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FAQs on Neotropical Cichlid Disease/Health 3

Related Articles: Neotropical Cichlids, Central American Cichlids by Neale Monks, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Neotropical Cichlid Disease 1, Neotropical Cichlid Disease 2, Neotropical Cichlid Disease 4 & Neotropical Cichlids 1, Neotropical Cichlids 2, Neotropical Cichlids 3, Neotropical Cichlid Identification, Neotropical Cichlid Behavior, Neotropical Cichlid Compatibility, Neotropical Cichlid Selection, Neotropical Cichlid Systems, Neotropical Cichlid Feeding, Neotropical Cichlid Reproduction, Convicts, Oscars, Firemouths, Texas Cichlids, Severums, Triangle Cichlids, Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

Thorichthys care/sickness      2/7/18
Hello crew. Hope you are doing fine.
Some weeks ago i talk to you about the possibility of getting wild T. aureus and T. Maculipinnis.
I got a group of 4 and 5 respectively. They came pretty stressed and some got ich as soon as they got into my tank, along with minor fungal infections.
<Often the case.>
A 32c + salt + malachite green treatment later and they are looking great.
They are eating and gaining weight, but their behavior is not good. From afar, i can see them moving and going around the tank (120 x 40 x 35) and picking sand but as soon as i go near the tank they stay still.
<Is the tank brightly lit? These fish dislike bright lights.>
They don't hide, they just stay still. No movement at all. They are housed with an Acara diadema and a small jack Dempsey ( about 7-8 cm)
<JDs are not compatible with Thorichthys species, so I'd separate them ASAP; as you hopefully realise, Thorichthys cannot fight because of their modified jaws, used for sifting sand. So they fight mostly with bluff, hence the eye-spots on the gill covers. If forced to fight, their jaws can become dislocated, and such fish starve to death. Acara are a mixed bag, and Aequidens diadema is a very odd choice here, being a sort of blackwater specialist really, and again, a bit prone to aggression. Might be fine with the JD given space, but I'd not risk with Thorichthys.>
they both exhibit the same behavior.
<See above. Cichlids prefer dark tanks, and upwelling light, whether from light substrate or plain glass, will disturb them. Adding floating plants will help a lot, because their main fear is overhead predators such as Herons. So anything that offers shade and shelter will help. Old school approach for quarantining new livestock was an unlit tank, shady corner of the room, away from heavy footfall (e.g., a basement, not a busy corridor), and large flower pots for shelter.>
The only ones that seem to don't mind are the Ancistrus cirrhosus in there( 2 of them)
Diet is Spirulina tablets and AquaMaster cichlid food along with flakes. They all eat readily and in front of me. Just their general behavior is off.
<See above to begin with; but there's more, of course, below...>
Today i found one of the largest maculipinnis dead. He seems a bit bloated, as the rest of the fish don't have that bulge. There is very fine river sand,
<See above!!!>
no pebbles. Big rocks and caves for hiding.
<Unfortunately the bloating could be anything, even decomposition. Assuming the fish are feeding well, I'd perhaps go the good old Metronidazole approach as a good first pass sweep against the commonest cichlid problems, but nothing else is immediately obvious here.>
I observe them daily, and that bulge wasn't there yesterday. I reckon i missed on the water change schedule the last two times by a few days, im not sure if that could have been it given their wild nature. Ph is 7.8, gH and kH around 9-10. No ammonia ( sump filter) but i lack nitrate tester...
Any insight on the matter is welcome...
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Thorichthys care/sickness      2/7/18
I moved the maculipinnis to a separate bare bottom tank ( will have sand too) to observe them better. See the video, maybe that can flash some more light on the matter. Its just this one, the smallest, but i saw one of the others do it a few days back ( still alive).
<Nice looking fish. Nothing obviously wrong. Would suggest environment is off, perhaps lighting. Do also review water chemistry as appropriate to each species -- fish will be nervous if water too hard or soft for them. Ditto temperature. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Thorichthys care/sickness      2/7/18

Do you not see the shaking weird? it looks similar to the Poeciliids ""shimmy"".
<Just looks nervous to me.>
Water hardness and ph should be on point. These are lake Izabal F0 specimens (Guatemala).
I have moved the aureus to the planted tank, they have perked and colored heavily.
Active and all... maybe i should just move the maculipinnis too? but i would prefer to keep them separated, they are juveniles yet, but will they be easily told apart one species of another when older? internet pictures are not very reliable.
<Understood. Can you not add some floating plants, even bunches of pond weed, to the quarantine tank in the meantime, to see if that calms the nervous cichlids a bit? Obviously can't be 100%, but I do feel this is psychological, not pathological. Cheers, Neale.>

Continuation to problem / something very wrong. Thorichthys plus       2/8/18
I've talked to you guys these past couple days about problems with a batch of wild Thorichthys aureus/maculipinnis.
On a follow up i moved most of them to a big 150 gal planted tank. The original tank they were in turns out there is something really wrong with it. Today i found the jack Dempsey and Acara diadema heavily distressed, discolored and refusing food. 1 Ancistrus cirrhosus is dead and one Ancistrus ranunculus as well. Both of these have been tank raised, so we know for a fact these fish thrive in our waters. Picture added. You can notice a big bulge on the cirrhosus, a common occurrence among these when fed too much protein... this was not the case, as i feed regular flake, Spirulina tablets and vegetables. The ranunculus, on the other part, has a sunken stomach. One could say their dietary needs are far apart, but the case is that there is another ranunculus, with a normal sized stomach, and another cirrhosus, who is well fed but not swollen.
<I would start suspecting some poisoning of the tank. Whether adding something by accident, such as wood that's been treated with herbicide, or something already in the tank causing, for example, a sudden drop in oxygen level. Often times it's easiest to strip down a tank that's "failed" catastrophically, removing the fish in a bucket while you remove all the sand and wood, leaving just the filter and anything easily cleaned, such as ceramic ornaments. Big water changes also useful. Ideally, pretty much all of it. Try to keep temperature and water chemistry steady though. Of course, before going down this path, check water quality and chemistry to make sure they're right.>
In my past messages i told you how the Thorichthys would have swollen bellies when i found them dead.... this is may be a clue. Of all the Thorichthys, currently there is only one who has a slightly swollen belly and has white poop (non stringy, but rather, full, big) constantly coming out of him... i grabbed the fish gently and pulled on it and a piece of it came off... the fish is constantly evacuating said white poop... also, the fish is constantly shaking.. similar to Poeciliidae shimmying.
<Shimmying is a symptom of stress, so rather difficult to put down to a specific problem.>
ill address a video of the fish and its white poop in another message, since im reaching max size. the rest of the Thorichthys are colorful, active, and eating.. constantly picking at the substrate.
<Yes, please try and keep any/all files to less than 1 MB in size. Larger files cause us problems, and may cause your message to be returned unread.>
The aquarium in which they were before (in which the Ancistrus died, and where the Dempsey and Acara are) has turned white overnight, very cloudy. The filter sponges have also a strange, slimy, fluffy kind of growth which honestly i have never seen.
<Bacterial blooms could easily explain the cloudiness, and the fluffy stuff could be bacteria or, if on organic matter such as wood, fungus. Bacterial blooms typically imply unstable water chemistry and/or quality. Fungus usually appears on wood that hasn't been properly cured. Such fungus is more or less colourless, whereas your typical thread or beard algae have dark green, even blue-black colouration.>
I am at a loss. As of right now i have bleached the filter pieces and tubing. Im boiling water to clean the tank and start a new with used filter media from other tanks. i am restarting the tank. The fish are in a bucket and will be moved here after cleaning.
... Help.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Thorichthys care/sickness      2/8/18
I will add plants to the quarantine, i have plenty.
Seems i need to relocate fish/rearrange the tanks. I guess all the Thorichthys will be sent to the 150 gal planted tank until i properly arrange a 55 gal. I don't want hybrids so two tanks will have to be.
<Understood and agree.>
I would rather keep them in the 150 but i don't want to take chances with the smaller species of characins and the rest of fish in there.
I found another one dead... on the floor. So... yes, this is stress. This isnt going as planned, but i will pull through.
<Hope so. Take your time, and use water changes and supplemental aeration as the two most useful tools to getting through environmental stress. While big water changes run the risk of exposing fish to changes in pH and temperature, if the water is 'bad' this is by far the lesser of two evils.>
Thanks again, for everything. I hope i can send you some pictures at a later date, when they have developed their best colors and size, and hopefully i get pairs and spawn.
<Will look forward to seeing this photos in due course.>
<Welcome, Neale.>

