Lethargic apistograma cacatuoides


What is the water volume of the tank? 55 gallons
How long has the tank been running? 4 months with plants, fish 3 months
Does it have a filter? Fluval 407
Does it have a heater?yes
What is the water temperature? 80
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 1 angelfish, 6 honey gourami, 1 apisto, unknown number of snails.

How often do you change the water? weekly
How much of the water do you change? 25 gallons
What do you use to treat your water? Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Mostly planted, I vacuum the sand where I can

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? API
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 8.2

How often do you feed your fish? once or twice a day
How much do you feed your fish? about enough to eat in 2 minutes
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Angel Plus flakes and pellets,
Do you feed frozen? Hikari brine shrimp or bloodworms twice a week
Do you feed freeze-dried foods? no

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 3 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? noticed it wasn't as active 3 days ago, today it's mostly laying on the bottom
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? lethargic, hangs out on the bottom.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Appearance has not changed. There are no weird bumps or white spots.

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
(Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

Fish has been becoming lethargic for a few days. Today, it is mostly sitting on the bottom. Continues to eat. All other tank mates are fine.

I bought two of these fish, supposedly a pair. When it became obvious a few weeks ago that I have two males, I moved one to a 15 gallon tank. This tank had endlers until a few months go and I'd never finished taking it down. The fish I moved continues to do well with the same food and water as the one in the 55.

No new tank mates or plants for 3 months.

The 55 has BDBS and the 15 has Florite. Both have crypts and duckweed, the 55 also has frogbit and vals.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The area where it's been hanging out is just outside a rockpile that makes a couple caves. The fish has scooped out a place in the sand. Could this be normal territorial behavior as it matures?


  • 0.jpg
    59.2 KB · Views: 17


A late reply.
kansas according to members on this site with more experience than me and living in the US it’s not recommended to feed bloodworms to dwarf cichlids. The way the blooodworms are raised may lead to problems. I have no personal experience with frozen bloodworms being an issue and it’s not common knowledge in my local club. Just saying you could stop feeding them to your other fish, just in case?

I don’t have all the answers but wonder if the stress of being in with a dominant male has been a contributing factor?

Have you dewormed? All the fish.


No I haven't. This is the first time I've dealt with any illness in the 2 years I've had fish.

Today the sick apisto has about 1/4 inch feces hanging out.

Do you suggest treating all the fish? Do you recommend a particular med?


I suggest you ask members of your local club.
Asking experienced people and making your own mind up is always a good idea.

My opinion is only my opinion. What shops say and what the manufacturers recommend is also just from humans.

Personally I treat most new fish as soon as they have settled in .
I treat all tank at around 6 months regardless.
I definitely treat some fish from auction differently than others.

The manufacturers recommended every 2 months.
That might be a good practice?
That is a minimum for some shops.

I was not told about de worming until I started losing fish at around 2 or 3 years into the hobby.
Fish like live bearers ( guppies) that eat poop from the substrate are notorious for having worms.

Tablets are the most expensive but easiest to use.
Liquids are the next most easy.
Powders are cheap but hard to measure out in small amounts without scales.

I have never killed any fish, fry shrimp, pest snails or bacteria to the best of my knowledge using this liquid.

It’s recommended to dose again in 14 days to kill those parasites that were eggs at the first treatment. Or follow the instructions ?


Thanks, I'll give it a try.

Diane 007

I think the PH is the problem. I’m pretty sure their max is 7.5..IMO


I think the PH is the problem. I’m pretty sure their max is 7.5..IMO
It's an A. cacatuoides, they can do with around 8. But it's far from ideal.

I see a number of stress factors plus something not mentioned before.

The food is subpar and water parameters (pH and going by that one GH and KH, as well as temp) are also not ideal.

But what it looks like to me: The fish is not the youngest anymore. Might be in the OPs possession for only some months, but going by colouration and finnage (can we get a better picture please?) I'd say the fish is already past 1.5 years of age. That's when domestic strains like this one are past their prime.

I'd go down with temp to 24-25°C, stop feeding bloodworms (and replace them with other feeder animals, as well as feeding live foods), and think about lowering hardness and pH slightly by dilution with RO.

If that doesn't help a bit, I have no further ideas unless I get more/new info.


I got these fish from a large vendor, so I'm pretty sure age isn't a factor. I took a couple more photos, altho they're not much better.

Seriously Fish says these fish like temps as high as 84, but I can lower the temp.

I think I'll treat the sick fish with dewormer, and if I can get them healthy, rehome them both.

I've been hoping to avoid illness with my strict water change routine. MacZ, what do you think of periodic deworming?


  • apisto 1.jpg
    apisto 1.jpg
    157.4 KB · Views: 4
  • apisto 2.jpg
    apisto 2.jpg
    161.2 KB · Views: 4


MacZ, what do you think of periodic deworming?
Only if you feed certain live foods or have new fish additions to a tank regularly. Otherwise, without possible sources for worms, why deworm?


Could a fish look fine through quarantine but be harboring worms that only become a problem when, for example, it was kept in the wrong water? Wouldn't any fish in the tank then be vulnerable to picking them up?

I know the thing to do is not keep them in the wrong water, but since I already made that mistake, I'm worried about my other fish.


Could a fish look fine through quarantine but be harboring worms that only become a problem when, for example, it was kept in the wrong water? Wouldn't any fish in the tank then be vulnerable to picking them up?
You asked for regular deworming and I answered only regular new additions or regular fed potentially contaminated food would warrant that. The chances worms slip through a correctly done quarantine are slim.

And of course would the fish in the tank be susceptable. I mean the stuff has to spread somehow. But a singular instance would still not warrant regular deworming. As I said, as long as you don't add anything that could transmit parasites there is no reason to treat for them after a successful treatment was done.

You feed bloodworms though...


Thanks for answering my questions.

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Question
  • Question
20 Gallon Tank Very lethargic goldfish

Random Great Thread!

New Cichlid Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom