FAQs on African Cichlid Diseases 9
FAQs on African Cichlid Disease:
Disease 1, African Cichlid Disease 2,
African Cichlid Disease 3,
African Cichlid Disease 4,
African Cichlid Disease 5,
African Cichlid Disease 6,
African Cichlid Disease 7,
African Cichlid Disease 8,
African Cichlid Disease 9,
African Cichlid Disease 10,
African Cichlid Disease 11,
African Cichlid Disease 12,
FAQs on African Cichlid Disease by Category:
Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...),
Related Articles: African Cichlids,
Malawian Cichlids: The Mbuna and their Allies By Neale Monks,
Followers: the Placidochromis of Lake Malawi by Daniella
Rizzo, Cichlid Fishes,
Related FAQs: Cichlid Disease,
Cichlid Disease 2,
Cichlid Disease 3,
African Cichlids in General,
African Cichlid Identification,
African Cichlid Selection,
African Cichlid Behavior,
African Cichlid Compatibility,
African Cichlid Systems,
African Cichlid Feeding,
African Cichlid Reproduction,
Cichlids of the World,
Gill problems /RMF 12/2/14
I noticed that one of my older Neolamprologus multifasciatus was
sort of gasping and looking stressed. I did an extra change to
see if that would help and when it did not I decided to move her to a
clean highly oxygenated hospital tank.
I gently scooped her up with the net (there is no way she was injured by
this) and when I put her in the new tank she was bent and her gills
seemed to be turning inside out. I have never seen anything like this,
she was fine one second and the next bent and struggling to swim with
her gills exposed. Do you have any idea what may have caused this?
<Can only guess of course... I take it that no other livestock
was/appeared, appears mal-afflicted... Which rules out most all water
quality possibilities. Perhaps this one "ate a bad bug"... that somehow
got into the system (can be opened w/ a sharp single edge razor if
dead); or somehow swallowed gravel? Am referring this email to Neale for
his independent response.
Gill problems /Neale 12/3/14
I noticed that one of my older Neolamprologus multifasciatus was sort of
gasping and looking stressed. I did an extra change to see if that would
help and when it did not I decided to move her to a clean highly
oxygenated hospital tank.
I gently scooped her up with the net (there is no way she was injured by
this) and when I put her in the new tank she was bent and her gills
seemed to be turning inside out. I have never seen anything like this,
she was fine one second and the next bent and struggling to swim with
her gills exposed. Do you have any idea what may have caused this?
<From what I can see this little chap looks beyond stressed. She looks
like she's on the way out, to be honest, and rather underweight, as if
starving for a while, perhaps from lack of food or else chronic disease
of some sort. But in any case, Neolamprologus, like all Tanganyikans,
react badly to all sorts of environmental stresses. So review the
obvious. Sudden changes (drops) in pH are lethal to them. Ensure the
water has adequate buffering capacity (carbonate hardness) and mineral
content (general hardness). Make sure the pH is solidly stable in the
right range, anything between 7.5 and 8.2 is fine, but the number
shouldn't vary much. Exposure to toxins such as paint fumes,
insecticides, herbicides, etc. can all be extremely lethal to cichlids,
something I learned the hard way when keeping Nanochromis. Review
exposure via sprays in the air and accidental contaminations via
buckets, pipes, etc. Nitrate is the slow killer with cichlids, so keep
below 20 mg/l, through water changes and moderate stocking, but do also
check ammonia and/or nitrite (I favour nitrite as the more reliable of
these two). Velvet is a parasite that often affects the gills before
it's visible on the skin, so that's another consideration.
I've cc'ed our cichlid expert here, Chuck, in case there's something
he'll want to add. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gill problems
Thank you for your help. She was a very small female but other than being
old had no health issues whatsoever until this happened out of no place.
female "Multies" rarely reach over .75-1" and she was ten which put her well
over her expected lifespan.
<Indeed. But keep an eye out for other fish behaving oddly.>
She may have been a bit smaller than normal as she just laid eggs just over
a week ago and didn't eat much when guarding them in her shell. I put her
down shortly after sending the email. It looked as if her gills had swollen
into big red protruding bubbles. And it happened in an instant. So sad as
she has been with me a long time.
<I can well imagine. Neat cichlid to keep, these.>
Thank you so much for your help.
Need help with cichlid 8/15/14
Color Change in Lake Victorian Cichlid
I've aquarium about half year. I like cichlids a lot, I have 5 since I
bought aquarium and I bought additional cichlid 1 months ago, but
he started change color in bright red on the
profile sides. But he eat very well and he's
always very active. I'm so worried about him.. Is that skin
disease and how to treat it? I attached photos. Thanks. I hope
you can help
< Your Zebra Obliquidens from the Lake Victorian basin is a male and the
reddish coloration is normal. No need to treat for anything. Chuck>
HELP...fish dead in 3 days... African Cichlids, no data,
I keep African cichlids and in the last 3 days i have lost half my tank
stock. When it first started all the water parameters were good but i
did a 50% water change anyway's. Now things seem to be moving even
please help diagnose my problem.
<Need data... Read here:
I don't know if i am signed up with you guys any more but my email works
also. Here are some pics.
My Auratus Cichlid is sick 3/23/14
My female auratus cichlid seems to be struggling to
survive. She is in the tank with a male
auratus who has been harassing her
attempting to mate but she doesn’t seem
interested. She spends all her time getting
away from him and is now completely exhausted. She lays in corners
hiding and only stirs if i walk up to the tank. I’ve noticed over the
past few days that she has stopped eating, and
has stopped pooping, and that area has become swollen
<These fish need to be separated. Now>
I’m wondering if there's
anything I can do to make her better? There are 3 other cichlids in the
tank and 4 zebra danios. The cichlids eat Omega One Cichlid pellets
and the danios eat flakes. All the levels in
the tank are healthy, I do regular water changes (once a week, about
50%) and it’s a 45 gallon tank. Please
help! And thank you so much for your time!
<Let's have you read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: My Auratus Cichlid is sick 3/24/14
Thank you so much for responding so quickly! I have temporarily elevated
her in a large net in the same tank so none of the other fish can get at
her, she's resting and in the past couple hours she seems to be feeling
a bit better.
I don't have a proper hospital tank and everything is closed for the
evening. what would be the smallest safe size of container I could put
her in until I can get to the store in the morning?
I don't think I can leave her in the net.
<A floating plastic colander... READ where you were referred. B>
Sick Ps. Acei 12/30/13
I have a mature male 5" acei experiencing extreme difficulties. He
was in a 55 gallon tank, with 5 electric yellows, a female Saulosi,
a neon chiwindi peacock, a sunburst peacock, and a Pleco, and a female
I saw this before in a male Saulosi I bought from another enthusiast,
for my female, but he started with the behavior after having him only 2
This was over a year ago, and he was never in the main tank, but
segregated with the female alone in a 30 gallon tank. After he
started to fail I removed the female and returned her to the main tank.
He starting having a slight "S" curve to his body, and swimming
vertically when relaxed. He would swim horizontally when he was
feeding, or actively swimming. No lesions, no marks, no
fuzz, no patches. His tail is changing color now, after a month,
but I think it's because he balances on it quite often.
I removed him from the tank and started searching the web for answers.
Thinking it was swim bladder related, I didn't feed for approx 3 days,
then offered peas, which he wouldn't eat. I haven't provided any
I've started offering his usual food again, but he will lay at the
bottom of the tank, on his side, until I go in to the room, and when he
sees me he struggles to swim, and will eat, but can't stay coordinated
enough to get much food. He has been out of the community tank for
over a month now, and continues to decline.
I saw this before in a male Saulosi I bought from another enthusiast,
for my female, but he started with the behavior after having him only
about a week. This was over a year ago, and he was never in the
main tank, but segregated with the female alone in a 30 gallon tank.
After he started to fail I removed the female and returned her to the
main tank. After several weeks of no improvement I put him down.
I had done a 50% water change in the main tank on Xmas day, and today
found the female acei dead under a "bridge" and the Saulosi "missing".
Several months ago I lost another mature male acei, with the same
symptoms, but I thought he had been injured in an ornament. Before
whatever it was could progress, he was killed by others in the tank.
I did a 75% water change today in the main tank, but didn't clean the
filter, an HOB, to maintain beneficial bacteria.
