Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Parrot, Jelly-Bean... Cichlids, Disease/Health 1

FAQs on Parrot Disease: Parrot Cichlid Health 1, Parrot Cichlid Disease 2, Parrot Cichlid Disease 3, Parrot Cichlid Disease 4,
FAQs on Parrot Cichlid Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments,

Related Articles: Blood Parrots & Flowerhorn Cichlids: maintenance and healthcare of two popular hybrid cichlids by Neale Monks, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Parrot Cichlids 1, Parrot Cichlids 2, &Parrot Cichlid Identification, Parrot Cichlid Behavior, Parrot Cichlid Compatibility, Parrot Cichlid Selection, Parrot Cichlid Systems, Parrot Cichlid Feeding, Parrot Cichlid Reproduction,

Parrot Fish, hlth.    9/28/08 Hello, <Hello,> I have had a parrot fish for about a year now, in a 55 gallon tank with a Tiger Oscar, Jack Dempsey, another parrot, a Firemouth and Green Terror. We have a Dracula Pleco as well. <Not enough space for all these fish; they will fight, likely also have problems maintaining low nitrate concentration for long term success. If you have more than 20 mg/l nitrate in this tank, you're running a real risk of a Hexamita outbreak.> About 7 days ago, his face on one side started to swell and look puss-filled, then white bumps formed like pimples. (See pics). <Bacterial infection, like Finrot and/or Columnaris. Will need to be treated appropriately. Do understand that these infections are almost always related to environmental issues, so do review water chemistry and quality. Treatment without correcting the environmental issues that caused the disease in the first place won't deliver long-term results for obvious reasons.> We went to the aquarium shop and they said he might have bumped into something and it got infected, so they gave us KanaPlex antibiotics. We have dosed the tank for 4 days and have not seen much improvement. He is acting normal, but didn't eat for a few days. He's eating again now. <Would recommend Maracyn first, and if no improvement after one full course, switch to Maracyn 2.> Thanks for any help. We check our water regularly, vacuum every 2 weeks, change our filters every 4-6 weeks and feed pellets twice a day. <Too many fish with too different requirements in terms of water chemistry... this aquarium has the potential to go wrong in lots of ways. Do research the needs of each species, and then concentrate on providing those conditions for a subset of the fish you have, and get rid of the others. Cheers, Neale.>

Parrot Cichlid With Swim Bladder Problem 9/9/08
Good day! I was checking the site to look for similar problem as my parrot fish, Some are same but no mention of the weird way of drop landing and staying on the ground nesting-like attitude. About 5 years ago my friend gave me a blood parrot, because he has this heart shape tail and its really cute. At first I thought it would be extra burden to care for fish because I don't know much about them compared to dogs where in I have 4. So far over the years he was alright, but last June he got really sick. I could tell because he has this while cotton like around his fins and he doesn't swim much. He stays on the ground, doesn't eat and struggles to swim up to the surface just to catch some air. H also swims upside down, also probably common to parrot fish when they really sick. So I got really worried, went to a pet store and bought this SERA BAKTOPUR. I changed the water and treated it with the Baktopur, after 2 days I changed the water again then treated it. I stopped the treatment as per instructed by the box label then two days after I just changed it to clean water. He was alright after a month, he was back again! He plays with me. Again when I stick the food to my finger he would slightly surface up to get it on my finger tip. So that's his past. Just recently, like 4 days ago, I noticed that he stays on the ground a lot, he swimming is funny because he just swims around for a second then drops to the ground like he couldn't do a perfect landing. This is really really weird. He eats fine, still plays with my finger when I'm feeding him. If I pass by the aquarium he recognized me though and swims to the corner, so other than the swimming problem and the bad ground landing he is fine. I just want to treat it before it gets worse or progress to more scary disease. Please HELP
ps: Can I still use the Sera Baktopur to treat my parrot fish? The label says water treatment against mouth and fin rot and bacterial infections in freshwater aquariums. Symptoms of bacterial disease are white to grayish spots, blood spots and sores on the skin, also infections on and around the fish anus and on the edges of the fins. Dropsy, recognizable by the protruding of scales, a bloated body and bulging eyes. a cotton wool like fluff around the mouth, White-gray nodules on the head and fins and an agitated swimming motion at the bottom of the aquarium. White edges of the fins and sometimes complete destruction of the fins.
Direction: 1st day: 22 drops or 1 ml per each 20 liters
2nd day no treatment
3rd day 22 drops or 1 ml per each 20 liters
100 ml sera Baktopur contain,,,
Acriflavine 209.7 mg
Methylene blue 4.95 mg
phenylglycol 0.6 g
aqua purificata ad 100 ml
Please let me know if its alright to still use this, to treat my parrot...
Thank you Worried-Doris
< I would first try and improve the conditions of the aquarium. Start by doing a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filters. I would raise the water temperature to 82 F. I would recommend treating with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. If these are not available I would try Clout. -Chuck>
Parrot Cichlid With Swim Bladder Problem II  9/11/08

Hi Chuck, Thank you for the quick reply. Actually I just checked the mail right after I cleaned my tank. Regarding the Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace that you mentioned or Clout. Where can I get this medications? Are this medications the kind of over the counter drugs? Because I went to a fish store they don't have those medications. What is common here in the Phils are the Sera products, really worried here. Thank You - Doris
<I saw your photo in the last reply and my recommendation is the same. In the USA these medications may be found at local fish stores or online through DrsFosterSmith.com. Check with a vet for the Metronidazole (Flagyl) and use a Furazone type of antibiotic that I am sure Sera sells.-Chuck> 
Blood parrot swim problem 4..
Treating Parrot Cichlid With Metronidazole  9/11/08

Hi again, which is better Metronidazole in the water, or with the food? If with food, how much should I give? What I'm giving is the floating foods (the one with red and greed colored circles). Can I get instructions on how to add with the food and how much should I give.?? Thank you again-Doris
<Add 1/2 teaspoon of Metronidazole to 4 OZ of food. Dampen the food with water, add the medication and roll it into a little ball. Break off pieces and roll them into bite size little balls and feed right away. Freeze the rest to be fed later. Remove any uneaten food after a couple of minutes.-Chuck>
Re: Feeding Metronidazole To Sick Cichlids 9/14/08

Hi Chuck, copied that instruction already, tnx. Is this ones a day intake? What reactions will the fish have that I should not be worried at all when taking this med? How many mg should I buy for the Metronidazole Flagyl?? When everything is already consumed, that will be the end of the medication?? Will it really fix the swimming bladder? What's the connection with salt intake as what I've read somewhere, or if electrocuted?? Thanks again Chuck...-Doris
< Get four oz of a frozen food that your cichlid loves to eat. Defrost the food and ad a 1/2 teaspoon of Metronidazole and mix well. Refreeze the food. Feed it to your fish for 10 straight days. No real side effects. If he stops eating then you need to treat the water. The success of the treatment depends on how rapidly you add the medication to the diet. Keep the water clean. Salt will make the fish drink a little more. So if the medication was in the water then he would ingest some medication while he is drinking. Adding salt will add electrolytes to the water and make the water a better conductor of electricity. Pure fresh water has no electrolytes so it is a very poor conductor of electricity.-Chuck.>

Problem with Red Parrot fish 9/9/08
Hi Bob
<It's Neale this morning.>
You recently advised us on a 'swim bladder' problem with a Red Parrot fish (see e-mails below) and we wondered if you could help us with another problem with our largest Red Parrot 'Pinky'
<My least favourite fish on the planet I'm afraid, but will do my best. Do understand these things are grossly deformed hybrids prone to all kinds of diseases and syndromes because of it. They aren't easy to keep and certainly aren't suitable for beginners to the hobby.>
About 3 weeks ago we noticed that Pinky had developed a small lump on the side of her mouth and a week later it had grown into a large red lump about 3mm across. We have treated the tank with 2 doses of anti-bacterial infection solution but the lump is still there and she has now gone very pale and off her food, today I also noticed that she had a few white spots on her body and fins
<The "lump" could be a variety of things. In cichlids generally, fighting often takes the form of mouth tugging, and because Blood Parrots have the aggression of Central American cichlids but not the stamina or strength, they easily lose out. Their weaker immune system means that light damage doesn't heal so quickly, and poor water conditions will make things worse. Despite being sold to inexperienced fishkeepers as funky pets, these are fundamentally large, Central American cichlids that need systems measured upwards of 180 litres/50 US gallons to thrive. Like any cichlid, water quality must be excellent, in particular zero ammonia and nitrite. In common with Central American cichlids they are somewhat adaptable with regard to water chemistry, but soft/acidic conditions must be avoided. My guess is that this fish injured its jaws, and you have something like Mouth Fungus (actually a bacterial disease) or Finrot setting in. Easily cured using suitable medications. In the UK I'd recommend a brand called eSHa 2000, which is safe to use in combination with eSHa EXIT, the manufacturers Whitespot/Ick medication. No cure will work if the fundamental problems with the tank aren't corrected as well, so review these. Tell me more about your tank, the other fish in the system, what filter you use and I can comment further if required.>
I know that the 'white spot' can be treated as we have had to treat it before but don't know what the other conditions could be and how to treat them - I am very unsure about putting too many treatments in the tank and subjecting the other fish to too much stress
<Medications are only safely used in combinations if expressly stated as such by the manufacturer (or a vet). Do also remember to remove carbon if you were tricked into using that stuff in your freshwater aquarium (for most freshwater tanks the stuff is redundant assuming decent filtration and weekly 25-50% water changes).>
Mark & Sam
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problem with Red Parrot fish 9/13/08
Hi Neale Thanks for coming back to me <You're welcome.> We tried to get hold of some of the treatment you suggested but it is proving very hard to local someone local who has heard of it and can source some for us <Try online. eSHa products are widely sold.> We have however just finished our 2nd bacterial treatment and replaced the media in the filter (inc carbon I'm afraid although I am considering not bothering once the fish are better) <Do understand carbon MUST be removed while treating the fish. Carbon absorbs (or more precisely adsorbs) organic chemicals such as dyes, and this renders any treatment useless. One of many reasons I recommend against using carbon in the average freshwater aquarium.> We also did a 30% water change and the sore on Pinky seems to have started to heal and although she still doesn't have an appetite the other fish have and she is starting to chase the other fish around again <Good.> We have however noticed that the other parrots fins have started going black!! <This may be normal. Many Blood Parrots have speckled/mottled fins. A photo would help.> Any ideas what this could be? <Provided the fins are entire and show no signs of rot or fungus, I'd not be alarmed.> Our tank is 240 litres with a Fluval 305 external pump, aerator stone and houses 1 large(Pinky) and 2 small parrots, a gold Severum, 2 silver dollars and 2 Plecs Mark & Sam <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problem with Red Parrot fish 9/21/08

Hi Neale
<Good evening!>
Just thought I would let you know all our fish are doing great now - we found out that the pump had become almost completely blocked up (which it has never done before between full cleans) - once I had cleaned the pipes out the fish were back to normal within a couple of days
<Well, all's well that ends well! Does sound as if water circulation was the issue. Do check the pump each time you clean the filter, which should be every couple of months or so.>
Many thanks for help
<Have fun with your fishies!>
Mark & Sam
<Cheers, Neale.>

Blood Parrot Help -- 8/25/08 Parrot Cichlid Floats to The Top I have a blood parrot cichlid that has something wrong with it's swim bladder, it keeps floating to the top and has trouble staying at the bottom. Is there really a malformation of their swim bladder? Could this be the problem? Can it be fixed? Will it die? < The parrot cichlid is a cross between three different cichlids. They are deformed on the outside to give them that unique body shape and also have inherited deformities on the inside too. The problem is probably an intestinal blockage. Bacteria may be feeding at the blockage and causing the intestinal gas that cannot be released. Typically I recommend Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace in a hospital tank. If the fish is still eating then food with Metronidazole in it will be very beneficial. Some aquarists also recommend Clout too. The success depends on a quick effective treatment. Delays in treatment make a complete recovery less likely.-Chuck>

