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FAQs on Severum Cichlid Disease/Health

Related Articles: Severums, Red Devils, Texas Cichlids, Firemouths, Oscars, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease, Cichlid Reproduction,

Related FAQs: Severums in General, Severum Identification, Severum Behavior, Severum Compatibility, Severum Selection, Severum Systems, Severum Feeding, Severum Reproduction, Neotropical Cichlids 1, Cichlids of the World,

Severum White Mouth Growth      12/18/16
Hello WWW Crew,
<Hey Har>
I have an adult Severum in a 125 gallon tank. His tank mates include 3 juvenile cichlids that are separated from him via a divider. Ammonia and nitrites are 0, nitrates around 3, pH roughly 6.5,
<Mmm; this is a bit low. I take it you do have some middling GH, KH?
and temperature is set to 78 degrees F. The problem I would like to address is a with fleshy growth inside his mouth. No other fish has developed this problem and even he seems to be fine for now despite having the growth. He actively follows people near the tank and eats regularly,
<Good signs>
though he does have some difficulty fitting full sized pellets in his mouth so I have to break it down before offering it to him. All fins seems fine and no other physical or behavioral abnormalities noted, so I at a loss here. The only thing I
could think of was fungus but this growth isn't fuzzy. I included a video.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
<Can't open your file... a .flv make? A good, well-resolved still image/photo would be great. As long as this fish is eating, I would not be over-reacting. I would like to be assured there is some alkaline reserve in your water here>
<And you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Severum White Mouth Growth      12/18/16

Hi Mr. Fenner,
<Hello Harry>
Thank you for the reply.
My tap is naturally a little below 7 and I also have some driftwood in my tank. Not entirely sure but I've been told that driftwood can contribute to low pH.
<Very often this is the case>
I can try and convert the video if you like but for now I've attached the images you asked for. I lowered the rez
to try and keep it under 1MB but I can give you much higher def pictures if you prefer. Thanks again. The help is very much appreciated.
<Yikes; am sorry to report that it appears this fish has damaged itself physically... the jaw looks broken on the right side... from trauma... part of the whitish part very likely evidence of some decomposition. As you reported it is
"acting fine and eating", I'd not add medicine et al. to the water here, but simply do your best to maintain good water quality and nutrition. Time going by should find some of the white disappearing, though the mouth will remain
crooked. BobF>


Re: Severum White Mouth Growth      12/19/16
Greeting Mr. Fenner,
<And you Mr. I>
This fish has always been a bit psychotic but I would have never expected him to cause this much damage to himself.
<Ah, unfortunately does happen... that cichlids and more dash themselves t/hither into hard objects... decor, aquarium sides, tops at times.
Particularly if in too small settings, with aggressive tankmates, lights going off and on too much, too suddenly.>
Thanks for clearing this up for
me. I'll report back if the condition worsens.
<Thank you Harry. B>

Sick Golden Severum      8/23/16
Hi. My golden Severum is sick. He swims to one side. Lays on the tank floor on one side or faces upwards. He has not been eating well. I have tried giving him green peas, veggie pellets and spinach but he has only eaten a few peas. Not interested in other food. Heater is at 22.5 degrees and working,
<Too low; crank this up to 25 C at least, ideally somewhere between 25 and 28 C.>
I have done a 1/3 water change.
Phos is normal. I do t gave a notate test.
<I don't know what you mean with either of these, Jo! But let me recap:
ammonia (NH3) should be zero. Nitrite (NO2-) should be zero. If either of these aren't, then they're why your fish is sick. Nitrate should be low.
Big cichlids are very sensitive to nitrate. I'd suggest nitrate (NO3-) should be less than 20 mg/l, and certainly no higher than 40 mg/l for long.
Above 40 mg/l, you find cichlids become very prone to all sorts of health problems, such as Hexamita, Hole-in-the-head Disease, Bloating and Dropsy.>
No other fish in the tank are sick. There is a black mark towards end of his body in second video you will see it when he turns around
<Indeed; does look like some sort of physical injury, perhaps a heater burn. The clamped fins are a worry, too, indicating some type of stress. In this case I would treat with Metronidazole (ideally alongside an antibiotic) and optimise living conditions, especially nitrate and temperature, and see what happens.>
I have included videos. Please help my fish! Thanks In advance
<Welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
(Prev. Video Link 3)
Re: Sick Golden Severum (Video Link 4)      8/28/16

Thanks for your advice. Please see video. My fish is happy again and certainly better than he was... Eating etc. still has marks but I think just healing... Tank yellow from the antibiotics...
Thank you so much
<Thanks for letting me know that things have improved. I agree, the fish in your video looks to be a lot healthier. Keep on top of diet and water quality and he should be 100% in no time at all! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Golden Severum       9/4/16

Hello again Neale
My Golden Severum has declined again.
<Oh dear. Before anything else, when this happens, increase aeration and do a quick water change (the more the better, certainly at least a quarter, but try to keep water chemistry stable and water temperature changes as small as possible, though a couple degrees isn't a big deal). If this perks the fish up, can imply a water quality or oxygenation issue.>
I had the water tested and there are no issues with ph nitrates nitrites or anything else. I completed the course of antibiotics. Water temp is at 26 degrees. My fish is laying sideways on the bottom of the tank and when he swims he isn't straight. He is not eating, I've fed bloodworm, veggie tablets, peas, tropical flakes and pellets but he's not interested in anything.
<Don't worry about offering different foods. If a cichlid isn't eating, it isn't well! These fish have big appetites, and those appetites return when they're healthy. For now, focus on what might be wrong.>
He has very little fin movement and appears to be gasping for air at times.
<Which can indicate a number of things. Clamping, when the fins are held close to the body, are indicative of stress, especially in 'higher' fish like cichlids. Gasping can mean the same thing, but also changes in pH, poor water quality, lack of oxygen, among other things.>
Also he occasionally appears to be having seizures lasting just a few seconds up to about 10 seconds. I have done 2 water changes at 1/4 at a time since finishing the antibiotics. There are no obvious signs of disease, no hole in the head, loss of scales, spots. The only discoloration is the black spot near the tail fin -suspected heater burn although he did
regain use of his fins. I don't know how to help him. Can you suggest anything more.
<See above to start with. I would increase aeration, even if all you can easily do is lower the water level an inch or two to increase air/water mixing (or 'splashing' to use the less technical term). I'd check the heater, try adding some cooler water in one water change (but no cooler than 22 C/72 F) to see if that perked him up. Then I'd try raising the
temperature a bit (but no higher than 28 C/82 F) by adjusting the thermostat on the heater. I'd check pH was where it should be, and stable.
I'd check he isn't being bullied or harassed by any other fish. I'd do all these things before reaching for a medication.>
Thanks for your help. Regards Jo
<Welcome, Neale.>

Old red Severum wont eat! :( Bob's try       7/19/16
<Em; in future and for browsers, please post large file videos (13 plus megs) on YouTube, and send along the link/URL. We have limited email space>
I have a big problem with my 7 1/2 years old Severum. I don't know if it is his old age or a disease but he has something in its mouth and I never see that before. It looks like a part of his anatomy..its very weird.. I showed a video to the pet shop's owner and he doest even know what it is.
<I see nothing in the video that is unusual to Cichlid buccal anatomy>

He seems interested by the food but he doesn't eat. When he tried, he spit it out right away. The problem started 5 days ago. The water quality is fine, other fish are fine as well, the temperature is at 24℃ and the PH is at 7.0. He lives in a 55gallons with a green Severum, angelfish and a ghost knife.
There is a video (sorry, its really short, but longer than that the file is too big) of my Severum attach to this email.
I hope you could help me because I love my Severum so much :( ! (Sorry for my English, it is not my first language)
<I would not give up on this fish... They do at times go on feeding strikes; and can go without food at this size for a few weeks. Do try a large water change or two (25% of volume of the system), lowering the temp. a C, and a variety of foods. Bob Fenner>
Old red Severum wont eat! :( Neale's go       7/19/16

I have a big problem with my 7 1/2 years old Severum. I don't know if it is his old age or a disease but he has something in its mouth and I never see that before. It looks like a part of his anatomy..its very weird.. I showed a video to the pet shop's owner and he doest even know what it is.
<Doesn't look particularly odd, perhaps a bit of loose skin.>

He seems interested by the food but he doesn't eat. When he tried, he spit it out right away. The problem started 5 days ago. The water quality is fine, other fish are fine as well, the temperature is at 24℃ and the PH is at 7.0. He lives in a 55gallons with a green Severum, angelfish and a ghost knife.
<I would starve this fish for a few days, then offer something very tempting, like an earthworm. I'd also treat as per constipation; see here:
Epsom salt at 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres usually helps. Severums are largely herbivores in the wild, and if only fed flake, pellets and meaty foods they are prone to digestive tract problems.>
There is a video (sorry, its really short, but longer than that the file is too big) of my Severum attach to this email. I hope you could help me because I love my Severum so much :( ! (Sorry for my English, it is not my first language)
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

gold Severum wont eat... 7 megs, no data      5/3/16
Hello, my gold Severum wont eat, i am thinking that it is a bacteria infection, what should i do?
<Mmm; what re the system, water quality here? What else is housed w/ this fish? What is it fed?
What sort of filtration do you employ? Have you read on WWM re this species?
Bob Fenner>

Sick Severum; need data    2/29/16
Hello I have a sick Severum, I would like to know how to treat it to make her better. She is growling something in the bottom of her belly but she still eating and swimming around away from the others.
<... need information George. What re water quality, tests? Tankmates, the set up, maintenance... the history of your keeping this cichlid? What foods, feeding? Bob Fenner>
Sick Severum /Neale's go

Hello I have a sick Severum, I would like to know how to treat it to make her better. She is growling something in the bottom of her belly but she still eating and swimming around away from the others.
<Anal prolapse... combination of factors likely... Hexamita infection, lack of essential vitamins in diet, perhaps water quality too. Do read up on this on WWM; much said about it. In particular, do review the use of Metronidazole, as essential to Hexamita treatment. Epsom salt will be a useful supplement to this treatment. Eliminate dried foods from its diet for a while, and as this is a herbivorous cichlid, do ensure its diet is based largely on green foods as far as practical. Cooked spinach, canned peas, Sushi Nori, Spirulina-enriched brine shrimp all good. Do be careful about water quality; water chemistry not critical with Heros spp., but nitrate levels above 20 mg/l are not helpful, especially in overstocked and overheated tanks (both of which lower dissolved oxygen, a stress factor of significance). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Severum    2/29/16
Temp 72
Oh 7.0-7.2
Water changes every two weeks (60 gal)
<I'd change some every week; while gravel vacuuming>
Tank is 230 gal tank
Fish in tank
5 Severums 3 adult 2 young ones
5 eels
1 yellow labs
4 other small chiclids I don't know their names
<Need to know... may be brutalizing the Severum>
1 upside down catfish
<Is there detectable ammonia, nitrite? How much nitrate? BobF>

Banded cichlids.... no data    12/25/15
I have a banded cichlid that is swimming straight up yet at times he floats backwards and starts to sink but swims back to the top, he has been swimming like this for 2-3weeks now and I do not know what to do can you please help me.
<...? Need data... what other life is present? Is it acting more normally? What have you been feeding this fish?
Is there any ammonia, nitrite present? Accumulated nitrate?
Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/cichliddisfaqs.htm
to give you an idea what sorts of information we need to help you; as well as serve to hopefully make you aware of the source of trouble here. Bob Fenner>
Banded cichlids /Neale     12/25/15

I have a banded cichlid that is swimming straight up yet at times he floats backwards and starts to sink but swims back to the top, he has been swimming like this for 2-3weeks now and I do not know what to do can you please help me.
<I take it by "Banded Cichlid" you mean a Severum of some kind, such as Heros severus? These basically herbivorous cichlids are prone to constipation when given a pellets or flakes based diet, so that's one thing to check. Look up the "Floaty, Bloaty Goldfish" article on WWM for all sorts of information on treating this issue. Another thing to consider is its environment. Cichlids will go loopy, spinning or floating oddly when stressed, such as by dramatic temperature drops, so check the heater and the filter are working. As always with cichlids, you're after 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and crucially, a nitrate level as low as practical, ideally below 20 mg/l and certainly no higher than 40 mg/l. Severums aren't fussy about water chemistry, but dramatic changes in pH will cause them problems, so again, that's something to review. The fact this cichlid has been stressed or sick for several weeks suggests a serious, persistent problem rather than something sudden (like a pH or temperature change) but I'm covering all the bases for now. Finally, Severums are prone to Hexamita infections, especially in conditions that are less than perfect (high nitrate, low oxygen, no fresh green foods). This can cause all kinds of symptoms including loss of swimming ability. Metronidazole, alongside one of the Nitrofuran antibiotics, is generally the best (in fact, probably the only) reliable cure. Cheers and Merry Christmas, Neale.>

Thank you very much I will take all your suggests and put them into actions, fingers crossed hoping all works and Merry Christmas to you and yours
<Glad to help! Good luck, Neale.>

Sick gold Severum - help - we have not encountered this disease before     8/19/15
I hope you will be able to help us save our 3 year old Gold Severum, named Sunny.
<Will give it a shot.>
Sunny is in a 180 gallon tank which has custom made professional filtration system also suitable for marine aquarium. He/she is housed with two other Severums (red and red-shoulder). As well, we also have other freshwater cichlids.
<What sorts? Will stress here that Severums are large but fairly placid cichlids outside of breeding. They do badly kept with rough-and-tumble cichlids such as Mbuna or Central Americans (Midas, Convicts, etc.). On the other hand they make good companions for Eartheaters (Geophagines) and smaller South Americans (Blue Acara for example). How will you know if
cichlids have been fighting? Even if you haven't seen them fight, characteristic symptoms are jaw damage (from wrestling) and fin damage (from nipping). The "loser" fish will often adopt unusual colouration, typically dark stress colours but sometimes vertical stripes or whatever that mimic the female of their species. They may also be less bold at feeding time and spend more time hiding in the corners.>
The water conditions are good and we do a regular weekly ~45-50% water changes. Sunny has been healthy and seemingly happy for the entire time he was with us, until the last couple of days. All of a sudden it looks like his head is swollen to the point that his lips are sticking out (like duck lips); he has darker colouration on this head; his slime coat seems to be coming off.
<Could be a variety of things including damage from fighting. Nonetheless, if the slime coat has thickened the skin has become damaged and/or infected. Without a microscope it's very difficult to find down the precise problem, though an invertebrate/protozoan parasite of some sort (Hexamita and Costia are two obvious guesses) are more likely. These are somewhat tricky to treat.>
Also, he seems to be gasping for air at the surface and then sinks to the bottom, hard. We have put him in a hospital tank and currently we are treating him with Kanamycin 180 mg/5gallons.
<This is an antibiotic and won't do much/anything from Protozoans.>
We have been keeping fish for over 10 years and have not encountered this before. Please advise on what this condition could be and how Sunny can be cured. Please note that we are in Canada and we may not have access to the same meds as US does, so please provide us with a couple options on what we can do.
<Understood. Same issue in the UK, but unfortunately Hexamita is only treatable with something called Metronidazole, usually used alongside a Nitrofuran drug for maximum effectiveness. This is the route I'd recommend here. You can obtain Metronidazole through a vet if it isn't available over the counter. In the UK at least, vet medications are more expensive than fish shop ones (maybe double the cost) but you do at least get much better information on use and dosage. Do also remember to remove carbon (if used) from the filter while treating. Costia, also known as Slime Disease, can be treated using over the counter medications, though elevated salinity can also work, and luckily for you Severums are reasonably tolerant of salt, so moving this chap to a hospital tank where you can use salt alongside the Metronidazole would cover all the bases, so to speak.>
thanks so much!
Izabela and Joel
<Have cc'ed our cichlid guru, Chuck Rambo, for extra input. Cheers, Neale.>

Gold Severum floating on its side    9/23/14
I have an 80 gallon tank with 2 gold Severums aprox 4", 2 fire mouths, 1 Pleco, 2 tiger barbs last but not least 1 unknown fish.
A couple if days ago I noticed a great deal of fry to my surprise the are from the FM, the parents were very aggressive and the other fish were feeding on the fry so I decide to move all the fish to other smaller tanks.
The 2 Severums are in a small tank
<How small?>
and today I noticed one is flat on the bottom but still breathing.
<Water quality tests?>
What is the possible cause of this and what can I do to remedy it asap.
Really appreciate your input.
Thank you....
<Move them to larger quarters. Bob Fenner>
Re: Gold Severum floating on its side      9/25/14

You guys have a great web page, my sincere congratulations.
After I sent email, Kept on reading the questions and answers from others, wow so much insight and great information from the experiences of other fish lovers and your great advice.
So... I put in practice some of the advise,
1 - made a partial water change,
<THIS is most important>

2- added some medication
BTW, it was such a pleasant surprise to receive a response but most if all how fast you responded.
3 - followed your advise and moved my 2 beautiful gold Severums to larger quarters (new 55 gal. tank). Fish are happily swimming...
<Ahh; very good>

Keep up the great work!
<Are endeavouring to do so. Cheers, BobF>

Gold Severum; hlth.
Dear crew, We have a 6 yr old gold Severum that has never had any issues until now. He seems to have to struggle to float straight, he keep going sideways & just looks like he's dizzy. This has been going on for a few days, he still eats but is just not acting like himself.
<Indeed. Do read here:
If you're lucky, you're simply dealing with constipation. Severums are definite omnivores and need green foods, such as cooked peas, spinach, etc., at least weekly. Some frozen cichlid foods include green foods alongside the brine shrimps and other meaty things. Herbivorous fish are prone to constipation if they just get dried foods and no greens.>
Tonight we noticed at the end of his tail it looks like blood, Can you give us any idea what could be wrong?
<Incipient Finrot by the sounds of it. Do review water quality and tank size, treat as per Finrot (but not with salt or tea-tree oil products like Melafix) and hopefully things should improve.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>

What's that on my Severum's tail?    10/12/12
Hi WWM team,
<Hello Audra>
My beautiful 9 inch Rotkeil Severum has a clear, cocoon like thing on the tip of one of his bottom fins. It started out at the very tip a few months ago, but now it appears like it is longer, going up the fin.  The Rotty is by himself in a 30 gallon tank and on occasion, I catch his fins moving rapidly like something is irritating him.
<Fungus maybe?>
My water parameters are 82 temp, Ammo=0, Nitrite=o, Nitrate=0 and PH is 7.2.
I do 20% water changes every week and vacuum the tank with each change, he's a messy fish.
<A bit warm for Severum. Mid-seventies.>
Three days ago, I added 1 tbsp per 5 gallons of aquarium salt to the tank and hiked the temp to 87 degrees. He has been lethargic but normal, and he's eating.
<Is this an improvement? That is awfully warm for most fish.>
I'm wondering what the thing is on his tail so I can treat it.  Any ideas?
<I thought it was on the pectoral fin??>
His picture is below, I circled in red where the "thing" is on his tail.
<I see the picture. That's the pectoral fin. Unfortunately, I don't see this cocoon-like area, even after zooming in on the red circle.  From what you mentioned, my first guess would be fungal. See here and search for "fungus" and "fungal."
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm. >

Gold Severum problem   4/10/12
I have two Gold Severums and a Jack Dempsey in my tank....all get along peacefully (the Severums were grown and several years old when I added the Dempsey).   Over the past several months I first noticed that the largest Severum had red streaks on his body, almost like outlining of his scales.
<... indicative of issue/s w/ water quality almost always>
Then a few weeks ago I noticed a lump about the size of a dime that had formed up next to his dorsal fin, but on the body.  This lump is red looking. Also he has a smaller one (same side) back closer to his tail.  I change the water frequently, and the fish are all eating just fine.  I wish I could send a picture, but I don't have a digital camera.  Any suggestions on what this could be and what to do about it?
Thank you in advance
<... no data of use...: System, water quality, foods/feeding, maint....
Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/severums.htm
and the linked files above, esp. Disease, Systems. Bob Fenner>

Sick and Inactive Golden Severum with red bleeding patch 1/27/12
I had 2 golden Severums in my pond which are 5 inches. One was dead after changing water on last week due to poor water condition. Now the other one has a red bleeding area around his head developed within 2 days. When I noticed it , I isolate him and put oxygen and Chloramphenicol 500mg to 10L
<Too much... 250 mg./10 gal.s is about right... changed out/replaced w/ water every three days>

water in a hospital tank. Also put anti parasitic agent. But condition became severe and activity became less. Now he is laying on the floor of tank, no movement of pins for 3 days but still breathing, movement of mouth occurs. Still I continuing the treatment but no progress.
Please help me by giving suitable advices.
<Change out most of the water; monitor ammonia to nitrate... and hope. Bob Fenner>

Green Severum with white pimples all over he's head 7/26/11
Green Severum With HITH

Dear crew, I have two large green Severums in my 3 meter tank. They occupy the tank with ten little Frontosas and a few small Malawi cichlids. The Severums have been breeding prolifically, but about two weeks I noticed the couple were having a bit of a squabble that resulted in the male getting a few little bites ( I think). Now two weeks later the male has white pimples all over he's head. I've attached a few photos. I really hope this is not the dreaded HITH disease. If so I've been advised to use a remedy called Octozin ( not sure about the spelling). So my questions
1. Is this in fact hole in the head?
< Sure looks like it. But you mentioned damage from bites. The bites may be infected causing the appearance of HITH.
2. Is the prescription of Octozin the right medication?
< Don't know. I am not familiar with this medication and couldn't find it on the internet to see what the ingredients are. Look for medications with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace in it.>
3 I am hoping to get to red spotted Severums this afternoon.....is it ok for me to add them to my current setup given the problems with the male.?
< I would not add additional fish until the problems with the current fish are resolved. Chuck.>
Hoping you can help Mohammed Parker
Re: Green Severum with white pimples all over he's head 8/3/11
Severum with HITH II

Hi Chuck, Thanks a million for your response....I isolated the little man, medicated him and the whitish pimples went away leaving small little holes in he's head . It now seems he's one eye is swollen....Eeek is
that as a result of the medication or ???? What now :(
< Your fish is not out of the woods yet. The holes need to heal and close up. The swollen eye is a parasite behind the eye pushing the eye out of the socket. Check the nitrates and get them under 10 ppm. Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Furan-2. It may take awhile to see some results but you have caught it early and that is important for a full recovery.-Chuck.>

Please Help me with my Severum
Cyst on Severums Gill, env. 5/5/11

I have had a Severum for a few years now. She's the color black and she has laid eggs before. Currently, it seems as though there is a cyst forming on the end of her gill. It's the size of a pea and cloudy in color. In regards to her swimming habits, she has been rather lazy for the past few months. In the tank I have a male Severum as well and six parrot fish. They get along perfectly- no aggression whatsoever.
My tank is 30 gallons. I'm not sure exactly what the cause is or what it is in general. Please help my learn more about it and help me treat it! Thanks! ~Bana Zayyad
< Hard to tell what is really going on. A cyst is like a water filled balloon. I might try to pop it or lance it with a single edged razor blade to see if it comes back. The black color and lazy swimming habits makes me think that there may be more here than meets the eye. Check the water quality. You have many fish in a 30 gallon aquarium and the nitrates are probably high and contributing to the fish's health problems. I would recommend looking for a larger tank.-Chuck>

Severum in an established tank, suffers from stubborn fin rot and begins to flash and shimmy
Severum With Wound Issues 10/17/10

Dear crew, thank you very much for your time. I am happy to say I haven't had to call on your advice for many years now, as I have had a good solid run of fish health before this, largely due to information I learned on your website.
Unfortunately I am having problems with my 5 year old Rotkeil Severum, affectionately called "Sevy", and would appreciate some assistance. I apologize in advance for the length of my 2-part question, I have added any details that I thought might be relevant. Sevy lives by himself in a 60 gallon bachelor apartment that has been established for 4 years, and is given a 35% water change and cleaning every 2 weeks. It sports a canister filter and currently the ammonia and nitrite levels are zero, while the nitrates are somewhere between .0 and .5 ppm. The pH is stable at 7.4 and the water temperature is kept at 79
degrees. Sevy has always been extremely shy and quick to startle, even for a Severum, I believe. This is likely aggravated by the fact that unfortunately, his tank is in a basement that doesn't get much traffic other than at feeding time. Despite our best efforts (turning on lights room by room and making noise from far away as we approach him, so he knows to hide) he is often startled and scrapes himself in his haste to get back to his cave. If the wound is especially bad I treat with Melafix, which I have found in my experience, to quicken healing. Several months ago, I noticed what appeared to be a very slight tear at the tip of Sevy's tail. At the time I treated with Melafix, may have added salt to help prevent infection, and waited. When months went by and the tear never healed, but also never worsened, I concluded that it was no longer a serious concern. Approximately two months ago or more, I returned after being away for a
week (he was still being fed normally) and found that the tear had increased slightly, and a hole the size of a pin prick had appeared on the fin, closer to the body. Again, I treated with Melafix and half a teaspoon/gallon of salt, and kept a close eye on him. Weeks went by with absolutely no change. The
tissue wasn't discoloured or ragged looking in any way, so I assumed that he must have injured himself again and the tissue was taking a long time to grow back.
About three weeks ago, I came home to find that both points had worsened significantly and were accompanied by the fin-rot characteristic whitening of tissue around the sites.
I'm aware that I must be chastised for this, and it clearly bit me in the backside, but as this tank had been established for years without any significant changes, and with perfect water quality with my maintenance
routine, I had gone from regularly testing the parameters, just in case, to testing very infrequently. Yes, I am ashamed.
I tested the water at the time and was rather horrified to find the ammonia reading at .25 ppm, with zero nitrates or nitrites. I cleaned the tank, performing a 50% water change, and the next day began treating with Maracyn, with little to no result. Towards the end of the treatment, it seemed that at some point Sevy had evidently scraped his tail on something and torn a large piece of fin from the site of the original pin prick, down his tail. I am fairly certain that this was a tear and not progression of the infection because
of the speed with which the tissue was gone, and the cleanliness and normal appearance of the parameters of the wound (like a sheet of paper that's been scored and torn), however, he was left with a third of his tail gone. After finishing the full Maracyn regiment, I performed a 50% water change, and Sevy had began
flashing and "shimmying" his body shortly after, as if irritated, or otherwise "freaking out". I tested the water and everything was pristine, so I added additional Prime water conditioner, in an effort to get rid of any possible extras in my tap water that might be bothering his gills. Eventually his behaviour calmed, but the flashing did not stop entirely. I gave Sevy a full day free of medications, and then began treating with Kanaplex. I followed Seachem's directions and treated the water every other day, for their maximum
indicated total of six days, and then did a 50% water change. The overall whitening of the tissue has diminished, and there is some regrowth on parts of the tail that were torn, rather than eaten away by the infection. However, a couple of ragged bits have an opaque white colouring to parts of them (doesn't appear to be fuzzy) and I am unsure whether this is a secondary infection, fungus of some kind, or (hopefully, for my sake and his), simply dead tissue that has yet to fall off. I know that many people advocate medicating for at least 10 to 12 days when dealing with stubborn fin-rot, but I was hesitant to continue beyond Seachem's stated maximum as I tend to consider them a company that knows what their
doing. Sevy has been without medication in the tank for 2 days now (just a teaspoon/5 gallons of salt). Would you recommend treating with Kanaplex again, in order to treat what I'm afraid is likely a secondary infection, or have I essentially "inoculated" the bacteria already? I am extremely hesitant to start him on anything else.
Sevy's behaviour is my second concern. He continues to flash and "shimmy" and on the whole seems more aggressive. He appears to be hunting for food even though he's being fed more than usual (I'm sure over these past weeks I've conditioned him to expect a treat from me when I come down during the day, but he
seems almost frantic, while before the fin-rot, he tended to stay in his cave until you left after feeding him at the normal time). We have been feeding him better, and more varied than usual food, partly as a permanent change and partly to aid his body's tolerance of the antibiotics. He likes some of the new food much more than his old food, but he behaves as if he's being starved! I noticed this afternoon that he appears to be trying to eat something off the walls of his cave, and though I can't see much of anything growing there, he occasionally spits out a thin film of algae ( if it's algae he wants, there's much more on
the sides of the tank). I'm wondering if he's trying to scratch his mouth, but I would think he would scratch his mouth just the way he scratches his body, by rubbing up against the walls or gravel, rather than opening and closing his mouth as if trying to eat the wall. He also spends much more time scanning the walls of the tank and lingering at his reflection than usual, and evidently wants to start a fight with the lettuce clip that he is usually quite timid of.
He also moves around the tank, occasionally leaning towards his side from time to time and moving his giant eyes, apparently trying to examine different things closely. I know that antibiotics are stressful on a fish's system, and Severums dislike changes to their environments (when we've added any new structures
to the tank in the past, Sevy takes on an appearance that can only be described as rage, and rips them out or knocks them as far away from his cave as he can). Is it possible that his odd behaviour is a result of the stress from the fin-rot/medication, and all of his new-found attention? Or should I assume that
his flashing and shimmying, my greatest concern, is the result of a parasitic infestation, or otherwise? If so, is there a treatment that you recommend?
Thank you for reading through all of the above, and for the overall service that Wet Web provides.
Rachel Faith
< That you for your kind words. Medications usually affect the beneficial bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrates. With clean water, dead whitish tissues don't fungus for long. You are all done medicating, use a product like Dr Tim's One and Only to get the bacteria quickly re-established. This may eliminate the shimmy movements. Dirty water decreases the fish's ability to fight disease and increases the bacteria that causes disease. Keep the nitrates under 10 ppm for awhile and see how things go for awhile.-Chuck>

Geriatric Severum with HITH
Severum With HITH Disease 10/14/10

I am writing because I have never seen a worse case of Hole-in-the-Head in person and because I am not sure how the advanced age of the fish will/should effect treatment decisions.
I have recently adopted a 14 year old male Severum. It is a magnificent old fish, 8-9 inches long and friendly. Unfortunately it also came a terrible case of case of HITH. It appears to act normally, however its head and jaws are covered with shallow pits and what I thought were two white stripes down its sides are actually a series of small pits. Its previous home (with a loach) was a 29-gallon tank covered with hair algae and cleaned monthly. I brought it home to a 40-gallon tank with live plants. I don't have room for
anything larger between my 120's, but I have very good, neutral well water and do a 50% change whenever the nitrates reach 10ppm. Ammonia and nitrites are currently zero. I am offering the fish New Life Spectrum as well as homemade gel food, and considering a course of Metronidazole once I see it beginning to eat more- but I don't know how much time I have, how fast the disease progresses, how age will affect the dosage, or how many years this fish has left. I am growing attached to this old fish already and want to know what I can do to ensure its recovery. Thank you for your time and any advice! Thanks
for keeping up this site too.
< Keep the nitrates under 10 ppm. Look for a medicated food with Metronidazole in it. Feed this in addition to the New Life food. HITH may be related to a calcium deficiency since fish that live in soft water tend to get it more than other cichlids. Your fish is old and will take some time to get better. progress may be slow so be patient.-Chuck>

Cichlid health issues
Cichlid Injury After Move to New Tank - 10/10/10

Greeting crew - I have a couple of questions and a problem. First some history.
I have a tank setup that has a group of cichlids in it. I inherited these fish from a buddy who got bored with the hobby and allowed the tank to go green and nasty. That makes me the ignorant new fish guy, but I love my fish and am reading all that I can as I need to in order to ensure these little guys a happy and healthy lifespan. That being said: I have 2 unknowns, 1 Jack Dempsey, 1 Blue Acara, 1 Blood Parrot, 4 Convicts, 2 Plecos, 2 Tiger Barbs and 2 Tetras. Believe it or not, everyone gets along fairly well. I have done enough reading on your site to determine that I need a bigger tank for these guys. There is a 225 gallon in the works, but I am stuck with what I have now. I will do what it takes to keep these beautiful fish alive and healthy.
They have been very strong, happy and seemingly content (none of the "typical" stress behavior indicated) prior to my move. I relocated and all the fish made the move pretty well, save for one. He is the one about
which I write.
The quick down and dirty is this:
Prior to the move water conditions were as follows; hardness - Unknown (I wasn't aware until starting to study on your site that hardness was an issue), Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0, Nitrates - between 30 and 40 (doing weekly water changes), Ph maintained at 7.
Having moved, tank conditions are not as happy. I was able to bring some of the original water, all of the filter media and all of the substrate with me to reintegrate back into the tank. I read online (not your site, hadn't discovered it yet) and talked with a few LFS's that my plan was a good one, giving the fish the best shot at survival during a 30 hour move. I am experiencing an ammonia spike similar to a recycle, but I *think* I have it well in hand. According to the local Water District report from 2009 in my home town to where I just moved the fish, the hardness is 7.8, Ph is 8.4, chloride is 11 ppm and there is 12 ppm of sodium. I tested for nitrite and nitrate in the water and got 0 on both tests.
Now to the problem:
When I placed the fish in some buckets with air stones so that I could prepare the tanks for the move, one of the "unknown flavor" of cichlids beat the EVER LOVING CRAP out of himself in the bucket. He
scraped the bejezzus out of one of his sides and also did some smaller bits of damage to his other side. He now has a not-at-all pretty injury to his side which has turned white and starting to get fuzzy. It is difficult to tell in the pictures, but I hope the damage done can be seen so you can advise.
Could you look at the pics and tell me: 1 - what kind of fish are these?
And 2 - is this the beginning of a fungal growth and do I need to immediately isolate and treat, or is this normal healing process after such an injury?
< 1. Heros Severum, 2 Treat with Nitrofuranace in a hospital tank. This medication is antibacterial and antifungal.>
Additional questions: They have ALL (save for the four small fish) been hovering in their little spots for the last 5 days since the move. It is my understanding - from reading on your site - that this is likely normal
behavior after being transported and re-tanked. They are acclimating, yes?
< Check the ammonia levels. The bacteria that convert the ammonia to nitrates may be in shock. They should respond to food if the water temp is up to normal levels.>
They are also not eating much like they used to. I used to come out in the morning and they would all swim to the top and do the "feed me Seymour" dance but now just glare at me from their hiding spots and
they *might* come up for food, but might not. I used to feed once a day but after reading your site and a couple other spots, I will change to two to three smaller feedings a day. Is this lack of feeding also to be expected after the stress of a move?
< The move and change in water parameters will take some time to adjust to-Chuck>
Thanks for your help -dal

Sick Severum 2/6/10
Hi, Crew
I have a big problem with my Severum. He has lived in my 55 gallon aquarium with 3 other NW cichlids and a Pleco for almost 3 years.
<I'm a bit worried by this "New World" cichlid statement. Severums come from South America. They need soft, slightly acidic to neutral water. They are herbivores and mostly peaceful. They SHOULD NOT be kept with Central American cichlids. Central American cichlids need hard, basic water.
Central American cichlids are usually very violent and aggressive. Don't mix these two very different groups of cichlids.>
About 3 months ago I noticed he had a white cotton stuff on the one of his side fin. I checked water quality: 0.25 NH3,
<Well, there's your problem right there. You can throw all the drugs into the tank you want, but a non-zero ammonia level means the water quality is terrible. Whether lack of filtration, overstocking, overfeeding, or
insufficient oxygen for the filter bacteria, the problem is water quality.
Do understand Columnaris, Finrot and Fungus are all opportunistic. You NEVER eliminate from the tank. What you do is alleviate the symptoms (the current infection) and fix water quality so the fish's immune system prevents a reoccurrence. But you're deluding yourself if you think you can beat Finrot while having non-zero levels of ammonia. On top of that, if the Central American cichlids are aggressive, they could easily wound the Severum, allowing Finrot or whatever to get established.>
0 NO2, 10-20 ppm NO3. I did big water change, cut feeding, add additional filter. I never had NH3 traces after that in my tank, but cotton stuff never went away. So, I treated the whole tank with Erythromycin from API.
Cotton stuff disappeared during treatment. Everything was great, I was very happy. But after few weeks I noticed a similar cotton stuff on the leap on the same fish. I treated the whole tank with Triple Sulfa from API. Again, white stuff disappeared during the treatment, but soon whole my fish was covered in this white stuff: on the side, lower fin and stomach. Fish became very lethargic. Staying in the same corner all the time. I think, he has problem to keep a balance. His coloration is completely black.
Stomach became bloody red. I treated the tank again with Maracyn. 2 days ago treatment was completed. No improvement. I start to think about euthanasia. But the fish still has very good appetite and sometimes even aggressive to other fish. Please help. My other fishes are in an excellent shape, without any sign of any problem, my water parameters are fine. But I do not want to overuse antibiotics ether.
What can you suggest? I spent over $50 dollars on treatment without any improvement.
May be it is not a regular fungus or fin rot?
<Yes, is "regular". Just you aren't doing anything to improve water quality.>
May be I should stop any treatment and just maintain a water quality?
Assuming, my fish eating, everything could heal on its own?
<No, you need to solve the problem in two parts. First treat the infection, and second optimise water quality. You can't do one without the other and expect favorable results.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Severum With Bacterial Infection -- 11/17/2009
Hi, I was wondering if you could help identify the disease my gold and green Severum have. I have searched all over the internet but cant seem to find anything conclusive it started as what looked like a spot and is now spreading fast. The red spots are on both sides of the fish and I have enclosed a picture for you to look at. My tank has been set up for a number of years now,. I have in my tank two rams, 2 Bolivian rams, 2 keyholes, 1 kribensis a Bristlenose Plec and a albino Plec. No other fish seem to be affected just my Severums. I've tried anti-fungus treatment with no joy. My water parameters are all normal and they haven't gone off their food or anything Really hope you can help Thanks Alan
< It appears to be a bacterial infection. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 20 ppm. I would recommend isolating the infected fish in a hospital tank. Treat with Nitrofuranace.
It is both anti fungal and an antibiotic. Sometimes domesticated strains of fish are more vulnerable to diseases than some wild type strains.-Chuck>

Gold Severum labored breathing and loss of color and appetite Tank Slowly Losing Fish 10/20/09
Hi! I have a question. I have a 55 gallon tropical tank that used to hold many different types of fish. They all were healthy until about 6 months ago when they all started dying slowly. It would start with them swimming upside down or sideways and kind of thrashing occasionally in the water.
This would last for a few days to a week. Then they would die. I am down to one fish, a Gold Severum, who was able to make it through the worst part of the illness in the tank. She/he (not sure) has been alone in the tank now for about 3 months and did not show any signs of being sick until the last week. She stopped eating a few days ago and spends most of her time either at the top of the tank (gasping for "air") or resting at the bottom of the tank (still gasping for "air"). I have noticed that she has become more light in color also. I have tested the water many times with API Ammonia test strips and API 5 in 1 test strips (measures pH, Nitrite, Nitrate, Carbonate, and General Hardness) All tests have came back normal (which was the same during the major death period for the other fish). I have changed the water numerous times and use Top Fin Water Conditioner, Top Fin Bacteria Supplement, and Prime Concentrated Water Conditioner (as I have always done for the past 3 years). I fear the worst for Delia (my fish) and don't want her to follow the fate of her previous tank mates. I have attached a picture of Delia and the tank. Please let me know what suggestions you have to get her well again or if she is doomed at this point. :(
Thank you for any help you can give, it is much appreciated! Kelly< If the water conditions checked out OK then you could have a disease or dietary problem. Now that you are down to one fish it may be too late to find out what the problem is. Start by doing a 50% water change, clean the filters and vacuum the gravel. If things don't get better then treat with Nitrofuranace. Follow the directions on the package. Add Metronidazole at the same time. This shot gun approach will treat a very wide range of diseases.-Chuck>

Sick Severum 8/18/09
Love the site! I recently acquired a 3-4 year old Gold Severum. I set the 40g tank up the same day I was given the fish. I used tap water conditioned with Stress Coat. I took gravel from my Oscar tank (established 4 years) and driftwood from my planted tank (established > 1 year).
<Good technique>
Filtration is an Emperor 400. Substrate is small gravel and aquarium stones (bought at fish store). The fish acted fine the first 24 hours - swimming normally and eating good. On the second day, I noticed he would hover just below the water's surface, breathing normally. He then started hanging more vertically below the surface and every so often would quickly jerk from side to side. This is the third day and he is still hanging vertically and now the "jerks" are more aggressive, sometimes hitting the side of the tank. He still eats very good and does "right" himself when I approach the tank and for the most part when eating. I have also observed him lying almost on his side at the bottom of the tank.
<Bad behavioral signs... something is amiss... with either the water
quality or this fish was severely traumatized in the process of moving>
During a worry session last night, I changed 50% of the water using half R/O water and half tap water. I added carbon to the filter cartridges too. Thinking it could be stress, I added more plants for hiding places today. I also added aquarium salt (1 tbsp per ten gallons). I have tested Amm, nitrIte and nitrAte - no readings. pH is 8.0.
<Way too high. What was the pH of the system previously?>
I thought I was helping this fish by taking him - please help me help him.
Thanks in advance,
<Best at this point to add activated carbon in the filter/water circulation flow path (in the Emperor filter best) and wait and see. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Severum 08/18/09
I added activated carbon to the filter Sunday night.? I do not know the pH reading in the fish's previous tank.? I'm pretty sure the previous owner used mostly r/o water.? My tap water is usually 7.6 - 8.0.? I started doing very small (about 3 gallons) water changes using only r/o water to lower the pH.? Hope this helps.? Fish is still hanging vertically just below the surface.? He ate very well this morning.? How fast (or slow) should pH be changed?
<... no more than about 0.1 of a point in a day... Read here:
and the linked files above. BobF>

Re: Sick Severum 8/20/09
I am happy to report the Severum is doing "swimmingly" well.
When I returned from work, he was swimming normally and had a very good appetite. I performed another 3 gallon water change this AM with r/o water and will continue to do so every 24 hours until the pH is in proper range.
Thanks so much for the help and support.
<Congratulations on your success. BobF>

