Jelly-Bean... Cichlids, Disease/Health 6
FAQs on Parrot Disease:
Cichlid Health 1, Parrot
Cichlid Disease 2,
Parrot Cichlid Disease
3, Parrot Cichlid
Disease 4, Parrot Cichlid Disease 5,
Parrot Cichlid Disease 7,
Parrot Cichlid Disease 8,
FAQs on Parrot Cichlid Disease by Category:
Nutritional (e.g. HLLE),
Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...),
Blood Parrots & Flowerhorn
Cichlids: maintenance and healthcare of two popular hybrid
by Neale Monks,
Dwarf South American Cichlids,
Cichlid Fishes in General,
Identification, Parrot Cichlid
Behavior, Parrot Cichlid
Compatibility, Parrot Cichlid
Selection, Parrot Cichlid
Systems, Parrot Cichlid
Feeding, Parrot Cichlid
Another constipated Blood Parrot?
Hello Crew! OMG-I’m sorry this is so long.
<When it comes to sick fish, we're kind of used to it!>
I am getting more and more worried about my female Blood parrot.
Here’s the background. My husband (good intentionally) grossly
over fed my fish (for likely a month). I have a four
year old pair of Blood Parrots and a 11 year old Pleco in a 47 gallon
pie/bow front tank with an Eheim 2215-temp 80.My male is a very
large boy(slightly larger than my hand) and the female 2/3 his size. I
had employed a lackadaisical approach to tank housekeeping but until the
over feeding, there had never had an (obvious) problem .The parrots
appeared energetic, dark orange and healthy. I have always judged their
health and happiness by their color as when there is a problem they
become quite pale. I was feeding them Omega One cichlid pellets
(alternating on occasion with thawed frozen peas). I had always soaked
and dropped in 1 pellet at a time to encouraged quicker and cleaner
eating habits (and I just like to interact with them). My female had a
HUGE appetite easily eating twice that of the male if allowed.
The over feeding /polluted water was noticed at the end of May,(I guess
he was just tossing a bunch in- I DID NOT KNOW HE WAS DOING THIS!). It
was my female’s reaction to the water that alerted me that something was
amiss. I did a massive water change, dropped and broke my filter,
ordered a new online and added an air pump to tank. It took a week to
get the filter and set it up. My female looked great, my male took about
7 days to “orange up again”.
For the past four days my female has been pale and her belly does look a
bit plump- but I honestly can’t say if her belly size has changed- just
that it looks more round than the male. From what I have read on your
wonderful site- I believe she constipated. Yesterday she did spend the
day almost entirely dark orange and I thought we were through the worst
of it. But came home from work at midnight and she had paled again.
Since paling 4 days ago, I have only been feeding her par boiled peas
and Nori seaweed (in fact that is all she will accept). She acts
basically normal- but much less of an appetite. She energetically comes
for food but goes to back of tank to eat her peas and is a while before
she comes back looking for more. The male is completely normal, color,
activity, and hunger.
Since the polluted water business I have been much more
attentive to the water quality. I keep the pH around the 7.0
level with a bit of baking soda as needed and have vacuumed and water
changed since she paled to ensure the water was not the problem. I tried
to purchase a nitrate test kit form the local pet store but was shamed
out of it “you don’t need that for fresh water” I did order it on line-
but it won’t be in for another day or so.
<Not the most helpful aquarium shop, but broadly, if you've got a
lightly to medium stocked tank with standard community fish (tetras and
whatnot) and do regular water changes, then yes, nitrate is something
you probably don't have to worry about. Cichlids, unfortunately, are
sensitive to nitrate, which makes a nitrate test kit more useful.>
I have read on your site to add Epsom salts, but am horrified that I
will add the wrong kind or too much or that all the changes will add
increased adjustment issues for her. Should I just use regular Epsom
salts from my local pharmacy or is there a different kind? I added about
4 tbl “API aquarium salt “ but water changed ½ out and am now nervous to
<Epsom Salt, used correctly, is not dangerous. Pharmacy
grade stuff should be excellent. The Epsom Salt section is towards the
end of this article:
Follow the links to examples of situations where Epsom Salt has been
Please advise- the longer this goes on the more worried I become. I am
starting to worry that she has a bacterial gut infection that has just
been brewing since the horrid water.
<The problem for you is that Hexamita is another threat to cichlids, and
often triggered into a flare-up by high nitrate levels. Some argue
Hexamita lurks in all cichlids, but provided they're not stressed, it's
not an issue. Don't know if this is true, but certainly keep an eye for
things like lack of appetite, lack of colour, and especially white
stringy faeces and the development of pits on the lateral line around
the head and on the flanks.>
Also- I have never seen these fish poop. Ever- and I watch them all the
time. The Pleco poops like a pro… but these parrots must do their
business after lights out.
<In good shape, cichlid faeces are small pellets, easily missed,
particularly if fed high protein, low fibre foods. Plecs, being bulk
feeders, do indeed produce huge volumes of faeces because they're
shoveling down a bunch of inedible stuff (such as wood and cellulose)
alongside the stuff they actually digest. It's like comparing cats with
cows; cats produce small quantities of waste because what they eat is
mostly digestible; cows, on the other hand, take in a lot of poor
quality foodstuff in the form of cellulose, so produce a heck of a lot
more solid waste.>
Someone on your site referred to their Blood parrots as “water dogs” and
that IS exactly how they seem to me… my water dogs. I just completely
adore them. I am in deepest appreciation for any advice. Gratefully
yours, Lisa W
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re constipated/bloated Blood Parrot
Neale, thank you for such a quick response!
My Blood Parrot remains unchanged. Continues to be pale, hangs out at the
surface by the heater, eats (peas and nori seaweed) but much less appetite than
norm, continues to interact with other BP but only in bursts.
Regarding poops- I would be able to discount seeing longer white strings
I see from the link you shared that I can safely add Epsom salt 1-3 tsp /5
gallons depending on severity.
I added 8 tsp for my 47 , not filled to the top, gallons. In the event that I am
actually dealing with this "Hexamita" what course of action do you recommend?
<Oh, do read on WWM re: Hexamita and cichlids; you'll find many instances of
this particular problem. Let me start you, here:
Follow the links for more.>
My local shop talked me into an API product "General Cure" which is combo
Metronidazole 250mg and Praziquantel 75mg.
<This should do the trick! Praziquantel is a de-wormer. This particular product
is not one I've used; the folks at WWM tend to recommend a Metronidazole plus
antibiotic (Nitrofurans in particular) for best results.
But if the API product is handy, then I'd be happy using it.>
I have not administered ( was waiting for your response!)
Thank you Thank you Thank you ~warmest regards, Lisa-
<Good luck! Neale.>
ongoing Blood Parrot issue 7/7/17
Thank you for your previous information regarding my constipated and/or Hexamita
4 year old Blood Parrot. I have done what was advised. I've added Epsom salts(16
tsp for 47 gallons), have been feeding only par boiled peas,
Nori seaweed, and kelp pellets.(she has had a poor appetite) I also completed 2
dose tank treatment with API "General Cure" ( Metronidazole and Praziquantel-
add treatment wait 48hrs add second treatment wait 48hrs
do water change25%) on Sunday 7/2(day of second treatment). My fish appeared
much better by 7/3 - she regained all color, was active, and came for food. On
Wednesday 7/5, she has started to pale again in spots and is
hiding. She will eat a pea if it is dropped directly in front of her, but
otherwise very uninterested.
<Some fish will go for them quickly; others take a while. Starvation will help a
bit here -- feel free to not feed for 1-2 weeks. No harm will be done. Remove
uneaten food promptly, and fish generally get the hint that what's offered is
dinner, and they can't be picky! Failing that, live brine shrimp and daphnia
both have a laxative effect. Not the freeze-dried versions though! Maybe not so
useful as peas, but both are more readily taken by fish that refuse peas.>
What do I do now? Her water is: pH 7.5, 80 degrees, nitrate around 20%. 47
gallons with another BP and an 11 year old Plec.
I have ordered more API general cure as well as Furan2 (which contains
Nitrofurazone) from Amazon and should have in 2 days. Should I retreat???
<I would wait 7 days to see if the medicine you've used has had any effect, plus
the Epsom salt/laxatives. If there's no sign of recovery after a week or so,
then by all means re-medicate.>
Your help has been invaluable. Had she been a dog she would have been back to
the vet's three times by now, but being a fish, I just sit and watch- not
knowing what to do. I am in deepest appreciation of your continued assistance.
<You are most welcome. Treating fish can be difficult, and being smaller
animals, it's often "too late" by the time you see something amiss.>
<Good luck! Neale.>
Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness
I'm so sorry to be taking up so much of your time, as this is now my forth
correspondence to you. To recap- I have a 47 gallon wedge tank inhabited by 2
(4year old) blood parrots and a Pleco(11 years old)on 5/25/17 became aware of
over fed polluted tank- broke filter while cleaning, waited week for new filter
<An effective and reliable if old-school unit.>
In the beginning male BP showed more stress than female until around 6/19 and
then female became pale , hanging by heater and poor appetite. Male now fine,
with no further issue. Pleco fine.
