Resolved: Cichlid Bloat, No Sign Of Relief

Hipsterkipster

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About four-five days ago, one of my red parrot fish showed signs of bloat (white stringy feces, swollen tummy, loss of appetite). I couldn't buy medication until the second day of symptoms, and my nearby stores didn't carry a wide variety.

After two doses of API General Cure, my red parrot hasn't improved. There's no more white feces, but he hasn't eaten in half a week. While I poured in the third dose today, I noticed he had some white fluff in one of his gills. I'm not sure what the white fluff is, and I'm not confident he'll get better.

Is there something I can do to get him to eat food? Is there some other medication I can try to look for? It doesn't seem metronidazole is working right now.
 
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Hipsterkipster

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If I told you about the tank size and tank mates, I'm sure everyone on this forum would flip out, so I'll avoid that for now.

Parameters are fine (although nitrates are currently at 40).

I feed TetraColor, the ones that sink. I've soaked them in the medication and only fed them every other day for the last half week. Usually I feed them every day.

Thank you for answering.
 
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Hipsterkipster

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Update: Gills are turning white (they sort of look like white strings), and there's some white strings appearing on his scales. Not sure what the diagnosis is nor the medication for this since metro currently isn't working. No more white feces, belly still swollen.

Hasn't eaten in a week, low chance of survival. I'll buy some kanamycin and try it late tonight. I need some advice since the rest of my fish might be infected. Could it be worms?
 
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Hipsterkipster

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Thank you for the reply. I've looked at that website before, and I couldn't pinpoint the disease unfortunately. The only one I could confidently identify was bloat. Maybe flukes? Maybe worms?

Honestly, I'm willing to splurge and try several medications right now even if the diagnosis doesn't match. I'm just too nervous to mix medication and too worried he'll pass from starvation before I can find the right cure.

Besides my sick one, my other fish don't seem to have any issues. I'll buy some TetraGuard to be sure, though.

Once again, thanks for the reply. Should I try a parasite medication and kanamycin at the same time?

Also, I've made a grave error by not separating him from the main tank. If I move him out, he'll for sure die now. Should I euthanize him to protect the rest of my tank or let him keep fighting at the risk of my other fish?

Poor guy. He's so young. It breaks my heart to see him so stressed that he's pale and black faced.
 
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Hipsterkipster

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I planned to take him out, but I found my old filter cracked almost in half. I can get aeration, but the move might be too stressful as well as the constant water changes I'll need to do to keep his water in peak condition. I'm also not sure if I should make water changes.

I'll see what I can do and what filter I can afford. Should I still dose the main tank with meds or just the hospital tank?

How long can a fish go without food? Amazon might take too long, so I'll be at the mercy of whatever petsmart carries today.
 

TexasGuppy

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As I recall, petsmart doesn't carry much at all. Melafix and Primafix isn't going to help, the ones by me didn't have anything stronger in stock.
water changes don't have to be too stressful? The clean water may be better than leaving him in the main tank. Depending on the size of the tank it can get really expensive. I did the furan2 and kanaplex in my 54g because I quickly lost to fish two what I believe was columnaris. But it took a lot of meds for a large tank. Didn't lose any other fish and been fine since but it did put me into a mini-cycle. I'd still move him to a separate tub and monitor the main tank before treating it unless you just want the reassurance. One of the aqueon siphons can (small or medium) can get water in/out pretty easily. I change 50% in my 10g tank with it, and the it's pretty easy without major fuss or disruption to those fish.
 
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Hipsterkipster

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It might be too late. I just got back from the store and he's stopped swimming now. He's just gasping on the floor.

I'm going to make a large water change in the main tank and see if he reacts. I'll have to figure out whether or not he can handle a temp change and a move. I checked three nearby stores to no avail. It's a pity I don't have clove oil on me right now. He looks just like one of my previous fish who starved to death when I couldn't find a way to solve a swim bladder problem.

Thank you for your help. I'll be sure to use this newfound information if I ever need it.

Edit: I've been dosing my 55gallon. I don't mind the cost as much as all of my fish's health. My other fish ate the metro-soaked food, so hopefully they'll be okay. I'll grab TetraGuard over Amazon and dose them ASAP.

Update: He'll find happiness in fishie heaven, hopefully. The other fish probably won't eat for two days again. :'(
 

TexasDomer

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Hipsterkipster said:
If I told you about the tank size and tank mates, I'm sure everyone on this forum would flip out, so I'll avoid that for now.

Parameters are fine (although nitrates are currently at 40).

I feed TetraColor, the ones that sink. I've soaked them in the medication and only fed them every other day for the last half week. Usually I feed them every day.

Thank you for answering.
Improper tank size and stocking can cause stress, which can increase the chance of disease. So please, if you could answer our questions, we can try to help you.

Please also list specific water parameters. Some people have different definitions of "fine."

Hipsterkipster said:
Update: Gills are turning white (they sort of look like white strings), and there's some white strings appearing on his scales. Not sure what the diagnosis is nor the medication for this since metro currently isn't working. No more white feces, belly still swollen.

Hasn't eaten in a week, low chance of survival. I'll buy some kanamycin and try it late tonight. I need some advice since the rest of my fish might be infected. Could it be worms?
Do you have pics?

Fish can go longer than a week without eating, so I wouldn't worry about him not eating yet.