Help!!! Sick Gold Severum 05/22/09
Gold Severum Struggles To Swim

Hello, my name is Linda and I have a Gold Severum that is not swimming or eating. She or he, not really sure, about 4 years old with a Tiger Oscar is sick. I have a 55 gallon tank and it is staying on the bottom of the tank and she is not able to keep itself at the top or swim without trouble to eat. She struggles to swim and she lays flat on the bottom. I have changed the water and filters. Not sure what might be wrong with it. My Oscar is just fine. It is also missing some of its side fins. Looks like my Oscar might of attacked it. They have been together for all 4 years, since babies. What do you think? Will the fins grow back? Is this a water condition problem? Please help. Thank you in advance. L
< The Severum has an internal infection that has affected the swim bladder. The most likely cause is stress of some sort. In a separate hospital tank treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package. Do not feed and keep the water temp at around 82 F with lots of aeration. When you fish acts hungry them you know it is getting better.-Chuck>

Re: Help!!! Sick Gold Severum 05/23/09
Gold Severum Struggles To Swim II
Dear Chuck, Thank you for your quick response to the email and my sick Severum. While I was looking at my fish tonight when she is laying on one side completely I noticed that her under body is all red and looks like it is a little ripped up. Not sure if this happened before she got sick. I will in the morning start a hospital tank and get both the medicine you recommended. I sure hope this will help. She is a very pretty fish and
don't do much to my Oscar and the Oscar seems to like the Severum. Thank you for your help and advise. I will wait to hear from you on the red ripped up bottom center. Thanks again. Linda
< The trauma to the sides may have been caused by a bacterial infection. The Nitrofuranace will treat those symptoms too.-Chuck>

Golden Severum with red stripe and streaking 4/28/09
Hi and thank you;
I wrote in about 3 weeks ago. I have a 7 inch Golden Severum and he is the only fish in the tank. He started out with a round bump/lesion in his head about a month ago, vertical swimming, some stringy poop and he stopped eating.
<Sounds like an Hexamita infection; usually related to water quality, especially nitrate, but may also be triggered by inappropriate diet and possibly other factors like insufficient oxygen concentration. Since
Severums are herbivores, they're probably pretty sensitive to the wrong diet, i.e., vitamin deficiency. This seems to be the case with marine herbivores like Tangs and Angels, at least.>
Since then I have been doing consistent water changes and gave him 2 Ampicillin treatments 3 weeks ago for the open sore. This sore healed completely and there are no others. I felt like he might of run hard into a
rock when startled. I did a parasite clear treatment for the stringy poop and because he was startled.
<Generic parasite treatments generally have little/no impact on the mucous-rich faeces. Hexamita infections are complex; the parasites in the gut irritate the lining of the gut, resulting in lots of mucous, and that's
where you get the stringy faeces. When the parasites migrate around the body, they can infect the lateral line pores on the head, and this is where the hole-in-the-head starts. A part of this problem is that the parasites
allow bacteria to infect the pores, so much of what you see as the "holes" is more bacterial than the Hexamita directly, hence antibiotics may reduce the symptoms. But if the Hexamita infection isn't also dealt with, there's nothing to stop a reoccurrence of the symptoms later on.>
I have been feeding him a variety of foods; mostly mysis shrimp with peas, spinach. For a week I included Metronidazole and used a turkey baster to get this to his mouth. I also treated the tank with Metronidazole 3 times, with 1 day in between, with some water changes. He still has a red stripe from his tail down part of his spine and a small area under his tail, some red streaking in his tail, he hides in a corner for a lot of the day with his head hanging down, but does swim back and forth gently at times.
<The red streaking is likely another secondary bacterial infection.>
At night I have seen him vertical. About 3 days ago I started treating with Kanaplex from Sea Chem and stopped the Metronidazole. His swimming is definitely improved and he resists the food with medication, but always eats some. I have also had the carbon filters out most of this time. There is definitely still something persisting. I thought about combining the two medications. Someone told me he might have developed an intolerance to the Metronidazole and to use something like ParaGuard from Sea Chem in place.
<Hmm... no... Metronidazole is really the only thing that kills Hexamita.>
Do you know what the read stripe and red streak indicate?
<See above.>
What do you feel would be the best treatment?
<Would use both Metronidazole and a suitable anti-Finrot medication, ideally an antibiotic.>
How long should I keep the carbon filters out?
<For as long as you're medicating.>
Is there any better foods to ad? Your help is very appreciated; Andrea
<Cheers, Neale.>

Green Severum Ill 4/22/09
I have two 1 yr old Green Severum that have grown quickly to ~ 6-7 inches in length. From fin shape I am guessing one male and one female. They have laid eggs once in the past year; all went to fungus. They eat frozen blood worms, frozen krill, frozen brine shrimp, cichlid pellets, and algae wafers. Water is kept at ~80 in a 72 gallon glass tank. They have a female Jack Dempsey, 2 Plecos, and 2 Blood Parrot Cichlids as tank mates.
<OK. Quite a busy tank here, by which I mean you have the easy potential for poor water quality. I do hope you have a robust filtration system, e.g., a big external canister filter rated at 6x the volume of the aquarium in turnover per hour, and that you do regular (weekly) water changes of 25% or more.>
A few months ago one, the suspected the female received some damage on her crown. A quarter sized white, slimy patch developed that sometimes "peels." None of the other tank mates suffers from the disease. I treated for three days for fungus (commercial brand) with no effect. The area is now much larger (2X) and the Sev is often hovering nose up or treading at the bottom of the tank. Her coloration is dark and dull. She eats well.
There are several pits about her head as well. From her behavior, I believe she's going downhill and plan to get her in a 30 gallon tall hospital tank in the coming day or two.
<Without seeing a photo, my initial assumption would be some type of Hexamita infection, sometimes called Hole-in-the-Head disease and related to (and sometimes causing) Head-and-Lateral-Line-Erosion disease as well.
In the case of cichlids, it's virtually always triggered by water quality issues, particularly high levels of nitrate (above 20 mg/l) but diet can be a factor too. Remember, Severums are herbivorous fish, and need lots of
green foods if they are to get the vitamins they need. Flake, pellets, meaty foods won't keep them healthy. Instead, balance any invertebrate foods with equal amounts of cooked peas, spinach, filamentous algae, cheap aquarium plants, etc.>
What do you think this might be and what do you recommend for treatment?
<Do see here:
No other medication works, though treatment must be done alongside environmental and dietary corrections as well. You can treat all the fish simultaneously, or the one fish in a hospital tank, as you prefer, so long
as either way the fish are exposed to good water quality and getting the right diet.>
Many, Many, Many Thanks!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Green Severum Ill 4/24/09
Thanks Neal for the reply.
<Most welcome.>
I have two Aquaclear 70's running at full speed (300gph each) with foam filters and carbon bags in each. 1 25% - 33% water change is performed weekly including a sweep of the gravel and cleaning of the filter media. I don't have a kit to test for nitrates but will get one just to be thorough. The tank water appears clear and clean to the eye.
<Ah, do be careful about what "appears" clean. In general, the dangerous stuff in fish tanks is invisible; the dirt you can see is largely silt and cellulose-rich organic detritus that has little impact on either water quality or fish health. Indeed, some of the aquaria I've seen maintaining big or delicate fish are, in terms of how they look, filthy!>
The big Pleco (8in or so) keeps things pretty tidy for me.
<He really doesn't. Plecs may remove algae from the front glass, but otherwise they significantly add ammonia to the water, and produce copious quantities of faeces that quickly clog up the filter. A tank *without* a Plec will always be cleaner than one *with* one!>
The little bristle nose (3-4 in) is very nocturnal, I am not sure I have ever seen her scavenging!
<Yes, Ancistrus spp. are rather shy. Do watch what happens as the Pterygoplichthys matures: these are bullies, and can be extremely hard on smaller Loricariids. In extreme cases, Pterygoplichthys have killed other Plecs. Seems hard to believe, but is true and has been reported very many times. Oddly, they seem to be gregarious in the wild, so it's presumably a quirk that develops under aquarium conditions.>
I did not realize Sevs were primarily veggie eaters and will increase the veggie amt I feed daily.
<By default, most cichlids are herbivores or at least omnivores, with relatively few being dedicated carnivores. Fishbase is an excellent place to get information on what cichlids actually eat, as opposed to what aquarists think they eat.>
They eat once per day, like I said, very well, and have grown very quickly.
<Growth rate and appetite aren't necessarily signs of good or bad health, so you have to be careful. Problems caused by nutritional deficiencies, such as Hexamita infections, Head-and-lateral-line-Erosion, constipation, etc. can take months, even years to become apparent. More prosaically, a varied diet improves colouration, so there's short term rewards too.>
There is rarely, if ever, left over food after 5 minutes.
I'll clean the tank tonight and replace the carbon,
<Carbon needs to be replaced every 1-2 weeks. I don't bother with carbon; too much expense for too little return. Leaving the carbon in the filter for more than two weeks is pointless: it either gets clogged up with silt (stopping it from working) or the carbon adsorbs all the organic material it can (also stopping it from working). Since water changes do everything carbon does, and more on top, I'd sooner do 25-50% water changes per week on a cichlid tank that mess about with carbon. Carbon does of course remove medications from the water, so shouldn't be used in a hospital tank or during medication.>
then set up a 30 gallon hospital tank tomorrow and seed it with water and a filter from the 72 gallon. Will get some Flagyl and anti-fungal meds to treat her with for a week and see what happens. Guess I'll have to soak her frozen blood worms in the Flagyl??
I really appreciate the reply.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Green Severum Ill 4/24/09
Thanks again. Nitrates are indeed a factor here. I have to guestimate, but will say near 40.
<On the high side. Almost every time I've tried to keep cichlids in my local tap water (which has a nitrate level similar to this) I've had problems with Hexamita whenever water changes have been neglected.>
33 percent water change and 2 bags of carbon and I am around 20.
<Carbon won't affect nitrate at all. There are three nitrate-reducing methods: dilution via water changes; removal via a denitrification filter; and direct removal via media and/or fast-growing plants. Denitrification is usually impractical in freshwater tanks for a variety of reasons. Dilution can be viable, either with deionised water or rainwater, but this of course
assumes that (for example) a 50/50 mix of that water and your tap water has chemistry appropriate for your fish. That said, most of my fish are in such 50/50 mixes, using rainwater rather than deionised water.>
Will monitor this much more closely going forward. Occupants are visibly happier this morning. I may take your carbon advice in the future and attempt a 5 day cycle on water changes as well as reduce the frozen meats to occasional treats. Spinach and peas were not big hits last night.
<Often aren't if fish used to high protein food. Ever noticed how most humans prefer the steak to the salad? Yet every nutritionist on Earth will tell you the salad is the bit that's good for you, and the steak largely irrelevant and indeed in excess rather bad for you.>
Will try some cucumber. I may also sell the large Pleco. Is a fine specimen but of little other value I thought as a cleaner/sweeper.
<Hunger makes the best sauce. Leave your fish unfed for some days, and then offer cooked peas again. Alternatively, look at frozen foods that include a mix of animal and plant protein: you'll see such things often sold for Mbuna and various marine fish>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Golden Severum with head tilt, not eating
Gold Severum With Bacterial Infection 4/1/2009

I'm glad that you're here! My golden Severum is 2 and a half years old, about 8 inches and is in a 50 gallon aquarium. 5 days ago I noticed a bump on his nose area. The next day it turned into a white elevated circle with some red on the skin above the bump. The bump was about half the size of a dime, much larger than the pictures I've seen of hole in the head. An aquarium shop owner suggested 3 Ampicillin tx with 24 hours in between each. I have done 2. The inside of sore on his nose came out leaving an open spot with reddening. The reddening increased and then decreased after the 2nd Ampicillin bath.
I also noticed some white mucous feces once followed by stringiness. I treated 1 time with a parasite cleanse.
I did 3 daily 25% and 30% to lower nitrates; 0 nitrite or ammonia, nitrate is at 50ppm, pH is 7, water reads hard, temp is 80, there is 1 Gourami with him, who is fine. A nearby fish store employee said nitrate levels were ok several times. I know they are still too high. Should I do another 20% cleaning for antibiotic removal and to lower nitrates further?
< The nitrates are still too high as you have suspected. Get the nitrates under 20 ppm with water changes. Find the source of the nitrates by cleaning the filter and vacuuming the gravel. The medication may have
already affected the biological filtration so watch for ammonia spikes too.>
I will put carbon filters back in. I've also added appropriate amounts of aquarium salt, 1 dose of Melafix for skin and 2 new plants to help with nitrates.
< The carbon will remove any left over medication. The salt and Melafix will not probably help the situation. The plants only work with plenty of good lighting and other conditions properly met.>
A major concern is his swimming pattern has gone from hanging out on bottom corners head tilted down to a vigourous back and forth in middle of tank to swimming at a slower downward tilt at night towards top of tank and now middle of tank, head down. He is quite active.
His skin by his swim fins and on his spine are were very red yesterday and now fins are normal color and back is much lighter. I have not fed him for 3 days, trying to give him peas many times with hands and on toothpick. He has refused, swims the other way.
He usually gets Hikari floating pellets. I am concerned about holding his food back any longer for peas. To me it seems his priorities are to eat and to regain perpendicular motion. Can you help with this situation? Thank you for your help.
< The high nitrates may have caused an internal infection as well. I would recommend getting the nitrates down to 20 ppm as per the recommendation above. Treat with a combination of Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole. When he starts to eat again then feed a medicated food with Metronidazole in it.-Chuck>

Help with sick Severum
Severum Starting To get Hole-In-The-Head 9/9/08

Hi, I have a 200 litre aquarium which has 5 angels, 1 Oscar, 1 silver shark, 1 bichir, and a breeding pair of Severums.
All fish are totally fine expect for the Severum which has been getting strange white bumps around his eyes and on his head for the last few days. I have attached a picture, I wonder if you could advise what is wrong with my fish and how to treat it?? Many thanks Jason Ingold
< It looks like you Severum is showing the first signs of Hole-In-The-Head disease. After the pus filled blisters pop a hole is left in its place. The holes continue to grow eating away the skull. There are some ideas to what the cause of this disease could be but no exact pathogen has been identified. The stress of breeding could have weakened your fish and made them vulnerable. If it was my fish I would place it in a hospital tank with clean warm(82 F) water. Treat the tank with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. If the fish is still eating then feed a medicated food with Metronidazole in it. Generally I would try to improve the diet with a quality pellet food. If you fish is still eating I would try a little trick I stumbled on a few years ago. I had an south American cichlid like yours that just started to get the disease but was still eating. He especially love black worms. I took the portion of black worms in a little plastic cup with some water and medicated the worms with the dosage of Metronidazole. The worms died right away and I quickly fed them to my fish. The fish were unaware that the worms were dead and ate them all up. The lesions turned black the next day. I did a major water change, cleaned my filters and got some fresh fish food that was high in vegetable matter. I felt that this would provide the minerals my fish may have been missing. Hope this helps.-Chuck>

My new 3/4 inch golden Severums are sick!! 6/10/08 Hello, WWM 2 months ago, I bought a pair of 3/4 inch golden Severums. One is doing fine with good feeding habits and swimming around pretty well. But the other one (the relatively bigger one) is not ...............well...........very "lively". Its heavily spotted, like snow. <Almost certainly Whitespot/Ick if the grains are like sugar; otherwise Velvet if the grains are very fine, like flour, often giving the fish are yellowy sheen, hence the name "velvet". The former disease is the more common, especially with newly purchased fish. So let's assume that's the problem. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm There are many treatments available. Use them. Soon.> I did not observe it during the purchase. You might think its snowing underwater! I recently suffered the loss of a pair of discus (due to a faulty heater). <Hmm... fish rarely die directly from the fault of a heater: if the tank got too warm or too cold, you should see the warning signs LONG before the fish die. Like, days before! So please, get alert to the signals, and act accordingly. If the fish are lethargic and disinterested in food, they may be too cold. If they're gasping at the surface, they're too warm. If you already know this (and forgive me if you do) then do reflect on other things that may have been to blame. Rapid swings in pH, the wrong diet, high levels of nitrate, etc. Discus are very difficult fish at the best of times!> So lets just say im tired of losing fish. since this is my 7th new pair in the last 3 months.) Please help me! I really want the fish to grow up to their adult size(8 inches right?). <Yep, Severums can get to this sort of size.> I've had my two fish tanks since 10 yrs. The Severum tank is a 9-inch by 18-inch tank. (enough for the "babies" right?). No heater. 1 sponge filter (the air driven one, which takes care of the aeration). Feeding-twice a day (Tetrabits). the tank also has a 1.5 inch Pleco. <Ah, lots of stuff here to worry about. Lack of heat may be an issue, depending on where you live. Here in England at least, you'd need a heater for most of the year. The same for most of North America. The main thing for Severums is the temperature doesn't drop below 24 C for extended periods. Do also review water quality -- in a small tank, it's not easy to maintain good quality water. You need ZERO nitrite and ammonia, and as low nitrate as possible (cichlids are sensitive to nitrate).> No matter what I do the spots are just not going! I tried Rid-All Anti-Ich (the anti- ich solution from the local vendor) from the local store (which I've used on the other tank successfully) I even went through all your articles for ich. <Do review the obvious things. Carbon removes medications. Water changes dilute medications. If the disease is Velvet, then a Whitespot medication won't work. If the disease is something else entirely, like Fungus or Finrot (which both can produce off-white patches on the body/fins) then you'll also need another treatment.> (unfortunately, we, in India, don't get all the medications you have mentioned). So please help me out. Something that will work, using salts n anti-ich solutions from the local vendor. <Do try the salt/warm water option. Cheap, easy, reliable. Severums occur in brackish water in the wild and are very salt tolerant.> (If it helps, the one I've got is blue in color) <Could be anything! Thanks a Million!! -Sharath <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My new 3/4 inch golden Severums are sick!! 6/11/08 Hey, Neale, Thanks for the information, but i should say it came just 4 hrs late. The fish was dead by 9 PM local time. I received your mail at 1 AM. Anyway, thanks for the pointers, will be helpful for the remaining one. And i also added a pair of 1.5 inch Oscars. Any special care to be taken, in case they get nasty with the remaining Severum)?? -Sharath <Oscars and Severums generally make good companions, but do remember that both species become very territorial and aggressive once sexually mature. Should a pair form, and that pair decide to breed, there will be trouble. Oscars are about 50% bigger than Severums, so any fights will be rather one sided. In other words, by all means keep them together, but be prepared to separate them, and make sure there is no overcrowding. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My new 3/4 inch golden Severums are sick!! 6/11/08 PS- the heater kind of broke during the night, so the discus could have died due to electrocution. <Possible, but in my experience broken glass heaters blow the fuse before they do any other kind of damage. I've often had to deal with broken glass heaters and have yet to see the fish (or turtle, in most of these cases) show signs of stress or electrocution. So I'd *definitely* review other possible problems. Not saying anything negative about your fishkeeping skills, merely suggesting you keep an open mind. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My new 3/4 inch golden Severums are sick!! 6/12/08 Sure! i was a bit inattentive. So will try to do better from next time. <We all make mistakes and have accidents. What matters is we learn! Good luck, Neale.>

Turquoise Severums New Severums Just Sitting On The Bottom - 11/26/07 I just bought 5 small turquoise Severums on Saturday. They are staying at the bottom of the tank. Is this normal? I have them in a 30 gallon tank. < You new fish should be alert and active. The water temp should be around 80 F. Look closely for ich.-Chuck>

Severum disease, poor English, reading 09/29/07 hi guys , i have a blue Severum that i rescued from a crappy pet store where it was getting beaten up, i have had it for several months in a large tank where it has been happy with an Oscar and some scats, but it had developed an infection of small but few large white spots 1mm across which break out , it only stays on the head and gills and there are rarely more than 4-5 spots at any one time which break out heal ,sometimes leave a small pockmark and reappears somewhere else on the head or near the gill , <Environmentally mediated HLLE...> it definitely doesn't look like normal white spots disease, he still eats but looks itchy and uncomfortable . what do you think it might be because it doesn't look like cauliflower disease or white spots .and how could i treat it ? many thanks Laurent Australia ps al water conditions are Aok hope the picture helps <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/severumdisfaq.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Golden Severum lying on side 9/27/07 Hi Please Help. Our male golden Severum has been lying on his side for a week or so. He will swim normally sometimes but just go back to lying on his side. It also looks like he is slightly paralyzed at times at his bottom fins and tail but occasionally he swims normally. Not too interested in food. 1 and a half years old. Could this be his swim bladder? We are novices. We are going away for 5 days and have someone else to look after them. What do you suggest we do please help. Also what do you suggest to feed them. There is also a large female golden Severum in the tank. Rob <Hi Rob. Loss of balance when swimming can be caused by a wide range of things. There really isn't a single "swim bladder disease". That said, there are a small number of things that are believe to be common causes. The first is environment. Fish often lose their balance when conditions suddenly become poor. So check the aquarium: temperature, water quality, and water chemistry. Severums want something around 25C, pH 6.5-7.5, and hardness around 5-20 degrees dH. Second is diet. Severums are, as I hope you know, primarily herbivores. A lot of their diet should be plant material. Say, 50%. Sushi Nori, algae-based flakes and pellets, and soft vegetables such as spinach and tinned peas are all ideal. They will of course eat soft aquarium plants like Cabomba and Elodea, and there's a good argument for putting these in the aquarium to give them something to graze on. The worst thing you can do to a Severum (or any other herbivorous cichlid) is give it a diet based on animal protein, i.e., mostly standard flake, prawns, fish, etc. Low protein meaty foods, like bloodworms, are an excellent alternative and will be greedily accepted. Failure to give herbivores a plant-based diet leads to constipation as well as damage to the internal organs, and one of the classic symptoms of this is loss of balance. Finally, bacterial infections can cause loss of balance, usually once the infection has progressed to an advanced degree. In terms of first aid, raising the water temperature 5 degrees C can help, and some vets recommend adding aquarium salt at a dose of up to 1 gramme per litre. If you do decide to add salt, do so in stages. While Severum cichlids do occur in brackish water and have a high tolerance of salt, your filter bacteria will not appreciate a sudden change in salinity! Switching to some high-fibre foods will help clear out the gut, if constipation is a problem. Tinned peas seem to work well for this, and most cichlids enjoy them (especially if they're hungry!). Using an anti-internal bacteria medication, like Erythromycin, might be helpful, but this is a scattergun approach and shouldn't be done as your sole response, because there's no guarantee that this is a bacterial infection at all. Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: Golden Severum lying on side 9/27/07 That is wonderful information. Thank you so much Neale. I will let you know how they go. He looks a tad better this morning. <Good luck, and hope he recovers soon. Severums are simply lovely cichlids, sadly overlooked in these days of blood parrots and the like, but still among my very favourites. Cheers, Neale>

Desperate for advice Golden Severum with puffy red fin. Env. 9/10/07 Hi There, I have just found your website and wonder if you can help me please. My 6 yr old female golden Severum has a severely red and puffy fin on her side. She is eating and swimming ok. The tank is 80 litres <... too small> I have another male Severum and 2 small fish in the tank. We do half water changes reasonably regularly and here is some more info from our local aquarium who also doesn't know what to do as nothing has worked so far. Water quality has always tested ok with ph, nitrate and ammonia. <Okay?> We have tried Aquaricycline, which is tetracycline hydrochloride. Also several fungicide and white spot remedies of malachite and formalin. Also tea tree solution. <... I'd be monitoring your ammonia closely...> I am really worried about my fish, the vets cant seem to help, the aquarium man doesn't know what else to do and I really hope you can help. We haven't done a gravel change <A gravel change?> for sometime. We did a half water change last week and her fin became redder and worse from then but it has been like this for 2 months now. <What is your pH, nitrate?> Please help Regards Jennifer <This fish needs more room... Likely the ambient total bacteria count here is huge... can only practically be kept low by having more space, better filtration... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/severums.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Golden Severum with red puffy fin (2) Attn Bob 9/11/07 Hello Bob thanks so much for getting back to me regarding my female 6yr old Severum with the red puffy fin. I will follow your advice and get back to you on the ph and nitrate level. <Good> Would it be the best idea to move all the fish to another tank (at the local aquarium) while we do a full clean and gravel change <No on the gravel changes...> on them or do you think that would be more upsetting for them to change environments? <In a manner of speaking, yes> Thanks again I really appreciate your advice. Kind Regards Jennifer Edwards <Read where you were referred to...http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/severums.htm this animal's troubles are very likely environmental... Fix its world and you'll fix its health. Bob Fenner>

Re: Golden Severum with red puffy fin (3)... not READING 9/12/07 Thanks Again Bob, I have read all the info you directed me to and it was excellent. Obviously it is not a good idea to move the fish while we clean the tank 100%, too stressful. <Yes... it is just too stressful to do this period...> I just wanted to get one thing straight. Should we do a gravel change or not?? <What? No> I think the whole underground filter needs a clean or replacement which means we would have to take the gravel out as well (I think?). <... please, don't write... Read> As you can gather I am a total novice and inherited the fish 6 years ago when I bought the house. I just want to give them a good home and will do my best to fix their environment. Have done another half water change this morning, but the tank needs a lot more attention. Thank you for your replies Bob. -- Jennifer Edwards <... The indices, search tool: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm... Get a larger system, do regular partial water changes... RMF...>

Severum With Damaged Mouth 9/10/07 Hi - Thanks for much for any help you're able to give. My 75 gallon tank is nearing the end of its cycling - yeah, I made the beginner mistake (besides the LFS knowledgeable help) and overloaded the tank early on - had a few losses, but most of the fish are coming through fine. All cichlids and one Pleco. I was sold a Snook (supposed to have a very cool jaw) that opened so much it ate one of my small midas cichlids, and I believe half of the other (which I found alive but missing half it's body) - I did ultimately find the pieces inside of my Ario Hydor light/aeration spiny thingy. It's possible the Snook was not to blame. Still, around the same time, one of my Severum had it's mouth ripped off and dangling - we're talking lips, etc. - I was able to catch it (by some miracle) and put it in an isolation box, along with a little Melafix which predominately concentrated within that little floating hospital. I also put a tiny flake of food in there in case the fish had an appetite - losing one's mouth would I suppose curb it for at least a day or 10. Anyway, some 2 weeks later, the mouth is healed - there's a small opening - no lips, etc. I had seen it try to eat tiny bits of food - it would try, and then back off (pain?) during the healing phase. Now it seems like it doesn't even try to eat. I've had the fish for about 3 1/2 weeks - they are all substantially larger except for this little guy who I suppose is living off his reserves. Now he's hanging out by the heater in the corner and not doing much - each day I expect to see it floating when I get into my office. I tried to catch it a few times with the net but don't want to rip up he tank (like I did catching the Snook and returning to the LFS) - I would like to put in the floating hospital tank (breeder) along with a bit of food and just leave it to rest for a while - it probably is seriously stressed if not outright starving. Any suggestions or advise would be greatly appreciated - I do 5 gallon changes roughly 3 times/day as time permits, ammonia has been zero for about 2 weeks, nitrites were toxic and off the chart as were nitrates, now the latter two are starting to drop (yippee) All the other fish seem fine and I see what appears to be evidence of mating so things can't be too bad in the tank. Water is 80 degrees, pH has gradually dropped over the past few weeks from roughly 7.4 to 6.6 though I don't want to fool with the pH - I'm hoping the water changes are making things go alright. I have tons of plants, and tons of aeration - and as mentioned I run the Hydor (during the day) to super aerate along with the other 4 water effects going on -- thanks again! Have a great day! Gary <Many cichlids damage their mouths when they fight. Sometimes fungus sets in on the damaged parts and the mouth does not heal properly. I would get the nitrogenous wastes under control. The ammonia and nitrite should be zero and the nitrates should be under 25 ppm. Isolating the recovered Severum from the other fish is not a bad idea. As it tries to eat it will help break up the scar tissue and try to get the mouth tissues back to being more flexible. Offer something like worms to get him eating again.-Chuck>

