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Hello from Michigan, Pleco needs help

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Nitrate strip is fairly bright pink My guess is ~60

Nitrite says safe

hardness is Hard

chlorine in none

ALK is 180

ph 6.8

temp 78

10 gal tank, no other fish. It has always had those white areas.  It doesn't look bumpy, just lack of the pigmentation.

I keep vacuuming out the tank and adding fresh water about 1.5 gal each time.  I think the Nitrate is probably too high.  I have well water that I let warm to room temp before adding. I'm wondering if I should use lake water?  

I'm sorry if this has already been discussed. I did look in the fish disease area and didn't find anything in the first few pages.  I feel bad for this fish. Maybe 7 years is all it's going to get.  If anyone has ideas please help. Thanks in advance.


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I don't know what "prime" is. I have some  'correct ph' tabs?  I was reluctant to go ahead and change out so much water thinking gradual every 4 days or so with my smaller changes. But that Nitrate really doesn't go down.,  I might as well give it a go with switching out 50% . I tested the lake water and it is even harder than my tap water.  I have an aloe plant should I toss a chunk in?  

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2 hours ago, Colu said:

 what are your ammonia and nitirte levels what is your temp and how big is your tank do you treat you water before adding it to the tank @Michelle R

My strip doesn't tell ammonia, it does tell me nitrate It looks bright pink probably 60-80.  Nitrite is 'safe'.  I changed out 50% of the water and added 4 drops of TopFin  'water conditioner' to the water I refilled with.  Found a video by Cory I believe on Nitrate & m&m's on youtube.  temp is ~78 deg F  tank is 10 gallons.   I had a lady feeding my pets for a week & she over fed the cats & I'm guessing she loaded the fish up with food too.  I trimmed the dead roots & leaves off the plants. Hoping I'm on the right track.

Thanks everyone for the help.  I am still a little curious if I can get his skin to look better. 

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