As a fish owner, you must realize that they do not remain healthy all the time and tend to get sick. It is challenging caring for the sick fish. However as a cichlid grower, it is your responsibility to tend to them and ensure that they regain back their good health. If you neglect the initial symptoms of cichlid diseases, you may cause symptoms to worsen and this may also lead to death.
Cichlids get sick for various reasons including parasite, fungal and bacterial infections apart from poor quality of water and other environmental factors.
Watch out for these common cichlid diseases –
Malawi bloat – Fishes on a vegetable diet and African cichlids are commonly affected by the Malawi bloat disease. Symptoms of this disease include white faeces, stomach swelling, loss of appetite, sulking at the tank bottom and rapid breathing. If this cichlid disease progresses, in its advanced stage could cause swim bladder, kidney and liver damage and lead to the death of the cichlid within 72 hours.
According to some, a protozoan found in the fish intestines especially when they are kept in dirty water or if they are not fed properly, is one of the major causes of Malawi bloat. If you find your cichlid suffering from this disease, you must remove filters, change at least fifty percent of the water and add Clout and Metronidazole to the water.
Swim bladder disease – The epithelium lining of the abdominal sac that is mainly responsible for buoyancy of the fish is affected in this cichlid disease. Affected cichlids find it impossible to stay at the tank bottom and tend to float on the top.
Major causes for this disease include poor diet that leads to blockage, bowel irritation, intestinal gas and parasite and bacterial havoc on swim bladder. This disease can be controlled by avoiding feeding too much dried food or protein and introducing fibre rich foods like lettuce, carrots, spinach, peas, squash and zucchini.
Cotton wool disease – Symptoms of this cichlid disease include damaged fins, ulcer, whitish gray skin coating, head tissue erosion and patches on gills. Fungus feeding on fish carcass and leftover food is responsible for this contagious disease.
Cotton wool disease can be controlled by keeping the aquarium clean and preventing stress such as injury or chilling. It can be treated with fungicidal medication, application of gentian violet and salt bath immersion.
Fish tuberculosis – This contagious disease is extremely dangerous and can destroy an entire aquarium. Even humans can contract this disease that spreads through skin cuts and cracks during tank handling.
Symptoms of this disease include white blotches on the exterior, sunken stomach, loss of appetite and frayed fins. It is recommended to immediately separate the sick cichlid and shift aquarium population to a hospital tank treated with antibiotics like Pimafix and Melafix.
Hole-in-the-head disease – This disease also referred to as hexamita is known to affect fresh water fishes including cichlids. Symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite and depressions on the head. It is predominantly caused by poor diet and poor quality of water. According to studies, lack of calcium, phosphorous and vitamin C and D could be the cause of this cichlid disease.
As most of the cichlid diseases are caused by poor diet and poor quality of water it is recommended to feed your pets in the right manner and keep the aquarium clean and tidy. Research well and read a lot to know about how to keep your cichlids healthy and happy.