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FAQs on Cichlid Pathogenic Disease  

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: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, 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


Suspected Septicemia
Cichlids With Red Mouth Possible Septicemia    6/29/10

Hi WWM Crew, I'm seeing redness at the mouth area, at the joint between body & pectoral fin and some parts of the body on my cichlids. I've been using API Furan-2 (following these steps):
Day1: 3 packets of Furan-2 powder + Pimafix + Melafix
Day2: 3 packets of Furan-2 powder + Pimafix + Melafix
Day3: nothing
Day4: 25% water change + 3 packets of Furan-2 powder + Pimafix + Melafix
Day5: 3 packets of Furan-2 powder + Pimafix + Melafix
Day6: nothing
Day7: 25% water change
I've been doing this cycle for 7 days now, not much of improvement. So I've just started tonight to mix 1 pack of API T.C Tetracycline powder with a small amount of water, to soak some pellets into this mixture for about 15
minutes, then feed my cichlids. They are still eating fine.
- I would like to know if this mixing of Furan-2 (externally) and T.C Tetracycline (mixed with pellets) is advisable.
< If the Furan is not working then discontinue it. The Tetracycline is worth a try but I have found it not to be a big help in my own situations.>
- How long does it take to cure septicemia?
< You should see some improvement in a few days if it is working.>
- Should I keep this up or is there something else you can advise me to do?
< See below>
Thanks in advance. Hope to hear from you soon.
Regards, Roger
< Check the water chemistry to make sure that it is compatible with the fish you have. Rift lake cichlids like hard alkaline water. Soft acidic water may stress them and leave them vulnerable to disease. I like to use the Furanace based antibiotics but sometimes they are over used and some bacteria become resistant to them. I would try Erythromycin and forget the "fix's".-Chuck>

Cichlid Sick or Non-compatible  12/28/09
Hello, My husband and I just got two cichlids from a pet store that got them from a guy, so we are not sure what kind they are. I went to the pet store owner on 12-6 of this year with my camera, cause our females belly is a little bigger then normal, and she said that one is a male and one is female. And the one that is female has the bigger belly. She has been hiding in the corner, and when the light is off the male doesn't seem to attack her as much. We are worried as it has been close to a month and her belly has not gone down. Please help us. Thank You Tiffany
<If they are a pair then the female is not ready to breed and the male will chase her until she becomes ready to breed. You did not mention the species so it is difficult to make recommendations on how to get her ready. If she has an intestinal infection then the belly will become larger as the parasites in the gut multiply and expand the gut. This can be treated with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>

Geophagus brasiliensis
Cichlid With Infection  11/11/09

Hi guys, hoping you can help! About 3 months ago I purchased a pair of large Geophagus brasiliensis. They took a bit of a knock in the shop the careless guy allowed the bag to drop to the floor but I still had them as they were such beautiful fish. Within a couple of days of having them, one started to develop a lump on the side of its head. I put this down to the bump they received and thought I would wait and see if this 'bruise' went down. The lump never disappeared or got any better or worse and as the fish seemed perfectly happy otherwise, eating, healthy and constantly flirting with its mate. It didn't really concern me too much. In the last week or so the lump has developed a sort of red pimple in the middle, a bit like a white head on a normal spot. I've enclosed the best picture I could take. I'm hoping you can cast some clarity on this as I cant seem to find anything online and im really hoping this isn't HITH. My fish are in a 850 litre tank with a few other new world cichlids, there is no aggression between any of the fish and all my water parameters are normal Many thanks
< Thanks for the photo. The bacterial infection is coming to a head. When it pops like a pimple, There will be some redness. At that time I would do a 50% water change and watch the site closely. It doesn't heal right away or look like it is getting better then treat with an antibiotic like Furanace. I don't think it is HITH.-Chuck>

Red Devil Cichlid With Internal Infection  1/2/07 Hello I have a Red devil cichlid that I got that has swim bladder for the purpose of trying to save him. The pet store gave him to me free because someone brought him in. He is a nice looking fish and is about 6inches and I have put him in a hospital tank and then added Epson salt raised the temp to 84F and treating the water with poly guard as well as trying to feed the fish with Metronidazole and garlic guard mixed in with some food as well as some green peas and doing daily 20% water changes and carefully replacing  the salt and poly guard. But the problem is that the fish stays on the bottom of the tank and cannot swim but only scoot's around on the bottom of the tank on his belly. He sometimes will go over to the food that I place in the tank but can't get the food in his mouth because he can't seem to raise up to pick the food up from the bottom of the tank. He often lays on his side until he see's me in the room then he sits back up on his belly. I noticed as well that yesterday and today that there was some blood in his stool. I have been treating him for about three day's now. Do you know anything else that I can do to get this fish better and how long do you think it will take before he gets better? Thank you for any help. <Remove any sand or gravel that can be abrasive to the skin of the fish. The infection has affected the swim bladder. Even if you cure the disease the swim bladder may not recover and become functional again. I would add Nitrofuranace to the mix and continue to treat for another week. These medications are not cheap. You probably could have purchased a healthy red devil for the money you will spend trying to save this one.-Chuck>

Red Devil, Viral Infection - 08/17/2005 Hello, <Hi.> I just bought a Red Devil, and he seems to have this white cyst (Like a pimple) on one of his scales.  He is bright orange in colour, and this white cyst stands out.  It's not ich, since it's only one, and bigger than ich.  How do I treat it? Does it go away? The previous owner said that its been there for approximately 1 month now. <Sounds like Lymphocystis....  A viral infection.  Though this is not treatable, it usually does go away if the fish is kept in optimal water conditions (ammonia, nitrite = ZERO, nitrate = LESS than 20ppm).  So be testing, and keep that water clean!> Thank you,  Toufic <Wishing you and your new red devil well,  -Sabrina>   Red Devil, Viral Infection - II - 08/17/2005 Optimal eh? :-( <Should be no more difficult than maintaining the tank properly....  That's the least we can do for our captive fishes.> How about surgery on the actual cyst? <This will cause more harm than good, most likely.  I would leave it as is, and let the fish heal on its own time.  Proper care, proper water quality alone will help this to go away.> Extra salts in the tank? <Nope.  Patience, much patience, and proper care.  That's all.  This will take time....  but can/should heal up on its own.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Old Parrot Cichlid With Internal Bacterial Infection 8/11/05
Hello, I have a  beautiful blood parrot who is 5 years old and pretty large. She has been hiding  for the past week but would still come out for food. She is usually very playful  and follows me around the tank constantly but yesterday she stopped eating and  started laying on her side. Today she is flipped over and trying to swim upside  down. Please tell me if there is anything that I can do for Sweetie as she is  trying to get back upright but cannot so she is hiding under a cave in the  aquarium. She is what I call the Heart shaped version of the Blood Parrots.  Thank you for any help or advice, Jada < Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel while you are at it. Clean the filter and treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>
Parrot Cichlid Didn't Make It 8/13/05
Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I followed your directions but   could not get the Metronidazole last night as it was late and the pet stores  were closed. Sadly enough, my heart was broken to find her dead this morning. In   my hurry to get some answers I failed to mention that I also have three  small Parrot Cichlids in this 75 gallon tank that was home to Sweetie for five   years. They seem wonderful and full of energy and are eating fine. These are   only a year old. Do you recommend that I treat the tank as you directed or leave   well enough alone with these darlings? < Internal bacterial infections are usually brought on by stress. Younger fish adapt easier and aren't as prone to disease. I would make sure that the tank was clean and keep up on the water changes. Treat at this point is not needed.> I am new to this website but have been  reading it for hours on end. I find you all to be very helpful, wonderful people  and am most grateful to you and very happy to have found you and this terrific website! Thanks again for your prompt help and thank you in advance for  any input on what I need to do for the little buddies I have left. Special   thanks to Chuck! Jada < Thank you for your kind words and welcome to the site.-Chuck>

Re: Oscar/cichlid disease Here are the photos you requested. Thanks for taking a look at her. I hope you know what the problem is and that it's not too late for me to treat her. She is so beautiful. Melinda Buck <Sorry to say that this looks like a tumorous growth... is not easily treated, or excised... but not to give up hope, there are instances/records of "spontaneous remission"... What the animal shows is "not catching", and it may cure of its own... I do hope so. Bob Fenner> <Also... this is not an Oscar but another species of new world cichlid. RMF>

Blind "Heros Amphilophus" Help! <That's what we're here for :)> I've been searching for info to help my fish, but haven't found the exact problem my fish is having. <I'll try to lead you in the right direction> I have a Heros Amphilophus (just one really big and aggressive female, I think) in a 50 gallon tank. <By "Heros Amphilophus," I would assume that you are referring to a parrot Cichlid, which is a hybridization between the Severum (Heros severus) and the Midas Cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellum). I think this is the case, as the genus Heros does not contain any fish with the species name Amphilophus. As a side note, Amphilophus is a genus name referring to a different group of Cichlids. The correct way of writing the scientific name of your fish would be Heros severus x Amphilophus citrinellum. But let's not dwell on details.> Yesterday, she didn't eat anything and I noticed that she wasn't moving much and kept bumping into the tank walls. One of her eyes is cloudy, but both seem move like she's looking around. I see one small red spot near her tail, on the opposite side of the cloudy eye. She seems a bit swollen, but not much. <The symptoms you are describing are all indicative of a bacterial infection. However, I am unable to pinpoint exactly what ails your fish from the description provided. Please visit the following link to help you identify what disease your fish has: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/disFAQsMar.htm > Today, I changed the water by 40% and added Rid-ich, just to be on the safe side. <Adding medicine "just to be on the safe side" is never a good idea. You should always identify the disease before you go dumping all sorts of concoctions into the water. However, a water change is always a good thing when your fish look worse for the wear, and can only help.> She perked up and has been aimlessly swimming around the tank for the past 3 hours since I treated the water. She's leaving her mouth half open, like she's gulping down the water. I tried waving a piece of dried krill in front of her and she didn't go for it.  I removed the artificial plants from the tank so she won't poke herself. The water temp is just below 80. Any advice? <Yes, I would advise you to determine what exactly ails your fish and to use the wonderful internet to locate potential cures (you may not have to look any further than WetWebMedia for a treatment).> Thanks! <Glad I could be of assistance. Good luck! Mike G>
Re: Heros that can't see
Thanks Mike G <You're welcome> You're probably correct about the exact species of my fish. I got the name from a picture in a cichlid book (very professional, eh?) <Scientific names are a topic of much controversy> I thoroughly read through WetWebMedia's disease postings...no luck. My fish does not seem to have any of the symptoms posted. There are no signs of white fuzz or spots or holes or redness or swelling. Just one cloudy eye, one normal looking eye, heavy "breathing", aimless swimming and bumping into everything, and no eating. This has been going on for three days.  <I would bet money on the pathogen being bacteria.> I've been changing out 30-40% of water and cleaning the gravel every day. What do you recommend? <Personally, I would keep doing what you are doing now, as well as dosing a broad-spectrum antibiotic. I would recommend MelaFix from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. It is a non-specific antibiotic that I have used with a great degree of success. If you were able to pinpoint the disease, we would be able to get a more powerful, specific antibiotic. However, diseases are often hard to identify with 100% accuracy (or any accuracy at all). Good luck, and do keep me updated. Mike G> ~Jill~

Not quite pop-eye in a Cyrtocara moorii? Hi WWM Crew, We have a 500 litre (132 gal US) tank with many African (mostly Malawi) cichlids. We do regular fortnightly 40% water changes, though lately this has slipped a little to every three weeks. I will confess to no longer monitoring water chemistry as we never observed any significant shifts in the levels when we were monitoring, despite the fact we like to keep our fish VERY well fed. <I too have African cichlid tanks... change water weekly, only fifteen percent or so... and never measure for water quality... our source water is very hard and alkaline...> We believe our water quality is not a problem, as many of our fish are breeding and we do not suffer any disease outbreaks. Our oldest (~5 years) and largest (both about 18cm or 7 inches) fish are a pair of male Cyrtocara moorii that have fought with each other as long as we have had them. They have only ever done minor damage to each other, despite some fairly aggressive mouth-hold-wrestling. <Typical, to be expected> We have never seen either of them go for the eyes, as they are fighting for domination, not to kill/hunt.  One of them has developed are rather awful looking condition on his eyes - a swollen red lump has appeared on the top of its socket, pushing the eye out so that he's pretty much looking straight down. Both eyes are affected, but one is much worse than the other. I've attached a picture of the worst side (sorry about the quality - taken in a hurry). We have read through many websites and pop-eye is the closest match we can find to what we are seeing, but I am not convinced that is the condition. If it is pop-eye, I apologize for the re-post but maybe the picture we help others diagnose their fish ... Thanks, Damien <Is a condition, exophthalmia... but what to the cause, effecting a cure? Likely directly the result of a physical trauma... a bump... from running into something in the tank, or tussling with its cohort... perhaps linked to a degree with the effects of delayed water change... But how to cure this? Perhaps the use of antibiotic, added to food or directly to the water... I would look into Mardel Lab's twin punch of Maracyn I and II first here... they are relatively safe and effective... AND I would add some sea salt... if you have a hydrometer... an increase of 2-3 ppt... or approximately a level teaspoon per gallon... over several days... with some Epsom (about a fifth) being the salt. This may take some time "to bring down the swelling", but the sooner you start the better. I want to be clear that such predicaments, if ignored, can become permanent, even lead to eye loss and death. Bob Fenner>

Parrot Fish Fungus Hi, My question is about Parrot Fish Fungus.  I have an orange parrot fish, with a rosy pink body tone, and orange spots on his tail.  He is about 3 inches long, and didn't have the fungus when I added him to the tank approximately 3 weeks ago.  I have a 55 gal tank that is filtered well at 400 gallons per hour, plastic plants, and do regular water tests, changes, and filter cleanings. All conditions are ideal, any suggestions for removing the fungus? Thanks <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm and the Related FAQs, particularly on infectious disease (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

Re: Parrot cichlid extremely bloated-can you please help? Thank you!  I actually treated the tank last night with Paragon II, which treats many different kinds of bacteria and is supposed to be especially effective on the cichlid family.  I have used it before to treat ich and white spot. I changed about 25% of the water, prior to treating, per the instructions and will change it again after treatment. I will get some fresh food too.   I keep the tank clean, and partially change the water regularly, so the water wasn't dirty but it could be the food or temp.  I did notice the temp a few degrees higher than I usually keep it, so I may have bumped the heater and turned it up by accident.  I will gradually drop it down a couple degrees to see if that helps too.  Thank you so much for the response and advice.  I really appreciate it!   Great website by the way!  < Check the label for the medications in the paragon II. Metronidazole is very effective on anaerobic bacteria. Hope this helps and thanks for your kind words about the website.-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>

Gold Severum- Clear Bubble near Anus I would very much appreciate your feed back on the problem im 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. Im 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)

Oscar Dear WWM Crew, I have written in the past regarding an "upside down" Oscar, who is still alive, but seemingly not well.  I strongly believe that he has permanent swim bladder damage b/c he does not float and has been on his side at the bottom of the tank for some time now.   < The swim bladder in cichlids is an open system in which the fish can change the size depending on depth and conditions. Deep water rift lake cichlids take a few days do decompress like divers from deeper waters. The valve that controls this can become infected and close permanently. It appears your Oscar is in this category.> In addition, there is a permanent small distended area around his rectal area, which can vary slightly in size. < It appears there is or was a definite internal infection with your Oscar>  I clean the tank one a week (30 gal.) and use Epsom salt each time because it seems to help keep the distention at bay.  I have not tried any other treatments. < The damage is already done and he will probably not get any better> He still eats very well and can swim, although only with major effort and tires so quickly that I often end up pushing the food toward him to help.  It is very upsetting to see him in this state and I worry that he his suffering.  I've considered Euthanizing and you have suggested that freezing is the most humane, but I don't see how since he will be removed from the tank he has resided in for several years and placed in a dark place that get progressively colder.  Perhaps, I'm thinking too much (my husband complaint).  Any suggestions? < Your fish will probably not get any better. If you want to try to save him you can get some medicated food with Metronidazole in it. Feed it to him for a couple of days, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel to get rid of the built up waste. Raise the water temperature to 82 degrees. Repeat the medicated food in a week. It probably will not work since your Oscar is a few years old and only live a couple of years in the wild. An Oscar that is "several years old" probably has his best years behind him. To euthanize you fish I would take some water out of the aquarium and place it in a small bucket with just enough water to cover the top of him. Place a few Alka-Seltzer's?) tablets in the bucket. The kind you get at the drug store for headaches. The tablets will foam when they hit the water and put out Co2 gas. This will put him to sleep. He will still be breathing but will be unconscious. Then put him in a plastic fish bag with some of the water from the bucket and place him in the freezer. The cold will slowly kill him and you can then dispose of him. -Chuck>
Re: Oscar
Chuck, Thanks so much for your reply.  I do want to clarify that I have in the past tried to medicate. This condition has been an issue for almost a year now and the last time I was in contact with your awesome crew, he seemed to show promise after the initial Epsom salt treatment, he was even floating on his own. However, not too long after he took a sudden turn for the worse and has never recovered! He is over five years old at this point.  Anyway, thanks for your advice. Would you agree that he would be better off in the Seltzer-seltzer bath at this point? < That is probably best for both you and the fish. A new fish active in your tank would also be much more entertaining and make things much easier to take care of. Hopefully another cichlid since they are a personal favorite of mine. Good luck -Chuck> Thanks much. Best, Kim
Upside Down Oscar - Round 2!
Dear Anthony/Crew, Kim here again searching for more advice for my poor upside down Oscar.  : (   <Hmmm... not a good sign> As you will recall, my Oscar was upside down for several weeks over the summer due to a distention of the rectal area. In early September, at your wise counsel, I stopped all meds and started Epsom salt treatments (6 tablespoons for 30 gallons), which I repeated in 3 days and have continued once a week with water changes.  For a long while, he was swelling free, but laying at the bottom of the tank.  Then he began to hold himself upright and swimming normally for short periods of time.   <'tis the case for most... slow and steady progress if the imbalance/blockage was minor> However, in the last two weeks the area has become distended on a daily basis, but only for short sporadic periods of time. When he made the effort to swim, such as at feeding time, it would almost instantly deflate. Unfortunately, this has changed in the last two days. The distention has returned and is constant. He has been upside down now for two days, floating at the top of the tank. The good news (I guess) is that he is still eager as ever to eat the brine shrimp and beef heart each night. Nonetheless the bloated area has grown larger in the last 24 hours, and he can not swim normally at all.  Help!  Perhaps, I am not feeding him enough (usually 3 brine shrimp gumdrops and two thumbnail size chunks of beef heart once a day at night.  The last two or three water changes (w/Epsom), I slightly cleaned the gravel.  Could I have disrupted the beneficial bacteria that I understand resides in the gravel?  The Epsom salt and food has been a constant, nothing else has changed except that I started cleaning the gravel.  Your thoughts and advice would be very much appreciated.  Sincerely, Kim Olson <no worries on the gravel cleaning... it is quite necessary. I fear at this point that the problem with your Oscar is more serious. That still does not mean incurable. Internal parasites may have perforated organ/tissue walls internally and injured the swim bladder. There may be a persistent infection too. Using medicated pelleted foods (bacterial and parasitic) may help here. Else I wonder if there isn't a congenital defect that has developed or some irreparable damage. Alas, time will tell. Do try the medicated food sticks/pellets. Hoping for the best :) Anthony>

FW Lymphocystis? Sabrina - I will try sending these one at a time, Firemouth first, right now. If this doesn't work, I will put them in a pdf file and send that to you. <Bill, they got to me just fine, thanks - and it does indeed look like Lymphocystis.  As said earlier, not much to be done except maintain excellent water quality and possibly manually removing the lumps.  Do be right on top of water changes, keep pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate where it should be.  -Sabrina> Thanks,  Bill

Lymphocystis again Thank you, Sabrina - As it happens, the lumps on the Severum have shrunk dramatically and if one did not know they had been there, one would probably not notice them at all. <Excellent!> As for the affliction surrounding the dorsal fin of the Firemouth, the crud might be looking a little better but the fin itself looks awful - I think a couple of spines may even be gone from it. <Darn....  Do keep on top of water quality.  It may be a good idea to treat with something to prevent secondary bacterial infection.> But there has been no change in the behavior of the Firemouth - it is as feisty and voracious as ever. I went back to the fish store today and a different expert was there and she recommended Spectrogram, so I purchased enough to treat the 55. <A good med - Kanamycin sulfate and Nitrofurazone combination.  Will definitely kick a lot of nasties that might set in (like fin rot) after/while the Lympho clears up.> However, on Saturday I leave for a five day trip and my fish will once again be under the care of my wife, so, based on what you say, perhaps I will just do another good water change before I go and hold off on the Spectrogram until I get back.  Bill <Most important is that water quality.  I cannot stress how important it is.  Do the water change, by all means, and depending on the firemouth's condition and whether your wife can handle it, you may want for her to go ahead and treat while you're gone.  -Sabrina>
Lymphocystis again, again
Good advice! I don't know what I'd do without you and the other members of your crew who have helped me out. By the way, I have NPR's All Things Considered on the radio and they just had a story stating that fish are smart, and what a surprise that is. They mentioned cichlids in  particular. That, of course, has been obvious to me since not long after I set up these tanks. <Ah.  This reminds me of the British study of whether fish feel pain.  Their conclusion (which was yes, fish do feel pain), most certainly didn't surprise any aquarists I know.  Though, smart is most certainly a relative term - but I do think mine give me a run for my money from time to time ;)  -Sabrina> Bill

Lymphocystis? Hi - I just returned from two weeks traveling during which time my wife kept the fish fed, but I have found something terrible in the 55 gallon tank. All around the base of the dorsal fin of one of my two Firemouths is a crusty, ugly, raw-looking growth of some kind or another that has a pinkish tone to it. The other Firemouth looks just fine, but there was a bit of slim trailing off the dorsal fins of both of my green Severums. Just above and behind the gills of one of the green Severums was a white dot about an 1/8 of an inch in diameter. The gold Severums looked fine. <Lots that could be going on here.  First to suspect would be water quality.  Can you give us ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH readings for your tank?  Are the Firemouths and the Severums the only denizens?  How many of each?  This might be a bit much bioload for a 55.  As to the illness you're experiencing, I would think, from the descriptions, it may be septicemia or Lymphocystis.  Though, possibly a fungus - is it fluffy/fuzzy/cottony?  I've found that septicemia and fungus responds extremely well to Kanamycin sulfate (can be found under proprietary name Kanacyn by one manufacturer).  Lymphocystis, on the other hand, is a viral infection that is very hard to work with at best.  Maintain immaculate water quality.  If it is, in fact, Lymphocystis, you may have success manually removing the growths - but do be careful.  Do a Google search on Lymphocystis for more info, as well, and take a look at the Lymphocystis FAQs - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm - these are marine FAQs, but there's a great pic on there of a navarchus angel with the affliction.  Might help in your diagnosis.> I took the Firemouth into my local fish store where even their resident expert was a bit puzzled, but they recommended Ampicillex. So, last night, I gave the tank its first treatment.  This afternoon, I see no improvement in the Firemouth, although it is so early that I would not necessarily expect to. The two white spots on the green Severum are more pronounced, having grown out kind of like a pimple and have a bit of a moldy look to them.   <This does sound much like Lymphocystis....  it is often referred to as 'cauliflower' disease for its appearance.> Most of the other fish still look okay, but they are swimming all about like crazy, and several of them frequently rub themselves furiously against gravel or decorations.  Do you have any ideas? Do you think I am on the right track with the Ampicillex?   <I'm not sure how septicemia would respond to Ampicillex, really - it might do well for that; but it does seem to me that you're not looking at septicemia.  A picture would be excellent, if you can get it.> You once had me treat ick with salt. That was a slow process but effective. Would salt help in this situation? <Possibly.  I keep all my freshwater tanks salted at 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons.  Some people use twice that.  I use the higher amount (1 Tbs/5 gallons) when dealing with illnesses.> If so, in conjunction with Ampicillex or separate from it? While I was treating with salt, I frequently had some low nitrite buildup, so I knew it had to be killing some of my bio and so I am hesitant to use it unless it will truly be beneficial.   <A low amount of salt shouldn't wipe out your bacteria.  I always keep that one Tbs per 10g in my tanks, with no ill effects.> I have some beautiful fish here and I do not want to lose them. -------------------- I might add - I just gave the tank is afternoon feeding and it seemed that everybody was eating normally, except for the electric yellow. He looks just fine, but is swimming frenetically all about. The other fish seem to have calmed down considerably from when I wrote the last email. It is possible that the electric yellow ate some a few pellets immediately after I put them in, as my daughter and one of her friends came in at that moment and distracted me from my observations for a bit. -------------------- I just gave the tank its late night feeding. The electric yellow was as voracious as ever. As for the green Severum with the white, mold-like pimples, there is now a protrusion from the larger of the two growths that, if it had appeared elsewhere on the body, I would have immediately suspected ick. <Again, sounding like Lymphocystis to me.  Good luck, and keep us updated.  -Sabrina> Bill

Oscar and Myxosoma? <Hello!> I have searched the archives and have found very little information about this. From what I have read, I suspect that my Oscar may have this "whirling disease". He has stopped eating for the last week or so. I normally do weekly water changes of about 15%. Because of his symptoms, I have done three water changes during the last week totaling probably about 60% I have been using Melafix for the last few days , but have seen no changes. He is breathing heavy, mouth opening and closing. The other fish in the tank (2 large tinfoil barbs and a Synodontis cat) remain normal. During the day when I'm not home, I don't suspect that he is doing the whirling thing because there is no water on the floor. At night when the lights are on, he will do the quick, one full turn around action, often splashing water out of the tank. This goes on every few minutes while I'm watching. I have done some research on the web and found that infected fish will often do the whirl when they are startled or fed (connection with the lights?). Almost no info exists on this disease in Oscars, some in reference to Discus, but most are about Salmon and Trout. There are no references to a cure. One site even said to "immediately euthanize the infected fish and all other inhabitants and sanitize the tank...there is no cure!" ...and that was a discus site! Heck, I don't think I'd get too attached to a salmon or a trout, but Oscar is family! Do you think that this is what I'm up against? Do you have any information on this and a possible cure? I hate seeing this graceful creature suffer like this. <I am sorry it took me a while to get back with you! I also had problems finding treatments for this disease.  This seems to be fairly rare infection in a warm water climate.  Myxobolus cerebralis is the parasite you're dealing with, and it seems to find it's host initially in Tubifex worms.  I think the following course of action is in order: Quarantine the Oscar in a sanitized tank.  By medicating your other fish, you're putting additional stress on their environment.  Keep his water in the QT changed as much as you can, and feed him lighter than normal.  You may want to contact the nice folks at http://www.whirling-disease.org/ for more suggestions.  I have a friend who is a toxicologist for the Department of Fish and Game- I'll forward your email and see if he has treatment ideas as well.  Sorry I can't be of more help! Ryan> Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.

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