less critical as the water gets very soft.
That is pretty much it, in very soft water, with few ions of any description, pH is a moveable feast and very small changes in water chemistry cause large fluctuations in pH, I'm much less interested in fluctuations pH than I am in fluctuations in water chemistry. There are also some issues in measuring pH in low conductivity water.

Because of these problems I tend to rely more on conductivity and acid neutralising capacity (ANC 4.5), because they are more instructive parameters.
Shane wrote: 02 May 2024, 12:02Although shipped from Puerto Carreno to Bogota they were not collected in that area and needed water parameters suitable for wild Altums. For success you'll need very soft, acidic, and clean water.
I'm pretty sure this is relevant as well, black water fish really are different and need acidic tannin stained water for long term maintenance. This partially relates to the limited microbial activity in black water, fish haven't evolved in a situation where there are more potential microbial pathogens. I've not kept these fish, but if I did I would follow Eric's (@bekateen) approach of warm, soft, water with high flow and added humic compounds.
Acanthicus wrote: 02 May 2024, 07:35 Hi,

D. picta lives in biotopes with a pH around 4. Your water simply doesn't seem to match their needs and instead of getting a third one I'd look for something in the P. vittata complex or maybe a Panaqolus species, they are good looking too and pretty similar in pattern. The oxygen level might be a problem of course, but I don't think it is the critical point in this case. Looking at some biotopes of D. picta you will get a score of around 8 mg/l, at temperatures between 29-30 °C (at the surface).
Agreed, If I couldn't provide those conditions? I would look for another fish. Personally I don't keep any obligate black water fish, mainly because the rainwater I use has some carbonate buffering and this precludes successful breeding, even if care is possible.

cheers Darrel
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Re: Help with L52 Butterfly Pleco

Post by Baardman »

I keep them to I do keep them successful in higher PH staying in Africa our PH tends to be on the high side around 8.4 but they don't breed successfully. For that I had to get down to bellow 6 they are such a fun fish to keep and Bekateen helped me loads with his advice on them
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