Flowerhorn won't eat, won't poop, lethargic, stays to bottom of tank. Please help!!

Sophiah1234
Member
Hi, my flowerhorn which I've had for almost two years (about 5-6 inches in a 70 gallon tank) suddenly stopped eating about 4 days ago. He won't leave the bottom of the tank, and just sits there. He hasn't pooped during this time. His coloring, which has always been vibrant red/orange, is now dulled (the two photos were taken one day apart).

I tested the water and added StressZyme+ (to populate with beneficial bacteria) and PraziPro. I even bought live fish for feed, but he won't touch it. I'm so concerned! Please advise if you've seen this before. Thank you!
 
Kribensis27
Member
Welcome to FishLore. AggressiveAquatics knows plenty about flowerhorns; maybe he can help. What are your water parameters?

I've heard that flowerhorns can be prone to constipation, but I don't have experience with them. I'll let someone more knowledgeable about these fish comment on that. I hope you can solve the issue!
 
  • Thread Starter
Sophiah1234
Member
Thanks for the response! The temp is at 84*F, pH is 8.0. The nitrate is at 40, which I just realized upon retesting the water (was not this high two days ago when I tested at the store), so trying to fix that now. I read about potential constipation and how peas might help, but the poor thing refuses to eat anything, let alone peas.
 
Broggy
Member
did you quarantine your feeder goldfish? also how often do you feed them to your flower horn?
 
  • Thread Starter
Sophiah1234
Member
Yeah, I've removed the feeder fish because I didn't want them to bother my flower horn. I don't really ever feed him live fish.
 
Kribensis27
Member
Nitrate isn't harmful unless it reaches extremely high levels, so 40 is fine. Another thing that works well for constipation is frozen daphnia. It does mostly the same thing as a pea, but fish like flowerhorns generally like the taste better.

Completely missed the part about live feeder fish! Feeder fish can carry a huge array of parasites and diseases, and should generally be avoided unless heavily monitored and quarantined for at least a few weeks beforehand.
 
  • Thread Starter
Sophiah1234
Member
I don't currently have daphnia, but will try to get my hands on it tomorrow. And noted about the feeder fish--I had no idea, and a friend who also loves raising fish suggested that as a way to spur my FH's appetite.

If it's not the nitrate, any thoughts what it might be? Maybe constipation as you suggested?
Also, thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I really appreciate it.
 
Broggy
Member
give it an epsom salt bath. not eating is a sign of internal parasites, but I can't be sure
 
AggressiveAquatics
Member
What are your ammonia and nitrite levels? Has he eaten any of the goldfish? Flowerhorns are very prone to digestion issues and live fish are really not recommended for them. The only live food I recommend feeding them is shrimp. He has some stress bars so that makes me think somethings off with your water when was your last water change and did you match the temperature? What I’d do for now until we can figure out what’s going on is turn the lights off in the tank to help him chill out a bit
A spreaded disease from the feeder goldfish is also very possible.
Here’s another theory though I doubt it. If your flowerhorn is only 5-6 inches in 2 years then he’s most likely a short bodied flowerhorn and those have a reduced lifespan by a lot. So while I doubt this is the case it might just be his short bodied genetics and there’s not really much you can do. That’s why I don’t recommend getting e short bodied type
 
  • Thread Starter
Sophiah1234
Member
I don't have a way to test ammonia at home, but nitrite as of last night was 1. I last changed the water on Saturday (25%) and matched the temperature. I turned off the lights. I'm at work right now, but will try to change the water again today (25%) and add more PraziPro. I wish I could change the water now.

Will keep you all updated.
 
  • Thread Starter
Sophiah1234
Member
Hi, so my flowerhorn is doing better now. He's swimming around again, but still won't eat for some reason. I've attached updated pictures--one is a super close up of the kok because it looks like the scales are "shedding"?? Is this normal/is this what's happening?

Happy that he's swimming, but still worried because he's not eating (it's been almost a week!), and the state of his kok. Any advice/insights?
 

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