Young Flowerhorn White Poop, Not Eating


Hello everyone,

My Flowerhorn was a voracious eater, but hasn't been eating regularly in about a week. He has also been pooping white, not stringy, more like intestine-looking. Though today his poop is looking thinner than before (probably because he's not eating as much).

What is the water volume of the tank?
120 gallons

How long has the tank been running?
3 months

Does it have a filter?

Does it have a heater?

What is the water temperature?
28, but 25 now

What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
I have a 4 or 5-month-old Flowerhorn living in a 120gallon planted community tank. Companions include: a young but rapidly-growing Arowana, two angelfish, three ghost knife fish, honey gourami, fire eel, and freshwater moray.

How often do you change the water?
Every two weeks maximum, once a week when I can.

How much of the water do you change?
About 50%

What do you use to treat your water?
Just your run-of-the-mill conditioner.

Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?
Vacuum the substrate once a month.

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?

What do you use to test the water?
API Freshwater Testing Kit

What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0-0.25 ppm (pretty sure just 0 though)
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 40-80 ppm (yes clearly high, but doing another 50% water change today, did one just yesterday, so maybe I'll do an 80% one today).
pH: Seems to be about 6.4

How often do you feed your fish?
Twice a day, with one day a week of fasting

How much do you feed your fish?
Hard to tell in a community tank, but he eats about 10 pellets and sometimes raw shrimp in the evening (when I feed the other fish).

What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Chilli Diamond Red, Flowerhorn Pellets

Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?
Yes sometimes some freeze-dried mealworms and sometimes thawed raw shrimp.

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish?
2 months

How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
4 days ago when I came back from a 2 week trip.

In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
Not eating at all, will sometimes put food in its mouth but then immediately spit it out. Two days ago I fed the tank some shrimp, and he ate some. Great. But then yesterday I did the same, and he spat it out. His poop is white, kinda looks like beads (intestinal almost), not stringy.

Have you started any treatment for the illness?
No, I just lowered the temperature.

Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?

How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
I think his color is fading slightly, but otherwise he was quite playful and aggressive since I got back. But today he's more docile. And his color gets darker sporadically (I think the Arowana stresses him out).

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)

I went on a trip two weeks ago, he was doing absolutely fine. Thriving even. I asked a friend to feed the tank. He was actually feeding the whole tank thawed shrimp every night for 3 or 4 nights before I told him to stop and do it once a week. But I think something happened there. The whole tank is doing very well, all the fish are growing and happy, but the Flowerhorn isn't eating and his poop is white. I don't know how long this has really been happening but I noticed it when I got back 4 days ago (on Sunday) and last night he was spitting out his food immediately (not even chewing) and this morning wouldn't even put food in his mouth. I understand I could soak the food in garlic, however, because he's in a community monster tank, I don't think the food will last before it gets eaten up.

I don't have a good tank to quarantine him in besides this absolutely tiny 5-gallon. I would go out right now and buy one if you think I should, but that would require daily water changes until it gets cycled, right? I have ceramic rings in another Flowerhead tank that is very well-cycled, perhaps I could use that?

I also live in Saudi Arabia, so medicine is very very difficult to come by, and Amazon is notoriously limited. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

From my research I understand that I can try starving him for a few days and whole that whatever is in his system will pass while maintaining highly regular water changes. I also heard that lowering the temperature may help as any parasites wouldn't be able to reproduce as quickly. My main concern is that, since he lives in a community tank, treating him would affect the other fish as well (not to mention perhaps contaminate them).

I attached a picture from two nights ago where it seemed like his poop was getting better, but as you can see, the tail-end of the poop is white. And yesterday and today, the poop has maintained these white bulbous qualities (without the normal brown-grey color you see in the photo). If you need more pictures please let me know.

Thanks so much.


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FH's are notorious for Hexamita infections. Minus meds, soaking food in garlic might be your only option.
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FH's are notorious for Hexamita infections. Minus meds, soaking food in garlic might be your only option.


Quick Update: I've been trying however he won't eat anything besides shrimp. I am currently starving the tank for a full 24 hours and will only be feeding dried foods soaked in garlic to try to get him better.

His poop is still white, and he is much less playful than before. The only good news is that he is eating raw shrimp, but I worry that's what made him ill in the first place.

If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know.
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