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FAQs on Convict Cichlid Health

Related Articles: Convicts, Freshwater Angels, Discus, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Convicts 1, Convicts 2, & Convict Identification, Convict Behavior, Convict Compatibility, Convict Selection, Convict Systems, Convict Feeding, Convict Reproduction, & Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

female convict cichlid with bloat?    7/3/12
Hello!
I have a 6 year old female Convict Cichlid (Miss Stripes :) ). For the last several months I've noticed she's seemed to have labored breathing off and on.  Just this week she's been hanging out in weird places in the tank (instead of in her "rock house"), sinking to the bottom in odd positions, and she isn't interested in food.  Her scales are a little fluffy, but not pine coned.  I haven't noticed any feces.  She also seems to have a little bloatiness just under her gills (see pix below). After researching your website, I'm wondering if she has bloat? I know she is getting older so she is probably more susceptible to disease if I neglect tank cleaning (which unfortunately I have more in the last few months).
<And likely these are the causes at the root of this problem. I've seen this many, many times. In fact whenever I come across a cichlid with these nondescript bloating, HLLE and Hexamita-type infections, the cichlid was in a small, dirty, neglected tank or otherwise exposed to something that shouldn't have been a problem if the tank was bigger, equipped with a better filter, and provided with more water changes. This is bitter experience -- I've lost quite a few dwarf cichlids over the years by putting off a water change "for just one more week". Nitrate is often cited as the killer, but whether it's merely an indicator of the problem or the toxin itself is hard to say. Perhaps best to see Nitrate as part of the problem.>
I just ordered some Clout (as I heard this is even a better med than   Metronidazole--much stronger) and it should be here in a few days.  However, I'm worried that may be too long! I do have some Jungle Parasite Clear (has some Metronidazole in it) and Jungle Fungus Clear if you feel either is better than Clout.
My questions are 1) What are your recommendations for treatment? And 2) I don't have a hospital tank set up but I do have a free 10-gallon one I can use.  How can I get it ready for her as to not stress her out by putting her in a non-conditioned tank?  Is using water from her current tank enough?  The only other fish in the tank with her (a 20-gallon) is a large Pleco.  Can I treat them both or is it still a good idea to move her?
<Both in a 20-gallon tank? No wonder she's not well. Overstocked!>
Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for your time. Josey (and Miss Stripes!)
<Hmm... do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FHParrotDisArtNeale.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm
And the links them. Since your fish is apparently mobile and presumably feeding, then using an oral medication (e.g., in the food) is much MUCH better than a medication added to the water. Your vet should be able to help here with specific advice on dosage. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: female convict cichlid with bloat?     7/3/12
Neale,
<Josey,>
Thank you for your quick response and the links!
<Most welcome.>
I learned a lot from the link talking about aquarium size, etc... I'm really bummed that having ONLY her and the Pleco in the tank is overcrowding! What is a good size tank for just one convict cichlid?
<I wouldn't keep a singleton is less than 30 gallons. It's not so much the fact a smaller tank would kill them instantly, but that anything smaller than 30 gallons will be a pain in the backside to maintain -- long term -- to the standard a cichlid the size of female Convict requires.>
I do have to admit I had NO CLUE the Pleco would get so big.
<Oh dear…>
It is about 11 inches long now and does produce a lot of waste that dirties the tank quickly  (was probably 2 inches when I got him and didn't start growing until I had him for 2 years!!) .
<Indeed. These fish are really an insane species for 90% of the aquarists in the hobby, and I wish they weren't so cheap or widely sold. The Bristlenose Plec is an infinitely better species, only getting to about 12 cm/5 inches in length, and a far better algae eater, yet they are far less widely sold.>
I would love to go to a 50g tank, but financially I may not be able to swing that at this time. I'll have to look into it. It seems the only thing to do other that that is find the Pleco a new home.
<For sure.>
If i put him in a 50g will he just get bigger and bigger?
<Yes. These fish get to about 45 cm/18 inches, and even in a 50 gallon tank they create murky, dirty conditions. They're the fish equivalent of sheep, constantly grazing and constantly pooping.>
Do you have a recommendation for bottom feeders/algae eaters that stay a small size? Or are the bottom feeders not even necessary?
<See above for recommendations. And no, they're not necessary. Quite the contrary in fact; adding any fish, even a "scavenger" or "algae eater" will only make the aquarium dirtier, faster.>
I haven't been able to locate straight up Metronidazole (Flagyl), so while I'm waiting for the Clout to arrive (which I may not use? what do you think?)
<Not an expert on either medication -- they're only available under prescription in the UK, so not widely used by aquarists -- but either should be helpful as it's the Metronidazole that seems to help..>
I decided on trying the Fungus Clear because it contains Metronidazole (plus Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone). I also made a 50/50 mix of table salt/Epsom and put a small handful in. That was all yesterday. I just did a 25% water change (Nitrates/ites are high--darn, I wish I would have kept this tank set up or had an extra bio filter running on the main!). Should I keep changing the water 25% a day until the levels are safe?
<Yes, but do wait a while after medicating; ideally, medicate one day, do water change the next, and each day after until the second dose of medication, in which case you (again) wait a day before doing a water change. Make sense?>
So Miss Stripes is in her 10g hospital tank. I set it up with no substrate (just a little from her original tank in a muslin bag), some plastic plants and her rock house. I am keeping it around 82F
<Too warm; warm water = low oxygen -- better to go for a more clement 25 C/77 F, the optimal for almost all tropical fish.>
and have a filter with only a bio filter (unfortunately not established, but I did add some Start Zyme to help out). The move to the hospital tank was interesting--she practically swam into the net and didn't flounder at all! I think she knew she was getting help :) She hasn't been eating for a few days, so the food with the meds is out. :(  She's swimming around quite a bit (but still not well) and I offered her one little pellet of food which she ignored, so I will wait a few more days until I offer it again.
<OK.>
I'm feeling pretty sheepish and guilty that I may have to learn this lesson the hard way. It really sucks! :( I am keeping my fingers crossed she will recover. I'll let you know how it turns out. Thank you so much for your time! In the meantime, I'm scouring more of the WetWeb site!
~Josey~
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Ill Convict, using WWM    1/12/12
Hi,
<Hello there>
I have two convicts (I'm not sure how to tell the gender)
<... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictreprof.htm
and the linked files above>
 but they are about
3 years old (and have been living together with a large Oscar
<Mmm, not compatible>

 in a big tank
<... How large? See WWM re systems for both species>
for the duration of this time. In the last week one of the convicts has been
laying sideways but when disturbed seems to be able to swim ok.
<Likely sub-alpha behavior to the Oscar or other Convict>
 It has a sore on the middle of each side of it's body about 4mm in diameter (same and equal on both sides) and a little red colour on the tail.
<Evidence of fighting, getting beaten>
The fish never seem to fight each other,
<Not that you've directly observed>
 I guess they don't need to with the room they have, and the other fish are at 100% health.
Any ideas as to what this could be and how to solve it? I have had these convicts since they were the size of my fingernail, they have always seemed to live harmoniously even with Oscar and I have never had a single problem with them.
Kind regards,
Ben Atherton.
<Read where you've been referred to. Bob Fenner>

Help please! Convict Cichlid missing lower Jaw/Lip   1/30/11
I'm posting this for a friend. He has 2 Convicts in a 55 gallon. They are both males and are both almost 4 inches. NO FEMALES. They were lip locking and one lost his jaw/lip!
<Lost it completely? Or simply dislocated the jaw?>
Know he can't close his mouth (looks kind of like a parrot cichlid). This happened in the last few hours. We took out the other male so he is all by himself in the 55 gallon. My friend added some salt (very small amount of aquarium salt) and added water conditioner (has slime for fish).
<Neither of these will help much here.>
The convict is eating and doesn't seem stressed. I have some rid-Ich if that has anything that will help it heal.
Will the fish be okay?
<If he can eat, then yes, he'll live.>
Can he grow any of his jaw back?
<No.>
If so, how long will it likely take?
<Usually, dislocated or lost jaws result in the cichlid not being able to feed. Gradually it starves to death. Hence euthanasia is necessary. Unless you have access to MS-222, the only humane way to kill a fish as large as this one will be using Clove Oil. Partially fill a bucket with aquarium water, then add 30 drops of Clove Oil per litre of water in the bucket. Stir well. Lower the fish into the bucket, and it should become sedated within seconds, and dead after a few minutes. Death is "official" ten minutes after the last gill movements, at which point the carcass can be removed and disposed of.>
Is there anything else my friend should do?
<Learn not to mix aggressive cichlids in the same tank? If this is what Convicts can do to one another, can you imagine how they abuse cichlids that can't fight back, like Firemouths? Really, Convicts are less than ideal for most aquarists despite their wide availability in my opinion, and I have no idea why they're so widely purchased. Stories like yours ARE NOT uncommon.>
What temp should the tank be set for (to help healing)?
<For Central Americans, keeping them slightly cool is beneficial, so 24 C/75 F is about right. Keeping them warmer than this heightens aggression and promotes spawning, neither of which is helpful.>
Thank you!
<You're welcome, Neale.>

