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FAQs on African Cichlid Diseases 5

FAQs on African Cichlid Disease:
African Cichlid Disease 1African Cichlid Disease 2, African Cichlid Disease 3, African Cichlid Disease 4, 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 Disease Cichlid Reproduction,

No tea please.


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


Mbuna cichlid death. Losing Lake Malawi Cichlids -- 06/14/07 I have tried to find an answer to my fish problems here and on the internet to no avail and am hoping you can help once again.... I have 75 gal tank with the following filtration- Penguin bio wheel 170 and whisper 40.I keep the temp at 78 f. I have tested the water between water changes and it consistently test- Ph- 8, Nitrate15, Nitrite- 0, Amm- 0.I had -- Acei-3, Kenyi-5, Jewel-2, L, Trewavasae- 3, Zebra- 5, Synod cat -2,Auratus- 4, Labs- 5.I am stocking my tank based on Chucks 25 nitrate max advice. OK I lost a synod cat fish( it appeared to have a growth on its stomach) so I tested my water and had the above readings but 20 nitrate. I then did a 40% water change, good vacuum and rearranged the tank adding some self harvested oyster clusters as advised here. Also caught some Exasperatus to return to the store for aggression potential... except for the lost cat fish everyone appeared fine prior to this. After the water change was done my two 4 inch Zebra were hiding, I assumed they were stressed, the next day one died and the two days later the other died. The first appeared to have no issues, the next day the other still hiding had , what to me appeared to be cotton mouth. I added Quick cure (once total) and removed carbon, the next day she was dead. A few days later I lost my male L. trewavasae. All of  these were the largest in the tank. Everything seemed to settle beside a sore on my Acei's lip that looked like it was from a fight and healed quickly and some raw wounds on my L.Travasae's head (she seems fine). Due to what I believe are injuries I added stress coat (already have 1 tsp salt to 10 gal.). Last night one of the Jewels looks bloated, the other seems fine... she is fat in the whiter area of her body otherwise appears fine. She reminds me of a pregnant livebearer. I am at a loss with what went wrong and what to do now. I appreciate your help- you are a priceless resource!! Thank You-Christie < Most of your fish eat algae that is scraped off the rocks. If you have sharp objects like coral or lava rock, the fish may injure themselves while trying to feed. Feed a diet that is high in vegetable matter. Feed once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in a couple minutes. The bloat could be from diet or stress. Jewelfish have it tough in a Mbuna tank. Place the sick jewelfish in a hospital tank and treat with Metronidazole as a precaution.-Chuck>


Blue peacock ? -- 03/18/07 Hi, I have a blue peacock cichlid, (so am told) he has a yellow stripe on the top, he is turning black (but then on another day doesn't look so black) I have been searching for information on this and have not been able to find anything, I was told that they can do that when they get mad is that true and if it is could this be a health issue? Thanks, Meg <Possibly... Search the Net, Library under the term "Aulonocara"... much written, available. Bob Fenner>


New African Cichlid Tank Problems  3/8/07 Hi guys, My story begins with a 29 gallon tank purchased as a kit at the local super store. Got home, couldn't wait to get it together so I started putting everything together and a hour later I had set up my very first tank. I filled the tank with tap water and conditioned the water with the packet that came in the kit and let the tank cycle for 24 hours. The next day I went to the LFS to get some new wet pets. I went and picked up three African cichlids 1/2'' or so in size. The guy selling me the fish also recommended that I use stability which is a bio filter starter to help along the nitrogen cycle, so I purchased the stability along with some good water conditioner. I get home put in the stability per directions on the back, let the fish float in the tank for 20 minutes then put them in a small bowl and added tank water every 15 minutes till the bowl was full. Netted them out and put them in there new home. The fish are doing fine and all is well watching those little guys swimming around brought a nice new atmosphere to the living room. While I was at the LFS I saw a Columbian catfish that I wanted to get but didn't want to overload the tank in the beginning. Two days go by and I really want the catfish so I packed up the kids and head down to the LFS to get my new catfish. Luckily for me they were out, but my kids picked out a cool looking blue African cichlid so we got him instead. I decided to do some research on the Columbian catfish and that's when I found this very helpful and informative site. I am glad that the LFS was out of the catfish cause thanks to you guys I learned it would be a brackish water to marine fish. Another day passes the fish seem to be getting more distant from each other and not looking well so I come back to you're site to research new tanks and *boom* a whole new world of info am learning about ammonia and pH levels, nitrite and nitrate. I make a quick run to PetSmart to grab a test kit. I find a master test kit with the liquid, vials and color cards. I get home and start my tests ammonia first wow it was at 2.0, then my pH 7.6 nitrites 0 and nitrates 0.I test my tap water 1.0 ammonia 7.6 ph. I run down to the super store and grab 15 gallons of spring water and a Python I got home and did a 50% water change. That got my ammonia down to .50, pH stayed the same around 7.6, nitrites 0, nitrates 0.It was late and I thought I did everything I could that night. I go to work the next day and come home to find my water temp at 68F so I turn up my heater the little light comes on and think it would heat up over night well it never did. I woke up the next morning and it was still at 68F.No big deal I will just go buy a better heater. So I go to the LFS to get a heater I picked out the most expensive one. I spared no expense for my little wet pets am really starting to get attached to the little guys. My girlfriend picked up another 20-40G power filter from the super store. Well I get home find one dead and another acting just like the one that just died. I removed the dead one and did a 20% water change and refilling back with the same type of spring water I used in the 50% water change. I installed the new heater and the new power filter because I hear 2 is better than one. Yes, the new heater is working and the water is warming up. I do another water test ph 7.6 ammonia down to .25 nitrites 0 nitrates 0. I get down to inspect the fish close up and noticed one with white spots and my girlfriend says its Ich. I noticed the orange one had white fuzzy stuff around his mouth and has had a lot waste hanging from, him not like the others and he looks very sick. I go ahead bite the bullet and flush the orange one he just looked very sick I couldn't stand to see him like that. I hop back on to this wonderful site to read up on Ich. Decided to go with the salt and heat method so I added 2 tablespoon of aquarium salt to 5g and turned the heat up to 82F.Now to my question, is there anything else I can do to make these fish more healthy and to make sure the Ich is gone for good? <The cool water temps has stressed your fish and made them prone to diseases. Your fish actually like hard alkaline water. The spring water may not have enough minerals in it for your fish. Many biological "starter" cultures don't work too well. I would recommend Bio-Spira from Marineland to make sure that the bacteria are established for the biological filtration that you need. Your fish eat algae in the wild. Stick to foods that are algae based. Foods too high in animal protein tend to cause internal infections. If you like cichlids then I would recommend a book by Ad Konings titled "Enjoying Cichlids". Great book for aquarists just getting in to all kinds of cichlids.-Chuck>