<Good and good.>
I have been keeping the water with Nitrate at or below 20%, pH 6.5-7.5
<Sounds fine, but would make the observation that pH 6.5-7.5 is an odd range,
slipping between acid and alkaline. Parrot Cichlids, being Central American in
origin, are best kept in medium hard, slightly alkaline water.>
6/29/17(per your advise) added 16 tsp Epsom salt and I treated tank with" API-
General Cure"(Metronidazole 250mg and Praziquantel 75mg) which is a 2 dose
product -treat wait 48 hr, 2nd treat wait 48 hrs, do 25% water change. I
replaced nearly 50% of water and I replaced 8 tsp of Epsom salts at that time.
7/3/17- my female BP appeared much better dark orange color returned and was
until 7/5 when she went pale again. Now no appetite (she will catch a skinless
par boiled pea, chew for a few then spit out. I have been removing uneaten food
<Indeed, remove food, then wait and see. Is the female isolated from the male?
If not, if they're together, what are their interactions like? Cichlids aren't
'nice' animals, and will sometimes bully weakened specimens.>
7/9/17- I began second round of API General Cure (waited a week between last
treatment per your advise)
7/13/17-today- I did an almost 50% water change. My water, before change, was;
nitrate <20% and pH 6.5 water temp 82. My water following change- nitrate
between 5-10% and pH 7.0 .
<Do feel the water is a bit too warm, and a bit too acidic. I would aim
to optimise -- use sodium bicarbonate to raise the pH and hardness (around 7.5
is an ideal pH) using a dosage of maybe 0.5 teaspoons per 5 US gallons.
Experiment with buckets of water, and once you get something useful, do
this for all new water changes. And yes, Epsom salt and sodium bicarbonate can
be used together -- the first affects general hardness, the second affects
What now? As you can see from photo- she is still pale, still hovers by heater,
still with no appetite, but will swim to greet me at front of
tank(occasionally)and will still harass the Pleco occasionally( she is not
completely with out energy). Since I changed nearly half of water, how much
Epsom salt should I replace(if any)?
<Replace added minerals pro rata -- per 5 gallons/20 litres, up to 1 teaspoon
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and up to 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium
sulfate). So if your bucket contains 2.5 US gallons, then add up to 0.5 tsp
sodium bicarb., and up to 0.5 tbsp Epsom salt, to that bucket of water. These
minerals aren't 'used up' in any meaningful way, so you don't re-dose for the
whole tank. Just the bucket or buckets of new water being added!>
What I see when I look at her is a pale fish with a slightly rounded
abdomen(compared to male). Abdomen appears firm. Scales appear smooth. I do not
see any visible fin, scale, or gill issues. I do not see white stringy poop- I
do not see poop of any sort-and I have been watching. Well, I did see her
pooping following the original application of Epsom salts(6/29/17) but none
Should I now treat with" API Furan 2"(Nitrofurazone 85mg)- If I do, will this
product negatively impact my filter bacteria?
<It shouldn't do, but keep an eye on ammonia or nitrite levels, whichever test
kit you have.>
Additional, not sure if this has any relevance but these BPs are a pair and up
until this began routinely, about monthly, laid egg clutches( cleaned up nicely
I know how difficult it must be to diagnosis and treat a fish by the information
presented in writing . Please let me know if I can provide any more data or
photos to assist you.
I am ,as always , so very grateful of your efforts. Thank you. ❤
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness (RMF, any last-ditch ideas?)
I realize my Blood parrot is going to die, but I am in agony watching it.
<Understood, and I sympathise with your situation.>
She BP is still alive and still relatively active (considering). She looks
like she is working harder to breath than the healthy male, gills opening
wider and faster. She is still pale, still refusing food, still bloated but
still with smooth scales. She usually just hangs out by the heater. My water
perimeters are spot on. To answer your question about aggression from other
BP- he occasionally hassles her- but it is infrequent. I scooped her up (
very surprised at how "spiny" her fins are!)
<Oh, yes; a major defence that cichlids have against their predators.>
her bloated abdomen is firm ( I was very gentle )
<Does sound like Dropsy; can you medicate with an antibiotic? Ideally,
antibiotic food, as that's the best way to deliver such medicine into
aquarium fishes. Various commercial products of this type available in the
USA. Most other places, a vet will need to help.>
I don't understand why a couple of weeks ago she returned to normal color
and activity and even ate with vigor.
<Nor I. The problem with diagnosing sick fish via the internet, or even as
an aquarist, is that real diagnosis is done using tissue samples and
microscopy. What we're attempting here is what a GP would achieve if you
were sick, but only able to give symptoms over the telephone. Better than
nothing, sure, but still approximations based on experience and the law of
averages. So while we're pretty good much of the time, there will be
situations where a fish doesn't suffer from "the usual suspects" and our
best guess approach isn't going to help.>
Now she might be over by front of tank and when I feed the other BP she
swims away -over to heater .
<Sometimes sick fish will seek out warmer water; comparable to running a
fever in cold-blooded animals. Presumably stresses the metabolism of their
pathogens, as fevers do for us, hoping their own enzymes and cellular
processes are able to tolerate high temperatures better.>
I was wondering if since fish don't swallow the tank water which can be
treated, and since she is not eating, could I make up a solution of
Nitrofurazone 85 mg per packet and syringe it into her mouth.
<Nope. Adding antibiotic to the water will be taken up via the gills, and in
any event, in freshwater situations, fish are continually soaking in water
from their environment because their tissues are more 'salty' than the
surrounding water. Their bodies aren't watertight (like ours are) so
anything in their environment will, by definition, diffuse into their
tissues if it can. That said, this approach is very rough and ready, which
is why vets prefer to administer antibiotics in known concentrations via
foods or, exceptionally, injections. Aquarists lack the skill and tools for
the later, and the former isn't always an option if the fish is not eating,
hence we fall back on the adding medicines to the water approach instead.>
The problem with this idea is that I have no idea what ration of sterile
water to powder I should use. The packets directions state 1 envelope per 10
gallons. The product I have available its "API- Furan-2". It is designed to
treat a tank.
<I would always (unless you're a vet) recommend you go with the
Is there anything to be done? To refresh your memory this all began with an
overfed-polluted tank (the pollution was event rather than a "life style"-
though they lived with nitrates higher than 20% previously-I water changed
and fed cautiously) I'm sorry to keep taking up your time.
<Not a problem.>
<Good luck, Neale. Will appeal to RMF for his insight, if any.>
<<The Furan compound is what I would use (25 mg/gal, change half the water,
retreat every three days, three times) and Epsom Salt. BobF>>
Re: Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness (RMF, any last-ditch ideas?); plus
Furan cpd. use f' 7/24/17
Neale & Bob,
Thank you for this info. Let me see if I understand it correctly; I have a 47
gallon tank. You are advising that I dose furan compound at 1175 mg. The API
Furan2 doses 85 mg/packet- I will need just over 13 packets. I will add the
antibiotic- wait 3 days and change half the water.
I will than do the exact same thing 2 more times.
Should I add new dose of furan the same day as water change?
Re Epsom salt; If I change 50% water how much Epsom salt do I replace for 47 g?
(approx 16 tsp in prior to water change) and shall I add the amount you
recommend following each subsequent water change?
<Add half, 8 tsp., per the half of water removed/replaced>
I actually added Furan2 dose per packet instructions last evening ( 425mg ). I
will add the remaining 750mg today. I am leaving now to locate more antibiotic
This dose far exceeds the package directions.
<Mmm... as per here?
I completely trust your advise but just to be sure, this dose will not be too
much for my healthy male?
<Hopefully not... You've read over the MSDS for this API product?
<Lisa; I am concerned re the concentration of Nifurpirinols in this product as
well. I advise going with the manufacturers dosing instructions. Bob Fenner>
I am sorry to require such defined instruction, but the devil is in the
details.... I am so grateful for your advise and assistance, thank you for
patience with me.
p.s. it is hard to believe that I have kept these lovely fishes alive and well
these past 4 years with out issue, when I now feel so very incompetent.
<This "cross" has many issues... too much inbreeding... Bob Fenner>
Re: Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness (RMF, any last-ditch ideas?)
Thank you Bob and Neale!
<Hello again Lisa, and you're most welcome.>
You have given me some hope that she may recover. I feel like, in the least, I
am "doing all I can". Thank you again for your patience (Neale )
I have been boring you the details of our plight for over a month! I can
honestly say that I have learned a tremendous amount regarding tank hygiene and
water perimeters, my male BP will benefit greatly (as I hope I will be able to
say she will as well!) You are the best:)
<We certainly try!>
I will keep you posted on her progress,
Ever gratefully yours
<Good luck, to you and your fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness (RMF, any last-ditch ideas?)<<I
would stop "treating">> 7/27/17
Hello Neale and Bob!
I think things are improving. Last evening was the 4th and final dose of
Furan-2(each dose = 425mg Nitrofurazone). Today my female, though continues to
be pale, ate for the first time in over a week (thawed) frozen Hikari brand
Krill. Last evening I noted her pooping( brown pellets attached by what appears
to be a mucus strand). Her behavior is more energetic and more within her usual
with some tossing about of rocks and
visiting me at front of tank.
