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FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid Disease 2

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, Treatments, & 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,

Flower horn, env. "disease" 6/10/09
good day to the Crew! I inherited yesterday this 3 year old flower horn, which came with a 55 gallon tank, I changed the overhead filter to a 3 leveled canister one.
<Will need more filtration, circulation than this canister can provide>
he's very active and eats anything I feed him. but just today, I noticed one of his eyes is popping out with a some sort of skin growth above it (img_0199) I asked the previous owner and he acknowledged that it was like that ever since a year or so. I just want to know what it is?
<Looks like some sort of idiopathic tumour, arising out of an Neuromast...>
and can it be cured and how?
<Mmm, likely self-limiting... with good/better/best water quality and nutrition. Nothing to "treat" with per se... Consider it/this as some sort of "callus" on your hand.... from not wearing gloves let's say...>
I also noticed the other eye started to pop out (img_0202), ill be guessing stress and new water?
<Ah, yes!>
I've been reading some articles on your sight, you really help a lot of aquarist, hope you can help me too in in query. Thank you in advance. Hoping for good news.
<Do a bit more, wider reading re this hybrids care... and look into more filtration, water movement... and weekly partial water changes of size. Bob Fenner>

Re: Flower horn, env. dis. -- 06/10/09
Thank you so much for the quick response, you gave very sound advices. : )
ill provide more circulation tonight, and more filtration maybe by the weekend. ill just compensate with daily water change of 10% until that time.
I'm quite new with the aquarium set up. I'll do wider reading on this topic.
<Sounds very good>
Thanks again Bob and the Crew! Let's just hope that its condition would be better soon. I'll just post some updates maybe on the weekend.
best regards to everyone!!!
<Thank you Albert. BobF>

Re: Flower horn... reading -- 06/10/09
No, Thank you sir. By the way, if ever I would consider any medication for it, can you recommend anything? Salt, antibiotic, temperature, any, none, etc.... ?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorndisfaq.htm
and the linked files above. B>

Re: Flower horn -- 06/10/09
Bob, thank you. id probably stay with salt first, increase aeration, water movement and steady 28C temp until Saturday, if it wont respond then id probably go with the antibiotics. of course daily water change and addition of salt. its a bit easier with aquarium set up, I can measure everything with a jug, unlike with my Koi pond. : ) thank you so much for the help and the help that u extended to all of us.
More power to you and the Crew!!!
<Thank you Albert. BobF>

Re: Flower horn 6/17/09
Bob and the Crew, Greetings!!!
just an update with my Flowerhorn, it has been 7 days since the PopEye, did the following as advised by Bob: added pump for circulation and aeration, salt at 1 tablespoon per ten gallon, daily water change of 20% (salt added also), daily washing of filter fiber matt, and voila... eyes back to its socket by good 90%. he looks normal now, very active, eating three times a day...or more, re decorating the stonescape I provided for him in the tank... : ) Thank you Bob for the fast response and advices. More power Crew!!!
<Thank you for this update and good news! BobF>

Flowerhorn help needed desperately! 5/17/09
Hello there,
Greeting to you from Bangalore, India. I bought a Flowerhorn MALE almost 6 months back age being probably 3 months old. It was very active and used to play with us the moment we went near the tank. We were feeding it Humpy Head Ocean Free pellets. Once we went out of town and had to leave it with my caretaker to feed it on daily basis. After coming back for our 10 days tour we found that the water is dirty probably because of extra food given by my caretaker and the Flowerhorn fish has stopped eating. And even after a complete water change I found it not eating for almost 4 to 5 days and excreting a white mucous substance.
<Likely a reaction to poor water quality (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate); stop feeding the fish, do a big (50%) water change, and then another big water change the next day. You should find the fish recovers quickly.>
After changing the water I treated the water with Sera Baktopur and little bit of Rock Salt and pumped up the heat to 32 degree centigrade. - Nothing happened.
<No, it wouldn't. Why would it?>
I tried to feed it frozen dried shrimps, and Blood worms - nothing happened. It wont take any food. I read your message board and tried to
feed it Metronidazole along with food - it still wont take it. We don't have vets here to inject the fish or force feed medicine.
<For the love of God, stop feeding and start changing water! That's all you need to do. This fish is being poisoned by water quality problems. Very common when people have "helpers" feed their fish. Just a note: these fish can go two weeks without food, so better to leave them unfed during holidays if you don't have a reliable person to look after your fish. Alternatively, do what I do: put measured portions of food into paper envelopes, hide the rest of the food, and tell the "helper" to empty one envelope each time they visit your fish. I leave only enough envelopes for
feeding the fish once every 3 days.>
Then I tried to feed live Mollies and Guppies - which it happily chased and ate, however it was still continuing to excrete the white mucous. After almost a week's feeding on live fish...it has stopped eating again.
<Don't feed this fish feeder fish! Why...? Why...? Cichlids of this general type don't eat fish in the wild, and certainly not cheap fish bought from pet stores. Feeder fish are an EXCELLENT way to make your fish sick, by introducing parasites and bacteria of various types.>
We stopped the live fish feeding and kept on changing 25% to 50% of water every week. We did a complete water change last week.
<You needed to change the water immediately you got back. It's likely that stress over the weeks caused latent Hexamita infections to become dangerous. This is very, VERY common when cichlids are continually exposed to high levels of nitrate. See Hexamita and Metronidazole articles here on WWM.>
Its 3 months now. It still doesn't eat, its weak and now gone pale in colour and still excrete the white mucous. It shows signs of hunger as it charges to the pellets given but once it takes it in its mouth, it spits it out again. I got the Flowerhorn as an import from Malaysia and he is a part of my family. It's a torture to see him slowly wilt away like this.
Desperately need your help.
Thanks & Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Flowerhorn help needed desperately! 5/17/09

Dear Neale,
<Hello again!>
Thanks for the quick reply. It would also be helpful if you could let me know if I have to use Sera Nitrovec after water change?
<No. Sera Nitrivec is a product that supposedly boosts biological filtration; the thing with most of these products is that they're redundant: a healthy biological filter will essentially maintain itself, provided you're keeping the filter media reasonably clean and providing enough water flow and oxygen.>
Also what is this white mucous excretion that my Flowerhorn is giving off. Sometime after the water change I see a bulbous appendage sticking out of its anal aperture - what is this?
<The mucous produced by Hexamita infections is caused by the parasites irritating the wall of the gut. The gut secretes extra mucous, and this binds with the faecal matter to produce the long, white, stringy faeces we associated with the disease.>
Will just 2 consecutive days of big water change be followed up by 3rd or 4th day water change or its just 2 days change.
<Change as much as you can, provided pH and hardness remain relatively constant (and in the case of Flowerhorns, this should pH 7.5-8.2, hardness "hard" to "very hard"). If your fish has an Hexamita infection, as is possible, then water changes won't do anything other that optimize water quality; you will need to medicate the fish to cure the disease.>
How often do I have to do water changes for Flowerhorn fish. Mine is a 300 litre tank with only one Flowerhorn in it.
<By default, 25% per week is a good amount; but 50% per week is even better, especially if the tank looks messy!>
Thanks & Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>

I need immediate help please
I have a Flowerhorn. He's been sick for two weeks now. 5-10-09

He used to eat floating pellets but when he got sick, he refuses it not even trying swim upwards.
<With cichlids, it is almost always the case that when they go "off" their food, it's because something isn't right. Nine times out of ten, it's an environmental thing: review water chemistry and water quality in particular. Flowerhorns are hybrids, but they are basically Central American cichlids at heart. Therefore they need hard, alkaline water conditions; aim for 10+ degrees dH and pH 7.5-8. Water quality needs to be consistently good, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and a very low level of nitrate, less than 20 mg/l. Temperature should be middling, around 25 C/77 F. There should be strong water circulation; realistically, 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So for a 55 gallon tank -- the absolute minimum for a Flowerhorn -- you'd be looking at a filter rated at 440 gallons per hour. If you're failing on any of these criteria, that's almost certainly the cause of your fish's ill health.>
So I've decided to give him freshly chopped shrimps and help him eat through tweezers. But then after taking 3 small shrimp pieces he tends to swam away from the food. I am so desperate about his condition. He lies down on the tank floor horizontally every now and then. Also I have noticed his rotten left fin and white spots on both fins.
<Externally sounds like Finrot, in terms of lethargy, loss of appetite, like Hexamita or plain vanilla ammonia or pH stress. Regardless, these are all caused by environmental issues, so while treating the symptoms is
important, you also need to fix the environment.>
when he got sick I began to discover this site and tried treating him with all the advices I found here.
<I'm glad you're reading.>
I tried treating him with salt
<No value here...>
in combination with Methylene blue,
<Methylene Blue is more a preventative than a cure... many much better medications for bacterial infections and fungal infections on the market.>
changes 20% water everyday (which we used to do it every after 3 days) then with Flagyl (Metronidazole) 50mg everyday as it was hidden on 3 chopped shrimp pieces.
<This is very specifically a medication for Hexamita; is there evidence of an Hexamita infection? Specifically, copious, stringy white faeces?
Ulcers/pits on the face? Dark body colour?>
Today is our 5th day of medication.. For the past 4 days we have noticed a little improvement in him. Although he still lye down on the floor tank but not as often as it was prior his treatment. But just recently after administering his last dose, after eating he begun to lye down very often.
As if he cannot carry himself. We use to let him stand but he goes back lying down.. Please help me.. I am very much worried and desperate. Been thinking he might have Flagyl toxicity or what... I need your immediate help... Thank you very much..
<Hannah, you haven't actually given me any useful information here, so I can't really help. Specifically, I need [a] the size of the aquarium; [b] the water chemistry, at minimum the pH and some idea of the hardness; [c] the filter turnover (in gallons per hour or litres per hour, will be written on the filter somewhere). Do remember that Flowerhorns are not "hardy" but actually very demanding fish that need a lot of space and robust filtration. Most fatalities come from people sticking them in small tanks (20, 30 gallons) and equipped such tanks with hang-on-the-back filters. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: I need immediate help please 5-10-09
hello Neale.
thanks for your immediate response..
<You are welcome.>
here are the answers for the specific details:
1. the size of the aquarium: 20 gallons
<Far too small; unless this Flowerhorn is smaller than, say, three inches/7.5 cm, 20 gallons of water will not be safe. The problem is that there isn't enough water to dilute the ammonia it produces. It also means
that between water changes, nitrate concentration will rise very rapidly, while pH will likely drop very rapidly. Both these factors place a heavy stress on cichlids.>
2. the water chemistry, at minimum the pH and some idea of the hardness:
how can I check this?
<Using test kits; you should have at least a pH test kit (for water chemistry) and a nitrite (not nitrate) test kit (to test water quality).
These are the two essential test kits.>
we use a tap water direct from the faucet but we always to put an anti-chlorine solution, and a tablespoon of salt.
<Your tap water might be fine if you live in a hard water area, e.g., Southern England, but if you live somewhere with soft water out of the tap, e.g., Northern Scotland, your tap water will not be acceptable. Also, if you have a water softener in your house, the water it produces is also very bad for your Flowerhorn cichlid. Ordinary salt has no impact at all on water chemistry beyond raising salinity, and this isn't helpful. You need to be using a specific cichlid salt mix, which contains a variety of minerals, not just sodium chloride. See here:
Read especially the section on making these salt mixes, and why this is necessary.>
3. the filter turnover: 600 L/h as written on the top filter
<That's about 150 gallons/hour, which would be 7.5 times the volume of the tank per hour, a good amount for a 20 gallon tank. But not nearly enough for a Flowerhorn cichlid being kept in a 55 gallon system!>
what should I do?
<First, buy a pH test kit and a nitrite test kits. Dip-strips with both these tests (and others!) are inexpensive and while not especially accurate, are good enough to start with. You may prefer to buy the more accurate liquid tests though. Either way, get back to me with some numbers.
I'm almost certain the problem is that tank is too small, and moving this fish to a bigger aquarium would help. Whether that means you upgrade your aquarium or pass the fish onto someone with a bigger tank is up to you.>
thank you very much.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: I need immediate help please
thank you sooo much for your help Neale.. I'll definitely get back to you as soon as I have finished doing your advice, and that would be later tomorrow... thank you so much!!!
<Glad we could help. Good luck, Neale.>

Help Pls.... sick Flowerhorn
Flowerhorn With A Change In Stool Color 5/12/09

Hi, this is Anthony from the Philippines. I have a 5 month old FH and just recently transferred him from a 20 gallon to a 75 gallon aquarium.
Everything is well until 2 days ago, he stopped eating. I've been feeding him Oceanfree and Sumo. The activity is the same though. Then just this morning I noted that his feces, that was usually red in color became white in color. Hope you could help me. tnx very much Anthony.
<I have checked out the foods you are feeding your FH. There may be a problem with too much protein stressing the digestive system of your fish. I would recommend not feeding you fish for three days. If his appetite does not comeback then start treating with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. If his appetite has returned then try feeding less a few times a day.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn bumps head and swims upside down
Trauma To Flowerhorns Head 4/12/09

Hi, My dad's Flowerhorn was swimming well until he bumped his head trying to get to our baby looking at the aquarium. he bumped it on the glass and afterwards started swimming upside down without control of his position, direction or balance. is there anything we can do for him? what happened to him? Thanks! Nina
< Unfortunately there is not much you can do but watch for secondary bacterial infections. The blow to the head has caused nerve/brain damage and only time will tell if he will recover.-Chuck>

HI Neale, FH hlth. 4/12/09
Hi Neale,
Thanks for your help buddy, my Flowerhorn is doing much better than before but it still doesn't eat anything, I have treated my FH with Metronidazole (200mg) I tried to get Nitrofuranace as well but its not available in India as individual drug. Nitrofuranace is mixed with other chemicals so I didn't find that to be a good idea to use those drugs, could u pls suggest me alternative drug & food that I can feed my FH, waiting for ur reply, take care & happy Easter.
<Hello Sujit. I'm not a vet, and I have no personal experience of using Nitrofuranace (it's not available in Britain except with a prescription, in which case your vet will give you the precise drug required). I'd recommend looking over this page first:
But failing that, you really will need to ask a vet or medical doctor. I simply don't know anything about alternative drugs. Cheers, Neale.>

VERY URGENT HELP PLEASE (Flowerhorn) 4/7/09
I have a Flowerhorn & it has a bloated stomach & when I tried pressing it stomach we can see a liquid coming out, I tried feeding him green peas, which it didn't eat, I have reduced the water in the tank & mixed Terramycin 250gm as per the instructions by local fish vendor, but still FH is not able to swim & also there is a white spot that has appeared on his tail, plzzzzzz suggest me some remedies I don't want to lose my Flowerhorn, plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz help ASAP
<Hello. Need more information than this. Specifically, how big is the tank?
What sort of filter system do you use? What are the water chemistry and water quality parameters? To say anything sensible we need, at minimum, the pH and nitrite values, and the general hardness and nitrate values are also very helpful. What do you feed this fish? How warm is the water? Just to cut to the chase, most cichlids (indeed, most aquarium fish) get sick because of environmental issues. Poor water quality and water chemistry instability are both major killers. Flowerhorn cichlids -- for some reason -- are often purchased by people who haven't read anything about their needs first. Despite being hybrids, they are Central American cichlids in the general sense, and therefore need hard, basic water to do well (pH 7.5-8, hardness 10+ degrees dH). Nitrite and ammonia values need to be zero, while nitrate should be as low as practical, ideally less than 20 mg/l. Aquarium size needs to be upwards of 55 gallons/210 litres, and the filter should be rated at 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, i.e., at least 330 gallons/hour for a 55 gallon tank. They are of course tropical fish, so you can't keep them in an unheated tank. Like most Central American cichlids, they are omnivores that need a mixed diet containing mostly invertebrates but also green foods, particularly algae.
Let's put it another way: a diet of feeder fish will surely make them sick eventually, while too much dried food leads to bloating and worse. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: VERY URGENT HELP PLEASE (Flowerhorn) 4/7/09

my tank is 250 litres, there is no filter system
<Tank is acceptable in terms of volume, but the lack of a filter is why this fish is sick! You must have a filter! I'd recommend something with capacity 6-8 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour.>
& I don't know what is the ph level & nitrate value,
<Then find out! I can't help you without knowing these things.>
could u plz let me know how to check it so that I can check it & let u know, plzzzzz help,
<For gosh sakes, please use proper English, not "text messaging" spelling.
Usually such messages get sent back, unread.>
<We answer messages on a first come, first served basis, so there's really no point asking for extra help. We assume everyone who writes to us needs urgent help. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn lying down - Urgent Please 04/04/09
Injured Flowerhorn
Hi , I am having a Flowerhorn fish of 8 months old. It is in a 20 gallon tank with filter pump. Before two days it hit the glass hard. Suddenly it starts swimming side-wise. Now it is lying in the floor. Its mouth is open. Its gills were slowly moving. It often opens it mouth as it were gasping. I am changing 50% of water daily. Can you please suggest a solution for its recovery. Now its skin color is changed to black. Do I need to take some preventive action from infection.
< The trauma from the head injury sounds like it is getting worse. The black coloration may be the result of nerve damage. I don't think it is an infection. The water changes are good. If you think it is an infection then you could try Nitrofuranace or Erythromycin, but I don't think that is the problem. You could try a little salt or some Pimafix/Melafix. Sorry I can't be more positive about the outcome.-Chuck>

Growth on Gill of Flowerhorn 10/22/08 Dear Crew, My Flowerhorn who lives in a 75 gallon has this reddish peach ball thing growing out of its right gill. He is eating fine, and acts very normal. He eats , cichlid excel, Cichlid bio- gold, Cichlid Gold and bloodworms. The water quality is good because I change the water a lot. At first I thought it was a cut, then the circle grew a 2nd one, the lumps also made his right gill stick out more. Should I be worried? or is it a thing that comes and goes? Thank you for your time. < I have had this in the past and currently have this now on a jewel cichlid. Before your letter I have only seen or heard of this on jewel fish and dwarf jewel fish. The first time I cut it off with an Exacto knife. The fish bled a little and was fine and it didn't grow back. The fish that has it now is doing OK. I don't know what causes it. The fish were tank bred so I don't think it is a parasite. I am thinking about giving the fish to UC Davis Vet school so the can check it out. If you feel that it is causing too big a problem you can remove the fish from the tank and hold him down in a wet towel from the aquarium, lift the gill plate and cut off the growth. Treat him in a hospital tank with antibiotics to prevent infection. Increase the aeration so the fish doesn't have to breath so heavily.-Chuck>

My Flowerhorn Died due to Fungus and I need to replace the same. 10/3/08
Dear Sir,
I am writing this mail from India. I had a Big Flowerhorn fish (Short Body - 2 Yrs Old) which Died yesterday due to Fungus all over his body. I had tried my level best to cure him by adding Rid-All Anti Itch and Rid-All General Aid along with a dose of Teramycine and Abson Salt as instructed by a Local Fish Dealer/ Breeder.
<None of these are anti-fungal medications...>
I have one more small Flower Horn Fish (2-3 Months old - Long Body) and I am thinking of keeping the same in the tank in which my existing Big Flower Horn was.
<No, you're really not thinking about this. Sit back, wait for the tank to stabilise, and check that the existing fish is healthy. Do water chemistry and water quality tests to make sure that you're maintaining the tank correctly. Don't do anything for at least 6 weeks.>
Request you to kindly guide me with the procedure to treat the tank before doing the same.
<No such thing. Your job is to review the needs of these hybrid cichlids, and then make sure you're offering -- consistently -- the conditions they need.>
Air Filter has been washed using warm water and the old oxygen pipes have been replaced with the new one as the same were in the infected water for more than 3-4 days.
Entire tank has been cleaned and fresh water has been added.
<Potentially dangerous if the filter has been damaged: understand this, the filter bacteria start dying within a few minutes of the filter being switched off. Many of the bacteria and fungi that cause disease are present in all aquaria, all of the time. Normally they are beneficial, playing a role in the nitrogen cycle by breaking down organic matter. If a fish develops Finrot or Fungus, that's because the fish was damaged or stressed, and those bacteria and fungi can infect the weakened fish.>
Do I need some extra care to be taken apart from the above so as to avoid the infection to the other fish which I may release in the bigger tank within a day or two ?
<You aren't adding any more fish for a few weeks... your job is to make sure you understand the needs of these hybrids, and are providing appropriate conditions. In other words, a 55+ gallon tank, temperature around 25 C, hardness above 15 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.0. Water quality needs to be good: zero ammonia and nitrite, and nitrate below 20 mg/l. Realistically you need a canister filter offering 6x the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, that is, something upwards of 330 gallons per hour for a 55 gallon tank. Make sure you are fulfilling every single one of these requirements.>
Can I put a partition in between the tank and add some other fish (Gold Fish/ Angel Fish/ etc ) on the other side of the tank keeping the Baby Flowerhorn separate from them ? My Tank Size is 30" x 15' x 15".
<Tank is far too small...>
Kindly advise.
<Stock this tank with small fish suitable for its size, or else upgrade the tank if you want to keep Flowerhorn cichlids. Cheers, Neale.>

Flower Horn (Golden Trimac) with Bloated Belly..Urgent Help needed 9/29/08
Bloated Flowerhorn
Dear WWM Crew, I am from India (Chennai City mean day temp 35 deg C). I have a two and half year old FH-Golden Trimac. I have him in a 250 litres tank with bed and liquid filter system. The feed is dry shrimps once a day. I changed the entire water after cleaning the bed and filters on first week of September.
< When cleaning an entire tank you run the risk of over cleaning the tank and removing all the beneficial bacteria from the aquarium. With no beneficial bacteria fish waste and uneaten fish food quickly are broken down into deadly ammonia. Tough fish like Flowerhorns may not out right die from the ammonia spike but the stress can lead to diseases such as bloat/dropsy.>
The problem started then onwards. It has developed a swollen belly with a 3/4 inch tissue sticking out from his rectum. Based on our local aquarium guy's suggestion ( piles infection..?) I kept him in a small tank mixed with
half tab Flagyl. I could not see any significant improvement. He had stopped eating since then. I had taken few photos which I am enclosing.
Since three days he is standing vertical and not active with his mouth facing tank bed. I am distressed at his state. Please send me your advice ASAP to save my lovely FH. I had earlier gone through your posting and FAQ
on FH diseases. I am enclosing the Photographs taken a week back and few more taken yesterday.
Yesterday night I transferred the FH in a plastic bucket with 15 litres of water I mixed tab Metronidazole one # 250mg and put the aeration pump. Till 11 AM this morning he is stable. Now at least he is swimming and moving. His
mouth and teeth appear a light pale yellow in colour
Thanks and Regards K.M.C. Ranges Chennai
< The Metronidazole/Flagyl is the right drug of choice. The pressure from the internal infection have forced some of the intestines out through the rectum. These tissues can become infected as the fish drags them across the aquarium. The internal infection can be difficult to treat. Ideally you need to get the medication in the fish through the fish food. Since your fish isn't eating I would recommend a little different treatment. Treat with the Metronidazole every other day doing a %50 water change on the days you don't treat. I would also add an antibiotic such as Nitrofuranace with the Metronidazole. After the third treatment I would try to feed the fish and try to get them to eat. If things aren't any better you could try Clout if it is available in your area.-Chuck>

Re: Flower Horn (Golden Trimac) with Bloated Belly..Urgent Help needed Flowerhorn Dies, Resetting the Tank Back Up -- 10/02/08 Dear Chuck, You are right. The mistake of completely cleaning the tank is costing (morally) me heavily. < Everybody makes mistakes and nobody is perfect. The important issue here is that we all learn from mistakes so others don't make them. This is one of the reasons WWM exists and I participate as part of the crew.> Yesterday I did a 50% water change. When I returned back he was much more stable and moving/coming up to see me and draw oxygen. By night I again did 50% water change and added a tab of Metro and one tab of Nitrofurantoin, the trade name was Martifur 100mg in 20litre of water. The water turned light yellow. I aerated and put my FH...I unfortunately didn't monitor him. Morning at 6 I saw him dead, which left me my wife and daughter very sad and grief stricken. For two years he had been so pro-active and fine with us, now left us depleted and left a void in our dining area. Please advice me, what we should do with the tank and its filters polished stone and marbles. Do we have to disinfect it before using the same for other fishes (I have 10 Koi karbs 4/6 inches size. Please advice Regards Rangesh <Get an ammonia and nitrite test kit. You have already cleaned out the tank so no need to do that again. Keep a few fish in the tank and control the ammonia and nitrites with water changes. When the tank has its biological filtration up and running the ammonia and nitrites should be zero. Keep the nitrates under 20 ppm with water changes.-Chuck>

Need help! :o, FH... fdg., hlth. "feeder goldfish"... 9/27/08 "Hi. Can you please help me with my cichlid, commonly known as Flowerhorn locally. Our fish has not been eating for 2 weeks already, or maybe even more. Since then, his head lump decreased in size and even his body size decreased. <Starving... maybe has parasitic worms. Often happens when people use unclean live food, particularly live feeder fish, what I call "parasite time bombs"...> We changed water every after 3 days, put salt after every change. And for the past days, we've been dropping Methyl Blue and Melafix, since we've been suspecting that the fish is sick. The gills have some black stuff, seems like burns or bruise, a part of the tail has it too. <Salt irrelevant here. Melafix useless. Methylene Blue is a treatment for Fungus; not much use otherwise. Do attempt to ID the disease before randomly adding stuff to the water.> We saw a white, sponge-y thing inside his tank. And every time we remove it, some thing like it comes out again. A relative told us that it's probably fungus. It looks like cotton in the tank, but once removed, it feels like white-mucus. We're not totally sure where it's coming from. <Fungus does indeed look like cotton wool. Do also consider Finrot and Mouth Fungus, diseases that often occur in the same context: typically poor water quality.> Just today, we bought and submerged a water heater, <You were keeping this fish in cold water before...? No wonder its sick. Cichlids are extremely intolerant of cold water.> changed the water, dropped Methyl Blue and Melafix, and placed salt again. We tried feeding him but he didn't even touch the food. When we were removing the wastes, we noticed a scale detached out of his body. <Hmm...> He's usually playful and swims around the tank. But now, most of the time, he's just at the bottom of the tank, in one area and stays there for a long time. And seems like his mouth is almost always open (though I'm not too sure if the mouth is always open). <Have you done nitrite and pH tests?> Please do help. We're actually running out of ideas on what to do already. And we're hungry for answers already. And we really do feel bad for our pet. <I bet. Please review the needs of these fish. Flowerhorn cichlids are extremely demanding animals, and frankly cannot be considered "newbie" fish. You need a big tank (55 gallons upwards); zero ammonia/nitrite/ 20 mg/l or less nitrate; pH 7.5-8.0; and moderately hard water. If you're failing on any of these -- that's your problem!> The fish is actually a gift from a relative. He's been with us for months already, and never encountered any problem since then. <Hmm...> We've fed him fish food (pellets) and bloodworms bought from our local fish store. We've suspected that the bloodworms caused the disease, but we can't really point it out. <Bloodworms unlikely to cause parasitic infections... look at environment in particular...> I wanted to have the water checked for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, etc. since I've been reading that mostly, but I just can't figure out where I can have the water checked. <Where? At home: you go buy (minimum) nitrite and pH test kits.> We placed Tetracycline powder in the tank yester eve. The fish seems to be moving better, but he still doesn't want to eat. What else can we do for him? <Many things: in particular read up on Central American cichlids, review water quality and water chemistry.> Please do help immediately. We're worried and don't want the fish to die. We are even desperate for answers already! <Oh.> Thanks and God bless! :)" <Well, the Fish Gods will be expecting you to go test nitrite and pH, review water quality/chemistry issues, and evaluate whether the environment you have prepared for this fish matches its demands.> `Chrys <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Some more info (Need help! :o)... 9/27/08
Hi again. My Uncle told me just now, that the feeders we were feeding him is not bloodworm, we just don't know what it's called, but we got it from our local pet store. <Live food is fine, provided it's safe and clean. To that end, the live foods you should NEVER use are live fish or live Tubifex worms. Of the common live foods, these are safe: Daphnia, River (estuarine) Shrimps, Glassworms, Bloodworms, and Brine Shrimps. Earthworms collected from "organic" terrain are also good, but do bear in mind that if you spray pesticides in your garden, the earthworms can pick them up. Do also understand though that Brine Shrimp especially are not "complete" in the sense of having a range of nutrients. Fish eat them happily enough, but then people eat all kinds of stuff that isn't particularly nutritious as well. So live Brine Shrimp are fine as a treat, hopeless as a staple. Most cichlids are at least partially herbivorous, and some portion of their diet should be green foods such as tinned peas or Sushi Nori. Without the vitamins from green foods, they are more prone to nutritional problems and constipation.> I really am not knowledgeable about fishes, since it's my first time to really be hands-on with a fish. I checked on him after reading your site's FAQ, from what I got from my nights of researches, I am suspecting tail/fin/gill rot. Though I'm not really sure if that's what it is. I also saw some white spots at the bottom of his mouth. I think that it is a normal part of the fish's structures. <Difficult to say without a photo. Finrot is easily confused with Mouth Fungus (actually a bacterial infection, despite the name) and Fungus. All can be treated with Maracyn and/or eSHa 2000, so if in doubt, use them. Avoid medications based on Tea-tree Oil (e.g., Melafix); these are not consistent, and despite being cheap, aren't worth buying.> We bought a water heater, (Sera Aquarium Heater Thermostat) and set it at 32. <32 Celsius is WAY to hot for these fish. Do read, review the needs of these fish and act accordingly. If in doubt, 25 C is safe for most tropical fish.> We're planning on trying to feed him bloodworms and see if it will increase his appetite. Do you think this would be of help? We have been feeding him Ocean Free Super Red and Humpy Head interchangeably and some worms occasionally. <There's no need to cram food into a fish: it will eat everything you give it, but most will be egested as waste. Indeed, excessive protein and especially fat do more than harm than good. One or two small meals per day is ample for most fish. Mammals (like us) have evolved over millions of years to eat huge amounts of food relative to body weight, trading the effort involved in collecting food against the benefit (in the case of our ancestors especially) of being active at night when its cold. Fish don't work that way, and instead leave their metabolism to fluctuate up and down with the environment. They only need relatively tiny amounts of food for growth and repair, and of course reproduction. In real terms, the average fish gets by on 10% what a similar weight mammal would, and furthermore lives many times longer. It's a very VERY common mistake among newbie aquarists to overfeed their fish, compromising water quality and potentially causing harm to the fish. Again, read before doing random stuff.> Please do extend your help! We really are desperate to help our Flowerhorn. <Hope this helps.> Thanks very much for your time in advance. God bless, Chrys <Cheers, Neale.>

