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FAQs on African Cichlid Diseases 9  

FAQs on African Cichlid Disease:
African Cichlid Disease 1African Cichlid Disease 2, African Cichlid Disease 3, African Cichlid Disease 4, African Cichlid Disease 5, African Cichlid Disease 6, African Cichlid Disease 7, African Cichlid Disease 8, African Cichlid Disease 9, African Cichlid Disease 10, African Cichlid Disease 11, African Cichlid Disease 12,
FAQs on African Cichlid Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments,

Related Articles: African Cichlids, Malawian Cichlids: The Mbuna and their Allies By Neale Monks, The Blue Followers: the Placidochromis of Lake Malawi by Daniella Rizzo, Cichlid Fishes,

Related FAQs: Cichlid Disease, Cichlid Disease 2, Cichlid Disease 3, African Cichlids in General, African Cichlid Identification, African Cichlid Selection, African Cichlid Behavior, African Cichlid Compatibility, African Cichlid Systems, African Cichlid Feeding, African Cichlid Reproduction, Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease, Cichlid Reproduction,

Gill problems    /RMF  12/2/14
I noticed that one of my older Neolamprologus multifasciatus was sort of gasping and looking stressed. I did an extra change to see if that would help and when it did not I decided to move her to a clean highly oxygenated hospital tank.
<Good moves>
I gently scooped her up with the net (there is no way she was injured by this) and when I put her in the new tank she was bent and her gills seemed to be turning inside out. I have never seen anything like this, she was fine one second and the next bent and struggling to swim with her gills exposed. Do you have any idea what may have caused this?
<Can only guess of course... I take it that no other livestock was/appeared, appears mal-afflicted... Which rules out most all water
quality possibilities. Perhaps this one "ate a bad bug"... that somehow got into the system (can be opened w/ a sharp single edge razor if dead); or somehow swallowed gravel? Am referring this email to Neale for his independent response.
Bob Fenner>

Gill problems  /Neale  12/3/14
I noticed that one of my older Neolamprologus multifasciatus was sort of gasping and looking stressed. I did an extra change to see if that would help and when it did not I decided to move her to a clean highly oxygenated hospital tank.
I gently scooped her up with the net (there is no way she was injured by this) and when I put her in the new tank she was bent and her gills seemed to be turning inside out. I have never seen anything like this, she was fine one second and the next bent and struggling to swim with her gills exposed. Do you have any idea what may have caused this?
<From what I can see this little chap looks beyond stressed. She looks like she's on the way out, to be honest, and rather underweight, as if starving for a while, perhaps from lack of food or else chronic disease of some sort. But in any case, Neolamprologus, like all Tanganyikans, react badly to all sorts of environmental stresses. So review the obvious. Sudden changes (drops) in pH are lethal to them. Ensure the water has adequate buffering capacity (carbonate hardness) and mineral content (general hardness). Make sure the pH is solidly stable in the right range, anything between 7.5 and 8.2 is fine, but the number shouldn't vary much. Exposure to toxins such as paint fumes, insecticides, herbicides, etc. can all be extremely lethal to cichlids, something I learned the hard way when keeping Nanochromis. Review exposure via sprays in the air and accidental contaminations via buckets, pipes, etc. Nitrate is the slow killer with cichlids, so keep below 20 mg/l, through water changes and moderate stocking, but do also check ammonia and/or nitrite (I favour nitrite as the more reliable of these two). Velvet is a parasite that often affects the gills before it's visible on the skin, so that's another consideration.
I've cc'ed our cichlid expert here, Chuck, in case there's something he'll want to add. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gill problems      12/4/14
Thank you for your help. She was a very small female but other than being old had no health issues whatsoever until this happened out of no place. female "Multies" rarely reach over .75-1" and she was ten which put her well over her expected lifespan.
<Indeed. But keep an eye out for other fish behaving oddly.>
She may have been a bit smaller than normal as she just laid eggs just over a week ago and didn't eat much when guarding them in her shell. I put her down shortly after sending the email. It looked as if her gills had swollen into big red protruding bubbles. And it happened in an instant. So sad as she has been with me a long time.
<I can well imagine. Neat cichlid to keep, these.>
Thank you so much for your help.
<Welcome. Neale.>

Need help with cichlid     8/15/14
Color Change in Lake Victorian Cichlid
I've aquarium about half year. I like cichlids a lot, I have 5 since I bought aquarium and I bought additional cichlid 1 months ago, but he started change color in bright red on the profile sides. But he eat very well and he's always very active. I'm so worried about him.. Is that skin disease and how to treat it? I attached photos. Thanks. I hope you can help
< Your Zebra Obliquidens from the Lake Victorian basin is a male and the reddish coloration is normal. No need to treat for anything. Chuck>

HELP...fish dead in 3 days... African Cichlids, no data, rdg.     6/8/14
I keep African cichlids and in the last 3 days i have lost half my tank stock. When it first started all the water parameters were good but i did a 50% water change anyway's. Now things seem to be moving even faster.
please help diagnose my problem.
<Need data... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/AfCichDisDiagF.htm
Bob Fenner>
I don't know if i am signed up with you guys any more but my email works also. Here are some pics.
<Nothing attached>

My Auratus Cichlid is sick     3/23/14
My female auratus cichlid seems to be struggling to survive. She is in the tank with a male auratus who has been harassing her attempting to mate but she doesn’t seem interested. She spends all her time getting away from him and is now completely exhausted. She lays in corners hiding and only stirs if i walk up to the tank. I’ve noticed over the past few days that she has stopped eating, and has stopped pooping, and that area has become swollen and red.
<These fish need to be separated. Now>

I’m wondering if there's
anything I can do to make her better? There are 3 other cichlids in the tank and 4 zebra danios. The cichlids eat Omega One Cichlid pellets
and the danios eat flakes. All the levels in the tank are healthy, I do regular water changes (once a week, about 50%) and it’s a 45 gallon tank. Please help! And thank you so much for your time!
<Let's have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afcichdisf8.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: My Auratus Cichlid is sick     3/24/14

Thank you so much for responding so quickly! I have temporarily elevated her in a large net in the same tank so none of the other fish can get at her, she's resting and in the past couple hours she seems to be feeling a bit better.
I don't have a proper hospital tank and everything is closed for the evening. what would be the smallest safe size of container I could put her in until I can get to the store in the morning?
I don't think I can leave her in the net.
<A floating plastic colander... READ where you were referred. B>

Sick Cichlid
Sick Ps. Acei      12/30/13

I have a mature male 5" acei experiencing extreme difficulties.  He was in a 55 gallon tank, with 5 electric yellows, a female Saulosi,  a neon chiwindi peacock, a sunburst peacock, and a Pleco, and a female mature acei.
I saw this before in a male Saulosi I bought from another enthusiast, for my female, but he started with the behavior after having him only 2 days.
This was over a year ago, and he was never in the main tank, but segregated with the female alone in a 30 gallon tank.  After he started to fail I removed the female and returned her to the main tank.
He starting having a slight "S" curve to his body, and swimming vertically when relaxed.  He would swim horizontally when he was feeding, or actively swimming.  No lesions,  no marks, no fuzz, no patches.  His tail is changing color now, after a month, but I think it's because he balances on it quite often.
I removed him from the tank and started searching the web for answers.
Thinking it was swim bladder related, I didn't feed for approx 3 days, then offered peas, which he wouldn't eat.  I haven't provided any medication.
I've started offering his usual food again, but he will lay at the bottom of the tank, on his side, until I go in to the room, and when he sees me he struggles to swim, and will eat, but can't stay coordinated enough to get much food.  He has been out of the community tank for over a month now, and continues to decline.
I saw this before in a male Saulosi I bought from another enthusiast, for my female, but he started with the behavior after having him only about a week.  This was over a year ago, and he was never in the main tank, but segregated with the female alone in a 30 gallon tank.  After he started to fail I removed the female and returned her to the main tank.  After several weeks of no improvement I put him down.
I had done a 50% water change in the main tank on Xmas day, and today found the female acei dead under a "bridge" and the Saulosi "missing".  Several months ago I lost another mature male acei, with the same symptoms, but I thought he had been injured in an ornament.  Before whatever it was could progress, he was killed by others in the tank.  I did a 75% water change today in the main tank, but didn't clean the filter, an HOB, to maintain beneficial bacteria.
Two days ago I went into my local fish store, to ask for help, they had no suggestions.  Believe it or not though, in one of their mixed tanks they had what appeared to be a acei with the same symptoms, early onset (S shape, vertical swimming).  I tried to explain to the 2nd guy what was happening, and although he agreed the fish was not acting normally, he thought it was because others were picking on it.  I strongly disagreed.  My fish has been segregated for over a month and continues to deteriorate.  The LFS fish was being harassed because of the behavior, but barely if at all even at that, from what I could see.
Help.  I'm at a loss.  Is there anything I can do to help my fish, should I put him down? Kathy
< The Ps acei is a schooling fish that feeds on algae that grows on logs.
Being from Lake Malawi it requires hard alkaline water and water temps in the mid 70's F. Internal problems usually are the result of a problem diet.
This fish should be fed a diet high in algae like Spirulina.  You provide no data on how you have been keeping your fish so I can't comment. Usually fish with internal problems are having problems digesting  proteins or the binders in the fish food. Herbivorous fish with long intestines sometimes have these food elements getting stuck in their intestines and the bacteria in the gut start to break theses blockages down.  Hopefully the bacteria can be inhibited and the blockage can be passed. Medications like Metronidazole and Furanace are absorbed into the fish and can have some effects on these bacteria. Unfortunately they can also cause problems with the fish's internal organs. So I would isolate the fish in a hospital tank and treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Furan 2. When the fish starts to eat again then remove the medication from the water with water changes and carbon. When it is strong enough you can place him back in the tank. -Chuck>
RE: Sick Cichlid
Sick Ps. Acei II      12/30/13

Thank you, Chuck';
He's been on NLS cichlid food since I got him as a juvenile, probably close to 3 years now.  Our tap water is typically hard, and I've keep the water around 76.  Will algae wafers help, any other food like the zucchini I feed
the Plecos? I'll get the meds you've suggested and start them right away.
Thanks!  Kathy
< I personally like the NLS fish food and don't think that is the problem.
The Ps acei is not normally aggressive and may be stressed being a single acei in a mixed Mbuna tank. besides the meds other things that will help will be adding some salt to the tank and doing frequent water changes. Good luck. Chuck>

Red zebra cichlid; usual lack of data      11/15/13
I have a baby red zebra. He is maybe just over 21/2 in long. He has been fine since I got him a year ago when he was a fry. Never had a problem besides him always redecorating lol.
He was fine this morning but I noticed him swimming slow and a lil wobbly so I put some food in to aw if he ate or not and while he was eating he did a complete back flip. He isn't bloated. Or showing any signs externally. He just went to the bathroom and it looks normal.
Tank is
Am. 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0 ( just carried out water change today but it never even makes it to 20ppm)
<No; as in zip NO3? Unusual>
He has been eating Cyclops, rotifer, Spirulina, zucchini, and an occasional bloodworm stolen from a Ropefish.
I have removed him from the tank so he isn't caused more stress. But need to know where to go from there.
Thank you so much for your help.
<Water quality? Tankmates are fine I take it; what are they? Do review what is archived on WWM re Mbuna, Malawi cichlid systems. Bob Fenner>
Re: Red zebra cichlid   11/17/13

It was 0 at that point when I tested cu
<.... what was zero? [NO3]? Not with the use of a canister filter... try another test kit. B>
I had just carried out a large water change few hours before.
The system is a 55 with a canister filter rated for double and an addition 2 job filters rated for up to 55.
I over filter due to the inhabitants mostly being Geophagus. Other than that are four Ropefish an one bicher. None of them are aggressive at all.
The zebra has been getting on great. Before he was in a 20g grow out tank and when I put him in the 55 he was ecstatic. Swimming back and forth and shoveling substrate everywhere lol.
I pulled him out and put him in a hospital tank with brand new water and prime overnight and he seems to be back to normal.
I was doing some reading on your site and was having trouble finding what I needed. And I just wrote cus I didn't want him to die while I was researching. I will continue to read on your site. You guys are an amazing resource. And are greatly appreciated.

Fin deterioration on African cichlids  10/11/13
First let me thank you in advance for the help.
 I have a 180 gallon African cichlid tank with a wet dry filter. pH 8.0, NO3 25,
<... I'd be checking this... And is this measure (supposedly) Nitrogen as nitrate or? I suspect the actual concentration is MUCH higher... I'd check with another test kit; a good one>

 NO2 0, NH4 0.  The fins on the fish have been deteriorating over the last 3 months. Recently, the scales on the head are eroding like HLLE. 
<I see this>
The fish are fed 2x a day New Life Spectrum cichlid blend.
<A fave; fab; what I fed my African Cichlids for years; both from Pablo Tepoot>
  I'm beginning to think there is stray voltage in the tank. 
For equipment there is an Iwaki 70 external pump, 40w ultraviolet uv, Hydor power head, and a chiller.  I tested the tank with a multimeter in the past but didn't get a reading with the multimeter.  In retrospect however the chiller may have been off during the test.  Would the chiller be a viable cause?
<Highly unlikely>
  How would I go about using a multimeter to test this (I want to be sure I used it properly the first time around)?
Thanks again,
<What you have is almost assuredly "classical" metabolite poisoning. I would either ditch the wet dry entirely or modify it, clean the mechanical media... Daily... yes; every 24 hours... Do search, read re trickle/wet-dry technology on WWM. Not appropriate for your setting. Sorry for my didactic-ness this AM. Am running short... as usual. Please do write back if you have further questions, need for clarification. Bob Fenner>

Five Bar Cichlid Missing Bottom Jaw/Fungus Infection (Bob, another Melafix *fail* for your collection!!!)<<sigh...>>   3/25/13
I have a single juvenile five-bar cichlid (Neolamprologus tretocephalus) living alone with 2 Synodontis catfish that are around the same size as him. I believe that mine may have injured his lower law due to his aggression (he likes to bite at rocks, glass, etc.) At first, it was a small injury, but due to my neglect at realising the issue's severity, the injury started growing white fuzzy stuff all over the lower law, disintegrating it and leaving him barely able to eat. I've been treating him with strong doses of MelaFix, but the situation has gotten worse and worse over the last few days. The water temperature is at 78*F, pH is 8-8.2, and nitrite is at 0. After the injury, he has become more and more withdrawn, hiding in a cave most of the time, but he still appears physically healthy besides the mouth area. Any help would be more than welcome, as I just want to know if there is a chance to save him. If not, should I euthanise him? I would only euthanise him if it was the last option though, but he is struggling more and more to eat food.
Thank you,
<To be honest, yes, I'd euthanise this fish. Without jaws, the fish cannot feed. Melafix is, at best, a preventative, and shouldn't be used as a direct treatment for infections once they become visible. Think of it more like an antiseptic than an antibiotic, something you use on a kid with a cut, but not someone who has gangrene (which is, effectively, what Finrot, Fungus and Mouth "Fungus"/Columnaris are). So once you see an infection, use a true, reliable medication like Maracyn or whatever. You'll find 30 drops of clove oil in one litre of aquarium water will create a useful killing bath that sedates the fish quickly, and then kills the fish within a few minutes (but leave the fish in the bath for 20-30 minutes, since fish death is determined as 10 minutes after the last gill movements). Cheers, Neale.>

Skin issue with coral twain reef cichlid. Please help!  12/31/12
I hope you can help me. I have had this wild caught coral twain reef
<I assume you mean Protomelas sp. 'Steveni Taiwan' , also known as the Taiwan Reef Cichlid.>
now for a year and he has always seemed healthy and still does besides this skin issue.
<Yes, I see. Looks like there's some erosion of the skin plus excess mucous.>
As you can see from the picture, he's got a moldy fuzz appearance on his eye as well as forehead, bottom fins, and side. It started with just the discoloration on his side and now has progressed to what you see. The tank parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates and nitrates. Ph is 8.0. I do 20 to 30% water changes every 2 to 3 days. I use 1 tablespoon of salt per gallon,
<Why? You do understand that careless use of salt causes problems for Malawian cichlids; do read up on Malawi Bloat.>
water conditioner, Malawi buffer,

<Assuming this is Malawi (or Rift Valley) salt mix, then you shouldn't need to add the tablespoon of salt. If the buffer is simply pH 8 buffer, then you are creating a problem. The pH of Lake Malawi is around 8, that's true, but your job is to raise carbonate and general hardness through the use of an appropriate mineral salt mix; do read here:
The Rift Valley Salt Mix is cheap and easy to make at home.>
stress zyme
<To the tap water?>
and ammonia neutralizer when needed.
<Ah now, this is worrying me. Are you adding ammonia neutralizer to tap water? That's fine. But if you have non-zero ammonia levels in the aquarium and think adding ammonia neutralizer will help, then you have a problem.
Ammonia in aquaria should ALWAYS be managed through filtration, typically, biological filtration.>
It wasn't always like this as up until 3 weeks ago, I always had .25 ammonia.
<Then your tank is overstocked, overfed, and/or under-filtered. It's also why your Protomelas is sick.>
The tank has been setup for 1 year. I have searched everywhere and have no clue. Anyone  I have spoken to has never seen anything like it.  Please respond.
<Protomelas inhabit extremely clean water. They are sensitive to poor water quality. They are also rather shy and peaceful, so you MUST NOT keep them with aggressive fish like Mbuna or they will be stressed. I'd bet all the money in my pockets that the problem here is environmental: the tank is too small and/or under-filtered (hence the non-zero ammonia) and that you've stressed this fish through the wrong water chemistry (see above) and poor water quality and perhaps the wrong tankmates. Review, and act accordingly.
As for medication, a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone works wonders with cichlids, ideally, used in your quarantine tank (which I presume you have if you've bought an expensive wild-caught cichlid like this). Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Skin issue with coral Taiwan reef cichlid. Please help!    12/31/12
Thanks for the reply. After reading over my question again I realized I put that I use a tablespoon of salt per gallon. This is incorrect. I use a tablespoon per 5 gallon. It's regular aquarium salt. Not cichlid salt. Should I not use it?
<Absolutely not; at least, not by itself. Aquarium salt (also called tonic salt) is sodium chloride. This is the major salt that makes seawater salty (there are actually dozens of other salts in seawater, though in smaller amounts). Rift Valley cichlids are specifically adapted to the minerals of the lakes; in the case of Lake Malawi, it's calcium salts that are the majority, not sodium salts like sodium chloride. The real issue is the way they effect osmoregulation, which is the process whereby the fish get the right balance of minerals and water inside their cells. The wrong sort of minerals outside the body, or the wrong amount of minerals, and the fish either dehydrates or gets continually "flooded" with water (kind of like a fish drowning, if you can imagine such a thing). If you go back and read the Practical Approach to Water Chemistry article, you'll see that there's a "salt mix" that includes baking soda (which is sodium bicarbonate), Epsom salt (which is magnesium sulphate), and marine aquarium salt mix (which includes both sodium salts and calcium salts). The amounts you need of each is very small, teaspoon or tablespoon quantities per 5 gallons. So the mix costs pennies a month. But the benefits for your Rift Valley cichlids will be substantial and long-term. Don't change all the water chemistry at once, but over the next few weeks, as you change out 20-25% of the water, replace with new water that has this Rift Valley salt mix added. Cheap, easy and effective -- not often I get to recommend something that's so simple!>
Also, it's a 75 gallon tank filtered by an Eheim pro 350 filter. There's currently 16 fish in the tank. 2 yellow labs,
<Labidochromis spp. should be okay with Protomelas, but watch them.>
1 short body Flowerhorn, 1 blood parrot,
<Neither of these belong in here; remove them ASAP. Their behaviour is somewhat milder than the Mbuna, especially the Blood Parrots which can be easy targets for fin-biters like Pseudotropheus zebra>
3 red zebras,
<Pseudotropheus zebra; potentially extremely aggressive and incompatible with Protomelas spp.>
1 red empress,
<Protomelas taeniolatus; another peaceful species.>
<Nimbochromis venustus; another peaceful species.>
1 red jewel,
<Hemichromis bimaculatus; doesn't belong here. A West African rainforest species that does better in soft to medium-harm, around neutral water. Not especially aggressive outside of breeding.>
1 blue Melanochromis, 1 albino Melanochromis and 1 regular female Melanochromis,
<Melanochromis males can be psychotic, especially Melanochromis auratus; Melanochromis johanni is somewhat less aggressive and could cohabit with Protomelas in a large aquarium.>
1 socolofi,
<Pseudotropheus socolofi; not as psychotically aggressive as Pseudotropheus zebra or Melanochromis auratus, so potentially viable with Protomelas given lots and lots of space.>
1 female balloon Flowerhorn,
<See above; simply doesn't belong here.>
1 peacock.
<Aulonocara spp. should not be kept with most Mbuna, especially Pseudotropheus zebra and Melanochromis auratus. Usually wind up battered or simply so stressed their lifespan is appreciably shortened.>
The ammonia neutralizer is only put in once a week after a water change added directly to the tank.
<Why? Do review water quality management, i.e., filtration and stocking, and thereby ensure ammonia sticks at zero. Do understand "false positives" for ammonia are possible with certain types of tap water (containing chloramine) even after treatment. Does tap water register an ammonia level of zero before and then after adding water conditioner? If there is *no* ammonia detected in *both* those tests, but you *do* detect ammonia in the aquarium, then filtration and/or stocking are wrong.>
All fish were added at the same time when they were babies so they have all grown up together and there is literally almost no aggressiveness besides for the 2 yellow labs chasing each other.
<Very surprised, to be honest, but every tank is different. That said, your Protomelas is clearly stressed and that's why it's making extra mucous (the white stuff) and collecting in "scars" or "pits" on the head (cf. Hole-in-the-Head and Head-and-Lateral-Line diseases). In any event, your aquarium sounds overstocked to me, and will be once some of these fish reach full size -- an adult Flowerhorn needs a 75-gallon tank just for itself. Hmm… what else… do get and read something on cichlid-keeping by the likes of Paul Loiselle or Ad Koenig. "The Pocket Professional Guide to Cichlids" by David Boruchowitz is another good book. If you're on a budget, "Fishkeepers Guide to African Cichlids" by Paul Loiselle can be bought on Amazon.com for a measly $0.03 plus shipping; while a bit dated in style and content, it covers all the basics and Loiselle really knows his stuff. Once you've decided you want to get serious about cichlids, then find "The Cichlid Aquarium" by Paul Loiselle; not an easy read and not for beginners, but if you know fishkeeping moderately well, this is the absolute bible on cichlid-keeping and cichlid-biology. Out of print for years, but on Amazon for under $20.>
<Welcome, Neale.>
Re: Skin issue with coral Taiwan reef cichlid. Please help!    12/31/12

My tap water has 0 ammonia,
<Before and after adding your water conditioner of choice?>
as well as the 75 gallon tank. I know the test is correctly measuring ammonia as I have 5 other tanks and a couple are at .25 at the moment.
<Which implies the livestock are producing ammonia faster than the filter can process it (i.e., convert it to nitrite and then nitrate). Review stocking density, filter capacity and feeding regimen, then act accordingly. One of these factors, perhaps more than one, is wrong.>
I have been using the Aquino ammonia neutralizer in the other tanks to make the ammonia and nitrates less harmful until it comes down so I guess I just got in the habit.
<Easily done.>
You are correct, I should not be using it if I don't need to.
<It's harmless in itself. But if you have persistent ammonia in your aquaria, the problem is with water quality management. So rather than adding chemicals, establish what the problem is (why there's more ammonia in the tank than the filter can handle) and adjust the tanks accordingly.>
Now forgive me for questioning you as I know you have many more years of experience then I do.
But if the setup currently works and everyone is getting along meaning the 5" male and 4" female Flowerhorns and 1 parrot then why remove them.
<Because the Flowerhorns won't be 5 inches for long and the Parrot won't be small for long either. Flowerhorn Cichlids are hybrids as you probably know, so their precise adult size can be difficult to predict, but it will be around the 10-12 inch mark (males tending to be a little bigger than females). Remember that the overall size of an animal (i.e., its mass) increases as the cube of any changes in length. So while a 10-inch Flowerhorn may be only twice as long as a 5-inch specimen, it's mass will be EIGHT times than of the 5-inch specimen, and therefore it needs EIGHT times the oxygen and produces EIGHT times the ammonia. Make sense? In any case, a Flowerhorn singleton needs no less than 75 gallons, and a pair (inasmuch as pairs exist with these very aggressive fish) will need twice that amount of water, if not more -- and even then there are no guarantees the male won't decide to murder the female one day.>
They keep to themselves and don't bother anyone or the Taiwan reef.
<These fish are all still young, by the sounds of it. Hmm… you know the game of Russian Roulette? Let's say you play it once, and survive. Does that make it a safe game? Same thing here. Because your young cichlids have so far gotten along doesn't mean they will do indefinitely, and the odds are NOT in your favour. You have a poor combination of species that reveals little understanding of what particular cichlids need, i.e., not enough reading. Mixing Aulonocara with Mbuna is a classic beginner's mistake. You may have come across Mary Bailey in your reading on African cichlids. We've got a trio of her articles here at WWM that you'll find useful:
Mbuna occupy a very specific niche that makes them both fun to watch and difficult to mix with other cichlids. You may decide to try out your own combinations and wait to see what happens. That's fine, but do be aware of the problems, and when you see signs of stress or damage, be prepared to make adjustments. Do understand that mixing Aulonocara with Mbuna, for example, may not result in the immediate death of the Aulonocara, but rather the Aulonocara tend to live shorter, less happy lives than if they were properly kept.>
The issue you see on the Taiwan has always been there since I bought him a year ago, besides for the eye part. You say it's excess mucous but there is no white color to this. It's the same color as the purple scales. It's bumpy and mold like looking.
<Yes. Do see previous e-mail with suggestions on medications. But the immediate problem here is stress of some sort. More the Protomelas species you have to a suitable "peaceful" Mbuna community and it should recover with little if any need for medication.>
It looks like fungus but the same color as his body. Thanks again!
<Welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Poor Electric Yellow Lab Girl 11/9/12
Hi Crew! I have been coming to your website for many years now, and just love it! Thanks for that and I hope you can help me. I have a 90 gal Mbuna tank that has mixed cichlids in it. All the popular ones, I guess you'd say. I have a current resident number of approx 50 of those that I can see. They're breeding like crazy and I have a "rock cliff" with lots of cracks and cranny's for babies. But that's a whole other email. I actually have a more pressing problem. I have a poor Elec Lab and a Mixed Blue female. I have had them since I got the tank 2 yrs ago. They're my original inhabitants. The Elec Lab has always been healthy although timid and the blue mutt did suffer from a bad bout of hole in the head when she was about 1" big, but was always healthy after, as well. Both mothers were prolific breeders. Often carrying about 2 or 3 weeks after spitting. I let nature take it's course in my tank. Basically it's sink or swim in there. I do an 80% water once a week and make my own rift lake buffer salt. Chemistry is always near perfect. The situation is both moms are wasting away. My blue's head is half white and both mom's cheeks are so sunk in. Their bellies are so super skinny. They are swimming and behaving as they normally would. They eat a little more then they usually do. But they just aren't recovering at all. My Lab has been like this for a month and has blood under the skin between her upper lip and my blue just isn't gaining anything. They both have always recovered quickly after a brood. Are they just done? Has old age or breeding stress claimed my poor little girls? Is there anything I can do at this point? Is there really any point to saving the ole girls? Thanks for any help you can give me.
<Assuming these fish are with males, and that the females don't outnumber the males by at least 3 to 1, the stress of breeding is very likely a key factor here. In the wild females wouldn't be carrying eggs all the time. They'd be able to choose when to breed, so they'd be able to spend some weeks between broods feeding themselves. Remember, while carrying eggs they can't eat, so if they're always carrying, they're never feeding. Isolating the females after breeding is very important, and while the "sink or swim" makes sense in terms of controlling the number of fry, it makes no sense at all if the females can't remove themselves from the males. Your tank is small -- by Mbuna standards -- so the fact females can't avoid the males is likely a major problem. So, what you want to do is isolate the females, medicate with Metronidazole, and feed them well for a couple months. The alternative is what you often see in "generic" Mbuna tanks -- females dying prematurely because of the stress, so you end up with just males. Cheers, Neale.>

African Cichlid Trouble, Compatibility, And Reading - 10/15/2012
Hi Team,
<Hi, Sandeep!  Sabrina with you tonight.>
I went through your website and the faqs. You guys are doing an awesome job. Thank you guys for being there.
<Thank you so much for these kind and encouraging words.>
I wanted to consult you for this issue. I had 6 Blood parrots in my previous set up (tank 6X2X2).
<Is this in....  feet? inches? or?  If in feet, then that's a great sized tank.>
They all died due to some issues with their lungs.
<Gills.  No lungs in fish, except for very rudimentary lung-like structures in some few very strange fish (like, as the name implies, lungfish).  The blood parrots, a hybrid of South American cichlids, have just ordinary gills.>
I had consulted my nearby dealer to check what was happening , and tried all those things like cleaning the gavel, cleaning the filter and changing the water.
<This was good advice from the dealer.  I only wish they'd suggested you test your water....>
Then applying ocean free's different kinds of medicines (almost in all colors).
<Medicating is ALWAYS dangerous, unless you know EXACTLY what you're treating....  Mixing medications can have disastrous effects, both on the fish and on the biological filtration of your tank, which then worsens the water quality, thereby reducing the fishes' chances for survival and recovery....>

They died after around 3 months one by one. I couldn't eat or work for days.
<Sorry to hear it, Sandeep.>
Now I have that tank in a new setup, all African cichlids.
<A very vague statement....  Africa, as you know, is an enormous continent, with many, MANY different fishes from different places with different needs.  Typically, however, when folks say "African cichlids", they're usually referring to the fish of the great rift lakes - Malawi and Tanganyika.  For the moment, I'll assume that's what you mean.>

They all seems to be healthy. But they too are dying without any reason.
<By definition, then, I think it's safe to assume that they're actually not healthy.  There is something "wrong" here, either with the fish or with the water.>
No bacterial or fungal infection that one could see from outside. No change in behavior. However almost every day the juvenile ones keep dying and this is something which I would never expect. I have a red dragon Flowerhorn as well in a 3X1.5X1.5 tank
<I'm still not sure exactly what unit of measurement you're using, but if this is in feet, then this tank should be considered very small, especially for a Flowerhorn, and even more so if you're mixing species of African (rift lake) cichlids.  And I do very much hope that the Flowerhorn is not in the same tank as the African cichlids; please do be aware that Flowerhorn, a hybrid of South American cichlid species, has VASTLY different water requirements from those of rift lake cichlids!  Water that would be good for the Flowerhorn would ultimately weaken or even harm rift lake cichlids, and vice verse.>
he is with me for a month now. He is nearly 2 inches long. But he wouldn't come out at all. He would always hide behind the filter. He eats well otherwise.
<Hopefully just acclimating....  However, at his small size, if he is in with rift lake cichlids, he may just be trying to hide to stay alive. 
Really, these fish can't mix; their water requirements are just far too different.>
Now I am afraid if it's the same issue that my parrots had is happening to my African cichlids as well? How do I diagnose the issue, and how do I fix it?
<Sandeep, your first and most important step is to have a very good understanding of the "health" of the water in the tank.  You will need to test the water for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and pH, at a minimum. 
Ammonia and Nitrite must always be ZERO, and Nitrate as low as possible, at least below 20ppm.  If you do not have test kits for this, see if your local fish dealer will test them for you.  Ask them to tell or show you the readings; don't settle for an answer like "Your water is okay" or "pretty good"....  you need to know the actual values to have a clear idea of the quality of your tank's water.  As far as pH goes, most South American cichlids want soft, slightly acidic water, though many will tolerate a very wide range, as long as the pH is stable, and the Flowerhorn is no exception to this.  The rift lake cichlids, on the other hand, have VERY specific pH and hardness requirements, and can suffer if those are not met.  I would advise you to read, on WetWebMedia and other places, about the needs of the fish you are keeping.  As you gain a better understanding of the animals, where they come from, and what they need, you'll be better prepared to provide for them - and you'll enjoy them more, too.  They're great fish, and learning about them is almost as much fun as watching them!>
Please forgive me if my question is not clear , or if you had already answered these before.
<The only lack of clarity is a lack of detail....  Without information like the readings for water quality, number of fish in the tank, how long the tank has been established, etc., there's unfortunately not a lot that we can tell from a distance.  Your best move is going to be to test your water, have a better understanding of the needs of your fish, and keep learning and enjoying.  Your fish will thank you for doing a little bit more research.  Here are just a few links to help you get started:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm (a listing of articles and FAQs on maintenance, water quality, disease....  Scan through and see which of these might be most helpful, and start reading....)
Please also note the other links on those pages to other FAQs that may be of interest, and also be aware that there is TONS of information available via a simple Google search - not just at WetWebMedia, but all over the 'net.  Rift lake cichlids are a very well-loved and enormous group of fish that is written about quite often.  You might also enjoy Ad Konings books, which you might find here: http://www.cichlidpress.com/ .  He's a cichlid "hero" of sorts, and his books are quite nice.  I hope these leads will get you started in the right directions, and I'm sorry I can't give you a short and simple answer to your problem.  The only "real" answer, like so much in life, is to learn.>
Thanks & Regards
Sandeep MK
 My best wishes to you and your fish.  -Sabrina>
African Cichlid Trouble, Compatibility, And Reading - II - 10/15/2012

Hi Sabrina,
<Hi again, Sandeep!>
Thanks for the quick reply. Sorry about the confusion.
<No worries.>
1st tank: Malawi and Tanganyika (all measures are in feet). Nearly 20 of them in it.
<I see.>
2nd one : Flower horn. Alone in the tank. Again the measures are in feet.
<A good tank for him to start out in.  Hopefully he is just acclimating, but do keep a close eye on him and his behavior.  Water changes won't hurt, either.>
I am located in Bangalore India, and we don't have much options to test the water (at least not available in common, however will check all the options available )
<Is it an option (and affordable) to purchase test kits online?  With shipping costs, etc., perhaps this is cost-prohibitive, I don't know.  But if it's possible, it might be worth your while.  In the US, one of the best "easy" (and easily available here) test kits are those made by API (not the test "strips", the liquid reagent kits).  Let me know if you want/need a link to see what kit(s) I mean.  In any case, if it is not possible to get test kits (or even if it is, it'll be a while before they get there if you have them shipped), your only current course of action that is really useful (aside from reading, of course!) is water changes.  Possibly big water changes, too, since we can't currently know what exactly is "going on" in your tank water.  What you describe sounds more environmental than anything else, and fixing the environment (with water changes) is perhaps the best thing to do.>
Thank you for all the links.
I'll read through them and will get back to you if I have more doubts.
<I do hope you'll find helpful information as you read.>
Thanks & Regards
Sandeep MK
<Best wishes always,  -Sabrina>

African Cichlid Tumor?    10/8/12
Cichlid Tumor Treatment

Hi Crew! I’m hoping you guys can provide some advice or insight regarding a sick African cichlid- “Bumblebee” (Pseudotropheus crabro) that I have had for almost 4 years now. He is just over 5 inches in length.
Tank Info- 75-gallon freshwater tank; Marineland Emperor 400 HOB filter; 2 airstones powered by Whisper air pump; Tahitian moon gravel/sand which replaced pebble gravel over a year ago. AquaSafe water conditioner used during all water changes.
Tank mates- 1 acei cichlid (approx. 5.5 inches in length) ; 1 electric yellow (3.5 inches in length); all 3 cichlids bought within 2 weeks of each other and were at similar sizes at purchase; no other tank mates ever.
Bumblebee has generally been in the middle hierarchy of the tank as the acei is the most dominant tank inhabitant and the electric yellow as the least dominant with no major incidents- just the usual territorial/chasing behaviors exhibited by all 3 over the years. There are also a number of Anubias plants in this tank that have been in the tank for just over 2 years. The system has been quite stable with no major environmental concerns outside of a submersible heater that went bad early in 2011 and water temps dropped for a few days before I noticed.
Water quality is tested at least monthly with 15-25% water changes completed every 2-3 weeks or more frequently on some occasions. I feed daily Hikari Cichlid Gold medium floating pellets and Omega One Super Color small sinking pellets simultaneously to help with aggression during feeding- no changes over the last couple of years in terms of diet.
In July of 2012 I first noticed 1 then 2 small “pimples” developing on Bumblebee’s nose between the eyes (see first image). No other concerns noted at that time- no changes in activity; appetite still great, etc.. Water quality was tested and was in range of the tank norms (pH 7.6; 0 Ammonia; 0 Nitrites; 5-10ppm Nitrates; 81.5 degrees F). I have always added a low amount of aquarium salt during water changes (1 tbsp per 10 gallons or half the recommended dose due to the plants in the tank) but I increased the salt to the recommended 1 tbsp per 5 gallons at that time hoping that the pimples were just the result of scratching against décor or an aggressive tank mate. No changes observed whatsoever with tank mates to date.
Over the past month the 2 pimples have begun to grow quite rapidly with no other changes noticed in activity except that the bumblebee has been the least dominant tank mate since mid-August. Appetite has been great/no changes in activity levels.
Last Monday (10/1) Bumblebee began flashing against the tank decorations rubbing the large tumor-like growth and removing some of his skin showing the inner pink ulcer/tumor. I immediately removed him to a 20 gallon hospital tank with that change in his behavior. Water quality in the 75-gallon tank was fine upon testing (pH 8.0; Negative for ammonia and nitrites; 5-10 ppm nitrates; 82.2 degrees F)
I have treated him for the past week with API’s T.C. Tetracycline powder- 2 packets per day due to 20 gallon quarantine tank with 25% water changes every 2 days.. I used that treatment for 6 days with no results (see other 2 images attached).
Bumblebee continues to flash against the corners of the tank and has debrided some of the ulcer/tumor- there are no décor or substrate in the hospital tank only a heater, airstone, and AquaClear 50 HOB filter.. I removed the tetracycline and it’s brownish water discoloration by placing activated carbon in the tank and have done significant water changes to the hospital tank.
Many of the FAQ’s on WWM that seem similar to my cichlids issues have suggested the use of Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole. The products in my area containing those ingredients that I could find this weekend are the API products “General Cure” and “Super Ick Cure”. I added today to the clean hospital tank the “General Cure” for a 20 gallon treatment since the active ingredients are 250 mg Metronidazole and 75 mg Praziquantel per packet.
I am attaching a couple images to clarify what this looks like because this seems to perhaps be a tumor issue as opposed to a bacterial, fungal, or parasitic condition.
The ulcer/tumor is quite large now and looks like it might be spreading just below his right eye and my other concern is that it might be growing inside of Bumblebee’s mouth and I can see a slight pink growth near the top of the mouth (but this is difficult as you can imagine to see definitively). There do not appear to be any changes in his breathing at this time.
Appetite during and since the completed Tetracycline treatment has been very minimal but that seems to be the norm with antibiotic use as I understand.
I appreciate your input and perhaps someone has had some experience in this type of concern- if not I will continue to run the current course of treatment and if unsuccessful I will enjoy the time remaining with Bumblebee unless it causes him distress as I’m really concerned about what could be growing inside of his mouth and how that might impact his quality of life.
Sorry for the length here but I wanted to describe everything I could to aid in your input- to clarify my questions now are as follows..
1. Any thoughts as to the epidemiology of this growth?
< I have had this same situation before and was lucky enough to have a fish vet friend of mine do a biopsy and take a look under a microscope. It turned out to be cancerous tumor.>
2. Should I continue the “General Cure” treatment over the next 4-6 days?
< Probably not effective.>
3. Should I simultaneously use the “Super Ick” powder with the “General Cure” to combine 3.6mg malachite green and 60 mg Nitrofurazone per packet along with the Metronidazole?
< I would recommend that you surgically remove it. I have done this before with mixed results. I would place the fish in a wet towel and hold him still. Take a single edged razor blade and trim the tumor flush with the contour of the head. be careful to only cut into the tumor and not into the head tissue. Treat the wound in a hospital tank with a Nitrofuranace type of antibiotic. It may grow back. Watch for secondary infections.-Chuck>
Thank you so much for your time in this regard!
Mark King

African cichlid dying... Malawi bloat? Beaten      9/4/12
Hello there. I have a red zebra cichlid who is suffering from what I thought was Malawi bloat
<Mmm, no; don't thinks so>
but I am unsure and now think the treatment may have exacerbated the problem.
She is a female red zebra in a 55 gallon African Cichlid set up. I have had her for about two years since she was only about 3/4"! She is now about three inches long, has made it through two sets of offspring with the dominating male of the tank, has made it through multiple brutal attacks by the males in the tank
<Not this one though>
 where I thought she would dye <die>
because her fins were all gone.. ultimately, she is generally a very tough fish!! And my favorite fish in the tank! I currently have 8 fish in the tank. I want to increase the number to decrease aggression, but every time I add new fish, they are killed within a couple of days.
<Too late to add more here>
About two weeks ago I added three new fish. Two of the new ones were attacked to death and killed within the first week. I of course removed them immediately and followed with water changes. Yesterday morning, my red zebra wouldn't eat. I was thinking maybe she was holding fry again but I couldn't see into her mouth and her jaw didn't look extended, so I just kept an eye on her. By the afternoon her fins were all frayed and she had some white areas on her body that looked like scales had fallen off. She was hovering near the top of the tank, stiff looking, and smaller fish were swimming up to her and nibbling at her. She wasn't even fighting back or trying to swim away. I removed her, put her into a 5 gallon bucket filled about 2/3 with tank water and 1/3 new water, with a heater and bubbler. By the evening, the white patches were spreading, she was laying on her side at the bottom, breathing hard, and her chest area on her underside looked very swollen. I did some research and thought her symptoms sounded like Malawi bloat
<... no; this fish was beaten to death. A 55 gallon isn't enough room for what you have in mind, Mbuna need space, habitat to get away from each other>>

 so I ran out to the store to find some Metronidazole or Clout. Of course my LFS did not carry anything useful... all I could find was Tetra Parasite Guard which was the only product containing Metronidazole but unfortunately it doesn't say what the percentage or mg of the ingredients are. I put a half tablet into a cup of water, let it dissolve, and added it in. I also added 1 tsp Epsom salts as I read it is helpful to clean their bowels if it is truly Malawi bloat.
This morning when I left for work, she seemed okay. She was at least sitting up right instead of on her side, but the white patches were spreading more and were kind of slimy looking. By the time I got home from work this evening, the water was very cloudy, and she has some areas that almost look like blood blisters on her fins and body. I can even see some small vessels. She was also floating upside down.
I filled a clean 5 gallon bucket with new water, moved the heater and bubbler, added some more salts, no antibiotics this time, and once the water got to temp, moved her over. Within minutes she was back on her side instead of floating upside down. She looks terrible though.
I'm very upset because she is my favorite fish and I would be sad to see her pass. At this point I don't know if there is something else I can try in order to help save her or if it is better to just humanely euthanize her :(
Any insight would be great
<As stated, I don't see much promise here... maybe the removal of this one fish will "re-set" the social dynamic in this tank, allow all to live together for a while longer. Bob Fenner>

Help my cichlids suddenly sick & dying 1/24/12
I am hoping that you guys can help me. I have a 125 gallon fresh water Cichlid tank. I have had a cichlid tank for several years. I have just restocked my tank about 3 months ago because my old fish service killed almost my whole tank of adult beautiful cichlids by changing my underground filter
<A poor choice for filtering these systems>

this past spring by sterilizing my tank. It has been recycled & I have had about 15 small healthy fish for over 4 months. It is powered by 2 separate Marine land 360 filters,
<Ahh, much better>
3 power heads with an underground filter.
I had 15 small 1.5-3 inch various African cichlids all healthy. The new fish servicing company who cleans my tank talked me into buying there 17 much larger (5-6 inch)

various cichlids because they wanted to start a salt water tank. I agreed, since my tank was so big and appeared half empty.
<Mmm, better (by far!) to start all small and have grow up together... Now you have Mbuna wars!>
This took place about 2 ½ weeks ago, all went well with the move. His fish were acclimated to my water, I had done a 40% water change about a week before and rearranged the tank the night before. All the fish appeared healthy for the first week. Then last week all of a sudden 4 of his fish had white covered over one of their eyes. I started treating with Melafix
<Worse than worthless. Might have killed off your bio-filter. See WWM re this product by API>
& added more African cichlid salt as per directions. However the next day a couple of other fish suddenly developed ulcer looking sores on their bodies, I have had several other fish die with white patches on their heads mostly & others have developed rather extensive ulcers in a matter of 12 hours. When the other fish were noted with ulcers I started treating with both Melafix & Pimafix.
The cloudy eyed fish look a little better, however many of the fish that look healthy are not eating along with the cloudy eyed fish. Also 2 of the cloudy eyed fish have developed ulcer looking lesions on their head by the cloudy eye. Please help me figure out what is going on, what is it? & how do I treat it?
<Can't tell what it is from the data proffered, hence, no way to suggest a treatment>
Do I continue Melafix & Pimafix?
<I would never use these period>

My water parameters were good & remain good. Ph 7.5-8.0, Nitrites negative & Nitrates 10. I have been doing water changes about every 3 days since the health problem.
<A good reflex defensive mechanism>
I have also attached pictures to help give you a better picture of what is going on with my fish.
<... I see the scarring... looks to me to be from aggression>

Thanks so much. I am anxious to hear your response. I would love to save my fish & I don't want to add the wrong medicine & stress them out any further.
<There may be a secondary (decomposer) mechanism at play here, but my best guess is the new, larger fishes are simply killing each other off principally. Best never to add to established African Lake Cichlid communities. Bob Fenner>

Having babies has upset my tank and now I have two dead cichlids. Need advice.
Lake Malawi Tank Deaths 1/5/12

I started with 4 different cichlids in a 50 gallon tank. The fish had been very healthy and survived a move from Kansas to Texas spending a day in a 10 gallon bucket. My fish included:
Male Metanochromis auratus - Very territorial
Male Pseudotropheus Socolofi - Easy going but gave nothing up to the Metanochromis if bothered.
Female Metriaclima Estherae - Was fish who had babies
Female ? Nimbochromis Venustus - Keeps to itself - not aggressive -
Doesn't have a blue face so I think it's a female.
I didn't know anything about cichlids when I bought them for my son, I just thought they were pretty. I didn't know what I was getting into. I learned that the fish were very territorial, but they seemed to divide up the tank and mostly got along. I have had the fish for well over two years. The issue started after my female Metriaclima had babies. I didn't realize she was pregnant. She would disappear for long periods of time and then just show up again. Anyway, babies showed up in the tank one day. I tried getting the babies into another tank, but they were so tiny and hiding up inside my rocks and I couldn't get them out without fear of killing them.
I thought mom must have been defending them because she was suddenly flailing on the bottom of the tank one day. I got her out and put her in the other tank but couldn't save her. She looked like she had been beaten up as her fins were all messed up. To make sure it was not a tank issue, I did a water change, etc. Nitrate was a bit high but came down after I did the water change. The rest of the levels looked fine.
Yesterday I noticed that my male Pseudotropheus was not coming out for food but eating from the bottom of the tank. He is always building a nest down under the rock and stays there most of the time, but not coming out to eat was new. This morning he was at the top of the tank in a vertical position looking beaten up. I immediately moved him to the other tank. But I don't think he's going to make it.
I have about 4 babies that have survived and they seem to be growing and doing well. I'm concerned that I have two dead fish. I assume my aggressive male is killing off the other fish, but I'm concerned I'm missing something and maybe something else is going on disease wise. I'm still going to try and get my babies out and into a smaller tank, but that leaves me with only two fish left of my original four. Any suggestions? Am I on the right track or should I be looking for something else.
Thank you, Christine
< Lower the water temp to the mid to low 70's. Add some dither fish like giant Danios, or other large schooling fish. This should lower the aggression levels.-Chuck

my African cichlid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom fin 12/11/11
<Be quiet! If the other cichlids hear about it, they'll want some too! But seriously, sounds like Lymphocystis. Quite common when Perciform fish like cichlids aren't kept in perfect conditions. What's the aquarium like? How big? What's the water chemistry? How low do you keep nitrate? That's nitrate with an "a" -- I assume nitrite with an "i" is zero. A photo would help with the diagnosis. Cheers, Neale.>
<<Egg dummies? RMF>>
Re: my African cichlid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom fin 12/11/11

My filter had went out I bought a new one the fish is in a tank all alone what medicine should I go buy
<If this is Lymphocystis, there's no cure. It'll go away by itself in a few weeks or months. Lymphocystis is a viral disease. The swellings are usually some sort of off-white to cafe-aut-lait colour, and may have a rough texture. Do look online for photos. Another possibility is some sort of Finrot, quite common when fins are damaged and water quality is poor. There are many medications for this; consult your retailer, but avoid the "preventative" type medications like Melafix, Pimafix, Stress Coat and so on. You want a reliable antibiotic or antibacterial. Again, look online for photos of Finrot.>
Lol u r a trip needed that laugh
Glad I could amuse. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: my African chiclid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom fin 12/12/11

<<Egg dummies? RMF>>
<<<Possibly, Bob, but those should be obvious yellow-white oval shaped markings on the anal fin, rather than balls. Totally out of left field, but I did also think about Ophthalmotilapia ventralis, a species with males that have very weird egg-shaped structures at the end of their pectoral -- not anal -- fins. Anyone keeping this expensive, rarely-sold species would know they had one, surely? Cheers, Neale.>>>
<Ah, one never knows. C and B, B>
Re: my African chiclid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom fin

It is such a beautiful fish he is blue and black
<Doesn't really narrow things down, I'm afraid. Photo? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: my African chiclid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom fin

Yes this fish was expensive ! Money isn't an issue we u by things you enjoy and yes I knew what kind of fish I bought it is my second one !
<A photo will help. Meantime, review Lymphocystis, Finrot, egg dummies on male Pseudotropheus, and what Ophthalmotilapia looks like. Cheers, Neale.>

Copadichromis azureus with Long Stringy Feces 10/27/11
Hello team!
The background (apologies if it's too much detail): I currently have 3 tanks, 75 Gallon, 55L Gallon, and 20L Gallon, with Lake Malawi Cichlids.
My 55L gallon (the only tank with a problem fish) has been cycled for a couple of months. I perform 2 25%-30% water changes per week. I am running an AquaClear 70 filter with a filter-max III prefilter (along with a 36" bubble wand across the back for increased water movement, aeration, and aesthetics. Water parameters are normally 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrate, and 0-20 Nitrate (depending on how close it is to the water change).
I add 1tsp of Instant ocean, 1 tsp of Epsom salt, and 1 tsp of baking soda to maintain GH and KH and my pH is a steady 8.2. My feeling is this helps to replicate the conditions in Lake Malawi. I use Prime (2 drops per gallon) as a dechlorinator and to bind with the ammonia released from the Chloramine in my municipal water. All additives/conditioners are added to a 5-gallon bucket with tap water that matches tank water (~80 Fahrenheit) during water changes. Water is removed from the tank via a gravel siphon with hose and venturi attachment for the sink.
Food includes: New Life Spectrum Cichlid formula, Hikari sinking carnivore pellets, Spirulina 20 flakes.
Feeding schedule: 2-3 times a day. Different foods during the day (perhaps pellets in the morning, flake in the afternoon).
Tank mates: 4 Labidochromis caeruleus (sex unknown), and one Synodontis eupterus.
Problem fish: 4.5 inch male Copadichromis . He is a very strong blue and otherwise healthy. He eats well, especially the Spectrum Cichlid formula, and Hikari sinking carnivore pellets (which is fine as the flake is mainly for the Yellow Labs). However, I have never seen him have a "healthy" feces. It is always long and stringy.
When I noticed the issue, it was a white long stringy "poop." I assumed it was intestinal parasites, so I treated with Jungle (now Tetra) Tank Buddies.
I treated the whole tank in case this was widespread. I treated twice in 48 hours with a 25% water change in between (per the directions). I have not seen any worms protruding from the fish's anus while inactive. As a side note, the largest male lab seems to have gotten a bit thinner in the face (but nowhere else), so I think perhaps he had some sort of irritation to his gills cause by flukes.
I followed up with Jungle Parasite Clear fish food per the directions.
It's now several weeks later, and he continues to have long stringy feces; however, they are not white.
I am concerned this is a sign of some sort of health issue, and I would like to address it before it's too late. He appears otherwise healthy and active, and I'm looking forward to introducing three females that are currently under quarantine (will be moving most of the labs to the 75 gallon at that point). I'm nervous about adding the females and moving the labs if his health issue is contagious.
I have another Copadichromis (a pet store hybrid) in the 75 Gallon who has normal feces with the same feeding schedule, so I'm not sure it is entirely dietary in nature.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
< Your fish is fine. The water temp is a little high for Lake Malawi. I would suggest lowering it to 75 F. In the wild this fish is found in the mid water column feeding on plankton and doesn't get much algae directly.
The additional fiber of the Spirulina flakes are probably making up a larger portion of the diet than the sinking pellets.-Chuck>

African Chiclid
Red Spots on African Cichlid 10/24/11

I was wondering if you have any idea what the red spots are on my cichlid if they are dangerous to it and if so how to cure it.
Thanks Ben
< You have some sort of Lake Malawi cichlid. It is possibly a cross and the red spots could be normal coloration and not a disease at all. If he is acting normal without clamped fins or showing any discomfort then I would just make sure the water is hard and alkaline, and the nitrates are under 20 ppm. Add a little rock salt to the water and he should be fine.-Chuck>

Re: African Chiclid
Red Spots on African Cichlid II 10/25/11

The spots just appeared a couple of days ago and they look like they are raised bumps
the only thing is he's not really eating. the ph is 6.0 but it always has been and the nitrates are fine
Thanks Ben
< Raised bumps are not part of this cichlids normal coloration. The fact that he is not eating and raised bumps means we might have an internal infection. This fish does better in hard alkaline water. Long periods in acidic water may have affected the immune system in your fish. In a hospital tank raise the pH to at least neutral and treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Furan-2.-Chuck

red sore on head with scrape & a white dot on left fin of African cichlid
Africa Cichlid Care 10/21/11

Hi...my name is Kim & I have a 21 month old African Cichlid that has been staying at the top of his 10 gallon tank for the past 2 days or so. Today I noticed he has a red sore on left side of face & what looks like a circle, as if a scab would have fell off. Also, a white dot on the left fin & redness under same fin. Did notice a red line on top of body, on both sides. His mouth looks bigger to me, noticed him gasping once & last night, as I turned out the lights, I heard a big splash! I just did a 25 percent water change. Prior to this, the pH was 6.2 (which has been for a long time & he has been fine), the nitrite was 0, alkalinity was 0, hardness was 75 & the nitrate was 20-40 ( yesterday it was 20). My test kit does not include ammonia. He is usually in his cave, (which, I'm hoping, he may have just rubbed his face because he is getting big), or he is usually picking up the gravel & moving it around, his name is Hades. Yesterday I had added a bit of distilled water, since it was getting low & I have been sick, so I am about a week late doing the monthly cleaning & 50 percent water change. I also just added the 5 ml amount of Stress Zyme+ & a teaspoon of AquaSafe, which are the only chemicals I ever use. I feed him flakes every other day, but got confused & may have fed him a small amount 2 days in a row, didn't feed yesterday, fed today but he didn't eat. He is my only fish & part of my little family. Can you please help? I can't even eat or sleep. He has had me scared in the passed & always pulled through. I always have used distilled tap water, but if I have to clean tank & do another water change tomorrow, is it alright to use the water you buy in the stores? Thank You!
Kim & Hades
< There are a couple thousand species of cichlids from Africa so African Cichlid can mean many different kinds of cichlids with different requirements. I assume you are referring to a rift lake cichlid. Cichlids from Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika require hard alkaline water. They are pretty tough and can probably handle your distilled water treatment but would do better with water that is more like the waters they come from. If your tap water is in the alkaline range then start by doing water changes with treated tap water. This should bring the pH up into the alkaline range. Add a teaspoon of rock salt to the tank too. This will increase the body slime and help fight off the bacterial infections you are seeing. If no improvement is seen in a week then treat with an antibiotic like Furan-2 or Myacin.-Chuck>

Mysterious Deaths. 9/24/11
A few months ago I decided to turn my 100gal community tank into an African Cichlid tank. I was very excited and started with about 10 small
1"-2" Assorted Africans
<A very bad way to start. Did you have a plan? Lots of Rift Valley cichlids won't cohabit for long. Peacock Cichlids for example shouldn't be kept with Mbuna, and not all Mbuna get along with each other, some being notably more aggressive than others. Throwing together a bunch of cichlids will simply result in successive deaths through stress and fighting until the bullies, usually Zebra Cichlids and Melanochromis auratus, end up ruling the tank.>
a 6" Pleco
<Doesn't belong.>
and a 4" Featherfin Catfish.
<Will be damaged and likely prone to diseases and stress. Synodontis euptera is an African catfish, yes, but from soft water rivers not the Rift Valley lakes. Africa is a big place, bigger than, for example, North America, and yet you wouldn't dream of assuming a fish from California would want the same conditions as a fish from Alaska. The same here. The bland name "African cichlid" is as meaningless as saying "American fishes" because it simply doesn't reflect the sheer diversity of species in the continent. There are African cichlids from rainforests, from swamps, from estuaries, and yes, from a variety of lakes, some of which are hard water lakes but certainly not all of them. Do, please, research your fish first.>
Everything was fine for about 2 weeks and then a cichlid died and it was all down hill.
<Not surprised.>
I lost a fish a day until I had no cichlids left. My PH is at 8.4 Ammonia is 0 Nitrates and Nitrites are 0 Temperature is about 79 degrees. The fish (who had very hardy appetites) one by one stopped eating, then would hide and stay very close to the bottom of the tank, didn't swim around much and their gills would go crazy like they weren't able to breath.
<Poor water circulation, lack of water chemistry control, social behaviour issues'¦ all sound possible. You haven't mentioned water chemistry yet, just pH. How hard is your water? How are you buffering the pH? What's the carbonate hardness?>
There were no other physical signs of being sick, and I did treat with Clout before I lost the last 3 and it was ineffective.
<Randomly adding medications prior to diagnosis almost never works.>
After that experience I moved my Pleco and Catfish to a Q-tank and observed them for any signs of illness for one month (they are perfect). I cleared out my 100gal and completely started over. My water quality is exactly the same as before. This time I started with 4 Acei cichlids 3",
<Pseudotropheus acei, a fairly mellow species.>
one week later I added 2 Electric yellows 3",
<Labidochromis caeruleus, another mellow if nippy species; should work with Pseudotropheus acei just fine.>
and one week later added 2 orange blotch peacocks 4".
<A hybrid between Aulonocara species and a Pseudotropheus species. Not highly regarded by advanced hobbyists because it's a hybrid more than anything else. Isn't a bad fish though, and most specimens are fairly easy-going. Does need a rather different diet to Mbuna though, and combining the two types of fish, Mbuna and Peacocks, in one tank means neither is going to get the "right" diet all the time, so you have to be extremely careful what you feed them.>
They had lived in harmony for exactly one week then I noticed 2 of my Acei's exhibiting the same behavior as the previous batch of assorted cichlids. (Bottom of the tank, not active, breathing heavy, not eating) and the next day both were dead.
<Sounds like lack of oxygen and/or unstable pH. The dismal quality of "Mixed African Cichlids" in North American pet shops especially makes life even more difficult, so mail-ordering in the US has much to recommend it. In other parts of the world the selection of Rift Valley cichlids is often rather better, e.g., in England, where you should be able to get wild-caught or at least good quality farmed specimens that are genetically purer and much more robust. City aquarium clubs can be another good source; the US in particular enjoys large numbers of fish clubs and these promote cichlid breeding among their other fine attributes.>
I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I have owned fish for a few years now and I work at a local fish store, its extremely frustrating not knowing what's happening in my own tank! please let me know what you think!
<Do start by reading:
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Dying Tropheus duboisi 6/30/11
Greetings Crew! I write in at a loss as to what is killing to my Tropheus Duboisi. I currently have 6 (down from 8) young adults ranging from 3 to 3 1/2" in a 55 gal tank with lace rock and a 3 in DSB for just about a year.
Last Thursday I noticed that one had died (without my permission). So after a minor panic attack I tested the water and did a 15% water change. The only variance from my normal water readings was the nitrates (1ppm) were a little higher then usual which come to find out that my Pleco was not eating the algae tabs so they were rotting on the bottom. After removing the Pleco and changing the water and sucking up the leftovers I figured that I had the issue solved till another one died on Saturday. As of Monday they weren't eating so I tested the water again and found the nitrates were .5 ppm, 0 nitrites and chlorine, KH 150, pH 7.5. So not sure what else to do I removed all the rock and did a thorough cleaning and changed 50% of the water. As of this morning only 3 will eat, 2 have no interest in food and one is way pale sitting on the bottom looking like its about to expire (again with out my permission). I have 8 other tanks ranging from 10 to 125 gal all running with various Rift Valley Cichlids that are eating and not dying. The only thing I have done to the tank is add another basket of crushed coral to the Emperor 400 filter I have on it to raise the pH up a bit but I did that several weeks ago. As far as fish food I use Omega One algae flakes and kelp flakes. Kind of at a loss as to what I should do?
When I took the dead ones out they weren't bloated or chewed up, with out being a vet I didn't see anything abnormal. Would having that uneaten food in there cause that much of a disturbance that they would stop eating altogether? Should I just keep doing 10-15% waters changes every couple days? What would prevent them from eating or at least trying to eat beside swim and breed its all they have to think about. if only our life was that easy :)Thanks Paul
< There should never be left over food in a Tropheus tank. Feed only enough food so that all of it is gone in 5 minutes. Let some algae grow on the rocks. Tropheus have very long digestive tracts. It is easy for a problem to develop in such a long gut. Everything else looks fine. The rest of the Tropheus could be treated with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. Once they start to eat again you are fine.-Chuck>

bald patches, but not sores... 5/16/11
Love the site, I browse it every time I have a question.
<Ah good>
On my issue though, after a few minutes of searching I didn't find anything matching my fishes symptoms.
I have a female turquoise peacock cichlid (she is in a 6' 120 gal Malawi all peacock/hap tank). She was bought as a male for an all male tank, but turned out to be female.
<I have kept, and currently have Aulonocaras as well>
I realise she is likely stressed as one of two females in an all male tank (I've tried to rehome them without success) but I don't think that is the cause of her symptoms as the other female looks fine.
She has bare patches of skin on her body, where it looks like she has rubbed her scales off. She doesn't flash any more than any of the other fish, so I don't think its caused by excessive flashing. The patches are not red, bounded by red, or rubbed raw thru to tissue. She is skinny, but not so's anyone not "fishy" would notice.
She eats well and swims fine. She's not as active as the others, but I figure it's because she needs to hide a bit for a break from her tank mates.
<The third "strike"... some one/s is/are bothering this fish here. That its missing scales, is skinny, and "needs to hide" calls for re-moving this fish to elsewhere>
I've had her for over a year now and after a few parasite treatments in the beginning I kinda gave up on it, thinking it was just some weird thing she did at night. However, a year later, I have another fish who is skinny, though again, not so much that anyone but an aquarist would notice. No bare patches though. I have noticed a bit of flashing, and one or two instances of head shaking over a few weeks time. This causes me to rethink the worms/parasites issue, unsuccessfully treated previously. I also read that it might be fish tuberculosis. I see now I should have pursued it further back then.
Your thoughts please? It's so hard to diagnose fish. Also, whatever she has, being in the tank a year leads me to believe that, even though they show no symptoms, the other fish all have to be infected as well?
<Pat, what you so well describe is very common in keeping these types of fishes... the "odd fish out" trends to poor condition, behavior and ultimately perishes. This is NOT an infection, nor pathogenic at all, but a social phenomenon... The only real solution is to move such "Beta" fishes, keep them apart from the "Alpha" ones. Bob Fenner>
Re: bald patches, but not sores... 5/16/2011

Thanks very much for your reply, Bob - its a relief that its not parasitic/infectious and endangering the whole tank.
I will keep on trying to rehome her, and in the meantime, pick up a smaller tank that I can relocate her to.
WEBSITE PROBLEM: Not sure if you know or not, but when I visited your site today, it was reported as an "attack page" and its very difficult to use it, and I'm sure newcomers would simply quit.
<Yes, thank you... we are "working on this" feverishly.>
<<Is one of the rotating banner ads... we're trying to isolate/determine which...>>
thanks again
<Cheers, BobF>

Salt Treated Tank 5/6/11
Good Morning Crew,
I am happy to say this is the first time I have had to write in regarding poor fish keeping on my part. I recently set up a new 55 gal tank in my basement and much to my surprise during the spring thaw we had all sorts of water problems coming up through the floor and walls in my basement.
<No fun for sure>
During my panic to try to save the rest of my tank stands I neglected the new tank because it was not in dangers way, which is no excuse but it happens. After the danger was over and started the clean up I realized that the heater and filter had not been plugged in for a couple days and the 2 out of the 3 Aulonocara Lwanda that are in there had what looked like a white fuzz on them. So I did a 40% water change and added some aquarium salt (1 tablespoon per 10 gallons) and turned the heat up to 80 degrees.
Left it run for 3 days and did another 40% water change and treated with salt again. The fungus its gone but one of them has a bad cloudy spot on his eye which I doubt will ever go way but I am hopeful.
<Will likely go away in a few weeks time>
This weekend I will be doing my regular maintenance without adding the salt.
<Mmm, rather than "Aquarium Salt", see Neale's formula here for these Great African Lakes fish:
I am getting a breeding set of 3 4"-5" Mpimbwe Frontosa
<Need more room than this...>
pretty soon and I would like to put them in this tank. How soon should I wait before I can move these fish around?
<A few weeks>
And when/if I do move them should I do almost a complete water change or will the salt have no lasting effects in the tank?
<I'd change the "saltiness" out over time... no more than 50% changes in a week>
<Bob Fenner>
Re: Salt Treated Tank 5/6/11
Thanks for the fast reply! I should of looked into what the salt was going to do to the water but I needed to treat these fish with something other then harsh chemicals.
<Mmm, well, actually, combinations of metals and non-metals (salts) can be very harsh indeed>
Thank you for pointing that out to me. I know that the Frontosas should be in a bigger tank but I have 4 Synodontis multipunctatus in my 125 gal that from what I have read can interrupt cichlid breeding and I have high hopes to get them to spawn.
<Perhaps another system? You don't need that sofa! Cut that bed in half length-wise! Shower in the sink and fill up the tub! Cheers, BobF>
Re: Salt Treated Tank, African Cichlid Repro./Breeding 5/6/11

Believe it or not I have had this discussion with my wife and she feels that the tub should be off limits. No sense of imagination I say.
Should of seen the look on her face when I first said that a 55 gal was too small. I might have to put my Aulonocaras in the 55 with the Synodontis.
<A better use of space; yes>
They take to<o> long to grow
<Lots (daily) water changes and frequent (several times daily) small feedings...>
and color from fry and I'm running out of floor space for grow-out tanks.
On a different note I have a 72 gal bow front tank that currently holds 12 Tropheus Ndole Bay that I am trying to get to breed, so far they haven't spawned yet (not for lack of trying on the males part). Is it safe to let these release them on their own in the tank?
<I would not... IF you're desire is to optimize/maximize "output" you'll need a separate grow out system>
There is to much rock work in there to try and catch the holding females for me to even think about trying as well as the stress it causes on the whole system.
<Mmm, well...>
I also have a 90 gal tank that holds 12 juvenile Tropheus Ikolas, 12 Eretmodus cyanostictus and 4 Cyprichromis Leptosoma with a gravel substrate. I would dearly like the Eretmodus to spawn but I am afraid that there is <number> to <again> many other fish<es> in the tank as well as the wrong kind of substrate (sand I read is preferred). What do you think the odds of successfully spawning and the survival rate of the fry would be?
<With a bit in the way of provided habitat: http://www.cichlidae.com/article.php?id=222 easily enough>
Thank you
<Velkommen, B>

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