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FAQs on African Cichlid Disease Treatments

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,
FAQs on African Cichlid Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic,

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,

Water quality and good nutrition are the best remedies for keeping all Africans.

"Fixes", herbal remedies are scams that can/will poison your system, will NOT cure your fishes.


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 After the injury, he has become more and more withdrawn, hiding in a cave most of the time, but he still appears physically healthy besides the mouth area.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.>

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>

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>

Epsom Salt Dosage - safe level for African cichlid fry
Rusty Cichlid Injured/Diseased 12/22/09

Hello Crew, I have a Iodotropheus sprengerae (Rusty) cichlid that appears to have damaged it's eye - I noticed it a week ago - it was scarily swollen but he was acting normal and the swelling seemed to go down so I thought I
dodged a bullet. Over the weekend, he was appearing to not feel well - not eating, just hanging amongst the rocks and the eye, although not nearly as swollen looks cloudy. Today while feeding the rest, he got chased out of the rocks and ended up at the top corner of the aquarium - amazingly enough I was able to pop a hatch and get him netted. It's a 240g with 70 cichlids and full rockwork - netting him was incredibly lucky.
So I carted him over to my 10 gallon that has one inhabitant, a Astatotilapia latifasciata (Obliquiden Zebra) fry that is about 3/8" long.
His name is Lucky as I found him the day after Thanksgiving floating at the top of the tank (Oh Noes - dead baby) but when I netted him, he started doing back flips! I have lots of Pseudotropheus sp. demasoni (Pombo Rocks)
fry that are surviving in the main tank but the Zebra fry just don't seem to be smart enough to make it. Anyway,
I was thinking on using Epsom Salt on the Rusty but am concerned that a concentration enough to aid him might cause harm to the fry. (Could not find in the FAQ on Epsom salt and fry).
In observing the Rusty, he is seems to be gasping. He has a couple of areas on his side that appear to injuries to his scales (very very small but noticeable) His dorsal fin looks like it's been nipped in a couple of spots and he's currently got his head stuck in the stream of bubbles from the airstone! His fins are not clamped but he's not swimming very much and the tail fin seems to be curving up. He's not well. He is about 3" long.
What would you recommend for dosing level and for how long? Should I consider treating with Ethyromicin also? And if I did use an antibiotic, the same question comes up as to enough medicine to treat him could possibly be harmful to the fry. My well water from the tap is pH 8.2, KG/GH 12 so frequent water changes are not a hassle.
Main Tank: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate (time for the weekly wc). QT: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10 nitrate
Thank You in advance. I LOVE this website and all the good that you do.
Dawn Gulick
< Thank you for your kind words. Forget the salt as a treatment. At this stage you need some serious antibiotics. I would recommend Nitrofuranace or another Furazone type antibiotic. The eye problem s probably a symptom of an internal infection as well. When you treat the tank, the antibiotics will probably not affect the fry directly. It will or may affect the biological filtration so there may be deadly ammonia spikes. Any nitrogenous wastes have an affect on the growth rate of young fish. Try and keep the water quality as good as possible after the treatment until the biological filtration get back up and going. It may be almost like starting from scratch.-Chuck>

