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FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid Disease: Nutritional   

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: Environmental, 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 a mixed diet, including greens. Beware of heavily parasitized "feeder" fish

Help please! My Flowerhorn has a prolapsed rectum /RMF      8/22/16
Please help. My flower horn has a prolapsed rectum. I've been doing everything I can but nothing seems to be working. I'm not sure if you can give me any new advice, but I hope you can! I'm not sure if the problem has gotten too far to where it can not be healed. I have included an image below, please let me know what you think.
<Seen many times... put the words "Flowerhorn prolapsed colon" in the search tool (on every page) on WWM and read. Bob Fenner>
Help please! My Flowerhorn has a prolapsed rectum /Neale       8/22/16

Please help. My flower horn has a prolapsed rectum. I've been doing everything I can but nothing seems to be working. I'm not sure if you can give me any new advice, but I hope you can! I'm not sure if the problem has gotten too far to where it can not be healed. I have included an image below, please let me know what you think.
<Rachel, let me direct you to some reading. First check out the MANY instances of this we've dealt with, such as here:
Then let me have you review Flowerhorn care generally, here:
Almost always (in fact, probably without exception) the problem you describe is caused by problems with the environment and diet. In spacious tanks with good filters and frequent water changes, Flowerhorns given a varied diet including fresh greens don't suffer from this problem. The use of Metronidazole plus Epsom Salt can help to deal with the symptoms, but the bigger picture is fixing care/diet so the problem doesn't re-occur.
Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re FH Hlth., NNS       4/11/15
Sir thanks for your help... Now my flower horn is getting well....Now he is taking food....but the pits of his head is still present....What can I do.
<Time; healthy diet; optimal water conditions; correct water chemistry... alongside medication, the pits will heal if the fish is kept healthy for an extended period of time (months, not days). Cheers, Neale.>

Flower Horn with Thyroid Problem        2/9/15

Hi, I submitted a video (Linked here. mov) to show you the issue
So here are the facts:
200 gallon tank, mixed foods, he is super active and aggressive. Eats twice a day no live food and no signs of being sick. But if you look in the video under his mouth he seems swollen. I have had 20 plus flower horns and have never seen this. Should I medicate? Please help.
< I have seen this problem with some Lake Tanganyika cichlids with thyroid problems from not enough iodine. I have not seen it in any new world cichlids though. Try changing the food to include more shrimp in the diet or try adding an iodine supplement used with salt water reef tanks. It may take a few weeks before seeing any improvement.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn With Hole-In-The-Head - 10/24/2012
I have a Flowerhorn Cichlid who's about 6 inches long in a 25 gallon tank.
<You'll soon need to be looking for a bigger tank, I fear....  This is a large, "messy" fish, capable of producing much waste, and while 25 gallons might seem nice and roomy for one single 6" fish, it's water quality that's going to be the issue, here - and the Flowerhorn won't stay 6" forever....>
The PH is 7.4, ammonia and nitrite are both zero,
and I had the nitrate checked at a store once, and it was tested to be very low.
<Had it checked once....  Like once upon a time, in a shop long, long ago? 
Nitrate fluctuates, builds up over time, and only is removed by plants or algae consuming it, or just plain ol' water changes.  I'd suggest obtaining a test kit for this, as it really is worth knowing.  It takes a great deal more Nitrate to cause issues than Ammonia, but it can and does still pose a problem in great amounts.>
The problem is that I went on a vacation to Vietnam for a month back in July,
and my Mom who usually takes care of the Flowerhorn, had my uncle feed him for the month.
<Oh boy.  I know exactly where this is going.>
When we got back, he had small white "bump" on the front of his head. This slowly popped, and formed a crater in the area. Since then, another white "pimple" had formed there, and then white stringy stuff came out of it when I fed my Flowerhorn normally. The "wound" in the front of his head has since sealed, but now I see more white stuff forming below the surface of his skin.  In addition, one more pimple had formed on the side of his head, and did the same thing.
<This is all consistent with Hole-In-The-Head / Head & Lateral Line Erosion....  Often, in Cichlids, caused by - you've guessed it, haven't you? - very high Nitrate levels over a prolonged period of time!>
The other side however, secreted something similar to a cotton ball. This happened today.
<Your descriptions are so very clear; you are very observant.>
We've been doing 25% water changes every 3-5 days for the past month and a half.
<Depending upon how high the Nitrate level is, this may actually not be enough.  If you can test it, and find that it is over 20ppm, see if you can make up enough water for a VERY large water change.  As long as you can match temperature and pH to the water in the tank, I would really do 50% daily until the Nitrate drops below 20ppm.  I might even go with larger water changes if the Nitrates are very excessive.  I have seen Nitrates in excess of 200 (two hundred) ppm in a tank I maintained for someone years ago - it took quite a bit of effort to drop it.  Do be sure to very thoroughly siphon your gravel/substrate during the first water change, and occasionally thereafter.  Any leftover food from that month might still be down there, rotting and pushing the Nitrates ever higher.>
I assumed it was hole in the head, and added Metro pro, Metronidazole powder that I bought online and have been applying it after water changes for about 2-3 weeks.
<This was an intelligent move, as HITH/HLLE can indeed be caused by protozoan parasites (or become infested after the fact), but with the formula for disaster - big, messy fish that eats a lot and produces a lot of waste, not too huge a water volume, and someone potentially overfeeding the tank for a month straight - I would really bet that your Nitrates are surprisingly high right now.  I think I'd rather see you get the Nitrates tested and corrected instead of continuing to medicate this.>
At this point, I'm not sure if it's hole in the head, or some other disease.
<From your very excellent description, and very detailed background about the tank (thank you!), I think you're quite correct in your well-educated guess of HITH/HLLE.>
The water also smells "metallic" if that means anything.
<Another spectacular observation!  I can almost smell what you mean, having smelled "dirty" (though clean of Ammonia and Nitrite) water before.  I really think you're going to be surprised by the Nitrate level.>
He still eats normally, and behaves normally.
<Very good news.  It can take a very, very long time for HITH/HLLE to outright kill a fish, but it can also easily cause pitting severe enough to permanently disfigure a fish, too.  You've caught it early - tackle it now, and there may be no permanent damage at all.>
But my Mom's really scared that he might die, and is freaking out about it.
<Good of her to have such compassion for the fish.  You two make an excellent team in this.>
She also said something about how a lady at a store suggested feeding him feeder fish sometime in February.
I looked that up too, and found out that this was a terrible terrible thing to do.
<Whew!  Thank goodness!  Seriously, a good team indeed.  She's got the compassion, and you've got the drive to research.  That's awesome!>
<I hope this has.  If for some reason I'm way off base and your Nitrate level is actually less than 20ppm, do let us know so we can explore other possibilities.  I have a pretty good feeling about this, though.  Check it, correct it, and continue to observe.  Once corrected, it may still take time for the bumps and/or pits to fade and heal, but I'm sure you'll be watching.  Best regards to you and your Mom (and your fish!),  -Sabrina>  

Flowerhorn... hlth., nutr. 12/2/11
Good Day.
<And you Binesh>
This is Binesh here from India.
1 week back i bought a male and female Flowerhorn. The male is 4-5 inches and the female 2-2.5 inches.
I kept them in a 200 ltr tank and separated them with a glass partition. The female occupies 25% space and the male 75% space.
When i started feeding them ( XO Humpy head) the male was not taking the food immediately and the female ate this very quickly.
The male fish used to take the pallets in his mouth and then spit it. But after some 1 hour it starts chewing it and would spit all the food which deposited in the bottom of tank.
This went on for 2 days. After 2 days i changed the water 100%. But still the male is repeating the chewing and spitting practice and the female eats it as usual.
<I would try other foods w/ both of them>
The male is not playing with us as Flowerhorn usually does, but the female do plays a bit.
The male fish is moving around in the tank very freely and does some exciting act towards the female but not to us. The earlier Flowerhorn i had used to play with us very much.
I enquired about the same to the pet shop and they advised me to put 800 mg of Flagyl ( Metronidazole) into the water and change the water 50% on alternate day. I did it and still the male behaves the same way.
<Mmm, this is a very powerful medication...>
Then one of my friend asked me not to put Flagyl and try 10 tablets of tetracycline hydrochloride capsule along with half kg of salt and 10 drops of a medicine called rid all. I have put this yesterday. He advised me to change 60% of water tomorrow and repeat the same cycle.
<I wouldn't treat these fish with this antibiotic either>
Will my fish be cured of whatever disease it has and start being active with humans and start taking food.
Please advise.
I have maintained the water temperature to 28 degrees.
With best regards,
<Best to just be patient. I doubt that the one fish has a biological disease here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Flower horn 12/2/11

Hi Mr. Fenner,
<Hello Binesh!>
Thanks for your quick response.
I have done the second part of water change yesterday and repeated the process of salt and tetracycline. Tomorrow i am again going to repeat the same.
Please advise what other food can be given
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornfdgfaq.htm
and also advise what is biological disease. Is this curable?
<... ones caused by living agents... as opposed to nutrition, environment.....>
Also please advise if you have any other medication to suggest.
I love the fish that i bought and don't want to loose it. Please help.
Thanks in advance.
Best regards,
Re: Flower horn, fdg. -- 12/5/11

Hi Bob,
I don't get such fast responses from my vendors, which i get from you.
You were of great help in guiding me for the faster recovery of my fish. Thanks a lot.
I have got the fish food Hikari food sticks. My FH is eating this very well.
<Ah, good>
The cover of the food reads ideal for top feeding carnivores.
But the shopkeeper told me that the food is for Arowanas only.
<... No...>
Please advise if I can continue this.
<You certainly can... B>
Re: Flower horn

Hi Bob,
Thanks a lot for all your valuable advises.
I have zeroed in on the supplier of Hikari foods in India and he is sending me Cichlid Bio Gold.
I hope this is fine?
<Oh yes>
Once again thanks for all your support.
<Welcome Binesh. B>
With Best Regards,
6Re: Flower horn -- 12/6/11

Thanks Bob,
Thanks for all your help.
<Welcome Binesh>
Here in India the general conception is that Humpy head is the one and only food which is good for FH.
People believe that it will increase head growth.
I was also under the same impression before i started reading articles in your site.
Thanks for suggesting Hikari to me.
Once again thanks for your time and i hope i don't disturb you in near future.
<And you, B>
Re: Flower horn, hlth., nutr. -- 12/03/11

Hi Bob,
I did a 100% water change today, removed all the medicines, put some more rocks and stones, added one more filter.
Changed the food to dry shrimps. He initially did not touch the food.
But then suddenly he took all of them into his mouth.
I put one more and he ate it well.
<See WWM re Thiaminase>
Think the diet has improved. But the humpy head pallets remain untouched.
<Throw it away>
Thanks for your advise of changing the food. Is it OK that in future i feed him with only the shrimps.
<No... see above and where you were previously referred. BobF>
Re: Flower horn -- 12/03/11

Hi Bob,
<Big B>
Thanks for the quick responses you give.
As per your below mail, understand that i should not give more of shrimps to my FH as it contains Thiaminase and can cause a deficiency of vitamin B1.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
<You are correct... Did you read here:
So I should start giving peas and spinach to the FH. But is this enough for FH?
<I would feed a staple... pelleted food. My fave is Spectrum... if you can't get this where you are Hikari and Tetra also make excellent dried-prepared foods for Cichlids>
Is there any specific tinned food you can suggest me? Need your help here.
<And you. BobF>

Flowerhorn feeding 08/02/09
,hi! just a couple of questions.,,first have a juvenile FH., just purchased last month.,when feeding, he seems not interested even though im feeding it twice a day.,
<What are you feeding it? Most fish will get bored with one single food, day after day. Moreover, you need to offer good quality food. Hikari Cichlid Gold is probably the best pellet food, but this should still be augmented with other foods. Earthworms, frozen bloodworms, cooked peas, chopped seafood all make good foods for large cichlids.>
and when he starts to eat (after an hour or if there's no one near the tank), he's splitting it out.,is it ok?.,
<Depends how much he eats. Is your fish healthy? Is its body gently rounded? If it eats enough to be healthy, but spits out the rest, then give less food.>
second, he looks afraid if someone's near the tank, the FH stays on the corner.,
<How big is this tank? Flowerhorn cichlids are typical large Central American cichlids. In small tanks they will be nervous. They need plenty of space, a cave, and preferably some floating plants. For a Flowerhorn, the tank should be at least 210 litres/55 gallons, and there must be a cave (like a flowerpot, for example) big enough for the fish to hide in and feel secure. Add some floating plants, real or plastic, as you prefer. Fish swim in the open when they feel secure. There must also be good environmental conditions. Hard, alkaline water is important, aim for pH 7.5-8, 10+ degrees dH; and there must be 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. In poor environmental conditions, fish become nervous.>
but looks ok if no one's around.,lastly.,when will it starts to show colors? I've ask the sales attendant and she
<Flowerhorns are hybrids, not a true species, and you cannot really guarantee anything about them. They were very popular for a while, and in Asia especially, still are. Farms produce them to a price, not a quality.
So you get what you pay for. If you pay a good price from a reputable breeder you can trust, you have a good chance of getting a colourful specimen. If you buy a cheap fish from a pet store -- well, maybe you get a good fish, but maybe not. A varied diet that contains both crustaceans and plant material will enhance whatever colouration your fish has. Good water quality will ensure the fish shows its best colours. A dark aquarium with plenty of shade and floating plants will encourage your fish to show its richest colours. If you feed an inadequate diet, keep the fish in a brightly lit tank, give it no shade, and make no effort to ensure optimal water conditions, your fish will never show good colours -- even if it has good genes! Cheers, Neale.>

FH... hlth... Fed "feeder fish"... 9/10/09
dear sir.
I am iqbal from India I have a FH of short body of 8 month from 3 days he is not having any food period it was on feeding fish that is gold fish and red cap and humpy head but today morning my FH is not able to swimming any is lying down in tank so pls help me regards
<Hello Iqbal. I need information here. How big is the aquarium? What sort of filter do you use? What is the water chemistry? At minimum, tell me the pH. What is the water quality like? At minimum, I need the nitrite level. Usually, when Flowerhorn cichlids stop eating, it's because they are stressed by their environment. A Flowerhorn cichlid needs a tank 55 gallons (about 210 litres) in size, and the tank needs a big filter, ideally rated at a turnover 6 times the volume of the tank or more, i.e., at least 6 x 55 = 330 gallons per hour for a 55 gallon tank. The pH should be 7 to 8, the hardness 10 degrees dH or more, and temperature about 25 degrees C. There should be 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Nitrate level should be low, certainly less than 50 mg/l and preferably less than 20 mg/l. So check all these things. Secondly, DO NOT USE FEEDER FISH! Any fish cheap enough to use as food will not have been cared for properly. Feeder fish are "parasite time bombs" and the most stupid thing any aquarist can do is use them to feed a valuable fish. Furthermore, Goldfish (and other cyprinids, including minnows) contain lots of fat and a substance called thiaminase. Thiaminase breaks down Vitamin B1, and over the long term makes fish very very sick.
Fat also causes problems, and the use of fatty foods is a major cause of mortality among carnivorous fish. Your Flowerhorn is a hybrid bred from cichlids that ate invertebrates, organic detritus, and plant material.
Offer it a varied diet of things like chopped seafood, insect larvae, cooked peas, algae, and so on. Don't feed it if it is not hungry! Healthy cichlids are ALWAYS hungry, so if a cichlid isn't eating, it means something is WRONG. So go back and check your aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn Doesn't Eat 11/20/09
Hello, I have a 72 gallon bow front with a 10 inch FH and a common plecostomus.
I have had the FH for about 4 months now. Up until about a week or 2 ago I noticed that he had not wanted to eat as much and now not at all. I have 2 under gravel filters and a magnum 350 filter also, plenty of oxygen (2-4 inch air stones, 1 large Volcano (air pump) I clean the tank once per week (15% of the water) The water tests good, my water is very hard. I have added aquarium salt to the water, and vitamins to make sure he is getting nutrition. My Pleco eats like a pig (he loves his zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and algae wafers.) I noticed when I went home last night that my FH has a raised bump on his head (under the skin above the bridge of his nose on his kok) Otherwise he looks good, but that did concern me and the fact that he is not eating. Sometimes he hovers at the bottom of the tank or in the corner by a plant, but
otherwise looks at the top of the tank for food. I feed him PE mysis and he will not eat it now, he is a finicky eater, so this is what I fed him. I offer him food and he looks at it and lets it go to the bottom or
doesn't bother with it. He usual gets excited when he sees me and comes to the top and I rub his head, but its getting to where he isn't doing this as much and I haven't seen him rearrange his tank in a few days.
Any advice or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you,
Dee Lopez
<One of two things is going on here. The first, your fish has been imprinted on a certain food type and will not try anything else. Do not offer food for three days. He should be pretty hungry by then. Offer a quality food and leave it in the tank for five minutes, then remove any uneaten food. Try this every day for a week. If he still does not eat then there may be an internal infection. Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>
Re: Flowerhorn Cichlid
Finding Medications Online 11/21/09

Chuck, Thank you for your help. Do you know which website sells Nitrofuranace?
I am having trouble finding it locally or on-line. Dee
< Most fish stores carry the medication. If you are having trouble I know DrFoster&Smith carry it for sure.-Chuck>

Bloated Flowerhorn 12/16/2009
We have a 2 year old Flowerhorn around 10inches in length and looks to have a bloated stomach just behind his gills.
<What are your Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels?>
We feed him Spectrum pellets for the most part
<Are you mixing this with any greens or wet-frozen foods? Dry pellets lead to constipation when fed exclusively.>
and about a month ago he stopped eating to we introduced a few feeder fish to his tank, I see now that feeders aren't the best things for him
<Yes. Hopefully you quarantined these fish to avoid the introduction of a parasite as much as possible. Besides, as you can already see, there were several other things to check out before feeding feeders, such as water quality and diet.>
but after he ate the feeders over several days he started to eat his pellets again. It looks like he is uncomfortable and stays on top of the tank in one corner which is unusual for him as he has always been active.
We have tried some canned peas but he doesn't seem interested in them at all this is about day 3
<Do you mean day 3 since he ate the feeders? And before that he didn't eat for a month? I just want to get a good idea of how long this has been going on.>
we have also noticed he keeps picking up gravel and holding it in his mouth are they like some birds and this helps their digestive system.
<Nah, he shouldn't be eating gravel. If he has swallowed any, though, this could be what's wrong, but I'd check on these other things first.>
Please let us know what we can do to help him as he is an awesome fish.
<The first thing to do is test water quality. You don't mention how often you do maintenance on this tank, but the tests are going to reveal if you're doing it often enough. If you'd like to write back with those numbers, feel free. If he is bloated, the first thing I would try is Epsom Salt in the amount of one tablespoon per ten gallons. You can dissolve it in a cup of warm water, let everything cool to room temperature, and then add your dechlorinator to the cup, and add to the tank. You'd dose enough for half the tank's volume the first day, and half the second day.
However, please test water first. I'm going to include a link to our archived information on Flowerhorns. You'll see that there are a lot of other foods he could be eating along with the pellets to maintain healthy digestion.
Clicking those links above the article's title will lead you to information on feeding and other aspects of care. Please write back if you have any questions after reading that information. There are a couple of things that could be going on here, and the introduction of the feeders doesn't help matters at all, but I think testing water and then, if all is well
(Ammonia and Nitrite zero, Nitrate under 20) then the Epsom Salt treatment is the first thing to do.>
Thanks again
<You're welcome.
Re: Bloated Flowerhorn -- 12/16/09

Hi Melinda,
<Hi Fred.>
First of all thanks for replying so quick, <No problem!>
and I'm sorry I wasn't clearer on the time frames of everything.
<Thanks for writing back to clarify.>
He wasn't eating a month ago and that is when we introduced the feeders and then he was feeding well again until 3 days ago.
<Okay. I've got it now. So this problem seems relatively new, but may be a continuation of what was going on before, when he stopped eating.>
We keep him in a 30 gallon tank and try to change the water every week this is an aquarium kept in our office at work so some times it is hit and miss on changing the water.
<This is a small tank for an adult Flowerhorn, Fred. Skipping water changes isn't doing him any favors.>
We do check the Ammonia levels and such and that isn't the problem at this time.
<It's not that I don't believe you... it's just that numbers are a lot more helpful. See, the numbers are completely objective data -- that way, they can be interpreted by me, who is trying to help you. The information you're giving me re: water quality is subjective -- your interpretation of the water quality. Obviously, we may have the exact same interpretation of a set of data, but we might not! That's why I love to get numbers. Then my brain gets some exercise.>
He is also a darker shade of red the last few days.
<Yes, this is indicative of stress. Could be just as a result of having to go!>
It really looks like he just has to go if you know what I mean.
We will try the Epsom salts like you suggest and let you know how it works.
<Okay. Again, test that water. The small tank and lack of really consistent attention make me think "Nitrate! Nitrate! Nitrate!" It could be totally fine, but I can't help but wonder if something is amiss with that water quality. The Epsom Salt will hopefully work wonders on his problem, but only if everything else is ideal, as well. Again, be mindful of what you're feeding -- if it's only a dry pellet, mix in some wet-frozen foods or veggies, as well. There are some good feeding suggestions under "Flowerhorn Feeding" in that link I sent you.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome.>

My FH, reading 9/20/10
Hi Crew,
Could you please let me know if my FH has dropsy? If so, please advise which medicine I can give.
Thank you and regards,
<Not dropsical; read here:
but a bit "fat"... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>Re:

My FH 9/20/10
Thank you so much, Bob. My worries are now gone.
<Ah, good>
I'm feeding my FH with SUMO 2x a day, do you think this is OK or shall I reduce it 1x a day?
<Twice should be fine, better than once. But just smaller portions>
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: My FH 10/27/10

Hi Bob,
How are you?
<Fine, thank you>
I would like to check with you if there still a luck for me to decrease a bit at least the bloated tummy of my lovable FH.
Thank you and regards,
<Mmm, don't understand what you mean... Have you reduced the amount of foods? Tried Epsom salt? BobF>
Re: My FH 10/29/10

Hi Bob,
<Big O>
I used Epsom salt just yesterday and will continue monitoring him. Is it OK
to feed him small amount during medication?
<Certainly, yes>
<And you. BobF>

Flower horn sick after feeding pork....Please help! 5/1/11
I am Suresh from India. I have a 1year old Flower horn. She is normally very active & a voracious eater. But 3 days back I fed her pork after which she does not eat at all & is not active. She sits at the bottom of the tank most of the time. She also has developed a small bulge in the abdomen. I came to know after referring the net that pork is not suitable for flower horns'¦but what do I do now to make her well. Please help as I don't want to lose her.
<Greetings, Suresh. Hope you've learned your lesson here! Do not, Do Not, DO NOT give bird or mammal meat to aquarium fish -- EVER! In short, mammal and bird meats congeal inside cold-blooded animals, and in doing so, cause them varying degrees of harm. Of course some cold-blooded animals are adapted to dealing with such prey, like snakes, but not your cichlid. Your cichlid should be fed a mix of pellet foods, cooked peas, spinach, and small invertebrates such as earthworms. For now, you just have to wait and see what happens. Don't feed her until her belly comes back to normal. When she does start eating, give her just cooked peas (squashing the peas as well sometimes helps) -- peas are excellent laxatives for fish. You can also use Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate; not cooking salt, i.e., sodium chloride!) at 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons will help a good deal by loosening the muscles of the gut, reducing swelling. But that's about all you can do. Cheers, Neale.>

In need of help... My FH is constipated -- 10/18/07 Hello guys! My FH is constipated, he still poops but very little and rarely. <Let's rewind a little. What are the environmental conditions, and what are you feeding the fish? Flowerhorn cichlids, like virtually all cichlids, are omnivores. That means that green foods are just as important to their condition as meaty foods. In other words, they need fibre. Tinned peas, fresh algae, Sushi Nori, spinach, blanched lettuce etc are all good. Sure, they prefer meaty foods, but then most humans prefer the steak on their plate despite the fact it's the vegetables that are essential to good health. Sometimes you have to starve your fish for a day or two to get it to eat green foods. But tinned peas though usually work straight away, as most cichlids seem to like them. Once you have green foods as a regular part of a fish's weekly diet, constipation as good as never happens.> I started not feeding him today because I'm afraid he is beginning to bloat. <Bloating is extremely serious in cichlids, and disturbingly common. Lack of greens and the wrong water chemistry are two factors widely considered to be critical.> I read from your site that I should put Epsom salt so I went to the pet shop, but instead, they gave me marine salt mix and told me it was the same. <It's not; marine salt mix is largely Sodium chloride. Take it back. They took advantage of you. Marine salt mix is absolutely not the same thing. It's like saying Salt and Sugar are the same because they're both white powders.> I don't know if it was stupid of me to buy it. <Stupid is too strong a word, but they certainly took advantage of the fact you didn't know any better. Not a good sign in a retailer. You can buy Epsom salt (Magnesium sulphate) from a chemist or drugstore if your aquarium store doesn't have it.> I realized I should ask you guys first before putting that marine salt mix because I do not trust those peeps at the pet shop. <Indeed.> Does marine salt mix have the same effect as Epsom's regarding my FH's constipation? <No.> Should I put it then? <No.> Thanks! Take care!!! Nina <Use Epsom salt as indicated to treat the symptoms, but also review diet to fix the underlying problem, i.e., the lack of fibre in your fish's diet. Good luck, Neale>
Re: In need of help... 10/19/07
Omigosh! He is a fast feeding fish gulping pellets. I only feed him pellets and never greens. I didn't know... thanks Neale! I did not feed him for 2 days now, he has not pooped. So, should I put Epsom salt and wait for him to poop before feeding him greens or should I feed him greens right away while on Epsom? Also, when should I feed him greens? Once a week? Once a day? Every other day? Thank you so much for all the help you guys? <Do the Epsom Salt treatment *and* feed him green foods (tinned peas are cheap and work well usually). The green food is fibre, and that helps the digestive system "push" everything alone. Basically exactly the same as in humans. I'd be planning on making 2 meals out of 7 green foods of some sort. The more, the better. No cichlid is harmed by eating too much green food. So see how things go, and try out different things. Good luck, Neale>

Pearl Flower Horn My pearl flower horn is about 5 inches long and seems very healthy. However, about 1 1/2 weeks ago he developed a growth that looks like an intestine that hangs down behind the fin on his stomach. It got bigger for several days and now is about 3/4" long and hangs down right behind the fin. He acts healthy and eats well but that growth can't be ok. None of the aquarium people I have spoken to have any idea what it could be. He is developing well and is changing to a reddish color and should be a beautiful fish when he finishes developing. I have not moved him into the new 46 gallon tank I got him because I hope to provide treatment for him and the smaller tank is easier to do that with. Do you have any ideas about what this could be? < It sound like a prolapsed rectum. It may come back in over time if it doesn't get fungused or damaged. Try smaller but more frequent feedings so there won't be so much stress on his digestive system.-Chuck>

Flower Horn Not Eating From 3 Months!   7/22/06 Hi ! This is Avinash Jaiswal from India. I have a Flowerhorn about 1 feet. From 3 months he has stopped eating, he loves to eat fresh prawn but at this times he never turns back to see those prawns and his colour has also became dull and the size of his head has also decreased. <A bad sign of starvation...> Please help me this is not the first time I'm facing this problem 2-3 times this problem has occurred. I'm getting scare if something happens to him, he is my first Flowerhorn. Please reply soon I'll wait for your reply. <Just guessing here, but this sounds like a part of one of the prawns exoskeletons has become lodged in this fish's "stomach"... You might have some luck in trying to pass this with the addition of Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) at the rate of one level teaspoon per five gallons of water... Surgery to extract this mass might even be suggest-able... with the use of an anesthetic, reaching into the buccal cavity with blunt forceps. Bob Fenner>
Re: Flowerhorn Not Eating For 3 Months   7/24/06
As you have mentioned that the exoskeletons have in his stomach. Before feeding him prawns, I clean those prawns and remove their hard shells and I feed him only their soft flesh in which their seems to be no bones besides these I am feeding him OCEAN FREE's FLOWERHORN KING Pellets & BRINE SHRIMP. <Ahh, I see... it isn't the prawn skeletons then... These other foods should be fine, provide complete nutrition, though I would try an occasional earthworm or equivalent here. Bob Fenner>

Flowerhorn not eating   10/1/06 hey guys... ding Ilagan of the Philippines here.. my FH hasn't eaten for 2 weeks now. <Bad...> He hasn't shown any signs of sickness (swims a lot, still very aggressive when you put your finger near the tank), except for his body color getting darker, and a white, transparent substance that has substituted for his wastes. Is this a from of internal infection that he has? <Possibly> I have tried doing a 50% water change, putting some salt in the tank, and even dropping a couple of Metronidazole tablets, but still no improvement. I fear that this is going to get worse if I don't do anything. I already lost his brother to an internal infection and i can't stand to lose him too. He's my very first FH and he's turning a year old this month. please advise me on what treatment i should apply. am getting pretty desperate... Help me crew... <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornfdgfaq.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Experts Asking Experts, Hole-In-The-Head On A Flowerhorn   12/19/06  Good morning, Crew! I hope this day finds you well. Inspired by your example, I have been helping people with their fishy questions by volunteering at AllExperts.com. So far, everything has been very straightforward, but yesterday a gentleman overseas asked me about his Flowerhorn. I hope you don't feel that I am asking you to "do my homework" for me, but before I suggest any other treatment besides salt, I wondered if you wouldn't mind sharing your opinions on what appears to be wrong with this cichlid. Before he sent me the pictures, I told him it was probably Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE). Although the pattern of erosion is not what I expected to see based on his descriptions, I still believe that HLLE is the causative agent here - but I wanted to double check with the real experts! Thank you so much for your assistance, you have always been so reassuring and helpful. There are so few free resources like this on the web at large...what you have here is remarkable. Happy holidays to all of you! I hope that a fab getaway is in your future! Nicole < The exact cause is not known. Generally a 50% water change, vacuuming the gravel and cleaning the filter improves the water quality and slows the progression of the disease. Treatments of a combination Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone have had some success. Some aquarists have also had good luck with Clout. After treatments have arrested the disease, a more nutritious diet with fresh ingredients and high vitamin and mineral contents speed the recovery. Vitamin C seems to be a key vitamin in getting a full recovery. many Flowerhorn breeders are obsessed with color and developing the fatty hump on the males. These high fat diets usually develop into diseases like bloat and the hole in the head that this Flowerhorn seems to have.-Chuck>

I am worried. (Flowerhorn, do real data) 11/11/09
Can some one pls help me???
<Will try.>
I am worried.
My Flower Horn is not taking pellets suddenly.
<Often happens. Pellet foods should be part of their diet, but not the whole diet. Dried foods tend to cause constipation. So at the least, mix with green foods (e.g., cooked peas or spinach). Wet-frozen or live Brine
Shrimps and Daphnia are also good for avoiding constipation. Do remember to keep dried foods in a cool, dry place. Otherwise, they go stale, and the fish won't eat them.>
I normal feed him with Humpy head. it is 3 months old. But it is becoming weaker now. it starves for more than 3 days, then i give him a live food.
Even it is not taking live fish.
<Do not use live fish for food! This is very, very bad. Live fish introduce diseases, and are also likely to have too much fat and too much thiaminase.
All very bad.>
Can some one pls help me
<Read here:
Most sick cichlids are sick because of their environment. You haven't supplied any useful data, so I can't give you any good ideas of what might be wrong. But check the size of the tank and that the filter is adequate.
Check the pH and hardness and temperature. If anything doesn't match what is described in this article, make the necessary changes.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: I am worried. (Flowerhorn, do real data)  11/13/09

Thanks a lot for your suggestion
<You're welcome.>
for the past two days it is standing at the base of the tank and it's very inactive. if its a constipation, what to do.
<Do check the environment. What is the pH? What is the hardness? What is the ammonia level? What is the nitrite level? What is the nitrate level?
What is the temperature? All these things matter. Most cichlids become inactive when they are being kept badly. Read the article I sent you. Check you are providing the water chemistry, water quality, aquarium size, temperature, and diet these fish need.>
can you suggest me any solution. more over there are no waste at the bottom of the tanks as u said. do we have any medicine to cure it?
<Don't use medicine unless the fish is clearly sick. Choose a medicine that treats a particular disease. Adding medicine "hoping for the best" usually ends up killing the fish.>
can i boil the peas/Spanish and feed it.
waiting for your reply
<Cheers, Neale.>

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