More Thorichthys issues      2/12/18
Hello crew.
A follow up from my issues with Thorichthys discussed before:
They have been feeding and coloring, i have kept a close eye on them and just today i noticed this... Worm like parasite in the left eye of one maculipinnis. Look into 0:35 onwards there the nematode can be appreciated.
Consulting with a local aquarist he has said these are seen sometimes in wild caught fish ( as is the case) and that a jaguar and a salvini of his had these worms that left them blind on the affected eye but otherwise "well".
My issue is, is there any way to treat this? This looks definitely like a worm. Is it related to gill/skin flukes? Should i be on the lookout for these as well on the rest of fish in the tank?
<Eye parasites do occur, and are typically Trematodes such as Diplostomum spp., and yes, these can be treated with anti-helminth medications. Praziquantel is perhaps the most widely used, and is reported to be effective against Diplostomum at least. If it doesn't work, more aggressive anti-helminths, such as flubendazole, could be used instead. It is worth noting that some anti-helminths are known to be toxic to fish, so best stick with the ones known to be safe, which also include Levamisole and Fenbendazole. Also important is the fact that many of these eye parasites have complex life cycles that cannot be completed in the absence of intermediate hosts, typically snails. So it is possible to break the cycle by ensuring the absence of snails from the aquarium, even without medication. Unfortunately the flukes can cause cataracts, which are bad for your fish, so while they may be relatively common in the wild, are not something most of us would accept under aquarium conditions. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: More Thorichthys issues     2/14/18

I can get Levamisole, and have treated before the planted tank with it for Camallanus worms with 100% effectiveness in just a single dose.
I treated before the Thorichthys with it, but as you have seen, they keep dying, just yesterday i lost another one, the one i showed you before with the white poop coming out. The eye one is still eating and going as usual.
<All sounds a bit dispiriting.>
Just today, the biggest aureus (first aureus affected, by the way) is hiding in a corner, with very pale color, and not eating, and i could notice a slight white bulge out of this anus... so i assume... the same thing... i need to treat this guy and cure him. Im not sure Levamisole works on this... might try Praziquantel or flubendazole,
<Flubendazole generally regarded as the best of the fish-safe anti-Helminthics. It kills the eggs, whereas Prazi, and I believe Levamisole, are more 'irritants' that cause the worms to 'let go' of the gut.>
although ill have to get them as dog or human medicine, because i wont find it as fish medicine... most probably i will find tablets... does the fish have to eat this or can it be dissolved?
<It can be added to the water, or put in the food. The latter is probably best, but the former can work, assuming carbon is removed from the water. I'd also up the oxygen a bit, too.>
what a bout a bath in a high concentration of it? Levamisole was much easier to administer because it was a soluble powder that didn't need to be consumed, but not sure how i will find Prazi or flubendazole.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More Thorichthys issues     2/18/18
An update: the two affected fish haven't died yet, but no more have shown any symptoms.
<Well, that's promising.>
I treated with two doses of Levamisole. No Praziquantel or Flubendazole to be found. But a local drugstore will carry Prazi in a few days.
I also took the fish out and gave then a bath on Epsom salts, considering that could help them evacuate whatever is causing the issues.
<Not how Epsom salts work; and besides, suddenly exposing fish to changes in water chemistry and temperature isn't a good idea. Assuming you're using the 'safe' dose of Epsom salt described earlier, it'll work slowly in the aquarium, but won't have time to do anything if you're merely dipping fish for a few minutes in such a concentration. What else to say except that 'scattergun' approaches to medicating are rarely effective, and often stressful. Better to do nothing than to mis-use medications.>
Pic related its the biggest aureus affected, can you notice the white bulge coming out of its anus?
<Looks like the ovipositor to me. No more than a few mm long even on big cichlids. Angled backwards and pointed on males, thicker and rounder on females. Often visible all the time on males, but usually only visible immediately (no more than a day or two) before spawning on females.>
Fish affected display it, and right now the condition has worsened on this fellow. He is getting skinny due to not eating and the bulge is getting bigger... Like a shin, it is red around the area right now. He's not moving much, i don't think he's going to make it.
The other affected maculipinnis is still going around the tank, but hasn't eaten, but, he is evacuation ample white, stringy feces.
<Classic symptom of Hexamita, but do understand many anti-Helminthics will cause the bowel to evacuate large quantities of faeces, plus mucous, as part of the way they work.>
The bath consisted of 1 tblsp of Epson salt in a gallon of water.
<So 5 tablespoons per 5 US gallons; to remind you/readers of the correct dosage as a medication, 1 to 3 tablespoons Epsom salt per 5 US gallons/20 litres. Higher dosages, as you're doing, may be tolerated by hard water fishes, but do monitor pH and general hardness to ensure they are within the safe limits.>
Thanks again.
<You're welcome. Neale.>

Re: More Thorichthys issues But, this time, autopsy!     2/18/18
I am sorry for messaging so much (double messaging even) things just seem to be going downhill without much in my power to do...
The biggest aureus, which i showed a picture of in my earlier message, finally succumbed. I quickly scooped him out and tried to find anything i could. Surprise, he also had an eye parasite... these look like and move like worms... like, leeches... i would say they act and move like leeches, white in color with some red dots on the lower body... i have a video, if you would like to see it, i will send it to you bad quality video by the way.
<While that would be interesting, I do think
Then, i performed an autopsy on the swollen belly of the deceased. I found this.. worm, immobile, lying tangled in the organ that is also shown in the picture... warning, graphic.
<Looks like a nematode. Could be a harmless species though: a dead fish will attract them out of the aquarium environment, where they otherwise feed on decaying organic matter.>
Levamisole is ineffective to this. There is another Thorichthys showing symptoms, the one i showed you before with an eye parasite. It doesn't seem to be getting worse, but isnt getting better either, eventually starvation will set in i guess...
<Ah, do think I have mentioned this before. Flubendazole and Fenbendazole are, I believe, the 'best' anti-Helminthics drug aquarists have access to; Piperazine, Levamisole and Praziquantel are good, but by no means 100% effective. These latter are cheaper and more easily obtained though, hence their wide usage in the hobby.>
The remaining three of the Thorichthys (of a total of 10 originally....) seem to be doing completely fine. No eye parasite, no weird behavior, feeding a lot and generally acting like a cichlid.
<Which is nice.>
Main questions are: Are these parasites (eye and intestinal, which seem to be different parasites) contagious at this point?
<Impossible to say. Most 'worm' parasites have intermediate hosts such as snails or small crustaceans that they need to enter before producing the next generation of infective stages that will go after your fish. There are exceptions though, including Camallanus, which is why that genus of worm is so prevalent in fish farms and even home aquaria. Camallanus worms infect healthy fish via organic muck eaten from the substrate, so 'hoovering' the substrate will go some way to removing the baby Camallanus worms. The precautionary approach would be to keep the health fish isolated (i.e., in another tank) from the infected ones, and to ensure the healthy fish do not become exposed to water (buckets, nets, etc.) from the unhealthy fish tank. I would strip down the healthy tank as far as practical, so that it can be kept thoroughly clean.>
i made sure to remove any dead bodies rapidly from the tank.
The planted tank has a collection of characins, Kribensis, and ugh... my precious Plecos.... Is there any risk of infection?
<While many parasites are species-specific, unfortunately the worm-like parasites do tend to be generalists, or at least adaptable. Medicating all fish exposed to the infected fish is certainly wise.>
should i move the remaining affected fish?
<The ideal would be to remove all infected fish to a clean hospital tank; medicate as effectively as possible (i.e., Praziquantel if that's what you have, but Fenbendazole or flubendazole if possible). Leave the healthy fish where they are, but clean the tank as far as practical (to get rid of any parasites in the gravel, etc.) and generally give the tank a good tidy up to ensure excellent water quality, stable water chemistry, and maximum oxygen levels.>
should i also remove the Thorichthys that are healthy? any...measurements?.... im really scared right now.
<Understood. I think you've been unlucky here, but cichlids do travel badly, and there is a problem in the hobby with cichlids picking up various parasites (such as Hexamita and Camallanus) on fish farms, wholesalers, and at retailers. Quarantining expensive cichlids is certainly recommended, and prophylactic treatment for Hexamita, and possibly Camallanus, can make a lot of sense. Good luck, Neale.>

Cichlids... WAY over-crowded beh.         1/7/15
Hello, My name is Alicia and would like to ask a few questions and hoping you have the answers and want to Thank You in advance.
<Greetings, Alicia >
I have about 10 Chiclids in my 55 Gallon tank, I love them all dearly. I have a big Oscar he is about 10 to 12 inches long and looks healthy, this morning when i turned on the tank light he was down at the bottom and eyes looked closed and I thought he was dead I freaked out I've had him for about 8 months, I don't know if it is normal for him to have been like that I have never seen the Oscar do that before??
<It is not normal and usually means something is wrong with the tank. First check the heater is working. Then check the filter pump. Now grab a nitrite (with an "i", not nitrate with an "a") test kit. Check the water quality.
If nitrite is not zero, then something is wrong. My guess is that your tank is overstocked. As the fish grow, they produce more waste. An adult Oscar can overload a 55-gal tank without any trouble, so 75 gallons is the recommended minimum for Oscars these days. You have a bunch of other fish as well, which almost certainly means water quality isn't good.>
And the other question is I have what I believe is a Jewel i don't know if it is male or female but it stays in the cave nonstop it only comes out once in a great while to eat and very quickly runs back to the cave i don't understand why
<Variety of reasons for this. Sometimes cichlids hide because they're scared, sometimes because they're guarding something, and sometimes because the environment is "wrong" somehow (water quality or pH are possibilities).>
and when the Convict gets near the opening of the cave they both open their mouths and looks like they lock mouths together
<Likely aggression.>
do you know why please im very confused about it i was told they are mating or lighting for dominance???And my last question is do they prefer sand or gravel, because I have 2 African Cichlids and I believe the rest are South American I have a huge Albino from and 2 Algae eaters one is huge and other is alot smaller jus to give you a idea of whats in the tank, <You have FAR TOO many fish for this aquarium. Time to start "pruning" your collection. An Oscar and a Plec on their own easily fill out 75 gallons; add a Jewel, a couple Convicts and whatever else you have by way of Mbuna, and you've got a collection that needs to be kept in a 150-200 gallon aquarium. Sit back, think which fish you really want, and keep those properly; rehome the others.>
Thank You soo much for your time and knowledge for getting back to me, I think your site is Amazing and have shared it on Facebook and other sites with fiends!!!
Thank You Alicia
<Most welcome! Neale.>

? re a bocourti central American cichlid with bizarre issue   10/15/14
Sick Central American Cichlid

I have a large bocourti which is about 8 years old. He was fine until recently. He had some whitish clumpy material on two scales and by the area where one fin came out of body, but that went away with antibiotics. I
also had a trimac which developed a whitish exudative material that came out of the area around its eye. He died after about month. Now my bocourti has similar material, looks like a white horn, coming out of one
area of its scales. Around the white area his scales are slightly red and look damaged. Is this a fungus? Or what?
I have photos if that helps. I hate to lose the fish. Sal
< The reddish scales are probably a bacterial infection. The whitish clumps may be a secondary fungal infection. The antibiotics you used may have affected the bacteria that provide the nitrification of the fish waste and you now may have elevated nitrogenous waste levels. I would recommend a water change and then clean the filters. Try to keep the water very clean and watch for any progress. Your cichlid is usually very tough so I would only recommend antibiotics as a last resort.-Chuck>

Growth stunted after parasite?   7/5/14
I have two young gold saum cichlids, and they are the most beautiful fish I've ever owned.
<Quite so. Were moderately popular in the UK during the late 80s-early 90s, though at that time often confused with Blue Acara (invariably with disastrous results as Gold Saum cichlids are far more aggressive, so in the UK they're called Green Terrors).>
A while ago after I got them, the female stopped eating - the male was fine, and actually never showed any signs of infection. I did some research, and paid close attention, and within a few days of her failures
to eat I began to notice more and more telltale signs of parasite infection (stringy feces, shrinking stomach). I did ask around online some, and was recommended Seachem's ParaGuard.
<Would not have been my first choice. The Hexamita infection you are describing above can pretty much only be treated with Metronidazole, a.k.a. Flagyl. This, coupled with careful control of nitrate (and other
metabolite) concentrations in the water should help; do read:
Hexamita is quite common among farmed cichlids, and seems especially problematic in less than perfect environmental or dietary situations.>
For a straight two months, it was daily water changes and tests, soaking their food in medicine and garlic and hoping she'd eat at least one or two bites, and begging the gods to be kind. The first week, there was nothing.
Then, she kept down one bite. And then another, and another. I kept up treatment for another month after she'd begun eating normally again, but now she hasn't coughed up her meal for six weeks, and I'm (understandably, I think) quite proud of bringing my fish back from the dead.
The male was younger than her, and during the span of her illness, he caught up to her in growth. In just the month since she got better, he's grown to half again her current size - she's around 3 inches, he's going on 5. Meanwhile, if she's grown at all, the female gold saum hasn't done so noticeably. They are sexually mature, and have spawned once since treatment.
I've done some digging, but haven't been able to confirm for myself that her growth could be permanently stunted. I'm just worried that someday soon, the male will kill her in one of his spawning chases. Could her
growth as a female just be slower than the male's? Or will I have to separate them if I don't want my efforts to save the female to be thwarted by her own mate?
<Male cichlids are commonly faster growers and earlier maturers than the females, though not always. But to answer your specific question: yes, fish have a "juvenile" growth stage through which they grow fastest, and subsequent to that, their growth rate slows down dramatically. It never stops, but if a fish didn't grow much in its childhood (for want of a better word) it never quite catches up with its siblings who grew at the normal rate in theirs. Make sense?>
Thanks for any response!
- Margaret
<Most welcome, Neale. Have bcc'ed Chuck if he's got a different opinion/advice.>
Re: Growth stunted after parasite?   7/5/14

Thanks! I did have it clarified that, for the ParaGuard to work it had to be soaked in to the food. It was really very effective, but if there's ever a next time I might give your recommendation a shot.
One other thing I wound up doing was, when I noticed that the female would swim directly into aquarium salt additions, I dropped some raw granules in.
She swallowed them, and that was the first thing she kept down after getting sick. I've been told it's not recommended, but she did keep food down more frequently after salt. I imagine it wasn't pleasant for the
<Quite possibly. Whether the Hexamita parasite causes the stringy faeces and weight loss we associate with it remains unclear. Some argue the parasite is latent in most cichlids, but a combination of stresses causes the cichlid to weaken, and the Hexamita merely multiply because conditions now favour them. It's likely complicated, and perhaps varies from fish to fish. Metronidazole is an antibiotic as well as being good against Hexamita, but if Hexamita aren't the immediate problem, but the bacteria, then some other antibiotic could work just as well.>
Thanks for clarifying the infection, too! I only knew it was parasitic, but not what kind.
<If it's any consolation, mine's a wild guess. We hardly ever do the necessary science needed to identify the parasite or pathogen involved, and instead go by hunches and probabilities based on accumulated veterinary experience.>
I hope she grows some more, I'd hate to see her stunted her whole life. But I guess I did about all I could do?
<Indeed. Cheers, Neale.>
Cichlid Stunted After Parasite Treatment     /Chuck's go      7/7/14

I have two young gold saum cichlids, and they are the most beautiful fish I've ever owned. A while ago after I got them, the female stopped eating - the male was fine, and actually never showed any signs of infection. I did some research, and paid close attention, and within a few days of her failures to eat I began to notice more and more telltale signs of parasite infection (stringy feces, shrinking stomach). I did ask around online some, and was recommended Seachem's ParaGuard.
For a straight two months, it was daily water changes and tests, soaking their food in medicine and garlic and hoping she'd eat at least one or two bites, and begging the gods to be kind. The first week, there was nothing.
Then, she kept down one bite. And then another, and another. I kept up treatment for another month after she'd begun eating normally again, but now she hasn't coughed up her meal for six weeks, and I'm (understandably, I think) quite proud of bringing my fish back from the dead.
The male was younger than her, and during the span of her illness, he caught up to her in growth. In just the month since she got better, he's grown to half again her current size - she's around 3 inches, he's going on 5. Meanwhile, if she's grown at all, the female gold saum hasn't done so noticeably. They are sexually mature, and have spawned once since treatment.
I've done some digging, but haven't been able to confirm for myself that her growth could be permanently stunted. I'm just worried that someday soon, the male will kill her in one of his spawning chases. Could her
growth as a female just be slower than the male's? Or will I have to separate them if I don't want my efforts to save the female to be thwarted by her own mate? Thanks for any response! - Margaret
< It is not unusual for cichlid females to be smaller than their male counter parts. The female usually puts her energy into egg production and not into growth, so she may be done growing for awhile. It is very possible that the male will kill the female if she is not ready to spawn.
Experienced cichlid breeders place dividers between the fish so the smaller female can get to the male but the larger male cannot get to the female.-Chuck>

question regarding whitening of lips of T. Sieboldii (Bob, second opinion?)<<Mmm, no>> 3/31/14
Hi crew,
Long time reader here of the dailies, I always find it interesting to read of the successes and problems of others, and your suggestions regarding these...these is always something new to learn.
<For sure, Henk.>
This kind of setup is really quite different from most other aquarium and fishkeeping sites, I really am a big fan of your website.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have a question regarding the whitening of lips of a few Tomocichla Sieboldii.
<Wow! These are some seriously rare fish.>
First some info on the tank. This is a 100 gallon tank, filtered over a Fluval FX5, Eheim 2078, and a small Eheim 2213. Temperature at 27 degrees Celsius, pH 8, KH 7, GH 10, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate between 5 and 10.
I do weekly water changes of about 40% with water which has been stored overnight. Due to the extreme softness of the tap water (KH 0-1, GH 2-4) I add baking soda and Epsom salts to increase hardness. Tankmates are a pair of Hypsophrys Nicaraguensis and two Thorichthys Maculipinnis.
<All sounds about right, and good choices for tankmates. Not aggressive, but robust enough to handle themselves.>
Two out of three Tomocichla Sieboldii clearly show whitening of their lips.
There is no fuzzy growth noticeable. First these white lips where only noticeable on the smallest of the T. Sieboldii, and since this fish seems a bit weak/stunted, I actually thought of it as poor genes.
<Do think this is "wrestling" damage from the lip-pulling that cichlids engage in, especially when pair-bonding. Under good conditions generally heals up without any fuss.>
Recently I see the whitening of lips also on the other T. Sieboldii, very clearly on the presumed male, and to a lesser extent on the largest specimen, a female. I have enclosed some pictures which hopefully show this. The smallest fish has had these white lips for at least 2 months,
whereas the second one to show these white lips only does so since a week or so. I have never seen any of the T. Sieboldii engage in liplocking, so I'm quite certain this is not due to lip locking.
<Indeed, but may go on at times and in places you don't see it.>
The two largest T. Sieboldii are picky eaters (graze on algae in the tank and feed on frozen bloodworm and my sis, refuse New Life Spectrum or flakes after 3 months of trying) but eat well. The smallest one has never been a very good eater, but he's been in the tank for almost 3 months so whatever makes him eat less (spits out quite a lot including frozen bloodworms) I assume it is nothing acute.
<Do bear in mind these are strongly herbivorous in the wild. I'd be offering them a good mix of green foods alongside the usual krill, bloodworms, etc. You might care to try one of the Hikari wafers of the types used for Panaque and other herbivorous catfish.>
Not sure if it is more likely to be stress or parasites (or something else)? There's quite a lot of chasing around in the tank (mainly done by the T. Maculipinnis) but nothing out of proportion, nor anything which I would label as severe bullying.
<Indeed. Your mix of cichlids is on the "easy going" end of the behaviour range.>
Now on to the questions... I do have some medications on hand but prefer not to use them unless necessary. I have SeaChem Paraguard, SeaChem Kanaplex, Metro, and Tetra Parasite Guard at home in the medicine cabinet.
Regarding the whitening of the lips of these three fish and the poor eating habits of one of these fish, could this all be due to some kind of bacterial infection?
<Well, the possibilities are the bacterial infection we call Mouth "Fungus" (also called Columnaris); plain vanilla Fungus; and Finrot. Some medications treat all three at once; so you could try one of those. But honestly, I do think this is nothing more serious than damage from mouth-pulling. Obviously watch them closely, and if things get worse, medicate. But if the fish are feeding fine and the lips improve then you won't need to do anything.>
Should I just keep up good water conditions and allow some more time to pass, or considering the whitening of the lips seems to be spreading, start medicating?
Your opinions are highly appreciated!
<Welcome, Neale.>

Free Fish With a Couple Catches Bloating, Pop Eye, Bacterial Infections Neotrop. Cichlid hlth.      3/24/14
Greetings WetWebMedia, I've recently set up a few new ponds and have been given a few fish. The latest a 14inch Oscar and 7inch Jack Dempsey, both 5 years old. They came from a 135gal aquarium. Immediately I noticed the Oscar was very bloated(round on both sides) with lateral line erosion and bulging eyes. Although color was OK and fins looked decent. The JD was slightly bloated with what looked like a huge slice in caudal fin(looked to of healed with middle 30% missing but not sure). The lower jaw protrudes slightly, probably from an injury during a mismatched battle with the Oscar or other tank mates.
I should mention the previous owner had stuck these guys in a 20gal tank filtered by a AquaClear 110 for at least 4 days prior to me receiving them, as he was trying to sell his 135g tank. As far as water quality and dietary history beyond that I don't know. Both fish show scratches behind gill plates from being netted head first with a 4inch net upon transfer from the 135g to 20g aquarium. So these guys have taken some abuse and could be suffering from multiple bacterial and digestive issues. I now have them in a 250g quarantine tank and have dosed them with Epsom salt. Since the treatment the Oscar is laying on his side more. It has been 15hrs and no change in bloat or bowel movements.
Do you think these fish can be saved without antibiotics?
<I do>
( I can provide immaculate water quality) If not what are your recommendations?
<That you continue as you've stated>
The JD seems healthier, should I separate?
<Not necessarily, no>
I'm thinking this is environmental mostly, but how contagious would these conditions be?
<Not very>
Will Epsom salt have as much preventative value against fungus or bacteria, opposed to normal salt.
<Both can be used>
I'm just waiting for the Columnaris to set in.
I've been given several 250g acrylic domes and want to stock those guys and a large Pleco in one, filtered by an aquaponic growbed at 265gph. Thanks for your advice Brandon
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

reddened area around base of pectoral fins        6/16/13
Dear Crew,
<Hello Henk,>
I have noticed the last few days that my Nicaragua Cichlids appear to have a reddened area around the base of their pectoral fins.
<Not uncommon in cichlids; usually goes away without treatment. Can be physical damage from handling (including with nets) or fighting, but may also be incipient Finrot-type bacterial infections, i.e., an inflammation.>
At first I wondered if this has always been there and whether I just noticed it recently, but I double-checked some pictures taken 18 days ago and there it is much less (or not) visible. I have attached a picture of the fish showing this reddish area most clearly (pic 1), and a picture of the same fish 18 days ago (pic 4), as well as a picture of another specimen where this reddish coloration is less visible (pic 3). Overall coloration of the fish has changed quite a bit, they are about 4-5 inches and coloring up, but the red area looks a bit suspicious to me.
<Indeed so.>
Water parameters as follows: pH 8, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 10. Only less desirable parameter (which I measure) is temperature which is at 30 degrees Celsius.
<Ah now, temperature may be a factor…>
Unsure if this is related or not, but about three weeks ago one of my juvenile Thorichthys Maculipinnis (about 1.5 inches) had stopped eating and had white slimy faeces, so I treated the tank with metro, according to the recommended dose on the package, for 3 consecutive days. At the same time I added aquarium salt gradually to a dose of approximately 3g per gallon. After treatment the fish started eating again and no more sign of white faeces. Since the treatment there have been three 30% water changes. Now all fish are active and eating very well. The reddish area however worries me, only the Nicaragua Cichlids are showing this reddish area, the Thorichthys do not. I have checked online and on WetWebMedia and don't really seem to find descriptions of symptoms well matching the ones I am seeing. Can you have a look at the pictures and let me know what you think? Thank you very much.
<Treating for Hexamita infections of similar using Metronidazole should not cause any specific reactions in the fish, but there's always a small risk when using any medication of some side affect, just as with humans. My two concerns here are environmental ones: salt, which isn't really necessary as a permanent fixture to any Central American cichlid aquarium, and temperature. Hypsophrys nicaraguensis comes from water bodies with a definite current, not necessary turbulent, but steady, and are likely sensitive to warm water that carries less oxygen than middling temperatures around the 25 C/77 F mark. So what would I do? I'd slowly dilute the salt out of the equation through a serious of water changes, and I'd also turn the temperature down a bit to see if that helps. Adding extra aeration or beefing up water circulation may be useful too; I'd be aiming for a turnover rate of around 8-10 times the volume of the tank per hour for cichlids like these. Cheers, Neale.>

Problem with Female Festae Cichlid   4/10/13
Hi again WWM crew,
<Hi Matt, Rick here>
I have e-mailed you about a similar problem I am having with my current female festae.  I believe this is the same problem because this is the 3rd fish I have had get the same symptoms.
<Maybe something dormant in the water? Has the tank been sterilized since the last outbreak?>
I had treated the previous 2 fish with API General Cure that has active ingredients of Metronidazole and Praziquantel.  Both of those fish didn't seem to get better at all from treatment.
<Could have been too advanced a stage for recovery.>
Here is a the message I sent to you guys, you had thought it was bacterial because by the time the fish had died his gills were eaten through.  I have attached the 2 pictures of the festae.
<Note to BobF: we cannot post the picture he pulled from Google due to copyright concerns.>
<<Thank you Rick. Understood. B>>
<Begin previous query - RN>
"Re: Festae Breeding, now hlth. Question   6/12/12Red Terror Problems- Maybe fish Louse
Hello WWM crew.  I'm replying back about my festae cichlid that hasn't eaten for over 3 weeks now.  I have him in a quarantine tank by himself right now and I've been treating him with General Cure made by API because I hear its a good all around treatment.  The active ingredients are Metronidazole and Praziquantel and I've been treating as the package suggests with a dose every 48 hours and a 25 percent water change before each dose.  It's been 6 days now (3 treatments).  Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, and Nitrate is 10.  He's been breathing hard and won't look at food at all so I'm only treating the water column.  I took him out of the quarantine tank today to take a look at his gills and I notices that the gills are not attached to his body on the underside and I think they should be (I've attached a photo with the area circled). < The gills are attached to a gill arch. The whole underside of the fish between the gill covers an the body doesn't look right. It looks as though a bacteria has eaten though some of the tissues in the lower part of the gill covers.> The other picture I've attached shows a bulge right below his gills, although its not the best photo.  Is this the way normal gills look, I have always thought they were attached to the body on the underside?  Thank you for your help!<
Flip the fish over so you can get a better idea what the bulge is . I am thinking you might have a fish louse. It is a crustacean that may come in to the aquarium with feeder fish. The Praziquantel should take care of this problem.-Chuck"
<End previous query. - RN>
As for my female festae, she has stopped eating about 2 days ago and has stringy white poop.  <Indicative of an internal parasite. What have you been attempting to feed her?> Her breathing is labored and I don't believe it is due to lack of oxygen because she has thrived in this environment for over a year now. <Probably is due to a lack of oxygen passing through the gills, not necessarily lack of oxygen in the tank.  How do her gills look now? Any discoloration, anything that looks like it doesn't belong there?>
Her symptoms are the same as the previous 2 fish that died.  I also noticed a spot of her side fins, I found a picture of what it looks like on Google and have attached it to this email as well. <BobF: This is the picture we can't post.>
Ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, and nitrate is 30 ppm.  She is 7 and a half inches long and stays in a 135 gallon aquarium by herself.  The tank has a Rena XP4 filter and a Marineland Penguin 1140 powerhead with the bubbles on.  The temperature stays at 79 degrees.
If you could recommend a treatment along with a medication that would be great.  All I have on hand is General Cure (Praziquantel and Metronidazole) and SeaChem's pure Metronidazole.  I am willing to get something else I just don't know what to try.  I will drop half the water in the 135 gallon and treat the whole tank.  <I'd include a substantial partial water change also, which is standard operating procedure with Praziquantel.  I'd try the General Cure first and observe closely for a couple of days, mainly because of suspicion of both bacterial and parasitic problems. Be sure to remove any activated carbon, and if you can get your hands on a UV sterilizer I'd put it use here for a few weeks as an extra measure.>   Thanks for your response!
<Hope it helps. That General cure didn't work last time leaves me doubting that we'll see anything different, but if you caught it earlier than the previous cases, that might be enough.  If in a couple of days you don't start to see improvement, we'll try to formulate plan B. - Rick>

Suddenly sick cichlid, iatrogenic    7/14/12
We have a 60 gallon tank with one Pleco (maybe 12 or 14 inches long),
<Needs more room than this>

 2 blood parrot cichlids, and one convict cichlid. PH is 7.8, Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 20+.
<Keep under 20 ppm. See WWM re>

Temperature is stable between 77 - 80. I noticed some algae growth around the white plastic parts of the Fluvia canister filtration system. The tank has been set up since about May and has been pretty stable, though the nitrates occasionally slip up to almost 40 where they were when I noticed the algae. I did a water change and left town two days later for a week. I used an automatic fish feeder while I was gone, set to feed twice per day. It is not the best process and the amount of food is not consistent, but I watched it for a week before and it seemed okay.
When I got back, I had full on algae bloom. I still did not see a lot of algae growth on surfaces, but the water was very green. The fish were fine, healthy looking, swimming and visiting with us, and eating the pellets and bloodworms we offered. I tested the water and everything was the same with nitrates back up around 40, PH at 8.0 and everything else at 0. I did two partial water changes which helped lower the nitrates, but did nothing to minimize the algae bloom. Two days ago, I did a 50% water change and added Algaefix.
<A mistake; toxic... PLEASE search ahead of writing us>

 Last night our convict got erratic and flapped crazily across the top of the tank. Then he returned to normal, but his feeding was off.
Today, he won't eat at all. He has gone downhill all day. This morning he was mostly swimming normally, now he is laying on the bottom of the isolation tank we put him in. His color was normal, now seems a little light. We did not notice any unusual white, now he seems to be a little powdery or velvety. His breathing is getting more and more labored.
We put him (might be a her, we don't know) in a separate tank and added Maracyn.
<Of no use here>
 I've researched many things online and don't have a good resource locally that we know of. All that I've read has rendered me quite confused.
Do I add salt or not?
<.... see WWM...>
Do I use Parasite Guard or not? Do cichlid  pellets and flakes provide enough vegetable food or do I need to ensure the fish get more (when he starts eating if I am able to save him)?
Thanks for your site and any help you can offer in this situation.
<You've written a good record of the causes of the troubles here. Too much NO3 (and likely other nutrients) due to... insufficient filtration, maintenance... Poisoning of the system w/ the algicide... Fix the environment here... Bob Fenner>

Re: Festae Breeding, now hlth. Question   6/12/12
Red Terror Problems- Maybe fish Louse

Hello WWM crew.  I'm replying back about my festae cichlid that hasn't eaten for over 3 weeks now.  I have him in a quarantine tank by himself right now and I've been treating him with General Cure made by API because I hear its a good all around treatment.  The active ingredients are Metronidazole and Praziquantel and I've been treating as the package suggests with a dose every 48 hours and a 25 percent water change before each dose.  It's been 6 days now (3 treatments).  Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, and Nitrate is 10.  He's been breathing hard and won't look at food at all so I'm only treating the water column.  I took him out of the quarantine tank today to take a look at his gills and I notices that the gills are not attached to his body on the underside and I think they should be (I've attached a photo with the area circled).
< The gills are attached to a gill arch. The whole underside of the fish between the gill covers an the body doesn't look right. It looks as though a bacteria has eaten though some of the tissues in the lower part of the gill covers.>
 The other picture I've attached shows a bulge right below his gills, although its not the best photo.  Is this the way normal gills look, I have always thought they were attached to the body on the underside?  Thank you for your help!
< Flip the fish over so you can get a better idea what the bulge is . I am thinking you might have a fish louse. It is a crustacean that may come in to the aquarium with feeder fish. The Praziquantel should take care of this problem.-Chuck

Re: Festae Breeding Question
Festae on Medications    6/19/12

Hello again, I'm pretty sure my male festae isn't going to make it.  I am now worried about my other fish as I don't want the same thing to happen to them in my main tank.  They are all still eating and I am wondering if I can dose the General Cure (Metronidazole and Praziquantel) into their food.
 Is this possible?  If so, how many mg should I put per dosage?  Should I dose the water column also?  I am also wondering if Metronidazole and Praziquantel make fish sterile?  Thanks for the help.
< Keep the water clean and try to keep the nitrates under 20 ppm. The lower the nitrogenous waste levels the better. Look for medicated foods with these medications already in them. You may have to look online to find these meds. Usually the meds are very tough on the kidneys and liver. Stay away from glass or blood worms. When treating the water column the medications may effect the bacteria that break the waste down into nitrates so a "new tank syndrome" make occur after treatments. Hope this helps.
Re Festae on Medications II   6/20/12

I'm still torn between treating the tank or not.  The fish all seem ok and they have been since the other fish got sick (the other fish got sick a little over a month ago).  In your opinion, should I medicate or not?  I hear clean water is the best medication so maybe I should just keep the water clean?  You said stay away from blood worms and I'm not sure if you
are just talking about live blood worms.  Are frozen or freeze dried bloodworms OK to use?
< I agree that you should strive to maintain  a clean environment and allow the fish to fight off infections on their own. I don't recommend any type of blood or glass worms in a cichlid diet. They do just fine without it.-Chuck>

Re: Thorichthys Ellioti bloat    6/8/12
Hi guys,
it seems I've got my fourth case of bloat in a Thorichthys Ellioti coming up. A bit frustrating, it seems we have our Elliotis for about a year, then they balloon up and expire!
<Not fun>
I'd understand if the junior Elliotis got stressed out as there is a wee bit of chasing, but it's always the senior (bully) who dies...
<Perhaps a clue>
We introduced two juvenile Bristlenose Plecos about a month ago, can that be the issue?
<Shouldn't be>
 Would gladly hand them back to my LFS if that's the problem.
Our water quality is decent, but NO3 is a bit high
<How high? I'd keep under 10 ppm.
Do see WWM, the Freshwater Sub Index, re>
(London UK tap water). I've got two good filters running, loads of plants, aeration, very careful stocking... Don't know what else I can do.
I've got a bottle of Anti-internal bacteria (bronopol formaldehyde) from Interpet – is that good?
<Mmm, have not read re use of for this symptom.>
Also have some EsHA2000, suppose that won't do any good?
<What little I know re bloat/dropsical conditions, in cichlids and other FW fishes is archived here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm
Any advice? I'm really fond of my Elliotis and I hate to see them suffer.
<Yes... perhaps a bit more alkalinity, carbonate presence might help... There seems to be a correlation re>
thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Thorichthys Ellioti bloat   6/12/12
Bloat Problems With Thorichthys Ellioti