Persistent Ich
Cichlid Tank Going Bad 8/15/09

Please help. We have two tanks, one 30 gall tank with 8 healthy various cichlids. We have a 20 gal that we have used as a hospital tank in the past. Really, it's just a waiting room for death! No fish ever recover.
From all descriptions, it appears the fish have Ich (white spots/slime all over their bodies), but none of the products we've purchased have worked.
Three days ago we purchased a pair of cichlids (sorry, my husband does not remember what kind). They were young and the female had babies in her mouth. She released the young early and she is now dead. The male is on his way. The babies seem to be growing and we're churning out the brine shrimp, but I feel they are doomed. Before we put these new fish in, my husband put new everything in the tank after having hand cleaned it while it was dry. It's just this tank but we can't figure out why! Temp seems good, we've done multiple water changes, disc'd feeding bloodworms after reading some of your articles, feeding flakes, Cichlid Diet Pellets (small red balls that sink). We have used Ich Cure with Formalin by Aquatrol, Ampicillin (250mg), Metronidazole (250mg) and most recently ProSeries Fungus Cure by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. Aside from the money we are throwing away, and we're into the hundreds now, my kids are bereft every time one dies! Please, help before the babies go.
< The medications used in your hospital tank have probably affected the bacteria that provide the biological filtration required to convert deadly ammonia into less toxic nitrites and then finally nitrates. A true hospital tank has very little sand and no biological filtration. Once a fish is placed in the tank the water is medicated. The fish should not be fed during treatment. Water should be around 80 F.
During treatment the tank should get a 50% water change between treatments.
Siphon off any fish waste during the water change. Organics in the water can absorb some of the medication and reduce the dosage. Once the treatment is complete you can add a filter with carbon to remove the medication from
the water. Take some used filter media from the established tank and squeeze some of it into the hospital tank filter to get the biological filtration established. Continue with water changes to control the nitrogenous wastes. If the fish is healthy for a couple of weeks then it should be ok to be placed in the main tank.-Chuck>
<<And eight Mbuna or Utaka type cichlids is likely too many for this sized, shape system. RMF>>
Re: Persistent Ich
Persistent Cichlid Deaths 8/29/2009

Chuck, we continue to need help. Thank you for input on the hospital tank.
Our 30 gallon tank, which was previously healthy, experienced some sort of epidemic as well. We lost 4 fish, but not to Ich. They had no outward sign of disease, at all. Four are left and they've seemed healthy for
three days now. Our favorite, a large zebra cichlid now has red marks on his side and bottom fin, as well as his tail. It looks as if he's bleeding!!! His skin looks ok, but he is lethargic and not eating. Any ideas???
< Start by checking the water quality. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. The nitrates should be under 20 ppm. Your fish like hard alkaline water. The pH should be well above 7. If these parameters are not met then the fish get sick and die from diseases that that the poor water quality makes them vulnerable too..-Chuck>

African Cichlid problem
Malawi Cichlid With Hole In The Head 6/19/09

You have a great site, I have learned a lot browsing through it.
<Thank you for your kind words>
Please help me asap!
55 gallon tank
Inhabitants: One 6-7" female Fossorochromis Rostratus (6.5 years old),
1-inch female Aulonocaras
Filtration: Eheim 2213 canister filter
Nitrates: 5 ppm right before water change
Nitrites: 0
Ammonia 0
pH: 7.5
Water Change Frequency: 40-50% twice a week Food: homemade from internet recipe and Hikari Marine A Temperature: 76 F Symptoms: All inhabitants healthy with absolutely no prior medical problems.
The Fossorochromis recently began showing minor symptoms of hole in the head disease, much to my dismay. I went through a round of Metro+ and added liquid vitamins to her food with no discernible improvement, but no worsening either. Yesterday noticed a reddened area and "pimple" near her mouth and her fins were down. Suspected bacterial infection of some kind.
As I hadn't had time to research the situation fully (gram positive or negative or something else entirely) and haven't had to use antibiotics of any kind in the last 6 years of this hobby, I added the only thing I had on hand, Pimafix. Yes, I am aware that is like giving herbal remedies to an MSRA patient, but I had nothing else and live an hour from the nearest pet store. This morning her fins are back to normal intermittently but she is breathing very hard. I added an air stone and am in the process of changing the water yet again to increase oxygen content. She appears to be breathing easier now, but not back to normal. I own nine freshwater aquariums and fortunately have never seen this before so I don't know what is going on.
All the rest of the inhabitants in her tank are just fine. Any ideas are welcome! Thank you for your time and suggestions. Rebecca
< There are ideas about the causes of hole in the head disease without any scientific evidence to back them up to my satisfaction, but you have eliminated some of the theoretical causes. Some people think it is bad water. This is not the case because you water conditions are fine and you are up on your water changes so it is not nitrogenous waste either. This comes down to diet. Usually food with fish meal contains enough calcium for fish to build their bones as they grow. Since you make your own fish food it is hard to tell if your food has enough calcium in it. Larger fish need more calcium to replenish the calcium needed to build their bones. Try Spectrum New Life pellet food for awhile and see if this makes any difference. I have never had a problem with HITH while using this food. If this works then in your situation we may have found a possible cause and cure.-Chuck>
Update on African Cichlid situation... hlth.
Malawi Cichlid With Hole In The Head 6/19/09

Thought I would add an update. After the massive water change, which rid the tank of Pimafix, the Fossorochromis in question returned to breathing and acting normally, so maybe her problem was due to that.
I don't plan to use that product again.
<I would not>
However she still has the small raised red bump by her mouth and the beginning HITH situation.
<Likely best cured by providing ongoing optimized water quality and nutrition>
I will refrain from adding any more medication, herbal or otherwise, without strong recommendation.
for your time.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: African Cichlid problem
Cichlid With HITH 6/21/09

Thank you for your advice. The reddish sore resolved into another small HITH-like hole, but at least no infection. She is acting normally. I am purchasing Spectrum New Life pellet food online as I write this and implementing daily 25% water changes just in case. I will update you on the
results as soon as something changes. Thanks again. Rebecca
< Try to increase the calcium content of the water by adding some crushed coral to the filter. As it dissolves into the water it may be ingested by the fish.-Chuck>
Re: African Cichlid problem
Hole-In-The-Head Treatment 7/1/09

I purchased the recommended New Life Spectrum food. Until the food arrived, I added powdered calcium to the water and a little to her food as well as a big mesh bag of crushed coral. Since following your advice, one hole has gotten so small I have a hard time finding it, the other two don't seem to have changed too much yet (although all redness is gone), and no new holes are forming. She looks and acts normal and I have high hopes that she is recovering. Thank you for sharing your theory and giving a friend back to me! I will update again when something major occurs, such as (hopefully) her complete recovery. Rebecca
< Thank you so much for writing back. It is times like this that makes me glad that your question was asked and that all fellow aquarists and their pet cichlids might benefit from our WWM forum. Hopefully the recovery will continue and this disease will no longer become an issue.-Chuck>
Re: African Cichlid problem
Hole-In-The-Head Cured on African Cichlid -- 10/3/09

I apologize for taking so long to get back to you and I want to thank you again for your advice. My female Fossorochromis has fully recovered and does not seem to be having any further issues with hole-in-the-head. I am feeding her (and all my African cichlids) New Life Spectrum food along with krill and small shrimp. Once a week I supplement her food with a little calcium and glucosamine (which is apparently derived from shellfish and shrimp shells). I have also added crushed coral to her canister filter media. Everything seems to be going well now and has been for the last few months. Thank you, Rebecca
< Glad to hear everything worked out OK.-Chuck>

Redness near pectoral fins...
Electric Yellow Cichlid With Reddish Sides 6/1/2009

Good Day WWM Crew, I'm a newbie & just started my first 195 litre freshwater aquarium. The aquarium has been operational for the last 1 month. It holds 5 yellow electric cichlids and 2 powder blue cichlids. It's
got lots of rocks & caves with white sand & crushed corals as the aquarium's base. Water pH level range is about 8.0 to 8.3, tested ammonia level is at 0. I feed the fishes twice a day. Chemicals added to the water
consist of standard anti-chlorine, standard aquarium salt, Ocean Free's Vitamin Complex, Ocean Free's Super Battle Bacteria. I feed my fishes Sera's Vipan flakes. Recently noticed that 1 yellow cichlid has an enlarged left eye & redness on both sides of the body that is connected to the pectoral fin. This fish looks slightly tired, still swims around, is still alert but eats less. I noticed the redness about 5 days ago. I have not
done any medical treatment as of yet. So far, I have changed about 15% of the aquarium water once every 2 days. Washed my 2 filters once a week. Been adding the Vitamin complex each time I change water. I noticed that the redness has changed to red-pink this morning on one side of it's body. The other 6 fishes still look ok, no signs of redness yet. Hope the 6 don't catch whatever this fish has. Appreciate if you can share your experience on how to solve this. I do not have a spare tank to be used as a treatment tank. And I'm worried that some meds might destroy the good bacteria that is part of the bio-filter.
Thank you in advance. Regards, Roger (Singapore)
< The reddish coloration is a sign of irritation. This could be a chemical imbalance or a bacterial attack. The pH is fine. I would check the nitrites and nitrates. The nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 20 ppm. The enlarged eye could be the start of pop eye. This is an infection behind the eye socket. I would recommend cleaning the filters on alternative weeks. Clean filter one on the first week then clean filter two one the second week. This will make sure that you don't wash away the biological filtration. Back off on the salt, it is not needed.-Chuck>
Re: Redness near pectoral fins... 6/1/2009

Lake Malawi Cichlid With Redness Around Fins
Hi Chuck, I checked the particular fish and noticed that there is some fine redness lines on the part above its mouth. I don't have nitrites and nitrates test kits at the moment, but I did manage to clean 1 filter. I have been doing daily 10% water changes since sending my first email to you on the 29th May. I visited my local pet shop and the owner sold me some yellow powder, which he said would cure the redness. I have no idea what the contents are, since the wordings on the pack are all in Japanese. But after doing some research on the Internet, I suspect he sold me some Acriflavine. I haven't used it yet though. As a precaution, I did purchase a bottle of Interpet's Anti-Internal Bacteria. Please advice if I should keep to the water changes, or if I should start to use the meds I bought.
Which one should I start with? Yellow powder or Interpet? Thanks in advance. Regards, Roger
<The yellow powder may be an antibiotic called Nitrofurazone. Check with the pet store to find out exactly what you bought. Acriflavine won't help.
The Nitro will work but may harm your biological filtration.-Chuck>
Re: Redness near pectoral fins...

Redness On Lake Malawi Cichlid II 06/02/09
Found out that the yellow powder is called m-nitrostyrene sodium salt, which is a fungicide. My fishes have been swimming in it for a few days now. I don't think it's doing the trick cos my sick cichlid is starting to change from yellow to black. I'm going to do a 10% water change again tonight and start with Interpet's Anti Bacteria. Regards, Roger
< Fungicides are useless when treating diseases on fish. A fungus will attack dead tissue and will usually not attack living tissue. A antibiotic is probably in order since the water changes don't seem to work. When using an antibiotic be careful because it may affect the biological filtration so watch for ammonia spikes.-Chuck>
Re: Redness near pectoral fins...
Medicating An Established Aquarium - 06/05/09

My 1 sick cichlid actually looked much better, 24 hours after I did a 10% water change & introduced Interpet Anti Bacteria to the tank. His body was turning slight more yellow now (still on the dark side) and his pectoral joints were not so red anymore. I felt happy and it looked like the Interpet was working. Plus the booklet for Interpet said that it was safe for bio-filters.
Then a new problem arose. I should not have listened to my LFS and used the yellow powder. Looks like the yellow powder killed off my bio-filter.
Yesterday at 6 pm, I noticed that another cichlid was looking tired and turning color from yellow to black. Oh no, another sick fish. This makes 2 now!!
I tested the water immediately and found 0.5 ammonia. My fishes were under heavy ammonia poisoning attack since my water pH is high. Plus the water smelled bad.
I quickly changed 20% water, added loads of bio-filter bacteria, anti-chlorine & vitamin complex, then I went to bed. This morning when I woke up, ammonia was back to 0 and nitrites were 0 too.
Questions:- How many days should I let my fishes recover from the ammonia attack before I start my 2nd dose of Interpet? Should I even continue to heal the internal infection now or just rely on water changes and vitamin?
Regards, Roger
< This is why we usually recommend treating fish in a hospital tank instead of an established aquarium. The antibiotics seem to be working but the ammonia spike can be deadly. If I did not have the option of a hospital tank I would recommend the following. First thing I would do is clean the filters, vacuum the gravel and do a 50% water change. Remove any driftwood.
One the first day I would medicate as per the directions on the package.
The next day I would do a 50% water change. One the third day I would medicate again. On the fourth day I would change 50% of the water. On the fifth day I would medicate for the last time. On the sixth day I would change 50% of the water and add a good activated carbon to remove any left over medication. On the seventh day I would add Dr. Tim's One and Only bacterial starter culture and resume lightly feeding the fish. Do not feed sick fish.-Chuck>.
Re: Redness near pectoral fins...
Ammonia Stress On Fish - 06/05/09

