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My favorite fish CUT OPEN by plant roots!
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deborah_claro
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Joined: 11 May 2006
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: 2006.08.16(Wed)23:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, haname. I'll try to get a picture of it. He's returned to his place under the wood, and from this vantage his bad side is turned away from the camera. I might be able to coax him out with food. Earlier, he came out onto the glass. It's kind of unusual to see him out in the open like this:

That clean cut just behind the eye continues around the head to join up with the chest cut. I agree with you - I can't see any signs of infection.
I'm changing about 10% of the water every day, and keeping the sand clean. A fellow catfish lover suggested increasing the water circulation, which I was able to do easily, and which proved to be a good idea, especially since I'm dosing Melafix. The other fish aren't bothering him, and he seems comfortable.

Deborah Very Happy
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2006.08.17(Thu)0:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy flippin' %#!@! That is one nasty looking wound! Shocked

Here's hoping he pulls through and lives out the rest of his natural life. Amazing that he can have a wound like that and still be functioning.

(Note to self: Sell pleco before heavily planting tank.)
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redmum
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Joined: 23 Feb 2006
Location: Brisbane

PostPosted: 2006.08.17(Thu)6:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deborah - Its just amazing. Mac is a real survivor. The photos are great, its hard to believe everything has stayed inside really.

How old is Mac? How close to the tanks were the workmen? Are you on a second story? I'm just wondering about the vibration travel etc. I hadn't thought about if affecting them before (unless something close of course), thanks for bringing it to my attention.

This one will have to go down in the records, for sure.

Long Live Mac.

anna
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Steve from Oz
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Joined: 04 May 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: 2006.08.17(Thu)7:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, thanks for sharing your story! Mac certainly is an amazing fish.

Plecos are real survivors! I've read stories about common plecos jumping out of tanks and being on the floor for hours, chewed by pets, being lobbed back in and basically given up for dead, and living another 5 years. Truly amazing fish. I've just bought a bristlenose and I'm loving his character.

Mac's a beautiful fish btw. Hope his cut heals up nicely, and that the white patch is nothing to worry about. Please keep us up to date on how he's going!
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Marcos Avila
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Santo Andre (Brazil)

PostPosted: 2006.08.17(Thu)7:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

As ugly as that belly gash may look, I'd be willing to bet that Mac's going to make a full recovery. Plecos are really tough when it comes to physical injury.

I have a somewhat similar story to share from a long time ago, but on a much smaller scale. Around 2000, two years after I bought the little mystery pleco below (never got a positive ID on him) I noticed him under a large piece of driftwood. He didn't usually make himself visible during the day, and I remember being happy to see him fat and well, and also noted just briefly how he seemed to be in a funny position, not upside down against the wood as I would have expected.

Well, almost a WEEK later I'm inspecting the tank and, as I'm sure you've guessed by now, there he was, exactly in the same place and in the same position! After a closer look I found out he'd gotten himself entangled by the dorsal rays on the green cotton string I'd used to attach Java fern to the wood. I immediately sighed, convinced he was dead, and proceeded to remove him, but as soon as I touched him he started swinging about frantically. In the heat of the moment I instinctively tried to pull him out and in the process broke several of his dorsal rays, but at least he did come loose and disappeared into the plants.

Anyway, that was 6 years ago and last I heard he's still alive today in a friend's tank, which makes this little mystery pleco 8 years old by now. Another interesting thing about him is that he NEVER grew beyond 5 cm...but since we never figured out the species we can't say whether that was his normal adult size or not...


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deborah_claro
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Joined: 11 May 2006
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: 2006.08.17(Thu)9:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Holy flippin' snit! That is one nasty looking wound

You said it, Pete!

Marcos, your story mirrors mine in several ways. The most compelling is how much energy these little fish have. The way they struggle to get free and escape, is heartening. It makes you realize they are worth saving. Luckily, even though I wanted to, I avoided yanking or pulling my little pleco from the plant or its roots. I used tiny nail scissors for everything, and I had someone there with me to provide a second opinion. On the first day, the wound was bulging open and his insides were bulging out, as shown earlier, but this latest photo shows it is actually improving - the edges are clean and not puffy or infected.

I hope I am not fooling myself, but I believe it does look a little better; a little tighter, like it wants to knit together and close up. BTW, notice the temp; I've turned it up to 80 dF.

The work was done in the kitchen, and Mac's fish tank is on a ledge between the kitchen and another room and was right near all the ruckus. I draped a fat quilt over it, and placed my hands on the glass to absorb the vibrations. Apparently, it didn't really work, because Mac shot off into the "woods" where he has never gone, not once in the one and a half years that I have had him has he set a "foot" into those plants. He always stays under his favorite piece of wood, where he digs out his den, and where he is right now (which will make it hard to take more photos, but indicates that he is feeling more like himself. Very Happy)

Actually, I can't think of one single South American aquarium plant that has these long, tensile, skinny roots designed to entrap fish with bony projections. Could it be that I should never have placed an Asian plant into a SA tank?
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Deborah
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Ryan Yates
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Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: 2006.08.19(Sat)17:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deborah, I think you're right about him getting a bit better.

Before:


and after:


If you compare the two pictures it definitely looks like it's closing up. I suppose only time will tell though.

You conclusion about the Asian plant in an SA tank is quite an interesting idea. When you think of smaller Asian bottom dwellers you immediately think of loaches, and they are not nearly as bony and spiny as the South American loricariids. I think I will be removing the java ferns from my plecos' tank.
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deborah_claro
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Joined: 11 May 2006
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: 2006.08.19(Sat)23:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loaches are a good example, Ryan. They are mostly thin and rope-like, and look like they could slip out of anything. Asian catfish, such as Mystus, Bagrid and Clarius species all look too smooth and slippery, to get caught in anything but a net, and the giant, sharklike Pangasius catfishes look like torpedoes. Can't imagine a java fern stopping one of those. None of these fish look like they have the kind of projections or skin texture that would likely get them trapped in the underwater landscape. Quite the opposite.

It may be a wild idea, but I think we're on to something. I've already started to cut all the so-called "roots" out - they're not real roots, anyway, just anchors. I don't know that I'll take out the plants, though. They do the job, and are just about my speed for care.

In the meantime, Mac seems to be doing alright. He's under his wood, as usual, and he must be eating it because I see the evidence on the sand, so that's good news. Very Happy haname had asked for a photo of the abraded section of the bony plates on the left side of the fish, and I managed to get a couple of shots.
It's the white area, just even with the ventral fins:

I don't think any fungus has set in, but I can't get close enough to see what the damage is.
It looks like the outer covering, or first layer, has rubbed off the plates.
Here's another view of the same condition, showing the total area affected:

You can see his destroyed dorsal fin in these pictures. There is just a rudimentary line with the fin rays and tissue barely projecting. Some say it will grow back, so I'm hopeful and spending a lot of time on keeping the water clean and healthy ...

Deborah
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haname
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Joined: 11 Jun 2003
Location: Phoenix, Arizona USA

PostPosted: 2006.08.20(Sun)17:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

That doesn't look too worrisome. Smile With your course of action keeping the water very clean, and seeing the progress on the open wound, I expect you should see a full recovery.
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Danikins
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Joined: 19 May 2006
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canda

PostPosted: 2006.08.20(Sun)17:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poor thing! Its obvious he has a wonferully caring owner though, he'll be fine! Very Happy
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