Sick flower Horn Cichlid... just new 9/25/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Trinh> I have a 4 inch Flowerhorn that I just bought about two weeks ago and is now in a 10 gallon tank. <Needs more room than this> So here is the situation: The day after I bought the fish ( thurs 9/4), I try to feed it all kinds of pellets including alife by Hai Feng, but it wouldn't touch any of the foods. <Likely will take a few days to settle in> So I thought it was stress in the 10 gal quarantine tank <Yes, agreed> and didn't want to eat. I did try to feed it for about a week, but it didn't touch any of it and scooped the uneaten food out with in several minutes. It comes up and looks at the food and then swims away. There is no visible signs of heavy breathing or scratching, but the fish bends its body into a semi-U-shape once or twice I have seen. Also there are visible signs that there are stress bars on its body. The stomach seems a little bloated or big. There is no visible signs of hole in the head. It has not poop anything out since for about a week, but a week later there is this white stringy noodle looking poo that hangs out of its anus. Reading from the advice of the Flowerhorn forum, I was told to use "Metro" and treat in for almost a week now. <Mmm, I wouldn't have done this> It's in a 10 gallon hospital tank with a small filter and heater set at 82 F with 10% water change every three day recommended by the package. So....day 6; 4 metro treatment. I guess it's a little bit of improvement since my latest post on Sunday. It still refuse to eat anything even bloodworm and krill. Stomach still looks swollen a little. I sort of over look this but the mouth seems to never close shut, rarely, and sometimes it seems like it's does these rapid coughing not sure what is it 1. Any one have any ideas? <Just stress, not hungry... Very likely water quality issues... are you monitoring ammonia, nitrite here?> Well it poop more, no more sign of white poo, but still that stringy-thin brownish/yellow thread poo...see in pics <Is what was in its stomach from wherever it was cultured... Inexpensive plant-based material...> 2. Is this a good sign that the medication is working? <Not necessarily> Not sure what it is, but there's this dark spot on the stomach area like two days ago. 3. Can anyone identify what it and if harmful how to treat it? <Not from the information presented, no> 4. How's the recovery rate of this fish?...will it ever improve <Generally very tough animals... I would move to permanent larger, well-established, better-filtered... quarters... stop the exposure to Metronidazole... Will kill the kidneys (and the whole animal) if prolonged> thanks so much for your help!!
<Bob Fenner>

Re: sick flower, reading 9/25/08
....so when should I be worry about the fish not eating...it's two weeks now of not eating
What should I do in the time being so I can keep it feed or some nutrition in its body? Is it even worth buying those vitamin fish tablet that you put in the tank if the fish doesn't want to eat at all? Also if it's not eating base on my description what's your diagnosis and how should I treat it. I was told that its digestive tract was maybe damage...not sure...but if so how can I repair it.
-Thank you very much for the help
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornfdgfaq.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>

Flowerhorn with Air Bladder Disease, reading -- 6/17/08 Hi, I have a Flowerhorn that is about 6 years old. He appears perfectly beautiful and healthy. He has developed air bladder disease. <... from what cause?> He is not constipated. We noticed he was spending a lot of time sitting on the bottom, but in the past few days he is swimming with his head down. I have found that there are various opinions whether this is caused by a bacteria or virus. <Can be either, neither> I do not know how to "dose" antibiotics or which ones to use. He is about 12" long and in a 55 gal. tank. <Needs more room than this> We were planning on getting him a 75 gallon tank in a few weeks. Can you tell me what antibiotics to use and in what quantities? Thank you. J. Farmer <I would read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorndisfaq.htm and the linked files above... Perhaps try Epsom Salt, improving water quality, nutrition... Bob Fenner>

What happened to my FH? 5/6/08 Flowerhorn Going Through Tough Times I've just done a complete clean up of my tank (taking out everything and cleaning it). I put the FH in a small bucket. It was lying on its side in the bucket but my brother says it's ok. When I put the FH back into the tank, it was not active as before. It was just staying in one spot. I tried feeding it but it did not eat. I felt that the water was too cold so I took some water out and poured in hot water and installed a heater. I had a new Whisper filter installed. I have a 50gallons tank and the Whisper can handle 60 gallons. My FH is about 6 inches. I felt odd because it usually was really active so I used a net to poke it and it moved around a bit. Then I picked it up out of the tank with the net to take a closer look. When I put it back in, it suddenly moved very fast and hit the tank 3 times (as if it bounced from one corner to the other). Afterward, it would just stay still in a corner at the bottom of the tank. A few hours later, I found it lying on its side with white stuffs all over its body and his eyes also has the white stuffs. I thought it was dead so I picked it up but then I notice it is still breathing. I believe it is internal bacterial infection? I read somewhere to put salt in so I thought it is table salt (didn't know it was Epsom salt). I drizzle some table salt into the tank. I think it got worst. It is barely breathing now. Can it still be cure? Or should I just kill it? <Check the ammonia levels in the tank. When you cleaned the tank you probably removed all the beneficial bacteria that breaks down very toxic ammonia to less toxic nitrites and nitrates. I use to recommend Bio-Spira but it was discontinued some time ago. Now I would recommend frequent water changes to keep the ammonia levels under control. The water should be at 78-80 F. You will need a thermometer. If you fish is being attacked by bacteria then I would recommend using Nitrofurazone. This will impact the same bacteria you are trying to culture but will cure your fish. After the cure is complete you will need to watch for ammonia spikes or the same thing may happen all over again.-Chuck>

Fin rot dose or not? Pls help 5-1-08 Flowerhorn With Tail Rot and Bloat Dear Sir/Madam, Greeting of Peace! I would like to seek your advice because my Flowerhorn is so sick. About 2 weeks ago I noticed that his fin is like being eaten out. So I search the net and it said that the med to be given is Tetracycline. So I bought the meds, and left it there for a couple of days. When I came back last week his condition didn't improve. So I bought Metronidazole. Together w/ the tetracycline, changed again the water and cleaned the container. I have also noticed that his body flexed only to one side and noticed a bulge in his stomach. I was wondering what it is? I just thought that since he flexed at one side it could be an effect. But noticed today that the bulge became bigger and his anus seems inflamed (white in color). I tried to feed him today but he doesn't have any appetite. Yesterday he ate and passed a stool, same color and consistency. Please help me what to do. What proper medication do I need to give? Thank you in advance. Sincerely, Claire Philippines < I have heard that Tetracycline only works well in very soft water. I would recommend using Nitrofuranace for the fin rot. If it is severe then I would cut off the infected area back to health fin tissue and then treat the tank. The bloating sounds like an intestinal infection. The Furanace will help if the problem is bacterial. If it is caused by a protozoan then the Metronidazole should be used. I have used these in combinations without any side effects. If you fish is eating then try and feed him some medicated food with Metronidazole in it.-Chuck>

FH Fin rot dose or not? Pls help I think my fish is dying 5-1-08 Dear Sir/Madam, Greeting of Peace! <And you> I would like to seek your advice bec my Flowerhorn is so sick. 2 weeks ago I noticed that his fin is like being eaten out. So I search the net and it said that the med to be given is tetracycline. <One possibility, yes> so I bought the meds, and left it there for a couple of days. when I came back last week his condition didn't improve. so I bought Metronidazole together w/ the tetracycline. <Mmmm> change again the water and clean the container. I have also noticed that his body flexed only to one side and noticed a bulge in his stomach. I was wondering what it is, I just thought that since he flexed at one side it could be an effect. But noticed today that the bulge became bigger and his anus seems inflamed (white in color). I try to feed him today but he doesn't have any appetite. yesterday he eat and passed stool, same color and consistency. Please help me what to do. What proper medication I need to give? thank you in advance. Sincerely, Claire Philippines <Need information your system, water quality, history of care... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorndisfaq.htm and the linked files above... to gain a greater understanding of the sorts of data we're looking for, review others experiences. Bob Fenner>

Sick Flowerhorn, no data... reading 4/20/08 Hi to everyone, <Cora> As you can see from the picture below, my flower horn has something red sticking out of his anus. He is also not eating well and doesn't seem to be happy. What could be wrong with him. <No pic enclosed or attached> I've searched the internet for an answer but found none. Please help me. Thank you very much. Thanks again, Cora <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorndisfaq.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Cora

Re: sick Flowerhorn. Pix, but still no data, using WWM -- 04/21/08 Hi everyone, <Cora> I'm sending this again with the pictures attached and not pasted as I did before. I hope I did it right this time. <Yes> My flower horn has something red sticking out of his anus (as shown in the pictures attached). He is also not eating well and doesn't seem to be happy. What could be wrong with him. <... need information... as per where you were referred prev.... Re the system, foods/feeding, water tests...> I've searched the internet for an answer but found none. Please help me. I'm desperate as to what to do with him. Thank you very much. Thanks again, Cora <Please read again re FH hlth. on WWM for examples of the type of info. we're looking for. Bob Fenner>