African Cichlid Is lethargic  2/28/07 Hi, we have a new African cichlid we bought 3 days ago. I'm not sure his genus yet, but he's metallic blue with longer fins and a long white stripe on his dorsal fin. He is about 4-5 inches. We have a 100gal set up with many rocks and about 7 other 4inch Af. Cichlids and 1 six inch Pleco who doesn't do much. Anyway, yesterday we noticed 1 tiny baby fry peeking out from under a rock and a finally realized a mama fish was being protective of the area. The new fish hasn't seemed to settle in. We have 5 males and 1 or 2 females. H know today is very lethargic, floating sideways at top on sitting on bottom. His metallic blue is now simply dark blue. His flee reflex is very slow. He seems to be looking for somewhere to hang out on the bottom too, but the protective mama keeps nudging him away. So after research I'm thinking he has flagellae parasites, or something else. It doesn't seem to be swim bladder because no one else has it, and his abdomen is not distended and he is more lethargic than anything. My question is, do we treat with Methylene blue or any other antibiotic , will the new baby fish survive the treatment? < Try Metronidazole and treat as per the directions on the package, the baby fish will be fine.-Chuck>> Secondly, were afraid to clean the bottom gravel, due to the new fish fry. Also we just cleaned it a week 1/2 ago, with a 40% water change. The nitrates are a tad high :10-20ppm.. the nitrite is: 0, the high range pH test value is : 8.0- 8.1 Argghhh, we really like this fish, but he is our second of his same kind that were having problems with, ( the last one abandoned ship oddly) Can u help? thanks so much. at and jack


Electric Blue Cichlid. Lot Of Work For No Good Reason   2/23/07 Help! I have a electric blue cichlid that is very sick, and I am afraid he is going to die.  Yesterday, the thermometer in my tank broke, exposing the lead pellets in the tank. < These little metal pellets are no big deal. Nothing needed to be done.> I did a 100% water change, <Bad idea>   bought new rocks, and bought new bio-wheels and pads. < Not needed> I now have him  in the newly cleansed tank, and he is laying at the bottom, upside down.  He is a little pale, and is barely breathing.  When he does swim he spirals, and swims very sporadically, upside down, side to side etc. ...I really don't know what to do, I don't want to lose him, he is my favorite!  I am giving him MelaFix antibacterial fish remedy.  Do you know in particular what disease he has?  He also has some light green areas on his body, and his fins look awkward to me, like they are rotting.. but I don't think its fin rot. Thank you so much. Brad < Your fish is in a brand new environment with no biological filtration. All the bacteria that was on the bio wheels and in the gravel is gone. Put the old wheels back on or get Bio-Spira from Marineland. Hopefully you treated the new water for chloramines.-Chuck>


Cichlid Die Off  - 02/22/07 I have a 55 gallon tank with 10 African cichlids. We have had the tank for  8 months and had know problems now all of the sudden our fish look sick  their color is fading and they appear to be shedding if that makes any sense we already had 4 fish die in the last week. Also we have noticed a what looks like fungus growing on the bottom of the tank we changed 50% of the water and vacuumed the bottom of the tank we thought it was from over feeding so we cut back on the food and we are still having the problem any suggestions. < Your tank may have "crashed" and you are experiencing the after effects. Check the pH. It should be over 7.5. Organics in the gravel are still decomposing. If there is still the fungus problem then the sand needs to be replaced. Treat with Nitrofurazone for the bacterial shedding/rot problem. Afterwards  you can add carbon to remove the medication and add Bio-Spira to reestablish the biological filtration.-Chuck>


Malawi Cichlid Tank Problems    2/16/07 Hey guys/gals?  A few questions again regarding driftwood.  I  have a Malawi African Cichlid tank setup and I was wondering if I have to be  concerned about driftwood softening my water?  I have two 16" long pieces  in my 75g tank.   Is driftwood ok to use with Africans?  My cousin gave  me some and after doing research I found that it MAY soften water and lower  pH.  If this does indeed happen, what can I do to prevent this or decrease  the likelihood? <Driftwood can absorbs some calcium ions and soften the water. It usually leaches out tannins into the water making it look brown. If there are no brown colors coming from the wood then it is probably OK.> Secondly, I have tried a bunch of medicines and cannot get  my cichlids to stop scratching their gills on the rocks and plants.   There are NO white spots whatsoever on ANY fish and I have continued to keep the  degrees up to 85 and aquarium salt at 3 tblspns per 5 gal.  Every fish in  my tank scratches it's gills and I am not sure if this is normal or if there is  a parasite.  Parasite clear didn't work, nor did salt/temp manipulations,  or CopperSafe.  What causes this (flashing with no white spots) and why  isn't this being cleared up by salt and temp manip. (assuming it's  minor....no white spots)?  Just seems like every fish tank I have had,  including saltwater, have always had a flashing/itching problem with fish.   Have I been doing something wrong all this time after 10 years? Thanks a lot, Jason < Check the nitrates. When over 25 ppm the parasites become more active on stressed fish. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filters. Check the pH and make sure it is at least 7.5. The water temp should be around 78 F for Malawi fish. Check these things again in a week and modify your maintenance as needed. You should see less scratching.-Chuck.>


Yellow Labs With Bloat - 02/11/2007 Dear Friends, When not swimming around the 75 gal. tank, our 7 yellow lab cichlids tend to stay almost vertical with their heads tilted up, most of the time, but not always. They also move back and forth very rapidly, almost frantically, while staying in one place. Also, they have rounded bellies that look like pot-bellies! The one showing the least vertical swimming is the biggest, their father, who is approx. 1 year old, but the others are maybe 6 months old. Incidentally, there are other aggressive African juvenile cichlids in the tank, including a few Pseudotropheus zebras, haps, and peacocks. Also, a large amount of rift lake rocks stacked, many big artificial plants, and the African cichlid sand for substrate. Would you please advise anything we might do to help our precious yellow labs? Thank you so much for your time and thoughtful consideration. We love your site! Sincerely, The O'Brien Family < When Lake Malawi cichlid get stressed they tend to bloat up. They are the most picked on in your tank and the least aggressive. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. They would be best treated in a hospital tank. Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace, with a teaspoon of salt per 5 gallons. feed them a diet that is almost entirely vegetarian. Foods like worms get stuck in their intestines and can also cause this problem. Early treatment is the key to a full recovery.-Chuck>


Bloated African Cichlid   2/4/07 Dear Wet Web Media Crew. Hi I have an African cichlid that had suddenly gotten extremely ill.  The water conditions are well maintained and my other 4 cichlids are perfectly healthy.  I've noticed many things wrong with the fish which makes me think that it has caught a disease and will die. It has heavy breathing, no appetite, discoloration. expanding stomach, weakness, and its eyes are enlarging as if infected. Can you tell me possibly what might be wrong with it and what to do. I don't know if it will effect the other fish .  Thanks a lot  Chris <I assume you have Lake Malawi Mbuna. These are rock dwelling cichlids that eat algae. The problems you describe are often caused by stress. You only have 5 fish in the tank and I am probably right in assuming that the sick one is the one that is getting picked on the most. Isolate the fish in a hospital tank. Use clean alkaline water at around 78 F. Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. When the fish starts to eat it is getting better. These fish are very aggressive. In the wild the aggressiveness is used to defend territories and attract potential mates. In the aquarium there is often not enough room for the losing fish to escape so they are constantly picked on. The key is to keep the tank crowded. The dominant fish will pick on many fish and not just a few. To accomplish this you need excellent filtration and keep up on your water changes. Since these fish eat algae a diet rich in Spirulina is very beneficial. High protein foods like worms are very bad for these fish.-Chuck>