Hello WWM Crew, I came home from work today and checked on the fishes. The 2 still look tired. So I added an extra 5ml of bio-filter bacteria, just to make sure the ammonia stays at zero.
In all your years as aquarist, have you ever successfully manage to save a fish from ammonia stress? Did the fish eat, swim and have all it's normal body functions/looks again? What was the fastest and longest time it took for your fish to recover from ammonia stress? Regards, Roger
< The main physical trauma to fish is a severe reduction of the gill tissues. If too severe then the fish usually don't recover because they can't breath. The ammonia trauma depends on the concentration of ammonia and how long the fish are exposed to it. As you already know that the ammonia ion is more deadly at basic pH ranges.-Chuck>
Re: Redness near pectoral fins...
Fish With Redness Near Fins Slowly Getting Better 6/11/09

Hello again, It's been 7 days now, main tank has been on Interpet No.9 Anti Bacteria. My bio-filter has not been compromised in anyway, which is good news. I've been following your medication & water changes steps. My water's pH is on the 8.0 to 8.3 range. Ammonia and nitrites are at zero. Both fishes look slightly better.
- I notice that they are more willing to swim around with the others now, instead of just lying at the bottom of the tank to rest.
- The darkness on their skin has slightly faded off but they are not fully yellow again.
- Eating is still an issue. They grab the flake but spits it out.
- I still notice redness at the pectoral fin joints and around the mouth.
I've looked closely at them and found no other signs of sickness. Fins are ok, no worms sticking out of their bodies, lips are not rotting or swollen...etc
I really hope they make it and not die of hunger. I'm out of ideas as to what is causing the redness around the pectorals and mouth. Is there anything else I can do? Should I stop the Interpet?
Regards, Roger
< I am unable to find out what the ingredients are for the patented formula for Interpet No. 9,. Anti bacterial. It is difficult to tell if it is really working or the water changes and improved water quality are improving the overall health of your fish. The fact that the biological filtration wasn't affected makes me wonder about the effectiveness of the medication. In the U.S. I would recommend using a real antibiotic like Nitrofuranace or Erythromycin because I know what is in these medications . If one did not work then I could switch to another. If the fish is improving then I would continue with the existing treatment.-Chuck>
Re: Redness near pectoral fins...

Antibiotics May Affect Biological Filtration 6/13/09
Hi WWW Crew, I checked the Internet and found that API (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) is an American company. After browsing their website, I found that they too sell medications that are bio-filter safe. Products like Furan-2, Melafix, Pimafix, Tetracycline and Triple Sulfa does not hard bio-filter. So would you question the effectiveness of these API products since they claim that these are bio-filter safe? Have you had successful experiences with them? Regards, Roger
< Medications can say anything they want on the package. Bacteria convert ammonia to nitrites and then nitrates. Different kinds of bacteria attack the living tissues of aquarium fish. Is it possible for some antibiotics to be selective enough to only kill the bacteria attacking the fish? Sure it is. In your particular situation you have a fish with some redness around the pectoral fins along with some other symptoms. Are you satisfied with the results of treating with Interpet #9? If you are, then continue to treat as per the directions on the package. If not, then it hasn't worked.
I would recommend treating with a known antibiotic like Nitrofurazone or Erythromycin. Regardless of what they say on the package I would recommend treating in a hospital tank. If you have to treat in the main tank then I would still caution you about ammonia and nitrite spikes.-Chuck>

No tea please. 

Melafix, and Re: ongoing Af. cichlid prob.      -- 06/19/07 Hello WetWebMedia, <Mmm, well just one person...> I recently had a question that was answered by Chuck and I thank you for the input. I have a question about Melafix by API Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. Mainly, what have you heard about Melafix, do you recommend the use of it, and how would you use it, if at all? <There are some of us here who endorse this Melaleuca extract for various purposes, in some situations... I am NOT one of them though> The reason being that recently I had a Blue Ahli in my 80 gallon display tank that unfortunately may have had mouth rot, or as Chuck stated some type of secondary fungal infection. When I first spotted a whitish spot on the fish I immediately separated the fish from the main tank and tried treating him with aquarium salt, 15% regular water changes, 80F water temperature, Melafix, Maracyn and another antibiotic. (I had him in a bucket because that's all I had). Unfortunately the Blue Ahli did not make it. Here's my concern: The remaining fish in my 80 gallon tank, a Bleekeri and two Venustus, seemed to be doing fine during this whole Ahli ordeal. But, I was monitoring one of the Venustus for frequent scratching on some flat rocks that I had in the tank. Over a period of 3 days, the scratching became quite frequent. I watched the chemicals in the main tank and the bucket religiously to monitor for 8 pH, zero NO2 and Ammonia. I did have a little bit of a spike in ammonia in the big tank, but I resolved this with a 15% water change. )I believe that there weren't enough nitrifying bacteria in the tank) Well, the one Venustus continued to scratch himself, and I've finally resolved myself to separating him from the group also. This time he's in a 69 quart Rubbermaid container with some sand and rocks, a filter, and a heater. I have resolved myself to start treating him with a light dose Maracyn over then next week. As far as the main tank is concerned, should I use Melafix just to keep the tank in good condition or prevent possible infection? I have perform 10% water changes on the tank every night so far. The tank looks clear, the chemicals appear fine. Do you have any suggestions for the separated Venustus and/or the Bleekeri and Venustus in the main tank? (They appear healthy and quite happy). Thanks again for all your input, I would just hate to lose the Bleekeri since he/she is such a charming fish. Mark Wolf <I really only have two comments to make. If you were ill yourself, would you first or even treat yourself with a leaf extract (of no known therapeutic value)? And secondly, have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afcichdisfaqs.htm  and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>

White Worms With Baby Fish  12/1/05 Hi, I am currently breeding Ps. demasoni. Tonight, when I stripped the female of her fry (still with egg pouch attached), into a small, plastic breeding container, what I noticed with the babies was tons of these little white worms. They obviously came out of the mothers mouth with the babies. My question is, is this a parasite, and if so, will it hurt the babies or other fish, and should I expect this parasite to be in my tanks, i.e., in my other fish as well? What do I do? < This is not normal. I am guessing that these may be gill flukes. Treat with Fluke-Tabs. This will get rid of any invertebrates in the tank.-Chuck>
Fluke-Tabs With Fry  12/2/05
Really cool. Thanks. I'll try that. But will fluke tabs hurt my babies?  They still have the egg pouch. <I have not heard of any problems with fry, but to be safe you could put the fry in another container while you treat the main tank.-Chuck> 

African cichlid 6/29/05 Hello, I noticed a few days ago my cichlid had something coming out of his anus.  I initially thought that it was 'poop'; it had the same type of brownish color; but, today I noticed that this growth tripled in size at the anus. So now it looks like a ball of fleshy growth.  I'm not sure what to do. Please help! Thanks. <Sounds like a case of "prolapsed colon"... part of the fish's alimentary system actually everting outside its body... sometimes this is due to nutritional concerns... Whatever the cause, the use of aquarium and Epsom salts is usually efficacious. Please see WWM re (use the search tools there for Epsom, Cichlid Disease...). Bob Fenner>

Salt treatment for African cichlids I have some African cichlids that are scraping against rocks, have been for some time.  I can't convert the salt bath recipe on fishdoc.com  to tspn/Tbspn per gallon.  Do you have recipe handy? Thanks Daniel Heller <Hello Daniel, I could not get the fishdoc.com page to load.  Salt is usually added at around 1Tbspn per 10gal, depending upon what you are using it for.  Are there any noticeable spots on these fish?  You may be dealing with some parasites, in which case I would treat with more than just salt. -Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm  >

