Help! Sick fish :(

Kenziedowning

Hello, can anyone please help identify what is wrong with our fish?? He looks very sickly & has some sort of growth (I think) under his skin...we’ve had Ramsey for over a year & he’s always had symmetrical holes on the sides of his forehead....they would occasionally get larger and smaller every once and awhile. He’s been itchy a little bit but he mostly shakes his head to the side like a twitch.

I know this developed because we recently upgraded his tank. The new tank was cycled through for at least a week with the proper pH and temperature before we added in his water and him. He was good with the move and adapted very quickly and loved the new space and places to hide. He was super colorful for about a week until I noticed his holes started to get bigger and his lips were all puffed up. I realize now that it wasn’t his lips getting puffy but the flesh around them getting smaller.

He’s had ick in the past a few times we used Lifegaurd and and/or an ick removing liquid. One time he was treated with E.M Erythromycin because his gills looked red and inflamed.


Information:
Bolivian Ram Cichlid
20 gallon tank
1 year old
pH: 7.6 (I added a little bit of pH down)
Temperature: 76
Currently on day 3 of Lifegaurd treatment

I absolutely refuse to give up on him so please anything at all will be helpful!!
He also stopped eating his pellets a few days ago & will only eat blood worms. He still goes for the pellets and pecks at them but ultimately won’t eat them. I’m attaching a picture of what he looks like fully healthy as well.
Hello, can anyone please help identify what is wrong with our fish?? He looks very sickly & has some sort of growth (I think) under his skin...we’ve had Ramsey for over a year & he’s always had symmetrical holes on the sides of his forehead....they would occasionally get larger and smaller every once and awhile. He’s been itchy a little bit but he mostly shakes his head to the side like a twitch.

I know this developed because we recently upgraded his tank. The new tank was cycled through for at least a week with the proper pH and temperature before we added in his water and him. He was good with the move and adapted very quickly and loved the new space and places to hide. He was super colorful for about a week until I noticed his holes started to get bigger and his lips were all puffed up. I realize now that it wasn’t his lips getting puffy but the flesh around them getting smaller.

He’s had ick in the past a few times we used Lifegaurd and and/or an ick removing liquid. One time he was treated with E.M Erythromycin because his gills looked red and inflamed.


Information:
Bolivian Ram Cichlid
20 gallon tank
1 year old
pH: 7.6 (I added a little bit of pH down)
Temperature: 76
Currently on day 3 of Lifegaurd treatment

I absolutely refuse to give up on him so please anything at all will be helpful!!
 

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alexk77

Oh no poor guy has been through a lot.
First things first: I wouldn’t advise changing your tank’s pH. Since pH down is a chemical it will put additional stress on Ramsey. A pH of 7.6 is actually a great pH, especially for cichlids who usually like higher pH’s of around 8. Personally my tank stays at around 7.4 and it’s good to follow this general rule: A consistent pH is better than a fluctuating pH. (exceptions to this are obviously extremely acidic (<6.5) or basic (>8.5) parameters)

It looks like ramsey has some sort of bacterial infection. I’ve never owned cichlids but his symptoms of itchiness and swelling make me think it’s bacterial. Sorry, i wish i could be more specific about what he might have. i’m trying to help as best i can!
I noticed you use gravel as substrate... have you noticed Ramsey trying to dig at all or rearrange the gravel? Cichlids are known for digging and burrowing, which is why many cichlid keepers choose to use sand as a substrate instead of gravel. The gravel might be irritating him, regarding his lips and the flesh around them.
Note: If you feel this is an emergency, next time use the emergency template so the best of the best can find you and help you out better than I can. I’ll try to search around and shout some people out so they can help more.
Welcome to fishlore!
Leeman75
 
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Kenziedowning

Thank you so so much for your response!!
I think you may be right about his gravel, there was extra blue dust in this particular bag & I had to rinse it at least 5 times and even then there was some blue residue left.
 
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alexk77

If i were you I would buy a softer substrate like sand. It’s more difficult to clean but I think Ramsey will be much happier digging around! That way also it’ll be clearer if his condition is just due to irritation from trying to burrow into gravel or not.
Keep a close eye on him, is he still eating and swimming actively? If not then that’s a sign he does have an illness that will have to be treated quickly.
I really hope someone else finds and responds to this post who knows more about cichlid health and has dealt with something like Ramsey’s situation before. I’m sorry i can’t help more, but i hope it’s just a substrate issue and nothing more complicated than that.
I’ve found this link, perhaps it will help you identify anything similar with Ramsey.
Identifying and Treating the Most Common Cichlid Diseases | RateMyFishTank.com
 
Upvote 0

Kenziedowning

He doesn’t eat his pellets much but he eats bloodworms every time. He’s been swimming and being active still too so that’s a good sign! I appreciate your kind responses, thank you!
 
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