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FAQs on Cichlid Disease 3

Related Articles: Cichlid FishesFreshwater Fish Diseases, Freshwater DiseasesIch/White Spot Disease, Freshwater Medications

Related FAQs: Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease 2, Cichlid Disease 4, African Cichlid Disease, Oscar Disease/Health, Aquarium MaintenanceFreshwater MedicationsFreshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish ParasitesIch/White Spot DiseaseCichlids in General, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Reproduction, Dwarf South American Cichlids, African Cichlids, Angelfishes, Discus, Chromides, Neotropical CichlidsOscars, Flowerhorns

Green terror Lost a Gill Plate  - 01/09/2006 Hi crew. Read the instructions on contacting you. About  4 weeks ago I lost my Texas, at the time he had some small red sores on his side. Hopped online and came across your site. Did the water change, scrubbed everything, ensured levels stable, temp was at 25C. I have African cichlids mostly so trying to find middle medium on pH at 8.0. Added salt to stimulate skin protection, treated with Melafix. Lost him anyway (he was 13cm so was pretty harsh to lose). Tank since seamed great. Went on holiday returned after 5 days from Sydney. Still tank was 100%, all levels right. Adjusted pH to 8.2 for the Texas is no longer in the tank. My Green terror has now just had his right gill detach at the base. I have removed him and placed in hospital tank. Separation of gill happened in 2 days 1 night. I have him in stable hospital tank but cannot find anything online that comes close to what has happened. I'll treat with Melafix until I get better advise on what I can use. Awaiting your response. Thanks Lisa < Your green terror probably got into a fight with one of you African cichlids and got it ripped off. African cichlids have incredibly strong mouths with lots of teeth to back it up. They eat by scraping algae off of rocks. These same teeth and mouths make pretty good weapons. In the wild obviously these fish never see each other so the green terror really didn't expect such an opponent. This is why I recommend never to mix rift lake cichlids with other cichlids. Keep the water clean and treat for infections if needed. The gill cover probably won't grow back.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn With Cloudy Eyes  - 01/09/2006 Dear WWM, My male Flowerhorn, has a white film over both of his eyes for about 2 weeks now. I've noticed that at the center of the eyes there's a circle that's fuzzy. I thought that it was cloud eye, and have been using Melafix + methylene blue + salt for 2 weeks, also I changed 30% of the water every week and there has been no improvement. I want to know what can I do or which medicine I should use, to help cure my fish of this eye disease? Thank You Rodney <  Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Try erythromycin. Follow the directions on the package. When the fish is cured the add carbon to remove the excess medication and then add Bio-Spira by Marineland to reestablish the good bacteria in the tank.-Chuck>

Severum Cured From Popeye  - 1/6/06 Hey Chuck, remember that 3 inch green Severum with the eye problems in the tank full of cichlids that I rescued? Well its eye is almost completely clear and normal, except for one thing. Around the outer edge of the eyeball, there are swollen skin and white colored growths that make it almost as though the eye is riding on a pillow. Its impossible to get a good picture of this, and I don't know how to explain it any other way. I treated with Metronidazole and Rid Ich for almost a week now. The situation is much much better now than ever. But I am absolutely stumped as to what this is. Perhaps you know? <When a fish has Popeye, some of the connective tissue around the eye is stretched out. When the Popeye is cured and the pressure is released the eye falls back into place but the surrounding tissue may stay loose for awhile. Give it some time and I think it will go away on its own.-Chuck>

Re: Cichlid Death  - 1/6/06 Thank you for the help. It worked. One of them died and I am not sure why. It looked healthy, but one day it just stopped eating and just hit behind a plant for a week until it starved to death. It didn't look diseased at all. What do you think the problem was? < Probably an internal blockage or an internal bacterial infection.-Chuck> Robert Miller

Re: Cichlid Death  - 1/6/06 Should I treat the water with anything so my other fish don't get sick too? < Bloat is caused by stress and a poor diet. I would change the diet to include more vegetable matter. If a fish stops eating then that is a symptom that you need to medicate.-Chuck> Robert Miller Pike Cichlid Beat Up And Hiding Hello, I have a 3 inch golden pike which has a  problem.  He was originally in a 55 gallon tank along with a 5  inch tiger Oscar, a 3 inch jack Dempsey, 2 inch Pleco, and a 2 inch  catfish.   The 55 gallon tank is temporary and eventually they  will be in a 90 gallon tank.  Yesterday I noticed that my pike had  some red spots on his side which I could tell were not part of his  colorization.  I spoke to a guy at the LFS who knows his stuff,  and he told me it is probably hemorrhaging, caused by the other fish who  are picking on him.  Then today I noticed that he would not come  out of his cave and when he did he got viciously attacked by the Oscar  and Dempsey.  I took him out of the tank and placed him a 10  gallon tank which I had bought recently as a quarantine tank.   However the tank has gotten a chance to cycle and has only been running  for half a day.  I placed the pike in there because I though he  wouldn't make in the 55 tank another day.  He has been in the 10  gallon for about four hours and hasn't moved at all, he's still  breathing but I don't know what to do.  Any advice that you could  lend me on this situation would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you. Jim <Pikes really don't do too well with other aggressive cichlids. The pike cichlids mouth is for catching smaller fish. It doesn't do too well against other cichlids that may bite it and break it. Your pike is pretty tough and will probably recover from the attacks, but the tougher question is where to put it. The other fish get big but your pike will not be able to tolerate the more aggressive cichlids. Your pike will get about 18 inches when full grown s will need at least a 55 gallon tank all on his own.-Chuck>

Pike Beat Up II     Thanks for your quick response.  However since I sent my email to  you the Pike while in the 10 gallon still hasn't moved, eaten and is  breathing  heavy and looks really stressed.  He still has the  red marking on his side. I even put so live food in the tank with him  and he didn't even acknowledge it.  When I took him out of the  other tank  (55 gl) I was treating it with quick cure for protozoan  parasites which some of the fish had especially the Oscar.  Can  the parasite from the 55 gallon be the reason for his heavy breathing  and stressed out condition.  I put PimaFix in the 10 gallon to  help him, but nothing.  Is there any medication that I should give  him that would help him recover.  Thank you in advance for your  help. Jim < Sounds like you pike really got beat up. The Nitrofuranace will help with both bacterial and fungal infections. If you pike is listless and non-responsive you could try adding a teaspoon of rock salt per 5 gallons, but after that there is not much you can do except keep the water clean and warm (80+F).-Chuck>

Cichlid With Prolapsed Colon/Anus Getting Worse   12/28/05 Hi, I've emailed before about my cichlid having a prolapsed anus. We tried the not feeding for about 5 days then we picked up some furan-2 which was said to be the same thing as the Nitrofuranace? <Close enough.> anyways we've finished the treatment and now my poor cichlid has gotten worse. We're thinking of putting him out of his misery but want to know if he can be saved. Its been 2weeks now. < If it has gotten worse then it probably is infected. You might try some Metronidazole and keep your fingers crossed.-Chuck>

New Cichlids Don't Do Well In New tank  12/24/05 Hi, I had been keeping a Green Terror in a 75 gallon tank by itself. I decided to get another fish. I went to my LFS and bought the gold Severum. When I put it in the tank, it began to look like it was about to die and my Green Terror kept on tearing at it. I decided to take it back. The employee recommended a Tiger Oscar. I bought it. Same thing happened except my Green Terror was afraid to go near it. I've had it for 2 days now. I've been giving the tank 50% water changes. Green Terror is fine, but every fish that comes from LPS lays on its side. After the first 50% water change he became a little better. I gave him another today, but he still seems sick. What could be the problem. Please answer back fast, my Oscar seems like it doesn't have much time. Thank You < Check your water. Ammonia, nitrites should be zero. Nitrates should be under 20 ppm. I suspect that the water chemistry from the store is very different than your own. Too big a change in pH can be stressful to fish.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn Floating  12/15/05 Hi, I went on vacation and left a Flowerhorn fish alone.  It's been 2 weeks that he's lying on one side on the surface.  He has a bump at the side tummy and is exposed ( not submerse in water). No color change and fin is still moving.  What can I do?  Please help, I do not know what to do. <Sometimes when people leave on vacation they try and fatten up their fish before they leave by feeding them extra food. The problem with this idea is that they eat too much and sometimes the food blocks their intestines. The bacteria in the gut start to feed on the blocked food and they generate gas and the gas develops into pressure and bloating. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. You fish is pretty well along and you may not have caught it in time.-Chuck>

White Worms With Baby Fish  12/1/05 Hi, I am currently breeding Ps. demasoni. Tonight, when I stripped the female of her fry (still with egg pouch attached), into a small, plastic breeding container, what I noticed with the babies was tons of these little white worms. They obviously came out of the mothers mouth with the babies. My question is, is this a parasite, and if so, will it hurt the babies or other fish, and should I expect this parasite to be in my tanks, i.e., in my other fish as well? What do I do? < This is not normal. I am guessing that these may be gill flukes. Treat with Fluke-Tabs. This will get rid of any invertebrates in the tank.-Chuck> 

Fluke-Tabs With Fry  12/2/05 Really cool. Thanks. I'll try that. But will fluke tabs hurt my babies?  They still have the egg pouch. <I have not heard of any problems with fry, but to be safe you could put the fry in another container while you treat the main tank.-Chuck> 

Cichlid Feeling Blue  11/30/05 Hello: I've had my blue cichlid (not sure what kind it is exactly, do you know?) <Could not get your photo to come up.> on Maracyn II for 6 days now (today is the 6th day).  I've examined it tonight and her eyes are clear now (they were a slight bit cloudy last Thursday) and her left front fin is growing back (her tail fin and front side fin were showing some rot before I started meds). She's looking much better but she lays on the bottom of the convalescent tank I have her in. I noticed at her anus that it was red and looks a little infected in that it appears like it protrudes out a bit when you're looking across the bottom of her body. I'm not sure what her problem can be.  I started her on Mela Fix and Pima Fix for the first 4 days (I treated the entire 30 gal tank) and then I thought she had a more serious infection because she was staying on the bottom, like she can't float. So I've now put her in a convalescent tank that I've actually placed in the big tank to regulate the water temperature (about 78 degrees). I have an air filter in it for her and every morning and night, I change the water with the water from the regular tank. The temperature stays constant as it's in the big tank.  Twice last Thursday, she jumped out of that tank into the big one so I took a small bit of water out and now she's been okay in her little tank. I was thinking of putting her back in the breeder net (I had her in a breeder net when I was treating the entire tank with the Mela and Pima Fix) but if she still has an infection, I should probably run another round of something but I don't know what. What do you think? <I think your fish has an interior <<Internal, maybe?>> bacterial infection. Keep your fish in the the hospital tank and treat with Metronidazole for the interior infection and Nitrofurazone for the exterior bacterial infection.> I've attached a picture showing my fish and also another view of her anus area. < The bacteria inside are growing and pushing out the colon. The metro will help.> Any help you can give me would be much appreciated. I've got 4 cichlids in that tank, one just gave birth to 8 babies from which 4 are still alive in another 10 gallon tank. I've grown pretty close to these guys. They are great! :)Also, as some background info, I bought this fish as a baby back in April of 2003. How long do fish last generally? < As a rule of thumb I generally think it is an inch per year. Of coarse many fish last longer than this. I have had a little tetra for a number of years and is still going strong.> I've been taking care of fish since mid 2002 so I'm not too experienced but I've kept a spreadsheet and logged everything I do so I can understand when I make mistakes, etc. < Great. Keep it up and you will be an aquarist for a very long time.-Chuck> Thanks again, Joann Joseph Rhode Island 

Treating Bloat In Cichlids  12/1/05 Thanks Chuck. I appreciate the info. I bought the Metronidazole but they didn't have the Nitrofurazone. Tonight, I put the Metronidazole and the Maracyn II and the fish store suggested I feed the fish flakes as it will digest better (she's been eating and pooping pretty regularly so far) so he suggested Omega One super veggie kelp flakes. I've been feeding her Cichlid Gold for quite a while now and just recently bought Aquarian cichlid pellet food. They told me the Cichlid Gold was not appropriate for African Cichlids and that they would be better off with more of a vegetable diet. How important is the nitrofurazone over the Maracyn II?? < The Maracyn II is an Erythromycin derivative and handles gram negative bacteria. The Nitrofurazone handles both gram negative as well as gram positive bacteria. It also has some anitfungal properties too.> <<<Whups!  Chuck mistyped - Erythromycin treats only gram-POSITIVE bacteria.>>> I went to this mom and pop aquarium shop and they didn't have it but if you feel it's critical, I have Petco and Petsmart I can check to see if they carry it. Anyway, thanks again for your help. I will let you know how the fish makes out.  Take care, Joann ps: I'm gonna try attaching the photo again to this email. <<It attached just fine, was forgotten, need to put it in the appropriate folder.  Fortunately, I found it! <big grin>  Marina>> < The change in diet is a good idea for your Lake Malawi cichlid. Look at the ingredient list for medications you have available and I am sure you will see it listed. Get the one that has the most in it.-Chuck> 

Kribs And Exophthalmia - 11/25/2005 One week ago, I noticed my female Kribensis eyes were popped out of her head. She lived for about 2 weeks and then died.  Two days ago, I noticed that my male Kribensis had the same problem. I need to understand what is happening.  Thank you,  -Sherry <Thanks for correcting and re-sending your question, Sherry.  Exophthalmia, or "pop-eye", is usually caused by poor water conditions.  First, you need to test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; ammonia and nitrite should be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm.  If any of these are higher, you'll need to do water changes to get them back to normal.  Also, please read here for more information:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpopeyefaqs.htm .  One to two tablespoons of Epsom salt per ten gallons of water may help a great deal, once the water quality is back to good.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Treating An Old (and He Means OLD!) red Devil With Hole-In-The-Head  11/16/05 Hello, I have a 17 year old Red Devil Cichlid (Fred) who was in the peak of health until I stupidly (over) adjusted the pH a month ago, and he took quite a roller coaster ride before I was able to stabilize things. Unfortunately, even after I got the water back to acceptable levels, he would still not eat (he had stopped eating when all the water troubles began). It was suggested that I put feeder fish in with him to stimulate his appetite, but the feeder goldfish was in there 5 days and nothing happened. I was thinking that Fred (the Cichlid) might just be going crazy in the confines of his 40 gallon tank, so I got a 100 gallon tank for him and started it cycling. The other day I noticed that Fred had a couple lesions on his head. I'm afraid he has Hole in The Head disease, especially because he exhibits some of the symptoms associated with HITH disease: *A tendency to 'hang' in corners. *A tendency to stare at food but without eating it, or if it does take a sample it immediately spits it out again. *The decline in food acceptance, is often accompanied or followed by lethargy, and a reduction in muscle tissue which gives the fish a 'pinched' appearance behind the head and the skin 'texture' may take on a roughened appearance *White, jelly like excreta can often be seen trailing from the anal vent, on the floor of bare bottom aquaria, or sometimes white, stingy 'rotted plant-like material' is 'adrift' in the aquarium. *The wasted fish may develop a bloated stomach region. *Skin lesions may start to appear, especially on the body and the head, in the region of the lateralis system - these holes may eventually expand and connect to from considerable size 'craters' The only symptom here that Fred didn't exhibit was the 'jelly like excreta'. Thing is, this could also be Head and Lateral Line Erosion - HLLE, or both together, couldn't it? < They are often associated with one another.> I took the carbon out of his canister filter, gradually raised his water temp to 84 degrees F, did a 30% water change, and added 250mg of Metronidazole for each 10 gallons in his 40 gallon tank. About 12 hours later I did another 25% water change and gave him another dose of Metronidazole.  I intend to do this for 3 days, based on articles I have read on the subject. Most of the fish store "Experts" that I have spoken to have rather heartlessly told me to give up all hope since he's so old. That is a little defeatist for me, thank you. If it's Fred's time to go, then so be it. Until then, I intend to give him a fighting chance. Period. As it is, he seems to be less 'sulky' than before, but on day 2 of the Metronidazole treatment, he is still not eating.  Of most concern to me other than the not eating is that his stomach is distended only on the left hand side, and his tail tends to curve around to his left. I know that the Protozoan Parasites responsible for Hexamita (HITH disease) naturally occur in the fish's stomach, and just get out of hand when the fish gets stressed, as Fred was recently. It's just got me worried that it's only on one side, which he seems to be favoring, almost like it's a tumor. I know one of the symptoms of HITH is swelling of the stomach, but just on one side? <It depends where the infection has manifested itself.> And does it sound like I'm taking a reasonable course of action here? < Metronidazole breaks down very easily in dirty water. I would vacuum the gravel and clean the filter and medicate with Nitrofurazone as well.> I would hate to make any more big mistakes that might end up doing Fred in at this point! Speaking of mistakes, I made a big one when I removed the activated carbon from the canister filter. I squeezed out the sponge and washed out all the good goop that was in the canister, thereby destroying the biological filter. The gravel bed in the aquarium is still undisturbed, so I haven't killed the biological filter completely, but I know I screwed up. I have been adding AmQuel with the water changes, so that helps. Would it get in the way of the Metronidazole treatments to add Bio Spira, in order to get the biological filter back on track? < The Nitrofuranace will definitely affect the biological filter. Your fish is not eating anyway so discontinue to feed until a cure is achieved. When a cure is achieved then add carbon to remove any medication and then add the Bio-Spira to the water to get the tank cycled again.> And can I add NovAqua to ease Fred's stress a little? < Follow the directions on the bottle.> Oh, and I've read that feeder fish can infect a Cichlid with HITH. They get it through the feces of the feeder fish. Is this plausible? < Feeder fish can introduce many parasites but this is not one of them.> It occurred to me that he may have gotten it from the feeder fish I put in with him. There are 5 feeder fish in the 100 gallon tank that is now cycled and ready for Freddy when he gets out of hospital. I was planning on putting the feeder fish into the 40 gallon tank when I put Fred into the 100 gallon tank, but I would hate for Fred to get infected all over again when I put him into the 100 gallon tank that the feeder fish just left (infected from the feeder fish waste still in the tank). Would you share your thoughts on these things? < The feeder fish are not the immediate problem right now. Go to Cichlid-Forum.com and search the data base for a rather lengthy article on hole in the head. This will give you some insight on how hard this is to cure.-Chuck> Thank you for your help on this! Chris Haller pH: 7.8; Nitrite: 0; Ammonia: (I don't know because the AmQuel messes up the Nessler reagent); Nitrate: negligible; General Hardness: 140 ppm; Carbonate Hardness: 5 German degrees 

Green terror Lost His Head 11/3/05 Hi, I have a question regarding my Green Terror. He suddenly died yesterday. Our cichlids started scratching a lot and we thought they were getting Ick. < Probably high nitrate concentrations. Should have checked the nitrates. If they were over 20 ppm then you needed to change some water instead of add medication.> We started treating on Monday with Super Ick. Yesterday we added another dose and not 30 seconds after that our Green Terror was at the top floating and then dropped to the bottom. When we got him out of the tank, my fiancé noticed that the bottom of his head was not attached to the bottom of his body. Don't know if that makes sense. I was wondering if you could tell me perhaps what happened. < Neither ich nor any medication can account for your green terror's cut throat. I suspect that he cut it on something in the aquarium or on the top of the tank while thrashing about.> Nothing else seemed wrong except for the scratching. He was eating fine. We have a 26 gallon tank with yellow cichlid, electric blue cichlid, OB peacock, 2 parrots, 1 Texas, 1 albino zebra and a common pleco. The terror was in there to. All of the other fish seem fine. I cannot understand what happened. Thanks for your help. Lori Michalski < Do a 50% water change and add some carbon to the water to remove the medication. Then add some BioSpira to get the nitrification cycle started again and check for ammonia spikes.-Chuck> 

Green Terror Died Losing His Head II - 11/4/05 Hi Chuck, Thanks for the reply. The terror was not trashing around it was the other fish that were doing the scratching. Sorry if I was unclear. We are going to do the water change tonight. What causes the nitrates to rise? < A build up of uneaten food and fish waste.> How should I add the carbon? < Place it in the filter. Many filters now require the purchase of an additional carbon cartridge.> Do you mean just drop some in. < No, add it to the filter.> I do believe we just put an new filter in. Also, do you think that the bio wheel not spinning all the time would cause any of this? Thanks, Lori < Some Marineland filters have little baskets that the carbon can be placed. Others have the carbon in the filter cartridges. The BioWheel contains the bacteria that breaks down the fish waste from toxic ammonia to less toxic nitrites and then to the even less toxic nitrates. Nitrates are converted to nitrogen gas by anaerobic bacteria or absorbed by plants. In the aquarium without plants the must be removed and reduced with water changes. Some chemical compounds claim to remove them but they have yet to be tested over a long time.-Chuck> 

Black Speckling on Cichlids 10/18/05 I have several tanks with different species of cichlids in them. There are several fish, a few in each tank, that are getting black patches around the mouth and on the fins. For the most part the fish are fine and not being bothered. I have had a few fish though that started breathing heavy and hanging out at the bottom of the tank. Out of those a couple have died. Maybe this is two different problems I don't know.  Anyway a little more info. Tanks range in size from 10G to 150G. They all share the same large air compressor running sponge filters in each tank. I make weekly 25-30% water changes by putting tap water in a large plastic Rubbermaid, add Prime and Stress Coat, and let aerate with a pond waterfall pump for 24 hours. I also add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per 10G. After 24 hours and temp is right I then change water. So they all get new water from the same source. I check water parameters every other day and all tanks are as follows. PH - 8.0-8.2 Nitrite - 0 Ammonia - 0 Nitrate - 20-30 Temp 76-78 Here are some attached pics. Any info is greatly appreciated. I have been in this hobby for many years and never seen anything like this. I hate feeling helpless. Thanks < Sometimes these dark areas are simply scars that have taken there toll over time and have darkened with age. Other times it is food with too much Spirulina in it. try changing the diet and see if it changes over time. The heavy breathing I believe is a different issue and may be a protozoa attack on the gills and could be treated with Rid -Ich by Kordon.-Chuck> 

Black Fungus Attacking FW Fish 10/18/05 One of my cichlids has a few white spots come up on his side fin. I am assuming ich and also a few of the others have like this black mildew stuff showing up. So I have raised the temp and I am treating the tank. My Pleco is very unhappy cause I took his hiding place but I don't want to loose any more fish because I lost one already. Is the black a fungus? Laura < Most likely it is the ich parasite attacking the gills of your fish. Be patient and the heat treatment should work on the ich.-Chuck> 

Re: Black Mildew on Fish  10/19/05 Yes the ich is gone but the black mildew is still on the body and fins but still treating and hoping. They seem to be getting color back but lost another fish this morning. He has been really sick, the others are swimming and acting fine. Can I add MelaFix in my tank with the other meds? Laura < I would recommend that the single sick fish be moved to a hospital tank for treatment. I really don't like the idea of mixing medications because you could cause more harm to the rest of your fish. I have recently heard from some friends of mine who have had some success with MelaFix. If the other medications are not working then it is worth a try.-Chuck> Half Black Jewel Cichlid  9/26/05 My jewel cichlid has turned black on the front half of the body.  Do you know what could be causing this.  I do a water change about every two weeks as was recommended by the fish store.   I did have an algae problem growing on the sides of the tank but got rid of that.   I don't have a test kit for the water but my other cichlids seem to be fine.  Thanks STELLA < I have seen this a few times and it always turns out to be am attack of the fishes nervous system. sometimes it is a disease and sometimes it is trauma like an injury. I have seen the back half being black but never the front half. Isolate him in a hospital tank and treat with Nitrofurazone in case it is bacterial related. Jewel fish are pretty durable fish and hopefully he will bounce back.-Chuck> <<Possibly also an iodine deficiency....  Look for the book by Dieter Untergasser, "Handbook of Fish Diseases" (or something similar to that....) - there is a great deal of information there on this condition, including treatment options.  -Sabrina>>

Gold Severums With Black Ich  9/26/05 Hi guys, I'm sorry if this question has already been answered but I couldn't seem to find what I was looking for.  I work in the fish dept. of a pet store and we have several small (3") gold Severums who have developed a coat of small black spots.  They are mostly concentrated in the dorsal area.  I was able to find out that it's "black ich" but all other info I find leads to a Marine disease.  I've treated the fish with Copper twice but still little black spots.  Any suggestions??? Thanks a lot :) Mandi < There is a black spot disease that is associated with wild South American cichlids. It is not treatable but it is not contagious either since it has a fairly complex lifecycle that includes snails and birds. Your gold Severums are a genetic mutation created by fish farms. There are many commercial foods today that can create this darkening. Foods with too much spiraling for example can do this. On most fish this is not to noticeable and even desirable on some fish. Unfortunately it doesn't look too good on gold Severums. If the fish are showing no symptoms of disease I would recommend a change in diet and try a different quality fish food.-Chuck>

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

Cichlid With Popeye  9/17/05 Hi, guys, I desperately need help with a Popeye.  My sajica has developed a Popeye within 2-3 hours.  I isolated him in the q-tank that had aquarium/Epsom salt 1 tablespoon/5 gal. with a dose of Maracyn plus.  A few days later I don't see any improvements in his condition. (Water is changed daily) Now his eye got cloudy as well.  He doesn't eat anything so medicated foods are out of the question.  I am not sure what else I can do.  Would you have any suggestions Thank you, < Treat with Nitrofurazone and Metronidazole in a hospital tank. Change 30% of the water while vacuuming the gravel in the main tank. Clean the filters too.-Chuck>

Pop Eye Coming Back (2) 10/13/05 Hi, guys, A few weeks ago I emailed you about my sajica with a Popeye. I was recommended to treat it with Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone. I treated him with Parasite Clear (has Metronidazole + other things) and Fungus Eliminator (Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone + other things) It took more than 2 weeks but the Popeye was gone, so was the film over the eye.  I transferred him back to his tank but a little bit of the film has reappeared after a while. In addition to that I saw a few white spots around his eyes. Once in a while he tries to swat at his eye with his fin and shake as if he's got some parasites in his gills. His poop looks white/clear and long (internal parasites???). I definitely need to treat him but what do I use??? Parasite Clear and Fungus Eliminator seemed not so effective. Could you advise anything else?  Thank you, Evgenij < What ever caused the pop eye in the first place is still at work. You have cured the symptoms but you need to determine what is wrong with the tank and makes this disease reappear. Check the ammonia, nitrites and especially the nitrates. Get them below 25 PPM. The lower the better. Check the water temp. Should be up around 80 F. Do a 30% water change , vacuum the gravel and change the filter.-Chuck> 

Sajica Cichlid With Popeye (3) 10/18/05 Thank you for your fast response. The tank parameters are fine: ammonia, nitrites are at 0, nitrates are between 10-20 ppm, pH 7.0 GH 250 ppm. I do water changes every week about 25% with gravel vacuuming. I don't think it's the problem. I was wondering if you have any suggestions about medicating him. It appears that he's got parasites but Parasite Clear did not help. Thank you, Evgenij < Add some Epsom salt to the water and check the water temp. Metronidazole will take care of the parasite but you will have to do some research tom find out why he got sick in the first place.-Chuck> 

Flowerhorn, Exophthalmus - 09/10/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I have a Flower Horn called Y6 ( Breed : Red - monkey), about 1.5 years old. It's a beautiful fish and it likes to play with us. However, I found one of its eye has been expanded. But it is still red in colour and play with us as usual. What's wrong is it? <Something has caused a fluid buildup behind the eye; perhaps physical trauma (very likely) or an infection.  This is called Exophthalmus, or "pop-eye". I bought a medicine called : Waterlife - OCTOZIN because I asked some people that in the fish store of Flower Horn. <I would likely not use medicine for this condition.  Instead, add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the tank at a rate of one tablespoon per five gallons.  In a few days, you can do a water change and add Epsom again.  This will help relieve the fluid buildup.> I want to ask : 1) Will Y6 die easily? <I doubt the fish will die.  He looks to be in excellent condition aside from this problem.  It is possible that he will lose the eye, and if he does, you might want to use an antibiotic like Nitrofurazone or Kanamycin to prevent infection - but even then, if he's in otherwise good shape, he'll probably pull through okay.> 2) What's the name of the disease? <As above, this condition is called Exophthalmus.  Any major swelling of the eye can be called this.> 3) How can I save him? <Keep caring for him very well; keep his water quality perfect.  Add the Epsom, and watch to see if it helps.> P.S : I took 4 photos of Y6, hope you can reply me as soon as possible cause I love him very much, THANKS A LOT!! <Thank you for the images, they are VERY well done and show his condition very well.> Vienne from Hong Kong. <Wishing Y6 a swift recovery,  -Sabrina, from California, USA>

Gold Severums Losing Their Luster  8/30/05 Hi there team, Just a little query. I have two golden severums (juveniles at about 2 inches) currently living quite happily in a community tank. However they are losing there colour and one has a very definite vertical banding forming along it's flank, such as is typical in many cichlids. The other fish lacks this banding, but is a little greyer than normal. Amongst their tank mates are a pair of juvenile firemouths (of a similar size and age). Is it bound the realms of possibility that the presence of the firemouths is effecting the colouration of the golden severums? Or is there another reason? I checked back at the shop I purchased them from and the others from the same batch are maintaining their colour. BTW my water is PH 7, Ammo 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 10ppm and has been stable for a long time.(50 gallon tank with filtration system capable of handling almost double this) The only of event of consequence was an outbreak of whitespot about a month ago when new stock became ill (the fish at the shop also became ill at the same time and they white spot had been brought in from the shop. This has been treated and no whitespot has been evident for 3 weeks. Thanks for your thoughts, John Read < Check the diet and lighting. Good food like Spectrum will bring their colors to their fullest. Cheap poor quality food gives you cheap looking fish. Lighting makes a big difference. Go back to the shop and see what lights they are using. Typical shop lights from the hardware store don't do anything for a fishes color. Try ZooMed FloraSun bulbs. Genetics play a part in it too. To look their best they need to be the dominant fish in the tank. -Chuck>

Bloated Angelfish  8/30/05 HELP!!!! My angel fish is so filled with gas, he looks like he's   swallowed a ping-pong ball....what should I do? More antibiotics? < The Metronidazole should have done the trick , but it appears that either the conditions that caused the bloat are still in place or the Metronidazole was ineffective. At this point I would switch to a double dose of a Nitrofurazone medication in a hospital tank or to Clout as a last shot.-Chuck.>

Bloated Angelfish  8/31/05 Thanks for quick response - he's sooooo sick. By the way, another web site suggests: if one is either trained to   handle fish or is a veterinarian, one could try putting a small pin   hole into the bladder to allow the gas to escape.... as a last-ditch effort - he's probably about to die should I try this? Anne < I guess it is worth a try if you have nothing to lose. Most of the time the trauma kills the fish. Try it if you think all hope is lost and write back if it works.-Chuck>

A Really Blue Acara  8/26/05 Hello, I have a sick blue Acara. It's symptoms are that it's fins a frayed around the edges and red at the base, it's scales are rough, it's mouth appears to be rotting and it is floating to the surface (I believe this is maybe a swimming disorder because its rear rises up first). The most worrying symptom is its vent is swollen, red and actually protruding about 5 millimetres.  The tank was very acidic (as I hadn't done any testing or maintenance in a while) and I'm pretty sure that this was the cause, however I have cleaned the tank and got the ph up to 6.5 but I am worried that the Acara is not going to recover. Could you please advise me on any remedies that could save my poor fish. Thanks, Ken <Your lack of maintenance has probably increased the nitrate levels and acidified the water to a dangerous pH level. Your poor blue Acara has been through a lot. First thing to do is clean the tank. Do a 30% water change while vacuuming the gravel. Clean the filter. Check the water for nitrate levels. They should be under 25 ppm. Get the pH up to 7 by doing using a buffer in the new water you are putting back in your tank. Do this gradually or a rapid pH shift will shock you fish and probably kill him in his weakened state. Once the tank is clean, you can treat the external bacterial infections with Nitrofuranace. Use a double dose to treat the internal bacterial infections that have caused the bloat. When he starts to eat again the internal bacterial infection will be gone. You have a long way to go to get your fish healthy. A little prevention would have gone a long way. These fish are typically pretty tough so conditions must have been pretty bad to get him in this shape. Good luck,-Chuck> Red Devil, Viral Infection - 08/17/2005 Hello, <Hi.> I just bought a Red Devil, and he seems to have this white cyst (Like a pimple) on one of his scales.  He is bright orange in colour, and this white cyst stands out.  It's not ich, since it's only one, and bigger than ich.  How do I treat it? Does it go away? The previous owner said that its been there for approximately 1 month now. <Sounds like lymphocystis....  A viral infection.  Though this is not treatable, it usually does go away if the fish is kept in optimal water conditions (ammonia, nitrite = ZERO, nitrate = LESS than 20ppm).  So be testing, and keep that water clean!> Thank you,  Toufic <Wishing you and your new red devil well,  -Sabrina>   Red Devil, Viral Infection - II - 08/17/2005 Optimal eh? :-( <Should be no more difficult than maintaining the tank properly....  That's the least we can do for our captive fishes.> How about surgery on the actual cyst? <This will cause more harm than good, most likely.  I would leave it as is, and let the fish heal on its own time.  Proper care, proper water quality alone will help this to go away.> Extra salts in the tank? <Nope.  Patience, much patience, and proper care.  That's all.  This will take time....  but can/should heal up on its own.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Old Parrot Cichlid With Internal Bacterial Infection 8/11/05 Hello, I have a  beautiful blood parrot who is 5 years old and pretty large. She has been hiding  for the past week but would still come out for food. She is usually very playful  and follows me around the tank constantly but yesterday she stopped eating and  started laying on her side. Today she is flipped over and trying to swim upside  down. Please tell me if there is anything that I can do for Sweetie as she is  trying to get back upright but cannot so she is hiding under a cave in the  aquarium. She is what I call the Heart shaped version of the Blood Parrots.  Thank you for any help or advice, Jada < Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel while you are at it. Clean the filter and treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Parrot Cichlid Didn't Make It 8/13/05 Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I followed your directions but   could not get the Metronidazole last night as it was late and the pet stores  were closed. Sadly enough, my heart was broken to find her dead this morning. In   my hurry to get some answers I failed to mention that I also have three  small Parrot Cichlids in this 75 gallon tank that was home to Sweetie for five   years. They seem wonderful and full of energy and are eating fine. These are   only a year old. Do you recommend that I treat the tank as you directed or leave   well enough alone with these darlings? < Internal bacterial infections are usually brought on by stress. Younger fish adapt easier and aren't as prone to disease. I would make sure that the tank was clean and keep up on the water changes. Treat at this point is not needed.> I am new to this website but have been  reading it for hours on end. I find you all to be very helpful, wonderful people  and am most grateful to you and very happy to have found you and this terrific website! Thanks again for your prompt help and thank you in advance for  any input on what I need to do for the little buddies I have left. Special   thanks to Chuck! Jada < Thank you for your kind words and welcome to the site.-Chuck>

Question about my twitching jack Dempsey cichlid 7/30/05 Hi, I spent hours yesterday researching the faq's on your site and found a couple things that seemed similar/helpful but am still not quite sure on what the problem is. <When do you think you might be ready to help us respond to queries?>   My Cichlid is doing this weird twitching/shaking thing but he isn't scratching himself... just twitching and sometimes he will float sideways a teensy bit and then jerk back to normal and keep swimming around. <Summat very wrong with your water quality or the neural make-up of this fish> I found a couple articles, one suggesting this is a nitrate problem in the tank and I found on marineworld.com changing 25% of the water every 2-3 days can help alleviate that. <Always a good idea... "when in doubt, change water"> So I've started that but the second article was asking about a shimmy (which I don't know what exactly that is <A descriptive term... like the dance... not a label for an actual causative mechanism> so I cant tell if that's my lil guy's prob or not) and the response to it said it is perhaps a parasite. So this is where I am lost because this is a new tank (still in it's initial 30 day cycle) <Ahh... likely to do then with the actual cycling process... very, very common... and often deadly.> so I know using medication in it can cause more harm than good, <Yes> and I don't know how to tell exactly if it is a parasite and if so which one. His color is still great, there is no bloating or funny growths or bulging eyes... he looks great and he's still eating just fine, he's just twitching.  Thank you so much for your help!!!!!!! Sara <Sara, please read on WWM re establishing biological filtration: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Likely your fish is suffering from ammonia and/or nitrite poisoning. Bob Fenner> Convict Cichlid With Strange Growth 7/20/05 I have a convict cichlid (relatively young, I'm sure) who has (seemingly overnight) developed a white round 3-dimensional growth at the base of his fin (at the joint if you will). The cichlid is only about 2 1/2 inches long and the growth is about 1/8 of an inch (perhaps a smidgeon less). Please let me know if you can figure anything out. The only thing I've come up with is maybe a tumor of some sort, but I really don't know. Thanks in advance.--Rachael <Could be fungus from a wound. Wipe the area down with a cotton swab. Put a little iodine on it and treat the water with Nitrofuranace for wound control.-Chuck> Green Terror Sick? 7/12/05 Hello Guys, I need to ask a question here. I have a male green terror & have had him for about 10  months now. I bought him when he was a baby, 3 inches long, and he is now a healthy 7 inches long, 3 inches from top to bottom and about 1-1/2 inches thick. A real bruiser.  He used to eat everything in sight, always coming to the top of the tank to greet me and see what I brought him. But for the past week, he is just laying around, and I have not seen him eating anything. He is in the tank (150 gallons) with 1 female red terror, 3 Frontosas, and 2 clown loaches, and 4 small Cory cats. Nobody is showing any aggression, <Not at least that you've seen...> not out of the normal anyway. He has not lost any color, or any weight, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out what the problem is. I checked all of my water parameters, and everything is just perfect. I do have a sand bottom, (sand blasting sand). It has never presented a problem, and I have live plants growing like weeds in there. All I have seen him do is move from one location in the morning, to a different one at night. He does not come up to the top anymore, or even go midway up. A friend of mine told me that cichlids grow like the dickens until a certain point, then they slow down considerably, and just sit around. <Mmm, to some extent this is so> The food I have been feeding all this time has been beef heart, bloodworms, nightcrawlers, small guppies ( occasionally ) Mysis shrimp, pieces of thawed shrimp, mussels, and some pieces of krill. <A good mix> It just seems like he has lost the will to function anymore. He doesn't act like he has a parasite or anything, no jerking, twitching, or thrashing around, just sits on the bottom, and does nothing. I fear if he keeps this up, he will eventually be found floating from having died during the night. All of the other fish are as normal as ever. What can I do to save my prized fish? I thank you for any advice you have. Your website has been a godsend for other information I have needed, and I do appreciate you guys. Nervous about my fish. Dan Simpson <Well, "when in doubt... do a water change". I would take out and replace a good 25% of your system water here, add some liquid vitamins to the water, the foods of the day... and hope for the best. If the fish doesn't eat in another week or so, I'd try moving it to another system... perhaps there is some interaction going on... Bob Fenner> Cichlid: Internal bacterial Infection? 7/9/05 How do I tell if it is an internal parasite problem?  He has no outward signs of anything being wrong, and I am not one of those people who likes to treat that tank for no reason.  Also, what kind of dose of Metronidazole do you recommend? Thanks. Brenda < Fish that do not eat, have problems with their buoyancy or have extended body cavities  usually have internal bacterial infections. Their are dosage recommendations on the packages of Metronidazole.-Chuck> Convict Cichlid 7/7/05 Hi there! Just have a quick question... I have a male convict whose eye appears to be peeling. The eye itself looks okay, but on one side the skin looks like it has been peeled back, and is still hanging on. My convicts just had a set of fry and have been protecting them against 2 Jewels and a Cobalt.( We are removing the convicts soon.) Is it possible that this happened in battle or is it something else i should be wary of? Should I treat him or will it repair itself?  Thanks for your time. Amy <Is likely an injury related to spawning, protection. I would add some aquarium salt, separate from the African cichlids pronto. Bob Fenner>

Cichlid, spreading mouth fungus 07/01/05 I first noticed my Chocolate Cichlid was not eating, then I noticed a small   clump of white tissue on one side of the mouth/lips. I placed him in a   quarantine tank. It's been four days and the white tissue has spread over  his entire mouth area. he keeps his mouth open and obviously won't eat. I  wouldn't describe the sore as cottony, but more like dead tissue that is white  and has red coloration on the edges of the sore. I don't believe this was  caused by another fish, but the only unlikely possibility is a female  Frontosas that is smaller than the Chocolate and has never been hostile  that I've seen. All I know for sure is that it appears to be literally  eating away the tissue and spreading rapidly. Your help would be greatly  appreciated. Choco.     <May be due to a physical trauma not involving another fish, but I would add aquarium salt and possibly an antifungal medication here... at this point, likely to the whole tank. Bob Fenner>

Re: spreading mouth fungus Bob, Thanks for the reply, but the fish died yesterday and when I took him from   the tank I noticed his lower jaw was broken in half right in front. Thanks again. <Yeeikes! Some virulence now! Sorry about your loss. Bob Fenner>

New Midas Cichlid 07/01/05 About 2 weeks ago I bought a Midas cichlid and I put him in a already established guppy 10 gal guppy tank that I was about done with. While I am cycling my old 75 gal now getting it ready for him and I noticed that he has a black dot in between his eyes and black two black lines on his tail fin. He seems in perfect health and has quit an attitude. I was just wondering if this is something to watch. There was never any out brakes of any thing before in the tank. Also how aggressive are midas cichlids? Thank you for you time. < The black marks are probably scars from earlier encounters with other cichlids. They are probably healed up and are of no real concern. Individual temperaments vary but the midas cichlid can be very tough on fellow tankmates especially as they get older.-Chuck> Disease to my fish regd 28 Jun 2005 Hello Guys,                    This is Mitra from India. Congrats  to you on such a great site. I have a problem with my green terror (7inches) and hope u can help me. My fish is a green terror 7inches in size and I have it for the past 4 months. Actually I wasnt here for a month and when I returned I found that the green terror hasnt eaten anything for a whole month. <Yikes> Now it looks very pale and still it not still accepting any food. Its stomach has gone in and I noticed a white thread like thing near its poop hole yesterday. <Likely part of its body... a prolapsed colon> Im moving it to a new 100 gallon tank which I think Ill use it as a hospital tank. Please help me how to feed it and make it look good again. Does it have any health disorder? <Who knows?> And even my convict is suffering from whitespot for the past 20 days. Please  tell me how to treat it.                                                               Thanks in advance                                   MITRA <Have you tried feeding this fish? You may have to force feed it for a few weeks... with a plastic catheter, a mash of food... Bob Fenner> Sick Cichlids Hi!  I have a 35 gallon tank that has been up and running for almost a month.  We had 9 cichlids...3 Firemouth, 3 Blue Kenyi, and 3 Auratus.  Up until a few days ago, they were all very vivid and lively and seemed very happy.  Two days ago there was a mysterious death...the smallest Auratus. Yesterday I noticed that the largest Auratus was acting funny...like the fins on the top and bottom of his body were paralyzed and he was using just his side fins to swim.  He used to be the tank bully, but now he's having a hard time just getting around.  This morning I noticed that one of the Blue Kenyi has similar paralysis...but he has paralysis on just one side of his body.  He won't use the bottom or side fins on his right side and is listing badly.  These two sick fish also look kind of blotchy.  There's no bloat...and the fish that died didn't even float...he just was lying on the bottom.  The rest still seem happy, but I'm expecting they'll probably catch it too. My husband did all the water checks...chlorides, nitrates, pH...  And the water temp is in the high 70's...almost 80.  Our plants are all artificial. The only concerns I have are...first, we have a bubbler going...one that creates a curtain of bubbles...could this be stressing them? < No> Also, just this morning I noticed some white spots and some fuzzy growth that looked almost like mold on the side of the tubes that go to the filter.  Yuck! What is that? < Could be left over food that has begun to fungus.> Also, I'm afraid I might have been overfeeding lately.  When we first got them they were ravenous and ate tons and grew really quickly. I got used to feeing them a lot because they would eat it all up fast...but lately they just haven't been eating very much and I know I need to be more careful of how much I give them.  The only other thing that's changed is that I put a new castle statue in the tank a couple weeks ago.  The only reason I mention it is because the fish that have been sick were the only ones who ever swam in the castle. What's wrong with my cichlids, and what should I do to treat them??? Thanks! < Check the nitrates. They should be under 25 ppm. Do a 30% water change and clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. When the tank is clean treat them with clout for the protozoa infection that gives them that "clamped" look. If they begin to bloat then treat them with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. The clout may be effective against the bloat parasites too.-Chuck> Medicating a tank after aggression - 6/3/05 Hi, <Hi Lina> I have a question about my cichlids. <What kind of cichlids do you have?> Bigger cichlids killed one of my little brown ones.  They ate part of it. <Actually not unheard of and somewhat natural order of things> I am very concerned about the health of other cichlids. <Why is that?> Should I medicate the rest of the fish? <Why would you do this? I am not sure I have enough information to establish a concern or condone the use of medication. Let me just say that if you are concerned because they ate half of another fish, I would not medicate the tank. Use medication only after proper diagnosis of symptoms. Not as a general anesthetic for anything that could be/go wrong. Take medicating seriously. Now, I would do a water change after pulling out what is left of the deceased fish, that is what I do in the case of death. This is in addition to my regular weekly water change schedule. No need to be too concerned about the after affects but I would be concerned about the aggression in the tank. Thanks for being part of it all and let me know if I can be of anymore help. ~Paul> Thanks for you help Lina

Cichlid Fry Dying Thanks Chuck. Ammonia and Nitrites are both 0, and nitrates show barely a trace. Temperature is 78-80 depending on the day. I had the bottom third of the crinum plant buried, as Aquariumplant.com directed. It didn't really have many roots with which to work. I am only feeding once a day and haven't had any problems for months up until the last couple of days. The signs of stress witnessed by the fish that went were a little lethargy, hanging near the bottom of the tank and, at times, resting but still swimming. Also they stopped eating. I don't see any fish with these symptoms right now, I just don't know what to do to fix the problem. If you get a used tank, what is the safest way to clean it? I was worried at first that it may be the tank even though I scrubbed it with hot water and rinsed it thoroughly. I am at a loss for what to do next, I guess just try and do the right thing and hope the problem goes away? < Your fry have come down with an internal bacterial infection. This is caused by stress. I would guess over feeding or bad food that may have gone stale. I would recommend a change in diet and treat the tank with Metronidazole as soon as the fish stop eating. I clean used tanks with a saline solution. Others have used a 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to sterilize tanks but I find this unnecessary.-Chuck>

Cichlids with Sunken Bellies I have a 20 gallon tank with 1 convict, 1 firemouth, 1 green terror and 1 Severum. These fish are fed once daily on cichlid flakes and twice a week I feed them cichlid pellets. I do a 20% water change and siphon the gravel once a week. The filter is changed once a month. They have had this routine for over a year with no problems until 3 months ago. I noticed all of the fishes bellies appeared to be sunk in.  I checked several web sights for disease symptoms but I could not find anything that resembled the problem my fish are having. I thought it could be TB but they are all eating well, their bodies have good color with no skin problems, they don't fight and they all swim around normally. They otherwise seem happy and healthy so I thought it may be something internal.  I treated with Jungle Brand Parasite Clear for internal parasites but there was no improvement. I even switched to spring water when I thought my county water supply might have a problem even though I was conditioning my tank water and letting it age 24 hours before I do my water exchanges. It has been 3 months now and the fish all still have sunken bellies with no other problems.  Does fish TB take quite awhile for other symptoms to show up? I used to feed Tubifex worms as a treat once a week until the sunken bellies showed up. Could Tubifex worms cause internal parasites? I have 3 other fish tanks that get the exact same routine with the same water, feedings etc. but they are all fine.  If I had introduced a new fish around 3 months ago I'd think that was the problem, but all these fish have been together for over a year. Could a disease lie dormant for that long? After 3 months of web searching I am baffled so I really hope you can help me figure out this mystery. Thank you, Michelle in N.C. < It is difficult for medium to large cichlids to full up on flakes. I would recommend changing the diet to more quality pellet foods than rely on flakes. Go with a sinking pellet that is for carnivorous fish. I don't think it is a disease.-Chuck> 

Jewel cichlid with an Eye Problem, Use A Spell-Checking Program! Hey all, I have a jewel Cichlid in a 55 gallon tank with other various cichlids, all seem to be relatively peaceful in cichlid terms. I had just gone through a slight bout of what was unofficially said to be a case of ich brought on by the stress of a fluke infestation, by my friends down at the local fish store. So I used something called clout and cleared that up. Now it seems that this same little jewel, the on that I initially noticed acting strange has come down with something involving his eyes, they are slightly red, as if blood were collecting under the surface of them. The fish store told me to go with Tetracycline and said it was a case of pop eye, would you agree with that? <Pop eye is very specific condition in where bacteria growing behind the eye push the eye out away from the body> Also, I know some fish medications aren't good if the fish eat them, it can kill them. While I did the best job I could at dissolving the tablets of tetracycline do you think that if the fish eat this they will die? Thanks so much Cheers, Dylan < If it is Popeye then treat the tank with Metronidazole. If it is a bacterial infection, the tetracycline may work if you have soft acidic water. If not then I would go with Nitrofurazone. Try and dissolve the tablets first. Fish shouldn't eat the medication.-Chuck> 

Blotchy Guapote Cichlid Hello! <Hi there> About 3 days ago I noticed my fish, Guapo (Handsome), was developing black patch--but it looks like part of the tail-- on the end of his tail. After I noticed it, it began to get worse almost instantly. It is also on his gills but no where else on his body *on all fins* I changed the water, it was not as clean as usual, but I was also using a light when feeding only. He has been acting slightly lethargic, but not too bad.  He is still eating fine and acts almost normal. I tried adding salt to the tank but he didn't react well so I took him out right away. But, I just noticed that the end of this tail is starting to fray like the beginning of tail rot. PLEASE let me know what I can do.  Thank you so much for your time Ally <... no notes re your set-up, particularly filtration... the history of this set-up, water quality tests... Please read over WWM re Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Disease... Bob Fenner> 

Parrot Cichlid Problems Dr Bob, please help me. I'm completely overwhelmed with info I've read on ich and swim bladder--need answers during this time of illness not confusion so let me proceed. My two blood parrots have ich. Sat Mar 9 I went to LFS and purchased Mardel's CopperSafe and Maracide. Today when I called Mardel's 800# I was informed CopperSafe and Maracide were incompatible and this was stated on the brochure/insert. I stated that there was no brochure/insert only a slip of paper that states "Additional instructions for Use: Treat on days 1, 3, and 5." I was then told that pet stores sometimes remove these brochure/inserts. This is a crime and I don't know who I can trust for good fish info as I live in a very rural area with few contact sites. I originally read the information about CopperSafe and Maracide on internet chat and would like some sound advice for ich treatment of 50 gal tank with 2 blood parrots, 2 marble angels, red-tailed shark, 2 Cory cat and 1 Pleco. Thanks for help. Shelia < Do a 30% water change, service the filter and vacuum the gravel. Treat the ich with Rid-ich by Kordon or some other malachite-green/formalin mixture. the swim bladder problem should be treated with Metronidazole. May be hard to find so look online at DrssmithFosters.com.-Chuck>

Sick Parrot Cichlids Parrots are doing fine with the CopperSafe alone. Did a 75% water change Monday and replaced with CopperSafe treated water. I have read that overfeeding could be a cause of swimbladder. Everybody fasted until yesterday evening when I fed them the thawed frozen peas.  This morning the parrot affected with swim bladder problem was no longer hovering near top of water and didn't seem to be as bloated looking. The two parrots are even playing their little chase game with each other. They have bonded and I'm sure illness and even death would be a devastating blow to the other parrot and also me.  Now onto the business of keeping them healthy. I checked water for ammonia level this morning and it was fine at 0 ppm. I don't have other test kits at moment; tonight I will go to local discount store to see what they have and also see if they stock Spirulina. I called LFS-local being 75 miles away-and they said they feed their goldfish wheat-germ. My parrots don't seem to like their food sinking to bottom of tank, they prefer it to float and be in the form of a big flake. They also like the floating sticks; I break them into smaller pieces so they can eat them easier. What do you suggest for fiber (for the parrots) and should I use the Metronidazole for the swim bladder if he looks better today? <If they are eating then I would probably just feed them less. Look for vegetable or green pellets and try them.> I also promise not to overfeed even if they BEG me to and they are beggars! It was quite a joy to watch them eat but not so joyous to seem them ill due to overfeeding, if this is the cause of the swim bladder. I have been reading that keeping fish is a hobby; I consider needle-point sewing a hobby, my fish are pets and I am very attached and concerned with their health and well-being. People generally are not concerned with the health and well-being of their needle-point projects. AND my computer has no spell-check or grammar check programs installed. Sorry for any inconvenience, but you are dependent upon my ability to type and spell correctly. How am I doing? Thanks  Shelia <So far so good.-Chuck>

BLOATED CICHLIDS I have a huge cichlid--by huge I mean 9 inches long by 5-6 inches wide--I have 2 of them actually--kind of has a funny shaped head with orange on the ends of the fin. She or he looks pregnant--even though I know a fish shouldn't have a bloated belly. She or he is floating around aimlessly--at the top a lot almost trying to get "air". Is this some kind of disease. I don't know what to do. It seems as though every time we do a water change we lose fish, but this one has stumped me! < Your fish have an internal bacterial infection that needs to be treated. Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel. Service the filter too. Treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. -Chuck.>

SICK TEXAS CICHLID I asked a previous message about my bloated cichlid listed below. I also wanted to add that he has some scales missing or maybe his skin is just stretching. It looks like white spots on his belly. Could this be more than just a bacterial infection? < As the internal bacterial infection gets worse the exterior part of the fish gets distended to the point where there may be gaps between the scales. I would still treat with Metronidazole, after doing a 30% water change and servicing the filter. As a precaution you may want to treat with rid-ich by Kordon just it case it has come down with ich as well.-Chuck> 

SICK FLOWER HORN Dear Crew, Greetings! Almost a week ago, my flower horn's been swimming vertically. Right now, as I watch it in the aquarium, it's as if it's sleeping. I spoke to one hobbyist and he recommended that I put an antibiotic. To date, no improvement has been made. I already changed the water 25%. I've added salt as well. Another hobbyist said that it might have broken its spine. It looks like it's having a hard time  swimming.  Your advise would be very much appreciated. Sincerely, Denise < Sound like your flower horn may have contracted an internal bacterial infection. I would recommend a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Get the water up to 80 degrees F and treat with Metronidazole. The water should have no ammonia or nitrites and the nitrates should be under 25 ppm.-Chuck> 

BUGGY OSCAR - EEWWUH! Hello! Your site has been a great help to me on many occasions. This time, I have a really nasty problem with my Oscar. First of all, I have a 55 gallon tank. I had two Oscars for over a year until about a month ago. The albino Oscar attacked the tiger seemingly overnight (my roommate heard splashing) and in the morning, the poor tiger was ripped literally to shreds and barely alive. I separated them and changed some of the water, but his wounds were rapidly infected. Medication was no help, and he died shortly after (total time: 3days).  The albino appeared to have some fuzzy infection on his forehead afterward, but after changing nearly 100 percent of the water over the next week and adding meds, it went away. This was over a month ago. Now it's just the albino and an old Pleco in there.  Recently, the albino has been acting crazy. He's been swimming frantically along the tank sides with his mouth open. He has been scratching A LOT on the rocks as well. The other day I noticed that he looked kind of, well...dirty...like he had actual dirt on his sides. Upon closer inspection, I saw (YUCK!!!) the "dirt" was actually bugs! Gross, clear little bugs. I could see them moving around on my fish (many of them!!) and on the large rocks in the tank!! The Pleco appears to be clean of them, but the albino seems miserable! He lays on the bottom sometimes. I just realized that they were nasty bugs yesterday. Unfortunately, there appear to be A LOT of these little monsters. They look like little lice or something. Clear, but big enough to see if you look closely. What can I do? Its a nasty nightmare! Please help! < Sounds like fish lice to me. Treat with Fluke Tabs or Parasite clear. The medication works best in a clean tank. I would recommend that you change 30% of the water, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter before treating.-Chuck>

SICK CHOCOLATE CICHLIDS Please forgive me but I looked and could not find what is wrong with my two Chocolate Cichlids. I have a 55 gallon community tank and being a newbie, completely cleaned my tank, underground filters and all not knowing I was killing the good bacteria. Since then my Cichlids have gotten white stuff on their sides which looks like ICH. I have tried salt to no avail.  Now the biggest of the two Cichlid's flesh seems to have been eaten away between his eyes, leaving what looks like his white tissue exposed. When I asked my local fish store they said it was hole-in-the -head. I followed the instructions for Metronidazole the but nothing changed. None of my other fish have anything wrong with them. These two are the biggest fish in the tank and I have never witnessed any fighting. I do perform occasional water changes as I have several live plants. I have never checked the pH balance and am definitely willing to try.  Also, on two occasions I have seen tiny worms, about the size of the tip of my pinkie nail wiggling around in the water, are these parasites? Thank you, Charity < Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and service the filter. Check you water for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. The nitrates should be lower than 25 ppm. Check the pH. They come from soft acid water but can take somewhat alkaline water too if the pH is not too high. Keep the water temp up at 80 degrees. Once the tank has checked out you might try treating with Nitrofuranace. Your fish don't have hole in the head but probably have come down with a bacterial infection. After treating the fish you should see some improvement. When they are cured you can add some carbon to the filter to remove the medication then some BioSpira by Marineland to the tank to replenish the bacteria killed off by the medication. Feed only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes once each day. Remove any uneaten food as it will cause problems.-Chuck> 

BLOATED TEXAS CICHLID My Texas cichlid's belly is swollen and he looks like he's going to burst. He still has an appetite but is starting to have trouble swimming upright. What is wrong with him and how can he be cured? < Your Texas cichlid has an internal bacterial infection brought on by stress. If he is still eating then you may have a chance to save him. Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel. Service the filter too. Treat with Metronidazole and feed medicated food with Metronidazole in it if you can find it. -Chuck>

SICK GREEN TERROR Hopefully I am sending this question to the right source and this hasn't been answered yet. I haven't found any information on it but here goes. I have a green terror, about 10 yrs old or so, and in the past 2 weeks has stopped eating, was gasping for breath and twitching, (making sudden turn around movements, switching back and fourth etc.) I checked ph and ammonia levels and all were in range, and the tank is 45 gallons. He now is becoming more lethargic, lays on the bottom of the tank, or floats at the top head toward the surface. I have noticed though there seems to be what looks like very small white worm's twitching throughout the water. I think this may be the problem if it is in fact worms or some parasite, but what could it be and how can I treat this? Any info on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you John < I would start out by doing a 30% water change and vacuuming the gravel. Clean the filter too. Check the water temp and make sure it is around 80 degrees F. Check the water quality and make sure everything is fine. Ammonia and nitrite should be zero and the nitrates should be under 25 ppm with lower being better. Now that all the environmental factors have been addressed we can then look at possible diseases that may be affecting your old fish. If you have been feeding goldfish then there is a good chance that some infected feeders may have introduced a parasite that have now infected your green terror. Since you think the worms may be affecting your fish you can get rid of these and some other critters by using clout. If you think it is bacterial then I would use Nitrofuranace.-Chuck> 

Spinning Cichlid Hi I have a cichlid that has been acting very strange. At first he was swimming very fast around the tank spinning around and doing flips, just going crazy. That was 4 days ago. Now his whole body is like bent in half with his tail lower than is head. He cant swim to the bottom of the tank, he just stays at the top. He tries to swim down, but can't go anywhere. His belly is all swollen up. What could be his problem and how can I help? Thanks Kendra < Sounds like an internal bacterial infection in an advanced state. I would recommend a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel, and service the filter. Check the water quality too. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero. Nitrates should be 25 ppm or less depending on the species. If your fish is still alive you could try treating with Metronidazole but it sounds like you fish may be too far along.-Chuck> 

Not so bloody parrot My one year old blood parrot is turning black on the underside. Not just a little, but totally black. Otherwise looks and acts normal. Lives with many other fish in a 125 gal tank. Fights with no one. Eats well.  Should we just not worry about it? <Bingo... these color changes do "just happen"> We have two algae eaters, an eel, many tiny black tipped sharks, gouramis. In order to treat the parrot do we need to separate it from the others to avoid medicating all of them unnecessarily?   Any help is very appreciated. Thanks. John and Essie Learn - Phoenix, Arizona <No need to medicate. Bob Fenner> 

JACK DEMPSEY WITH DROPSY OR TUMOR I have a 6 year old Dempsey (Malawi) . I noticed a change in her about 4 weeks ago . She remained at the top of the tank and looked as if she was sucking water. I asked around and was advised to change water and keep temp at 80% .  I was also advised to get a master tester kit and check the pH , ammonia , nitrite & nitrate which I did and made sure all was in balance . After doing the water change and a gravel vacuum the fish became bloated on one side and has been at the bottom of the tank on her side for 5 days now. I was told she has dropsy but I have been treating her for this with Maracyn 2 since I noticed the swelling . But this has not helped .  She looks as if she in terrible pain and I don't want her to suffer . I love this fish so much and I don't know what to do .  She is laying on her side at the bottom of the tank and she is not eating and her breathing is labored.  What do I need to do to help her?  It's only her and a pleco in the tank.  Any info you can provide would be appreciated. I was told to go ahead and destroy the fish but my heart wont let me...... is there some other way I can  save her ? Ms. Nicole. A. Jones < These internal bacterial infections don't respond real well to Maracyn. The key to a successful recovery is an early treatment with Metronidazole. You may have to look around to find it at a local fish store. If not you can always order it online at Drsfostersmith.com.-Chuck>

BLOATED JACK DEMPSEY Follow-up Chuck how long can a fish survive with this ? My fish has been at the bottom of the tank for at least a week with no signs of improvement . The Maracyn is not helping . I would order it if you think it will help . I just pray I have enough time. Can you advise ? Ms. Nicole. A. Jones <If the fish is not eating it is usually too late for an effective treatment. You might try a double dose of Nitrofuranace. It is usually easier to find but it is not as effective as Metronidazole. If you want to put her out of her pain you can put her to sleep using Alka-seltzer tablets. Two tablets in a small dish of water will put her to sleep by forcing co2 into the water 4 tablets will kill her by displacing all the oxygen in the water. Move her around with the end of a net and see how much fight is left in her. If she can be stirred up and move somewhat then I would give it a try. If she floats around without much effort then probably putting her down would be best. Sorry I can't be more helpful.-Chuck> 


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