Hipsterkipster said:
Thank you for the reply. I've looked at that website before, and I couldn't pinpoint the disease unfortunately. The only one I could confidently identify was bloat. Maybe flukes? Maybe worms?

Honestly, I'm willing to splurge and try several medications right now even if the diagnosis doesn't match. I'm just too nervous to mix medication and too worried he'll pass from starvation before I can find the right cure.

Besides my sick one, my other fish don't seem to have any issues. I'll buy some TetraGuard to be sure, though.

Once again, thanks for the reply. Should I try a parasite medication and kanamycin at the same time?

Also, I've made a grave error by not separating him from the main tank. If I move him out, he'll for sure die now. Should I euthanize him to protect the rest of my tank or let him keep fighting at the risk of my other fish?

Poor guy. He's so young. It breaks my heart to see him so stressed that he's pale and black faced.
Hipsterkipster said:
I planned to take him out, but I found my old filter cracked almost in half. I can get aeration, but the move might be too stressful as well as the constant water changes I'll need to do to keep his water in peak condition. I'm also not sure if I should make water changes.

I'll see what I can do and what filter I can afford. Should I still dose the main tank with meds or just the hospital tank?

How long can a fish go without food? Amazon might take too long, so I'll be at the mercy of whatever petsmart carries today.
Moving to a QT isn't as stressful as people seem to think. You could always get another filter too (especially if you're spending all that money on meds - sponge filters and air pumps are cheap). Water changes are good for the fish, so don't hold back on those.

Fish can go weeks without food.

Hipsterkipster said:
It might be too late. I just got back from the store and he's stopped swimming now. He's just gasping on the floor.

I'm going to make a large water change in the main tank and see if he reacts. I'll have to figure out whether or not he can handle a temp change and a move. I checked three nearby stores to no avail. It's a pity I don't have clove oil on me right now. He looks just like one of my previous fish who starved to death when I couldn't find a way to solve a swim bladder problem.

Thank you for your help. I'll be sure to use this newfound information if I ever need it.

Edit: I've been dosing my 55gallon. I don't mind the cost as much as all of my fish's health. My other fish ate the metro-soaked food, so hopefully they'll be okay. I'll grab TetraGuard over Amazon and dose them ASAP.

Update: He'll find happiness in fishie heaven, hopefully. The other fish probably won't eat for two days again. :'(
I'm sorry you lost him, but we can help you prevent further issues to your tank and inhabitants if you answer my questions.
 
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Hipsterkipster

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Sorry about not answering questions. I've read through this forum for over a year, and often times people would address the stock issue rather than the actual problem. I also assumed "fine" meant 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, roughly 20-40 nitrates, 82-83 temp water, etc. I should've mentioned that its tank mates were other red parrot fish (and a young pleco), so they're fine with my hardier water. That was my bad.

I'd still like to know what happened to my fish, but he's buried in our fish graveyard, now so I won't be able to take pictures of him. I tried when he was still breathing, but the other parrot fish love swimming over and blocking the view. I really regret not taking him out the instant I saw he was bloated. Hopefully it won't happen again. I think the metro solved the bloat issue, but he was afflicted with some gill disease I didn't address in time. My other fish are fine for the most part, so it might not be an infectious disease.

Due to circumstances, I won't be able to get the adequate space for the fish, so their stressful situation will have to continue for some time. I do my best otherwise to care for them before they succumb to their shortened lifespan.

It's been around ten years since a fish in the tank fell ill, so forgive me for my lack of experience. I learned and grew a lot from this event. Thank you for your concern.
 

TexasDomer

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What size tank is this? Just one other parrot in the tank with him, or multiple?

Without pics, I'm not sure we can give better info on what it was.

We ask these questions because they do matter, that's all We want to help you and the fish as well.
 
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Hipsterkipster

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If it happens again, I'll be sure to isolate them so I can properly take pictures. I'll probably invest in TetraGuard right now since I'm not sure exactly what's in my water right now.

There are three to four times more red parrot fish in the 55 gallon than recommended along with a common pleco. Water changes, filter rinses, and medication are all really expensive, haha. At least the garden outside has its supply of fertilizer nearby.

I can't seem to figure out the origin of its stress. He was younger than most, but he was added along with another one that's about the same size/age at least six months ago. The larger ones never bullied the smaller ones for food or territory. I swapped to super small pellets for the little ones over a year ago, so food has been consistent. His black stress spots only appeared after he was bloated and he had no open wounds or ripped/rotted/clamped fins.

One thing I wish I noticed was him trying to breathe. I should've realized that if his gills were diseased, he would have had a tougher time getting oxygen. He probably suffocated to death.
 

TexasDomer

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Why are water changes expensive? They really are the best medicine. I wouldn't throw meds into the tank. You are not fixing the underlying issue.

Stress could easily be from overcrowding. You know it's overstocked, so why not do what's best for your fish and rehome some?
 
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Hipsterkipster

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California water is pretty expensive, haha. I thought TetraGuard was medication meant for protecting fish from getting symptoms... I'll have to double check on that. I guess most people don't medicate their fish after an illness. Just means I can buy a bigger hospital tank since I was planning on giving my five gallon to a friend months from now.

As for rehoming... I'm closer to a caretaker rather than an owner. Their purpose is closer to decoration than plants. I was considering swapping them to platies and swordtails, but "they're too small."

Trust me, I fought against that common pleco for over a year and now we have a new one hiding in the driftwood. :/
 
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