Disease and Frustration Greetings-  I was hoping you might be able to give me some advice.  I am new to the Cichlid  hobby and am having nothing but problems. This is going to be a bit long and involved, so if you don¹t have the time or inclination to read through it all then let me know so I can seek help elsewhere.  Thank you if you can, if not I understand- I have scoured the net looking for what this disease could be and have found a few possibilities but nothing that really come all that close. It could be a parasitic worm that I am mistaking for Planaria or it could be a fungus. Ok- if you are down for it then here it goes: My setup:             -55 gallon Tanganyika only tank             -5 fish: 3 Neolamprologus Daffodils 2.5-3², 1 3.5² Frontosa, 1 4² cylindricus             -Plenty of rock             -A LOT of air & surface agitation             -4 on the back filters: 2 whisper 4¹s, 1 Marineland 170 w/BioWheel  & 1 other             -Ph hovering around 9 using Seachem Tanganyika salt & buffer                 Having to add buffer occasionally to get the PH & KH back in line             -Tank STILL cycling after 1 month (high Nitrites, ammonia nil & Nitrates at 20)             -Water changes: 3-4 times per week alternating 20 & 50 %             *did not know enough about cycling when the setup happened- got 4 fish right                 after a week of the tank running empty, then another a week later. All fish                 were acclimated over a 2 hour period. I have no Quarantine tank.                 I know, I suck. Working on that... Cycling:         -Cycling process taking a long time         -Controlling the Nitrite levels during cycling using Amquel+- affecting cycling process? < Product is still too new but is worth a try. Kordon is a reliable company>         -Water changes affecting cycling process? < Depends on how much water and where you are within the cycling process. A 100% water change will remove all the ammonia and the bacteria will have nothing to eat and will stop reproducing. Small water changes should be ok.> Everyone says something different!         -Fish stress from cycling leading to disease leading to Treatment which leads to more cycling problems and then more disease?! < Ammonia and nitrite should be zero and the nitrates should be no higher than 25 ppm. Go to Marineland.com and look under Dr. Tim's articles . Especially the one called the first 30 days. This may help you understand what you are up against.> Disease Problem: - Disease: single large white spot mid-length on body (larger than Ick) on 1 Daffodil, flicking & rubbing occasionally by everyone but the Frontosa. The Daffodil¹s spot has shrunk and extruded almost imperceptibly with a dark pin-point center after 2 days treatment of Maracide- the surface of it remains white. Seems to be shrinking. Can this be skin flukes? Flicking going on for two weeks with no external signs at all, treated with 2 doses of ParaGuard and the problem stopped for almost a week. Resumed about 4 days ago. Treating with Maracide, day two right now. - Other symptoms:  Cylindricus just now seems to have small black line like mark on rear fin. All Daffodil¹s have frayed tips at the end of long tips on rear fin. 1 daffodil observed excreting very long, very thin colorless feces along with normal looking feces- not sure if that is normal or not- this one has no spot. Another is hiding as of today, showing 1 white spot larger than Ick almost identical to the first one mentioned in appearance & placement. No odd coloration to water (aside from Maracide), ­ Day 2 of treatment with Maracide from Mardel - Presence of very tiny white wormlike things-  Planaria? Only visible after the filter cartridges are disturbed - Filter cartridge since rinsed and cleaned- replace? - Algal bloom- scrubbed rocks & plants - Been feeding sparingly- once per day - Fish active and eating well - Feeding Sera ³granu-red² - Temp fluctuates by 1 1/2 degree between lights off & on - Fluctuating ph- can¹t get proper reading- around 9 - Nitrites fluctuate between .2, bring them down to .05 after water change and Amquel+ recommended treatment- sometimes daily -Using Cycle- no long run improvement as far as I can tell - Perhaps use combination of Mardel products to treat unknown Disease? -Mardel products affect cycling process? Internet says no Extra: Is adding aquarium salt beneficial when Seachem Tanganyika salt is already present? < All these medications and additives are affecting you nitrification process. You are chasing your tail. Get the tank right first. Small water changes to control waste. Small feedings that the fish will eat all the food in a couple of minutes. Service the filters  every other week. Vacuum the gravel when not servicing the filters on alternative weeks. All the little critters will disappear when there is nothing for them to eat. The little tears and wounds will heal with clean water. Put all the chemicals away for awhile and let the tank stabilize and settle down. You are making this harder than it needs to be. Your Tanganyika cichlids are very hardy.-Chuck>

Mysterious death of cichlids Hi Chuck First, thanks for getting back to me so fast and glad you enjoyed your visit to the Lake. Malawi's a very small world and, having lived here for 11 years, we know Stuart Grant very well.  All our original fish came from his place, though many have bred prolifically since then. Since writing to you, I went to a local pharmacy to look for Metronidazole, which they didn't have.  When I explained to the pharmacist what it was for (expecting raised eyebrows), it was she who told me to take the tetracycline - on the grounds that Stuart Grant buys it from her in large quantities! We finally got hold of Stuart's right-hand man yesterday and followed his instructions, which were to add half a kg of salt per 1000 lts and empty the contents of 50 x 250mg Tet capsules into the water.  We did all that and, although it turned the water dark red, the fish seemed undisturbed and cheerfully demanded food. Thanks for all your other advice on food (we use the same as Stuart) and temperature (shouldn't be a problem judging from our lot's tolerance and that of all our friends' fish).  We've tracked someone down with a pH tester so will give that a try to see how the levels look.  As for nitrites/nitrates...?  We have a regular water change routine and will try to get some Metronidazole/formalin/malachite if Stuart's recommendations don't solve the problem. By the way, we're also avid divers (100+ dives in Lake Malawi) so have seen many of "our" fish in their natural habitat over the years.  We've done everything we can to recreate their natural environment in our ponds but I guess there's no substitute for the real thing. Anyway, thanks so much for all your help.  We'll see what happens in the next few days and I'll let you know.  If you do make it back to Malawi sometime, get in touch.  You'll get a warm welcome and can come and meet our fish! Thanks and regards Caz < You are right Malawi is a small world. If you can't find Metronidazole then check the pharmacy for Flagyl. It is the same thing and is used in human treatments. If and when I get back to Malawi I will definitely try and get over to see your fish. Good Luck and Zikomo for the invitation.-Chuck>

Mystery African cichlid deaths - 11/24/03 <Soooooo sorry for the delay.> I really don't know if you can help me, I have asked 3 different people their opinions and treated my water with any number of different medications. <curious as to what the others said???> I have a 850L tank, about 7 foot long. In it we had 2 venustus at about 15cm, a blue dolphin about the same length numerous others including electric yellows, blues, peacocks (I think that's what they're called), <yep>  jewels and clown loaches and Bristlenose. In the past, we've had a man come to clean the tank every 4 weeks. Recently, we've taken it upon ourselves to clean the water (about 2/3) every weekend and cleaning out the filters as well. <How are you cleaning out your filters??> We had noticed that the venustus had been scratching but there was no obvious signs of disease, and they were eating well. <Interesting> We purchased 2 small yabbies (they were blue), and a few days later one large electric yellow died with no obvious marks. It was at this time that the fish went off their food. Then venustus started to gasp. In the few hours before they died, they started to jerk and had cloudy eyes. When this occurred I used a product called Melaflex or Melafix in an attempt to help the others who had started to gasp <I am not sure I like this product. I have tried in the past when I had some various issues with water quality but my fish continued to have issues whether I used it or not. Save the money> I changed 2/3 of the water but did not clean the filter (the water smelt terrible!). <Carbon and a poly filter will help> A few days later our tank cleaning man came and added an antibiotic called triple-sulfa. <OK> By this time we had lost 15 fish, including 2 clown loaches. <Very sorry> We found millions of small snails floating on the surface, but it appears as though the bigger ones are still alive. <Probably a result of the Triple Sulfa> The blue dolphin was the only fish that had what appeared to be white spot. <parasitic or missing scale?> We have removed the yabbies, but fish have continued to die and some are still gasping even though it is not an aeration problem, we have a large air stone in the water <Doesn't necessarily mean there is plenty of oxygen?> We have now added cycle in an attempt to restore the water to a natural state. <More water changes will help> We are at a loss to know what has gone wrong, if it was the yabbies we would have thought that the pet stores' fish would also be dead, but I have seen them alive and well <Likely not the yabbies?? But always a good lesson for quarantine> Please tell us if there is anything else we can do besides removing all our existing fish and starting again from fresh. <May be a gill issue or possible internal parasite, but from what you describe with the twitching, scraping, and the gasping as well as the loss of appetite, I might be inclined to look into maybe some sort of gill malady. Check through this site and see what the great many posters there might have for you: http://cichlidforums.com/> We have salt in the water and always add more when we change water I hope you can help, we are getting rather desperate. <I would try without salt as well. I know that the rift lakes seem to have some traces of salts and minerals but try just aerating the water and heating it before doing a water change in fact, do more frequent water changes and use carbon. Try an appetite stimulant like Selcon or Vita-Chem to see if that doesn't induce some eating. Try some frozen foods as well, I like to use enriched brine shrimp and other frozen cichlid foods. I think it is important to get them eating before another treatment. You could try Metronidazole for internal parasites, but not so sure this is the issue. Look into the gills as a possible area of infection. What about necropsy? Maybe a vet could identify the cause of death and you could work from there. Just some suggestions but really not identifiable through email unfortunately. ~Paul>

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