Two days ago I went into my local fish store, to ask for help, they had
no suggestions. Believe it or not though, in one of their mixed
tanks they had what appeared to be a acei with the same symptoms, early
onset (S shape, vertical swimming). I tried to explain to the 2nd
guy what was happening, and although he agreed the fish was not acting
normally, he thought it was because others were picking on it. I
strongly disagreed. My fish has been segregated for over a month
and continues to deteriorate. The LFS fish was being harassed
because of the behavior, but barely if at all even at that, from what I
Help. I'm at a loss. Is there anything I can do to help my
fish, should I put him down? Kathy
< The Ps acei is a schooling fish that feeds on algae that grows on
Being from Lake Malawi it requires hard alkaline water and water temps
in the mid 70's F. Internal problems usually are the result of a problem
This fish should be fed a diet high in algae like Spirulina. You
provide no data on how you have been keeping your fish so I can't
comment. Usually fish with internal problems are having problems
digesting proteins or the binders in the fish food. Herbivorous
fish with long intestines sometimes have these food elements getting
stuck in their intestines and the bacteria in the gut start to break
theses blockages down. Hopefully the bacteria can be inhibited and
the blockage can be passed. Medications like Metronidazole and Furanace
are absorbed into the fish and can have some effects on these bacteria.
Unfortunately they can also cause problems with the fish's internal
organs. So I would isolate the fish in a hospital tank and treat with a
combination of Metronidazole and Furan 2. When the fish starts to eat
again then remove the medication from the water with water changes and
carbon. When it is strong enough you can place him back in the tank.
RE: Sick Cichlid
Sick Ps. Acei II 12/30/13
Thank you, Chuck';
He's been on NLS cichlid food since I got him as a juvenile, probably
close to 3 years now. Our tap water is typically hard, and I've
keep the water around 76. Will algae wafers help, any other food
like the zucchini I feed
the Plecos? I'll get the meds you've suggested and start them right
< I personally like the NLS fish food and don't think that is the
The Ps acei is not normally aggressive and may be stressed being a
single acei in a mixed Mbuna tank. besides the meds other things that
will help will be adding some salt to the tank and doing frequent water
changes. Good luck. Chuck>
Red zebra cichlid; usual lack of data
I have a baby red zebra. He is maybe just over 21/2 in long. He has been
fine since I got him a year ago when he was a fry. Never had a problem
besides him always redecorating lol.
He was fine this morning but I noticed him swimming slow and a lil
so I put some food in to aw if he ate or not and while he was eating he
a complete back flip. He isn't bloated. Or showing any signs externally.
just went to the bathroom and it looks normal.
Nitrate 0 ( just carried out water change today but it never even makes
<No; as in zip NO3? Unusual>
He has been eating Cyclops, rotifer, Spirulina, zucchini, and an
occasional bloodworm stolen from a Ropefish.
I have removed him from the tank so he isn't caused more stress. But
to know where to go from there.
Thank you so much for your help.
<Water quality? Tankmates are fine I take it; what are they? Do review
what is archived on WWM re Mbuna, Malawi cichlid systems. Bob Fenner>
Re: Red zebra cichlid 11/17/13
It was 0 at that point when I tested cu
<.... what was zero? [NO3]? Not with the use of a canister filter... try
another test kit. B>
I had just carried out a large water change few hours before.
The system is a 55 with a canister filter rated for double and an
addition 2 job filters rated for up to 55.
I over filter due to the inhabitants mostly being Geophagus. Other than
that are four Ropefish an one bicher. None of them are aggressive at
The zebra has been getting on great. Before he was in a 20g grow out
tank and when I put him in the 55 he was ecstatic. Swimming back and
forth and shoveling substrate everywhere lol.
I pulled him out and put him in a hospital tank with brand new water and
prime overnight and he seems to be back to normal.
I was doing some reading on your site and was having trouble finding
what I needed. And I just wrote cus I didn't want him to die while I was
researching. I will continue to read on your site. You guys are an
amazing resource. And are greatly appreciated.
Fin deterioration on African cichlids 10/11/13
First let me thank you in advance for the help.
I have a 180 gallon African cichlid tank with a wet dry filter.
pH 8.0, NO3 25,
<... I'd be checking this... And is this measure (supposedly) Nitrogen
as nitrate or? I suspect the actual concentration is MUCH higher... I'd
check with another test kit; a good one>
NO2 0, NH4 0. The fins on the fish have been deteriorating over the
last 3 months. Recently, the scales on the head are eroding like HLLE.
<I see this>
The fish are fed 2x a day New Life Spectrum cichlid blend.
<A fave; fab; what I fed my African Cichlids for years; both from Pablo
I'm beginning to think there is stray voltage in the tank.
For equipment there is an Iwaki 70 external pump, 40w ultraviolet uv,
Hydor power head, and a chiller. I tested the tank with a
multimeter in the past but didn't get a reading with the multimeter.
In retrospect however the chiller may have been off during the test.
Would the chiller be a viable cause?
How would I go about using a multimeter to test this (I want to be sure I
used it properly the first time around)?
<What you have is almost assuredly "classical" metabolite poisoning. I
would either ditch the wet dry entirely or modify it, clean the
mechanical media... Daily... yes; every 24 hours... Do search, read re
trickle/wet-dry technology on WWM. Not appropriate for your setting.
Sorry for my didactic-ness this AM. Am running short... as usual. Please
do write back if you have further questions, need for clarification. Bob
Five Bar Cichlid Missing Bottom Jaw/Fungus Infection (Bob,
another Melafix *fail* for your collection!!!)<<sigh...>>
I have a single juvenile five-bar cichlid (Neolamprologus tretocephalus)
living alone with 2 Synodontis catfish that are around the same size as
him. I believe that mine may have injured his lower law due to his
aggression (he likes to bite at rocks, glass, etc.) At first, it was a
small injury, but due to my neglect at realising the issue's severity,
the injury started growing white fuzzy stuff all over the lower law,
disintegrating it and leaving him barely able to eat. I've been treating
him with strong doses of MelaFix, but the situation has gotten worse and
worse over the last few days. The water temperature is at 78*F, pH is
8-8.2, and nitrite is at 0. After the injury, he has become more and
more withdrawn, hiding in a cave most of the time, but he still appears
physically healthy besides the mouth area. Any help would be more than
welcome, as I just want to know if there is a chance to save him. If
not, should I euthanise him? I would only euthanise him if it was the
last option though, but he is struggling more and more to eat food.
<To be honest, yes, I'd euthanise this fish. Without jaws, the fish
cannot feed. Melafix is, at best, a preventative, and shouldn't be used
as a direct treatment for infections once they become visible. Think of
it more like an antiseptic than an antibiotic, something you use on a
kid with a cut, but not someone who has gangrene (which is, effectively,
what Finrot, Fungus and Mouth "Fungus"/Columnaris are). So once you see
an infection, use a true, reliable medication like Maracyn or whatever.
You'll find 30 drops of clove oil in one litre of aquarium water will
create a useful killing bath that sedates the fish quickly, and then
kills the fish within a few minutes (but leave the fish in the bath for
20-30 minutes, since fish death is determined as 10 minutes after the
last gill movements). Cheers, Neale.>
Skin issue with coral twain reef cichlid. Please help!
I hope you can help me. I have had this wild caught coral twain reef
<I assume you mean Protomelas sp. 'Steveni Taiwan' , also known as the
Taiwan Reef Cichlid.>
now for a year and he has always seemed healthy and still does besides
this skin issue.
<Yes, I see. Looks like there's some erosion of the skin plus excess
As you can see from the picture, he's got a moldy fuzz appearance on his
eye as well as forehead, bottom fins, and side. It started with just the
discoloration on his side and now has progressed to what you see. The
tank parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates and nitrates. Ph is 8.0. I do
20 to 30% water changes every 2 to 3 days. I use 1 tablespoon of salt
<Why? You do understand that careless use of salt causes problems for
Malawian cichlids; do read up on Malawi Bloat.>
water conditioner, Malawi buffer,
<Assuming this is Malawi (or Rift Valley) salt mix, then you shouldn't
need to add the tablespoon of salt. If the buffer is simply pH 8 buffer,
then you are creating a problem. The pH of Lake Malawi is around 8,
that's true, but your job is to raise carbonate and general hardness
through the use of an appropriate mineral salt mix; do read here:
The Rift Valley Salt Mix is cheap and easy to make at home.>
<To the tap water?>
and ammonia neutralizer when needed.
<Ah now, this is worrying me. Are you adding ammonia neutralizer to tap
water? That's fine. But if you have non-zero ammonia levels in the
aquarium and think adding ammonia neutralizer will help, then you have a
Ammonia in aquaria should ALWAYS be managed through filtration,
typically, biological filtration.>
It wasn't always like this as up until 3 weeks ago, I always had .25
<Then your tank is overstocked, overfed, and/or under-filtered. It's
also why your Protomelas is sick.>
The tank has been setup for 1 year. I have searched everywhere and have
no clue. Anyone I have spoken to has never seen anything like it.
