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FAQs on African Cichlid Diseases 3

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

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

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

Electric Yellow Cichlid With Cloudy Eyes   7/6/06 Hi my name is Megan and I have a medium sized electric yellow that I  have had for a little over a year.  Recently I have noticed that his eyes  are clouded over and he seems to be having a difficult time seeing.  He  doesn't eat as much as he used to and only bottom feeds.  The only other  fish that is in the tank with him is a sucker fish.  Is there anything  that I can do to fix his eyes and if so can I do it with the other fish in  the tank.  Thanks so much, Megan < Your fish has a bacterial infection. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Kanamycin as per the directions on the package. It may affect your biological filtration so watch for ammonia spikes. You may need to use Bio-Spira to bet the biological filtration going again.-Chuck>


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


Cichlid Feeling Blue  11/30/05 Hello: I've had my blue cichlid (not sure what kind it is exactly, do you know?) <Could not get your photo to come up.> on Maracyn II for 6 days now (today is the 6th day).  I've examined it tonight and her eyes are clear now (they were a slight bit cloudy last Thursday) and her left front fin is growing back (her tail fin and front side fin were showing some rot before I started meds). She's looking much better but she lays on the bottom of the convalescent tank I have her in. I noticed at her anus that it was red and looks a little infected in that it appears like it protrudes out a bit when you're looking across the bottom of her body. I'm not sure what her problem can be.  I started her on Mela Fix and Pima Fix for the first 4 days (I treated the entire 30 gal tank) and then I thought she had a more serious infection because she was staying on the bottom, like she can't float. So I've now put her in a convalescent tank that I've actually placed in the big tank to regulate the water temperature (about 78 degrees). I have an air filter in it for her and every morning and night, I change the water with the water from the regular tank. The temperature stays constant as it's in the big tank.  Twice last Thursday, she jumped out of that tank into the big one so I took a small bit of water out and now she's been okay in her little tank. I was thinking of putting her back in the breeder net (I had her in a breeder net when I was treating the entire tank with the Mela and Pima Fix) but if she still has an infection, I should probably run another round of something but I don't know what. What do you think? <I think your fish has an interior <<Internal, maybe?>> bacterial infection. Keep your fish in the hospital tank and treat with Metronidazole for the interior infection and Nitrofurazone for the exterior bacterial infection.> I've attached a picture showing my fish and also another view of her anus area. < The bacteria inside are growing and pushing out the colon. The metro will help.> Any help you can give me would be much appreciated. I've got 4 cichlids in that tank, one just gave birth to 8 babies from which 4 are still alive in another 10 gallon tank. I've grown pretty close to these guys. They are great! :)Also, as some background info, I bought this fish as a baby back in April of 2003. How long do fish last generally? < As a rule of thumb I generally think it is an inch per year. Of coarse many fish last longer than this. I have had a little tetra for a number of years and is still going strong.> I've been taking care of fish since mid 2002 so I'm not too experienced but I've kept a spreadsheet and logged everything I do so I can understand when I make mistakes, etc. < Great. Keep it up and you will be an aquarist for a very long time.-Chuck> Thanks again, Joann Joseph Rhode Island 

Treating Bloat In Cichlids  12/1/05 Thanks Chuck. I appreciate the info. I bought the Metronidazole but they didn't have the Nitrofurazone. Tonight, I put the Metronidazole and the Maracyn II and the fish store suggested I feed the fish flakes as it will digest better (she's been eating and pooping pretty regularly so far) so he suggested Omega One super veggie kelp flakes. I've been feeding her Cichlid Gold for quite a while now and just recently bought Aquarian cichlid pellet food. They told me the Cichlid Gold was not appropriate for African Cichlids and that they would be better off with more of a vegetable diet. How important is the Nitrofurazone over the Maracyn II?? < The Maracyn II is an Erythromycin derivative and handles gram negative bacteria. The Nitrofurazone handles both gram negative as well as gram positive bacteria. It also has some antifungal properties too.> <<<Whoops!  Chuck mistyped - Erythromycin treats only gram-POSITIVE bacteria.>>> I went to this mom and pop aquarium shop and they didn't have it but if you feel it's critical, I have Petco and PetSmart I can check to see if they carry it. Anyway, thanks again for your help. I will let you know how the fish makes out.  Take care, Joann ps: I'm gonna try attaching the photo again to this email. <<It attached just fine, was forgotten, need to put it in the appropriate folder.  Fortunately, I found it! <big grin>  Marina>> < The change in diet is a good idea for your Lake Malawi cichlid. Look at the ingredient list for medications you have available and I am sure you will see it listed. Get the one that has the most in it.-Chuck> 

Sterilizing FW Hospital Tank 10/27/05 Hello, I have patiently been trying to figure out what is infecting my tank.  Treated w/Clout did not completely work.  Treated with Rid Ich for six days, and it seems to have cured everything completely. A yellow lab who was not eating, was turning black w/stress and a lumphead who had a scale injury/fungus were removed to a hospital tank and treated with MelaFix for 5 days.  The Lumphead healed completely and the lab colored back up and started eating. Put them in a bigger 75 gal. They were fine but after 10 days the lab, which fattened up and was looking great, developed pop eye almost before my eyes (like a matter of an hour).  Water conditions are pristine! Removed the lab to the hospital tank w/ a mature sponge and started treating with Maracyn-two, salt, heat (83F) and a daily water change. Today is the third day of treatment and the lab is doing death spirals.  Did a large water change with no apparent help. Eyes still bugged, slight dark stress lines, but not as bad as when it didn't eat. Won't stop rolling, except when behind the air stone.  Water quality is very good with daily water changes. Meanwhile started feeding Jungle Medicated fish food to community tanks. Third day of this... My other labs are losing the slight dark stress lines they were showing and their color has become more vibrant.... I did not treat my stock fox Hexamita when I got them. I have been told that this should be done for all new fish regardless. Treat them with Metronidazole, takes care of Hexamita and most all bad bacteria without (supposedly) harming filter bacteria.  <<Antibiotics are indiscriminate except in regards to gram positive and gram negative bacteria, this is negated when using broad spectrum antibiotics.  MH>> I will be feeding my fish Tetra medicated feed (Metronidazole) a few days after I finish the feed schedule they are on now.  Any new stock will be properly salt dipped then treated with Metronidazole from now on.... Should I decontaminate the hospital tank and sponge filter, as this lab is clearly not able to be saved, and I don't know the reason (assume bacteria)?  How do I clean my nice mature sponge filter (took a while to get this way). <<Your nice mature sponge can only hold as many bacteria as there is food sufficient to feed them.  Bio-Spira will replenish colonies quite nicely.  MH>> Allen < The internal bacterial infection you are trying to cure may respond to a combination or Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone. Some salt added to the water wouldn't hurt either. This disease is brought on by stress. It may be water but it may be something like dominance by another fish that could cause it. I think there is a correlation to diet to with too much meaty protein in the food. early treatment is the cure to a successful and complete cure. I would only replace the water and clean the filter. Bloat and Popeye are not very contagious when the proper conditions are being met.-Chuck> 


Blindness in Paracyprichromis 10/16/05 Bob, <Allan> Saw your new book, but hell if I will pay Pet Kingdom 60 bucks and its not even signed. You want to sell me one out of your personal stash with your famous moniker engraved?  <Man! If I had a copy I'd sell it for this much... and throw in a pint of blood> Got this problem, really nice fish are going blind and I don't know why. Paracyprichromis nigripinnis to be exact. Found one hit on Google that suggests its genetic, carried on the maternal side (unlucky for me if true since I only had one female breeding) Got any info?  <Mmmm, not much... wish my "cichlid" cohorts were present... Chuck's out at a hobby do, Oliver Lucanus likely on a hunt-about... maybe nutritional...> I am planning on turning my pool into a pond in a year or two if I can. I'm thinking of lining it, blocking off a large section to prefilter and run water hyacinths. I'll buy you a few beers <Whoa... now you've got my attention> if you want to stop by and point out obvious flaws in my plan. Allan Peterson - former employee and lifelong citer of the BFenner theory of fish disease. PS I live over by Patrick Henry high school.  <Ahh, I wonder if the Duckworths, Joe and son Wade, live still over near there... Did you know Marvin Blevins (Chemistry, Softball...) there? Bob Fenner> 
Re: blindness in Paracyprichromis
Bob, Can't say I know Martin or the Duckworths. Call me at work if you want to chat. I'm serious about the pool to pond idea. I know you wrote an article on it a while back. I'm even more serious about beer. They are selling Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest at Iowa Meats. Worth the effort. <Great bier, great store... still down on University?> I'll try some new foods on the Paracyps. Perhaps its not only nutritional, but developmental. Better food in the fry/juvenile stage might just be the ticket. But stress is the thing that sets it off, I'm sure. I'm pretty sure that when I put the Paracyps in a bucket to move them, they snapped, just like that. Perhaps an overload of the ocular nerves? <Strange, but maybe> Maybe I should just give them anti-inflammatorIES. How many 250mg Naproxens would I have to grind up to treat 20 gallons . . . <Mmm.... I wouldn't do that/this> Allan P. <Like the project? Be chatting, BobF, out in HI till next mo.> 


Electric Yellow with Damaged Jaws 10/10/05 Hey crew! I have a small issue (I hope) going on with one of my Electric Yellow Cichlids.  1st Parameters of the tank  55 gal, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate <10, pH 8.4, GH 9, dKH 125, Temp about 81, Tough to keep cool this summer. Substrate is a crushed coral, shells, etc., sold as Cichlid Coral (it was wet in the bag). for decor I have about 35lbs of lace rock. Filtration: Marineland 2x bio-wheel 350, Aquaclear 50 for running carbon.  Mates in the tank ... 3 x Electric Yellows, 1x Acei Cichlid, 1 bumblebee, 2 Assorted Cichlids and a Synodontis eupterus. They get fed once a day and skip a day >1 a week maybe every 10 days or so. They get Spirulina flake and "soft pellets" along with Zoe soaked Mysis, Spirulina Brine, "emerald entree", Ocean Nu Veggie mix (frozen), and fresh Zucchini, and Nori. (on a rotating basis obviously... Spirulina every feeding. I noticed one of my EY was looking a little smaller and thinner than the others, upon further inspection it seems that her (?) jaw is functioning properly, the lower area under the jaw seems to be protruding down and outward forcing her mouth to stay almost shut. Tonight I noticed that she is not able to eat, she is interested but gives up at the last second when attempting to eat. I can't see anything in her mouth, however she is still quite small at about 1.5->2 inches. Do you have any Ideas. I have a QT set up running a cycled filter and I did a water change tonight and used about 6 g of display tank water in the 10 gal qt tank. When I went to get her out she was not willing to come and I did not want to stress her. I will try again tomorrow.  Any Ideas for (catching) would be helpful as well.  Thanks in advance for any ideas. Sean P. < When you turn out the lights you can go back in the tank after about an hour and catch her sleeping. When cichlids fight they often lock jaws. Sometimes a jaw gets broken and this inhibits a fishes ability to eat. The jaw may heal up but will probably never function the same. isolate her and feed her presoaked pellets.-Chuck>


Tropheus Cichlid Problems 10/9/05 All I can say is a picture is louder then words, I will attach the picture, it is not that great but you can at least get an idea! The fish is still eating, but ? When I first discovered it about a week ago I used Clout for a day and night, I know it is really strong and I don't like to use it, so then I put new charcoal back in the filter and let it cycle for a day, then I tried frozen peas cooked and Epsom salts.  That didn't seem to do any thing and he didn't like the peas, so now I am using (Parasite Clear) by Jungle. The thing, I don't know what else to call it is whitish in color and has a red line running through it, well check out the picture and see what you think, I would really appreciate it if someone could help me soon! Thank you for your time Michelle W. < Your fish has what is known as a prolapsed anus. It is caused by large feedings of food with {too} little fiber. Switch food to one that is high in Spirulina algae. Feed numerous small feedings often, like in the morning , after work and before bed. Watch it closely so it doesn't fungus before it is reabsorbed by the fish. If it does fungus you need to treat it with Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>

Tropheus Feeding Problems 10/10/05 Thanks Chuck, I do tend to feed my fish too much! I do feed the Spirulina but, maybe to much, I thought it looked like he ate a small stone and it couldn't come out so it was pushing out his insides, like what you said, I know Tropheus can get bloat easily!  I have to confess recently I had bought some NEW LIFE SPECTRUM CICHLID FORMULA and on the label it shows a Tropheus, so I thought for a change I would feed him some of that food, I am not sure if that might be the reason or what but it always gets my nerves going when things happen like this, I have had a lot of luck with bringing fish back and some not, it is always a trying time on my nerves! ha!  Thanks again and I will keep an eye on him. let you know what happens! Michelle Wrathell < Spectrum is actually a great food. I feed it to my Tropheus all the time. I do use the small pellets and this makes them forage all over the tank and not get too much at any one time.-Chuck> 

Malawi Cichlid Tank Freaking Out  9/19.5/05 Hello, I have a 46/48 gallon tank. I had 7 cichlids in the tank, for about   10 months now. I had 2 tiger, 2 orange, 1 albino, and 2 yellow with black stripe  on top fin. As of 3 days ago, I have lost 4 fish!! They seem to be gasping for  air. They look as though they are having a seizure. One of my tigers actually  jumped out and committed suicide!! I had 3 live plants in the tank and a lot of  algae built up so, I cleaned the tank, and now only have one live plant. I also  have  a sand bottom. I do clean the tank, vacuum and scrub algae. I had a  Plecostomus but, the fish attacked and killed the two I once had in the tank to  control algae. I tested the water and all seemed o.k. I changed the filter as  well as did a partial water change. I am losing all of my fish as I only have 3  out of 7 left and the last 3 are freaking out, trying to jump out of the tank  and laying on the floor of tank and seizing!!!! What is going on? I had such a  healthy tank! I don't understand! HELP! < Check the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. The nitrates should be under 20 PPM. The pH needs to be around 7.5 to 8.0. The water temp should be around 75 to 77 F. If all of these check out then check the food. They should be feed a food high in vegetable matter like Spirulina algae. Your filters should be pumping at least 150 gallons per hour. Mbunas are susceptible to protozoa infections like Ich without showing any symptoms. When they are less stressed I would try treating with rid-Ich by Kordon.-Chuck>
Malawi Cichlid Tank Freaking Out-Don's Two Cents  9/19.5/05
Hello, I have a 46/48 gallon tank. I had 7 cichlids in the tank, for about 10 months now. I had 2 tiger, 2 orange, 1 albino, and 2 yellow with black stripe  on top fin. As of 3 days ago, I have lost 4 fish!! They seem to be gasping for air. They look as though they are having a seizure. One of my tigers actually jumped out and committed suicide!! I had 3 live plants in the tank and a lot of  algae built up so, I cleaned the tank, and now only have one live plant. I also have  a sand bottom. I do clean the tank, vacuum and scrub algae. I had a Plecostomus but, the fish attacked and killed the two I once had in the tank to  control algae. I tested the water and all seemed o.k. I changed the filter as well as did a partial water change. I am losing all of my fish as I only have 3  out of 7 left and the last 3 are freaking out, trying to jump out of the tank  and laying on the floor of tank and seizing!!!! What is going on? I had such a  healthy tank! I don't understand! HELP! Thank you for such a quick response. I just lost another fish. =( <I copied your original question above to keep things clear to our readers. If I'm reading your question correctly all this happened suddenly after you cleaned the tank and filter. Sounds like a chemical contamination. It could also be pH shock, but less likely IMO. I would start doing large water changes, 60 to 75%, add fresh charcoal and cross my fingers. If your filter has a basket for extra charcoal, load it up. Change every few hours. If you see any improvement do another equally large water change right away. Keep this up until the fish can breath normally. But there is a problem with this approach. If your first water change caused a pH shock, then all these water changes will kill them. But at this point it seems they are headed there anyway. And it really does sound like something got into the water. Don>


Cichlids with Bloat  9/17/05 Mr. Fenner you were recommended by the cichlid forum. I am enclosing two pics. Fish passed away as I had no idea what I was treating. Thanks, Jen. <Foods too high in animal matter have caused your Mbuna to bloat. They need more vegetable matter like algae/Spirulina flakes. Sick fish need to be treated when they quit eating with Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone.-Chuck>


Lake Malawi Cichlid Problem  9/17/05 Hi, I have a small C. moorii that is sick.  A few weeks ago, my Taiwan reef stopped eating and the next day bloated and died a few hours later.  I researched your site and determined I had Malawi bloat.  The water quality in the 75 gallon is very good, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite.  We determined the PH should be raised, it was 7.4 - 7.5.  We added crushed coral and treated the tank with Clout.  I even soaked food pellets with the medicine and it cleared up in all fish except for one of my smaller moorii.  I went out during the treatment and bought a 29 gallon tank because I had a full-breed Red Empress carrying eggs.  After a week I moved the moorii over to the new tank for individual treatment.  I know it was a little too soon, but I was afraid of loosing all of my fish.  I finished the Clout treatment and next the moorii developed at white blister right behind it's right fin.  I looked on your site and it seemed to be a bacterial infection from the bloat, so I picked up Paragon and gave a full dose every other day for 3 treatments. The blister retreated and I thought the wound would heal.  I could not get the moorii to eat flake or pellet food, so twice I gave an extremely small amount of brine shrimp.  My moorii never turn down brine shrimp.  I only did this because I was warned that I had no chance of saving the fish if it would not eat.  About a week after finishing the paragon treatment, I administered MelaFix on two different days hoping to heal the wound.  I don't know if I have over treated the tank and made things worse, because today I noticed that the wound is at least twice the size from before.  It is starting to extend down the side of the moorii.  I am afraid that a parasite or infection is literally eating the moorii from the inside out. Can you please suggest my next course of action?  I am really at a loss and do not want the fish to die.  It is one of my two original fish, and has a twin in the 75 gallon that really misses him.  I am afraid of further treatment as I do not understand the cause of the current case. Thank you, Tracy East < An open wound that increases in size is probably a bacterial infection. In a hospital tank treat with Nitrofurazone as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>


Lake Malawi Cichlid Community With External Parasites  8/26/05 Chuck, Thank you so much for your help. The sick fish had gotten more lively with the water change, but still scratched, and didn't seem hungry. Two Mbamba Yellowtop Mbuna and one L. caeruleus / Lion's Cove II Mbuna did not seem well, a third female was a bit bloated. The Flametail Peacocks  and a couple of the /Cyrtocara/ don't seem very hungry even with only one feeding today. Most seemed to have irritated gills. * The instructions said not to use with scaleless fish so I removed       my two catfish. Do I need to worry about my catfish with the       parasites? I have them in a bucket with fresh water and an air       stone. How should I treat them. < If they are not showing any signs then I would do a rid-Ich treatment for scaleless fish as per the directions on the bottle. * The Clout turned my tank a tidy bowel blue for about a couple       hours. The sick fish flashed quite a bit. The water is now nearly       clear. The fish seem happier, no losses so far. I have no charcoal       and removed my bio wheel from my filter, just a pad; could my       substrate filter be clearing the water? Turned the substrate       filter off. < The blue fades over time. To make sure it is all gone I would still add some charcoal.> * I tested the water before the Clout. The water measured       excellent. When should I test my water for ammonia spikes, now, 12       hours into treatment, after 24 hours, or after the next water change? Allen < Check the water for ammonia and nitrite until you put the bio wheel back in.-Chuck>


Mbuna Cichlids Keep Scratching 8/20/05 Hello Crew, Worried with my cichlids, all under 1.75 inches. Thought I should write after digging through your website and combing the web. Some of them have been flashing, not too frequently, but when they do it looks rather violent. I noticed the behavior not long after I got them. No spots, fin deterioration or other visible signs. I have been watching them a lot, as I am not all that familiar with their behavior, but it doesn't seem normal. Just changed and tested my water Friday: pH 8, zero ammonia, 2 ppm nitrite, < Should be zero> 20 ppm nitrate. < Keep it under 25 ppm> Tested today, total hardness (GH) 300 ppm, total alkalinity/buffering (KH) 140 ppm (could use some more buffering I suppose). I have been using one tablespoon aquarium salt for about every 8 gallons and the prescribed amount of  Prime water conditioner routinely in my water changes. I have been having a problem with temp as it has been so hot, the water temperature has already been averaging 84 - 86 days, dropping down to 81 -82 at night; some days average 80-81, past two days average 80 to 79 last night (weather cool down). The temp has now stabilized in the tank at 78 degrees. Think I should do an Ich treatment? < At those water temps Ich should not be a problem, but Lake Malawian Cichlids do come in with protozoa infections that resemble the same symptoms as Ich without the white spots.> I am concerned about hurting my bacteria, but then again it may be the water quality even though the water tests do not indicate one. I did get a warning from my municipality that there was a problem with bacteria in the municipal water, but not to worry unless you had an overly compromised immunity system. I also find it difficult to get the nitrate and nitrite levels lower than those stated above even after a large water change. I suspect I may have a lot of organic material in the sub straight (even though I vacuum every change). Allen PS My tank is 44 US gallons with a penguin 200 BioWheel, and a sub straight gravel filter with a penguin 1140 pulling 300 gph. It is stocked with a mix of 2 A. stuartgranti Ngara, 1 tiny A. stuartgranti Albino Eureka (nasty little bugger), 4 P. Steven Higga strain, 3 P. taeniolatos Red Empress, 6 Cyrtocara moori, 3  L. caeruleus (seem to have white bellies), 6 L. Mbamba Yellow Top, and 2 Lamprologus leleupi, all juveniles all under 1.75". I plan to split them up as they grow out. as < Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel too. Clean the filter cartridge by running it under a spray nozzle at the end of a garden hose. Feed only enough food so that all of it is gone after two minutes once each day. You have enough bacteria on those bio-wheels to handle the ammonia and nitrites. Check your tap water. In agricultural areas you may have high nitrites and nitrates to begin with. Get the crud under the rocks by rearranging the tank and vacuuming the gravel in those areas. The fish will be busy establishing new territories and will be very active. If you fish still are having problems the remove your bio-wheels and place them in a plastic bag with some water almost seal them off. Just keep them damp. You can then treat the tank with Clout. This will pretty much take care of the external parasites that are annoying you fish. After treatment then run some good quality carbon through the tank. When the medication is removed you can replace the bio-wheels. I use bio-wheels in all my tanks for just this reason.-Chuck>


Lake Malawi Cichlid Problems 8/21/05 Chuck, the fish have just started showing some other symptoms, one Mbuna is having equilibrium problems and is pretty still, but still hungry when I come  in sight. An other Mbuna is also showing these symptoms slightly with some bloat (I have only been feeding them Spirulina flake for a few days, my staple has been a four flake mix of equal parts Spirulina flakes, earthworm flakes, < Lose the earthworm flake. Too rich for Lake Malawi cichlids.> brine shrimp flakes & plankton flakes that have some filler and vitamin supplements. I got it as a sample from my breeder (big sample he labels himself "Black Label Products The Cichlid Formula Ultimate 4 Flake" as he buys bulk). I'll substitute the straight Spirulina a couple times a week and toss in a couple small Spirulina discs at night once a week (hope my cat fish appreciate them, Synodontis Catfish, an upside down and a lace fin). I have some RID-ICH on hand if this is suitable. I have never used it (just got it before your reply) :~) If it is suitable for protozoa infections I could use that as I won't be able to get to the LFS until Sunday for the Clout. I'll be able to get the water change in a few hours, (6AM water change, my wife is a saint!). < The rid-Ich will work but may harm the biological filter. Watch for ammonia spikes.> How long should the treatment last? < With the rid-Ich about three days depending on the water temp.> The Clout says "until the fish are better" with no time frame. The Rid-Ich gives detailed instructions for Ich, but also claim to kill parasites and such, (with sketchy info on that), not flukes though, and not sure if there is a specific mention of protozoa. Again, I don't want to poison my fish by applying meds they don't need (and I understand rid-Ich stain the clear sealant for quite a few months. < It can stain the silicon sealant.> Thank you for your prompt reply. Oh, I also found an other letter which describes some of the 'new" symptoms... bloated, still (not much motion) with equilibrium problems, dark bowels, everything but lack of appetite... I hope the water change works... Thanks again. Allen < The first sign will be a loss of appetite.-Chuck>
Lake Malawi Cichlid Problems II 8/21/05
Chuck, I replied late or was it early, and this morning the cichlids are more active (even the sick acting ones). While changing out the water I came across a couple more questions. Will the meds kill my few plants in the aquarium (there not rooted or potted, yet, and my cichlids are not interested in eating them). I'm afraid if I take them out during treatment they will house the parasites. < The medications we are taking about should not hurt the plants if they are used per the recommendations on the packages.> The water out of my tap: 7.8 pH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates, 180 ppm (KH), ~300 ppm (GH). I have lots of chlorine smell, not sure of chloramine? (chlorine - ammonia compound), most likely to take care of the municipal bacteria problem. It appears that the Jungle aquarium salt I have been using may soften the water slightly; does that seem reasonable? < Salt should not soften the water.> As far as the tank substrate, it's gross. I stirred up the gravel and let the filter clean up to clear. Now much of the stuff has settled on the surface of the gravel for easier cleaning. I do think you are right that the water quality may be the issue and hope the deep cleaning lowers our stress, nitrates, and nitrite level and allows their immunity systems to recover. I really don't want to add chem. meds if I don't have to. Oh yeah, the catfish I have is a feather fin not a lace? fin. :~0Allen < Cleaning the substrate with a gravel vac will be a step in the right direction.-Chuck>


Cichlids with Dark Stomachs  08/08/2005 I have a 110 gallon African cichlid tank with 13 fish. All are still rather young and small.  Yesterday I noticed that my brichardis stomach looked slightly swollen and well darker as if you could see what was inside.  Then I noticed my red zebras stomach was dark as well.  I treated with Metronidazole last night thinking that this might be a problem with bloat because I learned that I was feeding way too much protein.  This morning my brichardi is no longer swollen but both still have the "dark stomachs" and my chipokae has started to look a little swollen.  My problem is that all the research that I have done on bloat, I have not found anything that refers to "dark stomachs" and what everyone describes as bloat would possibly be an exaggeration to how "bloated" my fish were, for they were only slightly swollen.  My pet store gave me more vegetative based foods to feed, Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone.  I plan to treat with the Nitrofurazone today.  As you can see I am very confused and worried.  These are my "babies" and would like to take the best care of them as possible!  please help Lori   < The color of the bellies really hasn't been associated with bloat. Normally  a fish stops eating and hides somewhere in the tank. You could still have an internal bacterial infection and it may have been cured by the medication but it may take awhile to heal from the damage the disease has caused. I would feed your fish some good quality Spirulina flake to help clean out the gut and hopefully restore the belly coloration to normal-Chuck>


Fish Cured But Not Healed 8/11/05 Hi again: Well, my fish with personality is still a side-swimmer, but he's   eating and seems otherwise healthy. He also swims upside down,   right side up and every which way, but when he rests, he floats to the   top on his side. I gave him Fish Zole (Metronidazole tablets - 500 mgs a day for a 20   gallon tank) for 10 days. Is it possible his air bladder is so   damaged it will never be OK? The water is nice and clear in his tank; I think he might be lonely   and wanted to know if a) you think he's "healthy" and b) whether he's   up for companions or c) is there another treatment? Anne from Brooklyn NY < I think  that the organisms that caused the illness are gone and that is why you fish is eating and active again. The swelling needs some time to go down. He needs time to heal.-Chuck>


Cichlid Sick? 7/26/05 Hi, I have a yellow African cichlid, I'm not sure what type she is.  < Probably a Yellow Labidochromis from Lake Malawi.> On her top fin, she has a red spot that has appeared only recently.  She's been lurking in the plants, when normally she swims out in the open.  Occasionally, she'll get a strip of brown along her body but it will be gone the next day.  I'm worried that she's very sick and I hope that you can help me make her better. < Sounds like other fish may be picking your yellow Lab. The spot may be from a bite from another fish. Watch to be if it becomes infected. The brown stripe is probably a submissive coloration to tell the other fish that this fish dose not want to fight. Move the rocks around to establish new territories and add some dither fish like giant danios or rainbows.-Chuck>


Peacock Cichlid with Growth Around the Head 7/19/05 Good Morning. I was wondering if you could help me with a question?  We came home from vacation this weekend, and one of our female Blue Peacock Cichlids had a couple of growths on her head (behind the eye, and before the gill plate).  I researched your sight and am leaning toward Lymphocystis, although I would like a second opinion. < Pretty unlikely on a Lake Malawi cichlid. My guess would be a bite or scratch with some tissue dislodged.> I tried to get a picture, but alas she is camera shy.  I will do my best to describe.  They resemble the 'eyes' that potatoes grow when they get old.  They are cream/pinkish in color and stick out about an eighth to a quarter of an inch with a base of maybe 2-3 millimeters.  Since they do not resemble any of the pictures on your website, this is why I am asking for a second opinion. Tank Stats:  54g bow front corner tank, Fluval 304 (maintenance weekly/Bi-weekly) Ammonia/Nitrite are "0" and Nitrates are 20, temp is 80.  Lots of fake plants/caves for hiding. They are fed 2 different types of Cichlid pellets, flakes and carnivore pellets as treats.  There are 12 cichlids in the tank (2 blue peacocks, 2 red peacocks, 1 frontosa, 1 turquoise peacock, 1 misc. male I can never remember the name of (has a gorgeous purple head/blue body) and 5 yellow labs - 2 of which are 2 inch offspring -)  All the 'adult' fish range in size from 4-8 inches, the largest being the misc. male.  All of these fish were added in February of 2004.  There have been no new additions, past diseases or deaths.  The blue peacocks, the misc. male and the yellow labs all have spawned several batches of fry each, all (except the 2 yellow labs) have been moved to a separate tank to grow so I can give them to the LFS. I understand Lymphocystis is viral, and if this is actually what it is, there any way I can keep my other fish come getting this?? Thank you for your advice in advance. Wendy < Lymphocystis is usually associated with wild South American cichlids. Not common at all in rift lake stuff. I still think it is a would that is now probably infected. I would remove the fish to a hospital tank and treat with salt and an antibiotic like Nitrofurazone. Treating the whole tank would be expensive and may affect the good bacteria needed to break down the fish waste.-Chuck>


Sick Malawian Cichlid 7/4/05 Hi I have a female Cyrtocara moorii who has got Popeye in both her eye's. Last week it was only in one eye so I did a whole course of protozoan which treats fungus, Whitespot, etc... This appeared to work but 2 days after treatment ceased, the Popeye came back but now it is in both eyes . She has little white growths above both eyes but worse on her left eye. The other fish in the tank have been rubbing their bellies on the gravel a fair bit lately. (may have something to do with it?). I was told to try MelaFix which I have in the cupboard but need to no how long to leave the tank between treatments and when I should water change between them etc? I did a large water change on Sunday (between course treatments of Protozin) This was when the second eye started playing up. Can you give me any advice? < I would check the water quality first. You should have zero ammonia and nitrites and the nitrates should be below 25 ppm. The lower the better. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. The water temp should be around 77 F. The pH should up around 8. Once all of these conditions are met you can treat for anaerobic bacteria infections using Metronidazole. Melafix is not an antibiotic an has been overrated as an effective treatment on aquarium fish.-Chuck>


Electric Blue Cichlid got pimples all over the body 6/29/05 Hello dear WWM Crew, could you please help me with the following trouble. I have an 11 gal fish tank for 2 years and at the moment there are two Lombardoi (male and female) and one Electric Blue Cichlids there. <Crowded...> My problem is that two days ago Electric Blue developed a white cloudy pimple (around 3 mm in diameter) behind his eye and today there are three same sizes pimples around his eye and some pimple formations along his back fin. His behavior is quiet and he is mostly sitting behind the artificial rock. He does swim from time to time but I haven't seen him eating today (but he ate yesterday). Usually he is quite active during the day while Lombardoi male is sitting in the cave, but today due to his inactivity the Lombardoi is swimming very bravely around which gives me a frightening impression that Electric Blue is seriously sick? <Maybe... if the fish were new, not in a small, highly stressful environment I would guess the pimple was due to a parasite (likely a worm of some sort)... but it is likely environmental, social in cause.> I changed 1/3 of the water yesterday , cleaned the gravel and made necessary maintenance of the filter. Both Lombardo's are in a good health without any signs of any pimples like I described. <They are the "winners" here> The unusual thing of the past weeks were: 1. Three weeks ago - adding a portion of the new brand of Algae treatment (as was prescribed on the bottle). <Not a good idea... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm and the linked files above> - after I did it, in a couple days my one year old snail died (may be that was a coincidence?). <Very likely related> 2. Two weeks ago - added a new Electric Blue female. <... this tank is too small for mixing species, having these pairs together> - the very next day she died because of the Lombardoi male night attack So after that incident Electric Blue became more active and started to fight more often with the Lombardoi and does have "scratch" marks on the side, I guess the Electric Blue female "woke" him up so he started to pay more attention to Lombardoi female as well. Can you tell me what is happening, how serious is it and what are the options to get rid of this "pimple-bubble" problem? (the pictures are attached, the pimples appear more cloudy but they are more clear and white in person). <Move the pimply fish to other quarters> I am also currently establishing 30 gal new fish tank (it'll be ready for the new tenants in a two weeks time) so I'm going to buy a new Electric Blue female. Also the other question would be - how many gallons would be perfect for one Cichlid? <Of these species, at least fifteen gallons per individual> Thank you very much in advance. Kindest regards, Maria <Bob Fenner>

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


Cichlids Dying WetWebMedia crew, don't fail me now... You guys have been quite helpful in the past, and I am hoping you can do the same for me this time. I have a 55 gallon fish tank with about 35-40 1-1.5" cichlids in it. The tank has an Emperor 280 and AquaClear70 for filtration. The tank is planted with java ferns, java moss, hornwort, and a melon sword. Substrate is 25% crushed coral 75% sand. Everything has been going fine, until recently. In the last 2 days there have been 4 deaths- 2 red zebra juveniles and 2 Labido Pearlmutt juveniles. The fish were moved on Thursday night from a 33 long to the 55. I acquired the 55 used. I filled the tank up twice with hot water and scrubbed the insides a with a new sponge before emptying it and filling with a combination of new water and water from the 33 long. I used the same filter/substrate/rocks and plants so I did not think cycling would be a problem. I am at a loss here as to what the problem could be. A couple of other things worth noting are that the Pearlmuts were added on Saturday (originally 5, down to 3) along with some Victorian haps (5 red back scrapers, which I am especially worried about), of which the rest seem fine. Although the juveniles are mostly Mbuna, I am raising some Julidochromis, the red back scrapers, and a couple of other similar size cichlids until they get a little older when I will take pairs and move them out. For food it has been mostly crushed flake, sometimes the tetra cichlid flake and other times Spirulina based, but they have been eating these quite happily for a couple of months before anything like this. One other note of possible relevance- when switching the tanks I found a standard crinum bulb had gone rancid and squishy. Smelled terrible and I threw out any substrate around it (and of course the onion itself). Water tests show no sign of anything harmful, which is no surprise because 50% of the water is new, and before the switch the water levels also checked out fine. PH is around 7.8, it usually stays around 8. I am not sure what to do, any helpful advice will cause me to bow down and thank the WetWebMedia crew profusely. Ben < The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. The nitrates should be under 25 ppm. You may be over feeding. Feed once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. Check the temp. The fish you have chosen like to be around 75-77 degrees F. The crinum bulb rotted because you probably buried it. Only the roots should be buried and not the bulb. Watch closely for any signs of stress or disease since none were discussed in your note.-Chuck>


Bloated African Cichlids Dear Experts, Craig started a big 75 gal tank w many beautiful African Cichlids, 3 at first, then he bought some through the mail and added more from a store., They were all happy and had many many babies. Then, one at a time over a period of weeks, one of the big ones would die-and they all died one at a time.. He put the babies in a small tank and they continue to grow until today a baby is dead mysteriously, just like the big ones we would find lying in the morning. They do seem to have bulging eyes, somewhat bloated. I understand it could be bacteria or parasite. But do these strike one fish at a time? What should we do? Thank you for your time! Craig and Marian, Raleigh, NC < Lake Malawi cichlids are mainly vegetarians and require a diet with lots of Spirulina algae. Many aquarists feed them a diet rich in protein and this is too rich for them and they get internal bacterial infections. Clean the tank by doing a 30% water change, clean the filters and vacuum the gravel. Treat with Metronidazole. This will work for both the bloat and the Popeye. This medication may affect the good bacteria so watch for ammonia spikes.-Chuck>
Bloated Cichlid Better
Hi Fellas, Just wanted to give you some good news for a change.  I had written earlier about my bloated Tanganyikan Cichlid that got better with Clout but still had a prolapsed anus (as you had determined to be the case).  Well just wanted to let you know the final outcome of the issue. I fed the fish numerous small feedings as you suggested, but the prolapse continued to worsen.  Fearing eventual death, I decided to take matters into my own hands-literally.  While the fish was still spry and healthy-looking, giving him the best chance of recovery (I read somewhere that manual intervention is 50/50% at best) I relocated the hernia.   I first netted the fish, drizzled some Stress Coat over his tail end while he was in the water and in the net, then firmly palming the fish, I used a wet Q-tip (wet with aquarium water) to gently fix the prolapse.  I held direct pressure, outside in, for 5-10 sec. at a time, rotating around the prolapse as needed.  Within 20 sec. I had successfully gotten the prolapse back inside. For the first 24 hours "Sting" was again bloated, but only around the belly and anus (not like when he had the Bloat) which I figured to be normal since I had just pushed his guts back inside. After a day, he was back in action, swimming like usual.  Now, a week later, he looks fit, trim and is back to normal. I know that I took a risk, but I figured he would eventually die from the prolapse, so I thought I'd give it a try.  The risk paid off....Thanks again for all your earlier help < Always good to hear a success story.-Chuck.>


Problems with Malawi Cichlid Tank. I need some advice. I'm a new cichlid aquarist and as such I have had problems with beginning my tank. Most of the fish that I have put into my 30 gallon tank have not made it and usually expire within three to four days of introduction.  I have had luck with two Malawians, an Albino Peacock and an Electric Yellow but I have tried about a dozen others. I can't figure out what the problem is but it must be something with the water.  I want to keep Malawians so I can focus strictly on their needs. My tank is 30 gallons and has plenty of rocks and caves for the little guys to swim through. I have a 40 watt heater that keeps the water around 80 F and an air pump that keeps the water flow strong. The filter I use is an Eheim and there is a piece of coral that hopefully keeps the pH between 7.8 and 8.2 (I test the water and the kit says it's fine).  I have fed the guys only Spirulina flakes and treat the water with Cycle to add nitrifying bacteria and a treatment to remove the Chlorine before adding any water. Kent has a product out that I'm considering using that buffers the water, it's called Kent Liquid Malawi Buffer and Kent Liquid Malawi Chemistry. I've also been looking at the Sahara Sand and it looks great but the problem is that I don't want to take down my entire tank to switch substrate.  I currently have rocks (pebbles, store bought) on the bottom of the tank. Do you think I should start my tank all over and remove the current gravel and put in the Sahara Sand? Or can I just add it to the rocks that are already in place? Also, what about putting in a moon rock instead, would this do the same thing? Have you heard of these products? Should I use them? Do you have any suggestions?  I would greatly appreciate your help.  Thank you, Jason Zepeda < Wow. Lake Malawi cichlids are usually pretty hardy. To have your fish only last a few days is very strange. So lets start at the beginning. Your water may have chlorine or chloramine. They do the same thing but are quite different in an aquarium. Chlorine is very volatile and dissipates quickly. Chloramine stays around in solution for awhile so you need a good water conditioner that says it specifically gets rid of chloramine. Next check the water chemistry. Both at the tap and in the aquarium. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero. Nitrates should be under 25 ppm. The pH should be about 7.5. If the water checks out ok then check the water at the fish store. If the change in pH is too great it can stress the fish. Lower the water temp to 77 degrees.. If you want to use a crushed coral or calcium carbonate substrate then it will help buffer the water and keep it from getting too acidic. I would take out the pebbles that you can easily get too and add the additional substrate after it has been well washed. I would add BioSpira from Marineland to get the bacteria going in the new substrate.-Chuck>


Bloated Cichlid About a week ago I noticed my Tanganyikan cichlid bloated with eyes bulging out of his head. Frantic, I went to my local know-it-all aquarium store and they concurred with my online research that the diagnosis was Malawi Bloat. I bought some Clout and with a "good luck" from the store clerk I went home to treat my fish. After the first dose the bloat subsided significantly.   After about 5 doses, the fish looked normal and began to eat again. However, I did notice a large pink/red protrusion from the anus of the fish.  The protrusion is still there, not worm-like, not stringy like regular feces, but a very large bulge or sac probably about 1 mm square. I am trying to determine if this is what your website describes as Camallanus or if it is some other type of parasite. I don't know if I should continue using the Clout or change to some other type of medication. The fish seems to be swimming normally, acting ok, but has a voracious appetite. I am hoping you can help me so I don't lose this fish....Thanks in advance. Elise < You got very lucky and successfully treated the bloat problem. You fish currently has a prolapsed anus. It is a condition where the bacterial infection has pushed some of the intestines of the fish out of the body cavity. I would recommend small numerous feedings to keep your fish regular until the prolapse retracts. Watch for fungus or infection on this tissue and treat with Nitrofuranace if needed.-Chuck> 

Bloated Cichlid II Thanks Chuck! So if I understand correctly, I should discontinue the Clout? You think the fish is completely cured of the bloat? <If the fish is eating it is probably cured and the medication can be discontinued.-Chuck> 


Jewel cichlid with an Eye Problem, Use A Spell-Checking Program! Hey all, I have a jewel Cichlid in a 55 gallon tank with other various cichlids, all seem to be relatively peaceful in cichlid terms. I had just gone through a slight bout of what was unofficially said to be a case of Ich brought on by the stress of a fluke infestation, by my friends down at the local fish store. So I used something called clout and cleared that up. Now it seems that this same little jewel, the on that I initially noticed acting strange has come down with something involving his eyes, they are slightly red, as if blood were collecting under the surface of them. The fish store told me to go with Tetracycline and said it was a case of pop eye, would you agree with that? <Pop eye is very specific condition in where bacteria growing behind the eye push the eye out away from the body> Also, I know some fish medications aren't good if the fish eat them, it can kill them. While I did the best job I could at dissolving the tablets of tetracycline do you think that if the fish eat this they will die? Thanks so much Cheers, Dylan < If it is Popeye then treat the tank with Metronidazole. If it is a bacterial infection, the tetracycline may work if you have soft acidic water. If not then I would go with Nitrofurazone. Try and dissolve the tablets first. Fish shouldn't eat the medication.-Chuck> 


Strange Cichlid Deaths My name is Jamie and I have a question for you. I have a 30 gal. brackish tank with 4 African cichlid's in it. My boyfriend did a water change 2 days ago and added an algae killer to the tank when he cleaned it. Since then, our fish have been acting funny. They stay close to the bottom of the tank and don't move around much. When they try to swim, they fall to the bottom of the tank and hit the bottom. It's like they're off-balance.  He did another water change this morning and since then one of them has died. We tested the salinity and it was fine, and we tested everything else and it's fine. Do you have any idea what might be wrong? Is it because of the algae killer? Please get back to me Qs soon as you can. I appreciate your time.  Thank you. Jamie Maddox < The first thing I would check is the water conditioner you added to the new water. Good water conditioners take out chlorine and chloramine. Bad ones only take out chlorine leaving the chloramine to kill the fish. So I would start there first.  Secondly, African cichlids are not brackish!!!  They come from a lake that is high in dissolved minerals but they are far from brackish. They do like a pH from 7.4 to 8.2. Check the heater. Did he unplug it when he did the water change and forgot to plug it back in? Water should be between 77 and 80 depending on the species. The algae killer may have affected the water. Remove it with good activated carbon. If they are truly sick with an internal bacterial infection and beginning to bloat then I would treat the tank with Metronidazole. Usually this bloat and algae problems are caused by overfeeding. The excess food fouls the tank and the fish get sick and algae starts to grow all over the place.-Chuck> 