Dark Patches On Parrot Cichlid -- 6/17/08 Hello, I recently bought a blood parrot and when I put it in my tank it developed Ich. I treated it and it went away, but a few weeks later it started developing black around its fin and just thought it was its coloring. It still acts healthy and today I noticed it has black on his upper lip and a few black splotches on his back. His normal color is a light pink. What could this be? He still acts normal. Thanks <The blood parrot cichlid is a cross between a couple of different cichlids. It has been selectively bred for it's red coloration. Sometimes the red coloration is broken up by blotches of darker pigment. Scar tissue sometimes heals darker than the rest of the body's normal coloration too. I think that this is just genetics and is nothing to worry about.-Chuck>

Jelly-Bean cichlid  9/29/08
Hello there. First of all, thank you for taking time to help me!
I have an 9 year old Jelly-bean cichlid named Walter. He's been doing great up until a week ago. He seemed fine and then one day started to have rapid gill movement and his color was really dull. So, I tested the water and did a water change. He seemed find for a few days and then I noticed next to his left eye it looked like a black worm on the INSIDE of the scales. I didn't think anything at first until a day later it went away and then came back again. Sometimes it looks like it might pop out of his scales, but then goes back in. Then two nights ago I noticed his left eye was a little swollen. Its not severe, but its just enough to notice. (I spend hours with these fish a day.) He's appetite hasn't changed, and he doesn't seem lethargic. But I'm worried about that black spot and his eye. Any ideas? This fish is just like my best friend. I would hate to loose him... I'm not sure if its important info but, his tank mate is a HUGE silver dollar and a Pleco. The temp in the tank stays at 75 degrees. I'm sending you some pics. I hope they aren't too big... Thank you again!
<Jennifer, please, next time you write, send smaller images! We do specifically ask people reduce their image sizes to ~500 kb. Your three photos were over 4 MB, and that's a good part of our e-mail space, running the risk of bouncing back other peoples' messages because of insufficient space to receive them. We do ask this at the "front door" where you got our e-mail address, so please do try and follow our (few, but necessary) rules before writing. Anyway, it isn't obvious to me that there's anything seriously wrong with this fish. The black "worm" is most likely just dead tissue, and along with any lethargy, excessive gill movement, or swollen eyes are likely non-specific reactions to some issue with water quality or water chemistry. To be sure, at 9 years of age your cichlid is certainly in its "old age" (anything above 10 years is uncommon with medium-sized cichlids). So broadly speaking I'm sure you maintain your aquarium well. But do in particular check the temperature is correct, if there are any unusual pH changes, and that water quality is good. Old, established tanks often experience pH drops if you've hitherto relies upon calcareous media to buffer the pH and create the hard, alkaline conditions these hybrid cichlids require. Assuming that you have done this, you may need to remove/replace some of that calcareous media. Cheers, Neale.>

Parrot Cichlid help  05/30/08 Parrot Cichlid With Protruding Gill Covers I looked into anchor worms and that didn't' seem to be what he has.  I attached some pictures where you can see what is going on?  Like I said, I've treated them and no change. He seems to be normal in all his activities. Can you help? < Thanks for the photos. I don't think there is a parasite problem. Parrot cichlids are a cross between three different species of cichlids. They have a very unusual body shape and are actually deformed compared to "normal" cichlids found in the wild. Some of these abnormalities include stunted fins, shortened backbones and deformed faces. Since you fish acts normal in every way I am going to assume that it is a genetic condition and not a disease. Those red worms may be gill filaments that have broken off from the rest of the gill rakers.-Chuck>
Parrot Cichlid With Gourami I have had a Gourami and Parrotfish for over three years now living in a 20 gallon tank. The parrotfish has always bullied the Gourami, but most of the time they get along fine. My parrotfish has been acting very strangely over the past week - moving the rocks around in the bottom of the tank (HUGE pile on one side), and today he was swimming up and down the side of the tank in an agitated manner - I actually think he tried to "jump out" tonight. My husband also noted the parrotfish was "attacking" the Gourami the other night. The parrotfish is showing signs of stress with black marks showing up on his fins and body. My Gourami hasn't been eating regularly and I just saw tonight has a single swollen blood-red eye. I purchased Maracyn 2 for the tank under the guidance of a pet store worker. I have not tested the ph or the ammonia and the temperature has spiked in the tank to over 84 degrees - we put the a/c on in the room to help cool the water down. Should I  try to test the ph and treat the water while I am using the Maracyn 2? Not sure if I needed that after reading all the articles on your site, so I don't know if I should stop treatment and balance the water or do both. Help! Victoria < Your parrot cichlid has now established the entire 20 gallon tank as his territory and will defend it from all other fish and probably from external sources like humans walking by. The injury is probably from the parrot attacking the Gourami. At 84 degrees the fishes metabolism is elevated and this could make them more aggressive. Don't worry about the ph but watch for ammonia spikes because the antibiotics will probably affect the good bacteria used to break down the fish waste.-Chuck>
Sick Gourami
What can I do to help out the poor Gourami? His eye seems to now have "popped" - it's no longer blood read and clear - there is a tear in the bubble and stringy black items are coming out. Is this a normal healing process? Should I move him to his own tank to heal and treat with Epson salt? I am still using Maracyn - Two and the ph was fine, but as you said, the ammonia was up... the water temp is 80. Thanks so much for your help! Victoria Barba < Move the Gourami to his own tank. If you see exterior signs of bacteria then I would recommend treating with Nitrofurazone. Internal bacterial infections with not visible signs of bacteria except the popped eye need to be treated with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

Upside Down Parrot Cichlid 7/7/05 I have 4 parrot fish in a 75 gallon tank. I have had the same fish for over 4 years with virtually no problems. Recently, one of the fish has started hanging upside down in the plants.  He still can right himself, swims around without difficulty, and eats well.  Other than the hanging upside down, there is nothing unusual.  At first I thought it was a swim bladder problem, or a problem from feeding at the surface, but it has not corrected itself.  The fish store told me that if he was eating, not to worry. Any suggestions? Thanks Brenda < If it is an internal bacterial problem then it needs to be treated with Metronidazole. Other than that it could just be intimidation from the other fish that has got him hiding.-Chuck>