<Protomelas inhabit extremely clean water. They are sensitive to poor
water quality. They are also rather shy and peaceful, so you MUST NOT
keep them with aggressive fish like Mbuna or they will be stressed. I'd
bet all the money in my pockets that the problem here is environmental:
the tank is too small and/or under-filtered (hence the non-zero ammonia)
and that you've stressed this fish through the wrong water chemistry
(see above) and poor water quality and perhaps the wrong tankmates.
Review, and act accordingly.
As for medication, a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone
works wonders with cichlids, ideally, used in your quarantine tank
(which I presume you have if you've bought an expensive wild-caught
cichlid like this). Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Skin issue with coral Taiwan reef cichlid. Please help!
Thanks for the reply. After reading over my question again I realized I put
that I use a tablespoon of salt per gallon. This is incorrect. I use a
tablespoon per 5 gallon. It's regular aquarium salt. Not cichlid salt.
Should I not use it?
<Absolutely not; at least, not by itself. Aquarium salt (also called tonic
salt) is sodium chloride. This is the major salt that makes seawater salty
(there are actually dozens of other salts in seawater, though in smaller
amounts). Rift Valley cichlids are specifically adapted to the minerals of
the lakes; in the case of Lake Malawi, it's calcium salts that are the
majority, not sodium salts like sodium chloride. The real issue is the way
they effect osmoregulation, which is the process whereby the fish get the
right balance of minerals and water inside their cells. The wrong sort of
minerals outside the body, or the wrong amount of minerals, and the fish
either dehydrates or gets continually "flooded" with water (kind of like a
fish drowning, if you can imagine such a thing). If you go back and read the
Practical Approach to Water Chemistry article, you'll see that there's a
"salt mix" that includes baking soda (which is sodium bicarbonate), Epsom
salt (which is magnesium sulphate), and marine aquarium salt mix (which
includes both sodium salts and calcium salts). The amounts you need of each
is very small, teaspoon or tablespoon quantities per 5 gallons. So the mix
costs pennies a month. But the benefits for your Rift Valley cichlids will
be substantial and long-term. Don't change all the water chemistry at once,
but over the next few weeks, as you change out 20-25% of the water, replace
with new water that has this Rift Valley salt mix added. Cheap, easy and
effective -- not often I get to recommend something that's so simple!>
Also, it's a 75 gallon tank filtered by an Eheim pro 350 filter. There's
currently 16 fish in the tank. 2 yellow labs,
<Labidochromis spp. should be okay with Protomelas, but watch them.>
1 short body Flowerhorn, 1 blood parrot,
<Neither of these belong in here; remove them ASAP. Their behaviour is
somewhat milder than the Mbuna, especially the Blood Parrots which can be
easy targets for fin-biters like Pseudotropheus zebra>
3 red zebras,
<Pseudotropheus zebra; potentially extremely aggressive and incompatible
with Protomelas spp.>
1 red empress,
<Protomelas taeniolatus; another peaceful species.>
<Nimbochromis venustus; another peaceful species.>
1 red jewel,
<Hemichromis bimaculatus; doesn't belong here. A West African rainforest
species that does better in soft to medium-harm, around neutral water. Not
especially aggressive outside of breeding.>
1 blue Melanochromis, 1 albino Melanochromis and 1 regular female
<Melanochromis males can be psychotic, especially Melanochromis auratus;
Melanochromis johanni is somewhat less aggressive and could cohabit with
Protomelas in a large aquarium.>
<Pseudotropheus socolofi; not as psychotically aggressive as Pseudotropheus
zebra or Melanochromis auratus, so potentially viable with Protomelas given
lots and lots of space.>
1 female balloon Flowerhorn,
<See above; simply doesn't belong here.>
<Aulonocara spp. should not be kept with most Mbuna, especially
Pseudotropheus zebra and Melanochromis auratus. Usually wind up battered or
simply so stressed their lifespan is appreciably shortened.>
The ammonia neutralizer is only put in once a week after a water change
added directly to the tank.
<Why? Do review water quality management, i.e., filtration and stocking, and
thereby ensure ammonia sticks at zero. Do understand "false positives" for
ammonia are possible with certain types of tap water (containing chloramine)
even after treatment. Does tap water register an ammonia level of zero
before and then after adding water conditioner? If there is *no* ammonia
detected in *both* those tests, but you *do* detect ammonia in the aquarium,
then filtration and/or stocking are wrong.>
All fish were added at the same time when they were babies so they have all
grown up together and there is literally almost no aggressiveness besides
for the 2 yellow labs chasing each other.
<Very surprised, to be honest, but every tank is different. That said, your
Protomelas is clearly stressed and that's why it's making extra mucous (the
white stuff) and collecting in "scars" or "pits" on the head (cf.
Hole-in-the-Head and Head-and-Lateral-Line diseases). In any event, your
aquarium sounds overstocked to me, and will be once some of these fish reach
full size -- an adult Flowerhorn needs a 75-gallon tank just for itself.
Hmm… what else… do get and read something on cichlid-keeping by the likes of
Paul Loiselle or Ad Koenig. "The Pocket Professional Guide to Cichlids" by
David Boruchowitz is another good book. If you're on a budget, "Fishkeepers
Guide to African Cichlids" by Paul Loiselle can be bought on Amazon.com for
a measly $0.03 plus shipping; while a bit dated in style and content, it
covers all the basics and Loiselle really knows his stuff. Once you've
decided you want to get serious about cichlids, then find "The Cichlid
Aquarium" by Paul Loiselle; not an easy read and not for beginners, but if
you know fishkeeping moderately well, this is the absolute bible on
cichlid-keeping and cichlid-biology. Out of print for years, but on Amazon
for under $20.>
Re: Skin issue with coral Taiwan reef cichlid. Please help!
My tap water has 0 ammonia,
<Before and after adding your water conditioner of choice?>
as well as the 75 gallon tank. I know the test is correctly measuring
ammonia as I have 5 other tanks and a couple are at .25 at the moment.
<Which implies the livestock are producing ammonia faster than the filter
can process it (i.e., convert it to nitrite and then nitrate). Review
stocking density, filter capacity and feeding regimen, then act accordingly.
One of these factors, perhaps more than one, is wrong.>
I have been using the Aquino ammonia neutralizer in the other tanks to make
the ammonia and nitrates less harmful until it comes down so I guess I just
got in the habit.
You are correct, I should not be using it if I don't need to.
<It's harmless in itself. But if you have persistent ammonia in your
aquaria, the problem is with water quality management. So rather than adding
chemicals, establish what the problem is (why there's more ammonia in the
tank than the filter can handle) and adjust the tanks accordingly.>
Now forgive me for questioning you as I know you have many more years of
experience then I do.
But if the setup currently works and everyone is getting along meaning the
5" male and 4" female Flowerhorns and 1 parrot then why remove them.
<Because the Flowerhorns won't be 5 inches for long and the Parrot won't be
small for long either. Flowerhorn Cichlids are hybrids as you probably know,
so their precise adult size can be difficult to predict, but it will be
around the 10-12 inch mark (males tending to be a little bigger than
females). Remember that the overall size of an animal (i.e., its mass)
increases as the cube of any changes in length. So while a 10-inch
Flowerhorn may be only twice as long as a 5-inch specimen, it's mass will be
EIGHT times than of the 5-inch specimen, and therefore it needs EIGHT times
the oxygen and produces EIGHT times the ammonia. Make sense? In any case, a
Flowerhorn singleton needs no less than 75 gallons, and a pair (inasmuch as
pairs exist with these very aggressive fish) will need twice that amount of
water, if not more -- and even then there are no guarantees the male won't
decide to murder the female one day.>
They keep to themselves and don't bother anyone or the Taiwan reef.
<These fish are all still young, by the sounds of it. Hmm… you know the game
of Russian Roulette? Let's say you play it once, and survive. Does that make
it a safe game? Same thing here. Because your young cichlids have so far
gotten along doesn't mean they will do indefinitely, and the odds are NOT in
your favour. You have a poor combination of species that reveals little
understanding of what particular cichlids need, i.e., not enough reading.
Mixing Aulonocara with Mbuna is a classic beginner's mistake. You may have
come across Mary Bailey in your reading on African cichlids. We've got a
trio of her articles here at WWM that you'll find useful:
Mbuna occupy a very specific niche that makes them both fun to watch and
difficult to mix with other cichlids. You may decide to try out your own
combinations and wait to see what happens. That's fine, but do be aware of
the problems, and when you see signs of stress or damage, be prepared to
make adjustments. Do understand that mixing Aulonocara with Mbuna, for
example, may not result in the immediate death of the Aulonocara, but rather
the Aulonocara tend to live shorter, less happy lives than if they were
The issue you see on the Taiwan has always been there since I bought him a
year ago, besides for the eye part. You say it's excess mucous but there is
no white color to this. It's the same color as the purple scales. It's bumpy
and mold like looking.
<Yes. Do see previous e-mail with suggestions on medications. But the
immediate problem here is stress of some sort. More the Protomelas species
you have to a suitable "peaceful" Mbuna community and it should recover with
little if any need for medication.>
It looks like fungus but the same color as his body. Thanks again!
<Welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Poor Electric Yellow Lab Girl 11/9/12
Hi Crew! I have been coming to your website for many years now, and just
love it! Thanks for that and I hope you can help me. I have a 90 gal
Mbuna tank that has mixed cichlids in it. All the popular ones, I guess
you'd say. I have a current resident number of approx 50 of those that I
can see. They're breeding like crazy and I have a "rock cliff" with lots
of cracks and cranny's for babies. But that's a whole other email. I
actually have a more pressing problem. I have a poor Elec Lab and a
Mixed Blue female. I have had them since I got the tank 2 yrs ago.
They're my original inhabitants. The Elec Lab has always been healthy
although timid and the blue mutt did suffer from a bad bout of hole in
the head when she was about 1" big, but was always healthy after, as
well. Both mothers were prolific breeders. Often carrying about 2 or 3
weeks after spitting. I let nature take it's course in my tank.
Basically it's sink or swim in there. I do an 80% water once a week and
make my own rift lake buffer salt. Chemistry is always near perfect. The
situation is both moms are wasting away. My blue's head is half white
and both mom's cheeks are so sunk in. Their bellies are so super skinny.
They are swimming and behaving as they normally would. They eat a little
more then they usually do. But they just aren't recovering at all. My
Lab has been like this for a month and has blood under the skin between
her upper lip and my blue just isn't gaining anything. They both have
always recovered quickly after a brood. Are they just done? Has old age
or breeding stress claimed my poor little girls? Is there anything I can
do at this point? Is there really any point to saving the ole girls?
Thanks for any help you can give me.
<Assuming these fish are with males, and that the females don't
outnumber the males by at least 3 to 1, the stress of breeding is very
likely a key factor here. In the wild females wouldn't be carrying eggs
all the time. They'd be able to choose when to breed, so they'd be able
to spend some weeks between broods feeding themselves. Remember, while
carrying eggs they can't eat, so if they're always carrying, they're
never feeding. Isolating the females after breeding is very important,
and while the "sink or swim" makes sense in terms of controlling the
number of fry, it makes no sense at all if the females can't remove
themselves from the males. Your tank is small -- by Mbuna standards --
so the fact females can't avoid the males is likely a major problem. So,
what you want to do is isolate the females, medicate with Metronidazole,
and feed them well for a couple months. The alternative is what you
often see in "generic" Mbuna tanks -- females dying prematurely because
of the stress, so you end up with just males. Cheers, Neale.>
African Cichlid Trouble, Compatibility, And Reading -
<Hi, Sandeep! Sabrina with you tonight.>
I went through your website and the faqs. You guys are doing an awesome
job. Thank you guys for being there.
<Thank you so much for these kind and encouraging words.>
I wanted to consult you for this issue. I had 6 Blood parrots in my
previous set up (tank 6X2X2).
<Is this in.... feet? inches? or? If in feet, then that's a
great sized tank.>
They all died due to some issues with their lungs.
<Gills. No lungs in fish, except for very rudimentary lung-like
structures in some few very strange fish (like, as the name implies,
lungfish). The blood parrots, a hybrid of South American cichlids,
have just ordinary gills.>
I had consulted my nearby dealer to check what was happening , and tried
all those things like cleaning the gavel, cleaning the filter and
changing the water.
<This was good advice from the dealer. I only wish they'd
suggested you test your water....>
Then applying ocean free's different kinds of medicines (almost in all
<Medicating is ALWAYS dangerous, unless you know EXACTLY what you're
treating.... Mixing medications can have disastrous effects, both
on the fish and on the biological filtration of your tank, which then
worsens the water quality, thereby reducing the fishes' chances for
survival and recovery....>
They died after around 3 months one by one. I couldn't eat or work for
<Sorry to hear it, Sandeep.>
Now I have that tank in a new setup, all African cichlids.
<A very vague statement.... Africa, as you know, is an enormous
continent, with many, MANY different fishes from different places with
different needs. Typically, however, when folks say "African
cichlids", they're usually referring to the fish of the great rift lakes
- Malawi and Tanganyika. For the moment, I'll assume that's what
They all seems to be healthy. But they too are dying without any reason.
<By definition, then, I think it's safe to assume that they're actually
not healthy. There is something "wrong" here, either with the fish
or with the water.>
No bacterial or fungal infection that one could see from outside. No
change in behavior. However almost every day the juvenile ones keep
dying and this is something which I would never expect. I have a red
dragon Flowerhorn as well in a 3X1.5X1.5 tank
<I'm still not sure exactly what unit of measurement you're using, but
if this is in feet, then this tank should be considered very small,
especially for a Flowerhorn, and even more so if you're mixing species
of African (rift lake) cichlids. And I do very much hope that the
Flowerhorn is not in the same tank as the African cichlids; please do be
aware that Flowerhorn, a hybrid of South American cichlid species, has
VASTLY different water requirements from those of rift lake cichlids!
Water that would be good for the Flowerhorn would ultimately weaken or
even harm rift lake cichlids, and vice verse.>
he is with me for a month now. He is nearly 2 inches long. But he
wouldn't come out at all. He would always hide behind the filter. He
eats well otherwise.
<Hopefully just acclimating.... However, at his small size, if he
is in with rift lake cichlids, he may just be trying to hide to stay
Really, these fish can't mix; their water requirements are just far too
Now I am afraid if it's the same issue that my parrots had is happening
to my African cichlids as well? How do I diagnose the issue, and how do
I fix it?
<Sandeep, your first and most important step is to have a very good
understanding of the "health" of the water in the tank. You will
need to test the water for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and pH, at a
Ammonia and Nitrite must always be ZERO, and Nitrate as low as possible,
at least below 20ppm. If you do not have test kits for this, see
if your local fish dealer will test them for you. Ask them to tell
or show you the readings; don't settle for an answer like "Your water is
okay" or "pretty good".... you need to know the actual values to
have a clear idea of the quality of your tank's water. As far as
pH goes, most South American cichlids want soft, slightly acidic water,
though many will tolerate a very wide range, as long as the pH is
stable, and the Flowerhorn is no exception to this. The rift lake
cichlids, on the other hand, have VERY specific pH and hardness
requirements, and can suffer if those are not met. I would advise
you to read, on WetWebMedia and other places, about the needs of the
fish you are keeping. As you gain a better understanding of the
animals, where they come from, and what they need, you'll be better
prepared to provide for them - and you'll enjoy them more, too.
They're great fish, and learning about them is almost as much fun as
Please forgive me if my question is not clear , or if you had already
answered these before.
<The only lack of clarity is a lack of detail.... Without
information like the readings for water quality, number of fish in the
tank, how long the tank has been established, etc., there's
unfortunately not a lot that we can tell from a distance. Your
best move is going to be to test your water, have a better understanding
of the needs of your fish, and keep learning and enjoying. Your
fish will thank you for doing a little bit more research. Here are
just a few links to help you get started:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm (a listing of
articles and FAQs on maintenance, water quality, disease.... Scan
through and see which of these might be most helpful, and start
Please also note the other links on those pages to other FAQs that may
be of interest, and also be aware that there is TONS of information
available via a simple Google search - not just at WetWebMedia, but all
over the 'net. Rift lake cichlids are a very well-loved and
enormous group of fish that is written about quite often. You
might also enjoy Ad Konings books, which you might find here:
http://www.cichlidpress.com/ . He's a cichlid "hero" of sorts, and
his books are quite nice. I hope these leads will get you started
in the right directions, and I'm sorry I can't give you a short and
simple answer to your problem. The only "real" answer, like so
much in life, is to learn.>
Thanks & Regards
My best wishes to you and your fish. -Sabrina>
African Cichlid Trouble, Compatibility, And Reading - II - 10/15/2012
<Hi again, Sandeep!>
Thanks for the quick reply. Sorry about the confusion.
1st tank: Malawi and Tanganyika (all measures are in feet). Nearly 20 of
them in it.
2nd one : Flower horn. Alone in the tank. Again the measures are in
<A good tank for him to start out in. Hopefully he is just
acclimating, but do keep a close eye on him and his behavior.
Water changes won't hurt, either.>
I am located in Bangalore India, and we don't have much options to test
the water (at least not available in common, however will check all the
options available )
<Is it an option (and affordable) to purchase test kits online?
With shipping costs, etc., perhaps this is cost-prohibitive, I don't
know. But if it's possible, it might be worth your while. In
the US, one of the best "easy" (and easily available here) test kits are
those made by API (not the test "strips", the liquid reagent kits).
Let me know if you want/need a link to see what kit(s) I mean. In
any case, if it is not possible to get test kits (or even if it is,
it'll be a while before they get there if you have them shipped), your
only current course of action that is really useful (aside from reading,
of course!) is water changes. Possibly big water changes, too,
since we can't currently know what exactly is "going on" in your tank
water. What you describe sounds more environmental than anything
else, and fixing the environment (with water changes) is perhaps the
best thing to do.>
Thank you for all the links.
I'll read through them and will get back to you if I have more doubts.
<I do hope you'll find helpful information as you read.>
Thanks & Regards
<Best wishes always, -Sabrina>
African Cichlid Tumor? 10/8/12
Cichlid Tumor Treatment
Hi Crew! I’m hoping you guys can provide some advice or insight regarding a
sick African cichlid- “Bumblebee” (Pseudotropheus crabro) that I have had
for almost 4 years now. He is just over 5 inches in length.
Tank Info- 75-gallon freshwater tank; Marineland Emperor 400 HOB filter; 2
airstones powered by Whisper air pump; Tahitian moon gravel/sand which
replaced pebble gravel over a year ago. AquaSafe water conditioner used
during all water changes.
Tank mates- 1 acei cichlid (approx. 5.5 inches in length) ; 1 electric
yellow (3.5 inches in length); all 3 cichlids bought within 2 weeks of each
other and were at similar sizes at purchase; no other tank mates ever.
Bumblebee has generally been in the middle hierarchy of the tank as the acei
is the most dominant tank inhabitant and the electric yellow as the least
dominant with no major incidents- just the usual territorial/chasing
behaviors exhibited by all 3 over the years. There are also a number of
Anubias plants in this tank that have been in the tank for just over 2
years. The system has been quite stable with no major environmental concerns
outside of a submersible heater that went bad early in 2011 and water temps
dropped for a few days before I noticed.
Water quality is tested at least monthly with 15-25% water changes completed
every 2-3 weeks or more frequently on some occasions. I feed daily Hikari
Cichlid Gold medium floating pellets and Omega One Super Color small sinking
pellets simultaneously to help with aggression during feeding- no changes
over the last couple of years in terms of diet.
In July of 2012 I first noticed 1 then 2 small “pimples” developing on
Bumblebee’s nose between the eyes (see first image). No other concerns noted
at that time- no changes in activity; appetite still great, etc.. Water
quality was tested and was in range of the tank norms (pH 7.6; 0 Ammonia; 0
Nitrites; 5-10ppm Nitrates; 81.5 degrees F). I have always added a low
amount of aquarium salt during water changes (1 tbsp per 10 gallons or half
the recommended dose due to the plants in the tank) but I increased the salt
to the recommended 1 tbsp per 5 gallons at that time hoping that the pimples
were just the result of scratching against décor or an aggressive tank mate.
No changes observed whatsoever with tank mates to date.
Over the past month the 2 pimples have begun to grow quite rapidly with no
other changes noticed in activity except that the bumblebee has been the
least dominant tank mate since mid-August. Appetite has been great/no
changes in activity levels.
Last Monday (10/1) Bumblebee began flashing against the tank decorations
rubbing the large tumor-like growth and removing some of his skin showing
the inner pink ulcer/tumor. I immediately removed him to a 20 gallon
hospital tank with that change in his behavior. Water quality in the
75-gallon tank was fine upon testing (pH 8.0; Negative for ammonia and
nitrites; 5-10 ppm nitrates; 82.2 degrees F)
I have treated him for the past week with API’s T.C. Tetracycline powder- 2
packets per day due to 20 gallon quarantine tank with 25% water changes
every 2 days.. I used that treatment for 6 days with no results (see other 2
Bumblebee continues to flash against the corners of the tank and has
debrided some of the ulcer/tumor- there are no décor or substrate in the
hospital tank only a heater, airstone, and AquaClear 50 HOB filter.. I
removed the tetracycline and it’s brownish water discoloration by placing
activated carbon in the tank and have done significant water changes to the
Many of the FAQ’s on WWM that seem similar to my cichlids issues have
suggested the use of Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole. The products in my
area containing those ingredients that I could find this weekend are the API
products “General Cure” and “Super Ick Cure”. I added today to the clean
hospital tank the “General Cure” for a 20 gallon treatment since the active
ingredients are 250 mg Metronidazole and 75 mg Praziquantel per packet.
I am attaching a couple images to clarify what this looks like because this
seems to perhaps be a tumor issue as opposed to a bacterial, fungal, or
The ulcer/tumor is quite large now and looks like it might be spreading just
below his right eye and my other concern is that it might be growing inside
of Bumblebee’s mouth and I can see a slight pink growth near the top of the
mouth (but this is difficult as you can imagine to see definitively). There
do not appear to be any changes in his breathing at this time.
Appetite during and since the completed Tetracycline treatment has been very
minimal but that seems to be the norm with antibiotic use as I understand.
I appreciate your input and perhaps someone has had some experience in this
type of concern- if not I will continue to run the current course of
treatment and if unsuccessful I will enjoy the time remaining with Bumblebee
unless it causes him distress as I’m really concerned about what could be
growing inside of his mouth and how that might impact his quality of life.
Sorry for the length here but I wanted to describe everything I could to aid
in your input- to clarify my questions now are as follows..
1. Any thoughts as to the epidemiology of this growth?
< I have had this same situation before and was lucky enough to have a fish
vet friend of mine do a biopsy and take a look under a microscope. It turned
out to be cancerous tumor.>
2. Should I continue the “General Cure” treatment over the next 4-6 days?
< Probably not effective.>
3. Should I simultaneously use the “Super Ick” powder with the “General
Cure” to combine 3.6mg malachite green and 60 mg Nitrofurazone per packet
along with the Metronidazole?
< I would recommend that you surgically remove it. I have done this before
with mixed results. I would place the fish in a wet towel and hold him
still. Take a single edged razor blade and trim the tumor flush with the
contour of the head. be careful to only cut into the tumor and not into the
head tissue. Treat the wound in a hospital tank with a Nitrofuranace type of
antibiotic. It may grow back. Watch for secondary infections.-Chuck>
Thank you so much for your time in this regard!
African cichlid dying... Malawi bloat? Beaten
Hello there. I have a red zebra cichlid who is suffering from what I
thought was Malawi bloat
<Mmm, no; don't thinks so>
but I am unsure and now think the treatment may have exacerbated the
She is a female red zebra in a 55 gallon African Cichlid set up. I have
had her for about two years since she was only about 3/4"! She is now
about three inches long, has made it through two sets of offspring with
the dominating male of the tank, has made it through multiple brutal
attacks by the males in the tank
<Not this one though>
where I thought she would dye <die>
because her fins were all gone.. ultimately, she is generally a very
tough fish!! And my favorite fish in the tank! I currently have 8 fish
in the tank. I want to increase the number to decrease aggression, but
every time I add new fish, they are killed within a couple of days.
<Too late to add more here>
About two weeks ago I added three new fish. Two of the new ones were
attacked to death and killed within the first week. I of course removed
them immediately and followed with water changes. Yesterday morning, my
red zebra wouldn't eat. I was thinking maybe she was holding fry again
but I couldn't see into her mouth and her jaw didn't look extended, so I
just kept an eye on her. By the afternoon her fins were all frayed and
she had some white areas on her body that looked like scales had fallen
off. She was hovering near the top of the tank, stiff looking, and
smaller fish were swimming up to her and nibbling at her. She wasn't
even fighting back or trying to swim away. I removed her, put her into a
5 gallon bucket filled about 2/3 with tank water and 1/3 new water, with
a heater and bubbler. By the evening, the white patches were spreading,
she was laying on her side at the bottom, breathing hard, and her chest
area on her underside looked very swollen. I did some research
and thought her symptoms sounded like Malawi bloat
<... no; this fish was beaten to death. A 55 gallon isn't enough room
for what you have in mind, Mbuna need space, habitat to get away from
so I ran out to the store to find some Metronidazole or Clout. Of course
my LFS did not carry anything useful... all I could find was Tetra
Parasite Guard which was the only product containing Metronidazole but
unfortunately it doesn't say what the percentage or mg of the
ingredients are. I put a half tablet into a cup of water, let it
dissolve, and added it in. I also added 1 tsp Epsom salts as I read it
is helpful to clean their bowels if it is truly Malawi bloat.
This morning when I left for work, she seemed okay. She was at least
sitting up right instead of on her side, but the white patches were
spreading more and were kind of slimy looking. By the time I got home
from work this evening, the water was very cloudy, and she has some
areas that almost look like blood blisters on her fins and body. I can
even see some small vessels. She was also floating upside down.
I filled a clean 5 gallon bucket with new water, moved the heater and
bubbler, added some more salts, no antibiotics this time, and once the
water got to temp, moved her over. Within minutes she was back on her
side instead of floating upside down. She looks terrible though.
I'm very upset because she is my favorite fish and I would be sad to see
her pass. At this point I don't know if there is something else I can
try in order to help save her or if it is better to just humanely
euthanize her :(
Any insight would be great
<As stated, I don't see much promise here... maybe the removal of this
one fish will "re-set" the social dynamic in this tank, allow all to
live together for a while longer. Bob Fenner>
Help my cichlids suddenly sick & dying
I am hoping that you guys can help me. I have a 125
gallon fresh water Cichlid tank. I have had a cichlid
tank for several years. I have just restocked my tank about 3
months ago because my old fish service killed almost my whole
tank of adult beautiful cichlids by changing my
<A poor choice for filtering these systems>
this past spring by sterilizing my tank. It has been recycled
& I have had about 15 small healthy fish for over 4 months.
It is powered by 2 separate Marine land 360 filters,
<Ahh, much better>
3 power heads with an underground filter.
I had 15 small 1.5-3 inch various African cichlids all healthy.
The new fish servicing company who cleans my tank talked me into
buying there 17 much larger (5-6 inch)
various cichlids because they wanted to start a salt water tank.
I agreed, since my tank was so big and appeared half empty.
<Mmm, better (by far!) to start all small and have grow up
together... Now you have Mbuna wars!>
This took place about 2 Â½ weeks ago, all went well
with the move. His fish were acclimated to my water, I had done a
40% water change about a week before and rearranged the tank the
night before. All the fish appeared healthy for the first week.
Then last week all of a sudden 4 of his fish had white covered
over one of their eyes. I started treating with Melafix
<Worse than worthless. Might have killed off your bio-filter.
See WWM re this product by API>
& added more African cichlid salt as per directions. However
the next day a couple of other fish suddenly developed ulcer
looking sores on their bodies, I have had several other fish die
with white patches on their heads mostly & others have
developed rather extensive ulcers in a matter of 12 hours. When
the other fish were noted with ulcers I started treating with
both Melafix & Pimafix.
The cloudy eyed fish look a little better, however many of the
fish that look healthy are not eating along with the cloudy eyed
fish. Also 2 of the cloudy eyed fish have developed ulcer looking
lesions on their head by the cloudy eye. Please help me figure
out what is going on, what is it? & how do I treat it?
<Can't tell what it is from the data proffered, hence, no
way to suggest a treatment>
Do I continue Melafix & Pimafix?
<I would never use these period>
My water parameters were good & remain good. Ph 7.5-8.0,
Nitrites negative & Nitrates 10. I have been doing water
changes about every 3 days since the health problem.
<A good reflex defensive mechanism>
I have also attached pictures to help give you a better picture
of what is going on with my fish.
<... I see the scarring... looks to me to be from
Thanks so much. I am anxious to hear your response. I would love
to save my fish & I don't want to add the wrong medicine
& stress them out any further.
<There may be a secondary (decomposer) mechanism at play here,
but my best guess is the new, larger fishes are simply killing
each other off principally. Best never to add to established
African Lake Cichlid communities. Bob Fenner>
Having babies has
upset my tank and now I have two dead cichlids. Need advice.
Lake Malawi Tank Deaths 1/5/12
I started with 4 different cichlids in a 50 gallon tank. The fish had
been very healthy and survived a move from Kansas to Texas spending a
day in a 10 gallon bucket. My fish included:
Male Metanochromis auratus - Very territorial
Male Pseudotropheus Socolofi - Easy going but gave nothing up to
Metanochromis if bothered.
Female Metriaclima Estherae - Was fish who had babies
Female ? Nimbochromis Venustus - Keeps to itself - not aggressive -
Doesn't have a blue face so I think it's a female.
I didn't know anything about cichlids when I bought them for my
son, I just thought they were pretty. I didn't know what I was
getting into. I learned that the fish were very territorial, but they
seemed to divide up the tank and mostly got along. I have had the fish
for well over two years. The issue started after my female Metriaclima
had babies. I didn't realize she was pregnant. She would disappear
for long periods of time and then just show up again. Anyway, babies
showed up in the tank one day. I tried getting the babies into another
tank, but they were so tiny and hiding up inside my rocks and I
couldn't get them out without fear of killing them.
I thought mom must have been defending them because she was suddenly
flailing on the bottom of the tank one day. I got her out and put her
in the other tank but couldn't save her. She looked like she had
been beaten up as her fins were all messed up. To make sure it was not
a tank issue, I did a water change, etc. Nitrate was a bit high but
came down after I did the water change. The rest of the levels looked
Yesterday I noticed that my male Pseudotropheus was not coming out for
food but eating from the bottom of the tank. He is always building a
nest down under the rock and stays there most of the time, but not
coming out to eat was new. This morning he was at the top of the tank
in a vertical position looking beaten up. I immediately moved him to
the other tank. But I don't think he's going to make it.
I have about 4 babies that have survived and they seem to be growing
and doing well. I'm concerned that I have two dead fish. I assume
my aggressive male is killing off the other fish, but I'm concerned
I'm missing something and maybe something else is going on disease
wise. I'm still going to try and get my babies out and into a
smaller tank, but that leaves me with only two fish left of my original
four. Any suggestions? Am I on the right track or should I be looking
for something else.
Thank you, Christine
< Lower the water temp to the mid to low 70's. Add some dither
fish like giant Danios, or other large schooling fish. This should
lower the aggression levels.-Chuck
my African cichlid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom fin 12/11/11
<Be quiet! If the other cichlids hear about it, they'll want
some too! But seriously, sounds like Lymphocystis. Quite common when
Perciform fish like cichlids aren't kept in perfect conditions.
What's the aquarium like? How big? What's the water chemistry?
How low do you keep nitrate? That's nitrate with an "a"
-- I assume nitrite with an "i" is zero. A photo would help
with the diagnosis. Cheers, Neale.>
<<Egg dummies? RMF>>
Re: my African cichlid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom fin
My filter had went out I bought a new one the fish is in a tank all
alone what medicine should I go buy
<If this is Lymphocystis, there's no cure. It'll go away by
itself in a few weeks or months. Lymphocystis is a viral disease. The
swellings are usually some sort of off-white to cafe-aut-lait colour,
and may have a rough texture. Do look online for photos. Another
possibility is some sort of Finrot, quite common when fins are damaged
and water quality is poor. There are many medications for this; consult
your retailer, but avoid the "preventative" type medications
like Melafix, Pimafix, Stress Coat and so on. You want a reliable
antibiotic or antibacterial. Again, look online for photos of
Lol u r a trip needed that laugh
Glad I could amuse. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: my African chiclid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom fin
<<Egg dummies? RMF>>
<<<Possibly, Bob, but those should be obvious yellow-white
oval shaped markings on the anal fin, rather than balls. Totally out of
left field, but I did also think about Ophthalmotilapia ventralis, a
species with males that have very weird egg-shaped structures at the
end of their pectoral -- not anal -- fins. Anyone keeping this
expensive, rarely-sold species would know they had one, surely? Cheers,
<Ah, one never knows. C and B, B>
Re: my African chiclid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom
It is such a beautiful fish he is blue and black
<Doesn't really narrow things down, I'm afraid. Photo?
Re: my African chiclid has two perfectly round balls on the bottom
Yes this fish was expensive ! Money isn't an issue we u by things
you enjoy and yes I knew what kind of fish I bought it is my second one
<A photo will help. Meantime, review Lymphocystis, Finrot, egg
dummies on male Pseudotropheus, and what Ophthalmotilapia looks like.
Copadichromis azureus with Long Stringy Feces 10/27/11
The background (apologies if it's too much detail): I currently
have 3 tanks, 75 Gallon, 55L Gallon, and 20L Gallon, with Lake Malawi
My 55L gallon (the only tank with a problem fish) has been cycled for a
couple of months. I perform 2 25%-30% water changes per week. I am
running an AquaClear 70 filter with a filter-max III prefilter (along
with a 36" bubble wand across the back for increased water
movement, aeration, and aesthetics. Water parameters are normally 0
Ammonia, 0 Nitrate, and 0-20 Nitrate (depending on how close it is to
the water change).
I add 1tsp of Instant ocean, 1 tsp of Epsom salt, and 1 tsp of baking
soda to maintain GH and KH and my pH is a steady 8.2. My feeling is
this helps to replicate the conditions in Lake Malawi. I use Prime (2
drops per gallon) as a dechlorinator and to bind with the ammonia
released from the Chloramine in my municipal water. All
additives/conditioners are added to a 5-gallon bucket with tap water
that matches tank water (~80 Fahrenheit) during water changes. Water is
removed from the tank via a gravel siphon with hose and venturi
attachment for the sink.
Food includes: New Life Spectrum Cichlid formula, Hikari sinking
carnivore pellets, Spirulina 20 flakes.
Feeding schedule: 2-3 times a day. Different foods during the day
(perhaps pellets in the morning, flake in the afternoon).
Tank mates: 4 Labidochromis caeruleus (sex unknown), and one Synodontis
Problem fish: 4.5 inch male Copadichromis . He is a very strong blue
and otherwise healthy. He eats well, especially the Spectrum Cichlid
formula, and Hikari sinking carnivore pellets (which is fine as the
flake is mainly for the Yellow Labs). However, I have never seen him
have a "healthy" feces. It is always long and stringy.
When I noticed the issue, it was a white long stringy "poop."
I assumed it was intestinal parasites, so I treated with Jungle (now
Tetra) Tank Buddies.
I treated the whole tank in case this was widespread. I treated twice
in 48 hours with a 25% water change in between (per the directions). I
have not seen any worms protruding from the fish's anus while
inactive. As a side note, the largest male lab seems to have gotten a
bit thinner in the face (but nowhere else), so I think perhaps he had
some sort of irritation to his gills cause by flukes.
I followed up with Jungle Parasite Clear fish food per the
It's now several weeks later, and he continues to have long stringy
feces; however, they are not white.
I am concerned this is a sign of some sort of health issue, and I would
like to address it before it's too late. He appears otherwise
healthy and active, and I'm looking forward to introducing three
females that are currently under quarantine (will be moving most of the
labs to the 75 gallon at that point). I'm nervous about adding the
females and moving the labs if his health issue is contagious.
I have another Copadichromis (a pet store hybrid) in the 75 Gallon who
has normal feces with the same feeding schedule, so I'm not sure it
is entirely dietary in nature.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
< Your fish is fine. The water temp is a little high for Lake
Malawi. I would suggest lowering it to 75 F. In the wild this fish is
found in the mid water column feeding on plankton and doesn't get
much algae directly.
The additional fiber of the Spirulina flakes are probably making up a
larger portion of the diet than the sinking
Red Spots on African Cichlid 10/24/11
I was wondering if you have any idea what the red spots are on my
cichlid if they are dangerous to it and if so how to cure it.
< You have some sort of Lake Malawi cichlid. It is possibly a
cross and the red spots could be normal coloration and not a
disease at all. If he is acting normal without clamped fins or
showing any discomfort then I would just make sure the water is
hard and alkaline, and the nitrates are under 20 ppm. Add a
little rock salt to the water and he should be
Re: African Chiclid
Red Spots on African Cichlid II 10/25/11
The spots just appeared a couple of days ago and they look like
they are raised bumps
the only thing is he's not really eating. the ph is
6.0 but it always has been and the nitrates are fine
< Raised bumps are not part of this cichlids normal
coloration. The fact that he is not eating and raised bumps means
we might have an internal infection. This fish does better in
hard alkaline water. Long periods in acidic water may have
affected the immune system in your fish. In a hospital tank raise
the pH to at least neutral and treat with a combination of
Metronidazole and Furan-2.-Chuck
red sore on head with scrape & a white
dot on left fin of African cichlid
Africa Cichlid Care 10/21/11
Hi...my name is Kim & I have a 21 month old African Cichlid that
has been staying at the top of his 10 gallon tank for the past 2 days
or so. Today I noticed he has a red sore on left side of face &
what looks like a circle, as if a scab would have fell off. Also, a
white dot on the left fin & redness under same fin. Did notice a
red line on top of body, on both sides. His mouth looks bigger to me,
noticed him gasping once & last night, as I turned out the lights,
I heard a big splash! I just did a 25 percent water change. Prior to
this, the pH was 6.2 (which has been for a long time & he has been
fine), the nitrite was 0, alkalinity was 0, hardness was 75 & the
nitrate was 20-40 ( yesterday it was 20). My test kit does not include
ammonia. He is usually in his cave, (which, I'm hoping, he may have
just rubbed his face because he is getting big), or he is usually
picking up the gravel & moving it around, his name is Hades.
Yesterday I had added a bit of distilled water, since it was getting
low & I have been sick, so I am about a week late doing the monthly
cleaning & 50 percent water change. I also just added the 5 ml
amount of Stress Zyme+ & a teaspoon of AquaSafe, which are the only
chemicals I ever use. I feed him flakes every other day, but got
confused & may have fed him a small amount 2 days in a row,
didn't feed yesterday, fed today but he didn't eat. He is my
only fish & part of my little family. Can you please help? I
can't even eat or sleep. He has had me scared in the passed &
always pulled through. I always have used distilled tap water, but if I
have to clean tank & do another water change tomorrow, is it
alright to use the water you buy in the stores? Thank You!
Kim & Hades
< There are a couple thousand species of cichlids from Africa so
African Cichlid can mean many different kinds of cichlids with
different requirements. I assume you are referring to a rift lake
cichlid. Cichlids from Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika require hard
alkaline water. They are pretty tough and can probably handle your
distilled water treatment but would do better with water that is more
like the waters they come from. If your tap water is in the alkaline
range then start by doing water changes with treated tap water. This
should bring the pH up into the alkaline range. Add a teaspoon of rock
salt to the tank too. This will increase the body slime and help fight
off the bacterial infections you are seeing. If no improvement is seen
in a week then treat with an antibiotic like Furan-2 or
Mysterious Deaths. 9/24/11
A few months ago I decided to turn my 100gal community tank into an
African Cichlid tank. I was very excited and started
with about 10 small
1"-2" Assorted Africans
<A very bad way to start. Did you have a plan? Lots of Rift Valley
cichlids won't cohabit for long. Peacock Cichlids for example
shouldn't be kept with Mbuna, and not all Mbuna get along with each
other, some being notably more aggressive than others. Throwing
together a bunch of cichlids will simply result in successive deaths
through stress and fighting until the bullies, usually Zebra Cichlids
and Melanochromis auratus, end up ruling the tank.>
a 6" Pleco
and a 4" Featherfin Catfish.
<Will be damaged and likely prone to diseases and stress. Synodontis
euptera is an African catfish, yes, but from soft water rivers not the
Rift Valley lakes. Africa is a big place, bigger than, for example,
North America, and yet you wouldn't dream of assuming a fish from
California would want the same conditions as a fish from Alaska. The
same here. The bland name "African cichlid" is as meaningless
as saying "American fishes" because it simply doesn't
reflect the sheer diversity of species in the continent. There are
African cichlids from rainforests, from swamps, from estuaries, and
yes, from a variety of lakes, some of which are hard water lakes but
certainly not all of them. Do, please, research your fish
Everything was fine for about 2 weeks and then a cichlid died and it
was all down hill.
I lost a fish a day until I had no cichlids left. My PH is at 8.4
Ammonia is 0 Nitrates and Nitrites are 0 Temperature is about 79
degrees. The fish (who had very hardy appetites) one by one stopped
eating, then would hide and stay very close to the bottom of the tank,
didn't swim around much and their gills would go crazy like they
weren't able to breath.
<Poor water circulation, lack of water chemistry control, social
behaviour issues'¦ all sound possible. You haven't
mentioned water chemistry yet, just pH. How hard is your water? How are
you buffering the pH? What's the carbonate hardness?>
There were no other physical signs of being sick, and I did treat with
Clout before I lost the last 3 and it was ineffective.
<Randomly adding medications prior to diagnosis almost never
After that experience I moved my Pleco and Catfish to a Q-tank and
observed them for any signs of illness for one month (they are
perfect). I cleared out my 100gal and completely started over. My water
quality is exactly the same as before. This time I started with 4 Acei
<Pseudotropheus acei, a fairly mellow species.>
one week later I added 2 Electric yellows 3",
<Labidochromis caeruleus, another mellow if nippy species; should
work with Pseudotropheus acei just fine.>
and one week later added 2 orange blotch peacocks 4".
<A hybrid between Aulonocara species and a Pseudotropheus species.
Not highly regarded by advanced hobbyists because it's a hybrid
more than anything else. Isn't a bad fish though, and most
specimens are fairly easy-going. Does need a rather different diet to
Mbuna though, and combining the two types of fish, Mbuna and Peacocks,
in one tank means neither is going to get the "right" diet
all the time, so you have to be extremely careful what you feed
They had lived in harmony for exactly one week then I noticed 2 of my
Acei's exhibiting the same behavior as the previous batch of
assorted cichlids. (Bottom of the tank, not active, breathing heavy,
not eating) and the next day both were dead.
<Sounds like lack of oxygen and/or unstable pH. The dismal quality
of "Mixed African Cichlids" in North American pet shops
especially makes life even more difficult, so mail-ordering in the US
has much to recommend it. In other parts of the world the selection of
Rift Valley cichlids is often rather better, e.g., in England, where
you should be able to get wild-caught or at least good quality farmed
specimens that are genetically purer and much more robust. City
aquarium clubs can be another good source; the US in particular enjoys
large numbers of fish clubs and these promote cichlid breeding among
their other fine attributes.>
I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I have owned fish for a few
years now and I work at a local fish store, its extremely frustrating
not knowing what's happening in my own tank! please let me know
what you think!
<Do start by reading:
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Dying Tropheus duboisi
Greetings Crew! I write in at a loss as to what is killing to my
Tropheus Duboisi. I currently have 6 (down from 8) young adults ranging
from 3 to 3 1/2" in a 55 gal tank with lace rock and a 3 in DSB
for just about a year.
Last Thursday I noticed that one had died (without my permission). So
after a minor panic attack I tested the water and did a 15% water
change. The only variance from my normal water readings was the
nitrates (1ppm) were a little higher then usual which come to find out
that my Pleco was not eating the algae tabs so they were rotting on the
bottom. After removing the Pleco and changing the water and sucking up
the leftovers I figured that I had the issue solved till another one
died on Saturday. As of Monday they weren't eating so I tested the
water again and found the nitrates were .5 ppm, 0 nitrites and
chlorine, KH 150, pH 7.5. So not sure what else to do I removed all the
rock and did a thorough cleaning and changed 50% of the water. As of
this morning only 3 will eat, 2 have no interest in food and one is way
pale sitting on the bottom looking like its about to expire (again with
out my permission). I have 8 other tanks ranging from 10 to 125 gal all
running with various Rift Valley Cichlids that are eating and not
dying. The only thing I have done to the tank is add another basket of
crushed coral to the Emperor 400 filter I have on it to raise the pH up
a bit but I did that several weeks ago. As far as fish food I use Omega
One algae flakes and kelp flakes. Kind of at a loss as to what I should
When I took the dead ones out they weren't bloated or chewed up,
with out being a vet I didn't see anything abnormal. Would having
that uneaten food in there cause that much of a disturbance that they
would stop eating altogether? Should I just keep doing 10-15% waters
changes every couple days? What would prevent them from eating or at
least trying to eat beside swim and breed its all they have to think
about. if only our life was that easy :)Thanks Paul
< There should never be left over food in a Tropheus tank. Feed only
enough food so that all of it is gone in 5 minutes. Let some algae grow
on the rocks. Tropheus have very long digestive tracts. It is easy for
a problem to develop in such a long gut. Everything else looks fine.
The rest of the Tropheus could be treated with Metronidazole and
Nitrofuranace. Once they start to eat again you are
bald patches, but not sores... 5/16/11
Love the site, I browse it every time I have a question.
On my issue though, after a few minutes of searching I didn't find
anything matching my fishes symptoms.
I have a female turquoise peacock cichlid (she is in a
6' 120 gal Malawi all peacock/hap tank). She was bought as a male
for an all male tank, but turned out to be female.
<I have kept, and currently have Aulonocaras as well>
I realise she is likely stressed as one of two females in an all male
tank (I've tried to rehome them without success) but I don't
think that is the cause of her symptoms as the other female looks
She has bare patches of skin on her body, where it looks like she has
rubbed her scales off. She doesn't flash any more than any of the
other fish, so I don't think its caused by excessive flashing. The
patches are not red, bounded by red, or rubbed raw thru to tissue. She
is skinny, but not so's anyone not "fishy" would
She eats well and swims fine. She's not as active as the others,
but I figure it's because she needs to hide a bit for a break from
her tank mates.
<The third "strike"... some one/s is/are bothering this
fish here. That its missing scales, is skinny, and "needs to
hide" calls for re-moving this fish to elsewhere>
I've had her for over a year now and after a few parasite
treatments in the beginning I kinda gave up on it, thinking it was just
some weird thing she did at night. However, a year later, I have
another fish who is skinny, though again, not so much that anyone but an
aquarist would notice. No bare patches though. I have noticed a bit of
flashing, and one or two instances of head shaking over a few weeks
time. This causes me to rethink the worms/parasites issue,
unsuccessfully treated previously. I also read that it might be fish
tuberculosis. I see now I should have pursued it further back then.
Your thoughts please? It's so hard to diagnose fish. Also, whatever
she has, being in the tank a year leads me to believe that, even though
they show no symptoms, the other fish all have to be infected as
<Pat, what you so well describe is very common in keeping these
types of fishes... the "odd fish out" trends to poor
condition, behavior and ultimately perishes. This is NOT an infection,
nor pathogenic at all, but a social phenomenon... The only real
solution is to move such "Beta" fishes, keep them apart from
the "Alpha" ones. Bob Fenner>
Re: bald patches, but not sores... 5/16/2011
Thanks very much for your reply, Bob - its a relief that its not
parasitic/infectious and endangering the whole tank.
I will keep on trying to rehome her, and in the meantime, pick up a
smaller tank that I can relocate her to.
WEBSITE PROBLEM: Not sure if you know or not, but when I visited your
site today, it was reported as an "attack page" and its very
difficult to use it, and I'm sure newcomers would simply quit.
<Yes, thank you... we are "working on this"
<<Is one of the rotating banner ads... we're trying to
Salt Treated Tank 5/6/11
Good Morning Crew,
I am happy to say this is the first time I have had to write in
regarding poor fish keeping on my part. I recently set up a new 55 gal
tank in my basement and much to my surprise during the spring thaw we
had all sorts of water problems coming up through the floor and walls
in my basement.
<No fun for sure>
During my panic to try to save the rest of my tank stands I neglected
the new tank because it was not in dangers way, which is no excuse but
it happens. After the danger was over and started the clean up I
realized that the heater and filter had not been plugged in for a
couple days and the 2 out of the 3 Aulonocara Lwanda
that are in there had what looked like a white fuzz on them. So I did a
40% water change and added some aquarium salt (1 tablespoon per 10
gallons) and turned the heat up to 80 degrees.
Left it run for 3 days and did another 40% water change and treated
with salt again. The fungus its gone but one of them has a bad cloudy
spot on his eye which I doubt will ever go way but I am hopeful.
<Will likely go away in a few weeks time>
This weekend I will be doing my regular maintenance without adding the
<Mmm, rather than "Aquarium Salt", see Neale's formula
here for these Great African Lakes fish:
I am getting a breeding set of 3 4"-5" Mpimbwe Frontosa
<Need more room than this...>
pretty soon and I would like to put them in this tank. How soon should
I wait before I can move these fish around?
<A few weeks>
And when/if I do move them should I do almost a complete water change
or will the salt have no lasting effects in the tank?
<I'd change the "saltiness" out over time... no more
than 50% changes in a week>
Re: Salt Treated Tank 5/6/11
Thanks for the fast reply! I should of looked into what the salt was
going to do to the water but I needed to treat these fish with
something other then harsh chemicals.
<Mmm, well, actually, combinations of metals and non-metals (salts)
can be very harsh indeed>
Thank you for pointing that out to me. I know that the Frontosas should
be in a bigger tank but I have 4 Synodontis multipunctatus in my 125
gal that from what I have read can interrupt cichlid breeding and I
have high hopes to get them to spawn.
<Perhaps another system? You don't need that sofa! Cut that bed
in half length-wise! Shower in the sink and fill up the tub! Cheers,
Re: Salt Treated Tank, African Cichlid Repro./Breeding
Believe it or not I have had this discussion with my wife and she feels
that the tub should be off limits. No sense of imagination I say.
Should of seen the look on her face when I first said that a 55 gal was
too small. I might have to put my Aulonocaras in the 55 with the
<A better use of space; yes>
They take to<o> long to grow
<Lots (daily) water changes and frequent (several times daily) small
and color from fry and I'm running out of floor space for grow-out
On a different note I have a 72 gal bow front tank that currently holds
12 Tropheus Ndole Bay that I am trying to get to breed, so far they
haven't spawned yet (not for lack of trying on the males part). Is
it safe to let these release them on their own in the tank?
<I would not... IF you're desire is to optimize/maximize
"output" you'll need a separate grow out system>
There is to much rock work in there to try and catch the holding
females for me to even think about trying as well as the stress it
causes on the whole system.
I also have a 90 gal tank that holds 12 juvenile Tropheus Ikolas, 12
Eretmodus cyanostictus and 4 Cyprichromis Leptosoma with a gravel
substrate. I would dearly like the Eretmodus to spawn but I am afraid
that there is <number> to <again> many other fish<es>
in the tank as well as the wrong kind of substrate (sand I read is
preferred). What do you think the odds of successfully spawning and the
survival rate of the fry would be?
<With a bit in the way of provided habitat: http://www.cichlidae.com/article.php?id=222