Green Severum sick for a month ! 8/13/07 Hi, <Hello there> Hope you can help with a sick 5 year old Green Severum. ( 5-7 years about ) He's about the size of a man's hand, beautiful fish. About a month ago he abruptly stopped eating and was swimming in an odd manor. <Heeee! Manner> ( kind of jerky ) Shortly after that he was on the bottom, very dark, almost black color. It happened so fast that I figured it must be "his time ". He was really looking bad, yet all the other fish in the tank looked fine, water was fine etc. It's a 150 gallon tank with some parrot fish, another Severum, Iridescent shark, some Red hooks, all pretty docile. No fighting at all ) So rather than treat the whole tank I decided to just add some additional aquarium salt, some stress coat, and do the 1/3 water change and see what happens. <Mmm, good moves, with the exception of your statement "more" salt... Not good to add this continuously> I fully expected he'd die overnight. It's a month now, he still looks the same, stays in one spot, 1/2 on his side on the bottom. Sometimes swims to the other side of the bottom, but never fully swims. ) He appears to be somewhat alert, fins deteriorating a bit. Very dark black. I feel so bad for him. I can't believe he has a disease or he'd be dead by now. I did have one fish get a piece of a plastic plant stuck in his mouth recently. I caught the fish, removed it and he's fine. Got rid of that plant. I caught " Seve ", but he's much bigger and could have swallowed it. I know it's a long shot but that would explain why " the disease" has killed him already. What do you think? <Mmm, as you say, perhaps something internal... likely not pathogenic> No fungus, no parasites, I don't think he looks bloated and I don't see any hole in the head. Is there any broad spectrum meds I could treat the whole tank with? <I would NOT> Have you ever heard of a fish being X-rayed? <Yes... have done some of this myself... for taxonomy use...> ( I know that sounds silly, but I feel so bad for this poor thing. I was going to let him just pass, but he's struggling for so long I have to try. I'm pretty sure it's not old age like I thought at first. Background, these fish have been together for many years, no fights, all other fish a fine. No new additions. Water test normal. Tank clear. If they could X-Ray him I don't think they could get it out even if it was there, could they? Thanks so much, Ken <I would try catching this one fish, moving it to another cycled system and treating it with Epsom Salt... this may "move" whatever may be blocking its G.I. tract... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/neotropcichdisfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Green Severum sick for a month ! 8/14/07 Hi Bob, <Ken> Thanks for getting back to me. Can you give me an idea of how much Epson's Salt to add per gallon? I read much of the link you gave me, but still not sure, is Aquarium Salt the "same" or just as good as Epson Salt ? <... Epsom, Magnesium Sulfate... is posted...> If this fish did swallow a plastic plant top about the size of an erasure, do you think there is any chance he might pass it? Especially after a month? <Always hope... with caring, action> I've never had a fish recover from looking this bad before, unless it was because of an injury. However I've also never had a fish "sick" this long and not get better, worse, or die. It's very odd. Thanks so much for you advice. ken <Read on. BobF>

Is this Lymphocystis? 7/28/07 Hi again Crew, <Ave!> I could use some help identifying a growth on my Severum. I first noticed it this Sunday when I got back home from a 4-day trip. At that time, it was a vague puffy spot (first picture). Over the last few days, it's turned from that broad puffy spot into one smaller rounder white... thing (second picture). It's opaque at the base but clear at the top. It's not fuzzy at all so I don't think it's fungus. Nothing seems to be moving so I guess it's not a parasite. My best guess, from the FAQ's here, is that it's Lymphocystis. If that's the case, all I can do is work on keeping the tank cleaner so my fish can heal on his own, right? <Does indeed look a lot like Lympho. Not uncommon among cichlids, though generally much less often reported from freshwater fish than marine fish. Typically, Lympho has an off-white colour (varies though, almost to coffee brown) and has a dry, rough texture very different to, say, Fish Pox, which looks slimy or waxy. Anyway, the good news is that Lympho is a cosmetic issue like warts on humans rather than one that puts a fish's life at risk. And as you seem to be aware, there's no real treatment, and yes, water chemistry/quality is generally considered (from studies on wild fish) to be the triggering factor though exactly how isn't known.> Thanks for all your help. The site's always a great read... even when Bob goes a little... overboard... with the ellipses... <<Heee..... RMF>> -Michael <Yes, Bob is certainly a friend of the ellipse! I don't mind them so much provided they have the right number of dots. A friend of mine (also a marine fishkeeper funnily enough) loves to use them but she insists on using the dots by the bucket-load. I think the more dots, the more emphatically she means the statement. Anyway, good luck, Neale.>

Severum With Seizure 3/21/07 I acquired a 5 year old female Severum over a month ago who was fed only flakes and water quality was poor. The male had just died. I did a water change and started feeding her peas and bloodworms plus pellets. She loved them. About 4 days ago, she quit eating. I noticed she would twitch sometimes. This morning she went into a seizure, swam up and hit the glass, sunk to the bottom and died. I am devastated! What caused her to have a seizure? < Usually parasites attacking the internal organs and nervous system cause these violent bouts of the fish jumping all over the tank.-Chuck>

Need help!!! Severum sick with large sore that won't heal... 12/10/06 Hi. <<Hello. Tom with you.>> I acquired an 8-inch green Severum from a pet store where he was suffering from ick. <<A healthy, stress-free fish is highly unlikely to come down with Ich. The purchase was an act of mercy on your part, perhaps?>> The ick has cleared up but he has since developed a large sore on his side. <<May have been the root cause leading to the Ich infestation, or a result of it, even if the sore wasn't clearly visible at the time.>> It is increasingly getting worse (red is showing thru now) even after I was advised to use tetracycline along with MelaFix and PimaFix. <<This is too much medication at one time, in my opinion. Its likely to be keeping your new pet stressed even more. Also, Tetracycline has a couple of shortcomings that, as a Cichlid owner, you need to be aware of. First, Tetracycline's are light sensitive and turn brown as they decompose. Second, they bind with calcium and magnesium, found in harder water conditions that Cichlids are frequently kept in, rendering them useless medicinally.>> I have salt in the water and the temp is at around 90 degrees to keep the ick in check. <<Okay.>> I do water changes everyday to keep the tank clean. <<How large? On the surface this may seem appropriate but daily water changes without an overwhelmingly compelling reason such as high ammonia or nitrite levels can be counterproductive to the health/well-being of the beneficial bacteria and, ultimately, your fish. Are more medications being added with these changes? If so, were back to potential stress-related issues.>> He is currently being medicated in a 20g tank. <<Very good.>> He hasn't eaten anything since I brought him home. <<Almost certainly stress-related here.>> I am attaching a picture of the sore. Sorry for the quality of the picture but the medication in the water conceals the true image. Thank you so much for anything you can advise. <<My recommendation would be to stop medicating your Severum. Im suspicious that the coloration of the water is the Tetracycline decomposing. By way of explanation, medications, in and of themselves, don't cure. They merely control until the fishs own immune system kicks into gear and facilitates the actual healing process. This isn't going to take place until the fish is free of stress, whatever the cause. Stick with the salt and higher temperatures for now and keep the light levels low in the tank. Also, make sure the tank is well-aerated. Warm water holds less oxygen than cooler water and its imperative that the fish isn't struggling for oxygen right now. With good care and a spot of luck, this will turn itself around and your fish will return to good health. Best of luck to you and your pet. Tom>>
Re: Need help!!! Severum sick with large sore that wont heal... 12/11/06 Thank you for the advice Tom. It is much appreciated. <<You're quite welcome, April.>> After doing a water change to get the deteriorating tetracycline out, and adding a filter with some charcoal to get out the remnants, this morning he ate for the very first time. I was so ecstatic!! <<Who wouldn't be? Im happy for both of you!>> I shouldn't get my hopes up quite yet, but that certainly is a sign his stress factor went down a lot. <<Certainly heading in the right direction, April.>> I am doing what you suggested and just keep salt in there and temp up. He has two filters for circulation and two airstones for oxygen. He is acting normal again and taking quite an interest in his reflection (flaring) unlike before with all the meds, he would sit in the corner and sulk. <<All sounds great.>> I will keep you updated on his progress. <<Id appreciate it very much if you would.>> Thank you again so much. April <<Once again, you're welcome. Best regards, April. Tom>>
Re: Need help!!! Severum sick with large sore that wont heal...(Happy follow-up) 2/18/07 Hi Tom!! <<Hi, April. Good to hear from you!>> I promised you an update on my Severum, since named Ichybod :), and here it is...he didn't seem to be doing well in the smaller tank I had him in so I moved him to my 55g planted tank where I had lots of plants (not expensive ones) he could chew on from time to time and have more room. <<I like the move you made here, April.>> I must say, he has totally healed. The open sore has since closed and now his tissue has regenerated so that it matches the rest of his body. You can also see bars forming when he gets angry at a plant or something lol. <<Wonderful news!>> I am sorry I no longer have a camera to take a photo of him but your advice to me was a godsend. You saved his life. I will forever be grateful to you and WetWeb media for helping me save him with the proper advice I needed. <<Thank you most kindly, April. Don't forget to give yourself a lot of credit, though. I merely offered advice. You did the hard part. :) >> The story behind acquiring the fish was that I found him suffering in a "drop off tank" at my local fish store where he was housed with a largemouth bass and a Tilapia buttikoferi who was beating him relentless. he was covered in ick and suffering. <<The store might have put him in with an even worse tank mate, April, but not a lot worse! Ichybod couldn't have lasted much longer without your kind intervention.>> I know it was a huge decision on my part to try and rescue him and I am glad that I did (with your help). He is a beautiful fish and sadly must have been someone's beloved pet at one time or another. Thank you again for all your help. You are the best!! <<Its posts like yours that brighten my day, April. Thanks a million for the follow-up. My best to you and Ichybod! Tom>>

Old Severum Bloating Up 11/27/06 Hello, I have a 12 year old banded Severum that has recently begun to show signs of deterioration. His dorsal fins are breaking. He is breathing hard (we think) - he constantly opens and closes his mouth as if hungry. I say this because I believe that he isn't eating enough- we feed him but he doesn't eat, and I believe it is because he can't see the food- it floats past him. He must be eating something or I think he would have passed away by now. Can fish go blind? He is now also swollen on his underside and we have no idea what is causing this. Is there anything we can do for him- he's been a part of the family for so many years?- Thank you! < Your old Severum is sick with an internal infection. Because of his age and advanced stages of the disease he may not make it. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone. Good luck.-Chuck>

Please Help...Gold Severum is sick! 11/24/06 Good Afternoon <<Hi, Geri. Tom here.>> OK, I am new to this site and so far have found it very helpful. <<Welcome and Im glad to hear we've been of some assistance.>> I have a fish that I thought was a goldfish (won it at a carnival about 5 yrs ago). He was in my tank with another fish. There was never a heater in there and I just fed it tropical flakes. Well, the other fish started turning black and then died. <<What kind of other fish? Other than normal changes in coloration, the most common cause of blackening is exposure to ammonia and/or nitrites which causes burns. As the healing process takes over, the burned flesh turns black. Its also possible that low pH and high nitrate levels can cause the same problem.>> I took the dead fish to a store along with pictures of the fish I have now. They informed me it was a Gold Severum, not a goldfish. <<Hello? That's the most upscale "carnival" fish I've heard of yet. :) >> I asked what is compatible with them and she told me parrot fish. <<Among others>> I bought 2 parrot fish and then put them with this Gold Severum. She told me I needed to get a heater in there and slowly up it every few days to get to about a 78 degree temperature...OK, so my problem is this...My Gold Severum looks very sick. It has (I think from reading your sight) Ick...It also looks like his fins are chewed up. <<The advice you got on adding the heater is sound enough on the surface. It doesn't take into account, however, that your Severum had been acclimated for five years to an unheated environment. Extra aeration via an air stone or two is needed since warmer water holds less oxygen. The Parrots were added, I assume without quarantine. You don't say whether, or not, any acclimation procedures were followed prior to placing these in with the Severum. I can only surmise that water that the Parrots were transported in might have been introduced into the tank. Last, an adult Severum is a good-sized fish but you don't mention how large the tank is. Any, or all, of these factors can contribute to stress which your pet is certainly suffering from. For now, it would be best to begin a regimen of treatment with aquarium salt to handle the Ich problem and likely the fin rot as well. Two to three tablespoons of salt per five gallons of tank water is recommended. Raise the tank temperature to 80 degrees but no higher at this point. The mid-80s would be more appropriate for fighting Ich as it speeds up the parasites life cycle but higher temperatures may contribute to even more stress right now.>> The two parrot fish hide so I never see them... <<Not all that unusual. These are typically shy animals.>> The Gold Severum used to be very active and now stays at bottom of tank right near the heater and seems to gasp for air. <<Again, due to stress and, probably, lower oxygen levels.>> The fish don't seem to be eating the food anymore either. The parrot fish seems to be turning a little black. <<Lack of appetite can be expected. The coloration changes in the Parrots is probably somewhat normal provided it doesn't go to an extreme. All things being equal, this will likely fade away in a fairly short time. It may repeat this process from time to time, too.>> I took the water to go get tested and they said it is fine. <<Fine isn't very descriptive for you or for us, unfortunately. As I mentioned earlier, low pH coupled with high nitrates (over 20 ppm) can be problematic in some cases. Might appear fine if other factors aren't taken into consideration but could provide a clue as to whats going on in your tank.>> I think something was wrong with the food. It is the same thing the Gold Severum has always eaten. I just got a new container about a week before the original fish died.....So please if you have any advise I would appreciate it...THANKS a MILLION !! <<The food issue might simply be coincidental but Id replace it nonetheless. Lets eliminate as many possibilities as we can. Also, you need to change up on the diet to provide variety. Fish need a variety of foods in order to thrive. A monotonous diet of even high quality food can lead to problems in the long run. Make sure that you keep up with regular water changes to optimize the conditions your fish live in. I really cant over-emphasize this. Under ideal conditions, fish are FAR less likely to become subject to disease/infestation. By far, its the best thing you can do for your guys.>> Geri <<Don't be shy about following up with us, Geri, even if the information doesn't seem overly significant. The more detail you provide, the easier it is for us to help. Best regards. Tom>>