Floundering Convict   1/11/11
Hi gang -First of all, I fail at life sometimes and did not thank you for the great advice about my Green Severum. Chuck - your recommendation was spot on and after some time in the hospital, he healed beautifully and rejoined his tank mates. I'll not fail to thank you for your help this time!
<I am glad we were able to help.>
Problem is this. I have a pair of breeding convicts that have been awesome parents. They have had two sets of fry and did their jobs wonderfully. After the most recent brood, the male suddenly wasn't anywhere to be seen. I found him laying on the bottom on his side. He was quite anxious to try getting away from me but swimming on his side and sort of backwards, he couldn't. I came to the site to read about possibilities and the thing that fit the symptoms was a swim bladder problem or constipation in that other than laying on his side at the bottom, there was nothing wrong. No spots, no swelling, no symptoms showing with any other fish in the tank.
tank conditions: Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0, Nitrates - 15-20, pH - 6.6 (I know this is low. I have 8.2 coming out of the faucet and I let the water sit prior to replacing in the tank and after treating with Prime - but for some reason, the pH drops. I have been carefully raising slowly so I don't shock the fish). I isolated him and didn't feed him for a few days (in the event of constipation and after two days gave him a cooked pea.) There has been no improvement. When I go into the hospital tank, he is laying on his side under the air stone I have hanging there and he swims backward away from my hand. If I hold him upright in my hand, he stays put but will not eat from my hand, nor will he stay long. He swims away, down to the bottom to lay on his side. I am at a loss. Is it possible that this is bacterial and I need to
treat with something? Advice please? Thanks a mil
<The stress of breeding may have caused an internal infection. Reduce the nitrates to under 10 ppm with water changes and treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. It may take awhile to see some recovery.-Chuck>

convict cichlid, repro. beh.    3/17/10
we have a breeding convict cichlid pair that are raising fry right now, about 3 wks old now, and just this evening the female is tipping over and wobbling around sideways, her reddish scales on her sides are a pale pink, and the underside of her body(ventral area) is turning completely black.
<Sounds/reads like typical reproductive behavior for this species>
Any Ideas what could be the problem? We were wondering if she perhaps got injured protecting the fry, but that seems like odd behavior for something of that nature. We have a 55 gallon tank, do regular water changes, etc.
thanks.
Melanie
<I don't think there is a problem. Please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictreprof.htm
and the linked Behavior FAQs file above. Bob Fenner> 

Re: convict cichlid   3/17/10
this is her 5th set of fry, so I am familiar with their breeding habits. She isn't laying eggs or hovering over fry, she is in the back corner of the tank lying sideways and every so often tries to swim and then falls back over on her side. Her belly has never been black like this before now, and her sides were a bright reddish-orange.
Melanie
<Mmm, well... this does have me worried a bit. It may well be that there is summat "wrong" with the pair this time... or twixt them. Though your tank is good-sized (55 gal., four feet long), the parents may be fighting or have had a fight. I would pay close attention to the behavior between them and remove one to elsewhere if aggression is too great here. BobF>
Re: convict cichlid
she died, thanks though.
Melanie
<Yikes! Sorry for your loss. BobF>

Help Please ASAP!! Convict cichlid... hlth.  - 10/05/2009
Hi, I have a cichlid. She is gray and black striped, and she brightens in color when she gets excited or fed.
<Looks like a Convict Cichlid, Amatitlania nigrofasciata.>
I have had her for over two years. About 6 months ago or more, she started swimming side ways. After a few days, she just sunk to the bottom and stays laying on her side, mostly under her bridge.
<Well, I fear it's a bit late now... wish you'd written six months ago!>
I thought she had swim bladder or maybe swallowed a pebble.
<Swim bladder problems can be caused by a variety of things, typically either constipation or else systemic bacterial infections of the abdomen.
Let's review each of these. Constipation is where the fish doesn't get enough indigestible material in its diet. In the case of cichlids, things like live daphnia, live brine shrimp, and cooked (or tinned) peas,
squished, are the things to use. On the other hand, dried foods, particularly freeze-dried foods, cause constipation, so should be used sparingly. This article is about Goldfish, but the analysis and the cure
would work with a cichlid just as well:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm
System bacterial infections are usually caused by chronically poor water conditions, either in terms of water quality or else water chemistry.
Convict Cichlids come from Central America and need hard, basic water.
You're aiming for a hardness of 10+ degrees dH and a pH around 7.5 to 8.
Bacterial infections usually kill fish quickly, and if the fish has been like this for six months, my feeling is bacterial infection is relatively unlikely (though not impossible).>
I have researched everywhere! I check the ph, I change the water, I HAND feed her now (usually once every 2-3 days). I can't and won't get rid of her. I just want to help.
<My gut feeling here is that constipation is the issue, particularly if the fish is otherwise lively and feeding normally. Treat as per Goldfish in the article mentioned earlier, adding Epsom salt to the water and ONLY feeding high-fibre foods such as cooked peas, spinach, and live daphnia/brine shrimp. If that doesn't help, or you have good reason to suspect a bacterial problem, such as lethargy, disinterest in food, and abdominal
swelling, then an antibiotic will likely be required; Maracyn 2 is a good choice here.>
Please if you can or know anything, let me know asap. Is it normal for her to stay laying for so long and still survive?
Thank you for your time,
Mellisa
I attached a pic, I hope it helps.
<Good luck, and I hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Convict with bumps 03/11/09
I have a Black Convict Cichlid. He is in a 30 gallon tank with a female that just had eggs hatch. He has these little reddish/white bumps at the base of his pectoral fins.
<I see this in your excellent photo>
It looks a little like the eggs that the female lays.
<Mmm, appears to be viral>
They have been there for at least a week. It looks like it may be getting worse. I have also noticed he has two symmetrical bumps on the front underside, almost in line with his pectoral fins. I have always done frequent water changes. I have API Pro Series Fungus Cure. I just don't know if this is exactly what I need to use in my tank.
<Mmm, nothing... Akin to "warts" on ones hands, this condition is not really "treat-able", nor debilitating...>
I think I may need the Fluke Tabs.
<No... toxic and not useful here>
I really don't have any idea. And it bothers me to know this is on my fishy fish. He eats fine and does not seem to be in any pain. But it just does not look healthy. I also have fry that hatched 2 days ago. So I was wondering if I can treat with Fungus Cure or Fluke Tabs ?
<I would not>
Its not a big concern if I lose the fry. But It would be nice to keep them. But I don't want to lose my adult male.
I would like to know what you think it may be and how best to treat my tank. I have included a picture (the best I could get) of my fish. I have photoshopped 3 white arrows to the areas of concern. Any help would be appreciated. I also would like to say I have looked everywhere on the web.
I have read through many fish forums until I get a headache.
<!>
Once I think I have began reading the right symptoms, something differs and makes me think this is not the right diagnosis. I appreciate all of your time and your knowledge.
Jaye
<Do take a look/see on the net with the string: "Freshwater Lymphocystis"... I would emphasize good water quality (regular water changes) and nutrition, and not be bothered by these growths. Bob Fenner>

Sick Convict Cichlid - not eaten in 3 weeks 11/15/08
Sick Old Convict Not Eating

Hello, I have a 8-9 year old Convict Cichlid whom I adore and am extremely concerned about. He has not eaten in over 3 weeks now that I can tell, and he's always been a voracious eater. I have tested his water, everything is where it should be. He did this about 3 months ago (not eating for a long time) and he got a large "dent" (not a hole) in his front forehead, reclusive behaviour, etc.. I treated him with Melafix for 7 days, religiously changed his water, began adding sea salt as directed and I have even gotten him a heater (his whole life he was fine without any of these things, but I am really trying to help him). He magically recovered one day, started eating and his dent grew back until it's as if it was never there. We thought we were in the clear and I went back to a 20% water change every week with a small amount of sea salt to just add back in what I had taken out.
This time he has NO dent, but he looks REALLY off. He has reclusive behaviour, when I come to the tank he hides under rocks, and his color is a bit off. He is also scratching on rocks and gravel, plants, anything he can reach, but it's not constant. i have added nothing new, and there is nothing else that I can see, no holes or wounds, nothing that looks strange on him, but I am really afraid we're going to lose him, I mean how long can a fish go without eating? I've asked pet store fish guys, but everyone of them has a different idea and I don't trust any of them. Most say he could just be at the end of his life, but I read online that Cichlids can live up to 20 years in the wild. I know I didn't do all the "right" things his whole life, but I would really hate to lose him if there is anything at all that I can do to help him. He's got such personality and he's really quite large... i just want to him to go back attacking anything that moves near his tank, digging fun holes, and eating like a shark attacking a seal.
Thank you for your help. Lynn and Greg Y ---------------
< You convict has lead a very long life. The Melafix is more of a general tonic than a specific cure. It has probably affected the biological filtration and you may be having spikes in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. This may account for the scratching. Without seeing the fish I will assume from you description that you convict has an internal infection. This is basically a blockage in the intestines and the fish can't eat. I would recommend a 50% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Treat with a combination of Nitrofurazone and Metronidazole. After treatment you can use a high grade carbon and remove the medication. I would add Dr Tim's One and Only to bring the biological filtration back on line. All these can be found online at Drsfostersmith.com. These meds will cost you a lot of money. It may make more sense ($) to get a younger convict that you will have for another 8-9 years.-Chuck>

Convict female, hlth.    10/20/08
I have a convict female that has gotten really fat all of a sudden and then I noticed that she developed a transparent sack under where butt what's wrong with her and what can I do?
<Sounds a lot like an anal prolapse, usually caused by a bacterial or protozoan infection of the gut. The triggering factor is typically water quality, though I dare say once in a blue moon there's something else going on, like careless use of live foods. Do in particular review nitrate, the "silent killer" in the cichlid world. Few cichlids tolerate concentrations above 50 mg/l for extended periods, and most want significantly less for good health. In any case, the best treatment is Metronidazole:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Convict Cichlid 7/7/05 Hi there! Just have a quick question... I have a male convict whose eye appears to be peeling. The eye itself looks okay, but on one side the skin looks like it has been peeled back, and is still hanging on. My convicts just had a set of fry and have been protecting them against 2 Jewels and a Cobalt.( We are removing the convicts soon.) Is it possible that this happened in battle or is it something else i should be wary of? Should I treat him or will it repair itself?  Thanks for your time. Amy <Is likely an injury related to spawning, protection. I would add some aquarium salt, separate from the African cichlids pronto. Bob Fenner>

Convict Cichlid With Strange Growth 7/20/05 I have a convict cichlid (relatively young, I'm sure) who has (seemingly overnight) developed a white round 3-dimensional growth at the base of his fin (at the joint if you will). The cichlid is only about 2 1/2 inches long and the growth is about 1/8 of an inch (perhaps a smidgeon less). Please let me know if you can figure anything out. The only thing I've come up with is maybe a tumor of some sort, but I really don't know. Thanks in advance.--Rachael <Could be fungus from a wound. Wipe the area down with a cotton swab. Put a little iodine on it and treat the water with Nitrofuranace for wound control.-Chuck> Convicts Suffering  9/19.5/05 Hey there, I read different articles for hours on your website, and am still trying to figure out what to do with my fish. I am clueless by the way. <Not so. You know to ask questions> Symptoms: I have a 30 gallon tank with four small convict cichlids. I have a filter meant for a 60 gallon tank, so the water is well filtered. I had many plants in this tank, but the fish kept attacking them, so I moved them to my Jewel Cichlid tank. No problems there. The convict tank started smelling, A LOT!! So I added some pink stuff meant to take away clouding and stinkiness It took away most of the stinkiness, I changed the filter, and did a 25% water change. The main problem: The smallest convict has been laying around on the new fake plants a lot, I thought he was hiding from the other fish, and left him for a week, laughing about his laziness, but he (I think it's a she actually) <Females will have a red blush on their sides when mature> has had a turn for the worse with heavy 'breathing'. I thought the water change would help. The pH level is perfect, brand new active carbon filter, so technically the ammonia level should be ok Can't seem to find any other tests at pet stores to put the water through. I guess they don't have nitrate testing kits here? I don't know. I have no idea what to do. Aquarium salt? Or do I have to go get some other kind of stuff? I thought convicts were the easy care quick to breed variety of fish to have? Got any ideas for me. Should I go back to guppy farming? <There are many reasons a fish may lose energy and start to pant. The first thing to check is water quality. You should be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. If your LFS does not stock them, find a better LFS. Any ammonia or nitrite, or very high nitrate, could be the cause. The fix is more water changes. Big ones, 50% a day for a few days to lower nitrate. If it's an ammonia or nitrate problem you will have to do daily water changes until you have established bio filtration. Be sure you do not clean the "bio media" section of your filter. Ammonia and nitrite are not removed by charcoal or the particle filter, but by bacteria growing on the bio media. If you did clean it, then it is likely this is ammonia poisoning. Do those water changes and get the tests. Order online if you can't get them locally. For now I would not add anything to the tank except fresh, dechlorinated water. Discontinue the "pink stuff". Do water changes to keep the tank fresh. Don>       Old Convict Cichlid Can't See Well  9/26/05 Hello, I know you must get many of these e-mails from people worrying about their diseased fish. < That is what we are here for.> Here is yet another.  I browsed through many of your previous inquiries but did not find my problem.  I just noticed yesterday that my convict of approx 5 to 6 years has sunken in eyes.  I fed the fish.  All the others (convicts) did their usual scramble but he only attempted a few flakes with not much luck.  I don't know if he has loss of appetite or if he just can't see well.  He did try to attack me through the glass when I was looking at him per usual.  He is the king of the tank.  I'd hate to see him go.  Have any ideas? Thanking You in Advance, Donelle < Usually this is associated with trauma/damage to the eyes. He could have fought other convicts that have damaged his eyes during a fight or gotten weakened by a disease. I bet if you test him you will find that he is probably going blind and no medication will restore his sight. If you see pop eye or a white cloudy film on the eyes then these can be treated. At six years old your convict will have a difficult time in a tank with faster and younger convicts.-Chuck>

Belly Sliding Convict   6/16/06 Hello, I have a convict cichlid that is laying on the bottom of my tank a lot. It tries to swim around but seems to tire very easily. When it does swim, it looks as if maybe its "dragging its tail" so to speak. Not that it looks paralyzed but seems to swim at a 45 degree angle. I cannot see any spots on it anywhere and it seems like its trying to survive. Feeding time, it tries to eat like the rest of the fish but just doesn't have a lot of strength and stops to rest frequently. So far, none of the other fish are showing anything like this and I'd like to catch whatever this is before it spreads. My tank is a converted lobster tank like you see on a grocery store and its over 100 gals. Can you help me? < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Your convict may have an internal infection that has infected the swim bladder. Place the convict in a hospital tank and treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>

Convict Cichlid With Swimming Disorder    1/10/07 Dear Crew, My friend needs help with her female black cichlid with gold undertones (adult) < Female convict cichlid, Archocentrus nigrofasciatus.> which cannot swim down from the surface. She is feeding well. She is upright and not bloated, but the dorsal fin remains above water level and is suffering damage. When she tries to swim downward she has a strange "bobbing" motion. The pH is 7.3  Hardness is -190  All others in tank are fine. Would really appreciate your help. Kind regards, Nola, for friend Janie < Your fish has an internal infection. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone or Clout.-Chuck>  

Sick Cichlid, or just old? Terrible English no doubt though Hi, love the site. Michael <Thank you Michael... trouble with your letter here... Spaces twixt your sentences, commas... but I will make allowance for your email as I see the suffix .fm on your addr.... Where are you writing from?> I think my convict cichlid is sick, I bought him from a "Big" LFS who I won't name, he looked pretty unhealthy when I got him, flushed color, white spots. Anyway I nursed him back to health and he was doing fine until about a week ago when he started developing a big reddish brown patch on his tail fin (see pic) <I see this> IDK what it is, I thought it was just his age not sure how old, bought him fully grown) until I noticed the fry, and my Texas Cichlid (mother) constantly picking at it. <These fish may not be compatible> He's also acting a bit strange ,laying on the bottom of the tank, shallow breathing and he seems to be lacking energy I've been doing partial water changes every other day I've treated him for parasites and ick  Is he sick, or just old thanks for any insight you can give me sorry about the poor pic, the spot is a lot darker --   Michael McLaughlin <I would separate these cichlids, treat the Convict with a Furan compound... See WWM re Cichlid Disease... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Cichlid, or just old? thanks for the reply!  2/1/07 Hi guys <Michael> Thanks for the timely reply I will remove him from the tank and treat him ASAP Thanks for the help <Real good and welcome. BobF>

Convict is pooping weird   3/3/07 I have a male and female convict about 3 inches each, they tried to have babies about one month ago and failed.  Days later the males poop started to turned white and stringy.  He stopped eating for about 3 days. After the 3 days he started to eat again and his poop went back to normal so I thought nothing of it.  Now about four days ago they laid a second batch of eggs and today they hatched and are hidden under a rock, but the male is pooping white again, and he also didn't eat this morning.  I have 3 other convicts in the tank and he still protects his territory, but when he wins the battle he goes right back to his spot and does nothing.  The female protects the babies all day and still manages to eat.  If it was a parasite then why would it go away and then come back, <Maybe...> that doesn't make any sense.  No other fish are displaying any of the same symptoms.  Thank you for you time. <Does seem odd that the other Convicts aren't affected... If it were mine, I might treat all of these fish... with Jungle's Parasite product containing both Metronidazole and Praziquantel... Bob Fenner>

Convict doing head spins, Convict Going Loop The Loop   8/23/07 Hi there. You guys really have a wonderful and quite often when I have the time I spend it here. I am relatively new to the hobby (about a year) and am quite fascinated with cichlids. I have 3 convicts, 1 male and 2 females. The male I have had since he was a toddler. The females I introduced later and there weren't any problems. It's been about 6 months and recently I think the one of the females and a male seemed to have formed a pair. They've been digging up the sand in a corner of the tank and they protect it as their own territory. My male convict suddenly started acting funny today. He started spinning quite energetically. Not horizontal in circles, but vertically, like he was doing head spins. I have seen fish with swim bladder problems and his spinning seemed too conscious to be a swim bladder problem, but I am no expert. He did this twice in a span of 10 minutes and after that he went back to being normal. I have been keeping an eye on him and he's not done it again (over the last hour and a half). Am a bit flummoxed by the behaviour. Could you please throw some light on the above. Thanking you in advance, warm regards. Sujay <It is not part of any spawning ritual that I am aware of. Never heard of this before. Check the water quality and offer some live food. Spawning can be stressful and you want to make sure your fish are in good shape.-Chuck.>

Re: Convict doing head spins   7/25/07 Thank you Have been keeping an eye on him and he's not done it again. Was wondering whether it could be the onset or symptoms of some internal energy? Regards... Sujay <Not sure what "internal energy" means in this context. But, as ever, keep an eye on water chemistry and water quality. Trying mixing up the diet a little, and offer some green foods and algae as well as the usual flake and bloodworms. Practically all cichlids eat some green foods, even if only incidentally to their normal diet, and just like any other animal, the vitamins and fibre in green foods are important. (Even cats, the most completely carnivorous animals on Earth, make a bee-line for the partially digested plant matter in the digestive tracts of the prey animals they eat.) When cichlids lose swimming ability, it's usually either environmental or dietary, so if you can cross those two things off, you've made a good start. The last time I saw "spinning cichlids" it was a tank full of baby Pelvivachromis taeniatus into which I'd poured some freezing cold water without thinking... they recovered within half an hour or so, but it was pretty scary to watch! Cheers, Neale>

Bloated Jellybean Convict  9/27/07 I have a female jellybean convict who has successfully bred, but due to aggression of the male was moved to a different aquarium. This female has recently blown up to a huge, uncomfortable looking state, she is not eating well and just sits in her cave gasping. Her scales are not opened up so I don't think she has a disease. I am afraid to move her back to the original aquarium in her "state" due to the aggressive nature of the other fish. Will she eventually lay the eggs with no male, absorb them or die? What can I do to help? Thank You, Carolyn < Your jellybean convict is a genetic mutation that has been bred to assume an unusual body shape. Unfortunately these body shapes have a tendency to create internal deformities as well. One of which is severely bent intestines. The result of this seems to be food particles lodged in the intestines. These intestines then distend and swell as the internal bacteria begin to digest the food. The extension of the gut stresses the other organs to the point to where they no longer may function. I recommend placing the fish in a clean hospital tank and treating with both Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>

Convict Cichlid has bulge in stomach  12/12/07 Hey, <What?> I have had two convict cichlids for 5+ years, and just recently one of them got a sort of bulge in the stomach. It actually seems to have appeared randomly. A while ago I had a feeder fish that I am assuming was eaten (not quite sure) <... a very poor idea. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm and the linked files above> and I thought that it might have been the fish with the bulge that ate it, but it seems odd for it to still be there (and the bulge is rather large). So for the past couple of days, I have been watching them eat and it looks like the fatter one is eating the majority of the food. It still acts normally, but the bulge looks very odd and I'm afraid something could happen to it. I have considered separating the fish in the tank to feed them separately and make sure they both get the same amount (they are always together, so I don't want to completely separate the two). The fatter one seems to always rush to the food and beat the other one to it. Why do you think the bulge is present? It seems like even though it is eating the food, it should be able to digest it and not have the bulge. Do you have any other suggestions? Thanks so much! -Chantal <... no useful data re water chemistry, foods/feeding... I suspect there is something amiss here environmentally... But it could be a disease, parasite introduced inadvertently with the "feeder". Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Re: Convict Cichlid has bulge in stomach - 12/13/07 Sorry that was of no help. Here is some extra info, and basically all the info I have left. I moved about an hour away from home in August and took my fish with me. They are also in a new (bigger) tank now, but their environment is the exact same. They have a better/new filter, and I used a lot of their old water for the new tank. The bulge appeared around early November. My fish don't typically eat feeder fish, and the one that was in my tank was not meant to be eaten either. I had goldfish and feeder fish living in the new tank before I moved my fish in there so that it wouldn't be squeaky clean and brand new once they got in. The one feeder fish disappeared, so I am only assuming it got eaten, but that happened probably around September/early October, so it was a pretty long time ago. That is really all I have on my fish. I am definitely going to start feeding the fatter one less once I find a way to separate them during feedings. It just still seems odd that a bulge would appear. I have been feeding them the same amount of food for the longest time. Thanks again! <... could also be a tumour/tumorous growth of some sort... Only way to be sure is to sacrifice, necropsy the specimen... Otherwise your proposed changes, good maintenance are about all that can be done. Bob Fenner>

Sick Convict Not Depressed  1/14/08 Hey, I wrote about a month ago about my convict cichlid that had a bulge in its stomach. I think that is what killed it about a week ago. Now I still have one left, and it has been very light colored with brownish stripes (it does not look normal compared to its usual light color). She has definitely been a lot less active than usual as well. I was wondering if it is possible for her to be depressed and what I should do. The two fish were raised together, and now she is pretty much alone in a 30 gallon tank. Thanks, Chantal < The same factors that made the first convict sick are probably still making this convict sick. I would recommend some water quality tests and make any adjustments that are needed.-Chuck>



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