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Help! Pleco caught in hair net :(

2089 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Trickerie
Last night I added a lovely rock covered in java moss to my tank, and this morning I found my gold nugget pleco (he's one of the smaller plecos, 4") tangled in the hair net I used to hold the moss down. He was so worn out from a night of struggling (his poor fins were frayed) that he didn't try to fight when I gently held him and snipped the hair net away with a small pair of scissors, and I was able to hold him in the water for a moment and snip another strand of hair net that was wrapped around his body. Then he swam away. Now he's hiding in one of his little caves under a rock, fins clamped, and I'm not sure whether I should wake him up and try to cut of however much of the hair net is left, or just let him sleep for a while. All tank lights are off, room is quiet. I'm just not sure whether the netting still on his is lethal.

Let this be a warning, I guess: hair nets can be really dangerous.
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Let him rest. Keep watch, and if the net does not fall off perhaps try catching him again and snipping more of it. A stressed cat tends to keep their barbs (on fins and body) extended, and this makes it harder to remove the net. Once the fish relaxes the net may come off by itself. Obviously, monitor the tank and remove the remnants of the hair net when it falls off.

You might want to do some extra water changes, and be sure to vacuum the floor of the tank extra well. Disease organisms linger in there, and a stressed fish is more susceptible to them. Keeping the water and the tank extra clean means fewer disease organisms to infect the fish.
Yeah... you really need to tie them down well. Perhaps even superglue and tie the ends. :|
Thank you everyone for the advice.

Good news: the pleco is still alive, and after a full day with the lights off, hiding in one of the three favorite caves, he has emerged, seems healthy, and is swimming around. Haven't seen him eat yet.

Bad news: there's a piece of hair net stuck to him. I think it's holding one of his pectoral fins close to his body. He seems to be breathing OK, but it's hard to tell with plecos how they're breathing.

I should catch him and gently attempt to cut the net, right? Right. The poor guy. I really don't want to traumatize him further (he spends 80% of his time under a rock as it is and seems generally scared of everything -- I think he was raised in a bare tank and never got over it), but I guess I have to.
Better sooner than later. :/
Plecos are tough. He'll recover.
Update: he's all better. I gently caught him (without having to dismantle my entire tank) and removed a little remaining fluff from the hairnet, and now he's back to his usual routine: hanging out in his cave, counting his gold nuggets...
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