Bloated Julidochromis    2/2/07 Hello, Hope you can help.  I have a 1.5 year old 20 gal High. tank that has held seven Julidochromis marlieri with no problems during this time.  Tank Parameters ph: 8.2, Nitrites: 0, Ammonia: 0 Nitrates: 20-30.  This is a fish only tank with some Mopani (sp?) wood.  I have never had problems with this tank doing water changes every 2 weeks, and changing the carbon monthly in the eclipse filter.  The last 2 months, I have lost two fish.  Each has developed an air bubble like sack on their belly and seem to breath harder than normal (although they have always been fairly rapid breathers).  They seem to be more bloated looking than a healthy fish and their colors were off.  Today I spotted another air bubble like sack on another Juli. Although he/she does not seem to be distressed, I am worried since both of the other fish had his sign.  I have increased my water changes to 20% weekly incase something is present in the water.  I am looking for other things that I should be doing.  Your help would be greatly appreciated. Mike G. <Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filters. Your nitrates are a little high and should be under 25 ppm. The bloat is caused by stress. Probably some fish food that is going bad. Change the diet. The water temp should be around 80 F. If you continue to lose fish I would recommend treating the tank with Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone or Clout. The wood will acidify the water but it looks like that is not a problem at this time.-Chuck>


My African Cichlid, env. dis.  2/1/07 I have a 55 gallon tank with an AquaTech 60 filter, two under gravel filters <Mmm, not advised with this group of fishes... too reductive, fishes dig up substrate/media...> each driven by a submersible power head, an aeration stick and an aeration tube on one of the power heads.  I currently have one Tiger Barb and one African Cichlid left.  I believe my cichlid is from Lake Malawi but I'm not sure which species.  It is about 5 inches long, orange with very faint tiger stripes (you can see them early in the day when the tank lights are off).  It also has egg spots on it's lower rear fin (male). A few months ago I learned a very good lesson.  I let the tank go and the nitrates got too high. <Ah, yes>   My cichlid became poisoned and it's tail was anchored to the bottom of the tank so to speak. I removed it from the 55 gal and placed it into a ten gal.  I did not know what was going on so I treated for Ich for a while, nothing...   I treated with a penicillin type antibiotic <Not useful for Ich> thinking infection and nothing, he started laying on his side.  I then did some research on your site and found out that the nitrates were too high and that is what happened.  In the mean time he became weaker and developed a viral infection.  I treated with recommended type of meds from your site. <There are no fish medications for viral complaints (as yet)>   He got too weak and would not swim at all.  His body looked better just would not swim or eat.  He stayed like this for probably 2 months.  He was emaciated and I thought I would end the suffering.  I was going to dispose of him when I thought I'd try something.  I caught him by hand and was just about to pull him up and decided to get a stick of food.  I held it to his mouth and he ate it right away.  I continued this for a week and he was soon swimming around pretty good.  I then started just adding food to the tank and he could swim and get it just fine.  I decided it was time to get him back into the 55 gal tank.  I adjusted the 10 gallon temp so it stabilized with the 55.  Performed a water change etc and transferred him over.  He has been there for three weeks now.  He still seems to have his tail pointing down at approx a 45 but seems to be generally happy.  I use a waterbed siphon on the faucet to power my vacuum the tank and perform a 25-30% water change regularly. <Good technique... do vacuum the gravel> PH is about 7.5 to 8, Nitrites 0, Ammonia - 0, Nitrates < 15.  I have aquarium salt in the tank at the recommended levels also.  I have standard epoxy coated aquarium gravel in the bottom. <Natural is better for the species listed> His problem is that over the last few days, his lips have become swollen as if someone injected them with collagen and made them look fat.  Also, if the tank lights are on say from say 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM or later his color fades and he looks like he is turning white.  When we limit the light his color stays more brilliant. Do you have a possible scenario for what is happening? <Reads like this fish is recovering... Takes time> I sometimes during water changes run water straight from the faucet to the tank and squirt the chlorine remover into the tank as I am doing so (squirt here or there).  Could I have too much of this chemical in the water? <Not likely... better to have a bit too much than too little> Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! D.G. <I would continue on as you've been doing. Do investigate (read on WWM...) re African Cichlid Systems... Bob Fenner> Sick cichlids   1/17/07 Leaves Hi Team, <Mark> I am desperate for some help from you concerning my cichlids. Yesterday I lost my Peacock cichlid very suddenly in a matter of minutes. He was about 3 years old and in good health up until about 2 weeks ago when I noticed he was off his food and a bit lethargic. There were no other signs of obvious illness. I immediately tested the water and the only problem with the water was an extremely high level of phosphate of 5+. <Yikes! This is very high> Otherwise the water's Ph is 7.2   Ammonia - 0  Nitrite - 0  Nitrate - minimal. My worry is I have a Bumble bee catfish, ?(Nimbochromis polystigma)<Mmm, not a catfish... a cichlid: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=2277&genusname=Nimbochromis&speciesname=polystigma> showing exactly the same symptoms of lethargy and loss of appetite and am afraid he will also die soon. Have put a pouch of Bio-Zorb in tank.  As we are experiencing a severe draught here in Geelong and with water levels extremely low, the water board are pumping water from other areas and we were wondering if the water quality is contributing to the problems we are experiencing. <I do believe this could be so... better to mix/blend in some water of known better quality... Perhaps RO?> My other fish appear to be fine for now. They include - Silver Sharks, Silver Dollar, Jewels, Jack Dempsey, Rainbow Cichlid and Upside-down Sailfin Catfish. I would really appreciate any help as I fear time is running out for me to save Bumble bee. regards, Nola <... are these fishes in the same system? They like a wide range of water chemistries... the Africans... quite a bit/mix of salts, hard, alkaline water... The silver dollar... about the opposite... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick cichlids  - 1/18/07
Hi Bob and Crew, Thanks so much for the prompt reply and advice. Further to my cichlid problem, my girlfriend and I discovered after continuing with water testing regularly, that even though the General Hardness (GH) for all our tanks are in the appropriate range for the fish in the tanks, the Carbonate Hardness (KH) was at the opposite end of the scale and very low, anywhere between 20-50ppm. This includes the water in all the 7 tanks from tropical, marine, rift and goldfish that we own between the two of us. Our question is how do we raise the KH without altering the GH and upsetting the ph level? <Mmm, the easiest approach is again to begin with water of overall low hardness (the cheapest is likely reverse osmosis... your own unit), and add a source of Ca, Mg... carbonates, bicarbonates... either a mix you can make up or a commercial prep.... If you're so concerned> I also heard today that bore water is being used in our water now due to the draught conditions. I also need to clarify my earlier email, where I mentioned about what I used to help with my excessively high phosphate level; it was Phos-Zorb, not Bio-Zorb (my mistake). regards, Nola <No worries... Do make a pass over the FW chemistry sections posted on WWM, Maintenance... a bit of background in the basics will serve you well here. Bob Fenner>


Medicated Food For Gills Not Needed   1/3/07 Hey guys, I was reading on your forums looking for a good medicated  food.  I see that some of you recommend one by Tetra but is no longer sold  in the US. Could you please tell me one of your favorite (and in your  opinion, most effective) medicated food.  The only problem in my African  tank is scratching gills.  I was looking at anti parasitic medicated food  by Jungle.  I have used Parasite Clear by Jungle with two treatments so far  with 48 hours in between and they're still scratching.  I am assuming that  med is not too effective.   Please help me out! Jason < Scratching gills is a very strange symptom. Although you cannot see the gills they are actually an external tissue exposed to the water and thus to medications. Try Fluke-Tabs to get rid of the external parasites that are attacking your fishes gills. Clout will also work on getting rid of a number of different external parasites.-Chuck>


Oscar/Bumblebee Cichlid/Ich   12/15/06 Hey Guys <Andrea... "woman of the sea"> First of all, you have the absolute best site there is regarding fish. It's unbelievably helpful! Unfortunately, I didn't find my dilemma on the forums. I   have a 10 gallon tank. In it until yesterday was an Oscar, 2 Plecs, a Bala and a  Bumblebee Cichlid. <Yikes... going to be incredibly crowded... if not already... Oh, I see the solution below> We currently have a 55 gallon on it's way here. My boyfriend  came home from work yesterday to find a Plec had died. <Not surprising... need more room> He described it as being  covered in cotton. I didn't notice anything different when I left for work and  found this to be a little strange. He took the Plec out, did a 50% water change,  vacuumed the gravel and cleaned the filter. All was well until I noticed my  Bala, Jack, had half of his tail missing. I saw the Bumblebee, Wanda, picking on  him <Yes, also to be expected> so I moved him to a different tank to get away from her. I also got him  another Bala, Will, because I know they do better when there is more than one.  All that was left in the 10 was Wanda, Oscar the Oscar (haha I know it's a very  original name) and the Plec. I fed everyone this morning and went to work.  Nothing was strange. When I got home I noticed Wanda biting at Oscar <Ditto...> so I looked  closer and he was laying in a plant. I tapped the glass to make him move and saw  that he was covered in white spots. I think it's Ich but I'm not sure. Could he  get Ich that fast? <Yes... is omnipresent usually... able to infest in "stressful" circumstances> We keep the tank very clean. Also, should I keep Wanda, the  Bumblebee and Oscar separated? <Yes> I think it's a territory thing as well. I moved  everything around and she's still being a bully. Thank you for any help.   Andrea <Mmm... I suggest a bit more reading re the Compatibility of the species you list... and the tank upgrade ASAPractical. Bob Fenner>
Re: Oscar/Bumblebee Cichlid/Ich   12/17/06
Hey Bob (And Crew) <Andrea> Thank you SO much for the fast reply. My Oscar died last night, as did  Jack, one of my Bala's. After doing some research, I found that the Bumblebee Cichlid and Oscar couldn't go together. <Correct> Our LFS said they'd be just fine and  "any cichlid can go together". <... dismal> Mhmm, right. Wanda the Bumblebee went back to the LFS. Now we only have a lone Bala and a Plec. We decided to just get a 100 or 120 gal tank right away instead of doing 2 upgrades. <Wow!> It's easier and then we don't have to move the fish more than once. Knowing what we do now, we plan on  getting another Oscar as soon as we have the bigger tank all set and cycled. I  learned 99.9% of what I know now from your site. Again, thank you so much! Andrea <Thank you for the update and acknowledgement. Bob Fenner>


Electric blue ahli spitting out food , labored breathing    11/29/06 hi, <Hi>   I <I> have an electric blue in a 50 gal cichlid tank set up that suddenly seems to be having trouble.  He is gasping and his gills are "working" in that way they do when they are processing food through the pharyngeal teeth. <Interesting, good description> He appears very hungry and is trying to snag food with other fish, but then spits it out.  To me he was acting like he had something stuck in his throat. <This may be so> I netted him out and looked down his throat and under gills and didn't see anything.  He is now in a hospital tank treated with Metronidazole and some salt and extra air to help him breathe.  Any suggestions?  Thanks   Vicky      PS I do regular water changes every 2 weeks of about 30%, ammonia and nitrites remain none existent as I keep live Anubias in tank.  It has an Eheim canister and an extra large whisper filter.   <Really just "stay the course" here. May be that this fish did have a rock in its buccal cavity, suffer damage from it... will self-repair in time (hopefully)... this fish can likely go w/o eating for a few weeks... though I would keep trying/offering foods. Bob Fenner>


Black Altolamprologus Calvus Bloated  11/21/06 Hi there, quick question about my Black Calvus. A couple weeks ago his belly swelled up, though he acts and eats normally, he does seem a little less stable/wobbles a bit, when he swims. All my other Tanganyikans seem completely normal, and have been for a couple of years. My first thought was Bloat/Dropsy. I put him into a hospital tank and treated with Minocycline (Maracyn 2) for 5 days. He started looking really bad, sitting on the bottom and tipping over, but I suspected it was more the stress/treatment rather than his disease. Sure enough, after placing him back into my main tank (though I am keeping him in a confined acrylic case incase I have to remove him again), after a few days he is acting normally again. However, the belly is exactly as it was! What do you think, maybe its not bloat, would he be acting normally if it was bloat, I heard bloat kills quite quickly? Remove again and treat with Clout, or let the poor guy out of his prison cell, since it's been a couple weeks and he's still acting normally. Thanks a lot, Dave < I have also had this with my black calvus too. It is not the same bloat that we associate with dropsy or Malawian bloat. I know you calvus acts/eats the same but has this distended stomach. It is deadly but takes awhile to kill the fish. Treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace or Clout. Keep the water clean and add a little rock salt (1Tsp/5gallons).-Chuck>


African Cichlids Scratching-Possible Copper Poisoning   11/6/06 Hey guys.  I have a small problem here.  I just treated with  Aquarisol in my African Cichlid tank for scratching and flashing against rocks  and walls.   My fish kind of twitched and constantly shook their heads which  made me believe they had some kind of gill parasite.  I treated with this  medication off and on (sometimes three days in a row, sometimes every two days  or every other) until I noticed that the scratching and twitching significantly  subsided.   After it stopped (for the most part), I failed to put the  carbon back in and never did any water changes.  Now after about 2 or more  weeks went by after treating, I notice all of my face <Fish?> and sitting at bottom with  clamped fins and twitching and scratching even worse than originally.  Did  I damage their gills with this copper med?  If I did, would it be the  same as saltwater and possibly have given them copper poisoning?   I just did a 30% water change and put the carbon back in today, can  I stop the poison (through water change and carbon) if this is what's  happening?  I'm paranoid about this because I used to have marine fish  and I killed a long nose butterfly and a few other fish by using  copper.  Is Aquarisol as potent as marine copper  sulfate?  I have NEVER put anything more in than what was  directed (12 drops per 10 gallons).   Please help me!! Thanks <Three things could be happening. The first is that you did not completely eliminate the parasite and it is now fairly resistant to copper and has now come back to attack your weaken fish. The second possible problem is the copper levels have risen to toxic levels and are now poisoning your fish. The third and most probable scenario is that the copper has killed or reduced the biological filtration and ammonia levels are now elevated. The fish are now weakened by the ammonia and the parasites are now back and attacking you weaken fish. I personally do not like copper because the levels needed to kill the parasites are very close to the toxic levels that will effect fish. I would recommend that you do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Add a teaspoon of salt per 5 gallons of water and treat with Clout as per directed on the package. When the treatment is complete do a 50% water change, add carbon to the filter to remove the medication, then add Bio-Spira by Marineland to re-establish the biological filtration.-Chuck>

Re: Treating An African Cichlid Tank For Parasites, Clout    11/6/06 Thanks Chuck.  Will Clout color my aquarium seal and decor? < If used at the recommended dosage it should not be a problem.> Is  this the most effective one out there for most types of gill parasites? < This will treat a wide spectrum of parasites.> My  ammonia levels are perfect and along with nitrite and nitrate around  20ppm.  If the copper did poison my fish, will they recover or are they  damaged permanently? < Fish are pretty tough  and I would think that overtime they would fully recover.-Chuck> Thanks


Yellow Lab With Bacterial Infection  11/01/06 Hi, there! Just found your site on a Google search and have found it very useful so far! I have an urgent issue regarding some new fish and a possible bacterial infection and/or high nitrite levels. Only one fish has been affected so I'm leaning more towards disease than water quality. I set up my tank appx. 4 weeks ago. I started off with crab chips + ammo chips then added Amquel + to condition the water and get the cycle going. After the 4 weeks my levels for ammonia and nitrate were at 0 ppm, but nitrite continued to stay high, around 2.0 to 5.0 ppm. I was slightly alarmed, but figured since it was starting off new that it would cycle itself soon. I then added two yellow lab cichlids and monitored them for 3 weeks. They have done REALLY well so I yesterday I went to pick up 2 more fish and a tire track eel. Today, while monitoring, I find that one of the yellow labs has a red coloring on the back of his body, both sides. He is eating fine, swimming normally, and doesn't seem sick. He is the only one who seems to be infected. I am really clueless as to what it could be and how to treat it. He is not acting sick, so it is really hard to tell what it could be. The only symptoms, so far, is the red coloring and the veins are visible. It almost looks like bruising. Compared to the other 3 fish, his eyes MIGHT be bulging more, but only slightly. I retested the water and nitrite is still between 2.0 and 5.0. Is this due to adding the Amquel+? < Probably not.> I did a partial water change and added some salt and stress coat. Please, help me identify what the problem could be. Will I have to treat all the fish and could this have been caused by introducing the newer fish? I don't want to wake up tomorrow and have him deathly ill. Please help! Mandi < Red coloring and veins usually indicate a bacterial infection. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Normally these fish come from hard alkaline water. Not to sure if your other fish like this type of water. Add a teaspoon of salt per 5 gallons. If things get worse then treat in a hospital tank with Nitrofurazone.-Chuck>


Yellow Labidochromis Getting Better    11/4/06 Thanks for the prompt response! I did a 30% water change and added aquarium salt yesterday before I got your reply. I checked on the yellow lab today and the redness has almost vanished. Still a little, though. I fed them as usual and everyone is eating, seems fine. Should I still treat for a bacterial infection or wait till it resurfaces? < If it is getting better, then I would rely on the salt and the clean water for treatment for now.> Also, should I be doing a 50% water change daily? < Check the nitrates. They should be under 25 ppm. Modify your water changes to keep them under this limit until the next water change.> I am going to clean the filter today as a precaution. I am also taking into consideration your concern of the water alkalinity.   Before adding fish I used the Kent Cichlid buffer kit (recommended by a friend) that includes trace elements, chemistry, and  buffer. Is this sufficient? < Good stuff but may not be needed depending on your tap water.> I used tap water to start the tank (as I have been doing for a few years, but in different locations.) but never tested it! This morning I tested my tap water and these are the results. pH - 7.4-7.6 <Fine> ammonia- 1.0 ppm <Probably caused by chloramines. Treat with chloramine neutralizer and test again.> nitrite- .25 ppm < Once again check after adding a dechlorinator.> nitrate- 0-5ppm Not sure if this is a great source of water to use for my tank. Should I be using distilled instead of the tap? Thanks again for your help. Mandi < This water is not great but I have seen worse. I would recommend filling a new plastic trash can with tap water and treating it for chloramines. Let it sit for at least 24 hours and then use it to do water changes. You can add the buffer if you want to bring the pH up to 8 if you want . But you pH is fine for Lake Malawi cichlids.-Chuck>


Beat Up Cichlid Needs Help  - 10/28/06 I've got a question regarding wounded fish. My brother gave me one of his Zebra cichlids, (to keep him would just kill the fish, he was the runt of the tank) this poor fish barely has any fins left. Some scales look like they've been torn off. He's just a miserable looking fish that won't even defend himself from my black convicts of the same size (about 2 inches). I've heard about a solution of salt that would cure any wounds, but I'm wary of that since these are freshwater fish. Any advice or criticisms would be greatly appreciated. < Place the injured fish in a hospital tank. Keep the water clean and treat for infections with Nitrofurazone. White cottony patches are caused by fungus feeding on dead tissue. Red areas are caused by bacteria. If the damage hasn't gone all the way into the body then the fins may grow back. They will not be as long or as colorful but then should still function OK.-Chuck>


A Thank You Note - 10/21/2006 Hi, I just wanted to thank you for your help about a month ago. I had asked about my African Cichlid yellow fish, Sunshine, who had big, cloudy eye.  We did the treatments but it seems that Sunshine is permanently blind in that one eye now.  We had her isolated and still have her isolated in a big jar in our tank with the others. We're going to have to get her own little tank then maybe put in another sucker fish and a few small fish so she's not too lonely. Anyways, thank you so much for your time and help. Kathi <Wasn't me but from the Crew, you're welcome! Don


Bloating Up Lake Malawi Cichlids   10/11/06 Oh ok.  Can you tell me whether or not I need to worry  about intestinal "bloat" with herbivore fish that have too much  protein?   < Lake Malawi cichlids should not be fed any "worm" type food. In the wild they get plankton, insects and smaller fish. Just give them these treats sparingly. Bloat is caused by stress. Keep the water temp in the mid 70's. Rearrange all the rock work when adding new fish to reestablish territories.-Chuck>


Jewel Cichlid Not Eating - 10/11/06 Hello, I am having trouble with one of my cichlids. We got it from a pet store. It is a red jewel cichlid. We have had it for months but for the  past 3 to 4 days it has acted like it is sick. We keep the water very clean, and the pH is always good, no ammonia. It stays around the bottom , and has some color loss,  and not eating, and I have not seen it open its mouth, and it looks full at its mouth. Could it be carrying eggs, and do they pack there fry or eggs in  there mouth? The other cichlids in the tank are fine, the size of the tank is 55.  Thank You < Jewel cichlids are not mouthbrooders. If you do indeed have a jewel cichlid then it sounds like it is ill with an internal infection. Jewel fish are usually pretty tough and don't get sick very often. Place the fish in a hospital tank if possible. Treat with Nitrofurazone and Metronidazole or Clout. When you fish starts to eat then he is getting better.-Chuck>


Malawian Cichlid Tank Fish Scratching 10/10/06 Hello.  I have a Malawian African cichlid tank and I noticed that they  are all scratching against the glass/rocks and breathing kind of fast.   They have no visible spots or white coating.  Could this just be  gill parasites and not Ich or Velvet?  Preferably I would like to use  a medication that will only stain the sealant in the corners and not every bit  of my decor.  Unfortunately I do not have the option to QT and move these  fish.  I need to do this in the tank.  What would you recommend?   I followed the forums and I increased the temperature to around 85 degrees and I  did a water change.  Which medication should I purchase? Thanks a lot, Jeff   <Check the nitrates and get them under 20 ppm. Change 50% of the water vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Add a tablespoon of rock salt per 10 gallons of water. The best cure for these Protozoans are a combination of Malachite Green and Formalin. Clout works well on this too. You could try Formalin alone while increasing the water temp to 82 F and keeping up on the salt while doing your water changes.-Chuck>


Tanganyikan Cichlids Sick... Goldfish Cycle introduced pathogens... no-fun adventure ahead    10/3/06 Hello, <Hi there Erin> Well I've got quite an issue going on. I recently got a 125 gallon tank from my neighbour that keeps Discus. <Lots of water changes> I thought it would be a perfect upgrade for my Tanganyikan cichlids that were living in a 55. I set the tank up, got some live plants, and a bunch of feeders to help the tank cycle <Mmm, not advised... too much likelihood of introducing, entrenching pathogenic/disease problems> for a few weeks. All of my water parameters were looking great after 2 ½ weeks of cycling the tank and the feeder fish were looking healthy. I decided I would move everyone over and give the feeders to my neighbour for his pond. The water parameters were completely fine and the same as my 55 gallon tank. Good alkalinity, good hardness, pH of 8.8, <Mmm... too high> no nitrates, nitrites or ammonia in the tank either. I put them in and they were doing very well up until about a week ago roughly. Two of them began to develop a small amount of Ich, <... here it is...> so I began to treat it with a Formalin-Green mixture <Not in the main/display tank, please, no> (used it for about 10 years now with no harsh effects) <Formalin is a potent biocide... kills all life> and their Ich was clearing up. My problem now is that they have some kind of a secondary infection (I think) attacking their eyes and body. <... From your goldfish adventure...> I thought it was bacterial so I began to treat with Maracyn-Two which I've read is okay with the Ich treatment and shouldn't have any ill effects. Well over the last three days I've lost three fish, one being my 7-stripe Frontosa, and my other Fronty's aren't looking so hot either. Should I start trying to treat this with Maroxy and see if it's a fungal infection??? <...... much more trouble to go over here...> I don't really know what else to do at this point. Their eyes are all hazed over with a large white pustule in the center and white pustules in various spots on their bodies. I really don't want to lose my Burundis, especially my 15' one. I'm scared to death to even look in my tank anymore. Please help! Thanks, Erin <Well... let's see... you have introduced "something" with the goldfish cycling... Without microscopic examination, and possibly culturing, there is no way to discern what the root problem, causative organisms are here... Could be bacterial, protozoan, Trematodes... more. I would move all the remaining fishes to smaller treatment tanks (and nuke/bleach wash the infested system)... and consider Chuck Rambo's treatment strategies for African Cichlids, posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afcichdisfaqs.htm and the linked files in this series above... A hard lesson, and one I hope your livestock survives. Bob Fenner>


Old Tank Vs New Tank Set Up  9/29/06 Hi Bob/Crew I was hoping you could tell me if there exists such a thing as 'Old Tank Syndrome'. I currently have a 3yr old African cichlid tank with about 12 medium -large sized fish. I am thinking of starting again with small electric yellows, however I would like to know your opinion on whether I should drain all the water out and cycle the tank again, or keep the existing water. I have some algal growth, and the system is extremely stable -  I can't remember the last time I lost a fish. Thanks, Joe. <Remove all the rocks/ornaments to catch the old fish. Let the tank settle for a day. Then do a 50% water change while vacuuming the gravel. Clean the filter and replace the rocks. You are now ready for fish without recycling the tank.-Chuck>


New Zebra Cichlids Fading  9/27/06 Hello crew!  I'm very confused.  I have a 20 gallon tank that is fairly new (although fully cycled).  It contains one very small Pleco and two blue zebra cichlids that I put in little over a week ago.  They are also very small.  I got them from PetSmart, which didn't thrill me, but it appeared to be the only option in my area.  For the first week they all did great.  The Pleco still seems fine, but the two zebras took a nose dive about three days ago.  Here's what I've noticed in them: Zebra 1:  Abruptly stopped eating and is producing long, stringy white feces.  It became lethargic, lost color, has lost a pectoral fin and generally looks horrible - dull, ragged looking fins.  It was hiding a lot and going through periodic bouts of erratic swimming, mostly against the tank wall.  This morning it was still alive but doing nothing more than lying on the bottom on its side.   Zebra 2:  Also stopped eating, lost some color but looks way better than the first one, is more active than the first one but also seems lethargic and prone to hiding.  This one has developed a white, cottony-looking funk around its mouth.   This all occurred over about three days.  I've done quite a bit of reading on your site and based on the variety of symptoms (and my inexperience) I can't determine if they are suffering from the same problem, different/multiple problems or if I should treat, not treat, change water or what. Some stats and other info - I've been obsessively testing the water and pH is consistent at 8.4, ammonia and nitrite have stayed at 0 and nitrates have stayed at 20 ppm.  I noticed yesterday that the brand new heater had stopped working.  The light was on, but it wasn't heating. The tank temperature dropped to about 74, and I was able to slowly raise it to 78 with a small water change and a heating pad on low taped to the outside of the glass!  I'll be getting a new heater today.  I don't know how to proceed here - I keep reading about medications being toxic. Should I do more water changes even though my ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels are good?  I'm also worried that all the "doing" will just stress them more and make things worse.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!  Tara < You Zebra cichlids are from Lake Malawi in Africa. They prefer hard alkaline water in the mid to upper 70's. They eat algae in nature. Many commercial tropical fish foods are too rich and high in protein for many Malawi cichlids. The food rots in their gut and causes bloat and then other diseases follow soon after. Do a 50% water change , vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. Check for ammonia spikes because these medications will probably affect the good bacteria that breaks down the fish waste.-Chuck>
Re: Treating An Empty Tank. Disease in new Zebra Cichlids?  9/29/06
Hello again, sorry to bother!  Something else has occurred to me.  Now that my zebras are gone (poor guys), will I need to treat the tank water anyway before adding any new fish, or will water changes and gravel cleaning suffice?  If I do still need to treat, should I remove the Pleco, or treat him too?  He's the only one left in the tank now. Thanks again!-Tara < Wait a week. The parasites that were attacking the zebras need a host. With the zebras gone the Pleco may still be a host without showing any symptoms. If you treat the tank then the medications may affect the biological filtration. Get new fish in a week. Isolate in a quarantine tank if possible. Treat the quarantine tank if needed.-Chuck>


Frontosa With Swim Bladder Problem    9/22/06 I have a male frontosa 10-12". For a week he is having problems swimming down.   He just seems to float on the surface but upright and can still swim but not down. I suspect a swim bladder problem but not sure how to cure it. I know you can get swim bladder treatment but wasn't  sure if it would work or harm the  other fish who are fine. I have always done big water changes weekly as I have Oscars in with him. I never use feeder fish only good pellets and frozen foods.   He does eat worms from the garden. Would these be a problem? Hope you can help   hi is a stunning fish and would be a shame to lost him! < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. Worms tend to pick up things from the soil like pesticides and fertilizers. If you use these products then I would refrain from using worms as food from these areas.-Chuck>


Purple Faced African Cichlid  9/12/06 I have about 8 African cichlid's in a tank, one of them I think it got sick, but around the fishes face turned purple.  I do not what happen can you help me, thank you Candace <You fish was injured and the darkened area is a result of nerve damage.-Chuck>


African Cichlid With Bulging Eyes   9/6/06 Hi. Yesterday my husband and I noticed that one of our African cichlids, Sunshine, was staying away from the other 5 African cichlids.  First we thought they were playing, then thought they were mating but then we noticed the eyes on Sunshine seemed a bit bigger and the other eye looked bigger, like a big white clear sac.  We're keeping an eye on it right now. Is there anything we should do? Should we remove Sunshine and put her in another tank, or bowl filled with water so she doesn't get stressed out from the other fish and die? Sunshine is a yellow African cichlid, in case you need to know. Thank you, Kathi < There make be an infection behind the eyes. Isolate Sunshine and treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. Add a Teaspoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of water. Keep the water temp at about 80 to 82 F. Keep the water clean and do not feed her if she is not eating.-Chuck>  


New Malawi Cichlid With Damaged Dorsal Fin  9/6/06 One of my redtop kimpuma's has something wrong (looks eaten, fin rot, diseased, etc.) with his dorsal fin (see pic's). Not sure what it is, any idea's?   He is acting normal and eats normal. What size is your tank and what SPECIES of fish do you have? (This helps identify potential aggression or overstocking problems.) 55g w/ AC110 & Eheim 2028: (3) Electric Yellows (3) Yellow/Red Zebra's (2) Red Top Kimpuma (1) Unknowns (Lake Malawi vegetarians) (1) Blue Lobster (2) Golden CAE's (1) SAE How long has it been set up? Is it CYCLED? (This can rule out cycling issues.) 4 years, and yes it is cycled What are your water parameters: Temperature: 77 F GH: 13 KH: 13 How long have you had the fish? I've had the fish for about 2 months. What do you FEED them? Frozen Brine Shrimp Frozen Blood Worms New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula And every great now and then, Wardley Essentials Tropical Flakes Have you introduced any new fish recently? Yes, all fish that are in there are within 2 months new. Replaced old livestock with this new batch. Most recent fish are (1) redtop Kimpuma (not this one) and (2) golden CAE's What is your MAINTENANCE schedule, and what product/s (if any) do you use to neutralize chlorine or chloramines in your TAP WATER? 50% water change every week Use Amquel Plus to dechlorinate / de-ammonia / de-nitrate < When new Lake Malawi cichlids are first introduced together, there is a pecking order to be established. From the list you have provided The zebras are probably the dominant fish in the tank assuming that they are all nearly the same size. When an aggressive cichlid approaches a non-dominant cichlid , the non-dominant cichlids takes on a submissive posture of turning their dorsal area towards the aggressive fish. As the aggressive fish attacks, the dorsal spines of the submissive fish are exposed and take the brunt of the attack. This leaves the vital organs alone. The teeth of the aggressive cichlid takes its toll on the dorsal spine of the Red Top. There are red topped zebras, the other zebras are probably assuming that the Kimpuma is a red top zebra an are being extra aggressive towards it and not the other fish. Try rearranging the tank and cool the water down a couple more degrees. I would not recommend feeding these fish bloodworms.-Chuck>

Black Spots Around A Malawi Zebra  9/6/06 Not sure if this is a problem or not, but the zebra seems to have a couple of black spots (see pic's) near its mouth. Only alarmed because I had one other that had a few more of these spots and it perished. Also notice a piece of his tail is missing. Any idea's? < Lake Malawi zebra cichlids are by nature fairly aggressive. Light colored fish like this tend to show the scars from fighting other cichlids around their mouth and face. This also accounts for the tear in the tail.-Chuck> What size is your tank and what SPECIES of fish do you have? (This helps identify potential aggression or overstocking problems.) 55g w/ AC110 & Eheim 2028: (3) Electric Yellows (3) Yellow/Red Zebra's (2) Red Top Kimpuma (1) Unknowns (Lake Malawi vegetarians) (1) Blue Lobster (2) Golden CAE's (1) SAE How long has it been set up? Is it CYCLED? (This can rule out cycling issues.) 4 years, and yes it is cycled What are your water parameters: Temperature: 77 F GH: 13 KH: 13 How long have you had the fish? I've had the fish for about 2 months. What do you FEED them? Frozen Brine Shrimp Frozen Blood Worms New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula And every great now and then, Wardley Essentials Tropical Flakes Have you introduced any new fish recently? Yes, all fish that are in there are within 2 months new. Replaced old livestock with this new batch. Most recent fish are (1) redtop Kimpuma and (2) golden CAE's What is your MAINTENANCE schedule, and what product/s (if any) do you use to neutralize chlorine or chloramines in your TAP WATER? 50% water change every week Use Amquel Plus to dechlorinate / de-ammonia / de-nitrate


It's A Cichlid-Eat-Cichlid World - 08/26/2006 Hello, <Hi.  Sorry for the delay, your message came to us in a format that very few of us are able to view and respond to, and since I've been out, I didn't get to respond until just now.> Your site has been invaluable for my marine endeavors, but I've a question about one of my large (8" long) haplochromine cichlids.   <I'm glad the site has proven useful to you!> She has been bitten quite severely by another (and on its way to the LFS!!) aggressive cichlid right below her eye.  The wound is pretty large, almost the size of a dime and seems to be sloughing.   <Yeeee-ikes!> It's not as red as it was a couple of days ago but I can't tell if it is healing or not.  I have removed her from the tank and put her in a small iso tank and would like to treat her to ensure that she doesn't develop any secondary infections.   <I would encourage this in your case.> What can I use to help her heal?   <Something with Kanamycin sulfate and/or Nitrofurazone would be my preference.> Everyone else in the tank (which is well established and has been running with almost no deaths for the last 5 years) is fine.   <Very good.> Thanks much,  -Sheena <As I'm sure you know, maintain water quality at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and less than 20ppm nitrate (as close to 0 as possible) while you help her recover.  Hopefully, in your good care, she will heal quickly.  All the best to you,  -Sabrina>
Cichlid-Eat-Cichlid World - II - 08/26/2006
Hi Sabrina, thanks for the response, and my apologies for the message format. <Don't apologize - it's our funky webmail system that causes the problems, and my lack of timeliness that delayed the response.> I appreciate your advice, but unfortunately it's too late.   <Argh!  My deepest sympathies....> I did treat 'Big Mama' with Melafix as suggested by my local LFS.   <I am not a proponent of MelaFix....  It's only Melaleuca ("Tea Tree") extract, and not a good substitute for "real" medications.> The water was good and she seemed to be doing okay but then she upped and died on me - fine in the morning and eating (voraciously, but then what cichlid is not voracious?), then dead when I got home from work.   <Yikes!  So sudden, and surprising!> I think possibly the stress did her in, as she has never lived anywhere but her original tank.  Of course the ammonia was up when I found her dead, but it had been 0 when I left for work, so it was a sad loss.   <Agreed....  Again, my sympathies to you.> Another fellow at the LFS suggested in the event of future bites, I should remove the wounded fish from the tank, apply Vitamin E to the wound <.... not sure I would do this....  Perhaps iodine or another "tried and true" product....> and put the fish back in the tank, <.... and am *certain* I would not do this....  You were right to quarantine.> suggesting the move did more harm than good in this case, essentially agreeing it was stress that killed her.   <Though I agree she was likely stressed by the move, leaving a damaged fish in a tank full of other aggressive fish is a good recipe for fish food.> I am of the opinion that a maimed cichlid is a cichlid at risk from further attacks, but now I also, of course, regret my decision to move her.   <Don't.  Can you imagine how much *more* stressed she would have been as her buddies continued to pester her wound?  Ouch.  No, you really *did* do the right thing by quarantining her.  I am fairly certain of this.> The big tank maintains excellent water quality consistently, and possibly she may have recovered in there.   <Or, possibly she would have been damaged further, contracted disease, died, and spread disease to your other healthy livestock.  Either way, what's done is done; learn from your experience and apply it.  That's all we can do.> Well, we live (some of us anyway) and learn.   <Exactly.> I appreciate your help though!  Thanks again,  -Sheena <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Wild Altolamprologus Continue to Die  - 08/26/06 I had 3 wild caught white calvus, 1 male and 2 females.  After a little over a month the male died, it stopped eating but I don't know why.  Did water changes about 25-50% every 2 weeks.  I bought another wild male this past Saturday about 3 weeks after the first one died.  I found him dead yesterday.  Before these, back in May I had a pair of wild Fire Fins and that male died also.  The fire fin actually got sick and couldn't swim so his death is most likely unrelated, but both of the calvus seem to have no explanation for their deaths.  My fiancĂ©©' thinks it's the frontosa that I have in the tank that is doing it, I didn't believe it at first but I think of anything better now.  The front is about 5-6" and does not seem to be aggressive towards them but I am not home all day so don't really know what is happening then.  I have driftwood in the tank that has been in there for about 8 months but I'm gonna remove it today, could the wood be changing the water chemistry enough to kill the males?  The females are doing fine and have been in the tank for about 2.5 months.  If you could shed some light on the subject it would help. Thanks Ryan < These are great fish and I think I can help. Check the water temp and make sure in is at least 82 F. The water should be hard and alkaline. Wild fish do not like soft or neutral water. The C. frontosa usually don't pick on anything it can't eat. Wild fish are easily stressed in transit. I would recommend that new fish be isolated in a quarantine tank and be treated with Metronidazole, Nitrofurazone and salt. Some importers also just use Clout all by itself. Offer small earthworms or brine shrimp to get them to eat. This is an internal infection and once they eat they are pretty much over it. Don't buy fish that are not eating.-Chuck>


African Cichlids With Cloudy Eyes   7/28/06 < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Add some aquarium salt at a rate of about 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons. If things don't clear up or get better after a few days then treat with Erythromycin.-Chuck>


Parasites, or just getting ready to breed? Labidochromis dis., beh.   7/28/06 Hello, <Hi there> Before I launch my question at you, I just wanted to say thanks for all the help that you guys provide; your site has been invaluable to me as a beginning fishkeeper! <Welcome> For the past few days, my male yellow lab has been showing off for my two females (vibrating, chasing, typical boorish male behavior), <Heee! Typical for lacustrine African Cichlids in general> and this evening, I noticed that one female's breeding tube is visible.    At first, I thought that they were going to spawn soon, but a little while later, I noticed a little white string coming from her vent.    Now I know that white feces are a sign of parasites, <Mmm, not always, necessarily> and I have some Jungle Parasite Clear on hand, so should I treat the tank now, or wait and see?   <For me, the latter> The fish is eating and behaving normally, and I am reluctant to medicate if it's not necessary... <You are wise here> and to make matters worse, I won't be at home very much for the next week or so and don't want any huge problems to pop up while I am not around to take care of them!  I would really appreciate any input you could provide. Kate <I'd hold off for now... Bob Fenner>
Re: Parasites, or just getting ready to breed? Labidochromis dis., beh.   7/29/06
Thanks for the quick reply, Bob.  Just an update: the female is pooing normally now, so I think everything will be ok. <Yay! Me too... not pooing, but agreeing all will likely be okay> I came home from work today, just in time to see the female lay an egg... which the male promptly ate.  Not quite the response I had hoped for, but it's only their first time spawning... nobody's perfect! Kate <"Practice makes perfect"... Bob Fenner>
Re: parasites, or just getting ready to breed? Af. Cichlid dis.   8/1/06
Today, I noticed that the female lab was producing whitish poo again...  She is still active and devouring her food, however.  She's   also looking a bit skinny, but that could just be because I'm looking after a relative's house while they're on vacation, and so I can   usually only make it back to my place once every day or two to feed  the fish, instead of their usual twice-a-day feedings. <I use automated feeders (the Eheim ones that run on AA batteries) to feed my Africans> I'm rather confused about what to do.  Should I go ahead and try the Jungle Parasite Clear? <Possibly worthwhile... though Metronidazole or Praziquantel would be my choices, alone or together... in series> Several cichlid-keeping acquaintances of mine have recommended this medication for internal parasites.  If this doesn't   sound like parasites to you, what else could be causing the whitish poo? <Reproductive development, nutritional anomaly...> Thanks! Kate <Please read on WWM, all the Cichlid Disease SubFAQs files. And the linked files to the compounds mentioned. Bob Fenner>


Red zebra African cichlid, little useful info.   8/21/06 I bought a red zebra a couple of months ago and had her in a QT for a while. Recently, I moved her into a 30 gallon tank with two figure eight puffer fish. <... will likely get badly nipped...>   I have them in a brackish tank (I also use cichlid salt) and the pH, nitrites and nitrates are good as well is the ammonia. <Numbers please> Now my problem is that the fish seems to be holding her mouth oddly. It's almost as if she has something in her mouth. I see her swimming in the bubbles and I think she's getting them in her mouth. Is this normal and if it is not then what should I do? <Not normal... I would move this fish elsewhere... May have "run into something"... might be a chemical problem... Bob Fenner>


Please Advise: African Cichlid dis., beh....   7/22/06 Greetings from Wisconsin! <Howdy from HI> I would like to thank everyone at Wet Web for having such a great site dedicated to helping this hobby and for educating all of us! I have researched your web site and others and still feel that I have not found the answer to my situation though. I have a 90 gallon freshwater set up with 1 red empress, 1 hap ali, 1 Lemon Jake, a Mbuna Peacock, 1 blue peacock, and a Mbamba.  The tank is planted with 5 Amazon swords and plastic plants with many caves and formations and 200 watts of compact fluorescence that run for 10 hours per day.  I keep the temp at 78F and run a 35 watt UV Sterilizer at all times. I am running a Fluval FX5 with a Marineland TidePool wet/dry. My ammonia is 0mg/l, nitrite is < 0.3mg|\l, <Should be zip> ph 8.5, and a general hardness of 8.5. Yesterday my Mbamba started gasping for air and was not eating.  He is swimming around the tank but hangs out in the corner mostly.   <Could be the nitrite... whatever its cause is> He comes to the surface with interest in eating but does not feed.  I am worried that he may have an internal parasite of some sort.  No other fish have these symptoms and his color looks fine.  I feed them a diet of spectrum pellets but the other night I put some left over krill that I was feeding my fire eel <Not compatible with these cichlids. Hopefully not in the same tank> and he was one of the fish that ate some.  Any suggestion on the cause and treatment.   Thank you in advance! Michael J. Bukosky <Mmm, suggest moving the one apparently mal-affected fish to separate quarters... for close observation, time to rest up... May be just being psychologically "harassed" by the other African Cichlids. You need to fix your biological filtration pronto, and in the meanwhile be very careful re feeding... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afcichdisfaq2.htm and the linked files above, particularly on Disease and Behavior. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please Advise: African Cichlid dis., beh....  - 08/15/06
Thank you for the response Mr. Fenner. This e-mail was sent a while ago and the Red Empress is still not eating. I have re-read your response and believed all my water parameters were acceptable. In the prior e-mail I stated that my nitrite is < 0.3mg|\l and you stated it should be zip. My mistake, it is zip! <Mmm, sorry re... as in zero, nada, not measurable?> A dumb typo on my behalf.  I meant nitrate. <Oh... a few ppm of NO3 is not problematical> With this in mind does your helpful advice change? <Well... I would still be doing water changes...> The Red Empress has not been eating for 3 weeks or so.  He appears healthy and swims around and to the side of the tank when I come near. <Appears healthy? It must be eating something when you're not looking...> He goes to the food and takes it in and then spits it out.  I feed him Spectrum pellets and Aquatrol Spirulina flakes. <Good products> I know he could be eating algae in the tank like they do in the wild but I have never noticed this behavior with him. He is the dominant fish in the tank so I believe he is not being beat up. I am unsure what to do at this point. Any more advice would be appreciated. <I would try adding/soaking the pelleted food (Spectrum) in a vitamin/appetite enhancing product ahead of offering...> By the way.................  The fire eel mentioned in the last e-mail is in his own 150 gallon Rubbermaid tub and has been there for 2 years.  My basement is filled with these tubs and many wonderful aquatic friends! <Man! Wish we had a basement (they're scarce as hen's teeth in S. Cal. due to earthquakes. Bob Fenner>

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