Help With My Flower Horn Fish Sick Flowerhorns -- 03/08/08 Dear WWM: I purchased a FH about 1.5 years ago. He was a very happy and attentive fish until 4 days ago. Now, he is non-responsive and he is not eating at all. He is just starting to turn black at his tail. The FH is in a 75 gallon tank with 6 other African Cichlids.
<FHs are not African cichlids. B>
The FH is about 7" long and has a nice red and black coat, with red eyes. This is why we named him "Red Eye". My husband and I love him dearly. We are planning on transferring him to a 10 gallon take so he can heal. We changed the water on 3/5/08 and took a sample of the water to a local pet store. The attendant at the pet store said, the water is good. Now what should we do? I am not sure if it is fungal or bacteria? Is Metronidazole the savior for my FH? Please advise, thanks. Desperate Ms"J" < Turn the water temp up to 82 F in the 10 gallon. Offer him his favorite food for 5 minutes. If he does not eat then he may have an internal infection. Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone every other day with a 50% water change in between the days you don't medicate. After 6 days offer some food again and see if he responds. He should be pretty hungry by then.-Chuck>

Very sick Flowerhorn, reading 2/11/08 hello, My flower horn is very sick right now and I have no idea how to make it better. Two days ago, it was fine. Then suddenly, it started to swim on its side. My fish was living in a 10 gallon tank whose filter was busted about a month prior. <... needs more room than this> I tried doing 50% change every 3 or so days. It got sick so suddenly that I'm not sure what contributed to it. My fish got sick on Friday evening. I immediately put it in a bigger tank, 150 gallons of water but it does not seem to be better. <Residual damage...> It did not move or when it did, it was swimming on its side. I changed 50% water of the small tank, put in some erythromycin with some aquarium salt. I then put it back into the small tank to soak up the medicine for about 2 hours. My dad then put it back to the big tank and tried to make it exercise to help with the breathing. It was more lively afterward but still swims abnormally. The next evening, I noticed that my fish seemed to have problem swimming downward since it keeps being buoy upward upside down. I'm afraid that it may have bladder disease or something similar. Its stomach has not enlarged. Its eyes somewhat protrude. Then this morning, my Flowerhorn seems to have problem straighten its body out. Its body keeps on bending like a half moon and it swims on its side more. Since Friday, I've been feeding it anti-biotic food from Jungles. It ate some of the food, not a lot though. Also, the anti-biotic food have been about a year old, Is it still safe to feed it with it? <Yes... though likely has little food value or antibiotic activity> I've been having problem finding a pet store near where I live. I'm trying to buy furan, tetracycline, etc. Please help!!! I have some Epsom salt but I don't know if I should put some in. In short, my fish is now in a 150 gallon tank, being fed with at-least-year-old anti-biotic food. Please help! Thanks <... Please... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FHDisF2.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: very sick Flowerhorn Urgent Help Needed!! Metronidazole/Flagyl f' warning... 2-12-08 Hi, Today is the 4th day that my Flowerhorn exhibits weird behavior. I tried treating it with anti-biotic as directed. However, I only have tetracycline and general cure with 125mg of Metronidazole. <This is fine> The fist store I went to buy the medicine told me that tetracycline is even better than furan. <Mmm... not in most cases like this, no> So this is basically what I did today; I changed 25% water (I changed 50% yesterday), I put in both tetracycline (3 pills) and General Cure (1 pill) in the tank (dissolve 4 pills in a 40 gallon tank). I put in about 4 spoons of Epsom salt in the tank. I also mixed a bit of tetracycline and General Cure pill with metr. into a liquid solution. Using a syringe, I force-fed the liquid solution into my FH, about 1 1/2 syringe of medicine. <I would not force feed this fish this material> I also soaked some pellets in General Cure with Metr. but haven't feed it. I also notice that my FH's stomach is noticeably distended. It just floats on top of the tank now. It is so much less active than yesterday. I hope I did not make things worse. Please let me know if tetracycline is good to use. If not, I'll try to find Furan tomorrow. Please let me know if what I've been doing is good for it. Thanks <If you do find a Furan compound, do a series (like three days) of water changes to dilute the Tetracycline... ahead of application. I would NOT continue the use of Metronidazole... this continuous exposure can/will the kidneys of your fish. Bob Fenner>

Re: very sick Flowerhorn Urgent Help Needed!! 2/13/08 thank you for your reply, I'm still very confused now. If you don't mind, can you detail the steps for me? My fish have been force-fed <... should not be force fed period> tetracycline for 2 days straight now. I've fed the pellets with Metronidazole once but it spit the pellets right out. <... Please read on WWM re FW antibiotic use: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwantibiofaqs.htm The medicine I now have is tetracycline, general cure (with 125mg of Metronidazole), and Furan. So far, my fish have been exposed to tetracycline the most. I also put in Epsom salt whenever I change the water. I have yet to see any improvement but the fish store told me that it would take up to 2 weeks to see any changes. Please itemize the steps for me. Thanks <Please read. Don't write... READ. B>

My Flowerhorn hit the tank. 2/4/08 Dear Sir, <Sophie> Ten days ago, Thursday Jan 24, 07, my Flowerhorn (around 30cm long) hit his 50-gallon tank <Needs more room than this> with his mouth when seeing me stand by another tank closer to his (he usually does that when seeing us come back home or pass by his tank). But this time, he hit so hard that he fell upside down right away within a second after hitting the tank and could not swim anymore. He cannot control his swimming and let himself float upside down at the top of the water. <Yikes, bad> I then put him in a smaller tank (20-gallon) in order to keep him stay upright. He was floating upside down at the top of water for few days then lying flat (also at the top of water) for few more days, and by doing so, his left side was exposed to the air and getting dry. And now, after a week, he is sinking and lying flat on his right side at the bottom, exposing his left side. Also, I just realized today there is white cloud in the center of his right eye while his left eye looks normal and clear. I don't know when this happened and just guess it is because his right eye has touched the bottom for a while, but not sure if it is the reason. So, today I use a bottle full of water to hold him upright. Is it ok to do so? <We'll see> He has not eaten anything since he hit the tank, although I tried a couple of times feeding him directly to his mouth with pellets ground then soaking in water to make it soft, but he threw out everything. What medication should I give him? <Perhaps a little salt in the water... as a general cathartic> I feel very bad for not knowing what to do or what kind of treatment to follow to keep him alive. He has been with us for 3 years and I don't want to lose him. Please help. I really appreciate your great knowledge about Flowerhorn. I could cure another smaller Flowerhorn with bloating/dropsy problem thanks to the Questions & Answers from your website. <Am glad it was useful> I forgot to tell you that during few hours after hitting the tank, he produced lots of stools with normal dark brown/red colour (like colour of pellet food). Few days later, stools are lighter in colour. Also, few days after he hit the tank, I tried to help him walk around the tank because I was afraid that he would be paralyzed if not swimming. But now I realized from your web site that I should not hold him and can make him sick for doing so. Please help, Sir, I don't know what to do without your advice. Should I treat him with Maracyn-2 or something else? I feel very uncomfortable for not doing anything to save him. I change water twice a week. Best Regards, Sophie <Mmm... I do hope your cichlid recovers. The neural damage it did itself... is not really "treat-able" other than being patient; hoping for self-cure. Bob Fenner>

Pls help, asap, my Flowerhorn is sick! 1/29/08 Dear Sir, Greeting of Peace! <Hello,> I would like to seek your advice what will I do w/ my Flowerhorn. This started when I bought an XO product for color enhancement (ever red) w/c is the usual brand we buy. Unfortunately, when I bought this last Wednesday(01/23/08) I ask the saleslady what is the expiration date because I can't see it on the label. But when she look at the product there is no exp date on the can, so she said that the product just arrived last week. So, I bought it anyway even w/o exp date. <Doesn't sound promising.> I started to feed him w/ these last thu but after a few days, I've noticed that my fish seems in active, he didn't even consumed the one I fed him last night . Until this morning, I saw him upside down and can't even move. <Oh.> So I transfer him to smaller container but when I came home this afternoon his lying flat on the floor of the aquarium. <Why to another tank? How big is this "smaller container"? Does it have a mature filter?> I noticed on the water that there are fragments of dead skin or I just don't know how u call it but the appearance is white. I also noticed his right eye that there is a white spot on the center. <All sounds like a bacterial infection, such as Finrot or something similar. Treat with an antibiotic or antibacterial. Regardless, almost always connected with either physical damage (e.g., rough handling) and/or poor water quality. You need to check out the ammonia/nitrite level immediately. The damage to the eye makes me also think the fish was carelessly handled, perhaps with a net, or maybe damaged by another fish in the aquarium. Lots of things can cause these symptoms. Tell me about the aquarium, its size, what other fish are in there.> He can't move unless you lift him up and let him sink that is the time he will try to swim. <Stop touching your fish. It's bad for them. Every time you hold a fish you remove mucous, and that lets bacteria get into the skin.> What shall I do and is this because of the food?? Is he poisoned?? <Possibly either of these, but without knowing more about the size of the tank, the filter you use, what the pH and nitrite levels are in the aquarium, I cannot say anything helpful.> PLS HELP... Thank you once again and hoping for your immediate response. Sincerely, Claire <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Pls help, asap, my Flowerhorn is sick! -01/30/08
Hi Sir, The tank is between 30-50 gallons. It has no rocks, sand or ornaments. He's the only one on the tank. I usually change the water once a month and within this month I have changed 50% water after 2 weeks. I changed the water last Jan 20 and again this evening. I gave him Flagyl 500mg and now he seems a little livelier compared yesterday, but most of the time flat on the bottom of the tank. Sir, how can I check for ammonia/nitrate levels? I haven't tried it yet. < There are many reliable test kits available from retailers online. The ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero nearly all the time. The nitrates should be under 20 ppm.> I usually don't do netting that often unless I change 100% water w/c is once a month. What I observed is that when he sleeps he loves to stuck his face on the side of filter machine. I have two filter machine but I use the other one to keep water flowing or moving. His color didn't change and his stool is just the same. I tried to feed him but he keeps on spitting it. I rarely touch him either, it's just that I'm so worried to what had happened to him right now. Thank you also for the information about that, quite not aware of it. This morning his right eye is clear but this evening I noticed the spot again. Sir, how long will I treat him w/ antibiotics and do I have to change the water every time I give him the meds? How frequent and how often? Thank you again and more power! You're really a great help. Sincerely, Claire < First lets fix the tank problems. Get the kits and check the water quality. Keep the water parameters as suggested above. Check the water temp, it should be around 80 F all the time. If the fish is still not acting normal, lying on the bottom and not eating. It could suggest that there is an internal infection that is blocking the internal organs. The Flagyl was a good choice but if the fish is continuously stressed then it will continue to get reinfected and never seem to be cured. Eventually the medications will become less and less effective and you won't be able to save your fish. Get the tank right then treat with a combination of Metronidazole( Flagyl) and Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Sick Flowerhorn Fish - 1/17/08 Hi, <Hello,> My Flowerhorn fish has been laying at the bottom of the tank for about two weeks now and it doesn't eat either. <Not good. How big is the tank? What is the water chemistry/quality? Almost always with cichlids that lose their appetite the problem is quite serious and often related to the environment in some way.> We have another Flowerhorn fish in the tank separated by a divider and it is okay and fine. <For now, anyway.> The sick one just lays there it doesn't swim and if it does swim when I try to touch or move it, it swims in vertical circles or with the head facing down and settles back down in a lying position, I don't see anything wrong with the outside of the fish. <Need more info. For example: what does the fish eat? What plant material does it get in its diet? Have you ever used live feeder fish? How big/old is the fish? What about the water? Apart from the obvious need for zero ammonia and nitrite, cichlids are ALL sensitive to nitrate, so big water changes help enormously.> We tried changing the water and added some salt. <Well, they don't need salt, but like any other Central American cichlid they do need water with a moderately high carbonate hardness (that's the KH test kit) and plain old aquarium salt won't do anything to help with hardness. Instead, I'd recommend using Malawi Salt mix (either purchased or home made) at a 25-50% dose to get pH 7.5-8, carbonate hardness 5-15 degrees KH.> Please help I don't know what to do and I don't want it to die. <No-one wants their fish to die! Except maybe fishermen. Do get back to me with some additional information, and we'll try to help.> Thanks, Mic <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Flowerhorn Fish (RMF, please comment on last bit if necessary)
- 1/17/08 Hi Neale, thanks for a quick response. <Mic,> Here is some more info maybe it'll help. <Can't hurt!> Fish tank is 55 gallons and divide for two Flowerhorn fish, it has Pentair filtration system (Mechanical, Chemical ,Heater, UV and Fluidized bed) on both side. Fish have been with us since they were baby it's almost a year old and about 6? now. <All sounds good.> I never feed it with live fish they have been feed with Jumbo Head Food for about 6 month. <Good. I only asked because many people keeping cichlids do feed them Goldfish, and the results are, unfortunately, not good.> I did the water test Nitrate 0.5; Ammonia 0.001; pH 6.8 and temperature is at 82 deg. but I think the water quality is good. <Right. Here's one possible problem. There is no "good" level of ammonia, and I'd be interested what your nitrite level is (as opposed to nitrate). I'm a bit dubious about a "0.001 mg/l" reading with a hobby-grade ammonia test kit. If you can detect ammonia or nitrite, this tends to mean the water isn't clean. Either you're overfeeding, or else your filter isn't working as it should. Since your filter systems sounds pretty good, I'd perhaps check that it isn't blocked in some way, or that the water is flowing through things in the right order. Another problem is the pH: this is far too low. Flowerhorn cichlids are hybrids, yes, but they're basically Central Americans, and that means they prefer hard, alkaline water. You need to raise the carbonate hardness I'm sure. Do this, and you'll find the pH goes up to 7.5, which is healthy. Do remember changing the pH by itself is NOT ENOUGH! You need to concentrate on the carbonate hardness. I'd start by making some Malawi salt mix. To make Malawi water per 5 gallons/20 litres the following is one recipe that works well. * 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) * 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) * 1 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements) You likely won't a full dose for your Flowerhorns, so I'd start by mixing one bucket of Malawi water to every three buckets of plain tap water and see how that goes. If the KH is still too low (less than 5 degrees KH) I'd go with one bucket of Malawi water to one bucket of tap water. Remember not to make massive changes in water chemistry all at once. Space them out across a week, doing one smallish water changes (say, 10-25%) per day.> I do a gravel clean and water change from 1/3-1/2 every month. <Another problem. Cleaning gravel is fine, but the water change is too little. Should be at least 25% per week, and I'd recommend 50% per week for any cichlid aquarium because of their hyper-sensitivity to nitrate.> I've read some of the articles on the website, about the Flowerhorn swimming upside down or lays on the bottom and inactive like my fish, but I'm confused on how to treat it. <The problem with these symptoms is they can be associated with many different things: constipation, ammonia poisoning, Hole-in-the-Head, swim bladder infections, and so on.> I don't know I've read something with metracyn2, tetracycline, nitro furnace, or Metronidazole, or furan 3, I'm confused, I don't want to treat it wrong. Please further advice. <I'm not experienced with any of these medications, so hesitate to advise. I'd initially try to eliminate water quality/chemistry issues and dietary issues (i.e., constipation, by feeding high-fibre foods such as peas). There are "swim bladder infection" medicines on the market, and these would be my next port of call (for example: Interpet Swim Bladder Treatment #13 and Maracyn-Two). If these didn't help, then I'd personally seek help from a vet before randomly administering antibiotics.> Thank you, Mic <Cheers, Neale.> <<I am in total agreement. RMF>>

My Flowerhorn has a prolapsed anus, please help! 1/7/08 Hi WWW Crew, <Hello,> Your web site is so great and informative. Now, I really need your help to save my FH. He has a prolapsed anus (see the attachment) hanging there about 3 weeks and there some dead white tissues come out sometime. He doesn't eat much and not happy as he was. I tried to clean it with Epsom salt solution, but not improved. Please tell me what to do with it. What medicine should I use to help him to pull his prolapsed anus back inside his body as normal. Is it ok if I cut it off from him??? I am looking forward for your help. Please answer me ASAP. Attached is his pix. Your time is my appreciation. Thank you very much, Tony <Hmm... the problem with this condition is that it isn't caused by any one thing, and it isn't easy to cure. The most important thing to do is identify the possible causes and reverse them. For a start, what are you feeding your Flowerhorn? Like virtually all other cichlids, these fish are omnivores and need a balanced diet that includes at least some plant material and algae. Tinned peas, cooked spinach, and Sushi Nori, as well as algae wafers, all work well. Just as with humans, a lack of green food can create constipation, and over long periods this makes the gut of the fish more sensitive to bacterial or protozoal infections. Ultimately, it's the "bloom" of micro-organisms in the bowel that causes the anus to become exposed in this way. Anything that increases the chances of bacterial or protozoal infections -- such as poor water quality or the use of "feeder fish" -- can trigger the problem. So, the three things to check are as follows: [1] How much green food does your fish get? Regardless of what it wants to eat, only feed green foods from now on until the fish gets better. The fibre will help the muscles of the bowel get back to normal. Soft foods (like shelled prawns) and dried foods (like pellets) must be avoided at all costs. Never, ever use feeder fish or unclean live foods like Tubifex. Brine shrimp and Daphnia are also "high in fibre" and can be used, though I suspect your fish is too big to eat them. Oh, and if your Flowerhorn ignores the tinned peas and spinach, don't worry! Starving this fish for a couple of weeks will get him hungry again, and will do NO HARM at all! [2] What's the water quality like? Cichlids are notoriously sensitive to dissolved metabolites, including nitrate. 50% water changes each week, minimum, are important. A big Flowerhorn needs a big tank, and you're going to have a hard job keeping it healthy in anything less than 200 l/50 gallons. [3] Keep using the Epsom salt treatment, adding it to each new batch of water during water changes. Understand that this may take weeks, even months, to get better, and during that time you must keep water quality 100% perfect and the diet as rich in fibre as possible. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: My Flowerhorn has a prolapsed anus, please help! 1/7/08 Hi Neale, Thank you very much for your quick reply. <You're welcome.> Actually, this fish got an internal infection with stringy white feces which caused his anus prolapsed I think. <Quite possibly a protozoan infection, as I said; something like Hexamita, which will require a very specific treatment. In the UK, we'd use something like eSHa Hexamita.> I treated him with mediated food and his feces is normal color now. <Good.> However, his prolapsed anus is still there. <Does take a while to go back; fibrous foods will help.> I keep very good water quality and all parameters are fine by changing 1/4 water in the tank twice a week. <Good.> He doesn't eat tinned green peas at all, but bloodworms. <Bloodworms are very soft and not good for this. Try Daphnia or Brine shrimp, but honestly peas are the best. If a cichlid is starved for a while, it will usually devour peas!> As you advice, I am going stop feeding him for couple days. I just worry that he'll be ok with his prolapsed anus that's hanging there for a long time. <Can be a site of secondary infection, so is something "not good".> Will it get back inside his body soon? <Not soon, no. Takes time to heal.> Thanks <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My Flowerhorn has a prolapsed anus, please help! - UPDATED 1-11-2008 Hi Neale: <Hello Tony,> How are you doing? Thank you very much for your helpful information. As you know, my FH got a prolapsed anus. I let him sits in a 20G hospital tank with Epsom salt for a month already but his prolapsed anus gets worse and worse. I do not want to see the fish dies by this problem. So, I went to the LFS and asked for a medicine. The vet gave me a small bottle of Biofuran and instructed me how to use it. I stopped feeding him and treated him with Biofuran. After three days, the fish's prolapsed anus is retracted inside his body completely, but he got another problem. His body looks thin, his face is gaunt, and his eyes are hollow. He's been hanging to the water surface in 60 degree position versus the tank bottom during the treatment. So I took him out of the hospital tank and put him back to his clean tank last evening. This morning, I gave him his favorite food, but he ignored and still hanging to the surface in that position. Please tell me what wrong with him and what I need to do to save the fish. I don't want to lose him. Please help me. Thanks a lot Tony <Well, at least you've fixed one problem! Some fish medications are pretty nasty chemicals, and stress the fish only marginally less than they are toxic to the pathogen. Copper- and formalin-based medicines are the classic examples. So let's assume this fish is feeling shaky and unhappy. The Biofuran drug is not one I am familiar with so I can't offer any expert help here. What I would suggest is that you do everything possible to optimise conditions, so that the fish settles down. For a start, I'd not keep him with any aggressive tankmates; quite possibly the quarantine tank is the best place for him. I'd also ensure the water is well filtered and well oxygenated. I'd do 50% water changes per day for the next few days, so that the fish feels "fresh". I'd add some floating plants (plastic or real) to the tank to produce shade, and I'd install a flower pot or similar as a hiding place. I'd keep the tank dark and away from anything noisy. I'd then offer the fish small live foods, such as earthworms or river shrimps. Don't keep adding food... if he doesn't eat in the morning, leave him for 6 hours before trying again, so he doesn't keep getting disturbed. Basically, do everything you can to make the fish feel he is in heaven! It is possible you fixed the problem slightly too late... but that said I've rescued fish "starved" fish successfully. If the fish really gets thin, say after a week of still not eating, then force feeding may be an option. This is difficult to do, and it is very easy to damage the fish in the process, so is not something to undertake casually. But it can make the difference between life and death... so if you must force-feed the fish, get back in touch and I'll explain what to do. Good luck, Neale.>

Flowerhorn w/ "second head" 11/28/07 Hi, I noticed a few minutes ago that my Flowerhorn was growing a "second head". It looks really weird so I thought I should ask to see if there is anything wrong with him. Sorry I couldn't get a clearer picture. He was moving around too much (that fish is way too camera shy). <Greetings. It's not a second head. But it does look like some sort of growth, certainly. Assuming it isn't an obvious blister or wound (I can't tell from your photo) it is likely genetic. There's nothing you can do about it. Because Flowerhorn Cichlids are hybrids, their development is unpredictable at the best of times. Inbreeding was part of creating this hybrid, and this makes it easier for "bad genes" to stay in the Flowerhorn gene pool than would be the case with a proper cichlid species. At the height of the Flowerhorn fad a few years ago unscrupulous breeders were cranking out Flowerhorns with little regard for quality, and this has meant that nowadays Flowerhorns generally are plagued with developmental problems like bent fins, crooked spines, and I dare-say lumps and bumps of precisely the type you're seeing here. Provided their is no sign of a secondary infection, simply leave things be and enjoy your fish for what it is. Just don't breed from it. Cheers, Neale.>

Help... Flowerhorn hlth. 11/06/07 Good day! Thank you for continually helping hobbyist. I tried other fish websites but they do not seem to know anything. I feel like my FH is dying and they still want me to monitor and observe. Here are the things that I have noticed. 1. Continual flashing and scratching. 2. Body, pelvic fins, and dorsal fins twitching. 3. Stays at the bottom or near surface with clamped fins. (Sometimes, using only 1 pectoral fin) 4. Lethargic. 5. Body slime is visible on the body. 6. Gills are like hidden inside its gill plates and gill appears to be pale. (He does not appear to have rapid breathing. Slow and shallow breathing actually.) 7. Losing equilibrium. I also noticed that he began to have small holes in his head. A secondary disease because he is not eating anymore, I guess. Is it bacterial or parasite? My guess is gill fluke so I went to a pet shop in New Zealand but they do not have fluke tabs. I was told by "apparently a fish doctor" that he's not sure what it is because fishes are hard to diagnose and that he told me that my best bet would be Furan 2. I want to know what you guys would suggest before I medicate my fish. By the way, he recently had Finrot so I gave him erythromycin, then he had this disease subsequently. Thanks again and again. Please save my fish from his imminent demise. Take care!!! Nina <Nina, your fish sounds as if it has the symptoms of Hexamita and/or Hole-in-the-Head (these may be one and the same disease). It is very common among cichlids, and seems to be related to water quality and diet issues. The classic set of causes are a tank with high levels of nitrate caused by overstocking and infrequent water changes, plus a monotonous diet, in particular lacking in greens (vitamins!). Some aquarists have also implicated things as varied as electrical fields and the dust from activated carbon. Regardless, it's difficult to treat without recourse to a (normally) prescription drug called Metronidazole. (See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm .) Nothing much else works. Ideally, it's fed directly to the fish. During treatment, make sure you remove the carbon from the filter (if you're using it) and make sure you optimise water quality. Once the fish is better, pay close attention to water quality and diet. Think: big tank, lots of water changes, no live feeder fish, and a balanced, varied diet with plenty of greens. Cheers, Neale>

Flowerhorn Cichlid Bloated 07/27/07 Hi crew. I have a sick flower horn. For the past 5 days he has been bent and on his side, sometimes with his belly up lying listful at the bottom of the tank. He has gone of his food and can hardly move. I have done a 25% water change, cleaned filters, vacuumed and cleaned the gravel. I checked pH levels they are perfect. Put some stuff in, can't think of the name of the top of my head but it turns the tank green. Still no improvement, if not worse. He has just recently change his colour and is now black. I have asked every one possible for help even to the expense of going to my vet and he was no help. Any advice you could give would be great. It would devastate me if I lost this fish as he is 30 cm.s and just a beauty. My kids love him, he is a much loved fish. Please can any one help me I will try anything. < You are off to a good start. I would recommend a 50% water change and treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. treat with both medications on day 1,3,and 5 as per the directions on the packages. On day 2 and on day 4 do 50% water changes. when you fish starts to eat then he is on the road to recovery. You may have waited too long. To treat successfully you usually need to medicate the fish right away. Good luck.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn disease -- 10/24/07 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Not Mr. Fenner. Have to make do with me, Neale!> Greetings of Peace! <Likewise.> Good day sir, first of all I would like to inform you that I've search the web looking for a vet for fish. But I've search nothing, so it came up to me to search for a disease in a Flowerhorn and that is where I've found your site. I tried to register for the forum but there was an error from the site so I went to the homepage and it was written there that we can ask you for a question. <OK. What's the problem with your fish?>Sir, this is regarding the situation of my 2 1/2 yr old Flowerhorn which I've noticed that his eyes popped or bulged. Its 3 days from now that his eyes pop, at first it was only his right eye but yesterday I've noticed that his left eye also popped. <This is called "Pop-eye" and is (usually) a symptom of poor/wrong environmental conditions. In other words: too small an aquarium; not enough water changes; insufficient filtration; wrong water chemistry, etc. It is basically a secondary (opportunistic) bacterial infection. Think of it as "Finrot for the eyes" and you have a good idea of what Pop-eye is all about. So when you see Pop-eye, as well as treating the symptoms, you have to figure out what made it happen in the first place.> For the whole day he didn't eat and his eyes slightly became white and there was this scaly or flake around his left eye. 1 or 2 wks ago I've also noticed flakes all over his body but it disappeared after 2 days. aside from that his color is normal but I didn't noticed he passed a stool for the whole day. <Hmm... this is all sounding like a systemic bacterial infection. Or, put simply, your fish is suffering from bacteria all across his body. Again, this is *almost* always a result of environmental problems rather than a "germ" that somehow crept into the aquarium while you weren't looking!> I'm thinking that he had kidney disease like a human who had a symptom of edema around the eyes. or a person who have hyperthyroidism who experienced "Exophthalmus". <Exophthalmus is a symptom, not a disease. Exophthalmus is therefore like chest pains, or a runny nose, or a fever. It can mean many things. In fish, Exophthalmus is called "Pop-eye" but they are exactly same thing.> I've read some of the FAQ and I went to buy a Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone, but the Nitrofurazone is in the form of topical/ointment. Can I use a topical? <No. You need a medication like Maracyn 2, which contains 10 mg Minocycline per tablet. The dosage is about 10 mg per 10 US gallons/38 litres of water. Other antibiotics might work, but Maracyn 2 / Minocycline is generally quoted as being the most reliable.>I have put tsp of rock salt/5 gal. and the water was changed last Sunday and I placed him in a 30 gal tank.<Salt won't make much difference, especially not a mere teaspoon per 5 gallons. Much more important you optimise water chemistry. Specifically, these fish need fairly high general hardness and carbonate hardness, plus an alkaline pH. I'd be looking at 15+ degrees dH, 10+ degrees KH, and pH 7.5-8.0. Rock/table/aquarium salt won't have any effect here. Crushed coral in the filter is much more useful. These are Central American cichlids, and do need to be given stable, hardwater conditions to thrive.> Sir please help me how to treat his condition and what actions do I have to take so that his condition will not aggravate. Can I use the Metronidazole and topical Nitrofurazone? <Metronidazole may well work; topical Nitrofurazone probably not. The bacterial infection is inside the fish, so putting it on the outside won't help much.>I'll be leaving for the province this Friday, do I have to keep his light on and can I give the antibiotic for 3 days? <Use the medications as instructed on the package or by your vet. As a rule, do a big water change first (say, 50%) and then add the medication and leave for a few (three or four) days before doing another 50% water change. Make sure you remove carbon from the filter. Thereafter, take special care the water is spotlessly clean for the next few months: otherwise the eye will not heal! Zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and nitrate no more than 20 mg/l. You can leave the lights off while the fish are feeling sick; this does tend to help them feel more mellow.>Thank you very much and hoping for your immediate response... More power to your company! Respectfully, Claire<Good luck, Neale>
Re: Flowerhorn disease -- 10/24/07
Dear Mr. Neale, Good Day! Thank you very much for responding quickly and I'll follow your advice. Sir, I have another question, if I have the Maracyn 2 at hand, do I still have to use the Metronidazole? Again, thank you very much and more power to all of you!Respectfully,Claire<Hello Claire. No, just use the Maracyn 2 by itself, and see how things go. Best not to mix medications unless you know it is safe or are following advice from a vet or doctor. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Flowerhorn disease -- 10/24/07
Hi there once again sir. Thank you so much... More power to all of you! Respectfully, Claire <No problem. Good luck, Neale.>

In need of help... My FH is constipated -- 10/18/07 Hello guys! My FH is constipated, he still poops but very little and rarely. <Let's rewind a little. What are the environmental conditions, and what are you feeding the fish? Flowerhorn cichlids, like virtually all cichlids, are omnivores. That means that green foods are just as important to their condition as meaty foods. In other words, they need fibre. Tinned peas, fresh algae, Sushi Nori, spinach, blanched lettuce etc are all good. Sure, they prefer meaty foods, but then most humans prefer the steak on their plate despite the fact it's the vegetables that are essential to good health. Sometimes you have to starve your fish for a day or two to get it to eat green foods. But tinned peas though usually work straight away, as most cichlids seem to like them. Once you have green foods as a regular part of a fish's weekly diet, constipation as good as never happens.> I started not feeding him today because I'm afraid he is beginning to bloat. <Bloating is extremely serious in cichlids, and disturbingly common. Lack of greens and the wrong water chemistry are two factors widely considered to be critical.> I read from your site that I should put Epsom salt so I went to the pet shop, but instead, they gave me marine salt mix and told me it was the same. <It's not; marine salt mix is largely Sodium chloride. Take it back. They took advantage of you. Marine salt mix is absolutely not the same thing. It's like saying Salt and Sugar are the same because they're both white powders.> I don't know if it was stupid of me to buy it. <Stupid is too strong a word, but they certainly took advantage of the fact you didn't know any better. Not a good sign in a retailer. You can buy Epsom salt (Magnesium sulphate) from a chemist or drugstore if your aquarium store doesn't have it.> I realized I should ask you guys first before putting that marine salt mix because I do not trust those peeps at the pet shop. <Indeed.> Does marine salt mix have the same effect as Epsom's regarding my FH's constipation? <No.> Should I put it then? <No.> Thanks! Take care!!! Nina <Use Epsom salt as indicated to treat the symptoms, but also review diet to fix the underlying problem, i.e., the lack of fibre in your fish's diet. Good luck, Neale>
Re: In need of help... 10/19/07
Omigosh! He is a fast feeding fish gulping pellets. I only feed him pellets and never greens. I didn't know... thanks Neale! I did not feed him for 2 days now, he has not pooped. So, should I put Epsom salt and wait for him to poop before feeding him greens or should I feed him greens right away while on Epsom? Also, when should I feed him greens? Once a week? Once a day? Every other day? Thank you so much for all the help you guys? <Do the Epsom Salt treatment *and* feed him green foods (tinned peas are cheap and work well usually). The green food is fibre, and that helps the digestive system "push" everything alone. Basically exactly the same as in humans. I'd be planning on making 2 meals out of 7 green foods of some sort. The more, the better. No cichlid is harmed by eating too much green food. So see how things go, and try out different things. Good luck, Neale>

Help... FW... FH... dis. 10/3/07 Good day WWM Crew! Finally I found a site with professionals like you who actually replies to worried people (and an updated site too to top it all off). <Thanks for the kind words.> I have a Flowerhorn named Prince. I understand that Ich looks like salt or sand sprinkled on the body or fin of the fish but what he has is different. <Oh dear.> It's like some portions of his left pectoral fin are turning white and his pelvic fins has some small white circles, nothing on his body but some portions of the lower part of his gills also has turned white. <Either Finrot or fungus. Assume both, and treat accordingly. There are lots of medications out there that treat Finrot and fungus, saving you the job of figuring out the exact problem. Hurrah for science!> My problem is, I do not know if he has Ich or fin and tail rot. <Ich/Whitespot looks like the fish has salt scattered on its body. Velvet looks like icing sugar. Finrot and fungus are white patches of necrotic tissue; in the case of fungus, you can usually see the fungal threads as well, but not always.> There are no ragged fins to conclude it is fin and tail rot and he has had these white stuffs for a week now. <Treat anyway.> He scratches and sometimes seems to be very agitated while swimming on the surface. He is not lethargic though, thank God. He still has good appetite, he's still very interactive and still swims. <Cichlids will eat until they burst, so appetite isn't always a good indicator of anything much (though loss of appetite with cichlids usually is serious).> What does he have then? Please help me. <Understand this: Finrot and fungus are both directly linked to poor water quality. There may be aquarists who have had fish with Finrot and/or fungus in tanks with good water quality. I'm told some people have seen fairies too, and that Elvis still performs twice nightly at the Paradise Club in Topeka, KS. But for me, Finrot in healthy tanks, fairies, and current Elvis performances all fall into the "myths and legends" category.> We've been through a lot lately, he has been sick and then better again for the past 6 months. I gave him rock salt, Methylene blue, and malachite green in case he has Ich instead of doing nothing. <Use proper medications. I happen to like eSHa 2000, a European Finrot/fungus remedy, but if you live elsewhere, you'll need to track down some other product with the same functionality.> It worries me not to know what he has and not treat him right away. <Indeed.> It also worries me that if I don't treat him right now, he might have secondary diseases. <yep.> Thank you and more power. By the way, I always do water change every after 3 days. Thanks again! <What matters isn't so much the water changes but the water quality. A Flowerhorn should be in a 55 gallon tank given its size, with a filter providing not less than 300 gallons per hour turnover, 50% water changes weekly, and 0 ammonia and nitrite. The pH should be around 7.5, the hardness around 10+ degrees dH, and the temperature a steady 25 C. Hope this helps, Neale>

Sick Baby Flowerhorns 7/21/07 Please help, I was given about 30 baby Flowerhorns. I put them in a separate tank at 80 degrees. All water conditions are perfect I do water changes everyday and they are dying. They look like they have a skin disease of some sort but it does not resemble Ick. What am I doing wrong? I have many other tanks of fish and none are ever sick. How should I care for these little guys? Thanks for the help < Hard to tell. Cichlids are really pretty tough. First check the water for ammonia and nitrites. Readings should be zero for both. If the water is Ok then they may have a bacterial infection from the previous tank they were raised in. Baby cichlids grow very quickly and generate a huge bioload . Under crowded conditions they become ill very quickly. they may have been ill before you got them. If the water is good and they are eating then I would recommend an antibiotic like Nitrofurazone. Follow the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn Not Looking too good... 8/16/07 Hi, I just noticed the other day that my Flowerhorn's eyes have become swollen. A few minutes ago he began to flip onto his side. I've noticed that he has stopped eating and playing with my dad. I don't know what's wrong with him. We already did a 50% water change a while ago. Will he live? and is there any way to treat the puffiness of his eyes? BTW, we keep him in a 20 gal tank all by himself. And he's around 7in. <Greetings. Without a photo its impossible to say precisely what the issue is, but my guess would be a combination of poor water quality and physical damage. Let's recap: 20 gallons is WAY too small for a Flowerhorn cichlid. Try 55 gallons instead. A 20-gallon tank is only just big enough for an angelfish! You don't tell me anything about water chemistry and water quality, but as a reminder, these fishes need something around pH 7.0-7.5, and a hardness in the "medium hard" to "hard" range of whatever test kit you're using. As with any cichlid really, ammonia and nitrite MUST BE ZERO, and nitrates as low as is practical (ideally, less than 50 mg/l). Provided you have good water conditions, it sounds to me you need to treat immediately with antibiotic or antibacterial medications. This sounds like an opportunistic bacterial infection. Depending on where you are, your options will include over-the-counter antibiotics (in the US) or prescription antibiotics (almost everywhere else). Antibacterial medications like JBL Furanol or Interpet #9 (Anti Internal Bacteria) are over-the-counter options in Europe that can work well, though generally only when used early on in the disease cycle and alongside excellent water quality management. As ever, remember to remove carbon before using a medication. Cheers, Neale>

Flowerhorn Looks a bit.... Mental 8/16/07 Hi, I just noticed 2 days ago that my Flowerhorn had a swollen eye. He stopped eating just yesterday and we did a water change yesterday. He is now refusing to play with my dad and just floats near the heater. He's still breathing and occasionally slapping his eye. Just a few seconds ago he also began to Hit the rocks at the bottom of the tank. He's in a 20 gal. tank all alone. Is there anything wrong with him? (The previous Email you sent was deleted by me by accident.) <Please seem my reply on today's FAQ page, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm? It's at the bottom. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Flowerhorn Not Looking too good... 8/16/07 I know nothing about water chemistry since we just got the kit today, but I do have pictures now. <Well, you can't expect to keep fish WITHOUT knowing about water chemistry/quality. That would be like driving a car without knowing what all the road signs meant. So time to start reading about water chemistry/quality and then using your test kits. For any freshwater aquarist, the critical ones are these: pH, general hardness, and nitrite. You can't expect to keep fish without understanding these and having test kits to measure them. Other test kits, like nitrate, ammonia, and carbonate hardness, are useful but less critical. Your photo reveals a case of "pop eye" also known as exophthalmia. This is almost always a problem when fish are kept in tanks with POOR WATER QUALITY. Almost certainly, the tank is too small, the filter too weak, and the water changes too infrequent. Since exophthalmia is typically caused by bacterial infections that have set in because of poor water quality, you need to treat IMMEDIATELY with an antibiotic or antibacterial medication. Consult your local fish retailer, or better, vet, for information on what's available in your state. Please note, this WILL NOT get better "by itself". Nor will things like salt help. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Flowerhorn Not Looking too good... 8/18/07 ok, thanks. I'll keep that in mind. I have the medications right now. I hope he gets better soon... Oh, before I forget, what size fish tank is recommended for him? <Greetings. We have lots of information here for you on Flowerhorn cichlids. Start reading here -- http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorns.htm -- and then read some of the other articles linked there. You will find recommendations for aquarium sizes and lots more. Cheers, Neale>

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