Kenyi's Quarreling Hopefully you can help me... I have 2 male Kenyi's. They both seem to have really huge upper lips now. I don't know if they're fighting or if it's an infection. 1 of the Kenyi's use to own about half the tank and now he's just sitting in the corner hardly moving at all. As far as I know I haven't seen him eat either. Could you please tell me what I can to fix this problem. By the way tested the water, everything looks perfect. thanks Will < Your Pseudotropheus Lombardo's (Kenyi) damaged lips are probably the result of fighting between the two. These fish have teeth that are used to scrape algae off rocks and can inflict a great deal of damage on other fish. I would separate them and watch for fungus around the damaged areas. If you see any white fuzzy growth then it is probably fungus and needs to be treated with Nitrofurazone.-Chuck>


Frontosa Recovering Thank you for your quick response. I was very surprised this morning to see that my frontosa survived the night and even more surprised when I came home from work to find him trying to move around. He seems to be favoring his left fin and it does look like it has been chewed away more than the other side. Could this be the reason he has a hard time staying upright? <It may have had something to do with it.> He attempts to for a few minutes or so and then lays back on his side and then tries to upright himself again. I did add a few live guppies ( I never have before) to try and tempt him into eating and to my surprise, he seems to try to chase them a little with no success. My local pet store told me to treat hospital tank with Melafix to treat his torn fins. I am hoping this will help him to recover. Thank you for your help, Wanda <Many times I think that Melafix is over recommended as a cure all, but in this case I think it will work very well. Add a little salt to the water to help him build up a slime coat too.-Chuck> 


African Cichlids with a Fat Lip Hello, My African cichlid (Blue Hap) has a white bump in a center of his lower lip. It does not seem to bother him. He eats well. I've noticed another fish starting to develop the same bump. I wonder what it is and how should I treat it. Thank you for your time and help. Sincerely, Inessa. <I bet you have a sand sifting Lake Malawi cichlid. The sand in the lake is very fine and the particulates are well rounded and smooth. If the gravel or sand is too coarse or too abrasive then the cichlid will develop a callus on their lips in response to the substrate. It may get infected and require treatment. I would change the gravel to a fine well rounded non abrasive sand. The callus will go away over time.-Chuck> 


SICK AFRICAN CICHLID Hi. I have African Cichlids and one of them (it is purple) looks like there is something rotting around its anus (I don't know the right terminology).  Usually when they go to the bathroom it is just a string, but the other day I noticed that it looks like it is tearing, looks like a hole with white stuff coming out. I really don't know how to explain it and I can't find information on the internet about it, so I'm hoping you can help. I'm not sure if it is a disease or something that happens and will go away. It seems like it isn't eating like it used to and hides in the cave a lot away from the other fish. Please help! Thanks. SK <You fish probably is suffering from an internal bacterial infection. Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel. Clean the filter. Keep the water temp up between 78 and 80 degrees F. You fish is a vegetarian and needs to be fed pellets and flake food high in vegetable matter. Algae like Spirulina is best. Feed only enough food so that all of it is gone in a couple of minutes once each day. Add a teaspoon of rock salt per ten gallons of water and treat the tank with Nitrofurazone until the prolapsed anus retracts back into the body cavity. If the fish is not eating or begins to bloat then you need to treat with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

SICK CICHLIDS Should I be worried about the other four fish in my aquarium contacting this bacterial infection? <If the others refuse to eat or act strange then that may be early signs of infection.> Should the infected fish be put in another tank? <If you are convinced that the one fish is the only sick one then I would put it in a hospital tank and treat it there.> Do you think that the fish will be able to heal if I follow your instructions? < Early treatment is the key to all cures. The earlier the better.> I would hate to lose the fish. What is the name of the food that I should be feeding African Cichlids? < Look for cichlid vegetable flakes, they usually have Spirulina in it.>  Right now I am feeding them TetraMin tropical flakes, is that bad? < There is probably more animal protein in there then they need.> Also if you can help me, I have been trying to figure out the names of the Cichlids I have. I have 2 that are all orange, 2 that are yellow with the black stripe on its fin and then the purple one that looks like it has zebra stripes. I appreciate all of your help. Thank you, SK < Sounds like you have Mbuna from Lake Malawi. Look at the different geographic variants of Metriaclima zebra, M. estherae and Labidochromis " Electric Yellow" either on the web or at a good fish store that carries good books on Malawi cichlids.-Chuck> 


A BLUE ELECTRIC BLUE I have an electric blue cichlid. This past Tuesday I found it hiding behind my air stone. So I caught it and put it in a breeding nest. Now all it does is hide under a fake rock that I put in there for cover. It barely eats anything. I don't know what's wrong, or is it that it's holding babies? I'm new to the African cichlid thing. I really don't know their mating habits.-Mike <If you electric blue is blue then it is a male and is not holding babies. Chances are that if its stomach is fat or bloated it could be an internal bacterial infection. If this is the case then do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Check the water for ammonia and nitrites, they should both be zero. The nitrates should be under 25 ppm. If they aren't then the water changes will help reduce the nitrates by dilution. If it is not bloat then rearrange the rocks so the fish can establish a new territory.-Chuck>


SICK FRONTOSA - BLOATED Dear Crew, I have a seven year old Cyphotilapia Frontosa approximately 12". In the span of two days his abdomen became very bloated and his anus started pooching out. His appetite diminished originally but now over the course of six weeks it has come and gone. The scales around his belly started to stick out after about three weeks of the bloating and his color has dulled but his behavior is the same as before the onset of symptoms. Two days ago he damaged the bulbous portion of his head and today it is almost completely torn in half, yet he displays no behavior that would explain the injury when we are around.  The other fish in the tank (brichardi, Kribensis, clown loach, pictus cat, Plecostomus) show no ill effects whatsoever. One note, though, the Frontosa started fighting with the Plecostomus (approximately 12" also) about one month before the onset of symptoms, with either fish attacking the other throughout the course of the day.  I've had him since he was 1" long. He is a beloved family pet. Please help. Thanks, Greg < Your Frontosa is suffering from an internal bacterial infection brought on by stress. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Frontosas come from Lake Tanganyika and need hard alkaline water at around 80 degrees. Once the conditions have improved you can try treating with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. This can be a very expensive treatment in a big tank so you might want to move him to a smaller quarantine/hospital tank. If he is still eating you might try some medicated food with Metronidazole in it.-Chuck>  


Sick African Cichlid I have a African Cichlid, a yellow one I don't know what kind. This morning I noticed she has red streaks on either side of her fins on her back and on top of her head, she looks very blotted and staying at the bottom of her tank. I added some aquarium salt I know nothing about fish how ever she has been in our family for 8 years and I have had her 4. I don't think she is going to make it what could have happened to her.  <Is this the only fish you have? If so, is it the only one so affected? I would look to the environment (water quality) as cause here... and execute a large (25%) water change, today, now, and tomorrow... If there are other fishes present, be aware that they may have beat up this one... and that it may need to be separated. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afcichdisfaqs.htm and the Related FAQs (linked above) re diseases of these fishes.  Bob Fenner> 


Spots on African Cichlid Anal fins... Thanks for the help with the cloudiness. It's starting to go away. 4 of those cichlids that I have, have 1-3 white dots on there anal fin. It doesn't look like a disease, but I've been trying to figure out what it is. I also attached a few pics. On the first pic of the electric blue is the white dot I was talking about. Thanks for all help.- Mike <Mmm, these are most often called "egg dummies"... a mechanism for attracting spawning females to fertilize the eggs they've laid... Bob Fenner>


SEEING SPOTS ON CICHLIDS Thanks for the help with the cloudiness. It's starting to go away. 4 of those cichlids that I have, have 1-3 white dots on there anal fin. It doesn't look like a disease, but I've been trying to figure out what it is. I also attached a few pics. On the first pic of the electric blue is the white dot I was talking about. Thanks for all help. Mike <The egg dummy spots on the anal fin of you Lake Malawi cichlids are used by the males to show the females where to spawn. Some females have these spots too. But they are usually more pronounced in males.-Chuck> 


Red Bump on one side of my African Cichlid Hey guys great site!  I'm new to fish and have a 55 gallon tank with 7 African cichlids, two blueberry tetras and two algae eaters. One of the cichlids (I think it's a bumblebee that's orange in color with white vertical stripes) has a large red bump on one side. None of the fish appear to have signs of this and the bumblebee doesn't seem to mind it, but I'm afraid the others will get it also if I don't do something about it. I've recently changed/cleaned out the tank (within two weeks) and replaced at least 50% of the water. We went out of town last weekend and a neighbor was taking care of the fish. We didn't notice the red bump until we got back. Any ideas? Thanks for any help! Brad < Probably a bacterial infection from a wound inflicted while fighting. Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Add a teaspoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of water. If it looks like it is getting worse then put him in a hospital tank and treat him with Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>