Hi team,
Thank you for good advice. Ruby the senior Ellioti bit the big one I'm afraid. Tried treating her with internal bacteria meds but she was too far gone. I'm aware of NO3 issues, but I can't understand how Ruby could have stayed perfectly healthy for over a year with consistent 40 ppm NO3 and then suddenly balloon and die within 48 hours?
We also had a heat wave in London a few weeks ago, and the water temperature went up from 25 to 28-29 C for a few days, that could have stressed her too I guess?
< Probably not since this is in their normal temp. range.>
My three Elliotis got along much better after our separating Ruby in the birthing cage as you suggested btw, it worked a treat. Adding liquid carbon daily for the plants. pH very stable at 8.
Pretty close to giving up on this species now, it's been my favourite all along but it's so annoying when they keep dying...many thanks, Fredrik
< Check the diet. I have found that glass or blood worms  may cause intestinal problems with some cichlids. In any case the binder of some commercial foods also may case intestinal problems. Try a change in food and see if that helps.-Chuck> 

Lethargic chocolate cichlid, poss. tumor or egg-bound?   3/20/12
Hi crew,
I have a five year old chocolate cichlid (Hypselecara temporalis)
alone in a planted 75gal tank that has been very lethargic for a couple weeks.  The water tests out fine (ammonia and nitrite zero, nitrate ~40mg/mL,
<Too high by twice
. Please read here:
and the linked files above>
 pH ~7.6).  The water parameters haven't changed recently.  She has been spending most of each day lying head down, back arched, right side up, tail up.  She still responds to outside stimulus if I go up to the tank to see her, but quickly goes back to her lying down position.  I've done multiple large water changes and added carbon to the filter (which I don't usually use since the tank is planted), along with a couple tablespoons of aquarium salt.  She has been more responsive since the water changes and carbon.  The tank has been running for about five years and she's the only fish that has been in there (though there are plenty of snails).
On her right side, lower body, she appears to have an asymmetrical bulge.  I'm concerned this bulge may be due to a tumor or stuck eggs.
I know she's female since about four years ago she cleared out some gravel to nest and laid a few dozen eggs.  She has not laid eggs at all since then (compared to our blood parrot cichlid that lays eggs every four weeks like clockwork).  I've tried to capture the asymmetry of the bulge in the attached photo.  When she headstands on the gravel, she always does so with her right side (the bulging side) up, at about a 45-degree angle.  She is a very moody fish
<Common for the species>
 and at first we thought this was some kind of nesting behavior since she cleared the gravel down to the glass bottom and used that spot for her headstands for a few days.  After I covered the glass back up, she picked a new spot, moved gravel and resumed the headstands.  Now she's just doing it without a cleared spot in the gravel so it seems more like lethargy than nesting/hormonal moodiness.  Her diet is mostly Hikari cichlid feed plus occasional frozen bloodworms and fresh-caught houseflies.
<Mmm... I'd switch to Spectrum pellets, the occasional earthworm (from a clean/pesticide free area)>
She's not currently eating.
Can you suggest anything that might be able to help her out, or at least make her more comfortable for the time she has left?
<Perhaps the use of Epsom Salt. Read here:
and the linked Epsom FAQ file above>
 Does anything I've said sound like an indication for a particular antibiotic? 
<Of no use here>
Would stuck eggs present as a more symmetrical bloat?
<Not necessarily, no>
I've used frozen peas for constipated fish before, any chance constipation could present asymmetrically? 
I'm also considering Epsom salts, maybe in-tank, maybe a dip?
<Yes... in-tank>
Thank for your time on this question and all the others you answer!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, Ca.>

Re: Lethargic chocolate cichlid, poss. tumor or egg-bound?  3/21/12
Hi Bob,
I appreciate your response about our chocolate cichlid.  I've slowly added 4 tbsp Epsom salts during a 15% water change to get to a bit under 1tsp/5gal and plan another tablespoon in the morning.  I had added a Rena 'Bio Chem Zorb' pouch to the canister just before the nitrate test so that plus the next few water changes should help with the nitrate levels; I'll also give the micron and coarse filter pads an extra rinse and get to a weekly schedule on replacing the micron pad (and cleaning out plant detritus) to reduce nitrate generation.
  I will keep her in there with an extra bubbler for oxygenation and see how she does.  So far she seems less stressed than this morning before the Epsom salts.
She'll get peas the next time she looks interested in food.  I will look for Spectrum pellets, they don't sound familiar to me --
<Mmm, see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SpectrumFoodsF.htm
 I'm still on pre-Fukushima Hikari bags and was wondering what to buy next so it's great to get a recommendation.
-Brian, Vermont
<Welcome. BobF>

Midas Cichlid with internal bacterial/fungal infection?   12/8/11
Hi Wet Web Media Team!
I need help with treating my sick Midas Cichlid.  Our Midas who we affectionately call Midas (original huh!) has not eaten for three days and it's hard to tell because she won't come out from behind the rocks but she looks to have a growth or bubble on her underside.  My husband cleaned the gravel, the filter and did at least a 50% water change last night.  The levels were perfect as of last night. We have a Marineland Emperor 400 Filter with bio wheel. We inherited the fish and the fish tank from my ex-fiancé about five years ago.  Midas is approx. 8 years old.  One of the problems is that the tank is over crowded.  Like I said we inherited all of these fish, this isn't our choice to have this arrangement, but Midas is in a 75 gal tank with about 14 albino/pink convicts.
<Mmm, very likely being bullied by them>
 We have tried to give them away and no one wants them, most of our friends have nice small fish not large aggressive fish.  So we deal with it by doing frequent water changes and checking levels frequently as well.
 I'm not sure that's enough given that Midas is now sick.
I read these two questions/answers below that are on your website which really seem to apply to the description of our Midas right now but I still have a few questions. What temperature is optimal while she is in this state?
<The mid to upper 70's F.>
 Should I transfer her to a hospital tank if I don't already have one established?  Should I use the Metronidazole and the Nitrofurazone? If I don't use a hospital tank are these medicines safe for the albino/pink cichlids and our filter system with the bio wheel?  And what is a furnace antibiotic?
<I wouldn't times two and not altogether safe, and Furanace is a Furan Compound... easy to look up/Google>
Thank you very much for your help!  We love her very much and want treat her in any way we can to save her!
<This fish needs to be placed in another system... Really, the root cause is social/environmental. Won't get better living w/ all these Convicts. Bob Fenner>

Green Terror with swollen anal area    5/23/11
Hi Crew
I have a Green Terror that has suddenly developed a 1cm round bulge around its anal area.
It is still active and I saw it do a thin red poop. Other than that, there is nothing else protruding out of its
Its tummy also looks bloated, almost like a block.
<I wonder what it swallowed... if anything>
Is it likely to be anything more than constipation and is there more I should do other than put in some Epsom salt (I tried peas, which were ignored).
<IF you're sufficiently worried, AND this fish begins eating something, I might try "lacing" the food w/ Metronidazole (for possible Protozoans) and likely Praziquantel (or other anthelminthic) for worm parasites. Concentrations, rationale are posted on WWM for. Bob Fenner>
Re: Green Terror with swollen anal area    5/23/11
Thanks Bob.
<Hey Tim>
Maybe the attached picture will provide a better idea of what is going on. Any change to your diagnosis?
<Mmm, no... again, could be some sort of gut blockage only... or possibly parasitic involvement>
There is nothing small enough for it to swallow
<Not even gravel? Perhaps a "bug that fell in"...>
and no fish missing (eaten by it). I do have fine sand though - could it be swallowing mouthfuls of those when scooping up pellets?
<Hopefully this too shall pass. BobF>

Parachromis managuensis orange material   10/6/10
Orange Mass With Managuense

Hi, Great page!!! I have a pair of Parachromis managuensis in a 500 l. plastic outdoor water
cylindrical tank, male is 35 cm. female is 25 cm.
My question is, At the bottom, there is a loose mass of orange like material (NOT EGGS) and the
parents did not display any behavior associated to spawning or egg caring (fanning etc) only the male hassle a bit the female, head bumping, a bit chasing'¦Could this material be some kind of pre-spawn substance?
Thanks in advance, Gustavo pd: if you answer, please send it here, and then you can post it. Thanks very
< No pre-spawn. With cichlids it is usually all or nothing. I suspect that something is falling in the water since your tank is outside, or it is some indigestible fecal matter from the food you are feeding. It may have indigestible plant parts in it. Look at the label for things like corn etc...-Chuck>
Re: Parachromis manguensis orange material
Orange Mass With Managuense II   10/6/10

Thanks Chuck, I think you are right since I was giving them Koi pellets, high in wheat...
the thing is that they are rejecting small frozen fish, only eating spiders I give them. I guess they are a bit confused yet, only 5 days in the tank since I got them from a friend of mine...What other food do you suggest?
Thanks once again, Gustavo
< I would go with a high quality pellet and flake food that is made specifically for cichlids.>

Sensory Pores, HLLE, New World Cichlids  3/1/10
Hello Crew,
I have noticed as of late that there are small pin hole sized pores on the front of my Severum and Festivum. The water is a touch hard for those species but I am looking into an RO unit. I have read that these cichlids have what are called Sensory Pores that they use to detect changes in their surroundings. I cannot seem to get any other information other then that it may be Hole in the Head. How can I tell the difference? My nitrates are consistently at 20ppm or lower. The tank has been cycled for a year and is well established. The holes are perfectly symmetrical and for every hole on the left side of the face there is an equally sized and exactly symmetrical hole on the other side. Thanks in advance for your greatly appreciated advice.
<Hello Phill. Generally, sensory pores are extremely small, and they don't suddenly appear out of nowhere. They also appear to match the background colour of the fish. Damaged pores, as you get from Hole-in-the-head, tend
to be larger and often appear white because skin (or flesh) below the coloured layer of the skin is exposed. Since the pores do become infected, the Hole-in-the-head lesions can appear symmetrical because the pores are
symmetrical. It's important to catch Hole-in-the-head early, and treatment needs to involve both medication (Metronidazole) plus correction of whatever dietary or water quality issues might be going on. Since Severums
are herbivores in the wild, it's important they get plenty of fresh greens.
Neither of these species is fussy about water chemistry, though they do come from soft water in the wild. I'd be more mindful of nitrate level, as this is more often the cause of sickness with large cichlids. Cheers, Neale.>
Hi Phill--
I accidentally responded to your e-mail without first placing into my own box to prevent it from being answered by anyone else! As a result, you've probably received two responses. I've deleted my own from WWM's inbox to
avoid any confusion, so I wanted to let you know that you only have to respond to one, not both! Feel free to respond to Neale's, since he seemed to think the situation more serious than I did, so is probably more familiar with the issue and more aware of its ability to appear benign but turn negative. Therefore, he would be the better person for you to speak to! I just wanted to clarify what was going on! Sorry for any confusion!
Re: Sensory Pores
Hi Neale,
Thanks for the help.
<My pleasure.>
I will get on that medication asap. As for the fresh greens....any good examples that will boost his diet?
<All sorts of things are good. Cheap aquarium plants are one way to go, as with Goldfish. Otherwise tinned peas, cooked spinach, Sushi Nori, even small pieces of soft fruit. Feel free to try out whatever salads you have at home, perhaps zapping in the microwave (or blanching with boiling water) to soften them up a bit. The goal is to have at least some greenery available for the Severum to munch on whenever he/she wants, rather as is the case with Surgeonfish, another group very prone to Hole-in-the-Head.>
I just added some Anacharis which I was told they will eat readily. I also add herbivore pellets and omnivore pellets once a week. Should I bump the herbivore pellets to twice weekly as I do see him eating that as well?
<For Severums, it's a good idea to balance the diet about 50/50 between green foods and meaty. I'd sooner use Spirulina flake and algae wafers as the staples than standard fish food, but regular offerings of fibre-rich wet-frozen krill and other whole invertebrates would certainly be worthwhile. On the other hand, try to avoid protein-rich, fibre-poor foods like beef heart, fish fillet and shelled seafood. You might use these as a treat two or three times a month, but no more than that. Severums do seem prone to digestive tract problems including things like prolapses and bloating, so making sure there's lots of indigestible matter in their diet is probably useful in the long run. It's also worth mentioning that the red colouration on these fish comes from the carotene in crustacean skeletons, among other things, so the more unshelled krill, Mysis and brine shrimp in their diet, the prettier they'll be.>
Thanks again.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sensory Pores
Hi again Neale,
Sounds great. I have been doing flake (M.W,F) and Cichlid Attack pellets (T, Th, Sat) and algae wafers/Omni wafers Sundays with frozen bloodworms nightly.
<Sounds good to me.>
I'll replace some of the flakes with wafers and add some more Anacharis. He also seems to like my Crypt balansae plants.
<I bet! Do try Indian Fern, as this stuff seems very palatable and grows so fast (and so easily) that it also helps mop up nitrate and control algae.
Amazon Frogbit also seems to be edible.>
Are the bloodworms ok or are they going along the same lines as the beef heart and could harm his digestive tract?
<Bloodworms contain a lot of indigestible matter. In fact I seem to recall they're only around 4-5% protein, with a good part of the rest being indigestible chitin and harmless water. So they're a good, natural food. In fact almost anything "whole" is good, at least in terms of fibre content and moisture, so problems with constipation are less likely. There are some who argue that top quality prepared foods are safer and better, and you can find such discussions elsewhere at WWM. But me, I reckon the more varied the diet, and the stronger the accent on providing green foods to herbivorous/omnivorous fish, the better. Much as with humans. There's much discussion about carbs, fat and sugar and all that good stuff, but you can actually optimise human nutrition by heeding just five words: eat more fruit and vegetables. Do that, and everything else takes care of itself.
Same with cichlids. Most cichlids are at least partially herbivorous, so anything you can do to get more greens into them improves their colour, vitality and disease resistance in the long term.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

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