Discoloration of Jellybean  07/02/05 Hi, I have recently purchased a pink Jellybean, from the Blood Red Parrot Cichlid family, <Mmm, not a family but a tweaked cross-breed of the cichlid family itself> these are the man made fish  as you probably know, and very expensive. I have had her for about 3 weeks now.  She is in a 5 gallon tank by herself. <Too small...> I have a whisper filter, colored gravel, a  fake plant, and one decoration. Lately she has been turning colors. First her lip had a black spot on it and now it is jumping around her body from place to  place with large and small areas that are gray and black in color. She acts  healthy and eats fine. I have asked the LFS where I bought her about this and  have searched the internet trying to find out what's wrong with her, but cannot  find anything. I did have my water tested and it is fine. <Need actual values... "fine" is of no use> Please let me know  what's wrong so I can get her treated as soon as possible.  Thanks. -  Stacy <Is this system cycled? This is a social dihybrid species... needs to be in a larger system... Bob Fenner>

Parrot Cichlid Swimming Strangely 6/31/05 I have a 4 year old red blooded parrot. I have purchased about 6 fish only because I have a 125 gallon aquarium and it was starting to look empty. I only have about 12 fish in there but for some reason the female parrot, the one that is 4 has started swimming upside down, she gets up anytime I get close to the aquarium and is eating normally, but hangs out at the bottom in a corner upside down. What is wrong with her, if anything? < Your parrot cichlid may have an internal bacterial infection. I would isolate her into a smaller tank and treat her with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Black patches on parrotfish... FW! Cichlids, poor svc. work 11/4/05 Hello Crew! Firstly, I wanted to let you know how wonderful your website is--it is a gem!  I work for a company that has a fish tank that is serviced by a local company on a monthly basis. They do a horrible job--I can't even tell you how many fish have died since I started working here a year ago. I would guess 50, at least. Unfortunately, no one who works here is a fish expert and we are sort of at the mercy of the company who does the monthly cleaning. <Fire them. Either take over the job in-house or hire a capable company>
 We just went through a horrible Ich problem and lost most of the fish in the tank, including a lovely parrot fish that everyone adored.  <This family (Scaridae) are not easily kept in captivity His mate survived the Ich, but she now has many black patches on her body, including a line that runs right down her back. They look like dirty smudges and they are not raised like blisters. <Likely "stress markings" When we called the cleaning company, the owner said that this is normal and happens to all fish on occasion. <... no... Fire them>
 Of course, since we are mere employees and not fish keepers ourselves, we cannot really argue with this supposed expert. Do you have any idea what this is? A fungus? <Evidence of poor care... toxic, incompatible environment, poor nutrition It is definitely getting worse each day and she is hardly moving around. There isn't a thermometer on the tank and we don't own any water-testing equipment so I can't tell you much about the tank except that it is a 55-gallon freshwater tank.  <Oooh... pardon me... a FW Parrot, as in the tweaked cichlid cross... even worse... these are very hard to kill... Some of us are very unhappy with this service but it is not our decision to hire a new company--this company was the cheapest in the area and that is who our higher-ups decided to go with. I am suggested many, many times that we have plastic fish instead of real ones, but management doesn't seem to care about our tank of death and insists on restocking when something goes wrong.  Any suggestions/ideas would be appreciated! We would hate to kill this parrotfish, too. Laura <Learn a bit (not hard to do) and do the maintenance yourself... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm.  Follow the blue/linked files through set-up, maintenance and all there is there on cichlids, the family including the Parrot. Bob Fenner 

Parrot Cichlids Stressed By High Nitrates  9/19.5/05 I had 2 parrots and a Pleco in a 30 gal. tall tank.  They were all about 5 inches long.  Unfortunately, I let the nitrates get too high!  The parrots started hovering around the bio-wheel filter like they couldn't breath and then sunk to the bottom of the tank. I started with an aggressive water change of about 40% to reduce the nitrates and the gravel was cleaned and filter changed.  Nitrites were non-existent, PH was good. The only problem seemed to be the nitrates.  The next day 1 of the parrots was dead and the nitrates were sky high again!  I did another water change and headed to my neighborhood aquarium and fish store.  They specialize in fish and their tanks and fish always look clean and healthy. Their answer was the nitrates removed the oxygen from the water.  They recommend not adding any meds for Ich or internal bacterial infection although parrots are prone to infection with bad water quality, because this too will remove oxygen from the water.  They recommend adding an aerator powerhead to add oxygen and also aquarium salt to help with the stress. Since then I have continued testing nitrates and making water changes and the tank seems to be stabilizing to 10 to 20 ppm in nitrates, but the parrot is still not eating, spends most of it's time on the bottom of the tank seeming to gasp for air, or perhaps just too weak to swim. It also seems to be showing slight signs of Ich.  The Pleco doesn't seem to have been effected by any of this. The tank is about 82 degrees (normal for this tank).  It's been about seven days since this all started and about 6 water changes later.  Will the parrot recover?  Could there be anything else wrong?  Have I done the right things, or can anything else be done?  When should I treat with meds for Ich or bacterial infections, if at all? Thank you, Angela < The 82 F will take care of the Ich. You parrots have been stressed by the high nitrates and probably have an internal bacterial infection. Keep the nitrates down and treat with Metronidazole for internal bacterial problems.-Chuck>  

Blood heart parrots, no useful info.  11/22/05 I have two of these beautiful blood "heart" parrot fish, a green Severum, and an iridescent shark in a 55 gallon tank. All of my water parameters look great, <Like the "war" in Iraq? Non-informational.> but just today I noticed that at the end of each top fin, on both the heart parrots, there are grayish/black patches. I wondered if you could tell me what this is and if I need to treat them, and if so, how? <No way to tell from here, with this lack of info.> The green Severum picks on them sometimes, but not much, could it be some sort of bruising? Thanks for your time.......Melody. <Umm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm re Set-up, Cichlid Systems... Bob Fenner> 

