Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid Disease: Parasitic  

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, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), 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

Protozoans, Worms, Crustaceans: Ich, Hexamita, Chilodonella... Flukes... Fish Lice, Anchorworm...

Flowerhorn... lumenal parasite?      5/25/16
Ok im at my wits end.
<Oh no!>
I know what white poop in Flowerhorns is i honestly have tried everything under the sun, I've used CLEAR, Prazi Pro, Bacta, Aci, epsom salt, i haven't been able to get this fish better or get him to eat in over a month im noticing his white waste coming out is thick and airy looking,
<None of the medications used are the right one. You MUST use Metronidazole, ideally alongside a broad spectrum antibiotic such as one of the Nitrofuran drugs. While medicating be sure to do several things. First, remove carbon (and for that matter, any other chemical medium that might remove or react with the medicine). Secondly, optimise environmental conditions, especially by providing lots of oxygen and by minimising dissolved metabolites, including nitrate.>
i placed him back in his bigger tank with his girl friend, his color has come back he acts like he's happier, he had completely lost what was going to be a nice Kok, skinny been force feeding him spectra, with some garlic Epsom salt spirulium, same way i administered his CLEAR he has no interest in food, not even bloodworms, cant get my hands on metro as it is by
prescription only?
<Correct. In the UK at least, you'd talk to a vet. There are some non-prescription medications here, such as eSHa HEXAMITA, that may be worth trying in non-critical situations. But Metronidazole is absolutely the drug of choice.>
What do i do? My water in my tanks are always on point, perfect!
<Do review diet as well; Flowerhorns are omnivores, and one common mistake with these (and indeed most other cichlids) is the absence of fresh green foods from their diet. Hexamita and HITH/HLLE-type infections do seem to have a strong link with lack of green foods as well as high (20+ mg/l) nitrate levels.>
He's in a 75 gal with his girl. Help im out of ideas???? Put him back in his tank from hospital tank, put carbon back in as i did preventative for her, but im frustrated? Jamie
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

My flower horn is Hexamita protozoa effected...          4/7/15
he have three small pits on his head...and did not taking any types of food from 2 weeks...I treating the tank with Metronidazole..and also treat his pits with Mercurochrome... But I did not get good result....what can I do...pls help me...save my fish
...pls help me
<First the obvious question: did you remove carbon from the filter before using the medication? If not, then the medication can be adsorbed by the carbon BEFORE it helps your fish. The second question: is the environment suitable? You can throw all the medication you want in an aquarium, but if the environment is wrong, a sick fish will stay sick. So, help yourself by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FHParrotDisArtNeale.htm
Then maybe peruse a few of these:
On the whole Flowerhorns get sick for the same reasons, again and again and again. Hexamita infections are almost ALWAYS associated with: high nitrate, monotonous diet, and inadequate oxygenation. Review, and act accordingly.
Indeed, I've never seen a fish get sick from Hexamita or HITH that wasn't suffering from one (often all) of these issues. Cheers, Neale.>
FH? Ongoing        4/8/15
I removed carbon from the filter before using medication..the aquarium environment is good...
<Says you. I don't believe this to be the case. Tell me how big the aquarium is. What sort of filter do you use? How much water is water changed? What is the water chemistry? What is the nitrite or ammonia reading? Trust me, cichlids almost never get sick from Hexamita UNLESS the environment is wrong.>
tell me about the treatment....''how can I use Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone "and he is not eating any type of food. What should I do?
<Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm
Then go on to this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/flowerhorndisfaq.htm
Follow the links at top to more such pages ("Flowerhorn Disease 2", "Flowerhorn Disease 3", etc.). We get hundreds of messages about sick Flowerhorns, and they're almost always down to a big cichlid being kept in a small aquarium. On top of aquarium size they need good water quality (including low nitrate) and excellent water quality. Review, and act
accordingly. All the medication in the world won't help if the aquarium is wrong. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn Recovering from Hexamita, and Flagyl use f'  - 11/15/2012
Good day, Sir. My name is Len from the Philippines. I just have this not-so-urgent-but-important question to ask about my Flowerhorn named Thor (as my 5 year old son has named him, being a huge fan of the movie).
Anyway, he is about 5 inches in length, and I have had him for over a month now. He shares a tank separated with a glass divider with another Flowerhorn not-so-surprisingly named Loki. Thor has recently suffered from Hexamita, and after a 5 day treatment with Metro in a 10-gallon hospital tank, seems to be recovering well, good thing I diagnosed him with it after just 2 days of him having it so gave him his medications right away. He is gaining back his appetite, which he totally lost during the illness. And is now somehow pooping normal again (no more white strings, just pale brown poop). Only thing I'm worried about right now is his discoloration. He has gone really dark and I was wondering what I should do to get him back to being 100% normal again, being pinkish and very pretty.
<Mmm, just good water quality, nutrition and time going by>
 Are there extra things that need to be done after treating with Metro?
<Not really, no; monitoring aspects of water quality, being ready (w/ pre-made water) to do partial change-outs is expedient>
I have been Google-ing about this for 2 days and found almost nothing so I wanted to ask for your expert advice on this. Any advice/help will be highly appreciated.
Thank you very much. -Len
<Would it be worthwhile to have you read over what we have posted re Metronidazole use?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm
and the related FAQs links above. Bob Fenner>

FH hlth., Hospital Tank for a Flowerhorn suffering from Ciliate Chilodonella infection 9/7/11
HI Crew, this is Eric and I was wondering, do you guys have an article giving detailed instructions on setting up a hospital tank? I have finally narrowed down what my Flowerhorn is suffering from and now I need to get it treated but I have never had to set up a hospital tank and I want to make darn sure I get it perfect. Any info would be greatly appreciated!!!
<Hello Eric. Chilodonella is difficult to treat, and it's also difficult (impossible?) for hobbyists to distinguish between Chilodonella, Ichthyobodo (=Costia) and any of the other so-called Slime Disease parasites. So you need to be open minded here. Normally, a good, reliable Whitespot medication works against them. Usually, salt at 3 g/l to as high as 5 g/l will also eliminate early cases. One of the best things you can ALSO do alongside either of these treatments is to do seawater baths, i.e., dip the fish in water with a salinity of 35 g/l but the same temperature as your aquarium. Dip the fish for at least 2 minutes and preferably as long as possible, 5, 10 or even 20 minutes being possible. Remove the fish before it becomes obviously distressed, e.g., by rolling over. Saltwater dips kill parasites on the skin, and the longer the dip, the more parasites are killed. The saltwater also helps to clear up the irritation and reduce the mucous. Do at least one dip, and I like to do another after 2-3 days.
If your Flowerhorn lives by itself, there is no need to set up a hospital tank. Flowerhorn cichlids are not sociable fish and aren't usually kept with other fish. Details on quarantine tanks are elsewhere on WWM; the rules for marine tanks hold here, except, obviously, you don't use seawater but freshwater!
Cheers, Neale.>
re: Hospital Tank for a Flowerhorn suffering from Ciliate Chilodonella infection 9/7/11

I have a medicine that contains Methylene blu, and formalin.
<Formalin can work. But it is EXTREMELY toxic to your fish, your filter, and you! So use with extreme caution as instructed on the packaging. I would not use it.>
Will that work and if I treat the entire tank what would I need to do after the treatment, i.e. recycling the tank.
<I would use a safer medication, e.g., eSHa 2000 here in the UK, that would not harm the filter. In your own region/country there may be alternative medications available. Cheers, Neale.>
Nitrates too high (RMF?)<<Already wrote this fellow re the root of his issue...>> 9/7/11

Hello Crew, this is Eric
I'm having a problem with Nitrate levels in my Flowerhorn Cichlids tank. I have a 75 Gallon tank and my water parameters are Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Ph is 8.2 which I know is high and I am currently trying to lower it with Ph Down, tank temp is 77F. I did a 50% water change today and vacuumed the gravel and my Nitrates are at 40 ppm, ml/G. My question is should I keep doing a large water change every day until that level drops down to minimal?
<Yes, that's the easiest approach. Also cut down feeding, and also make sure the aquarium is reasonable for the size of your fish. An adult Flowerhorn can be 25 cm/10 inches long, and a big, fat fish at that -- so 75 gallons isn't a huge amount of water. What's the nitrate level of your tap water? If your tap water contains 40 mg/l nitrate, then doing water changes will NEVER take the nitrate level in the aquarium below that. For cichlids, 40-50 mg/l is just about the maximum they tolerate without long-term problems. They are, for example, much less tolerant of nitrate than Goldfish. You really want 20 mg/l nitrate or less. If you have 0 mg/l nitrate in your tap water, and 40 mg/l nitrate in the aquarium, then changing 25% will lower the nitrate to 30 mg/l, 50% to 20 mg/l, and so on. Obviously big water changes expose fish to the risk of temperature and water chemistry changes, so there's a balance to strike between adding new water and your ability to keep temperature and water changes nearly constant. Small, daily water changes of 10-20% will be safer than changing 75% once a week, though some advanced aquarists certainly take the second approach knowing that they can keep temperature and water chemistry very steady.>
I have Bio Wheels on my tank with two Magnum 350 Pro Canister Filters that are both filled with Activated Carbon and Zeolite. I understand for reading on the site that Bio Wheels can add a lot of Nitrates to the tank.
<Not sure this is true, but it's often stated. I think it's perhaps better to say that a DIRTY canister filter can cultivate its own "ecology" of microorganisms that may contribute nitrate to the water, and certainly compared to sand filters or live rock filters there's no active removal of nitrate. But a well-maintained canister filter that's rinsed regularly is a PERFECTLY good filter choice for cichlid aquaria.>
I am also adding 1Tblsp per 5 gallons of water of Aquarium salt to the replacement water when I do my water changes, could that be contributing to the high nitrate levels.
<No, but salt isn't a magic bullet either.>
The only reason I am adding the salt is per my Veterinarians recommendation.
<Salt reduces the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate, so in some ways its useful. But it's also a potential stress on freshwater fish, especially soft water fish. I doubt this concentration of salt will have much negative harm on a Central American hybrid cichlid, but do be aware that some hard water cichlids from the Rift Valley of Africa are prone to "Malawi Bloat" when kept in tanks where salt is added carelessly. There isn't any compelling reason to use salt in the long term, so once your fish is better, and once you've got nitrate levels to 20 mg/l or less, I'd slowly phase out salt usage by adding less and less over a few months. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Hospital Tank for a Flowerhorn suffering from Ciliate Chilodonella infection 9/7/11

Ok one last question, this white spot problem started about a week after I introduced a large Pleco into the Flowerhorns tank, would it be a good idea to just get rid of the Pleco?
<Any new fish has the risk of bringing in Whitespot, so in that sense, the damage is already done. But in a 75-gallon system an adult Pleco and an adult Flowerhorn will be producing a LOT of waste, likely explaining your high nitrate levels. Furthermore, there are lots of reports of Plecs "sucking" onto the sides of big, slow-moving cichlids such as Oscars, so that's another reason not to keep them together. Flowerhorn cichlids are simply much easier kept alone, where you can very precisely maintain the
right water chemistry and water quality. If you must keep them with other livestock, you'd really want a tank bigger than 75 gallons. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hospital Tank for a Flowerhorn suffering from Ciliate Chilodonella infection 9/7/11

Also, Neale, I have now way of checking salinity levels so any idea how much aquarium salt I need to add to 16 gallons of water to get 35g/l?
<You can use Google to convert grammes into ounces and litres in gallons.
On my web site there's a program called "Brick Calc" that will do this for you, converting g/l into ounce/US gallon and comparing these to specific gravity and % seawater. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hospital Tank for a Flowerhorn suffering from Ciliate Chilodonella infection

ok Neale, I am trying to find something in the USA that is equivalent to the eSHa 2000, any ideas, or maybe what types of chemicals I should be looking for.
<Seachem Paraguard and Mardel Maracide are the sort of thing I'd be looking at.>
I can get products from a company called Mardel that treats skin problems.
I am really at a loss for what to do here cause my Flowerhorn has had this problem for 4 days now and it just keeps regressing as the days go on.
<Do try the salt dip; can clear up the mucous within hours, and that's a good sign Costia or similar is the problem.>
I've spent the last 4 days just trying to figure out what is going on. Also I would need a product that I can treat the hole tank with and after treatment just replace my carbon
<Remove these while medicating.>
and filter pads and do a water change.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hospital Tank for a Flowerhorn suffering from Ciliate Chilodonella infection 9/7/11

Oh ok so I would actually add 35grams of aquarium salt per litre of water.
<Yes. Do read:
35 g/l looks A LOT. But it's actually how much there is in seawater. Hold the fish in the water with a net. If it thrashes about, or turns upside-down, then remove and return to the aquarium. Be cautious, but don't
be frightened: this is one of the safest ways to treat fish. Do read the section on salt in the aquarium fish health book of your choice. Signing off for the next 48 hours! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hospital Tank for a Flowerhorn suffering from Ciliate Chilodonella infection

Oh ok so I would actually add 35grams of aquarium salt per litre of water.
<Yes. Do read:
35 g/l looks A LOT. But it's actually how much there is in seawater. Hold the fish in the water with a net. If it thrashes about, or turns upside-down, then remove and return to the aquarium. Be cautious, but don't
be frightened: this is one of the safest ways to treat fish. Do read the section on salt in the aquarium fish health book of your choice. Signing off for the next 48 hours! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hospital Tank for a Flowerhorn suffering from Ciliate Chilodonella infection 9/10/11

Before u go I picked up two medicines, Mardel Maroxy, and Mardel biospheres.
Sound ok?
<Not familiar with them. Check with manufacturer (packaging or website) to see if they treat Costia or Slime Disease. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: PLSS HELP - Something wrong with my Flowerhorn - Unable to diagnose Lernaea? 9/10/09
Hi Bob,
First of all thanks for stepping in to help me out
Update on the situation...
Yesterday I had first roller coaster ride in my 10 yrs of hobby..
The diagnosis was wrong..
I observed him sulking in a corner in a slanting position.. I observed him lethargic, I observed him turning dark in color.. so the first idea which anyone gets is an internal stomach problem...
But the confusion was
1. He had the usual appetite
2. His stomach was not bloated
3. He was passing poo normal in color
Tuesday (8th September 2009)
Evening - I observed whenever he sulks, he sulks in the same position in whichever corner of the tank he chooses... He sits in a posture where both his pelvic fins are covered in the ground, I also observed that he has a very mild movement pattern sitting in the same position, as if swinging like a pendulum...
I observed he had two red scars in his pelvic fin and a pure white thread like structure 1 inch in length hanging from both the scars - Worst part is that thread has a sac like structure or a ball at the end....
Wednesday (9th September 2009)
Morning - Saw the thread like structure has disintegrated from one of the scars, one still has a remnant, very small in size..
Three new white pimple like structure arrived on his tail.. they were new... looks like some kind of a white pimple...
Afternoon - My all doubts were Anchor worm, ...
<Ahh! A too-common parasite for pond-raised fishes, or kept with, fed fishes from...>
I had seen this before with one of my friend's goldies, So I knew how does an Anchor worm look like so, at the same time was not aware of what is the commercially available medicine, whether will get it in shorter time.. from anywhere..
He was always sitting in bottom, in a posture, which used to cover both of his scars.. and he used to move some time to and fro as if rubbing those scars...
Decided to go for KMNO4 (PP) treatment..
<Mmm, not for Lernaea... Better the organophosphate route... DTHP or Dimilin... Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anchorwrmfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. You will need to extract/remove the adults on the fish itself with tweezers>
Had a 23 litres tank - dosage of 10mg/litre of PP, prepared a PP concentrated solution (25 mg in 500 ml of distilled water) and had put 5 ml of that in the 23 litres tank resulting in 230 mg of PP...
<Potassium permanganate is too strong an oxidizer for "casual use"... too easy to serious burn fishes>
Transferred the FH into that tank, and allowed him to be there for 20 minutes with heavy aeration...
By god's grace he took the treatment well.. he was swimming.. all through the treatment... there was heavy bubbling inside the tank.. the clean water of PP was filled up with very small disintegrated particles....
After 20 minutes took him out to a freshwater tub...
Cleaned his hospital tank thoroughly, filled - refilled twice,, and had put him back again....in his small hospital bed
Then came the easy but the most tedious part.. had to again disinfect his 300 litres tank with KMNO4... this time did not measured the KMNO4 amount.. just poured it liberally in the tank with all decors inside... allowed the tank to sit for 30 minutes.. with PP solution...
<Yikes... stains most all. I would have used hypochlorite/chlorine bleach... Per the protocol detailed on WWM>
Then cleaned all his decor, refilled and cleaned 300 lites twice, till I was sure not a trace of KMNO4 was visible... poured it up with water, dechlorinator, salt started heavy aeration for 4 hours.. then transferred him back to his main home..
Immly he became white, all colors gone.. fed him two pellets, switched off the lights,
Thursday (10 th September) - today morning
Colors got back to normal...he ate pellets, active than before but still relatively lethargic..
<But... did you remove the adult Anchorworms/Crustaceans from the fish?>
Out of 5 pimples, 2 have vanished, 1 still exists, remaining 2 has very slight traces.. I am just hoping, that those are dead by now and would vanish in 2 - 3 days time..
I will be keeping a close watch on him...
Now the million dollar question I have, is how did this thing entered in my tank..
On last Sunday (30th Sep) - I did a major cleaning of both of my 4 feet tanks.. Till now I do not see anything to my Malawi Setup.. but the FH got affected..
I had kept him in a very good condition - I know difficult to believe, but people who have seen him as regarded my tank as one of most clean ones..
but still ...
I just hope that I am done.. and these remaining small spores would go away with Salt and temperature and I do not have to treat him with PP once again...
Had to do this, because these damn freaks were sucking all that I was feeding him...
Just hope he pulls through...
<Me too>
<Thank you for sharing your experiences... observations and reactions. Bob Fenner>

White spots on Flowerhorn side fins -- 11/1/09
Hi crew
I have a Flowerhorn 3 inches long. He is in 20 gallon tank with powerfilter, sponge filter .
<A short term home, at best. This fish will grow rapidly, and needs a much bigger tank. You will certainly need at least 55 gallons, and realistically 75 gallons, within the next six months. If you don't provide a big enough tank, like all cichlids, he will be prone to infections (e.g., Hexamita).>
I do 25 percent water changes twice a week. Yesterday I fed him with live blood worms. I washed the bloodworms when I bring them but since yesterday after feeding him I saw some white spots on his side fins. He is eating the food properly. kindly suggest me some treatment to get rid of the white spots.
<Question: are these white spots that look like salt grains, or cloudy specks where the fin membrane has become discoloured? If the former, Whitespot/Ick is the issue, and this is most safely treated with a
combination of aquarium salt and heat. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per US gallon for at least 7 days with the temperature raised to 82-86 F. You can also use proprietary Ick medication, though these are somewhat toxic, so you need to watch your fish carefully while using them. If the white spots are discoloured patches on the fin membranes, then that's more likely incipient Finrot, a very common disease when fish are kept under poor conditions. Various commercial medications available, but all assume you're
going to improve environmental conditions as well. Do see here:
I have put aquarium salt in my tank today (Pl suggest me the quantity of salt to put for 20 gallon tank).
<Salt should not be added to the aquarium except for treating specific diseases. If you have Whitespot/Ick, then use the dose mentioned above.
Otherwise, don't use salt at all. Does little good, and may do some harm.>
Also suggest me some other remedy as it is worrying me a lot. I really luv my spotty very much.
<Best remedy? Reading. Find out what these fish need, and then act accordingly. Better to prevent problems than cure them.
Cheers, Neale.>
White spots on Flowerhorn side fins 11/3/09

Hi Neale,
<Hello again, Amit,>
Thanks for the prompt reply..
<Happy to help.>
I am following the treatment pattern as suggested by you. The fish is responding well.
<Good. I take it you decided this was Ick/Whitespot (which salt helps) as opposed to Finrot (which salt doesn't help).>
Meanwhile I wanted to ask you should I step down his diet for the next 7 days and am I advised to make 25 percent water change everyday while adding salt.
<I wouldn't "step down" feeding, but I *would* check you aren't overfeeding, and that the food you're offering is nutritious. For many cichlids, regular offerings of green foods are beneficial, and cooked or
tinned peas are ideal. So try offering some of these. There's also a good argument for not feeding on one day each week (rather good for humans too, but most of us don't have the will power!). It is too easy to overfeed fish. Because they do not have efficient digestive systems, most of the excess food goes straight out of their bodies. So by cutting back the food, you won't slow down their growth. Simply offer a sensible amount of food. One or two meals per day, and not so much anything is left after one minute. The fish should not look fat; it should simply have a slightly rounded (convex) belly, but mustn't look swollen or as if it has eaten too much.>
Awaiting ur reply eagerly
Thanks in advance
<Cheers, Neale.>

Sickly Flowerhorn, no useful data 6/23/10
I've been searching the Internet to find a cure for my Flowerhorn fish. I have my fish for two years and nothing ever happen to him. Recently we move our 40gl tank to the front living room and using the water holes in the front of the house. He got sick. First he swim side ways and then upside down. Next he stay at the bottom of the tank. And now he is flowing upside down close to the surface of the water. He also have a bowed belly. He doesn't eat for about 3 weeks already.
<Very bad.>
We try to feed him peas but no luck. He would not eat anything else. He is energetic. Lately his poop is yellow and it come out way small then normal.
<Possibly Hexamita. Usually caused by poor environmental conditions. Do read here:
For this species, you need 75 gallon aquarium. The water must be hard and basic; aim for pH 7.5-8, 10-25 degrees dH. The temperature should be middling, around 25 C/77 F. Water quality must be excellent; 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and nitrate level less than 20 mg/l. Hexamita infections are very, VERY common when cichlids are kept poorly. The only cure is Metronidazole, administered via their food (not added to the water), as stated here:
Virtually nothing else works.>
I don't know what to do for him. Can you help me please? Reply to this email. Thank you.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Help... Flowerhorn hlth. 11/06/07 Good day! Thank you for continually helping hobbyist. I tried other fish websites but they do not seem to know anything. I feel like my FH is dying and they still want me to monitor and observe. Here are the things that I have noticed. 1. Continual flashing and scratching. 2. Body, pelvic fins, and dorsal fins twitching. 3. Stays at the bottom or near surface with clamped fins. (Sometimes, using only 1 pectoral fin) 4. Lethargic. 5. Body slime is visible on the body. 6. Gills are like hidden inside its gill plates and gill appears to be pale. (He does not appear to have rapid breathing. Slow and shallow breathing actually.) 7. Losing equilibrium. I also noticed that he began to have small holes in his head. A secondary disease because he is not eating anymore, I guess. Is it bacterial or parasite? My guess is gill fluke so I went to a pet shop in New Zealand but they do not have fluke tabs. I was told by "apparently a fish doctor" that he's not sure what it is because fishes are hard to diagnose and that he told me that my best bet would be Furan 2. I want to know what you guys would suggest before I medicate my fish. By the way, he recently had Finrot so I gave him erythromycin, then he had this disease subsequently. Thanks again and again. Please save my fish from his imminent demise. Take care!!! Nina <Nina, your fish sounds as if it has the symptoms of Hexamita and/or Hole-in-the-Head (these may be one and the same disease). It is very common among cichlids, and seems to be related to water quality and diet issues. The classic set of causes are a tank with high levels of nitrate caused by overstocking and infrequent water changes, plus a monotonous diet, in particular lacking in greens (vitamins!). Some aquarists have also implicated things as varied as electrical fields and the dust from activated carbon. Regardless, it's difficult to treat without recourse to a (normally) prescription drug called Metronidazole. (See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm .) Nothing much else works. Ideally, it's fed directly to the fish. During treatment, make sure you remove the carbon from the filter (if you're using it) and make sure you optimise water quality. Once the fish is better, pay close attention to water quality and diet. Think: big tank, lots of water changes, no live feeder fish, and a balanced, varied diet with plenty of greens. Cheers, Neale>

Need help! :o, FH... fdg., hlth. "feeder goldfish"... 9/27/08 "Hi. Can you please help me with my cichlid, commonly known as Flowerhorn locally. Our fish has not been eating for 2 weeks already, or maybe even more. Since then, his head lump decreased in size and even his body size decreased. <Starving... maybe has parasitic worms. Often happens when people use unclean live food, particularly live feeder fish, what I call "parasite time bombs"...> We changed water every after 3 days, put salt after every change. And for the past days, we've been dropping Methyl Blue and Melafix, since we've been suspecting that the fish is sick. The gills have some black stuff, seems like burns or bruise, a part of the tail has it too. <Salt irrelevant here. Melafix useless. Methylene Blue is a treatment for Fungus; not much use otherwise. Do attempt to ID the disease before randomly adding stuff to the water.> We saw a white, sponge-y thing inside his tank. And every time we remove it, some thing like it comes out again. A relative told us that it's probably fungus. It looks like cotton in the tank, but once removed, it feels like white-mucus. We're not totally sure where it's coming from. <Fungus does indeed look like cotton wool. Do also consider Finrot and Mouth Fungus, diseases that often occur in the same context: typically poor water quality.> Just today, we bought and submerged a water heater, <You were keeping this fish in cold water before...? No wonder its sick. Cichlids are extremely intolerant of cold water.> changed the water, dropped Methyl Blue and Melafix, and placed salt again. We tried feeding him but he didn't even touch the food. When we were removing the wastes, we noticed a scale detached out of his body. <Hmm...> He's usually playful and swims around the tank. But now, most of the time, he's just at the bottom of the tank, in one area and stays there for a long time. And seems like his mouth is almost always open (though I'm not too sure if the mouth is always open). <Have you done nitrite and pH tests?> Please do help. We're actually running out of ideas on what to do already. And we're hungry for answers already. And we really do feel bad for our pet. <I bet. Please review the needs of these fish. Flowerhorn cichlids are extremely demanding animals, and frankly cannot be considered "newbie" fish. You need a big tank (55 gallons upwards); zero ammonia/nitrite/ 20 mg/l or less nitrate; pH 7.5-8.0; and moderately hard water. If you're failing on any of these -- that's your problem!> The fish is actually a gift from a relative. He's been with us for months already, and never encountered any problem since then. <Hmm...> We've fed him fish food (pellets) and bloodworms bought from our local fish store. We've suspected that the bloodworms caused the disease, but we can't really point it out. <Bloodworms unlikely to cause parasitic infections... look at environment in particular...> I wanted to have the water checked for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, etc. since I've been reading that mostly, but I just can't figure out where I can have the water checked. <Where? At home: you go buy (minimum) nitrite and pH test kits.> We placed Tetracycline powder in the tank yester eve. The fish seems to be moving better, but he still doesn't want to eat. What else can we do for him? <Many things: in particular read up on Central American cichlids, review water quality and water chemistry.> Please do help immediately. We're worried and don't want the fish to die. We are even desperate for answers already! <Oh.> Thanks and God bless! :)" <Well, the Fish Gods will be expecting you to go test nitrite and pH, review water quality/chemistry issues, and evaluate whether the environment you have prepared for this fish matches its demands.> `Chrys <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Some more info (Need help! :o)... 9/27/08
Hi again. My Uncle told me just now, that the feeders we were feeding him is not bloodworm, we just don't know what it's called, but we got it from our local pet store. <Live food is fine, provided it's safe and clean. To that end, the live foods you should NEVER use are live fish or live Tubifex worms. Of the common live foods, these are safe: Daphnia, River (estuarine) Shrimps, Glassworms, Bloodworms, and Brine Shrimps. Earthworms collected from "organic" terrain are also good, but do bear in mind that if you spray pesticides in your garden, the earthworms can pick them up. Do also understand though that Brine Shrimp especially are not "complete" in the sense of having a range of nutrients. Fish eat them happily enough, but then people eat all kinds of stuff that isn't particularly nutritious as well. So live Brine Shrimp are fine as a treat, hopeless as a staple. Most cichlids are at least partially herbivorous, and some portion of their diet should be green foods such as tinned peas or Sushi Nori. Without the vitamins from green foods, they are more prone to nutritional problems and constipation.> I really am not knowledgeable about fishes, since it's my first time to really be hands-on with a fish. I checked on him after reading your site's FAQ, from what I got from my nights of researches, I am suspecting tail/fin/gill rot. Though I'm not really sure if that's what it is. I also saw some white spots at the bottom of his mouth. I think that it is a normal part of the fish's structures. <Difficult to say without a photo. Finrot is easily confused with Mouth Fungus (actually a bacterial infection, despite the name) and Fungus. All can be treated with Maracyn and/or eSHa 2000, so if in doubt, use them. Avoid medications based on Tea-tree Oil (e.g., Melafix); these are not consistent, and despite being cheap, aren't worth buying.> We bought a water heater, (Sera Aquarium Heater Thermostat) and set it at 32. <32 Celsius is WAY to hot for these fish. Do read, review the needs of these fish and act accordingly. If in doubt, 25 C is safe for most tropical fish.> We're planning on trying to feed him bloodworms and see if it will increase his appetite. Do you think this would be of help? We have been feeding him Ocean Free Super Red and Humpy Head interchangeably and some worms occasionally. <There's no need to cram food into a fish: it will eat everything you give it, but most will be egested as waste. Indeed, excessive protein and especially fat do more than harm than good. One or two small meals per day is ample for most fish. Mammals (like us) have evolved over millions of years to eat huge amounts of food relative to body weight, trading the effort involved in collecting food against the benefit (in the case of our ancestors especially) of being active at night when its cold. Fish don't work that way, and instead leave their metabolism to fluctuate up and down with the environment. They only need relatively tiny amounts of food for growth and repair, and of course reproduction. In real terms, the average fish gets by on 10% what a similar weight mammal would, and furthermore lives many times longer. It's a very VERY common mistake among newbie aquarists to overfeed their fish, compromising water quality and potentially causing harm to the fish. Again, read before doing random stuff.> Please do extend your help! We really are desperate to help our Flowerhorn. <Hope this helps.> Thanks very much for your time in advance. God bless, Chrys <Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn with holes in bottom jaw  Dear WWM crew, <Just a small part of it, Rod... Tom> About a month ago I noticed my Flowerhorn had ONE hole (or what appears to be a hole, could be circle sinks) under his jaw. I didn't think anything of it because I have never seen this kind of disease before, but now he has about 5 of them. I wanted to know what disease is this, and how can I treat him? Also he has a white spot on his left gill cover, it seems to be under the scales. <Your description seems consistent with HITH (Hole-in-the-Head) disease/HLLE (Head and Lateral Line Erosion) disease.> I had treated him with PimaFix but I don't think that helped. <It won't. HITH/HLLE is multi-faceted in that there are several factors known to, or suspected of, causing it, i.e. water conditions, stress, vitamin deficiency, internal parasitic infection (Hexamita), carbon contamination. [The last two are "shaky" but haven't been totally discounted.] Please, research the WWM FAQ's/articles for more information on these diseases. You might look at this article, as well: http://www.worldcichlids.com/diseases/Adamhith.html>   I am sorry, but my digital camera broke. <Sorry about this, too.> But, if needed let me know and I will try my best to get a picture of it. <No worries, Rod. Clear photos certainly help us but concise, well-written and well-documented information is often worth just as much.> Thank you very much, Rod <Hope I've been of some help. Tom

Flowerhorn has gone blind   8/16/06 Hi crew, <Leslie>       About 3 days ago, my 4 inch long Flowerhorn gradually began to go blind after I moved him to a new 55 gal aquarium containing 2 Plecos (I suspect he killed one) <Possibly> and 3 non-disinfected guppies (which he ended up eating- guess there weren't enough hiding places after all). <? Uh, no> Before that period, he was very healthy, energetic, and constantly begged to be fed while he was in his little 10 gal. Now, he is not able to find the food that I feed him and swims sluggishly around his tank. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that he also seems to have lost his appetite. <May be related...> As these symptoms increased in severity, his eyes went from bright red to completely clear (other than these symptoms, his eyes look completely normal). Also, his coloring went from olive green/pink to dark green/purple and has stayed the latter color every since. Finally, after examining his feces, I noticed that there were little eggs in his waste. Based on this discovery, I decided that he must have an internal infection (probably an internal parasite) and have been giving him General Cure which contains 125 mg Metronidazole, 13 mg Copper Sulfate, and 8 mg Trichlorfon. <Wow... this is general... covers many bases> Also, I have maintained appropriate pH, nitrite levels, and temperature in the tank. So far, my flowerhorn's feces have cleared up and there has been a slight improvement in his appetite. However, his eyes are still clear (not red) and, thus, he is unable to find his food or easily maneuver swimming around his tank. I am really really worried, and don't know what to do next. So here are my questions: 1.) What treatment should I give him next (if any)?; <Vitamins, administered to the water, and foods soaked in same prep.> 2.) Is this current treatment appropriate?; <Mmmm... well, is a blitzkrieg approach... the Trichlorfon/DTHP is a dangerous organophosphate, the Flagyl can kill the fish's kidneys pretty easily if overexposed, the copper...> 3.) Will he ever regain his sight?; <Possibly, but not likely> 4.) What could have caused this? Was it the guppies? <Persistent lack of something needed nutritionally, some infectious, parasitic diseases, "poor water quality" over time> Is it possible that he had an internal infection when I bought him, and now it's in its final stages? <Very possible that this fish had internal parasites... final stage though, am not so sure about. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much for your support! -Leslie

Urgent FH sick Please Please Please help    5/16/07 Hi Crew, <Greetings.> I have a FH which is around 25cm long in length and another FH 10 cm long the same tank portioned by glass. <By "FH" I assume you mean those Flowerhorn hybrid cichlids?> I change water twice a week and see to that the tank is clean, I do this since its really hot in my place its around 45 degree centigrade. Some times even I had ice cubes to the tank. <Far, far too hot for cichlids. The temperature in the tank must not exceed 30 C and should ideally stay closer to 25 C. If the aquarium is getting above 30 C, it really isn't suitable for fish.> Few days back I gave live feeding to my FH. <Why? No cichlid needs live feeder fish. Even pike cichlids (which are predators in the wild) are easily weaned onto dead foods. The ancestral species to Flowerhorn cichlids are omnivores eating a mix of small animals (insect larvae and shrimps) plus algae.> I gave salt bath to the feeding fish then I fed them to my FH. <Salt baths will do nothing to the main problems with feeders: internal parasites and nutritional imbalance. Internal parasites can best be avoided by "growing your own" feeders in healthy conditions. Any cheap feeder fish grown on farms will, by definition, be maintained in overcrowded, poor quality conditions. As for nutrition, the only good species to use for feeder fish are livebearers. Goldfish and minnows are terrible feeders because they contain thiaminase (which breaks down vitamin B1) and large amounts of fat. No responsible aquarist should ever use goldfish or minnows as feeders.> I had few more feeder fish so had them in a separate tank and fed them with Tubifex dried worms then gave them salt bath before feeding them to my FH. <Again, the salt bath did nothing. Salt as a treatment even for external parasites is overrated. To kill off whitespot, for example, requires quite a lot of salt, much more than the usual "teaspoon per gallon" dosages aquarists talk about. Closer to around 5 grammes per litre, and you also need to increase water temperature at the same time.> NOW my big FH is dull. He sits in the corner of the tank. He swims when he sees me but eats well, I see him scratching on the walls and on the sand layer. I see his markings been affected or scratched because of his fast movement. I believe he is irritated by something. He flicks his tail and fins next to the tail, I believe we call them dorsal fins. <Sounds like whitespot coming on. Bear in mind whitespot can affect the gills, and you won't see these parasites. Treat with standard whitespot remedy.> I am not able to see any visible parasites. <Because they're on the gills.> I added salt to the tank too. <Dosage needs to be quite high, as mentioned above.> I saw this abdomen having few rashes due to scratching the first day, now I don't see it. <Probably lose a few scales, and now the skin has healed over.> I treated him with anti bacterial and anti slime medicine. <Neither of which will help. Use medication appropriate to the problem, i.e., anti-whitespot.> I don't see any improvement. <You won't until you kill off the whitespot. And PLEASE stop using feeder fish. You have learned the hard way why no experienced aquarists recommend using them. Even putting aside the legal/ethical dimension, the risks of using feeder fish far outweigh their usefulness. A very small number of fish are obligate piscivores that eat nothing but live fish. But everything else, including your cichlids, can be weaned onto healthier, safer foods easily.> Please advice what to do. Thanks & Regards, Arun Kumar.M |PA <Good luck, Neale>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: