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FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid Disease: Environmental (the largest category by FAR)  

Related Articles: Flowerhorns by Ong, Blood Parrots & Flowerhorn Cichlids: maintenance and healthcare of two popular hybrid cichlids by Neale Monks, Cichlid Fishes

Related FAQs: Flowerhorn Disease 1, Flowerhorn Disease 2, Flowerhorn Disease 3, Flowerhorn Disease 4, Flowerhorn Disease 5, FAQs on Flowerhorn Cichlid Disease by Category: Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments, & Flowerhorns, Flowerhorn Identification, Flowerhorn Behavior, Flowerhorn Compatibility, Flowerhorn Selection, Flowerhorn Systems, Flowerhorn Feeding, Flowerhorn Reproduction, Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, African Cichlids, Angelfishes, Discus, Chromides, Neotropical Cichlids

Need large, uncrowded, clean water systems... NO ammonia nor nitrite, and under 20, if possible less than 10 ppm of Nitrate. Frequent, partial water changes are a must.

Flowerhorn not eating and kok is deflating         12/3/18
Hello crew and thank for any help you can offer me.(
Yesterday my Flowerhorn stopped eating and I noticed his kok was becoming soft and deflated.
I had changed 75% of his water on 11/25 and when I noticed the problem yesterday I changed 75% again.
<A good start.>
I also noticed that the area around his anus is reddish and it seems like he has been rubbing it against decorations (I can see a little tissue damage to the area).
<Red tends to indicate at the least inflammation, and at worst, bacterial infection. Medicate as per Finrot, using a reliable antibiotic rather than salt or tea-tree oil.>

I feed him twice a day with cz help in the morning and xo ocean free starry at night( he is a Thai silk). The water parameters are ph 7.8, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 20, hard water 200ppm. I have well water and I treat it with prime when I do water changes. The only thing different lately was that he ate a guppy I fed him last week.
<Well, that was a mistake. Never feed live fish! Too risky. But that said, to suddenly cause sickness this rapidly is unusual.>
Right now he is 6” and he is in a 20gal tank but I am setting up a 75gal tank for him and I’m just waiting for the canister filter to be delivered.
<Move him to the bigger tank as soon as practical; better water quality will help, and 20 gallons is much too small for an adult Flowerhorn.>
I almost forgot, I added 1 tablespoon per each 10gal of Epsom salts and I did the first general cure treatment yesterday as it seems that it can be intestinal related. Any help you can offer is much greatly appreciated.
<An antibiotic, alongside Metronidazole, would be the best move here. Ensure optimal living conditions -- including more space and hard, alkaline water. Good luck! Cheers, Neale.>

Cant Recognize what's wrong with my Flowerhorn. Env.      7/7/17
Hello Sir/Ma'am.
I have a 8 months old Flowerhorn ( gender unknown) from recent 1 month his behaviour have been changed drastically.
1) He flickers his all fins at a very high rate ( more or less it looks like shivering)
2) he sits in corner of the tank and
3) He rubs his mouth against glass and then jumps out of water 3-4 times a day
4)is losing appetite slowly.
5)A jumps out of water as if he is scared as hell of something.

I don't see any signs of ich there are no salt like granules on his body but sometimes I see air bubble stuck on his belly.
He is in a 20 gallon tank(which I know is very short).
<.... the symptoms you mention could be due to nervous damage, genetic problems; but are almost assuredly environmental. This fish is being subjected to poor water quality. Do you have measures (from tests) for alkalinity, pH, nitrogenous compounds (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)? THIS is what you need to investigate.>
He used to eat 4 times a day, I have never ever feed him with live food or frozen food. All I feed him is Pellets (okiko platinum huncher) and he seems to be happy with it.
I'm attaching pictures with it.
I don't have any ph tester or any water parameter testing kit nor any heater
.<You NEED to get, use all of these. NOW>
I use a sobo Internal power filter rated at 880L/H.
Heater isn't required in my area since normal temperature always ranges between 20-26 degree Celsius and water temperature is same as well.
Not having a testing kit is bad thing, but I'm planning to purchase one.
Just let me know why Is he shivering or flicking his fins and jumping as if he has seen a ghost.
Thanks in advance, hoping for a favourable and quick response.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FHEnvDisF.htm
and the linked files above, AND fix this animal's world. YOU determine what quality of life it has.
Bob Fenner>


re: Cant Recognize what's wrong with my Flowerhorn     7/8/17
Thank you so much for quick response. I will make sure to get a test kit ASAP.
Will further let you if any updates happen
<Oh! Akshay! For now, do change out about a half of the water for new, and STOP feeding period. I suspect you have VERY high Nitrates, likely some ammonia et al. Be of good life. Bob Fenner>
re: Cant Recognize what's wrong with my Flowerhorn

Okay sir,
I made 80% of water change 5 days ago.
I will change half of it again in 7 hours from now as it is night here in India.
Will not feed him and thanks heaps for help.
One more thing which I forgot to mention that he is fading away his colour from top, his skin is white over there ( completely faded patch ), is it okay? Or there is something really going wrong?
<This fish needs to be kept in a much larger, cleaner world, period. B>
re: Cant Recognize what's wrong with my Flowerhorn

Yes He needs a larger home, have sold him to a guy, he lives 10 miles away from my home, He is having a 40 gallon tank, he will get a new and safer home, and yes, have made 50% water change and he is all good now and moving freely again.
<Good moves Akshay>

Will pack him in few hours, just thought should inform you.
<Thank you . I appreciate your efforts>
Your advice helped a lot.
Big Thanks to you!
Will refer to you always.
God bless fishes! Lol
<Life to you my friend. BobF>

FH... My fish has been upside down for 1 day.....       3/20/15
my brother gave him Paraclear.....and is still like this....I'm from India.....please help
<Umm; what is a Paraclear? This fish is in dire shape.... What re the system, water quality... other life here?
Bob Fenner>

re:      3/20/15
No other life form....the salt content is 750ppm....and the source is drinking water.....Paraclear is a medicine for white faeces and bloated stomach...from. OceanFree
<Ahh; I see; it listed on the Net; sans indication of active ingredients... "Not safe for Arowanas"....
Still don't know what this is... do read the package and send along. BobF>

re:      3/20/15
The medicine is meant for Flowerhorns......the ingredients are not listed in it....its given as 5gm treats 125 litres
<Well, there you go. Do remember to remove carbon while medicating. But the problem(s) look to be environmental... how big is its aquarium? Should be 75+ gallons. What is the water chemistry? Should be hard and alkaline. What is water quality like? Should be zero nitrite, zero ammonia, and low (<20 mg/l) nitrate (40 mg/l nitrate, tops, between water changes). Review these, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
re: /Neale       3/20/15

Umm could you tell me what is my fish suffering from
<Probably environmental; usually these floating cichlids are kept in tanks that are too small, receive too few water changes, have filters with too little water turnover, and not enough oxygen. Review, and act accordingly.
Cheers, Neale.>
re:      3/20/15

Thank you.....
<You're welcome.>
the water tank is 100 litre capacity
<Too small. 250 to 300 litres is what you need for an adult Flowerhorn.>

and I add sea salt...
<Probably not helpful. These are not brackish water cichlids like the Etroplus species of South India, for example. Flowerhorns are domesticated cichlids derived from Central American freshwater cichlids.>
will he become alright?
<Unlikely under present conditions. Do read, review what I've sent you already. Then read here:
READ, don't write. When you've read this article and the previous emails, you'll have all the information you need to keep this species correctly. We can help with specific problems or questions; now it's YOUR turn to act.
Cheers, Neale.>

re: FH.... sick    /Neale       3/21/15
No other life form....the salt content is 750ppm....and the source is drinking water.....Paraclear is a medice for white faeces and bloated stomach...from. ocean free
<Worth a shot.
Never used it though. Cheers, Neale.>

Cold water shock in cichlid      /Neale     1/31/15
I e-mailed you around the same time last year about my blood parrot cichlid. Although she didn't make it your advice really helped.
Unfortunately, my other blood parrot cichlid is in trouble now and I was wondering if you could tell me if cold water shock is treatable?
<Yes. If no serious harm is done, cichlids will recover as the tank warms up. May take a couple hours, during which they'll be a bit "loopy".>
After a water change in my 75 gal. Freshwater tank, I thought the water had warmed up enough because the water at the top felt the same as the water I had my fish in. My thermometer broke about a month ago, but the heater (Fluval) had been set at 80 degrees for an hour and a half. After letting the water mix a little, I let my blood parrot cichlid swim into the tank on his own.
<For a 75 gallon tank, you need a heater around 300 W in size. Any smaller and the heater will be on constantly, increasing the risk of failure. Remember, heaters can fail two ways: they can stop working, or they can stay on constantly, and this latter can/will boil your fish quickly. Anything smaller than 250 W would be dangerous in a tank this size. You can of course use multiple heaters, so long as they add up to 300 W; so two 150 W heaters would be fine, or a 100 W heater and a 200 W heater. Whatever. Actually, having two heaters is considered the safest approach with big tanks. If one stops heating up, then the other will work long enough for you to get a replacements. If one gets stuck on the "on" setting and overheats, it won't be big enough to boil your fish. Make sense?>
Everything was great for about 20 min. That's when I found Desi at the bottom, vertical, and not moving. I panicked, scooped him up and put him back in his bowl. Apparently the heater is broken.
I ran to Wal-Mart and got a new, cheap, heater and thermometer.
<Do see above. Also, while there are bargains out there, some cheap heaters fail quite quickly. Look out for cracks in the glass and water droplets inside the mechanism. Get a named brand you're comfortable with. Eheim, Fluval, etc. are all generally pretty good. Suspiciously cheap heaters aren't necessarily wise investments.>
The temperature went from being 60 degrees last night at 1:00am to now being 80 degrees. 10:12pm. Last night he had either stopped breathing or was too slow for me to notice. Today he is still on the bottom of the tank, but if I nudge him he swims perfectly straight like a champ for about a minute and then falls on his side and stays.
He is 8 years old and I really don't want to lose him. It sounded like swim bladder to me so I added salt to the tank and I gently force fed him part of a thawed pea.(w/o the shell) If there is nothing else I can do to save him, I might have to put him down using clove oil. Any suggestions? Salt bath or anything?
TL;DR: 8 yr. Old Blood parrot cichlid in temp. Shock since last night.
Looking for treatment to save him. He has symptoms that resemble swim bladder disease. 75 gal. Tank
pH: normal
<Saying "normal" means nothing. Rather like if I asked you your eye colour and you said "normal". There's a correct water chemistry for Blood Parrots, and then there's incorrect water chemistry. What's correct is moderately hard and alkaline, with a pH that's slightly basic; aim for 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7-8.>
nitrate/ammonia: normal
<Again, zero is the correct value; anything else is dangerous. Lots of folks think traces of ammonia or nitrite are normal, but they're not.>
Tank temp: 75-80 (the new heater won't go any higher)
<That's a big-ass variation! Get a cheap sticky-on thermometer and affix to the front of the tank, ideally about halfway down the tank, and not too close to the heater. Adjust the heater until it says 25 C/77 F. Wait a few hours. Check to see if the thermometer says 25 C/77 F. If it's below that, turn the heater up one notch. Wait a few hours, then read the thermometer
again. Repeat as required.>
Added salt
<Not necessary unless you live in a soft water area.>
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Cold water shock in cichlid        /RMF     1/31/15

I e-mailed you around the same time last year about my blood parrot cichlid. Although she didn't make it your advice really helped.
Unfortunately, my other blood parrot cichlid is in trouble now and I was wondering if you could tell me if cold water shock is treatable?
<Mmm; can be; if not too much shock... too large a temp. difference too soon>
After a water change in my 75 gal. Freshwater tank, I thought the water had warmed up enough because the water at the top felt the same as the water I had my fish in. My thermometer broke about a month ago, but the heater (Fluval) had been set at 80 degrees for an hour and a half. After letting the water mix a little, I let my blood parrot cichlid swim into the tank
on his own.
Everything was great for about 20 min. That's when I found Desi at the bottom, vertical, and not moving. I panicked, scooped him up and put him back in his bowl. Apparently the heater is broken.
I ran to Wal-Mart and got a new, cheap, heater and thermometer. The temperature went from being 60 degrees last night at 1:00am to now being 80 degrees. 10:12pm.
<Yikes... for browsers into perpetuity here; I would only have raised the temp. to 70 F from 60... and very slowly therein (a degree or two a day), back up to eighty>

Last night he had either stopped breathing or was too slow for me to notice. Today he is still on the bottom of the tank, but if
I nudge him he swims perfectly straight like a champ for about a minute and then falls on his side and stays.
He is 8 years old and I really don't want to lose him.
<This hybrid can live for twice this long>

It sounded like swim bladder to me so I added salt to the tank and I gently force fed him part of a thawed pea.(w/o the shell) If there is nothing else I can do to save him, I might have to put him down using clove oil. Any suggestions? Salt bath or anything?
<Just time going by at this point; really>

TL;DR: 8 yr. Old Blood parrot cichlid in temp. Shock since last night.
Looking for treatment to save him. He has symptoms that resemble swim bladder disease. 75 gal. Tank
Ph: normal
nitrate/ammonia: normal
<... less than 20 ppm and zero>

Tank temp: 75-80 (the new heater won't go any higher)
Added salt
<Patience and hope. Bob Fenner>
re: Cold water shock in cichlid     1/31/15

Okay, how long do you guestimate it will be before he starts getting better?
<Could be soon to never>

He's been on his side on the bottom of the tank since Wednesday night. I just saw my e-mail says last night but it was because I copy/pasted it from a Reddit post. Sorry, I didn't catch that before. I just don't want him to be suffering. I can continue to feed him by hand and everything, he doesn't seem to mind that much. If it goes on more than a week, I just feel like he would be miserable. Do you agree?
<Patience. BobF>
Re: Cold water shock in cichlid      2/1/15

I did what you said and he's been up and swimming all afternoon!! :D He even ate a little bit this morning. I attached some pictures. Thank you so much!
<Glad all worked out well. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Urgent ! Help... FH, env...  cont.     1/27/15
I changed the water immediately and my fish was fine, thank you Bob Fenner.
But now again he is in the same situation, so i changed the water again.. i have changed the water twice now, but still no progress.
<... where is the data re your water quality tests? NH3 and NO2 in particular>
My FH is around 12 inches long. 33 gallon water tank.
<... environmental>

(i am going to get a bigger tank soon for him). Along with airstone i use a regular power filter..i keep it running for 6 to 7 hours.i have him since a year now. i gave him peas..he eats them and also the floating pellets. but otherwise he stays near the surface with his mouth in upward direction. and he also rubs himself against the glass of the tank very often now. there
has been a change in his color, the color at his stomach has turned a little white.I use tap water and dechlorinate it before putting in the tank. I think it is the water quality. can I do anything to improve it at the moment?
<You're joking?>

I am attaching two pictures of him. one is of him near the surface and the other one is of his color.
Kindly reply.
<Kindly read our instructions for writing us: NOT 6 megs of pix, READING before writing. JUST on FH env. here.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Urgent ! Help      1/27/15
Joking ??????
<Yes; are you pulling old Bob the fishman's fins? You realize that your lack of care is the root cause of this fish's problems, correct? You've read on WWM re its care... otherwise you wouldn't be writing us w/ nonsense questions.

Red dragon Flowerhorn. Hlth., likely env., gas...      6/9/13
About 3 days ago my female red dragon fh which i have had for 5 years got sick like never before. She is and has always been in my 75 gal tank with a canister filter rated at 420g/h bubbler with 3 stones in tank 400w Heater. The temp has always been between 84-86
<Too high... I'd lower to the mid to upper 70's F>

blue background river stones and many caves. She is with 2 jags a midas cichlid and 2 convicts all between 4 and 7 inches she is about 12 inches. I have basic tests for all parameters nitrites read between 0-.25 but closer to zero ammonia is 0 and ph is 7.5 nitrates are close to zero. I woke up and my fh was looking right at me (tank is right next to my bed) breathing heavy and being very lethargic. I have a good relationship with my fh and even on a prefect day she will let me catch her and remove her from the tank so i examined her through the glass and saw nothing. Then grabbed her and pulled her out. Looked in her mouth through her gills inspected her fins and saw nothing. Her last stool was a normal reddish brown. I replaced get in the tank and she was still the same. Throughout the day her condition worsened breathing heavier and laying around with no will.
<Sounds/reads like a gas exchange issue/problem... too little O2 and/or too much CO2... too low gas solubility in too small a volume at too high a temperature>
 I did a 50 percent water change
and later noticed she is holding one gill open and relying on the other one. What could cause this to happen?
<Environment most likely... and that the largest fish is mal-affected... the above>
I believe her gill is infected somehow but with no fungus or ick swelling or anything. Only thing i can see is a patch where the skin looks washed of color which had always been lighter and could just be more noticeable because i never see her so black and dark colored. I put her in a 45 gallon hospital tank that i keep set up with prospects for my 75gal i tested it everything is good just don't want the infection spreading to any other veteran fish ill risk the newbs first. I treated both tanks with "triple sulfa" anti bacterial fish medication.
<I would not do this. Will only worsen the cause of this trouble>
 And tetra parasite guard.
This was yesterday she is breathing a little easier
<Due to your water change>
and is off of the bottom but gill is still stuck open. Like half an inch open and not closing at all. What could it be and do these medicines seem right?
<No more "medicating"... wick off the top water every day for a few days, be careful/stingy w/ feeding... Keep up with the weekly massive water changes. Shop for a larger tank... Bob Fenner>

Head down of my Flowerhorn... Houston! We've got a non-reader!    9/18/13
I've Flower horn of 1yr old and from last one month he was suffering from Dropsy but at present he is alright with that, but during this disease he started swimming in down ward direction i.e. His head touched on tank floor and whole body is in reverse direction.
Could you please help me out with some suggestions and cure to be taken that he can swim in correct way
Like normal fish.
Shaibaz Khan
<Please help yourself by reading here:
And then follow the links at the top, especially those about "disease" and "systems". Virtually all sick Flowerhorn cichlid problems are to do with poor environment. Have a look at the checklist of things you MUST have, and see what you are missing in your aquarium. Aquarium size, water chemistry, temperature and filtration are all especially important. The fact your specimen is relatively young suggests he was small when you got him but is now grown up, so his original aquarium may well be too small. Anything less than 75 gallons isn't going to work. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Head down of my Flowerhorn... data?     9/18/13
Hi Neale,
<BobF this time; though will send to Neale as well>
Thank you for prompt reply.
As suggested below I've checked all the areas where I'm lacking but doesn't find anything serious.
<... We need values re your water quality; source water as well as that in the system... in particular metabolites: Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, aspects of mineral content (e.g. hardness)>
Also my aquarium size is Length 4' ft and Height 12" inch
<... something off here... the pic shows a tank of greater height, and where's the width? What sort of filtration employed here; maintenance?>
 and when I bought this flower horn the aquarium was different.
Attached is pic of my Flowerhorn to exactly let you understand what my fish is suffering.
<Can't "tell" anything other than this fish is upside down... >
Please suggest some more practice to make my flower horn in normal way.
<Keep reading, change water as per the reading, write us back with data, information of use. Bob Fenner>

re: Head down of my Flowerhorn; Env., won't read; leave to Neale     9/18/13
Hi Bob F,
Width of Aquarium is 2'ft.
Advise some suggestions what I've to do to bring my fish in normal position.
<Read where you were initially referred; the linked files above Neale's article. Your answers and many others who have lost their FH's due to the same simple mistakes are archived over and over there. BobF>
re: Head down of my Flowerhorn; Env., won't read; leave to Neale     9/18/13

Hi Bob F,
But can you advise what mistakes would be and where I've to work more to bring my FH in proper position.
<?.... answer the questions I've already asked you... see prev. email. JUST READ where you've been referred. Don't write, READ. B>
re: Head down of my Flowerhorn    9/18/13

Hi Neale,
Thank you for prompt reply.
As suggested below I've checked all the areas where I'm lacking but doesn't find anything serious. Also my aquarium size is Length 4' ft and Height 12" inch and when I bought this flower horn the aquarium was different.
<Okay, let's assume this tank is 48 inches long, 12 inches deep, and 12 inches front to back. That's 6912 cubic inches, or 29 US gallons. Looks to me like your aquarium is only about two-thirds full anyway, so that's 20 or so gallons.  That's much too small for this species.>
Attached is pic of my Flowerhorn to exactly let you understand what my fish is suffering.
<Could be any number of problems, but as Bob and I have suggested, the problem is environmental.>

Please suggest some more practice to make my flower horn in normal way.<A bigger aquarium, better water quality (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 20 mg/l or less nitrate levels), more water movement, better aeration /
oxygenation. Take your pick. There's nothing "wrong" here that can be cured with medicines, though a combination of Metronidazole and an antibiotic may be useful. Do read where you were sent: these fish are not as easy to keep as many suppose, and really do need a spacious aquarium and strong filtration if they are to live a long and healthy life. Hope this helps,

re: Head down of my Flowerhorn      9/19/13
READ HERE: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FHDisF5.htm
and the linked files above. B
re: Head down of my Flowerhorn      9/19/13

Hi Neale,
I don't understand how the environmental problem will bring FH upside down.
<When a fish is exposed to poor environmental conditions, two things can happen. Firstly, the fish needs to compensate for whatever the stress might be. Its organ systems have to work harder. This places them under more strain, and over time, this can damage them, making the fish more likely to become ill. Classic example: keep Malawi cichlids in soft water or water with aquarium salt added, and you'll often find they develop "Malawi Bloat", the body becoming swollen, similar to Dropsy, because the kidneys aren't working properly. Secondly, under stress the fish's immune system becomes weaker, and under too much stress it stops working altogether.
Bacteria in the water that normally do no harm (and may even do good, e.g., saprotrophic Aeromonas spp.) suddenly find themselves able to overwhelm the fish's white blood cells, and because of that, they can "eat" away at the fish's tissues. Classic example: Finrot, which is almost always caused by poor water quality and very rarely comes out of the blue, even when fish damage their fins.>
As in the attached pic the way he is standing is he always use to be and for that only I need your advise how should I bring him in normal way.
<As Bob and I have stated REPEATEDLY, the real problem here is the aquarium is too small. Diet can be a factor, so see here:
But unlike Goldfish (which are herbivores) your cichlid is an omnivore, so the constipation problem is unlikely. Instead check aquarium size (should be 75+ gallons, certainly not less than 55 gallons, even for a youngster) and ensure that ammonia is 0 and nitrite is 0. Nitrate levels should be low, certainly never above 40 mg/l and aim to keep at or below 20 mg/l as much as possible (frequent water changes and very, very cautious feeding are essential here). Next up, check water chemistry is hard and alkaline (10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8). Basically, have a read of these two articles and, as Bob has indicated, follow the links above; your problem is FAR from unique and we get MANY such questions:
Help YOURSELF to help your fish by READING, not writing, and definitely don't hope for a "silver bullet" that will magically fix this fish if you don't FIRST FIX its environment. Cheers, Neale.>

Concern regarding Flowerhorn!!   10/5/13
Hello WWM,
I've been regular visitor of ur site and glad that people like you are helping people in need without any demands.
Myself Aaditya, i just exchanged my Flowerhorn and bought a new one from local aquarium. Its colour was so gud there and was looking very attractive but as soon as i brought it and transferred it to my pot it just started swinging crazily while swimming normally after certain interval of time and stress marks appeared on it. It was kind of feeling irritated i guess and i think the reason was the nitrite levels coz of the reason i was feeding it shrimps and didn't clean the pot for over one and a half month.
But today i cleaned the pot, washed the stones nicely and cleaned the pot with KmNO4 and made sure it is washed off properly with scrubber and filled tap water which i stored 3 days ago, even added dechlorinator in specified quantity and after putting fish (my FH) it still has stripes i.e. stress marks all over it and i must specify it is in 1.5 feet tank and the tap water is soft water.
It is playing with my finger though but has stress lines pls help me out..
<Hello Aditya. Lots of possible problems here. Start by reading this article:
Your main problems are certainly aquarium size (much too small) and your water chemistry (much too soft). In brief, Flowerhorn cichlids need an aquarium at least 75 gallons in size (in the US, that's typically 4 feet in length and 18-24 inches in width and depth). Filtration needs to be generous, a large external canister filter being recommended. As always ammonia and nitrite must be zero at all times, but nitrate should be low, certainly less than 40 mg/l, and ideally less than 20 mg/l (higher nitrate levels seem to be linked to health problems such as bloating, Hexamita infections and Hole-in-the-Head). Water chemistry needs to be moderately hard and alkaline; aim for 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.2. With all this information it should now be easy for you to see what's wrong with your current set-up and make the necessary changes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Concern regarding Flowerhorn!!    10/21/13

Hello wet web media,
Your advice worked and my fishes (Flowerhorns) stress marks were gone as i shifter it to a new 75 gallon tank and is quite happy in its new home.
I added tap water and some aquarium salt to it and rid all anti Ich solution for the prevention of Ich in small doses and it was playing well but suddenly today i noticed something white and sticky dots on both its eyes and the fish is a bit inactive and when i give her food it just eat half and throws half of it (i am feeding humpy head) after that i thought it might be the size of pallets and cut the pallet into half and gave it to the fish but still the same though the wastage was a bit less this time. I
just feed two pallets twice a day but its worrying me...
Pls help me out asap for the eye disease its a bit of cloudy in structure and sticky and tell me how should increase its appetite i even fed it spinach it ate it but still of no use  do i increase the quantity of spinach?
<Cichlids will eat when happy. Don't worry if the fish isn't eating. Wait a day or two. Monitor water quality and chemistry. Check for signs of injury and/or stress. After a day or two, offer some more food. If food is still not taken, then again, try to figure out why.>
Any eye drops available in the market dat i shud apply?
Pls revert asap.
<If you are in a rush, then SEARCH WetWebMedia.>
I am sending you the pic of my Flowerhorn. The disease i guess just the beginnening.
My water is kind of soft
<Not what Flowerhorn cichlids like; aim for 10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8.>
with 0 nitrates, nitrites and ammonia...
If its way too soft how do i increase its hardness?
<Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
Some aquarists simply add calcareous material to the aquarium substrate, coral sand for example.>
My pot is well ventilated and oxygen supply is enough.
And one more thing 1 of my friend suggested mixing boric powder in water dilute and applying it to the eyes of the fish, he did it to its turtle and it was gone.
<Turtle/reptile eyes are MUCH different to fish eyes; unless your friend is a vet, I would not do this!>
But i trust you more, so I'll go with whatever you suggest.
<Epsom salt is better/safer.>
In this pic you could see the white sticky dot in the centre of both of its eyes.
<Pop-eye usually happens on cichlids either from physical damage (usually this is when one eye "pops" up) or poor environment (usually when both eyes "pop" up). In any case, start by reading here:
Treating with Epsom salt can help relieve the symptoms. Then concentrate on fixing the environment. For a start, Flowerhorn Cichlids dislike soft water. If all else fails, you could regularly add aquarium salt to the water (2-3 gram/litre) but you'd probably get better results focusing on increasing hardness.
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

My large flowerhorn   10/19/13
Hello, I am reaching out to you as a last resort. Have a large flowerhorn in an 80 gallon tank all alone, and he is sick. I change the water every 6 weeks or so and clean his tank, he has two large filtration systems on the back of his tank.
Okay so about 9 days ago I noticed he had stopped eating, not sure if it'd been a little longer. Then I noticed he was sulking. I am a college student in my first quarter at the University of Washington and swamped so I have not been paying as close attention as I normally would.
1) Anyways had a day off so I was cleaning his tank and while I was cleaning it he started floating and I thought literally this was it. I did approximately a 40 % water change but felt I should stop cuz he was stressed if not dying. I put some old Maracyn I had had in his tank hoping it would keep him alive over night, stopped and bought some API general cure the next afternoon, and also took the water to be tested and it was all within normal parameters,(sorry can't remember specifics just that they were not high nitrates ect 6.something on one of the tests and other was normal range too) sorry about specivity I do not remember heading into midterms! and did a 30 % change or so and added the general cure.
2) day two put the general cure and aquarium salt day before and was waiting. Fish seemed to be alert but noticed some clear little stringy things coming off his head so I added some clout and stress zyme. Did the 48 waiting and did a 30%water change more salt more stresszyme. Fish alert but now hasn't eaten for days and days?
3) Fish not getting better read you can put Metronidazole and Furan both to treat anything that it might be so I bought some furan and added that one dose wait 48 hours redose and water change.
4) so I've given him general cure with Metronidazole, waited 48 hours re-dosed waited 48 hours partial water change. Noticed the stringly things 2 days in added clout, completer that round just the Met. and clout. Fish wasn't eating and still lethargic so tried the furan. Dosed waited 48 hours dosed waited 48 hours water change.
Tonight my fish seems really buoyant, almost like swim bladder or abdomen bloat though he has lost so much weight he is not showing anything? Just rising to the top there's air in him.
I am outta my league. I've had him/her for a almost three years and I do not know what else to try!!! The breeder in Seattle I bought him from never answers his damn phone and I am up to my ears in papers to write and mid term to study for! I have enclosed a pic so to try to help see if you see something I don't he is really thin obviously what he's been through.
Oh yea and diet I feed him cichlid pellets, shrimp and blood worm and peas and the green vegetable frozen things in his variety pak. Haven't fed him vegetables in the last 3 weeks or so cuz last time I went to give him some he wasn't eating.
The reason I do not know the exact time he quit eating is because my husband and I share the feeding and it took a few days before I realized the non eaten food and removed it. my husband is so thick he would of just kept feeding him and not removing the uneaten pellets! I am the fish keeper he is retarded.
Any thing you could suggest would be so appreciated I really want to save my fish desperately. Thank-you deeply for taking the time to read my less than organized and somewhat erratic post it is late and I've been writing a paper all damn day and feel ridiculously tired! Thanks Elizabeth
<At this point I would not panic. Chances are that you've skipped one too many water changes, and the nitrate level has gone up, and this seems a particular stress factor on large cichlids (indeed, most cichlids across the board). Increasing oxygenation, cutting back on food, performing a series of water changes, and giving the aquarium filter a thoroughly good clean will all help to reduce this stress. With cichlids, appetite is almost always an indicator of health: if the fish is healthy, it'll eat; if it isn't eating, something is wrong, so fix the aquarium rather than worry about the food. A cichlid this size can go weeks, likely a month or more without food and not come to any serious harm. If you must feed, offer high-fiber foods that'll help with any buoyancy problems -- cooked peas are ideal. Definitely avoid anything dried like pellets or flake as these can have the opposite effect. I'm not a huge fan of general cures -- I'd be horrified if my doctor treated me that way -- but what's done is done, and Metronidazole and Nitrofuran drugs do make a good combination for many cichlid ailments, though primarily protozoan and bacterial infections rather than environmental stress. But unless any other symptoms present themselves, I would not add any further medications -- do always remember medications are, by definition, poisons to some degree, and if they aren't doing any good, there's a risk they could be doing harm. At the very least, random medications add variables to an already complex situation. For now, keep up with the water changes, optimise living conditions (oxygenation, water hardness and quality, water circulation) and observe. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Flowerhorn Cichlid 11/9/11
I was hoping that someone would be able to help. I have been browsing the forums, looking for a question similar to mine, in order to avoid asking the same question.
I have a 37 gallon tank with 3 fish in it: a Flowerhorn cichlid, a pacu, and a plecostomus.
<These fish are MUCH too big for this tank! The Pacu will get to at least 60 cm/24 inches in length, and the Plec something like 45 cm/18 inches. The Pacu needs a pond, not an aquarium! Do Google "Colossoma macropomum" to see some examples of adult Pacu. Also, they're omnivores, not herbivores, and treat other fish as potential meals.>
Prior to getting the 37 gallon tank, the Flowerhorn and Pleco were kept in a 20 gallon tank (by their previous owners). Since both fish are rather large (both more than 9 inches from nose to tail) I felt like this was an insanely small environment, and moved them to a 37 gallon tank. Everything was fantastic until I made the huge mistake of moving a pacu (that was causing problems in a different tank) to this one. The pacu developed mouth rot, and I have been attempting to treat him for this ever since. The first medication that was used (regretfully I do not remember the name) didn't appear to work, and I moved on to the highly recommended BiFuran. The mouth rot appeared to get better within a day, but the Flowerhorn has been acting very.... off.
The Flowerhorn is no longer eating, less active, and is slightly tilted to one side (almost at all times). He has been skulking in a corner and refusing food for about 1.5 days. I know that refusing food is extremely unusual for Flowerhorns, which is why I am extremely alarmed and worried.
So far my methods for treatment have been to remove the pacu and put him in a medicated bucket with a bubbler, and doing yet another water change to the main 37 gallon tank. The medication BiFuran calls for doing a partial water change every 24 hours, and yesterday was day 2 of this treatment.
This morning when I noticed the Flowerhorn looking worse than he did yesterday I did another water change (and attempted to remove all visible waste of any kind). I also did liquid water tests, the results of which I'll indicate below.
After the water change the temperature of the tank is down to 77 degrees F.
Usually the tank temperature is 82-83 degrees F.
The pH of the tank is around 8.2 (which I believe is normal for this cichlid).
Nitrite levels appear to be normal <25ppm,
<Do you mean Nitrite or Nitrate? A Nitrite (with an "I") level of 25 ppm is lethal. Even 0.25 ppm would cause stress and likely explains the problem here. Too many fish, too little water, not enough filtration.>
but it is difficult to tell since the BiFuran has tinted the water yellow.
Nitrate and Ammonia levels also appear to be normal, but it is difficult to tell due to BiFuran tinting.
During the morning's water change I added Aquasafe (as usual) and a biological aquarium supplement. The supplement I added because I am worried that such frequent water changes have been upsetting the fish as well.
I hope you will be able to assist me, thank you so much.
<The problem here is almost certainly environmental. You need something like 100 gallons just for the Flowerhorn and the Plec; add the Pacu, and we're talking hundreds of gallons. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Sick Flowerhorn Cichlid 11/9/11
Hi Neale,
Thanks for the quick response.
<Most welcome.>
I'm aware that this is a disastrously small tank for these fish. At the time my priority was getting them out of the 20 gallon tank and into one much larger. I did not think at the time that considering their size, this is (the 40 gallon) unacceptable. I've since removed the pacu and put him in a quarantine tank with BiFuran medicine and a bubbler. I'm hoping to find a fish store that would be willing to take him and care for him since I don't have adequate space.
<Indeed. Public aquaria and zoos are your best bet, really. In the UK, I can also recommend the Maidenhead Aquatics chain; they'll normally take back fish and rehome them, even if they didn't sell the fish originally.>
I am doing very frequent water changes. I did not quote that previous figure correctly to you before - the nitrite level is at 0 mg/L, not anywhere close to what would be deemed dangerous. My ammonia levels are also zero, but I was told by a fish store (to which I took a water sample for analysis) that my nitrate levels were too high, about .5 mg/L.
<Nitrate levels of 0.5 mg/l are ideal! Honestly, I think there's some confusion here between nitrite (with an "I") and nitrate (with an "a").
Nitrite is dangerous even at trace levels, with 0.5 mg/l being immediately dangerous and 1 mg/l being lethal. Nitrate, by contrast, is quite literally a hundred time less toxic, with levels of 100 mg/l being lethal to salmon, for example. Normally, levels up to 40-50 mg/l are tolerated by most freshwater fish including most community fish, and only some groups, including cichlids, being sensitive to levels above 20 mg/l. Do also bear in mind that marine aquaria work perfectly well with levels of 5 mg/l, so nitrate really is relatively non-toxic.>
They indicated that this was not a catastrophe but very strongly recommended that I take care of it ASAP. I purchased a new filter, hoping that the water quality would improve, and did another water change this evening, very thoroughly vacuuming all of the gravel. I am now aware that I have not been vacuuming the tank properly, I stuck the nozzle of the water vacuum as far as it could go into the gravel and *black* water started coming out. I suspect that my ignorance about proper vacuuming led to a very dirty and unhealthy water environment.
<Nitrate isn't removed by a filter, so you can add as many as you want, and it'll have no impact. Filters only remove ammonia and nitrite. Nitrate depends on two things: how many fish are in the tank (they cause nitrate to go up) and how many water changes you do (these cause nitrate to go down).>
You are very correct about my mistake with the "nitrite." I meant to say less than .25 ppm, not 25 ppm. I am using two different water charts, which is why previously in this email I used units mg/L and am now returning to the ppm unit system. As I mentioned previously I was able to verify today that nitrate was too high, while ammonia and nitrite appear to be fine. I was also told, by a very surprised fish store keeper, that the water quality is to soft. Unfortunately this did not occur to me. I know Flowerhorns like hard water conditions, but the tap water in the house in which I live has only soft water available. What would the solution here be, and how can I harden the water slowly enough so that the fish are not shocked and hurt by the sudden change?
<Just do small water changes, 10-20% per day, while changing water chemistry. Do read here:
The Rift Valley salt mix, at about half the quote dose, should work well.>
What is your opinion about whether or not the Flowerhorn cichlid and Pleco (only those two) could remain in the 37 gallon tank together?
<Long term, no. Viable for both while the catfish is less than 20 cm/8 inches and the cichlid less than 15 cm/6 inches. But long-term, these fish would need something around the 75 gallon mark to do well, and ideally more, 100 gallons, if you didn't want a constant battle to keep the water clear and the tank clean.>
I will refrain from any sorts of experiments involving the purchase (or transfer of other fish). I also removed the largest decoration (a Greek temple ornament that had a bubbler feature, I kept it in there because the Flowerhorn was very fond of spending time in it) in the interest of increasing space. I am frantically trying to find a website that sells a hundred gallon tank for these fish, but so far have had more luck with craigslist.
<A good approach, but do be careful. Leaky tanks are expensive to fix and difficult to judge from a photo! A local aquarium club might be a better bet. When all is said and done, it's often more cost effective to buy a new tank, simply to remove the risk factor.>
You have been very helpful. My only remaining question is, why is the Flowerhorn tilted slightly to one side?
<Does the light come in from that side of the tank? Fish will lean towards light. Like us, they can feel up and down by gravity, but they also assume light comes from overhead. If the tank isn't lit, but the outside is, the fish will lean towards that source of light.>
Also, how can I get him to eat again (he is still refusing). I really appreciate all of your help, I was Googling for hours on Flowerhorns before I finally messaged your crew, asking for help.
<Ah, now, if he isn't eating, constipation may be an issue. He won't eat if ammonia and nitrite aren't 0, but if they are, and he isn't eating, he may be constipated; quite common with these fish. Do read about Epsom salt: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
And also constipation, the use of peas: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm
Re: Sick Flowerhorn Cichlid 11/12/11
Hi Neale,
<Hello Julia,>
Sorry for the delay in reply, school has been hectic (and sick Flowerhorn wasn't helping!) The Pacu is still in a 5 gallon quarantine bucket with bubbler and heater (he is still small, about 6 inches long) with the BiFluval. The white stuff (from mouth rot) around his mouth appears to be gone (now has been replaced by a clean but bleeding sore). I am hoping that the medication will help him heal, and that the sore will become better before he is transferred to a different location. I live in California, and I believe there is a store near by that could adopt the Pacu after he is in better shape than he is now.
I've been following your advice and changing the water every day, 10-20% and putting in small amounts of salt, and smaller amounts of Epsom salt (as the article indicated). After the fish are better, I will (as the Epsom salt article suggests) try to slowly raise the hardness of the water. So far I am extremely pleased - the Flowerhorn is eating again, active again, and even playful (not skulking in a corner). It is likely that a combination of moving the first fish, cleaner water, and the use of salt has improved how he feels. Nonetheless, he isn't eating as much as usual, which is why I am putting very small amounts of Epsom salt in as a general laxative (since constipation could be a problem).
<Now, do understand two things. Firstly, salt slightly reduces the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate. So in overcrowded tanks it can make fish healthier and behave more normally. Not indefinitely, and it certainly shouldn't be used inside of buying a bigger aquarium and better filter, but in emergency situations, it's useful. Secondly, when making the moderately hard, alkaline water Flowerhorn cichlids prefer, you need more Epsom salt than aquarium salt. I'd recommend half the dose used for Rift Valley cichlids.
In other words, 0.5 teaspoon baking soda, 0.5 TABLEspoon Epsom salt, and 0.5 teaspoon marine salt mix per 5 US gallons. See here:
Used as instructed, this should create water with around 10-15 degrees dH and a pH around 7.5.>
Thanks again for all of your help, I really appreciate it. I'll try to update you with the progress of the fish since I know that this will be beneficial to other users and their own experiences with cichlids, and in particular Flowerhorns.
Thank you so much, this website is remarkably useful, and your help is very valued.
<You are most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn in Distress    3/4/12
Dear crew,
<Hello again, Manoj,>
We have a female Kamfa Flowerhorn little more than 15 months old with good growth. She has reduced her food intake since last one week and has not eaten anything for last three days. Generally she is a good eater. Now we are observing that she has few small faint white spots on her left side flipper (small clear fin). We are not sure whether it is ICH. We had
changed the water completely and added 20 tsp of rock salt to 15 US gallons of water.
<15 gallons is FAR too small for an adult Flowerhorn. This species needs 75 gallons, minimum.>
Also, we increased the temperature to 86 0F  after which she developed severe red patches under her belly, so we reduced the temperature to 82.4 0F which she has tolerated well earlier. Further, we added 500 mg of tetracycline HCl to the tank. The redness reduced next day after changing 70% water.
Now the concern is the fish is not at all eating any Grand Sumo pellets which we generally feed her. She was passing normal stool but for last two days didn't pass anything after she has stopped eating.  Moreover, we find her hanging in the corner of the aquarium most of the time with belly up as if resting. When we call her she responds and moves around normally for some time and then goes back to the hanging position again. Earlier she was in the habit of resting regularly in the night after the light is switched off in a vertical position with head up and tail down till morning. But it worries us now to see her hanging in belly up position during day time also which she never did before. She is also suddenly shaking her body few times in a day.
Please advise immediately what is her problem and what we need to do to bring her back to normal health. She appears to be in distress and not her usual active & happy self.  We have enclosed photos of  her earlier & present sleeping positions for your proper understanding. We wait for your urgent advice on diagnosis and treatment. Thanks in advance.
Manoj P.B.,
<Do read:
And also read through our other replies for very similar situations, here:
Follow the various "Flowerhorn Disease" links on that article. Do also read about Metronidazole, here:
This is a good all-around medication for parasitic infections, including Hexamita:
Bottom line though, without data on aquarium size, water quality, water chemistry I really can't diagnose the problem here. It's most likely environmental, but I can't be sure. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Flowerhorn Please help..!! 8/13/2009
Hi there. I am in big need of some 911 fish help.!! First off here are my water conditions 82 degrees f. Ph is 7.8 Ammonia is .25 and nitrite is .2
<Ammonia and nitrite MUST be ZERO. If your fish is sick, this is why. End of story.>
It is a 100 gallon tank. Ok now my Flowerhorn fish. I got him about 2 weeks ago. He's 3.5 inches long. He was added to a new aquarium that was running for only one week before he was put in. He lives with 6 fish
separated by 2 dividers (3 sections) .
<Overstocked aquarium, perhaps? Inadequately filtered?><<Not cycled... RMF>>
He shares the section with 3 tiny non aggressive Flowerhorns.
<Non-aggressive because they're juveniles. The dominant one WILL attack the others, and potentially kill them, once they're big enough to be viewed as rivals.>
He wont eat any food for about 3 days.
<Because your water quality is terrible.>
Then maybe one pellet or two but he'll usually spit them out. Same with frozen blood worms. His poop looks fuzzy like its covered with mold.
<Fuzzy when it comes out of the fish? Or fuzzy because it sits on the substrate for a while? With two dividers in the tank, I'd be surprised if you have good water circulation at all. Put a bit of flake at the bottom of the compartment furthest away from the filter inlet. If it just floats about, then you have bad water circulation. What should happen is that flake quickly gets carried by the current into the filter.>
It doesn't look stringy like your average hex poop. This behavior continued for about another week .He's not very energetic and keeps to himself or hidden under a rock. So then I threw a couple feeders in there after about a week of not eating.
<Why are you using feeder fish? These are parasite bombs.>
I know there bad but I needed to see some aggressiveness or eating or something to show me he wants to live.
<"Wants to live"??? Look, it's sick because your water quality sucks. Fix that, and he'll be back to normal.>
He killed a feeder then spit it out and went back to his usual ways.
His nuchal hump grew more that day with the feeders in. Also a little bit of energy that day. While chasing a feeder his anus came out about 1/4 of an inch and went back in about 5 minutes later. This happened about 4 or 5 times that day. Now, 2 weeks later, he looks at his worst. Please help if you have any ideas. Thanks so much Adam.
<Stop with the feeders. Read more, try harder. These fish all sound doomed,
to be honest. A single Flowerhorn needs a 55 gallon tank with a filter rated at 6-8 times the volume of the aquarium in turnover per hour (i.e., 330 - 440 gallons/hour). There's no point keeping them way you're doing, because eventually most will die, and you'll be stuck with one, likely sickly, bloated specimen. How about reading what they need, identifying a correct diet, creating a tank appropriate to their needs, and providing adequate water chemistry and water quality. All this information is here.
Cheers, Neale.>

Pls tell me the treatment for my Flowerhorn 10/14/09
Hi, Crew I am in a great problem with my Flowerhorn
It is not taking any food the color become faded and it is sitting at the basement of aquarium for 2days
<Probably means an ENVIRONMENTAL problem. Review water chemistry, and water quality, and water temperature. Just to be clear, you need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, nitrate less than 20 mg/l, a pH around 7.5 to 8, and a hardness level of 10 degrees dH upwards. The water temperature should be around 25 C/77 F.>
at first I thought that it might be a problem of water I have changed about 80% of water yesterday but no improvement have seen the color become more fade and it looks like a dead fish
<Perhaps it is dead?>
today I give POTASIAM PERMANGANET(KMNO4) which I use for treatment of my Discuses.
<Yikes! Very dangerous this stuff. Do not use.>
Can it works?
<Probably not.>
Now what can I do I cant understand I don't want to lose my butiful Flowerhorn Pls help me Crew as soon as possible
<There is no information here. I must have data! Tell me:
[a] Size of the aquarium;
[b] Type of filter used, and preferably, it's turnover rate (that's gallons per hour, or litres per hour, as stated on the pump);
[c] Water chemistry, at minimum the pH, and preferably the general hardness and/or carbonate hardness;
[d] Water quality, at minimum the nitrite level, but the ammonia and/or nitrate levels are useful too.
Without this information, we cannot say anything useful. In most cases, cichlids go off their food because people keep them in tanks that are too small, don't provide adequate filtration, don't do enough water changes, or don't provide them with a suitably balanced diet. Other causes of "mystery sickness" are things like using feeder fish (NEVER use these) and exposure to paint fumes, insecticides and other poisons. Cheers, Neale.>

Help Regarding infection - Flowerhorn
Flowerhorn With Internal Infection 6/24/10

Hello ,Greeting from Mohan, Bangalore.
I have a Flowerhorn which is sick from past few days. I had fed him with live feed and after few days it started getting white patches on black middle part. We treated him with tetracycline and raw salt as advised by the pet store owner. The patches have been cured but now it developed what I think is intestinal infection (intestine protruding from anal part) . its stopped eating.
I am keeping the temp as 29C and currently changing 30 % water every alternate day. I have also kept a air filter running the entire day.
< Unfortunately, when antibiotics are used to cure the bacteria on the outside of the fish, they effect the internal good bacteria that break down the fish food in the gut. When this happens sometimes bad bacteria and other pathogens get a foot hold in the gut. This causes intestinal blockages. The bacteria break down the food in the gut and cause gas/bloating and fluid retention. Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. These medications are available online at Drsfostersmith.com.-Chuck>

Re: Help Regarding infection - Flowerhorn 6/25/10
Thank you for the response & I have already treated with Flagyl and Nitrofuranace after getting the information from your web but it is not working.
Kindly suggest me , I need help.
<Flagyl and Nitrofuranace WILL work, but only if [a] the fish is not already dying; and [b] the environmental conditions are appropriate. Let's recap. For a Flowerhorn cichlid you need 280 litres/75 US gallons and a
filter rated at NOT LESS than 8 times the volume of the aquarium per hour (i.e., for a 75 gallon tank, an 8 x 75 = 600 gallons/hour filter). Water quality MUST be excellent: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and nitrate levels less than 20 mg/l. Water chemistry MUST be hard and basic: 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.0. Temperature should be middling, 24-26 C/75-79 F. All water added to the aquarium should be treated for chlorine, and if appropriate where you live, ammonia, Chloramine and copper as well. Without information on your aquarium, water chemistry and water quality, we cannot say anything else about why your fish is sick. But be assured, 99 times out of 100, sick fish are sick because of their environment. Cheers, Neale.>

Need urgent advise about my Flowerhorn... hlth., env. 9/12/10
Hi Team,
Thank You in advance for any help / advise you can provide about my ailing Flowerhorn. It has been about 20 days since my flower horn ate food and it has been lying at the bed of the tank. I was out of town before that and
hence the water was dirty by the time I could come back. I guess it is suffering from some infection. I saw the FAQ section on your website and tried a few things but it still looks sick and hardly moves around.
I have been changing water every other day since then and I have ensured it is at half the normal tank capacity. I was advised to use tetracycline (Resteclin 250mg). I also tried a TREATING REAGENT FOR INTERNAL PARASITE and 3rd Generation Yellow Powder for external infections but none of these are working. The size of my tank is about 2.5 ft by 2 ft. Tank capacity when full is about 75 liters. I have a filter which is also clean and a heater which is on 24 hours and is set at 28 Celsius. Would be happy to provide more details and pictures. Kindly advise at the earliest.
<Hello Supreeth. The simple answer is this: your aquarium is too small, and your Flowerhorn is dying because of poor environmental conditions. Medication is not going to help until you fix the living conditions. Start by reading here:
For a single adult Flowerhorn cichlid you will need at least 250 litres/66 US gallons. A juvenile might be kept in a marginally smaller tank, perhaps 180 litres/50 US gallons until it is about 10-12 cm long. You also need a very robust filtration system; I would recommend a large external canister filter such as an Eheim 2217 (1000 litres/hour turnover) or equivalent.
Water chemistry must be hard and alkaline; aim for 10-20 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.0. Water quality must be good: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, less than 20 mg/l nitrate. Water temperature around 25 C/77 F. Unless you can guarantee
all of these things, your Flowerhorn will die. An aquarium that contains 75 l/20 US gallons is best used for small community fish: Neons, Danios, Corydoras, etc.
They may not be "auspicious" or "lucky" but at least they'll stay alive.
Cheers, Neale.>

Requesting information on Flower Horn disease
Flowerhorn with HITH Disease 12/9/10

Hello, My flower horn developed medium-size blisters (around 1/4 of an inch) on its head that eventually popped and they now look red as the skin is gone and they are raw (it turned into a big open, raw patch as the blisters exploded). This is the second time it happened. I apparently cured her the first time but he got it for the second time, one after the other, only 2 days apart. Just after I put the carbon in and it looked like the situation was normal, the blistered came back, exactly in the same area as before which is on the
fish's head. She is a female and almost 7 years old, the only fish in a 55 gallon tank running on two Emperor 400 by Marineland, pads and carbon are changed on a regular basis, one filter at a time so that the biological filtration is not affected. I changed the water in large doses (before and after and between
doses) and added cichlids salt and regular salt (the type intended for fish). She was never fed feeders, only pellets, shrimp and bloodworms. She was never overfed or underfed. The fish was treated with E.M. Erythromycin.
While being medicated, I used an Aqua Clear filter 500, the largest one from the manufacturer and two
large air stones. I did that in order not to infect the emperor filters and I used a 30 gallon tank as a quarantine setup. She is still in the quarantine tank as of now. What would be the next step?
Thank you in advance for all your help. Best regards.
< Your Flowerhorn has a case of Hole In The Head (HITH) disease. It generally affects New World cichlids. The cause is unknown at this time. It may be related to stress, diet or environmental factors. For now I would recommend checking the water chemistry. The nitrates should be under 20 ppm but the lower the better. I would change brand of pellets to see if that made a difference. I would skip the bloodworms for now. Try treating with a medicated food with Metronidazole in it. The open wounds can be treated with Furan-2.-Chuck>

gill infection. Killing a FH, env. 3/18/11
Hi WWM crew
I have a Flowerhorn approx 9 inches in length. He is housed in a 20 gallon tank.
<This is too small a volume for this fish>
My fish is suffering from gill infection.
<Mmm, no... this fish is suffering from the above... an environmental situation. Only fix-able by being placed in a much larger world... 50-60 gallons minimum>
He has red swollen gills. This problem occurred when I changed the water completely.
<... also a poor idea>
I have added Oxytetracycline 250 mg 2 tabs to the tank. I would like to know whether this is the right treatment or could you help me with the same.
Thanks in advance.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornsysfaq.htm
and all the linked files above re this cross. Bob Fenner>

Emergency help pls 7/2/11
Help my flower horn just a few days ago got scared sum how is sitting in the corner with his body color black n he gets scared to go up and eat the food. Before he got scared he was very energetic, aggressive and happy. He is a Singapore species. Pls reply as soon as possible
<Flowerhorn cichlids, like other cichlids, tend to be nervous if their aquarium is too small. So first of all, make sure the tank is big enough, i.e., at least 75 gallons/300 litres. Secondly, they dislike bright light.
Plastic plants are useful for providing shade. Also, brightly coloured substrates that bounce light upwards will stress them too. Finally, like all fish, they become nervous if water quality and water chemistry are
inadequate. Flowerhorn cichlids need good water quality (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and less than 20 mg/l nitrate) and water chemistry that is hard and alkaline (15+ degrees dH, pH 7-8). Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Emergency help pls, FH... -- 07/02/11

my tank is 5ft long and its not too bright too but I don't know how to read the ammonia,
<Ammonia test kit.>
<Nitrate test kit, though I would argue you need a nitrite (NO2-) test kit before either nitrate (NO3-) or ammonia (NH3).>
and ph levels
<pH test kit.>
can u tell me how to read? there is nothing in the tank. 4 months ago it killed its brothers.
<Not unusual.>
some days ago my dad put some salt to the tank
<Salt is of minimal/no value as a general tonic; read:
what can it do to my fish?
<Read about what these fish actually need, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Emergency help pls -- 07/03/11
I tried it the water chemistry is all good as u said 2 check it. The place is nt too bright or too dark n no substrate there reflects light. but still it is scared. my dad said its type of a season for it cuz the same is
happening to his fh.tnx in adv.
<Please try and write in standard English, not "text messaging". What you're saying here isn't clear. Now, don't tell me you think the water chemistry is "good" -- tell me what the specific numbers are! What is, at
minimum, the pH and the nitrite level? If there is no substrate, that is bad, because glass will reflect light upwards. Flowerhorns don't act weird in summer, so season has nothing to do with this. Please do try and
understand that in much of the world Flowerhorns are kept very badly, and very few live for anything like their full lifespan. They need very specific care. If you don't provide that care, your Flowerhorn won't do
well. Cheers, Neale.>

VERY URGENT HELP PLEASE (Flowerhorn) 4/7/09
I have a Flowerhorn & it has a bloated stomach & when I tried pressing it stomach we can see a liquid coming out, I tried feeding him green peas, which it didn't eat, I have reduced the water in the tank & mixed Terramycin 250gm as per the instructions by local fish vendor, but still FH is not able to swim & also there is a white spot that has appeared on his tail, plzzzzzz suggest me some remedies I don't want to lose my Flowerhorn, plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz help ASAP
<Hello. Need more information than this. Specifically, how big is the tank?
What sort of filter system do you use? What are the water chemistry and water quality parameters? To say anything sensible we need, at minimum, the pH and nitrite values, and the general hardness and nitrate values are also very helpful. What do you feed this fish? How warm is the water? Just to cut to the chase, most cichlids (indeed, most aquarium fish) get sick because of environmental issues. Poor water quality and water chemistry instability are both major killers. Flowerhorn cichlids -- for some reason -- are often purchased by people who haven't read anything about their needs first. Despite being hybrids, they are Central American cichlids in the general sense, and therefore need hard, basic water to do well (pH 7.5-8, hardness 10+ degrees dH). Nitrite and ammonia values need to be zero, while nitrate should be as low as practical, ideally less than 20 mg/l. Aquarium size needs to be upwards of 55 gallons/210 litres, and the filter should be rated at 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, i.e., at least 330 gallons/hour for a 55 gallon tank. They are of course tropical fish, so you can't keep them in an unheated tank. Like most Central American cichlids, they are omnivores that need a mixed diet containing mostly invertebrates but also green foods, particularly algae.
Let's put it another way: a diet of feeder fish will surely make them sick eventually, while too much dried food leads to bloating and worse. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: VERY URGENT HELP PLEASE (Flowerhorn) 4/7/09

my tank is 250 litres, there is no filter system
<Tank is acceptable in terms of volume, but the lack of a filter is why this fish is sick! You must have a filter! I'd recommend something with capacity 6-8 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour.>
& I don't know what is the ph level & nitrate value,
<Then find out! I can't help you without knowing these things.>
could u plz let me know how to check it so that I can check it & let u know, plzzzzz help,
<For gosh sakes, please use proper English, not "text messaging" spelling.
Usually such messages get sent back, unread.>
<We answer messages on a first come, first served basis, so there's really no point asking for extra help. We assume everyone who writes to us needs urgent help. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn help needed desperately! 5/17/09
Hello there,
Greeting to you from Bangalore, India. I bought a Flowerhorn MALE almost 6 months back age being probably 3 months old. It was very active and used to play with us the moment we went near the tank. We were feeding it Humpy Head Ocean Free pellets. Once we went out of town and had to leave it with my caretaker to feed it on daily basis. After coming back for our 10 days tour we found that the water is dirty probably because of extra food given by my caretaker and the Flowerhorn fish has stopped eating. And even after a complete water change I found it not eating for almost 4 to 5 days and excreting a white mucous substance.
<Likely a reaction to poor water quality (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate); stop feeding the fish, do a big (50%) water change, and then another big water change the next day. You should find the fish recovers quickly.>
After changing the water I treated the water with Sera Baktopur and little bit of Rock Salt and pumped up the heat to 32 degree centigrade. - Nothing happened.
<No, it wouldn't. Why would it?>
I tried to feed it frozen dried shrimps, and Blood worms - nothing happened. It wont take any food. I read your message board and tried to
feed it Metronidazole along with food - it still wont take it. We don't have vets here to inject the fish or force feed medicine.
<For the love of God, stop feeding and start changing water! That's all you need to do. This fish is being poisoned by water quality problems. Very common when people have "helpers" feed their fish. Just a note: these fish can go two weeks without food, so better to leave them unfed during holidays if you don't have a reliable person to look after your fish. Alternatively, do what I do: put measured portions of food into paper envelopes, hide the rest of the food, and tell the "helper" to empty one envelope each time they visit your fish. I leave only enough envelopes for
feeding the fish once every 3 days.>
Then I tried to feed live Mollies and Guppies - which it happily chased and ate, however it was still continuing to excrete the white mucous. After almost a week's feeding on live fish...it has stopped eating again.
<Don't feed this fish feeder fish! Why...? Why...? Cichlids of this general type don't eat fish in the wild, and certainly not cheap fish bought from pet stores. Feeder fish are an EXCELLENT way to make your fish sick, by introducing parasites and bacteria of various types.>
We stopped the live fish feeding and kept on changing 25% to 50% of water every week. We did a complete water change last week.
<You needed to change the water immediately you got back. It's likely that stress over the weeks caused latent Hexamita infections to become dangerous. This is very, VERY common when cichlids are continually exposed to high levels of nitrate. See Hexamita and Metronidazole articles here on WWM.>
Its 3 months now. It still doesn't eat, its weak and now gone pale in colour and still excrete the white mucous. It shows signs of hunger as it charges to the pellets given but once it takes it in its mouth, it spits it out again. I got the Flowerhorn as an import from Malaysia and he is a part of my family. It's a torture to see him slowly wilt away like this.
Desperately need your help.
Thanks & Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Flowerhorn help needed desperately! 5/17/09

Dear Neale,
<Hello again!>
Thanks for the quick reply. It would also be helpful if you could let me know if I have to use Sera Nitrovec after water change?
<No. Sera Nitrivec is a product that supposedly boosts biological filtration; the thing with most of these products is that they're redundant: a healthy biological filter will essentially maintain itself, provided you're keeping the filter media reasonably clean and providing enough water flow and oxygen.>
Also what is this white mucous excretion that my Flowerhorn is giving off. Sometime after the water change I see a bulbous appendage sticking out of its anal aperture - what is this?
<The mucous produced by Hexamita infections is caused by the parasites irritating the wall of the gut. The gut secretes extra mucous, and this binds with the faecal matter to produce the long, white, stringy faeces we associated with the disease.>
Will just 2 consecutive days of big water change be followed up by 3rd or 4th day water change or its just 2 days change.
<Change as much as you can, provided pH and hardness remain relatively constant (and in the case of Flowerhorns, this should pH 7.5-8.2, hardness "hard" to "very hard"). If your fish has an Hexamita infection, as is possible, then water changes won't do anything other that optimize water quality; you will need to medicate the fish to cure the disease.>
How often do I have to do water changes for Flowerhorn fish. Mine is a 300 litre tank with only one Flowerhorn in it.
<By default, 25% per week is a good amount; but 50% per week is even better, especially if the tank looks messy!>
Thanks & Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>

I need immediate help please
I have a Flowerhorn. He's been sick for two weeks now. 5-10-09

He used to eat floating pellets but when he got sick, he refuses it not even trying swim upwards.
<With cichlids, it is almost always the case that when they go "off" their food, it's because something isn't right. Nine times out of ten, it's an environmental thing: review water chemistry and water quality in particular. Flowerhorns are hybrids, but they are basically Central American cichlids at heart. Therefore they need hard, alkaline water conditions; aim for 10+ degrees dH and pH 7.5-8. Water quality needs to be consistently good, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and a very low level of nitrate, less than 20 mg/l. Temperature should be middling, around 25 C/77 F. There should be strong water circulation; realistically, 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So for a 55 gallon tank -- the absolute minimum for a Flowerhorn -- you'd be looking at a filter rated at 440 gallons per hour. If you're failing on any of these criteria, that's almost certainly the cause of your fish's ill health.>
So I've decided to give him freshly chopped shrimps and help him eat through tweezers. But then after taking 3 small shrimp pieces he tends to swam away from the food. I am so desperate about his condition. He lies down on the tank floor horizontally every now and then. Also I have noticed his rotten left fin and white spots on both fins.
<Externally sounds like Finrot, in terms of lethargy, loss of appetite, like Hexamita or plain vanilla ammonia or pH stress. Regardless, these are all caused by environmental issues, so while treating the symptoms is
important, you also need to fix the environment.>
when he got sick I began to discover this site and tried treating him with all the advices I found here.
<I'm glad you're reading.>
I tried treating him with salt
<No value here...>
in combination with Methylene blue,
<Methylene Blue is more a preventative than a cure... many much better medications for bacterial infections and fungal infections on the market.>
changes 20% water everyday (which we used to do it every after 3 days) then with Flagyl (Metronidazole) 50mg everyday as it was hidden on 3 chopped shrimp pieces.
<This is very specifically a medication for Hexamita; is there evidence of an Hexamita infection? Specifically, copious, stringy white faeces?
Ulcers/pits on the face? Dark body colour?>
Today is our 5th day of medication.. For the past 4 days we have noticed a little improvement in him. Although he still lye down on the floor tank but not as often as it was prior his treatment. But just recently after administering his last dose, after eating he begun to lye down very often.
As if he cannot carry himself. We use to let him stand but he goes back lying down.. Please help me.. I am very much worried and desperate. Been thinking he might have Flagyl toxicity or what... I need your immediate help... Thank you very much..
<Hannah, you haven't actually given me any useful information here, so I can't really help. Specifically, I need [a] the size of the aquarium; [b] the water chemistry, at minimum the pH and some idea of the hardness; [c] the filter turnover (in gallons per hour or litres per hour, will be written on the filter somewhere). Do remember that Flowerhorns are not "hardy" but actually very demanding fish that need a lot of space and robust filtration. Most fatalities come from people sticking them in small tanks (20, 30 gallons) and equipped such tanks with hang-on-the-back filters. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: I need immediate help please 5-10-09
hello Neale.
thanks for your immediate response..
<You are welcome.>
here are the answers for the specific details:
1. the size of the aquarium: 20 gallons
<Far too small; unless this Flowerhorn is smaller than, say, three inches/7.5 cm, 20 gallons of water will not be safe. The problem is that there isn't enough water to dilute the ammonia it produces. It also means
that between water changes, nitrate concentration will rise very rapidly, while pH will likely drop very rapidly. Both these factors place a heavy stress on cichlids.>
2. the water chemistry, at minimum the pH and some idea of the hardness:
how can I check this?
<Using test kits; you should have at least a pH test kit (for water chemistry) and a nitrite (not nitrate) test kit (to test water quality).
These are the two essential test kits.>
we use a tap water direct from the faucet but we always to put an anti-chlorine solution, and a tablespoon of salt.
<Your tap water might be fine if you live in a hard water area, e.g., Southern England, but if you live somewhere with soft water out of the tap, e.g., Northern Scotland, your tap water will not be acceptable. Also, if you have a water softener in your house, the water it produces is also very bad for your Flowerhorn cichlid. Ordinary salt has no impact at all on water chemistry beyond raising salinity, and this isn't helpful. You need to be using a specific cichlid salt mix, which contains a variety of minerals, not just sodium chloride. See here:
Read especially the section on making these salt mixes, and why this is necessary.>
3. the filter turnover: 600 L/h as written on the top filter
<That's about 150 gallons/hour, which would be 7.5 times the volume of the tank per hour, a good amount for a 20 gallon tank. But not nearly enough for a Flowerhorn cichlid being kept in a 55 gallon system!>
what should I do?
<First, buy a pH test kit and a nitrite test kits. Dip-strips with both these tests (and others!) are inexpensive and while not especially accurate, are good enough to start with. You may prefer to buy the more accurate liquid tests though. Either way, get back to me with some numbers.
I'm almost certain the problem is that tank is too small, and moving this fish to a bigger aquarium would help. Whether that means you upgrade your aquarium or pass the fish onto someone with a bigger tank is up to you.>
thank you very much.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: I need immediate help please
thank you sooo much for your help Neale.. I'll definitely get back to you as soon as I have finished doing your advice, and that would be later tomorrow... thank you so much!!!
<Glad we could help. Good luck, Neale.>

Flower horn, env. "disease" 6/10/09
good day to the Crew! I inherited yesterday this 3 year old flower horn, which came with a 55 gallon tank, I changed the overhead filter to a 3 leveled canister one.
<Will need more filtration, circulation than this canister can provide>
he's very active and eats anything I feed him. but just today, I noticed one of his eyes is popping out with a some sort of skin growth above it (img_0199) I asked the previous owner and he acknowledged that it was like that ever since a year or so. I just want to know what it is?
<Looks like some sort of idiopathic tumour, arising out of an Neuromast...>
and can it be cured and how?
<Mmm, likely self-limiting... with good/better/best water quality and nutrition. Nothing to "treat" with per se... Consider it/this as some sort of "callus" on your hand.... from not wearing gloves let's say...>
I also noticed the other eye started to pop out (img_0202), ill be guessing stress and new water?
<Ah, yes!>
I've been reading some articles on your sight, you really help a lot of aquarist, hope you can help me too in in query. Thank you in advance. Hoping for good news.
<Do a bit more, wider reading re this hybrids care... and look into more filtration, water movement... and weekly partial water changes of size. Bob Fenner>

Re: Flower horn, env. dis. -- 06/10/09
Thank you so much for the quick response, you gave very sound advices. : )
ill provide more circulation tonight, and more filtration maybe by the weekend. ill just compensate with daily water change of 10% until that time.
I'm quite new with the aquarium set up. I'll do wider reading on this topic.
<Sounds very good>
Thanks again Bob and the Crew! Let's just hope that its condition would be better soon. I'll just post some updates maybe on the weekend.
best regards to everyone!!!
<Thank you Albert. BobF>

Re: Flower horn... reading -- 06/10/09
No, Thank you sir. By the way, if ever I would consider any medication for it, can you recommend anything? Salt, antibiotic, temperature, any, none, etc.... ?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorndisfaq.htm
and the linked files above. B>

Re: Flower horn -- 06/10/09
Bob, thank you. id probably stay with salt first, increase aeration, water movement and steady 28C temp until Saturday, if it wont respond then id probably go with the antibiotics. of course daily water change and addition of salt. its a bit easier with aquarium set up, I can measure everything with a jug, unlike with my Koi pond. : ) thank you so much for the help and the help that u extended to all of us.
More power to you and the Crew!!!
<Thank you Albert. BobF>

Re: Flower horn 6/17/09
Bob and the Crew, Greetings!!!
just an update with my Flowerhorn, it has been 7 days since the PopEye, did the following as advised by Bob: added pump for circulation and aeration, salt at 1 tablespoon per ten gallon, daily water change of 20% (salt added also), daily washing of filter fiber matt, and voila... eyes back to its socket by good 90%. he looks normal now, very active, eating three times a day...or more, re decorating the stonescape I provided for him in the tank... : ) Thank you Bob for the fast response and advices. More power Crew!!!
<Thank you for this update and good news! BobF>

Flowerhorn Stressed And Diseased  10/15/06 Hi Bob,  I have a Flowerhorn that have a swollen eye and what looks like parasites on the cheeks. What can I do to fix the problem? I have already put in some Malachite green in my tank and the parasite seems to be peeling off. The problem first started when my 30 gallon tank cracked and I had to put him in a 5 gallon bucket with a filter for 2 days but without a heater. Once I got a bigger 35 gallon tank. Then I notice the problem. Now my fish likes to stay on top of the tank and swimming slanted most of the time. I have took a couple of photos of my fish. I am going to attach it with this email. I really want this fish to be well. How long do you think it will take before the fish gets better and will look normal again? Please let me know. Thanks,  Jackie <After being in a cool bucket for two days , your Flowerhorn has become ill with both internal and external infections. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with a combination of Nitrofurazone and Metronidazole or Clout. These medications will probably affect the good nitrifying bacteria so watch out for ammonia spike and new tank syndrome.-Chuck>

Paralyzed Flowerhorn - suspected toxins in water   12/16/06 Hi.. I'm Rhea from the Philippines. <Hello there.> I want to consult you about my beloved fish. He's been with me for 2 months and just this morning, my mom cleaned the aquarium. <Hopefully this wasn't the first time in two months that the aquarium has been cleaned?!> She removed the fish and put it in another container. <Usually best not to do this unless the aquarium is very, very dirty (which it won't be if you do regular changes.  Depending upon the size of this aquarium, you should be doing at least 5 gal. water changes weekly; if it's a heavily stocked aquarium with less than adequate filtration, you can do more these more often, if need be.> But when she returned the fish to the water, it suddenly stopped moving and it was sulking in one corner. <Sounds like the fish was/is in shock.  Are you/your mom using straight tap water in the aquarium? If so, did you use a dechlorinator? Did you ensure that the pH and temperature were closely matched between the new and old water? Here's a helpful link on that subject: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/taptrtmnt.htm Also, did your mom use any sort of chemicals around (or, heaven forbid, in) the aquarium? Sounds like this could be acute poisoning...> At first we never minded it, for we though that he was only afraid. But after a couple of hours, he still not moving and suddenly turning black but his fins and mouth is still moving, when he tries to move/swim he just lay flat. What do you think happened to my fish? <Shock and/or poisoning.  Before I can help you I need to know whether anything was put into the new aquarium water, and if so, what; also, my question about toxic chemicals still stands.  What about other fish - are there more in this aquarium, and are they affected?> Is there anything I can still do for him? <I would normally recommend a large water change (not total, though, and don't remove the fish from the tank this time - that's too stressful.  Without knowing what type of water you are using, though, I'm afraid this may just compound the problem, as it sounds as though something was very recently introduced into the aquarium to cause this. Also, as mentioned above, whenever doing water changes, you need to make sure to carefully match pH and temperature, so you don't shock the fish...> I don't wanna lose him, that's why I'm still trying to feed him and helping him when he lays flat. <Do you have a water test kit? You should measure the levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the tank...if he isn't eating, the food may be building up and disintegrating, thus polluting the water...> Please help me; I will be waiting for your reply. Thank you so much. <If the fish was fine prior to the water change, something must have been introduced into the tank during the process to cause this.  My guess is a chemical (never, ever use any sort of chemicals around/in the tank), or replacement water that isn't suitable for the tank.  If you could let me know a bit more about the questions I posed in this response, I can hopefully help you identify what's going on, so we can fix it. At this point, if you have a fresh filter cartridge, I'd suggest using it - that will at least help remove whatever toxins are in the water.  Again, I would normally suggest a water change, but you *must* be sure that the water you are using is suitable for the aquarium - do consult the link I provided. Best regards, Jorie> Rhea may

Any help will do...pls (sick Flowerhorn). Sick Flowerhorn Placed Outside  7/10/07 It all started when my mom decided to place my FH outside of the house attach are my FH pic before and after...i think i saw some 1. whitespots <Ich. Probably from being too cold at night.> 2. A hole on the hump, and on the fins side fins don't know what kind) < Could be the start of Hole-In-The-Head or just trauma from thrashing about. The pectoral fin damage could be from trauma or a bacterial infection.> 3. One fin torn I think from the filter machine.) < Probably caused by trauma of some sort.> 4. Discoloration clearly seen on the pic) < Clearly not happy and stressed from all the problems.> 5. Don't eat anymore (about 1 month now) *sob* < Could be bloat or just too cold for him to digest food.> 6. Don't move at all except when touch) <Sounds very sick.> 7. Swims sideways most of the time) < Probability some internal infections too.> 8. He's always at that position, sideways. like in the pic) Fed with the pellets made for Flowerhorns. Tank is 1 1/4 m length, 3/4 m width, and about 1 m height. Tank is placed outside of house, therefore has lots of sunlight, especially in the morning, around 7am-1pm.(before he's inside our house). That's all the details I can provide. Please help me. I don't want my FH to die. Is he doomed? Any chance for recovery? Thanks <A tank that is placed outside probably needs to be heated. Flowerhorns like to be up around 80 F. You didn't say what temp you kept him at. You have a pretty big tank but failed to mention any filtration. This tank needs a filter or filters that will circulate at least 3 to 5 times the volume of the tank every hour. You need to check for nitrates and keep them under 25 ppm with water changes. Get the tank running properly and see if he improves. If not then medications will probably be needed.-Chuck.>
Re: any help will do...pls (sick Flowerhorn). Sick Flowerhorn Placed Outside  7/10/07
It all started when my mom decided to place my FH outside of the house <<What?>> attach are my FH pic before and after...i think i saw some 1. whitespots 2. A hole on the hump, and on the fins side fins don't know what kind) < Could be the start of Hole-In-The-Head or just trauma from thrashing about. The pectoral fin damage could be from trauma or a bacterial infection.> 3. One fin torn I think from the filter machine.) < Probably caused by trauma of some sort.> 4. Discoloration clearly seen on the pic) < Clearly not happy and stressed from all the problems.> 5. Don't eat anymore (about 1 month now) *sob* < Could be bloat or just too cold for him to digest food.> 6. Don't move at all except when touch) 7. Swims sideways most of the time) < Probability some internal infections too.> 8. He's always at that position, sideways.(like in the pic) Fed with the pellets made for Flowerhorns. Tank is 1 1/4 m length, 3/4 m width, and about 1 m height. Tank is placed outside of house, therefore has lots of sunlight, especially in the morning, around 7am-1pm.(before he's inside our house). That's all the details I can provide. Please help me. I don't want my FH to die. Is he doomed? Any chance for recovery? Thanks <<Is there any chance of getting you to read? Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorndisfaq.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>>

Sick flower horn, need immediate help!!! * I forgot to mention that my fish is in a 10 gallon tank! 8/10/07 Flowerhorn Has Been through Many Tough Times Hi, For about a month now, my flower horn has been quite sick. First it did not eat, and was very pale. I was treating my fish for Hole In The Head, and the holes seemed to be healing nicely, and almost completely. However, the holes are now open and are getting larger. I assumed that it was because no one was changing the water since I was busy at work. < High nitrates and a poor diet will lead to stress and disease.> I did an extensive water change for it, about 50% for 3 consecutive days. My fish ate again, and the holes don't seem to get bigger. < Reducing the nitrogenous wastes in the water definitely help.> However, I noticed that its eyes are weird. It seemed that there are some sort of cotton turfs growing on top of the lenses, on the lens surface, not yet inside the eyes. I thought it was fungal infection and treated it with Fungal Cure for about a week. I went to a pet store and asked them about the condition and the store owner told me that my fish has cloudy eyes, and it was to be treated with antibiotics. He gave me some for a 3 days treatments. I'm not sure which he gave me, < Usually there is some writing on the package. It is very important to know what the antibiotics are and how to use them.> and how to use it, and thought that it might not be a good idea to treat just anything with antibiotics so I didn't use it. I used Fungal Cure instead for 7 days. The condition did not clear up after 7 days. If anything, now the eyes do look cloudy. The right eyes is in worse shape than the left as it seems a bit protrude, and the lens does not look nicely rounded/curved, instead, like a protruding bump on a curved lens. My fish then stopped eating, and kept hiding in the tank's corner. did not really respond. I got desperate last night and did a complete water change, and scrubbed the tank completely clean. I then filled it with warm water, salt, water conditioner to take out chlorine, and sprinkled 2 tiny scoops of the antibiotic the pet store owner gave me. The scoop I used is the measuring spoon included in Mardel's pH-Plus Raises Aquarium pH, net wt 70g powder. This morning, the eyes looked a bit clearer, but still cloudy. My fish was a bit more active. I was somewhat reassured until I got home this evening and noticed white stools in the bottom of the tank. There are these white, opaque things floating around that could only be the feces. I fed my flower horn with red-colored pellets and waited for it to have a bowel movement. After a white, it passed some stools that has some red color it but still has lots of white/opaque color. The feces look like strings of white/opaque little balls with traces of red on them. the anus looks a bit whiter than usual and pouting out. I went online and saw some articles say that white feces announces intestinal infection in the fish, and that one way to treat in is by feeding it with antibiotic foods. I'm not sure what it is, but I tried feeing it with anti-bacteria pellets from Jungle but it does not eat them. I did a 25% water change to take out some feces and uneaten food, and sprinkled in another scoop of the antibiotic. I then noticed that its left flipper, usually clear and beautifully looking has several streaks of red in them. I remember that signals internal bleeding in the fish. The end of the flipper also looks like it had been clipped off, reminds me somewhat of the symptoms in tail/fin rot. I took a look at the right flipper, and it is thankfully still has that clear looking color. However, the junction where it meets the gills, to the body, there's something that looks like an ulcer. The region looked like something had clipped off some part of it, still red with clinging clots, and is about 2 mm wide. The area where the flipper connects to the ulcer-like region has a small white budge to it. I'm so scare right now that something might happen to my fish. I spent a hour online looking for a fish vet to take it to tomorrow but there is none that is near where I live, and there is supposedly another big storm that will hit my area tomorrow and the next few days so I can't leave the home. I'm so very desperate right now. Please help! Even for water change, what should I put in there. What's my fish's prognosis now? Thank you so much < Here is what is happening. You don't have time to take care of your fish. The waste products build up and stress you fish and begin to make him sick with both internal and external infections. As you found out, reducing the waste in the water helped the fishes natural immunity to kick in and help fight off some of the infections. I would recommend that you treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. They can be found online. Treat on day one as per the dosages recommended on the packages. On day two do a 50% water change and vacuum the gravel. On day three you need to treat again. On day four change half the water. On day five treat as you did on day one and three. On day six you need to change one half the water and to see if he will eat. If he eats then he is one his way to being cured. After the treatments you will have no biological filtration in the tank and you may see deadly ammonia or nitrite spikes. Add carbon to remove any left over medication and add Bio-Spira from Marineland or do daily water changes to keep the bio-load down. After your fish is cured you need to keep up on your water changes.-Chuck.>
Re: sick flower horn, need immediate help!!! * I forgot to mention that my fish is in a 10 gallon tank! 08/11/07 Sick Flowerhorn II With Missing Data
Thank you for your advice. The antibiotic I used is Furan-2 by API manufacturer. It lists on the bottle as containing 120 mg Nitrofurazone and 50 mg Furazolidone per teaspoon of powder. I also have API's E.M. Erythromycin powder use to treat fin and tail rot, open red sores, mouth fungus, hemorrhagic septicemia and bacterial gill disease. each teaspoon of the power has 400 mg erythromycin. I haven't try the Erythromycin yet though. However, neither one has both Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace in its mixture. what can i buy that will have both? I went to pet stores but couldn't find anything that has both in one mixture, only separately. should I buy two different tablets that contain each and put them together in the tank? How much salt should I put in the tank, or at all that would be safe and helpful for my fish's recovery? I was told that putting salt in might kill it so I've been keeping the tank salt-free today. My fish's fins look much shorten and ragged compare to last night. Is there a way to stop it from getting shorter? I tried force feed it with anti-bacteria food but it keeps spitting the food out. Is it safe for me to get it some bloodworms, or liver or something? what food should i feed it now? I don't feel like I can trust the food I've been feeding it any more. I've been feeding it food specifically designed for Flowerhorn by Alife Fish Food. What should I feed it now? My tank's water keeps getting these little white/opaque things clouding it regardless of how much water I've been changing. I change about 25% of tank's water about every 6 hours to keep it somewhat clean. Thank you so much for your help. < Your Flowerhorn gets way too big to be confined in a 10 gallon tank. They can get up to a foot long when properly cared for. There is no medication that combines both Metronidazole and Furanace. You will have to buy them both and combine them as I recommended. Some people have had good results with Clout so it is worth a try. I would recommend a good general pellet food instead of a Flowerhorn specialty food. A teaspoon of salt per 10 gallons wouldn't hurt anything.-Chuck>

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