<All sounds good.>
What next? The Furan-2 directions states "treatment may be repeated if
necessary" Should I begin second round of 4 dose treatment?
<Personally, I'd wait a couple days to see if things continue to improve on
their own; but there should be no harm done beginning another course of
medication immediately afterwards.>
Should I re-dose API General Cure-Metronidazole 1,250 mg/dose ( this would be a
third round- the last given 2 weeks ago)
Should I add both together?
<Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone work well together; indeed, the combo is
"standard operating procedure" for medicating cichlids suffering from Hexamita.>
Should I do nothing?
FYI-My ammonia level today (pre-water change) is climbing a bit and is now
somewhere between .25 and .50% and Nitrate remains around 20. Tank water is due
to be changed at 8pm tonight.
<You MUST keep ammonia down, e.g., by substantial water changes prior to each
daily dose of medication -- no point changing the water after you add the
medication, as you can well imagine. On the other hand, after 24 hours
most medication will have done its work, and been broken down by the microbes,
so a water change 24 hours after adding medication usually does no harm.
Alternatively, use commercial ammonia remover (such as Zeolite)
and/or reduce food input to ensure ammonia stays low/zero.>
With kindest regards...and ongoing gratitude,
<Good luck! Neale.>
hello. I am sending you an update on my ailing BP. It has been
exactly 1 week since the final Nitrofurazone treatment. My girl is acting and
eating more normally.
She remains pale. I am continuing to check water perimeters and water changes
<Excellent; subdued lighting and a diverse diet with crustaceans and algae will
help restore colours, but to some extent she may be showing subdued colours
simply because she's unwell. Cichlids do this to communicate to
other cichlids that they aren't engaged in territorial or breeding activity,
which means that fish that are engaged in such don't waste time interacting with
them. Or so I believe! Once recovered she should regain her normal colours.>
Do you recommend that I continue to monitor or do you feel I should begin
another round of Metronidazole? It has been 3 weeks since last treatment?
<If she's eating normally now, yes, I would keep tabs on water quality, but no,
I wouldn't do another round of medication just yet. I'd wait at least another
week, but if she's healing under her own steam, and eating
adequately, her immune system should be able to finish the job. She's out of
intensive care, and moving into recovery!>
Your guidance has been invaluable. I feel as though I have a new friend across
the Atlantic. Thank you.
<You are most welcome, and thanks for the kind words. Neale.>
Blood Parrot remains pale 8/9/17
Yes , it is me AGAIN. I am terribly sorry to be a continued bother. My BP
remains pale and relatively listless, continuing to spend time by heater but
will come to front of tank for food.
<Where there's feeding, there's hope!>
She has refused all pelleted foods (will take in but spits out), will accept an
occasional pea but mostly eats Hikari frozen brine shrimp. (
Hikari's 3-step sterilization process ensures unequalled product quality.
<I agree; Hikari foods are consistently excellent. There are other good brands
out there, but they are my personal favourite brand.>
Free of parasites, harmful bacteria, and foul odor, Bio-Pure frozen diets are
another example of Hikari's product quality commitment. Packed in pure water and
available in "no touch" cube packs or flat packs, Bio-Pure frozen
foods provide maximum nutrition with minimum mess to you when feeding.)
<Of course the environments where many fish feed are less than pristine, but I
agree with you that we don't think about the quality of fish food as much as we
should. There's some speculation that bloodworms are really no safer than
Tubifex are, and both should be avoided. Brine shrimps are probably the safest
food because they come from briny lakes where fish, and therefore their
pathogens, cannot live.>
It has been 2 weeks since last Nitrofurazone treatment. Water perimeters are
within what you have advised. I have been doing weekly water changes of
30%-50%. Do you recommend I treat again?
<If she's still feeding, and not obviously getting worse, I would not treat just
yet. I would vary diet as much as practical, perhaps using vitamin
supplements if available (often sold for marine fish, but perfectly safe
for freshwater fish) or else using "enriched" brine shrimps that contain things
like Spirulina algae.>
Would you advise me to treat concurrently with both Metronidazole and
Nitrofurazone products ( would be API "Cure All " and API "Furan 2"-the package
directions for both medications, regarding dosing and water changing, match up
<I would indeed use both medications as/when. They seem to work very well
Keeping in mind I have a healthy Pleco and male BP in tank.
<Quite so; but these medications shouldn't harm healthy fish -- although I
wouldn't overuse medications if the fish is healing itself, even if only very
I am ever grateful for you ongoing assistance.