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Is my plecos tail going to fall off?

David R

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I noticed this on my second largest L190's tail a few months ago, it hasn't seemed to have gotten any worse (or better) and the fish otherwise seems healthy and normal. Cancer? Warts? Any other suggestions?
The fish is about 12", it's in my 2000L tank with three other large L190 and a bunch of other fish, water is 26-7C, pH ~6.8-7, <10ppm Nitrate, <70ppm TDS. Sorry the cellphone pics aren't the best, I can get out the DSLR if better pics would help...





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I'm certain the tail seems to work normally still, but I'll spend some time in front of the tank after feeding tonight to make sure. The big Panaques do have the occasional tussle but the pecking order is pretty well sorted so it's never too serious, it's shape and distribution looks unusual for scar tissue.

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Thomas that is exactly what Shane on Planet Catfish suggested, although he said methylene blue. I'm guessing the additional ingredients in the Wunder Tonic won't do any harm. Does that stuff go off? I've got some but it's a good 6-7 years old!

Caryl it's not like any fungal infection I've seen before, certainly not fluffy, looks more like some sort of hard gristle sort of stuff coming out from under the skin.

I guess I'll have to set aside an afternoon and dismantle the tank to catch it. I've been thinking about doing that anyway to check on the progress of the L85's and to have a bit of a rearrange/rescape and add in some more rocks, so it's probably a good opportunity to do both!

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I'd lean towards "you can't really do anything about it", sorry :( 


Either Viral, or tumours/cysts. Do they ever disappear, or "burst"?


If you feel you can apply a medication (eg Wunder Tonic, which should be fine) directly to it without a huge amount of stress, it's always worth a shot. But unfortunately I'd vote virus (whether it be Lymphocystis or another - not really worth getting an exact diagnosis as there's nothing you can really do about it anyway). I personally don't usually isolate fish with viruses as they're always kinda present, but it's worth noting that fish are more likely to become infected if they pick at it and when it eventually passes away (as is inevitable with any living creature lol), you'll want to remove it asap as other fish will definitely have a nibble. 


Edit: I wouldn't suggest doing it by yourself, but if a vet wants to help you anesthetize the fish and get a small sample, it should be fairly easy to diagnose under a microscope (the cells will look huge - below is a virus from one of my fish, not a great picture sorry). If it passes and you know someone with a microscope, they won't degenerate (ime) when frozen, so you can, err, keep some in a freezer for future diagnosis).



Edited by alexyay
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Well I've spent the afternoon collecting, scrubbing and soaking rocks and I'm going to do a bit of a stocktake and rescape tonight, so I may as well fish him out and dab some tonic on it. Nothing ventured nothing gained! I could nick a tiny piece off with a new razor blade and freeze it to examine, but I don't know of anyone with a microscope unfortunately.

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  • 4 years later...

Hi David,

I know this post is nearly 5 years old now but I’ve got the exact same thing showing up on my L190 and was wondering what the outcome was with your fish and if you found out what it was? Would really appreciate any advice. Thanks

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