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FAQs on Cichlid Disease Diagnosis   

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

FAQs on Cichlid Disease:  Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease 2, Cichlid Disease 3, Cichlid Disease 4
FAQs on Cichlid Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Pathogenic, Parasitic, Trauma, Treatments 

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


Cichlid - growth coming out of nares      4/19/15
My 4 year old cichlid seems to have something coming out of its nares. This has been going on for nearly a month. About a week ago, it was only on one side of the face and I noticed it disappeared after I cleaned the tank. But
it came back and on both sides of the face and instead of being grayish in color like the first time, this time it is pink. This fish is always reclusive, but he seems more so now and I don't ever see him eat. The only other fish in the tank is a plecostomus and it seems fine.
I can't seem to find anyone else with this problem. Please, any advice would be great. I have attached a photo.
Thank you,
<It's a prolapse of some kind. Not uncommon among cichlids and catfish, and typically associated with prolonged exposure to less-than-perfect water conditions, such as infrequent water changes coupled with high nitrate levels. Metronidazole plus Nitrofuranace (ideally, used alongside Epsom Salt, 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres) should help reduce the swelling and eliminate the bacterial infection responsible for the swelling, but you'll also need to fix the environment and/or diet: review water chemistry, increase regularity of water changes, and add more green foods to the diet of your fish (few cichlids are purely carnivorous, and lack of fresh greens is a major cause of ill health). Cheers, Neale.>

Over Night Cichlid Death   3/5/13
 I'm not quite sure what type of fish I had, my girlfriend bought it for me about a year and a half ago, but I fed my 7 cichlids two herbivore blocks last night. The fish in question, see attached photo, usually eats most of one block, and he did. I also added some Stress Coat last night before I went to bed. At about 5 this morning I woke up to what sounded like a pool party in my tank, but I didn't think anything of it. When I turned on the tank lights an hour later he was floating at the bottom. He didn't seem to have any visible damage marks on him which leads me to believe that he either had too much to eat and choked or a chemical imbalance. I'm asking this to try to prevent my other fish from dying. Thank you!
   P.S. Sorry for the ..somewhat informal.. picture, I found out that it was the only picture I had of him! He looked more gray than the picture
About chemical makeup currently:
pH: 7.7
Ammonia (NH3 / NH4+): 0.22 ppm
Hardness (GH): 300 ppm
Total chlorine: 0.2 ppm
Total alkalinity (KH): 320ppm
Temperature: 22 degrees Celsius
< You cichlid probably choked on something in the middle of the night. When he panicked he probably thrashed about and knocked himself out and drowned.
If the fish is still around try and peek down his throat and look for an obstruction to confirm.-Chuck>

Mystery Texas Cichlid Death  11/11/11
I just had my Texas cichlid die. He was very healthy one day and I found him dead this morning. No noticeable illness in my tank. I have a few cat fish and convicts and they look a little depressed but no visible disease. What causes premature death in healthy looking fishes? Can you help me understand this? Thank you for your time. Kelly
< Look for trauma around the head. He may have jumped and hit his head. A second cause may be he choked on something like a plastic plant leaf.-Chuck>

weird acting fish
Clamped Orange Cichlid  2/16/10

My orange cichlid is not swimming all over. The fish seems to stay in one spot and move his head back and forth and shake. Its dorsal fin is mostly held close to its body. I can't see signs of Ick. The eyes are bright. No white dots any where. What do you think?
< This is a case of the shimmies. It is usually seen on mollies. Check the water quality. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. The nitrates should be under 20 ppm. The term "Orange Cichlid", is not a great descriptive term. If you have a yellow Labidochromis from Lake Malawi, then the fish requires hard alkaline water. If you have an orange Chromide then you have a cichlid that comes from brackish water and requires some salt. Check out these fish names on the internet and see if you can match up a photo with your fish. Once you identify the fish and match the water conditions the disease can then be treated. My guess is that you have an orange Chromide in a salt free tank. The other fish in the tank may not like the salty conditions. Most fish can handle some salt, exceptions are some soft water catfish.. I would recommend adding a tablespoon of sea salt per 10 gallons of water and see how the fish responds. The water temp should also be around 78 F.-Chuck>

Water changes, cichlid sys., hlth.  2/1/2010
I made the mistake of changing all the water in our 37 gallon tank now the cichlid hasn't eaten much of anything it's been 5 days. will he come around he seems to keep his mouth open now more than before .mark
<These two things are likely unrelated. While changing too much water can cause problems if the new water has a very different chemistry or temperature, in general this big water changes aren't a problem. Provided the biological filter remains operative, and the variation in temperature and chemistry was slight, you can change as much water as you want. Now, cichlids fight using their jaws, and dislocated jaws are common when aquarists make the mistake of keeping fish together that shouldn't be kept together. Firemouth cichlids for example are famous for suffering
dislocated jaws when kept with more aggressive Central American cichlids.
This is because Firemouth cichlids have special jaws evolved to sift sand (which is why you keep Firemouths in tanks with a sandy substrate). To avoid fighting, Firemouth cichlids bluff and puff out their red throats, but Convicts don't play along with this game, and can do some serious damage when fighting with Firemouths. Anyway, your stocking is much more likely to be the problem here; if there are other cichlids in the tank, then this one with the broken jaws may well have been on the losing end of a fight. You can try to re-set the jaws by very, VERY carefully pulling the jaws forwards and then hoping that when you release them, the jaws click into place. You may need to do this a couple of times. A vet could do this for you if you prefer. But otherwise, the fish will not be able to eat, and will eventually starve. That being the case , if attempts to re-set the jaws don't work, then the cichlid will need to be painlessly destroyed. It will not get better by itself.
In future, think carefully about what you keep in a community of cichlids, and don't keep species likely to fight, or very different in fighting ability.
Cheers, Neale.>
re: cichlid

Thank you for your quick response, we have only one fish in the tank ,he was flapping around a lot when I tried to catch him to get him in the pail do you think he good have dislocated his jaw at that time?
<Possibly, but doesn't sound very likely. Most dislocated jaws are caused by fighting; to become dislocated, the jaw needs to be firmly pulled, and it's hard to imagine what other circumstances might cause this. Cheers, Neale.>

Cichlid problem, hlth.   8/17/08 Hello again, My T-bar cichlid has got hole in the head, all my fish are scratching, twitching and have all there fins down. <Likely caused by Hexamita, and almost always trigger by environmental or dietary deficiencies, i.e., overcrowding, high nitrates, lack of fresh greens. Treatment is only possible via Metronidazole, couple with correction of water quality/diet. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm > They are all eating normally except my T-bar with hole in the head and they have been doing this for 3 days now and they have no signs of any spots so it cant be white spot. <Hexamita is most common when cichlids are overcrowded. Quite possibly latent in all cichlids, when their immune system becomes weakened the Protozoans spread from the digestive tract into the body and out to the lateral line. It's the ones in the lateral line that cause the distinctive pits and lesions.> What could be wrong with them all? Thanks <Review environment, diet, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: cichlid problem  08/18/2008
Hello, When you said "review environment" what did you mean? My tank has lots of bogwood and a few plants with fine gravel. Thanks. <Simple. Take a look at all the requirements for the fish you have. Look in an aquarium book (or search this web site) to find out more about each species. Note things like water chemistry (pH, hardness), diet, space requirements, compatibility with other fish, etc. Write all these things down. Then compare them to the environment in your aquarium. Any differences between what your fish need and what you are providing will be likely sources of potential problems. Also check nitrite and nitrate; nitrite should be zero at all times, and with cichlids nitrate should be as low as practical, ideally less than 20 mg/l. Cheers, Neale.>  

Cichlids slowly dieing/dying  8/8/06 For the past 8, 9 months my cichlids are dieing. Every month one fish dies, I have to get my water tested and then I'll get back to you. But until then what else could be wrong? < Start with water quality tests. Keep nitrates to under 25 ppm with water changes. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero.> I have one cichlid that I have had from my first set of cichlids and I really want to keep him. Will a Lake Malawi cichlid be good with a fire mouth cichlid? < No. Lake Malawi cichlids come with a very good set of teeth to scrape algae off of rocks. These same teeth do a a lot of damage on other fish.> Also (this has to do with my Pleco) he and the other Plecos I have had seem to be lazy. This one just stays, oh no, he just moved! But now he's back, but usually he's where he is now, upside down on a rock that I bought for my cichlids. Why do they do this? < They are nocturnal and are usually only active at night.> When I was looking at pics of convicts I saw clay pots in some of the pics, if I were to get a pot how big should it be (my tank is 10 gallons) and should I maybe break a piece off of the pot? < The flower pot should be twice as big as the fish regardless of tank size. So a two inch convict gets a four inch flower pot. Turn the flower pot on its side or notch out a hole in the side.> The ones in the pic were on their side but some that I saw on eBay for cichlids had holes in them and they were supposed to be upside down. My last question. It's very, very random, what is the plural for discus? < A school, shoal, pair or couple  of discus. There is no discuses.-Chuck>

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

Question about my twitching jack Dempsey cichlid 7/30/05 Hi, I spent hours yesterday researching the faq's on your site and found a couple things that seemed similar/helpful but am still not quite sure on what the problem is. <When do you think you might be ready to help us respond to queries?>   My Cichlid is doing this weird twitching/shaking thing but he isn't scratching himself... just twitching and sometimes he will float sideways a teensy bit and then jerk back to normal and keep swimming around. <Summat very wrong with your water quality or the neural make-up of this fish> I found a couple articles, one suggesting this is a nitrate problem in the tank and I found on marineworld.com changing 25% of the water every 2-3 days can help alleviate that. <Always a good idea... "when in doubt, change water"> So I've started that but the second article was asking about a shimmy (which I don't know what exactly that is <A descriptive term... like the dance... not a label for an actual causative mechanism> so I cant tell if that's my lil guy's prob or not) and the response to it said it is perhaps a parasite. So this is where I am lost because this is a new tank (still in it's initial 30 day cycle) <Ahh... likely to do then with the actual cycling process... very, very common... and often deadly.> so I know using medication in it can cause more harm than good, <Yes> and I don't know how to tell exactly if it is a parasite and if so which one. His color is still great, there is no bloating or funny growths or bulging eyes... he looks great and he's still eating just fine, he's just twitching.  Thank you so much for your help!!!!!!! Sara <Sara, please read on WWM re establishing biological filtration: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Likely your fish is suffering from ammonia and/or nitrite poisoning. Bob Fenner>

Can you help with urgent Blood parrot fish info? Hey, I need some info/help if possible, I'm at a complete loss as to what I can do? I have 3 beautiful true blood parrots, a male and two females, they have lived together, very happily for four years in a 80(uk)gal tank.  As I've said, never a problem, they're very large, fit fish, maybe a little spoilt, if I'm completely honest!!  The problem is with my smallest female, who is probably the cheekiest and very sociable, I noticed a few weeks ago some small dark patches under her chin, right side, below her gills, DEFINITELY not stress marks, they looked almost like a blood blister under the skin and last week, the membrane at the edge of her gills, that flaps against the body had curled back on itself, not a huge amount, not all of it, a little in the centre, but not right.  But she was behaving as she normally would in every way, I've kept an eye on them and there has been no change, until, last week, she's been, very inactive and not interested in anything including food, she's hardly moved from the same spot for a week.  She was always the first to the front of the tank to see me. I sat for 2 hours with her last night, trying to get her out with some food and she did come out, I swear she knew I was upset!  She took a small piece and spat it straight out, she almost coughed, shook her head and again, had what looked like another good cough, she tried again, same reaction. She took herself back to her corner with a few more coughs and splutters.  I felt sick, my immediate thought was a tumor of some sort, I had a 12inch Oscar for 10 years who died from one in his gut, it stopped him from eating, 8 weeks before I lost him, it was awful. I know these are a 'man made' fish and are prone to various problems, I count myself lucky not to have had a problem, up until now. I may be way off the mark, but it does seem to be a problem with her throat or gill raker?  I can't and won't give up on her, PLEASE any advice/help you or your contacts could give would be hugely appreciated. Kate, UK London. < We have a few options depending on what you think the problem may be. If you think the throat and pharyngeal jaws have been damaged from moving coarse gravel or eating hard pellets then I would recommend soaking the food to soften it up prior to feeding. Treat with Nitrofuranace in case there are any secondary bacterial or fungal infections. If you think the problem is internal such as bloat or dropsy then you need to treat with Metronidazole as soon as possible.-Chuck>
Re: Can you help with urgent blood parrot fish info?
Thanks Chuck, Not the food and she's on sand, always has been, going to luck into the other areas, cover all options before I throw the towel in. If all else fails do you know of a quick humane way to put her down? As I said in my last mail, when I lost my Oscar it was one of the worst things I've had to watch, can't do that again. Thanks again, I'll let you know how she gets on.  Kate. < In the US we have a cold remedy referred to as Alka-seltzer. You put a couple tablets into a glass and it dissolves into the water releasing CO2. The CO2 will put her to sleep. Then she can be frozen or you can just add additional tablets and she will go to sleep and asphyxiate from lack of oxygen.-Chuck>

Congo and a disease I have a 29 gal good water quality, 4 fish in a tank one being a cichlid (Conga)  it recently grew a large "cyst" or bump in it's belly.  It's growing rapidly on one side.  This is day 3 and intense research has produced no known cause or treatment.  At first I thought it'd eaten rocks but the Conga has not eaten in a few days now and the tumor continues to grow.  Can you help? Also we noticed he has holes in his head but did not eat any live fish lately(1yr)  (as I was told this was the cause of such an occurrence) Please respond A.S.A.P.  we are desperate for information and local pet shops and vets are no help thus far. V. Michels, Florida < Your white convict is commonly referred to in the aquarium trade as a White Congo. The hole in the head disease and swollen belly indicate that the water quality may not be as good as you think. Do a 30% water change, service the filter and treat with Metronidazole. Follow the directions on the package. When the swelling goes down, after the internal bacteria have been killed, and he begins to eat again try feeding some washed chopped earthworms or brine shrimp.-Chuck> 
Re: Congo and a disease
Our "convict" is doing better, we already considered and did a water change, but his belly "burst" for better lack of a term and he is still alive. Today I saw a thin string hanging from the hole (about 1 -2 inches long) and some eroded flesh I believe (about 2 millimeters in diameter and 3 millimeters long) from his side.  He ate today and appears healthy/active otherwise. His belly started to swell on the other side yesterday but is better today. Swelling almost all gone, The area where the large bump was is discolored blackish now.  The type of treatment is helpful though, we had him on a different treatment. The bursting seem to be the turn around, however, because nothing I did made it better. We do care for our fish, I wonder why you referred to him as a "convict" < Look at "Cichlasoma" nigrofasciatum in a book and you will see a grey striped fish that is the same as yours except he isn't white. This common name for the striped fish is convict and the white version is called the white Congo. It is a good thing that no internal organs seemed to be affected. The white stringy stuff is connective tissue as the fish begins to heal itself. Keep the water clean so it doesn't fungus and there is a good chance for a full recovery.-Chuck>

Sick Dempsey  lump between eyes  our fish before lump hi there...our Texas cichlid developed this fluid filled lump between his eyes and appears to be under its skin.  any ideas as to what it is? we have had him for 5 years. about a month ago he had orange stuff (looked like the food we give him) come out of one of his nostrils. we didn't treat it in any way and he seemed to get over it. now      this cyst or something...the pet store said to look online at parasites, but I can't find descriptions or pictures. just microscope pictures of parasites... any help would be appreciated.  I will try to send a picture. < Your old male jack Dempsey has a case of bloat. It is caused by anaerobic bacteria that starts in the gut and has moved to between the eyes. The only treatment is Metronidazole. Treat the fish in a hospital tank if possible. Change 50% every other day after treatment. When you fish begins to eat then he is getting cured. You have an old fish an this may be hard to cure.-Chuck>

Angels can't swim! Hey there my angel fish have stopped swimming. Their tails have folded up and there long fins have gone thin and superficial. They just lie on the bottom, not eating. What is wrong and how can I fix it? < You have a bacterial infection. Do a 30% water change and clean the filter. I would treat with a medication called Furanace. If that is not available then try Maracyn. These medications also affect the good bacteria that break down fish waste. Watch for ammonia spikes. -Chuck>

Tiger Oscar Hey, my Oscar has this white little indent right above his gill, theirs only one. I think I spotted it about half a week ago as just a white spot, but now I think I notice a little indent. I think it may be Hole In The Head Disease. I did my gravel vacuuming and also a 30% water change with water conditioner in the 30% new water and I also put in a new filter in the filtration system ( Do you think that will fix the indent?). < The improved water conditions can only help. It may slow the disease down.>   I don't have an Ammonia and Nitrate kit but I think I will go out and buy one tomorrow ( Can you give me a rough price ). < Each kit should be under $10.> Do you think you can send me some pictures of some fish with the Hole in the head disease just appearing if that is possible. Also can you, if you think it is HITH disease give me some information on treating it to get it to go away? < I just had this discussion a couple of nights ago with a few friends of mine at the local cichlid club. Unfortunately there has been no real science done on hole-in the head. Many people have done some lab work and found many things but no real "smoking gun" has been found yet. Keep the water clean and try to vary the diet to include some live food like earthworms and brine shrimp. If the holes look like they are getting bigger then you could try some Metronidazole at 250 mg per 10 gallons and follow the directions on the package. Prevention is much easier than treatment. Good Luck. Do a Google search on Hole-in-the-head disease and you will find numerous tips and theories on how this disease works and how to treat it. Some saltwater  fish get it too.-Chuck> Thank you.
Re: Tiger Oscar
Thanks for the information so quick. Right before I got to bed, quick question? Its possible to cure right? Like make the hole go away and stop it from spreading with that medication? Or is he going to die?!.... Also when you said the improvements I did can "help" ( new water, new filter ), does this mean that it may cure it or does it mean it will only slow the death down? < If you don't know the specific cause of the stress then you don't know what needs to be changed. In some fish it may be high nitrates. But I have seen the disease in fully planted aquariums with no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate measured in the water. So then you have to start looking at other things like pH and diet. Vitamin deficiencies may be a cause too. No two aquarists keep two tanks totally alike. So the same two aquarists may have the disuse but the causes may be different depending on all the variables such as food source, initial water chemistry and other fish. There are no stone cold locks when it comes to treating Hole-in-the-head as of yet. I gave you some generalities to increase your fishes chances of survival. You may have to try some of these things and see if they are effective. But be aware no matter what you do you may never be able to cure your fish.-Chuck> Bye
Re: Tiger Oscar
Also I read up that in most cases if it is caused by stress or poor water quality it isn't contagious meaning that it isn't bacteria and it wont spread and that one particular dent will clear up on its own if you clean the tank and such. I was just curious on your statement for that if it is true or totally made up. Thanks bye. < You need three things for a disease to occur. A parasite, a host ,and an environment that at the same time weakens the fishes immunity while at the same time enhances the reproductive behavior of the parasite. If you have poor water quality in your tank then other cichlids are likely to show the same symptoms because the conditions are the same throughout the entire tank. Stress can lead to all kinds of diseases not just hole in the head. I don't just make things up. My answers are based on years of experience with cichlids as well as attending seminars all over the country on cichlids too. Of coarse I am always willing to listen to something new on treatment for the problem, unfortunately I have been lead up the golden path many times over the years by "new " treatments that have never really been panned out.-Chuck>

Oscars breathing one-sided. Hi, Just wondering if you could possibly give me some insight as to what could be going on with my 2 Oscars?  I bought an adult pair of Golden Oscars on March.25. They had a host of problems.. all are gone now except for this gill issue. They seem to switch back and forth, and then use both gills normally. No particular gill is favoured. I thought they had gill flukes (although they are not breathing heavily).. using one gill seems to be a classic symptom of flukes. But they still continue to use one gill occasionally. After the first treatment I figured maybe I didn't dose the aquarium correctly. So I waited a few days, used carbon to remove the medication and treated for flukes a second time. Still no improvement. I'm completely stumped. They look and act healthy otherwise. It just bothers me to see them breathing that way. It's been just over 3 months now with no improvement. Could this be some sort of gill damage? < Based on their rather tough past it could be gill damage. Typically gills that have been "burned" by excessive ammonia do grow back. If they have been exposed to fungus as a secondary infection then they might not. I would recommend keeping the water well aerated so they don't have to labor to breath.> My water parameters are.. Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0 and Nitrate=10ppm. PH is 6.6. Water changes are done frequently.. I was hoping it would help. Aquarium is 75g and they are the only occupants. < Try and keep the water as clean as possible. Your numbers look good. Try and keep the nitrates under 25 ppm.-Chuck> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Linda

Bloody Parrot seizures? Hi, I have had a Bloody Parrot Cichlid for 19 months and he has never had any medical problems before. Two days ago he started having what I can only describe as "seizures". He starts to quiver and float funny, then cowers in the corner of the tank shaking. He then "SHOOTS" up to the top of the tank, slamming against the glass tank top, and then as he is floating down towards the bottom, he rams into the side glass. Then he basically sinks to the bottom of the tank, breathing strangely. The gills? under his "chin" are flapping back and forth and he appears to be out of breath. The first few times that he did this, were at feeding time, but now that I was home all day (Saturday) I see that he does it even without eating. I love this fish dearly, as he recognizes and can differentiate between members of our family and strangers, and is especially attached to me as I am the one who feeds him and gives him his treats. He also peers through the glass of the tank, and if I wave to him, he does that funny little dance that they do. I would like to know if there is anything I can do to help him. Watching him smash up against the glass is killing me, and I feel like it will eventually kill him. He is in a 58 gallon aquarium, along with a smaller parrot, convict, clown loaches, black skirt tetras, Bala shark, red-tailed black shark, and gouramis. He is the king of the tank and butts everyone out of his way. He is fed flake food, and is treated with Tubifex, dried blood worms (not his favorite) and a variety of romaine lettuce, peas, asparagus and broccoli. I can't think of anything else except to say that the water in my tank is in excellent condition. I clean the tank, the filter and the tubes as necessary. Can you suggest anything to help me or tell me what is happening to my "Baby"? < Your fish may be affected by some unknown internal parasite or bacteria. Your parrot cichlid is a hybrid between a few fish and may have lost some of its natural defenses against disease. My only recommendation would be to isolate the fish in separate tank with lots of floating plastic plants to be use as a buffer against the top of the tank. Treat with some Metronidazole according to the directions on the package. If you see no improvement after a week then I would try a strong antibiotic like Kanamycin. These are "shotgun" attempts to help your fish. maybe we will get lucky. Add a little rock salt to the isolation tank too. Couldn't hurt.-Chuck> Thanks, Donna
Re: Bloody Parrot seizures?
Chuck, I wanted to reply as I have more information that may be helpful to my Blood Parrot Cichlid. Today is Sunday, and as of 6:00 PM EST, he had no attacks today. I had fed him some peas, as he was asking for food, and originally he had most of his attacks when he ate. The two times that I gave him some peas today, he ate them and was Ok, with no attacks. He was not his "Normal" self, but at least no attacks. Then at 6:15 PM, the normal time that I feed my fish, I fed them TetraMin Pro Tropical Crisps, which is a flake food. He ate aggressively at the top of the tank for about 15 seconds, then the attack occurred. He got stuck in the cave at the bottom of the tank, so he didn't manage to smash himself against the glass, but he definitely had an attack. What makes him have this problem every time I give him flake food now? Can I feed him with just the peas for a few days? Should I still quarantine him and get him the medication you suggested? If so, the only extra tank we have is a 10 gallon tank. Is that big enough for him for a while? I REALLY appreciate your help, as the fish stores around here seem to be clueless as to what is happening to him. One actually suggested that his tank mates are nipping his fins making him slam against the glass. When I told him that that is not happening, he nastily told me that I can't watch them 24 hours a day. Anyone who has an aquarium knows that after 2 years, you know what your fish do and don't do and what is "Normal" for them. Once again, Thanks So Much for your help! < With this new information I have a couple of new theories. With the soft food such as peas he had no attacks, but with dried foods he has the attacks. If am thinking that maybe the dried foods are getting stuck in his throat causing him to choke. Presoak the flake foods so it is hydrated before feeding and see if it helps. If this is still happening I would take the fish out of the water and look closely down its throat with a strong flashlight and look for obstructions. I once had a cichlid with a piece from a plastic plant stuck down its throat. I removed it with a long pair of tweezers and he was fine after that.-Chuck> Donna
Re: Bloody Parrot seizures?
Chuck, THANKS SOOOO MUCH!!! Once you mentioned about the flakes being dry, I noticed that when he was busy eating the peas on Monday morning, while I fed the other fish in the tank, by the time he ate the flakes they had floated down into the water, and he ate them with NO PROBLEM! When I fed him at 6:00 PM, I hydrated the flakes and gave him peas first, then put the soaked flakes into the tank. Once again, NO PROBLEM! He comes to the front of the tank whenever I go by, so I sat on the floor with him in the tank in front of me, and tried to look down his throat with a flashlight. I didn't see anything that seemed to be blocking his throat, but since he sucks at everything that goes into the tank, and helps the female convict move the pebbles in the tank when she's going to lay eggs, I was wondering if maybe he accidentally swallowed a pebble, and hurt his throat. I'm going to continue feeding him the hydrated flakes, peas, and broccoli, and hopefully he will be OK. I am only worried because we leave on vacation for three weeks, and I have an automatic feeder that can only dispense the dry flakes, so I am hoping that he will be Ok by then. Once again, THANKS SO MUCH for all your help. < That's what we are here for. Have a good vacation.-Chuck> Donna

Say "Aah" Hi, <Hello.> I have a Firemouth Cichlid who for the past 2 days has had it's mouth open. Today I noticed that its open even wider and the skin right behind it's mouth looks very thin. It also isn't eating. Any thoughts? <Check closely to be sure that there is no obstruction in his mouth preventing him from closing it.  Look for any visible growths or other abnormalities, as well.  It is possible that his jaw is dislocated or injured, though, and there probably isn't much of anything you can do for him, aside from a trip to the vet to get the jaw relocated.  Keep a close watch on your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH).  If he is not alone in the tank, you may want to consider transferring him to a quarantine tank to ensure that he has the opportunity to rest without being harassed by tankmates.  Try to coax him into eating with especially tasty foods like frozen bloodworms, or even small live earthworms.  Perhaps stimulating him into wanting to eat will help him get his jaw back in place.  It certainly wouldn't hurt to give your vet a call and ask him about dislocated fish jaws.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.> Thanks,  Cheryl
Say "Aah" again
Thanks for the great response. I'm really worried now as he does have some visible large white cotton looking growths. <Can you describe in greater detail?  This could be a fungus, columnaris, Lymphocystis....  do please look through this and articles/FAQs linked to it:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm and do some Google searches, especially on 'columnaris' and 'Lymphocystis' and see if you can find any similarities.> He is also just kinda floating but keeping his mouth at the top of the tank. His buddy also a Firemouth is starting to get what looks like ick. <Are the spots small, like grains of sugar, or tufty/fuzzy?> I have treated the tank <For what?  With what medication?> and will have my water tested tomorrow. <Definitely crucial.> Any other info would be great.  Thanks,  Cheryl <As far as that jaw goes, I still think it might be a good idea to give your vet a call, ask him if he knows how to relocate dislocated fish jaws, and if it's something he can tell you how to do.  Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina.>

Sick cichlid My red devil is very sick. He just lays around the bottom of the tank. He does come to the top of the tank to eat but just sinks right back down to the bottom. I am so worried about losing him. I heard that you should put Epson salt in the water but I also have a female in the same tank. If I add the salt will it hurt her in anyway? <Won't hurt her, no.  If you do this, it should be at a rate of 1-2 tablespoons per ten gallons of water.> She is not sick. Please help real soon. <First and foremost, check your water parameters - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.  If you don't have test kits, your local fish store should be willing to test a sample of your water for you.  A water change (or several, if necessary) will help you fix anything that's out of whack, and certainly won't hurt anything.  Can you tell us more about your fish and your aquarium?  Tank size, other fish in the tank?  Filtration?  Water change schedule, how much and how often do you change water?  Also, what else can you tell us about the sick fish?  Any details you can give us will help - color (is it normal, if not, what), shape (is it bloated-looking, skinny, etc.), any physical damage, gasping, anything else amiss.  If the only problem is that he keeps sinking to the bottom of the tank, it might be a swim bladder issue, in which case you should try the Epsom salts, but it may or may not have any effect.  -Sabrina>

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