Re: Red Bump on one side of my African Cichlid Chuck, Thanks for the help. I did another water change, added salt and cleaned the filter. Within a day the bump started getting smaller. Three days later it's only a 1/4 of the size. Thanks for the help, Brad < Many of these bacterial problems can be treated effectively just by reducing the nitrogenous wastes in the tank. I am glad you did not have to use to use medication.-Chuck>


Sick Champsochromis How it going, I have a sick Champsochromis in a 120 gallon fish tank that has been established for about 1 1/2 years. He has had the sickness for about 6 months. It recently started to spread a bit more. I described the sickness to a local cichlid store and they thought it might be a fungal infection and suggested using Melafix. I tried it and it seemed to have no effect. I used it about 5 months ago.  < Sorry, photos of you fish did not come through. Your fish is a large predatory cichlid from Lake Malawi and requires warm ,hard, alkaline water. Make sure that the water has no nitrites or ammonia. The nitrates should be under 25 ppm. If you keep the water clean then you should see some improvement. Try adding a tablespoon of rock salt per 10 gallons of water to help your fish develop a protective slime.-Chuck> 

Champsochromis How is it going?  Sorry it took me so long to reply to the last message. I had sent you an e-mail about a sick Champsochromis about 2 weeks ago and I guess you couldn't access the pictures. There is a link at the bottom of this email you have to click on to access the pictures. If you don't remember my last email, I had said that my champ has been sick for about 6 months and I haven't been able to figure out what it is. A local fish store guessed that it may be a fungal infection and suggested MelaFix. this treatment did not seem to work and I was wondering if you had any insight to what to do. < The pitting shown in your photos looks like an actual bacterial infection. Make sure that you do a 30% water change, service the filter and vacuum the gravel. The pH should be between 7.4 and 8.2. A teaspoon of rock salt per 5 gallons would be helpful. Treat with Nitrofuranace or Myacin. The actual bacteria may be killed but it will take some time for the wounds inflicted by the bacteria to heal. By keeping the water clean the healing process will be quicker.-Chuck.>  


Eye Spy with my Little Eye - Troubled Frontosa WWM, I have an female Mpimbwe Frontosa that has developed a serious problem with one of her eyes. It originally started off looking like a scratch. I've had other Fronts with eye injuries and they recovered with a little Melafix an some time. Her eye is currently swollen and appears to filled with some type of white substance (not cloudy) and protrudes out at the center of the lens. Her eye appears to have a "head" to it, that almost looks like you could pop it like a pimple. It also looks like the substance inside the eye made be trying to escape at the center of the lens where it is bulging. I have treated with a round of Maracyn-Two (Minocycline) and Melafix, but there has been no change. At most, a slight reduction in swelling. I did a large water change and am now treating with Quick Cure (Malachite Green and Formalin) thinking that it might be Saproglenia Fungus. Any thoughts or suggestions. Please find attached 3 photos of the affected fish. < The Myacin would have worked for exterior infections but may not be able to penetrate the skin. I would treat with Metronidazole or at least a Nitrofuranace drug to stop the infection. Even if the disease is stopped the damage to the eye may not be reversible but at least you can save her for breeding purposes.-Chuck> Thanks,  Brian


Re: Accurate Test Kits ? I did check the dates and they are fine the kit I was using for nitrates expires 2007. I have never heard of LaMotte kits. I had to go to 4 stores to find Tetra Test kits. It was either that or the strip kind of tests. Thanks for the info anyway I will try and find LaMotte kits. About the fish though I was checking back in my records and it appears I have not checked PH since the beginning of December in the 90 but looking at the records for the 75 it seems the PH has changed from 7.4 to 7.8 since the end of December. Could this have caused the problems for my fish ? < No, this pH range is well within the normal range for Lake Malawi Cichlids.> All the other fish in both tanks seem fine although the barbs seem to be scratching in the 75. I thought that a gradual change in PH is ok but a sudden change would harm all the fish ? < Gradual is ok but sudden shifts in pH especially below pH 7 usually mean that the buffering capacity of the tank is gone and it may be ready to crash.> I have tried to include a couple of photos to see if you can see the difference in colour between the two fish . Image 471 shows the sick fish and 473 shows a healthy fish. < Sorry, the photos did not make it.> Any ideas ? < If the tank is in good shape with no excessive nitrogen problems then I would start looking at possible protozoa infections. It is similar to Ich but does not develop any white spots. Try treating the tank by heating up the water to 82 degrees and see if that makes any difference. Then I would think about treating the tank with clout.-Chuck.>

Re: Accurate Test Kits ? Would it affect all the fish ? <Usually parasites pick on weakened or diseased fish. Fish low on the pecking order are usually the first to show any distress.> I have 19 fish in this tank and only two of them seem ill, both are still eating. Although one spends a lot of time at the top of the tank in the corner. How long should I keep the temp at 82 ? < Try it for a week and then let it back down.> I have looked at all kinds of info on the net and stuff and just can't find an explanation for this. I called the LFS manager back again and he said he is stumped two. I really appreciate all the help < We try.-Chuck>


Cichlids Breathing Heavily Hi Guys, Great site, I have read as much as possible but am still at a loss at this stage.  I have a 6ft 150G (freshwater)  or so tank running 2 canister filters and in tank powerhead filter. I have 2 electric Blues and 2 saulosi 5 cuckoo cats and 2 Bristlenose cats.  The tank has been established for 3 months now and was initially stated with media from another tank and a goldfish for a couple of weeks as well. I brought the blues from LFS and put them into small isolation tank for a while and they stated to berate heavily then, they have now been in the big tank for 2 months and still (and appear to be getting worse now) are breathing heavily, they are not going to the top of the water rather floating around the bottom, no visible marks or legions appear on the fish (catfish appear o be unaffected but they hide all day.  I have rocks and log in tank to provide shelter. Water has been tested frequently with ammonia near 0, nitrite near 0, and nitrite is 0.   My initial thoughts were not enough air? so have put in additional airstone. Not effect, I also thought nitrite poisoning? could it be from a previous nitrite spike.  I am water changing regularly approx 25% weekly.  I am using buffer to increase the ph and salts (The Malawi Lake Seachem brand) with ph approx 7.8..  All water changes are treated with prime. I am now at a loss do you have any suggestions to assist, is their any bacteria that could do this?  (We previously had a 3ft tank which was all Ok for many months then due to inexperience we overstocked and a similar ting happened, and we lost all our pets, some of the substrate was reused for the 6ft tank and we have been very careful not to put in too many fish) < Sometimes African cichlids come down with protozoa infections that affect the skin and gills. I would recommend rid-Ich by Kordon or Clout. Some aquarists have reported back claiming some success using a copper treatment. If the problem is gill fluke then use fluke-tabs.-Chuck> Stuart


Strange Cichlid Behavior Hi, I have a 30 gallon tank with about 24 Mbuna cichlids in it. I've had  the tank running for about 2 months now. We started off with 4 small cichlids (approx. 1 1/2 inches long), and then about 3 weeks ago bought 10 medium cichlids (approx 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long), and today  bought another 10 small-sized cichlids (approx 2 inches long). Today I  noticed one of the medium cichlids that we bought 3 weeks ago is acting very  strangely. It lays in one spot on the bottom on the tank, gasps for air, and  sometimes sways side to side as it sits there. It will move around some and then  find another spot to lay and do the same thing. Right now it is leaning in the  corner just gasping for air. I am not sure how long it has been acting  strangely, as I've just noticed it today (I am thinking it has not been like  this long as I check the tank every day) The other fish are fine, they are  active and colorful and they eat normally. The "sick" fish isn't eating. It also  isn't as vibrant as usual. The pH in our tank is 8.2, Ammonia is at 0 and  nitrites are at 0 as well. I've tried looking up fish diseases on the internet  but I just can't seem to get anywhere with my search. I really hope that you can  help me. < Sometimes new fish get stressed and come down with internal infections. Your Mbuna has come down with a not to uncommon disease known as bloat or dropsy. Do a 30% water change and make sure the filter is clean. Make sure you are feeding a high vegetable diet like Spirulina flake. Treat the tank with Metronidazole and follow the directions on the package . You nitrates should be below 25 ppm.-Chuck>  <<! This tank is WAY overcrowded!!! RMF>> Thank you Tommy


Help sick cichlids I had an Auratus die a few days ago. didn't really see any signs of why. he was the tank bully.  he became discolored and an electric blue was beating the tar out of him.  the electric blue now became the tank bully. however now tonight I noticed one of my bumble bee cichlids looks like death. it had really white stringy feces hanging from him I had this like a year ago with a Texas cichlid.  I keep the tank clean with frequent water changes and siphoning the gravel. water seems to be good. any ideas what the feces is or what could be wrong? < Sounds like you fish have an internal bacteria infection often referred to as bloat or dropsy. It is caused by stress and the wrong food. You should be feeding your Lake Malawi cichlids a diet that is high in vegetable matter and keep the water around 78 degrees. Keep the water clean and treat with Metronidazole. The cure rate is much higher if the fish are still eating.-Chuck>                             any help is appreciated thank you for you time                                                                     Jeremy


African Cichlid, swollen lips WetWebMedia and BAS friends, I'm alarmed at what I noticed in my African cichlid tank today, and am putting out the call for help to anyone who has knowledge of or opinion on the situation I'm about to describe.  Thanks in advance. I have a 55g African tank that has been stable and running beautifully for two years.  It's been a continual source of pleasure: I've lost very few fish, and they are very robust and entertaining (normally they are jumping at the front glass when they see me walk into the room).  Most are Malawi Mbuna types, with a Brichardi and pair of Julidochromis mixed in, who have found their niche with their tough Mbuna cousins.  The tank is crowded, 13-14 fish ranging from recently born (half inch) to 6-7"(most are 3 to 4 inches though), but like I said the tank has been thriving like a charm.   Filtration comes from an Emperor 400, which I have supplemented by landscaping with formerly "live" marine rock that has been re-cured in fresh water to host bacteria.  Ammonia and nitrite have always been near or at zero, temp is around 78, and aragonite substrate keeps Ph close to 8.  I do a 15% water change every week (haven't missed a week), at which time I add a dash of Kent's Cichlid Essential (at times in the past I've used sea salt instead).  I vary the dried food, Spirulina flakes, algae pellets, Tetra ColorBits or Cichlid Sticks, and about weekly I treat them to  live worms from my worm farm.   The Problem: Suddenly, last night I noticed one of my favorite fish had swollen, reddish lips.  Today I noticed 3 others with swollen red or tattered-looking lips, and a few others seem to have cuts and bruises on their bodies.  They are listless and not interested in eating.   Whatever they have started very recently, so I'd like to nip it in the bud before it becomes bad news.  Any comments or suggestions? < Your Mbuna normally scrap algae from the rocks, but the worms you have treated them to have blocked their intestines and your fish have developed an internal bacterial infection. The tattered lips and fins may be from the other fish picking on the sicker weaker fish. Do a 30% water change, service the filter and remove any carbon. Treat the tank with Metronidazole. Go to JDTropheus.com and follow their recommendations for treating bloat. This problem is common in Tropheus from Lake Tanganyika and in Mbuna from Lake Malawi.-Chuck> Thanks, Jeff Jeffrey Zegas


I don't know what's wrong with my fish! Hi. I'm Sam, I have 4 African cichlids, 2 yellow ones w. black fins, a bright orange w. tiny blue dots on its fins, a blue one with black stripes and an albino one. The 2 yellow ones were fine a few months ago but they hid in the plants and don't eat and swim horizontally. All my fish gather in one corner of the tank. Also all of them just go into seizures while they swim. When they aren't having seizures they just sit in one spot and move their font fins really fast and the dorsal and the tail and back fins are all tucked in. My water is 78 degrees and the pH is 7. I don't know what's wrong. < Check the water quality. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 25 ppm. If the water is OK then I think you have a protozoa infection. Lake Malawi cichlids do come down with Ich but don't show it like other fish. Treat with rid-Ich from Kordon or some other malachite-green formalin mixture as per the directions on the bottle. The medication may affect the good bacteria that break down the fish waste so check the water often during treatment.-Chuck>


Suffering "Sick" lids Dear WWM Crew, <Hi, MikeD here> I have a concern about a couple of sick cichlids that I have and I was wondering if you may be able to help me first allow me to give you some specifics about the tank. It's a 55 gallon with plenty of rocks and caves to hide in I have an assortment of live plants and java moss I have a total of 13 fish in the tank they range from 2 inches to 4 although I cannot identify most of the fish there are two of the same species that I can identifies and my question is concerning. The name is Neolamprologus leleupi for the last 5 weeks both fish have been developing blackish fungus of some sort around their mouths and their eyes are becoming discolored also the tips of their fins are starting to blacken and spots forming on their skin.<I've seen your write up before and think much of the problem is in your fish selection. As to black on the fin edges and head/mouth area, this is normal on many leleupi as they mature, simply adult coloration, particularly on males.> these fish used to be a vibrant orange color but now their color is fading and they are turning pale a grayish pale. no other fish in the tank are effected and everything is normal all levels are perfect if fact a few of my cichlids are breeding. I do 10% water changes to the tank every two weeks. the tank is salted. I asked my local aquarium what the problem could be and provided a picture she told me it was most probably a hardness problem the hardness was at 7 I have now raised it to 9 over the course of a week. could you please help? If you need any specific information let me know I could provide a picture even though it is not the best quality I have found fish are not easily photographed. Thank you so much..........<I think part of the problem is that the leleupi are Tanganyika cichlids while the rest are Malawian. Leleupi need a quiet tank with caves and territory, exactly the opposite for the Malawians. Leleupi will form male/female pairs with males being 2-3 times larger than females and they spawn inside caves and are NOT mouthbrooders. I almost think your leleupi are just VERY stressed, which is contributing to the problem and in the end think that removing them is the best idea for all concerned.  I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but it's the best I can do. Sorry.> Sincerely yours Chris

Suffering "Sick"lids <Mike D here> Thank-you for educating me. I think the best thing for the Leleupi is to find them a new home like to have suggested. Thank you for your advice. :-)<Sorry it couldn't have been better.  It's both amazing and sad that there is such a huge difference between the cichlid fishes of just two lakes that are so near each other, yet are literally "worlds apart". To make it more confusing yet, the Lake Victoria cichlids are yet another category and the Congo River Basin species even yet another.  In short, the term "African Cichlids" is a very dangerous catch all term for the beginner and it's sad that retailers don't go out of their way to educate their customers much better.  A final word of caution....the Tanganyika cichlids are WAY more complex than many of the M'buna from Malawi and if you get "hooked" on them it's a true addiction!**grin**>


Mysterious death of cichlids Please please can you help? < We will try.> We live in Lilongwe (capital of Malawi) < I was in Lilongwe last year in October diving in Lake Malawi with Stuart Grant.> and, for the past year, have successfully been keeping a number of indigenous cichlids in ponds in our garden with no problems at all.  There are 4 ponds stepped down with small waterfalls in between.  Two weeks ago, our cichlids in the bottom pond started dying - first 2, then 4, then 2 again etc, some adult, some sub-adult.  There was good water flow and the only obvious sign of a problem was a widespread growth of beard algae. < The algae was cause by the increased ammonia, nitrites and nitrates from the dead fish.>  The fish in the other ponds were fine. We since transferred the fish from the problem pond into a hospital tank (a bath containing aged water, decent flow of oxygen, rocks, oxygenating weed etc) but still lost a few in the first 2 days.  After that, there were no casualties at all for a further 4 days.  During that time, we cleaned out and refurbished the top pond completely and, reasonably satisfied that the fish were all healthy, we transferred them into that as soon as the water had had a chance to age properly. They were fine for another few days, eating well and inquisitive as usual but now they've started dying again.  There are no physical symptoms but, when we pick out the dead ones, their tummies look a little bloated and many have mysteriously developed what looks like a large sore on their sides (which had not been there the day before). We have no pet stores here, so no way of testing PH etc, and no way to buy appropriate medication. < I know I have been there.>   After checking many a website, I've purchased tetracycline in capsule form but would have no idea how to administer it. < Tetracycline is worthless in hard alkaline waters like yours.> Please does anyone have any ideas what the problem may be (Malawi bloat, for instance?) and what on earth we can do to solve it? Anything you can come up with would be much appreciated. Caz in Lilongwe < Malawi bloat is caused by stress. The water may be too hot >80 degrees F or too cold < 70 degrees F. Could be the wrong food. I assume you have Mbuna and all they eat in the wild is algae. Anything meaty and they have a hard time digesting it and stays in their gut and rots. Could be the pH has gotten too low. If the water hasn't been changed in a while then acids could be building up and lowering the pH. If the water is getting cold then they could have a protozoa infection like Ich. If they have a protozoa infection in which the fish have no external symptoms then I would treat with  formalin malachite green solution for at least three days depending on the water temp. If they do indeed have bloat then it is caused by an internal bacterial infection and will require Metronidazole to treat successfully. There are a couple ways to go. You could try and order some Metronidazole online from Drsfostersmith.com. You will need to figure out the gallonage of all the ponds you want to treat and figure you will need to medicate at least three times. If they fish are eating then you have a chance to save them if they are not eating then it may be too late. For now I would do a large water change and clean the filter. Don't feed the fish for awhile and let them eat the algae off he sides like they do in nature. Order the medications or try and get some from a local animal vet at 250 mg per 10 (US) gallons of water. Treat day one then skip a day and do a 50% water change,  and then repeat the entire process for two more times. The other way to go is to go over to Stuart Grant's compound at Red Zebra Lodge on Kambiri Point and get all new wild fish. He goes to the airport at least twice a week to ship fish from the lake and I am sure you could order some fish a restock your ponds very easily. He has many vehicles and I am sure you could work out some barter system for the fish. His P.O. Box 123 Salima. I had a great time in Malawi last year and can't wait to get back there sometime.-Chuck>  

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