Re: blood heart parrots  11/24/05 Hi Bob,   Sorry about the previous lack of information. My 55 gallon tank has been up and running for about 3 months now. When I started it up, I used Bio Spira and added about 100 feeder Danios for 2 and a half months. I use a Penguin Bio-wheel, an air-stone and an underwater  heater. There are several plastic plants and gravel.  Ammonia is 0, Nitrates 0, nitrites 0, ph about 7.8.  I just added the green Severum and the heart parrots about 2 weeks ago, and the iridescent shark a few days ago. I feed them a combination of tetra flakes, frozen brine shrimp, and Hikari cichlid pellets (extra small). The grayish/black areas that I mentioned previously are on the top fin towards the back on both of my heart parrots. One is about the size of a pencil eraser, and on the other parrot the patch is a little larger. Neither area has any raised spots, and the heart parrots are eating just fine and acting normal.  My question was whether it could be some sort of bruising, or is it stress, injury, or a natural occurrence? Thanks in advance for your help......... Melody. <Thank you for the further information. I suspect the black markings are "just natural" here... not uncommon in this very hybridized cichlid cross. Not likely pathogenic (caused by a biological disease agent), and I would do nothing outright to try and "treat" them. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: blood heart parrots (III) - 11/24/2005 Thank you so much! I was really worried, as I have formed an attachment to these gorgeous creatures. I appreciate your rapid response!  -Melody. <Bob's out, so from me (Sabrina) and the rest of the WWM Crew, thank you for your kind words.>

Damaged Parrot Cichlid  - 04/19/2006 I have 3 medium sized parrots and 5 silver dollars in a 26 gallon tank.  My smallest parrot managed to wedge himself into a hole in a rock, and it took some effort to work him back out - his face and side are fairly scraped up, and he had to be handled a bit more than I'm comfortable with.  Now he can't seem to get upright, and is stuck upside down.  The other two parrots keep pushing him toward the top of the tank, but he ends up back at the bottom, upside down.  He is working his gills, fins and tail, but that doesn't seem to be doing much.  I'm in the middle of treating the tank for slime - using Furazone-light - but I don't think that would affect much.  I did a 30% water change 2 days ago.  The tank is a bit acidic at 6.0, nitrites are 0, nitrates are less than 20 ppm, and ammonia is less than 0.25 ppm, and I keep the temp at 82 degrees.  I'm afraid I may have damaged his swim bladder while rescuing him.  I'm not sure what   I should do at this point - any ideas? Deb Jones <Your fish could have been damaged during the initial trauma or has suffered a secondary bacterial infection. Not much we can do with the initial trauma. Surface wounds can be treated quickly with MelaFix. If any secondary bacterial infections or fungus appear then you have already treated with Nitrofurazone. Internal bacterial infection can be treated with Metronidazole. Do a 50% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Treat as directed on the package.-Chuck>

Parrot Cichlids With Hole-In-The-Head - 2/28/2006 HELP. About two months ago My 2 parrots who are around 2.5 years old - we had them from babies, started to develop fungus type 'sores' on their head (no where else, and none of my other Cichlids have this problem) then it disappeared only to return again and now I need help. I treated them for Velvet, Fungus, Hole in the head etc., to no avail. Although my water qualities etc., were fine, water temp was tried at between 24-28 (this was double checked by Maidenhead Aquatics) I changed to the fish shops own water in the hope it would make a difference - it didn't. I have not added any new fish, gravel, plants etc., Food is still the same dried in morning and frozen in evening (Krill, bloodworms, Mysis, Green food, Artemia etc). I do a water change every week, (sucking up all pop from gravel in process) I have tried to do it daily, every other day, weekly and even longer - no difference. The last month 'his' sore has got bigger and does not seem to be responding to anything. He is eating well and his stools are normal. For the last month, 'he' has started to hang round the top of the tank as if trying to get more oxygen, rapid gill movement (compared to the other parrot) and generally looking off colour doesn't really want to move, and when he dose it looks like he hasn't got full balance, although he eats well, and moves fast and straight into the caves when startled. The other parrot I am sure knows something isn't right as she is hanging below him instead of her usual haunt the caves. I have a 5' tank and an external Fluval 404 pump. I am an experienced Cichlid keeper but was given these fish from my son, they are magnificent and very clever and cunning. I have no trouble between my fish what's so ever, if anything the parrots rule the tank, or at least did. I have photos of his head if it will help anyone to help me. My local fish shop said that as they are a hybrid fish, they are not as healthy and tolerant to changes as the normal cichlid and that they don't know much about them as they don't and never will stock these fish. < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. The drug of choice is Metronidazole, but you need to get it inside the fish. Take some live Calif black worms or Tubifex and wash them very well. Place them in a disposable plastic cup or bowl. Drain off most of the water. Add Metronidazole to the worms. It should kill the worms. Immediately feed them to your affected fish. You know it is working when the pits turn black. This disease is thought to be caused by stress. Things like dirty water or a lack of minerals/ vitamins have also been thought of as a cause. If the fish are not eating then treat the water . It may help but will not be as effective as getting the medication inside the fish.-Chuck>
Hole-In-The-Head Cichlid Photos  - 3/1/2006 Thanks for this advise, did you see the second email I sent to you from home last night with photos on this fishes head - showing this complaint?  It may help, also do you think it is Hole in the Head or Fungus etc????  Many thanks  Sheena Jolliffe < We got the photos and the reply is still the same. They are posted on the site.-Chuck>

Parrot Cichlid With Throat/Mouth Problem  - 01/12/2006 I am Desperate to save my 9" Parrot Fish. Few chat forums have had any idea of diagnoses. I'm left unanswered by others because of my "hybrid." Please help me save my best friend. I'll describe then detail. The visible problem is his mouth. The first week it just appeared 'swollen.' No sign of fungus or Columnaris. Just what looked like a tumor growing inside his lower lip, swelling the outer lip, and making it hard to eat. He (even now) is Always hungry. A forum suggested a med so I treated the first 4 days with Maracyn (along with water changes) and it only got worse. By worse I mean, at the end of the first week he only had a pinhole left in his mouth that food could get through. Smaller lumps formed on top of the larger one. I couldn't see any fuzziness. As you can see in the pics, there is also a small red dot on the outside of his lip. They were a little pink/reddish in color. (he is dark orange) His fins are lightly frayed by his gills. The dorsal and tail are healthy. I had posted his pictures on numerous forums and no one had a clue. My local LFS gave me Furan-2 meds and SUCCESS! Along with half dosage of Mela-fix and decreased temp to 75F he got better. For a full 5 days the lump went down, and he was able to eat efficiently but the lump had not completely gone away. So last night (now two weeks with mouth problem) I increased the temp back up to 78F but still issued Furan-2 and Melafix as usual. I figured he was getting better and didn't want to subject his tankmates to anymore cool waters. He was fine this morning. I come home from work, and its Worse Than Ever. Not only is his lumpy lump almost full size again, but he has a red pimple in the middle of his lower lip that looks like it could pop any second. He also has stringy hairs on the outside and inside of his mouth. Coloration and rest of body look fine. My water conditions as of today are; Nitrites 0, Nitrates 20ppm, ammonia 0, pH 6.8, water - a little hard, temp 78F (was 75F), The tank is 55 gal. - other tankmates 1:pictus cat, 1:pleco, 1:butterfly ram, 1:gourami, 1:babyparrotfish All the fish get fed a variety of pellets, dried krill, vegetable flakes, and tropical crisps. The photos are from before he grew the pimple and fuzzy hairs. I have yet to photograph his new 'state'. Please let me know if I'm leaving any info out and PLEASE... if you have any idea... help me save my fish =(-Jessica < Sometimes fish try to eat things that they are not good for them. I suspect that your parrot cichlid has an obstruction in his throat. As he tries to expel it , the movement of the obstruction has damaged the tissue in the area and it got infected and swollen. You treated the infection and the swelling went down. Now the fish tried to expel it again and has started things all over again and is swollen, maybe reinfected. remove the fish from the water with a wet towel and try and look down the throat to see if there is an obstruction. Usually it is a piece of plastic plant, a filter part or an odd shaped piece of gravel. If you do not see anything then it could be a broken pharyngeal bone. This is a second set of jaws that cichlids use to chew their food. Sometimes this gets broken from pellets that are too hard to chew. I would recommend that you presoak the fish food to soften it up.-Chuck>


Parrot Cichlid Problem II   1/13/06 That you so much for the quick response. I just wanted to add a quick update. The night I wrote that entry, I stopped administering meds and decreased the temp back down to 75F without my usual 2-day 15% water change. I figured, the only thing I did different before he got worse was increase the temp. And I'm tired of medicated my other healthy fish. The very next day... Swelling went down and the red pimple is gone! He still has a swollen lump and outer lip, but only about 40% of the previous days size. I was shocked! Not that he's totally better, but it gave me much more hope. Do you think the temp decrease had anything to do with the infection (fuzziness/red pimple) he had? < I think the temperature reduction has lowered the fishes activity level and it hasn't worsened the condition by trying to eat.> I also want to check his throat out but this is the largest fish I've ever owned and I don't want to damage his slime coat, fins or scales by mis-handling. I hear of many people handling cichlids when things get stuck in their mouths. I just want to know the proper and safest way to do it. You mentioned a wet towel. Any more tips to make sure I handle him with care? < Take a shallow pan and fill it about half full with aquarium water. Place a towel inside the pan to absorb the aquarium water. Take the fish out of the aquarium and place him on the wet towel. Wrap the fish in the wet towel with just his head exposed. Now that the fish is in control you can gently pry the mouth open to see if there is any problems.> One more thing. If it is something like a broken pharyngeal bone, does this ever heal? Or will I have to deal (which I would cuz I love him) with his lump and random infections forever? Thanks a million. You guys/gals must save a lot of fish. YOU'RE HEROS! < The bone may heal over time with a long term feeding program of soft mush foods.-Chuck> I have a parrot approx 5-6 inches in length - about 18 mths old Need More Info  5/11/07 <Hi, Jeni/Pufferpunk here> I have a parrot approx 5-6 inches in length - about 18 mths old <Freshwater, marine or avian?>    He started with bubble fuzz on the body and has swollen red gills and sitting on the bottom not eating and his mouth is not open much having trouble breathing.  The local pet store gave me tetracycline and it seems to be getting worse - any ideas? <Please post water parameters: ammonia, nitrites, nitrate, pH.  What is your water change schedule (how often, how much)?  How large is the tank/fish?  Any tank mates?  There is no way we can help you without this info.  Most problems are due to poor water conditions.  Healthy tank=healthy fish.  ~PP>

Parrot Cichlids With Rough Scales   5/10/07 Hi, Please help if you can. I have a 7 blood parrot fishes, and have included photographs. Please do not mind the dirty glass.. :-) But I am currently having a slight issue that I hope you can help me answer. I'm looking at the scales of my fish, and am trying to remember if they had smoother scales before.  I have had a run in with dropsy in my other tanks here about a year ago, and unfortunately, lost  a few dozen guppies and Betta fish. And noticeably, they all ended up "pine coning" , and hope that this is not the case for my much more larger and treasured fish. But nevertheless, here is my dilemma, and was wondering if you guys can see if theses scales look a bit off, for blood parrot fishes, and if you have any advice I can use to help save them if they are indeed, not right.. Any help, so much appreciated. Thanks Kee. < I looked at your photos carefully and could not tell if the scales were any rougher than on a standard parrot cichlid. Usually with bloat or dropsy the fish stop eating and the stomach extends. If your fish are eating normally then I think they probably fine.-Chuck>
Missing scales and hurting front fin -12/14/07 Hi to all, Your website is the most informative website on fish that I have come across so far. I went through your fresh water disease chart and tried to diagnose what it happening with our fish but I cant find anything that fully matches what's happening. I have attached the best picture I could get of the fish. <A very nice pic> I know that you are not fond of parrotfish, but the ones that we have we rescued from my cousin without really knowing about the fish itself. Anyways, our largest parrot that we have had for a year has in the last three days been losing it's scales around it's gills and its not using it's left front fin and the fin has a whitish look to the base of it (lymph?) <Mmm, no> His gills seem to be curling backwards towards it mouth a little and the fin that he is not using is becoming frayed. Also its going lighter colored in some areas, kind of randomly on the fish. The spots in the picture are air bubbles that seem to be attaching themselves to him. At the beginning we thought that it was Ick because we thought that we saw a few little white spots on the other parrots but those spots are gone and everyone else in the tank seems fine. Its a 72gal sumped to a extra 20 gal. below. The water is meticulously tested and it has been up and running for a year. It has 2 404 Fluvals w/o carbon, but with filter media and bioballs in them. There are 3 parrots 2x2.5' 1x4', 5 albino Cory cats, 2 Plecos, 1 striped cat, 5 upside down cats, and 6 little tetras. <Surprised these haven't been consumed> The LFS that we went to suggested to treat the tank with CopperSafe thinking it was Ick, <No, I would NOT do this> but it's getting worse and doesn't seem to sound like true Ick. The temperature is 79, the PH is 7.2 and the nitrates, nitrites and ammonia all come back low to none. The parrots get fed, Spirulina algae flake and blood parrot pellets and blood worms, we mix up what they get fed so they get a few variations. They get fed every second day. Please let us know what to do with our parrot, he's so friendly he's like a dog in the tank and I would be very upset if we cant get him to be better. Thanks for all your help! Carly <Is strange... but this one fish does appear to be suffering from a "bacterial" complaint... as if it were badly damaged... like caught, dropped on the floor... Was this fish recently handled, netted? And with the other fishes not suffering similar complaint... I would just do my/your best to maintain good water quality here... and hope for the best. Remedies will likely do more harm to the system, livestock en toto, than good. IF you have/had another system, I might attempt a therapy with sulfa drugs and elevated temperature, but would NOT do this in your main display. Bob Fenner>

Re: missing scales and hurting front fin -12/14/07 Thanks for your time, he hasn't been handled at all since he moved into the tank a year ago. We did remove the plant that the Plecos and catfish use to hide in last weekend it wasn't doing so well and they have taken over the parrot's cave now. Is there a possibility that they have been attaching to him and eating his slime coat, causing a infection? <Not likely the "Pleco"... but what is the other catfish, specifically?> I have heard of this happening but I haven't seen this behaviour in our tank, at least with the lights on and out in the open. It is on both sides of him in the same place though, but his left side is definitely worse and involves his front fin. His tummy seems to be sloughing off what looks like peeling dry skin. (I only observed this after we trapped him and separated him in the tank.) <I am going to semi-reverse myself, and urge you to treat this Parrot... in another established setting... at higher temperature (the low to mid 80's F) and with a Furan compound. Perhaps Nitrofurazone... Please see WWM re cautionary remarks, instructions for use. BobF>

Re: missing scales and hurting front fin, Parrot   12/18/07 Hi Bob F, Sorry about the repetitive email but every time I come home the poor guy looks worse. The cat fish are the upside down catfish (I don't know if that's their technical name) and albino Cory cats. <This Synodontis and the Corydoras catfishes are not provocateurs here> Please see the new attached picture, the shedding skin seems to be heading down his back. My husband treated the main tank (AHH) with erythromycin while I was at work, which I didn't know he was doing, will that be as effective as your suggestion of Nitrofurazone or should we change to that? <I would change> and is it okay to after we already added the EM? <I would do water changes, allow some time to cycle out, use activated carbon in your filter flow path...> Thank you for all your helpful advice, sorry it didn't get to me before I got home. Thanks Carly <Please see/read on WWM re antibiotic/antimicrobial use. BobF>

Re: missing scales and hurting front fin  12/19/07 Bob, Unfortunately we had to put him down on Saturday, it got really aggressively worse and he wasn't able to stay under water without lying on his side and gasping :( Thanks for all your help anyways! Carly <Thank you for this follow up Carly. Bob Fenner>

Red Parrot 'swim bladder' disease 4/9/08 Help <Okay> 2 years ago we inherited a small 50 litre tank <Some teen net gallons...> with a basic filter and 2 red parrots and 2 Plecs <... all need more room than this> which our friends have had for years with very few problems. After a year of huge growth they soon out-grew their tank so we purchased a much larger 240 litre tank with a 'proper' external filter and medium which they seemed to prefer and more recently added another 2 red parrots and a Gold Severum <Ahh!> 2 months later we noticed smaller of the original red parrots (around 6" in length) became unstable and having read up on the 'swim bladder' condition we gave her a course of treatment. <Details please. What sort of treatment?> This seemed to work but after another couple of weeks the same thing was happening again. Since then we have treated the water 3 times and done countless extra water changes and tested the water every few days but to no avail. The red parrot now spends most of her time floating upside-down, is always last to the food at feeding times and constantly struggles to maintain her balance but we seem to have tried every suggestion given to us Do you have any ideas on what else we can try as we sometimes feel that our only option would be to put her out of her misery but then can't bring ourselves to do it Mark & Sam Hewson <Mmm, well... Parrots, being neotropical crosses as they are, do have a tendency to have orientation issues... Particularly if raised on too-fatty foods, w/ insufficient exercise/room... Do please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm  Though for goldfish... this same "condition/syndrome" has the same etiology and general lack of cure for Parrots. Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Parrot 'swim bladder' disease -04/11/08 Hi Bob <Mark and Sam> Many thanks for getting back to us, we do appreciate it <Welcome> We are certainly going to try putting some 'real' plants in the tank - something we were told not to do since the fish will just destroy them but if it helps with their health then we don't mind <There are some simple, tough... and inexpensive "bunch plants" (listed on WWM) that are not very palatable, that will "do" all the things you're looking for... See here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/AquariumGardenSubWebIndex.html for Coontail/Hornwort, Elodea/Anacharis...> We will also try the peas, etc and I had read on your website that other people with similar problems had found that lowering the water temperature slightly can sometimes help - this is something I did the other evening after I e-mailed you and over the past 2 days she seems to be moving around a lot better, albeit upside down, but she has stopped spending so much time floating at the top of the tank <Ah, good> The treatment that we used for the suspected swim bladder problems was Interpet's own swim bladder treatment which we tried 3 times with no success as well as adding Aquilibrium Salt at the times of treatment and at every water change as a general tonic <... not a fan of these cathartics> I will keep you posted as to what happens with 'Perky' and let you know if she gets any 'Perkier' Mark & Sam Hewson <Thank you, BobF>

Re: Red Parrot 'swim bladder' disease  4/17/08 Hi Bob <Hewsons!> With reference to our last e-mail about 'Perky' our upside-down Red Parrot fish, despite seeming to be getting better she died the very next day after the e-mail but we have carried on feeding the fish a variety of different foods, flake, bloodworm and the veggies and they seem to be ok Will check out the website for the real plants Many thanks for all your help Mark & Sam Hewson <Thank you for this update. BobF>

