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FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid Disease: Diagnosis   

Related Articles: Flowerhorns by Ong, Blood Parrots & Flowerhorn Cichlids: maintenance and healthcare of two popular hybrid cichlids by Neale Monks, Cichlid Fishes

Related FAQs: Flowerhorn Disease 1, Flowerhorn Disease 2, Flowerhorn Disease 3, Flowerhorn Disease 4, Flowerhorn Disease 5, FAQs on Flowerhorn Cichlid Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, & Flowerhorns, Flowerhorn Identification, Flowerhorn Behavior, Flowerhorn Compatibility, Flowerhorn Selection, Flowerhorn Systems, Flowerhorn Feeding, Flowerhorn Reproduction, Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, African Cichlids, Angelfishes, Discus, Chromides, Neotropical Cichlids

Sick Flowerhorn      11/16/19
<Hello Sue,>
I am really hoping that you can help me we’re all out of ideas.
<Will try.>
Approx six weeks ago I noticed a small swelling on the side of my Flowerhorns abdomen. The swelling has since got larger and the other side of her abdomen is now swelling (the swelling appears to be internal and she is not displaying any external signs of illness.)
<Let's just be clear on this. The fish has a swelling, but apparently internal, meaning you can see that the skin and scales look normal, just stretched out because of the swelling? The swelling was more obvious on one side first, but now seems to be on both sides?>
With the help and advice of my local aquatic shop, I treated her with aquarium salts for 2 weeks which I removed with water changes and then I tried ParaGuard for 2 weeks, which I removed with water changes and carbon. (neither of which have worked.) I have removed the carbon from my filter and I am currently dosing the tank with API general cure (today is the last day of treatment) but I can see no improvement.
<Understood. API General Cure was a good call, containing metronidazole, and therefore a good treatment against Hexamita infection, which the stringy white faeces would be consistent with. On the other hand, the fact we're dealing with abdominal swelling points more towards Dropsy, which though it is a symptom rather than a disease, tends to be related to opportunistic bacterial infections and general environmental stress.>
She has white stringy feces (indicating an internal parasite?) but none of the treatments are working. I am going to make a medicated food using the last sachet of API general cure, garlic juice, her fish pellets and Epsom salts.
<Epsom Salt is a good choice for Dropsy, and can reduce the swelling, but by itself isn't a cure.>
Thing is, she’s stopped eating so I’m not sure how successful this will be. The aquatic shop staff and I are now out of ideas on how to help her.
I have noticed lots of very tiny snails in her tank. I’m assuming they came in with some water lettuce plants that I added to the tank approx 2 months ago (I’ve since removed the water lettuce.) I suspect that I hadn’t noticed the snails before as maybe she had been eating them. She had also eaten all of the roots of the water lettuce plants (could these have caused a blockage?)
<On the contrary: fresh green foods provide fibre, which (just as in humans) prevents all sorts of problems with the digestive tract. Small snails, while unsightly, are unlikely to cause problems, and some cichlids enjoy eating them, using the pharyngeal mill to grind up the shells. So again, no risk.>
My main thinking is that although I rinsed the water lettuces prior to adding them to the tank, if I inadvertently missed a snail on them then maybe I didn’t rinse them well enough and introduced parasites too.
<Yes to how the snails got in, but no, unlikely to have been a source of parasites. Yes, snails can carry parasites, but most of the bad ones have complex life cycles involving water birds and mammals, so don't persist in aquaria. So while snails are unsightly, they're almost never a danger. Fish are MUCH more likely to pass parasites between themselves, which is why "feeder fish" are so dangerous.>
She is in a 55g tank, I have tested the water and the readings are all fine.
<Need some data here, rather than "fine". 55 gallons isn't particularly big, especially for a cichlid that should be at least 30 cm long when fully grown. Let me have you do some reading, here:
My concern here is that cichlids of all types are subject to health issues when 'cramped'. Whether it's the lack of oxygen, or excessive nitrate, I don't really know. But I've seen it many times, and learned the hard way when breeding various kinds at home. Again, the link above will provide some water chemistry range values to aim for (but in brief, hard, alkaline water is what you want) and besides 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, you want to aim to keep nitrate below 20 mg/l, and certainly not above 40 mg/l for any length of time. Skipped water changes cause cichlids real problems because they are so much more sensitive to nitrate than most other freshwater fish.>
As we live in the U.K, I am limited on what medication can be used (I had to order the API general cure from the U.S.) Please have you any idea on the next step for me to take? Blossom means a lot to me and my husband and we’d hate to lose her.
<Treating Dropsy is hard, and best done with antibiotics from a vet, but my favourite medication available in over-the-counter from UK stores is eSHa 2000. It's relatively inexpensive (around £5 a bottle) and tolerated very well by virtually all fish, even sensitive species like Pufferfish.>
I’d really appreciate any help that you can give.
Many thanks,
<Welcome. Neale.>

Cant Recognize what's wrong with my Flowerhorn. Env.      7/7/17
Hello Sir/Ma'am.
I have a 8 months old Flowerhorn ( gender unknown) from recent 1 month his behaviour have been changed drastically.
1) He flickers his all fins at a very high rate ( more or less it looks like shivering)
2) he sits in corner of the tank and
3) He rubs his mouth against glass and then jumps out of water 3-4 times a day
4)is losing appetite slowly.
5)A jumps out of water as if he is scared as hell of something.

I don't see any signs of ich there are no salt like granules on his body but sometimes I see air bubble stuck on his belly.
He is in a 20 gallon tank(which I know is very short).
<.... the symptoms you mention could be due to nervous damage, genetic problems; but are almost assuredly environmental. This fish is being subjected to poor water quality. Do you have measures (from tests) for alkalinity, pH, nitrogenous compounds (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)? THIS is what you need to investigate.>
He used to eat 4 times a day, I have never ever feed him with live food or frozen food. All I feed him is Pellets (okiko platinum huncher) and he seems to be happy with it.
I'm attaching pictures with it.
I don't have any ph tester or any water parameter testing kit nor any heater
.<You NEED to get, use all of these. NOW>
I use a sobo Internal power filter rated at 880L/H.
Heater isn't required in my area since normal temperature always ranges between 20-26 degree Celsius and water temperature is same as well.
Not having a testing kit is bad thing, but I'm planning to purchase one.
Just let me know why Is he shivering or flicking his fins and jumping as if he has seen a ghost.
Thanks in advance, hoping for a favourable and quick response.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FHEnvDisF.htm
and the linked files above, AND fix this animal's world. YOU determine what quality of life it has.
Bob Fenner>


re: Cant Recognize what's wrong with my Flowerhorn     7/8/17
Thank you so much for quick response. I will make sure to get a test kit ASAP.
Will further let you if any updates happen
<Oh! Akshay! For now, do change out about a half of the water for new, and STOP feeding period. I suspect you have VERY high Nitrates, likely some ammonia et al. Be of good life. Bob Fenner>
re: Cant Recognize what's wrong with my Flowerhorn

Okay sir,
I made 80% of water change 5 days ago.
I will change half of it again in 7 hours from now as it is night here in India.
Will not feed him and thanks heaps for help.
One more thing which I forgot to mention that he is fading away his colour from top, his skin is white over there ( completely faded patch ), is it okay? Or there is something really going wrong?
<This fish needs to be kept in a much larger, cleaner world, period. B>
re: Cant Recognize what's wrong with my Flowerhorn

Yes He needs a larger home, have sold him to a guy, he lives 10 miles away from my home, He is having a 40 gallon tank, he will get a new and safer home, and yes, have made 50% water change and he is all good now and moving freely again.
<Good moves Akshay>

Will pack him in few hours, just thought should inform you.
<Thank you . I appreciate your efforts>
Your advice helped a lot.
Big Thanks to you!
Will refer to you always.
God bless fishes! Lol
<Life to you my friend. BobF>

My flower horn    2/26/17
My flower horn is sitting very quietly at bottom or near the bio filter an hiding himself and he eats his pellet depending on his mood n I give him Taiyo humpy head , I m not knowing if any disease he is having plz help me out what should i do I bought him three days before
<Hello. You've given me no useful information here. So let me instead direct you to some reading, here:
The vast majority of sick Flowerhorn stories come about because of poor environment. So check the size of the aquarium (250 litres or more, please); water quality (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and nitrate levels below 20 mg/l); and water chemistry (should be at least medium hard and slightly alkaline; 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7-8). Review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Flower horn injury or disease       8/29/15
Greetings WetWebMedia team
I have a female flower for almost 3 yrs now, three weeks ago I bot a new 150 gallons tank and put the fish in that, I also have 5 parrot fish and two chiclid along with it, recently I found few injuries on my flower horn.
Find attached images for better understanding (injury near the tail).
Please advice on what has happened to my flower horn and how to take care of it. I am very found of my flower horn and have been taking good care of it since 3 yrs please advice on what to do.
<Hello Mohamed. Looks like a slightly infected bacterial wound. If water quality is excellent it will probably heal without medicine. But I'd add an antibiotic or anti-Finrot medication as a preventative. More important is figuring out why this fish is injured. Some of these cichlids might be fighting, or at least being boisterous enough for this Flowerhorn to be scared and jumped into something. Check there aren't any jagged rocks in the tank. Sometimes "Plec" catfish cause these wounds too. Cheers, Neale.>

re: Flower horn injury or disease       8/29/15
Thanks a lot, much appreciated
<Welcome. Neale.>
re: Flower horn injury or disease       8/29/15

Can you also tell me names of the medication and where I can find them.
<Here in the UK, I'd be using eSHa 2000. Reliable and good value. Don't forget to remove carbon from the filter while using medication. Neale.>

Urgent ! Help... can't w/o data      11/15/14
Hi there,
My Flowerhorn fish is staying at the top...looking in upward direction.
.and his head a bit outside the water...
I read on your site about constipation. .so i stopped giving him pellets..and i gave him green peas to eat... But he is not eating green peas and not even spinach.. can i give him something else to him? Or what should i do. (He eats his pellets but not peas).
Kindly reply.
<? What re water quality, the system, history? CHANGE a good deal of the water NOW! Bob Fenner>

Worried about my Red Devil.     4/17/14
Good afternoon, I am once again writing to you for some much needed advice.
Thanks again in advance for your help. Since the last time I wrote to you, the blister like lesion heeled and he gained back his appetite and was doing really well since then. But now, there is a bigger problem that appeared: There is a huge bump but this time it's right between his eyes and I would say looks more like an air bubble full of something dark giving it a purple-ish color. It has been there for about 3-4 days now and it's size is increasing with time. Also, he tries to eat the pellets giving to him but all he does is spits it back out.. What should I do at this point?
<As the shampoo commercials say, "rinse, repeat". This may or may not be a reoccurrence of the same problem as before. Hard to say. With mysterious cichlid problems the combination of Metronidazole alongside a good antibiotic (Nitrofurans for example, or the Maracyn 1 and 2 combo) often fixes things without a complete diagnosis being necessary. That said, review the aquarium carefully. Consider tankmates; water chemistry; water quality; ornaments (that might be sharp and cause damage or chemically reactive so change the pH up or down); water turnover rate; oxygenation.
Review the needs of Amphilophus spp in terms of diet, water chemistry and aquarium size, and act accordingly. Good luck, Neale.>

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