Please Help...Gold Severum is sick! Follow up... 11/26/07 Thanks, Tom, for all your information... <<More than happy help, Geri.>> I did the Ick treatment and things started looking better on my Gold Severum. He died today and I am heartbroken.... <<I understand and I'm most sorry to hear this.>> Who would have thought I would be upset about a fish? He was part of our life for 5 years. <<Like losing a little part of yourself, I think. All of us here know the feeling.>> Anyway...Thanks for the help and I will spread the word about your site and how wonderful and quick your team responds !! <<Again, Geri, I'm sorry we couldn't save your pet but I thank you, for all us, for your kind words. My best to you. Tom>> Gold Severum.........is this hole in the head? Asymmetrical? No 8/14/06 hey guys, first off, great site as always. I have had a 150 gallon(6 foot tank)) setup for quite some time. Currently housing 6 inch gold Severum 7 inch Jack Dempsey 3 inch Oscar 4 inch Red jewel 3 1/2" Green terror (2) 5 inch banded Leporinus 4 inch Gibbiceps Pleco 8 Buenos Aires tetras <Must be fast!> I have 2 Emperor 400's for filtration <And lots of big regular water changes I hope> Recently I had a aggression problem that caused me to have to give away my 6 inch Green Severum, as he was attacking the Gold Severum often, and when he wasn't, he was extremely aggressive going for food. Since then I noticed that what I originally thought was a bite wound on the side of the Gold Severums face has not healed. As I look at it now I am thinking that either the wound is not healing or they may just have been open sores from the beginning. Both are on the left side if the head, behind the eyes, and before the gills. There is no "pitting" as I have seen HITH described, however it does look like the larger sores I have seen in HITH pictures online. <Mmm...> Would treatment of non-healing wounds be much different than a treatment for HITH (if that's what this is?). <Are identical... improved nutrition, and water quality... sometimes coupled with the use of a protozoacide> I will add that I had been lax with maintenance these last 2 months the last 2 months of my wife's pregnancy), however, It had always been top-notch until now. <Oh> Hopefully I can solve with increased maintenance, and frequent water changes for a few weeks. Since I prefer not to have to set up a hospital tank if I can avoid it. <I would not here> Also, one last question. Regarding stocking. Will this tank be able to handle another Oscar without having to displace the current inhabitants? <Not a good gamble, no> I realize that having two fish that will be 12 inches long each may tax even this tank. Thanks in advance for any help you can throw my way! <If the pitting is not "symmetrical... bilaterally", that is, about the same on both sides of the fish, this is not likely HLLE, HITH... but "just" sores or pitting from poor water quality. Bob Fenner>

Lumps On a Gold Severum 6/20/06 I've had a gold Severum for about 3 years in a 60 gallon tank with a Boesemanni rainbow, some golden barbs, Synodontis eupterus, clown Pleco, 2 Siamese flying fox, Bolivian ram, albino red sword, golden wonder killifish, and (until recently deceased) a large Geophagus haeckeli. The Severum has had a recurring area of pinkish lumps near one of its side fins. I treated with a medication on the advice of an experienced aquarist, and that seemed to clear it up the last 2 times. I'm sorry I don't remember the name of the medication, and they've since discontinued it. Now, the fish has the lumps again, and I'm not sure what to do. The aquarist suggested earthworms for now, and is also researching a solution. Any ideas? Thanks for your help. < Try treating with Fluke-Tabs if they are caused from parasitic worms. If that doesn't work then try Nitrofurazone for bacterial infections. As a last resort you could try Metronidazole for internal protozoa infections.-Chuck>

Severum With Possible Internal Infection 4/09/06 My gold Severum had red streaks on his caudal fin a couple months ago. He was treated a couple times for septicemia. He developed a quarter size bump, mid body, more towards hid caudal, in the middle of treatments. I've noticed him trying to straighten him self up at times, which leads me to think he has a build up of gas in his swim bladder. The fish anatomy picture shows the swim bladder below the lateral line at the same location as on the Severum. Another reason I believe it may be the swim bladder is during this time some thing went wrong with the thermostat on the heater and the temp. rose 10 to 12 degrees in a short time and it was brought back to the original temp. 80 degrees in a short period of time again. My question is, could this rapid temp. change have caused this, and if this is the case is there any thing I can do to help release this gas? < Rapid changes in temperature may not cause any direct damage but it does weaken the fish and it becomes more susceptible to diseases.> I was concerned about bacterial infections still so I've kept the temp. up to 85, and I've added aquarium salt to the tank. He seems ok but does not have a great appetite, he does eat some every day, and his gills are not laboring like they were. < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Try treating with Metronidazole for an internal bacterial infection. It may take awhile for the swelling to go down.-Chuck>

Ich? I had a problem with my heater in my small 29 gal tank. The water dropped from 82-84o to 70o. It has a Severum and some angel fish. <Both will need a larger tank. Severums may also get too aggressive for the angels.> I noticed my Severum scratching on things and making sores on himself. I did a 50% water change and he seemed better the very next day and the angels were more lively. A few days later I noticed some small white spots on the fins of my angels. The Severum shows no signs and his wounds are healing. I have been treating for two day for ich. I understand from what I have read that it could take up to two weeks or more of treating. I am still not positive that ich is what I am dealing with. ADVICE PLEASE!!! Carrie <Sure sounds like Ich. Ich can be brought on by sudden temperature swings. I would continue to medicate, following the instructions on the bottle, and check out the link below for more information on Ich. Best of luck, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fw3setsdisfaqs.htm

Patchy Severum I have a green Severum that has loss of color on his underside and fins in a patchy pattern. I thought that it might be leeches so I treated them for that but the patches are still there and their not fuzzy or like cotton. <Though it is possible that these patches were caused by leeches, leeches are pretty uncommon in aquaria. Marks that they would leave would be reddish and inflamed, and pretty uniform in size. What did you try treating with?> The patches seem to be in different places at different times. I would appreciate some advice if you have some. <The first thing to do is test your water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH; loss of color is often a sign of stress, which usually comes back to water quality issues. There are also quite a number of illnesses that cause a loss of coloration or a patchy appearance, including some protozoan parasites and many bacterial infections; more information is needed to help with a diagnosis. Are the fish's fins clamped? Breathing hard? Any other visible signs of illness? Are the patchy spots sort of "flaky" or "peeling" in appearance? Are the marks uniform in size/shape? How long has the fish been sick? What other fish are in the tank with it? How big is the tank? And again, test your water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, let us know those values. I know it's an awful lot of questions, but it'll help us figure out what is wrong with your fish and help you decide on a treatment.> I have been working on water changes for the past 2 weeks. <Good to hear - water changes never hurt, and almost always help. Hope we can help you get this figured out. -Sabrina> Thanks DEE

Severums with HLLE? I have a gold and green Severum and I notice they are slowly developing more holes (pit-like) around their head regions. <Sounds like hole-in-the-head/HLLE (Head and Lateral Line Erosion).> I treated them with fungus and parasite tablets as well as Maracyn-two but no improvement. <This condition is usually brought on by either poor water quality or improper nutrition; can you tell us more about your tank? What are your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH levels? What other fish are in there? How large is the tank? How often/how much do you change water? Do you vacuum the gravel? What do you feed? Lots of questions, I know, but it'll help us help you if we know more about your system.> However, the other fish in the tank appear fine. Is there something I can do to treat the Severums? <Not treat, really, but improving the water quality will hopefully halt the pitting. Maintain excellent water quality and feed with a good, varied diet, and you might possibly see some improvement. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Gold Severum- Clear Bubble near Anus I would very much appreciate your feed back on the problem I'm having with one of my Gold Severums. Severum is about 7-8 years old, avg size, think its a male but not sure and I just noticed the last couple of days that there is some kind of clear/cloudy bubble growth, size of a dime in diameter near his anus or it might be coming from his anus. It is bloody looking inside looking like a embryo kinda I guess. I'm really not sure if its some kind of cyst, tumor, etc..... < Your fish have developed an internal bacterial infection. An ulcer may have developed in the fishes intestine an allowed the bacteria normally found in the gut to escape outside the gut and start to feed on the fish itself. As the bacteria grow and multiply they begin to produce gas and cause the intestines of the fish to expand beyond the fishes body cavity.> Usually I've tried calling a few places here in town (KS) and nobody really knows. < This condition is fairly rare so it is not unusual that the stores have not encountered this before, but it does happen occasionally in older fish.> This is really upsetting to me since I've had my fish quite some time. (2-Gold Severums, 2-Convicts). I have transferred him to another tank for which the other Severum was bothering, chasing, swimming next to him, not really attacking in a way but I thought it would help him with his problem, not being bothered... PLEASE HELP ME!!!! I APPRECIATE YOUR PROMPT RESPONSE AND RECOMMENDATIONS. < Isolating the fish is a good idea. Treat for fungal infections. The extended intestine is damaged and begin to look fuzzy . This is a fungal infection and needs to be treated or it will never heal. Treat the internal problem with a medicated food with Metronidazole. Follow the directions as recommended. If the fish is not eating the you could try a Furanace type of antibiotic. Change the water often. If the antibiotics work then the bacteria will die off and the intestine may go back inside if it has not been damaged by the fungus. Saving this fish is a long shot, but I can tell by your writing that you have developed a attachment to your fish and really want to save it. Good luck -Chuck> TODD (KS)

Gold Severum Health My golden Severum is about 3 years old and has been very healthy and active. The last few day he has been on the bottom of the tank and will not eat. <Have you changed anything recently on the tank, or even in his diet? Some fish become a bit "moody" when there are changes in their environment.> He looks fine but very weak. <If there is no physical damage, noticeable skin discoloration or bacteria infection, then I wouldn't be getting extremely worried yet. Check you parameters of your tank, also check the temperature. Our Severum would become less active during the cooler months, when the rest of the tank seemed to not even notice. I would think about setting up a quarantine tank in case it does get worse you can separate it and medicate accordingly. Rather than medicating your larger display tank. This is a good practice to hold to, not to mention the smaller the tank the less medication needed.> There are also 2 blood parrots in the tank that are fine. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Don <Monitor him carefully in the next 2 days, if there it does get worse I would definitely separate him and think about adding a broad based medicine like Maracide (Mardel Inc.) Good luck and hope the fish gets better. -Magnus>

Gold Severums & German Red Peacock I am so glad I finally found a web-site that really has answers and detailed stuff about breeding, good job. I have a pair of 3 yr old Gold Severums (6-8 inches long) that are developing black lines across their bodies and black marks like fin rot on their dorsal and abdominal fins and tail. I have them in a 29 gal. tank sharing with a 7 inch Bala Shark and a Malaysian snail (3in diameter) which do not appear to be ill and an onion plant and seem to all get along well. There is no under water gravel filter, I use a bio-wheel penguin 170 filter with carbon and the tank temperature is set at 75F. I don't allow the Nitrite levels to get passed 0.25ppm or the ammonia to reach 0.5-1.0 because I have a frequent water change out (and I scrub the walls and gravel) regiment of 1/3 tank every week or two depending on the test levels. There are two clay pots in the tank that have been there for months that are now developing a light fuzzy surface. Is this fungus? < Could be but more likely a film of organics precipitating on the flower pots.> Could you help me diagnose what is happening to these fish and recommend a treatment. < Check the nitrate levels before you do a water change. You have large fish in a relatively small aquarium and I assume that the nitrate levels may be exceeding 25 ppm. This would lead to some bacteria to start attacking the fishes fins. Vacuum the gravel on the next water change. You may need to change more water or more often to keep the nitrates down. Treat the fish with Nitrofuranace for the fin/tail rot. Watch for ammonia spikes because some medications affect the good bacteria that break down the fishes waste.> I have several other tanks. In a 15 gal tank I have 4 German Red Peacock, 3 females and 1 male and average 2-4 inches in length. The tank is setup with an under gravel filter that has been disconnected so I can breed them, I run a whisper 20-40 filter with carbon and have the inlet wrapped with a fine mesh screen to prevent fry from being sucked in. I have two lava rocks with plenty of nooks for them to use. I have regular water change outs and never let the nitrite and ammonia levels rise above what's expected for the fish's environment. After reading some of your articles I have since raised the tank temperature to 80F. Since I have never bred German Red Peacocks before I have several questions. Since these peacocks are mouthbrooders and it appears that one female has eggs in its mouth (first time spawn 1 week ago), does it mean that the eggs are already fertilized? < Yes the eggs are almost fertilized the minute that they are laid.> How long will she have the eggs in her mouth? < At 80 degrees F the eggs will take three days to hatch and another three days for the fry to absorb their egg sacs.> Will she be picked on by other tank mates? < The male will usually leave a holding female alone but the other females may harass her in an attempt to get her to spit out the fry.> Will I need to separate her into another tank? < There are two ways to go. After a week you could strip the fry from the female and return her to the main tank while rearing the fry in a separate tank, or you could put her in a separate tank and she will release the fry into the tank when she is ready.> Will she eat during this period? < She may try and eat after a few days, even while holding fry.> How long until the fry hatch? < About three days.> Should I remove the fry into their own tank? < If you don't then they will be eaten.-Chuck>
Any suggestions and or recommendations is greatly appreciated. JohnB

Green Severum in the Land of the Long White Cloud Hi Bob Can you please email me back a reply as no one in New Zealand can help me and I'm worried. Recently I purchased a green Severum about 5cm in length. Let him settle in and them purchased another 4 yellows which were 4cm in length - waited for them to pair off and then sold the non paired ones back to the fish shop. I have attached a picture of the yellow one below - sorry about the picture quality its a large beveled tank so its was hard to get a good shot - also its sunset so the sunset was bouncing onto the back of the aquarium - my waters not actually that colour :) My problem is that the little yellow Severum is now hanging around the back of the filter and will only move down the tank or explore very partially when the lights are off. I realize that it will take her along time to get used to this environment especially as they all had a disruptive time before the pairing - but she hangs with her head down never up like normal Severums - also the other fish which is only slightly larges flares at her - swims up changes colour drastically - stripes appear he shimmies in front of her then pecks at her face and chest. She does not seem to swim away instead she just floats up and goes limp till he's finished and then goes on with hanging behind the filter. Also with them both been juvies she had like grey speckles over her body like she rolled on a pencil lead - this seems to have spread quite considerably and now the grey is almost covering her body. Her eyes are bright - finnage is growing back after the disruption and she's eating well feeding bloodworm, krill, whole shrimp, brine shrimp and peas. ( don't forget the algae tabs that they steal from the red spotted pale. ) Ammonia is 0ppm Nitrate 0ppm Nitrite 0ppm ph 6.8 KH 9dkh Temp 78-79 44 gallons. Filter that cycles the tank 4.5 times and hour. Is this fish sick? or is it just a juvie and is still growing and discovering its colours? the others in the tank had varying degrees of the grey colouration also - but they seem to have grown out of it - where as she's growing into it - Pet shop has not treated them for anything and the Pet shop guy says its just the way that they look. Fish is active at night she's looking at me now and eating the peas but if I turn the light on back behind the filter. Is the male fish going to be ok with her am I right this is a breeding pair right? So many questions Please help as I said no one in NZ knows!!! < These color forms are not normally found in nature. Depending on the original source I have seen all kinds of genetic variations form all orange to lemon yellow with all kinds of dots and markings. It does not appear that your fish is sick. Just a little reluctant to join the others for now. They will probably change as he grows older.-Chuck> Thanks Stephanie

Worried about gold Severum I have a large gold Severum in a 45 gallon tank and the last couple of days it is sitting on the bottom of the tank. It comes up to eat and then goes back to the same spot on the bottom of the tank. Sometimes through the day it will cruise around the tank for a short period of time but then goes back to the same spot and just sits there. It does not look discolored or swelled any place. It just acts like it is having a hard time staying up. What do you think might be the cause of this and what should I try in order to help it. The day before all this started I had a Bala shark in with it and the Bala took a fit or something and banged against the top and sides of the tank a couple of times then died. I wonder if the Bala may have hit the gold Severum and hurt it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. < Sounds like an internal infection that has affected the swim bladder. Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Try treating with Metronidazole. Raise the water temp to 80 degrees. Try some live chopped earthworms too just to get him moving.-Chuck> Rhonda

Re: worried about gold Severum Hello again, I hate to bother you again, but my local pet shop is of no help with this problem. How long should I treat my tank for the internal infection. I did the water change and went and got the Metronidazole I treated the tank and 24 hrs I treated the tank again. It has now been another 24 hrs and there is very little change in my gold Severum she is only slightly better. I was also wondering how to tell the difference between a male and female gold Severum. Thank you so much for any help you can give me. < These internal infections are somewhat tricky and a full recovery is not always achieved. If the bacteria have been cured then the damage they have done may take some time to recover and heal. Continue to provide clean warm water and quality food and some time to see if it was caught in time. Males are typically larger with more pointed fins.-Chuck> Rhonda

Sick Fish ( HELP) Hello, Where to start? I have two 55gallon aquariums stacked on one another, with a bio filter and pump system underneath , its a freshwater setup that's been in place for the past 5 years . I've had aquariums for about 15 years are so. My problem is I purchased new fish and made the mistake of not quarantining them first, Stupid I Know! I had to go out of town on business and left someone to take care of my fish while I was gone, when I returned 4 days later not only do I have ick on my 8" Severums which I have raised from nickel size, but also have a ex-large Solid Black angel that appears to have cotton fungus. All the sick looking fish seemed to be in the lower tank, which I realize the temp to be a little cooler, a degree or two but still at 76-78. Note I had just did a water change prior to addition of new fish. Water checks out fine! I purchased Wardley's WaterCare Ick Away , added to both tanks top and bottom as recommended , water turned blue for a short period of time then cleared up I'm guessing maybe cause of the Bio system? The second day a repeated the dosage according to instructions. On the third day I noticed a real serious problem on all fish in the lower tank . (Fin rot ). Side fins , and tails. I have now did a 25% water change and added MelaFix to try and help the fins. I've since lost a half dozen smaller fish in the top tank, probably from meds I NO. I'm really trying to save my fish can you help? The Severums are still eating well but lying a lot on the bottom of the tank, still showing signs of ick, but not as bad as it seems to be cycling out . Is it possible that the ingredients in Wardley Ick Away caused damage to the fins of the fish? Do you think an overdose would have caused this ? What do you recommend ? The Ex-large Angel doesn't eat, closed fins , The Severums both Green and Gold , still have signs of ick, plus now have serious damage to there fins but or still eating well. Thanks for your time, hope to here from you SOON. < A couple of things are going on. First of all you need to do a 30% water change on the systems by vacuuming the gravel in each tank. This will remove the crud in the gravel and help reduce the nitrates. Clean the filter. This will also help reduce the nitrates. Remove any carbon and treat the system with Kordon's rid-ich to get rid of the ich and Nitrofuranace to get rid of the bacterial infections. Raise the water temp to 80 degrees F to help get rid of the ich. Do not feed the fish for a few days. I suspect that when you went away your well meaning friend overfed your fish tipping the aquariums sensitive balance over the edge. The ammonia levels went through the roof and your fish got stressed and sick. Treating a dirty tank is an up hill battle. Organics in the water absorbs much of the medication so a clean tank is much more effective. When you treated the tank for ich the medication may have killed or at least affected the good bacteria in your filter system so watch and test for ammonia and nitrite spikes while treating this time. I would do daily water changes until the fish show signs of getting better.-Chuck> Robert

Hole in Severum hello please bear with me as I ask this question as I am new to this ok I have a 55 gallon tank with a Severum in it that looks like an Oscar I have a smaller version of him as well and two cat fish ones a shark like and the other looks black velvet and one jaguar cichlid now they have been awesome since January recently like oh maybe month or 6 weeks ago I added the jaguar now my problem my bigger Severum has these little holes that look like pinholes behind his right eye and on the left eye tonight I noticed a larger hole behind it the one behind the left eye is probably 7 mm in diameter and the ones behind the right eye are problem 1-2 mm and there's like 5-6 of them in a row like someone poked him with a safety pin now he's my baby and I'm new to the whole fish tank thing (I'm 34) love the aquarium its my little place to watch another world and so far so good till this can you please advise me on what this may be the only thing new to my tank in the past 6-8 months are 2 things one the new jaguar who is maybe 3 inches and my BioWheel has kind of stopped spinning but I mess with it so it runs probably 12 of the 24 hours a day still filters water it just the wheel that doesn't turn I feed the fish the normal medium sized pellet food and also treat them to frozen brine shrimp 3-6 times a week and also add feeder fish regularly and they eat em up so please help and I hope I gave enough info look forward to your response soon before anything goes awry thanks Dan <Do a 30% water change and clean the filter. Take it all apart and rinse everything off very thoroughly and reassemble it. It should be working fine with the wheel continuously turning. Vacuum the gravel when you do your water change to remove all the stuff that has accumulated there. The hole-in-the head disease your fish has does not have a specific cure. There are many medications that say they cure it but none so far have been found to be guaranteed. This condition is associated with poor water quality or a vitamin deficiency. Regular weekly maintenance and a varied diet should help. Try some washed earthworms instead of the feeder goldfish.-Chuck> Dan Gies

Holes in Severum head I have a Green Severum and it has very small holes around its eyes and face that just showed up what are they and what should I do? < Do a 30% water change , service the filter and vacuum the gravel. Change the diet and include some live food like washed earthworms. Make sure your fish food has not gone stale and lost some of its vitamins.-Chuck>

Sick Severum My female, 3 year old Severum has lost a lot of her color and has red streaks in the bottom fins, lethargic and reduced appetite for about 4 days now. Tried the water change, she's also lost her male companion in the past month. Which direction should I go with this? <Check the ammonia and nitrites. both should be zero. Check the nitrates. It should be below 25 ppm. If needed do another water change to get the nitrates down. Vacuum the gravel too. The mum that has accumulated contributes to the excessive nitrates. Clean the filter. Now that the tank is clean if she still has a problem then the red streaks are usually caused by a bacterial infection and can be treated with Nitrofuranace. Follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> Gold Severum With Mouth Problem. - 1/30/2006 I have two gold 8" Severum fish in a 75 gallon aquarium. I have had them for a little over two years. One of them has developed a growth of some sort in its mouth. It protrudes from its top lip and looks like its gums or teeth or something. The growth is fleshy looking. I first noticed it about a week ago. I have seen this fish trying to spit it out by blowing air out its mouth. So far it has been able to eat around the growth, but today when I fed it, it could not get the food in its mouth. Now I am worried that it will starve to death. I don't know the sex of either one of them but they get along fine. I bought them both together from the same pet shop. Can you please tell me what this is and what I can do about it. I really love these fish. Thank you, Shirley Brand <Sometimes these big fish try to eat things that are not edible. Plastic plants, rocks pieces of wood etc.. I think it may have something stuck in its mouth that is causing an infection. Get a baking plan large enough to hold your fish. Get a large towel and fold it up so that it will lay in the pan. Bail out some aquarium water and get the towel in the pan very wet. Catch the Severum with the problem and lay him on the towel. Wrap the fish up in the towel with just his head exposed. Now get a flashlight and look down the mouth to see it there are any obstructions. Use long tweezers to remove anything you see. Put him back in the tank. If you didn't see anything then we can assume that he injured his mouth in a fight or trying to eat something. The injury might be infected so treat the fish with Nitrofuranace. Follow the instructions and watch for ammonia spikes in the tank because this medication will affect the bacteria needed for biological filtration.-Chuck>

Cichlids With new Owner And New Problems I just had another rescue project dumped on my hands: an old 55 gallon with over 16 cichlids in it. Two 6 inch green Severums, three 3 inch green Severums, about eight flag cichlids, some unIDed cichlids that remind me of earth eaters but aren't, and 3 un IDed Geophagus. But two of the smaller Sevs are sick. One is injured, both noggin and mouth (mouth doesn't seem to close right and is white) and the other has pop eye and mouth fungus. Currently in a hospital tank being treated with Furanace (following instructions on bottle), but your site says to use Epsom salt for the pop eye (I was looking at the parasite page). Is this the same stuff as under my parents counter in the bathroom? Magnesium sulphate plus seven waters? is this alright to use? I just want to make sure before I go putting these wonderful and gentle fish in danger. <Your South American Cichlid Tank probably was in desperate need of attention before you got it. A 55 gallon is too small for all of these fish. I suspect that the water quality was pretty poor and this definitely contributed to the problems you are now facing. Make sure you have a good filter that pumps at least 200 gph. Check the nitrates. Anything above 20 ppm will mean trouble soon. Nitrofuranace is good for external bacterial infections. Epsom salts help change the osmotic balance in the water and deter bacterial growth. I would also use Metronidazole for anaerobic bacteria that are causing the Popeye.-Chuck>

New Tank New Owner New Problem II Thanks chuck I will get something with Metronidazole in it either tonight or tomorrow, as soon as I can. Yes the tank was in horrid need of help when I got it, that's why I said it was a rescue project. He had a penguin 170 on her with even more fish than its got now (I just couldn't take all of them) It now has a magnum 350 (currently with micron cartridge) that has no BioWheels. But I also put a fully cultured penguin 330 that was running on my 80 just to keep the bacteria culture going. The nitrates dropped from some 25 ppm down to 12 over night. The fish are swimming around and look absolutely great (except for a cloudy eye here and there and plenty of fin rot. The tank was also completely coated in algae and after I moved it I spent hours cleaning it. I'm currently treating the main tank with rid ich for the cloudy eyes on one of the 6 inch green Severums. I have access to four or five 55 gallon tanks with biology teachers I trust at my high school and I can thin out the heard quite a bit after break ends and I get them in health. There was actually black mold on the light fixtures. Thanks for getting back to me, its always greatly appreciated. Mind if I include some pics? < Go ahead.> The tank in my house after being cleaned. The light bulbs are horribly dim, I'm getting new ones today. Its funny, he never had a good place for the flags to hide (there are 7 of them I believe, hard to count) so when I put that flower pot in there from one of my other tanks, they all crammed in there. The largest of the Severums. You can see the fin rot and cloudy eyes, not as bad as the pic makes the eyes look though. This was from yesterday, looks much much better today, and he's getting more friendly like the other Sevs are. The two sick Sevs in quarantine. I know I know, there's algae on the glass, but this is a really old tank and the scratches make it nearly impossible to get it off. The water quality is perfect, I promise. The water is yellow colored from the meds. The one in the front is the one with the bad lips. Can you see it? any suggestions? I don't think they are infected, perhaps injured? malformed? < Sorry, didn't get the photos. Sometimes injuries get infected and fungus. When this happens the tissue usually doesn't grow back.-Chuck>

New Tank New Owner New Problem III & Sending Photos TO The Crew Thanks for getting back so soon. I had copy pasted the photos into the email, and I guess this didn't work. Is there a proper way to send them to you? < Try sending them as an attachment. Check the WWM homepage for tips on sending photos.> If I sent them even one as an attachment the file would be over 900 kb. Is this ok? < Not shrink it down. Check the website for size.> I figure I might as well learn how to send you pics so I can do it better next time. You guys always provide me with the best help. < We have nothing to sell but the truth.> <<Whoa! Scarce can I name salvation but fearful thunder echoes in mine ears... I don't use words/concepts I don't understand... RMF>> If this is the case with the Sev's mouth, should there be any measures taken? < Watch it closely to see if it starts to grow back. Redness means an infection. White stingy matter means its growing back.> It seems to have a little bit of a hard time eating, though it is eating plenty, picking at the decoration too. < This is a good sign.-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>

Sick Gold Severum 3/19/06 I treated this Severum 5 weeks ago with furan 2 because he was hiding and not eating much and had red streaks on his tail fin, after 8 days he quit eating and I changed medication to Minocycline for 9 days. Some where in this time frame he developed a bump mid body a little on the left side the size of a quarter he had some trouble with balance but is still eating some every day. Yesterday his left fin was torn, he was holding it to his body most to the time. I put a little aquarium salt in and increased aeration. He still has the red streaks on the tail fin, and his breathing is labored. There is only a clown loach and a little 2 inch Pleco in the tank. Possibly the loach was a little rough with his pectoral fin. The bump is the concern? < Your fish is being attack both externally and internally by bacteria. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. You probably have high nitrates too and that contributed to the problem. Cleaning the tank will help. Treat with Metronidazole for the internal infection and Kanamycin for the external infections. This will affect the biological filtration so watch for ammonia spike after treatment.-Chuck> Severum With Lump 3/20/06 My Severum has a quarter size bump on his left side, he developed it some time in the last 5 weeks. He was being treated for red streaks in his tail fin with Maracyn 2 for 7 days , he stopped eating so I switched him to furan 2 for 10 days. He has a little bit of buoyancy problems as the bump is out about a half inch. he is still eating , but his gills seem labored so I added a little salt and have been doing a lot of water changes. Should I medicate him again, and if so with what? < Sounds like an internal bacterial infection. Keep up with the water changes and treat with Metronidazole.-Chuck

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