Parrotfish Dying? Env., thermal dis.  -- 02/07/08 Please help me to figure out whether or not I need to put this incredible, tough little fish to "sleep" or not........ <Okay> I've had this parrotfish, Marvel Ann, for over ten years now. <This is a good long while for this neotropical cichlid cross...> She has grown over five times her original length and is now about eight inches from nose to tail. She's always been a feisty, funny fish and for anyone who hasn't ever had a fish who rushes to the nearest corner of the tank to greet you when you come in, I hope you one day experience that! This little girl has been one of the most personality-plus animals I've ever seen and I'm afraid I'm going to have to euthanize her out of compassion for her.............. I moved recently from a rental situation in which I was living in a friend's "mother-in-law" suite in the back of his house to my own, new house. My friend/landlord offered to feed Marvel Ann for me while I was in the process of getting the new house painted and ready to bring the tank over and situation and I was over at the old place about once or twice a week for the last month to visit and remind Marvel Ann that she wasn't being orphaned! I arrived last night at the old apartment and found that the heater in the tank was HOT...the tank thermometer was registering about 93 degrees!!! It looked like the heater had malfunctioned and just didn't turn off when it hit the 80 degree "set" I'd had it on; the holders that keep it attached to the inside of the tank had actually cracked and broken!!! My baby was and is now swimming almost exclusively upside-down. She is unable to maintain an upright position to swim, though God knows she seems to be staying energetic enough that she keeps trying.... she'll swim along (upside down) and then go nose-to-gravel and sort of "flip" over, only to float back to the upside-down position. I totally freaked. I don't know how bad this is and I don't know if I'm being cruel to not euthanize her!!! <I would not give up hope here> I know that my landlord has been feeding her (frozen bloodworm "gumdrops"...4 per day) as I'd always done, so malnutrition isn't the problem, and I brought a sample of the tank water to the local PetSmart and they said everything looked fine; Ph was a little low but that was all; no nitrate/nitrite/ammonia levels to worry about. I put plastic bags with ice cubes in the tank and cooled the water back down and got another heater ASAP (like an hour after I found the temperature so high!) but I'm terrified that she's been "cooking" over some indefinite amount of time and that she's either in "pain" (how do I find this out?) or that her internal organs are now non-functional...I can't imagine what to do or how to remedy this.....please! HELP! Two different aquarium stores have told me that they doubt she's going to "make it" and when I asked if I needed to euthanize her, they said yes, I probably would need to. <I disagree> One said that the most painless way was to put her in a bag of tank water and put the bag in the refrigerator and she'd "drop off" like she was falling asleep. The other said to put her in a bag of tank water that had a LOT of baking soda in it. They said this will instantly kill the fish. <Mmm, no... not instant> I am heartbroken. This fish has been with me for so long and responds to "contact" better than some peoples' cats! I don't want to lose her, but I don't want her to suffer, either. I can't imagine whether this swimming upside-down thing is as exhaustive as it looks or if it's just situation-normal-all-f'd-up (but upside down!)...I put some bloodworm mix in a turkey baster and she ate when I put that in the water up to her mouth, but I'm pretty frantic right now.....NO idea what direction to turn next!!!! <Calm yourself!> Thank you, for your help and for understanding that this isn't "just" a fish, at least not to me. It's a life, one that's touched mine, and I want the most comfortable and humane living and/or dying circumstances for her, just as I would want for myself. Thank you for helping me figure out what that needs to be!!! Monica in Dallas, Texas (United States) <I would try to be patient here... this fish, situation may well resolve itself. There are many instances of such spontaneous remission, following such heat exposure. I urge patience. IF you find that you (not the fish) cannot withstand such waiting, please read here re proper euthanization: http://wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Parrotfish Dying?   2/8/08 Bob! <Monica> Thank you so much for this email. I have been unsure what to do (as is obvious!) and Marvel Ann is still swimming upside down, but she "rests" most of the time in the corner of her tank until she senses movement close to the tank. <Good> Then she gets excited and wriggles her way up to where that activity is (usually it's me just approaching the tank!) and waits, fins frantically keeping her "up", while I put my face or my hand next to her on the other side of the glass. She responds when I "kiss" the tank by coming up and putting her funny little fish lips right on the other side! I don't know, maybe other people have fallen in love with their fish, too, but I've had many, many pet friends along the way (I'm 48, for God's sake, I know this isn't typical adult behavior and I really don't give a happy damn!) and this little fish has given me more joy than a lot of people's precious human kids seem to!!! <I am older... and feel the same> I talked to a vet here who said to feed her just frozen peas; that if there was an infection that had caused the swim bladder to not function properly then the peas would help that out, but she's spitting the peas out (OK, she may be more like a human kid than I'd realized!) and mashing them up yields a lumpy sort of paste that she doesn't seem to take in, either..... <Patience...> so I'm back to giving her bloodworms from a turkey baster. I just don't know how much is getting in or "through" her. I'm not seeing anything coming out, I guess I should say. Is that something to be worried about? <Not at present. This fish can likely "go w/o" food for weeks...> I can't say as I've spent any time before observing her elimination functions and now I don't know what's "normal" to see and what's not. I don't want her to be hungry and I don't want her to be getting force-fed until she pops, either! This is SO unnerving. People are saying to wait and one person said she's seen a restaurant with a tank full of parrotfish where one fish has swum upside-down for years. If Marvel Ann were swimming a lot, upside down or otherwise, I'd be more encouraged, but she's only swimming much when (as I say) she sees me approaching and even then when she stops, she just kind of sinks down to the bottom and bumps her nose and eyes, etc..... I have no idea how much this hurts her, if at all. More than anything I don't want her to be hurting or exhausted. <Not to worry> I know this is near to impossible to do anything about, but thank you for listening, Bob, and for understanding how much these little guys can come to mean to people. I do (really!) have friends on two legs that I love greatly, too, but........there's just something about having to make yourself learn to understand these non-verbal (though not always non-noisy!), communicative critters that softens the heart and makes (I think) us more human. I am calming myself, as you said. Thanks for caring about unknown people and critters and for helping us out. Take care and have a good day, Monica <And you. Bob Fenner>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: