Pleco White Fungus – How To Treat This Disease Effectively

Plecos are a common choice for aquarists who seek to nurture a peaceful, bottom-dwelling fish. Despite their hardiness, plecos are not entirely immune to diseases. If left in the wrong environment, these fish can develop pleco white fungus.

So, what are the causes of this ailment? And what can you do to get rid of such harmful white patches? The answer to these questions lies below!

What Is White Fungus On Pleco?

White fungus on pleco is essentially fungal spores. They can be found in almost all aquariums, as long as the conditions turn sour. Easily detected by their furry and white cottony appearances, the white fungus can be a nuisance to all of the infected fish.

In their advanced stages, the white fungus can slowly turn into pink or red patches.

The change in color signals a downhill in your fish’s health. In most cases, you will have to abandon the fish, as they are incurable now.

White Fungus On Pleco

What Causes White Fungus On Pleco?

The white fungus can be traced back to multiple reasons. Below are some of the most common causes leading to white fungus on pleco.

Spiking stress levels

Plecos are particularly sensitive when their stress level increases. If the fish do not feel comfortable, they will stop eating altogether.

As a result, their immune system is gravely compromised, making it much easier for white fungus to become prevalent.

Furthermore, being stressed out prevents plecos from eating properly. Malnutrition means plecos do not have enough strength to defend themselves against potential threats.

Infected eggs

Sometimes, plecos are born with white fungi already embedded inside their bodies. This is because fungal spores can tamper with the fish’s eggs in the breeding tanks.

White fungal spores are highly contagious, and they are extremely dense inside infertile and damaged eggs.

When left in the same vicinity, these parasites can move from broken eggs to healthier ones. Subsequently, some of the eggs are already fungi-infected.

There is also a scenario when healthy fish feeds on infected eggs. If the adult plecos accidentally chew on fungi-infected eggs, then they surely will become a victim.

Low-quality water conditions

If your water is not changed regularly, chances are white fungus will take place much easier. With accumulated dirt and debris, decaying matter, and fish waste, your water will be more susceptible to fungal growth.

Expect white fungus to spread uncontrollably if you fail to clean the tank every week.

Moreover, you must also monitor the necessary parameters of your aquarium. For example, if the pH level changes too much, it can be detrimental to the fish’s health.

Insufficient feeding

Lacking a balanced and well-rounded diet can be detrimental to your plecos. As they are bottom dwellers, plecos tend to be ignored regarding their nutrient needs.

Hence, not being able to consume a healthy amount of protein-rich food and plant matter will make them more prone to fungus.

Physical injury

The white fungus can penetrate the fish’s skin through open wounds. Therefore, any damage to the pleco’s body can act as an entry point for white fungus to get in.

If your fish have experienced several physical injuries due to aggressive collisions with other fish or scratching against the tank’s decor, they may have a much easier time contracting white fungus.

White Fungus On Pleco 2


1. How do I know if my pleco is healthy?

The most obvious sign of a healthy pleco is its rice, rounded belly. It looks full and the spine is not curved. Furthermore, it also swims around enthusiastically, with no symptoms of lethargy or restlessness.

When it comes to eating, healthy plecos have a normal appetite and are satisfied with being fed 1-2 times per day.

You should also check out the pleco’s eyes and see whether they are sunken or not. Plecos with bright, round and clear eyes are in much better shape than those with blurry, bulging eyes.

Finally, observe your pleco’s body and see if there are any blemishes or white spots. Having shiny, colorful skin is a plecos’ way to tell that they are free from any disease.

2. How do I know if my pleco is dying?

A dying pleco will display some of the following signs.

  • Discoloration: Usually, a loss of color means that pleco is having trouble regulating its daily activity. Moreover, its immune system is no longer active.
  • Pop and cloudy eyes: Having blurry, bulging eyes means plecos are suffering from diseases or having high-stress levels.
  • Belly swelling: If your fish has a swollen belly, chances are it has tons of blood stuck inside.
  • Unusual body posture: If the pleco cannot swim upright or if it keeps laying on one side, then the fish is having a curved spine. This negatively affects pleco’s swimming abilities, rendering it useless and lethargic.
  • Red and pink spots: When pleco develops white spots, you can still hope that the fish is curable. But if these spots turn pink or red, then plecos are entering their final stages.

3. Can salt cure fungus in fish?

Yes. Salinity is an extremely helpful treatment for fungi-infected fish. Not only does it sterilize open wounds and help to get rid of fungal spores, but it also cleans the water.

Adding one or two tablespoons of salt to your aquarium is the best way to ensure that fungal spores are eliminated.

Remember, you need to be mindful when putting salt inside the tank. Usually, a 10-gallon tank will need no more than ¼ tablespoon of salt.


Pleco white fungus is a common disease for home tanks. While it can be fatal, timely intervention can greatly reduce the chances of your fish dying from this disease.

Make sure to follow the tips and tricks as stated above and your plecos will surely survive.