View Full Version : Here we go again...

08-26-2003, 07:44 AM
My recently acquired female Tropheus moori "Kachese" has not eaten now for four days. I immediately removed her and began to medicate with metronidazole. She was perfectly fine for three weeks, then one night I left the light on too long and...bang, she stopped eating. The first day she did not eat she had the white feces so notorious of Bloat and her breathing was a very heavy. Then the next day and yesterday, her feces were "clear" and look more like a sausage casing than actual fecal matter.
Tomorrow will be her last treatment of the metronidazole, and she's shown no interest in eating at all. Usually by this time any fish I have treated are at least picking at the food. The stuff she loves (shell-less baby peas, squash, zucchini) justs floats right by her.
She doesn't seem stressed and is not really breathing heavily (classic of my episodes with Bloat).
Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions, observations, alternative remedies, etc. I am going to try Pipzine next, as a precuationary dewormer. She is a wild caught fish and made it through her quarantine with flying colors, but perhaps there were parasitic worms still present. If that doesn't work, I will move on to clout, but other than that, I am at a loss. Water parameters are all good, and other than the lights, conditions have not changed.

I can't stand this...this is the same thing that happened to my beloved Petrochromis trewavasae. I treated both with metronidazole, clout, and pipzine. Nothing worked and they both died anyway. I really love this fish, and fear that she will go the way of the Petros.

08-26-2003, 09:16 AM
Sorry to heat about the Troph.... I have a ?...been a while since I had to treat anything so forgive any ignorance on my part....you said "I treated both with metronidazole, clout, and pipzine"

If memory serves correct ...clout has metronidazole as it's active ingrediant? Not sure about pipzine.....a buddy of mine sent me some stuff that contained Nifupirinol (sp) and I treated with that and clout for four days....double dosing the recommended clout.....did a 50 percent water change and ran carbon for 2 days then removed carbon , turned the heat up to 84 degrees, added a wooden airstone for additional oxygen and repeated for four more days. Did another water change...ran carbon for 2 days and 3 of 4 affected fish survived. I also stopped feeding anything but pure veggie matter (unprocessed) and 100% spirulina. I added once a month minimal feeding of marine Krill. No more problems.

I'm sure as far as diet goes you have the issue under control, but with Tropheus...IME...water quality/temperature and feeding are always the culprit.....treat the symptoms , but fix the cause.

I will check my log book tonight and see if I can find the entry and get some specifics for you if you still need them.

08-26-2003, 06:45 PM
Thanks very much.

Clout has other ingredients...got to look at the box.

Just checked her and she's not looking good; just hanging in the back by the heater. :(

08-26-2003, 07:35 PM
merl...sorry you're having tropheus troubles, again. i don't know if i'll ever be brave enough to try them.:(

08-26-2003, 07:47 PM
Thanks, SGM.

I know what you mean! Great fish, not a great track record. I do everything I'm supposed to do...the right food, super clean environment, minimal stress...I just don't know. And all my others are so different.

I love them and I hate them all at the same time.

She's just so beautiful...I really hate to see her so ill. Checked her a little while ago and she's in the back by the heater. You know that's not a good sign. :(

Will be taking fecal matter to vet tomorrow to do a slide. Hopefully she'll see something that's treatable.

08-26-2003, 07:57 PM
she could be stressed cuz she's not living in a tropheus colony, though.:confused:

08-26-2003, 08:07 PM
I guess that's true, but then why do my other guys do well. I was talking to Tom the other day (our Tom, not my husband) and we were discussing the single Tropheus issue.

Thing is she seemed just fine, and there are two others in there with her. Not a soul bothered her, and she was Tank Queen, chasing and picking at everyone. Then the light incident came and she didn't eat the next day.

IME I am finding that these fish are really photo sensitive. It's like my lizards, almost. If they don't get just the right amount of light and balance of light to dark their digestion goes off track. Have to look into this factor more, for study, to see if I'm right.

08-26-2003, 10:28 PM
sounds like a good topic for an article.:D

08-26-2003, 10:56 PM
Yeah, and if I wasn't hovering over her to see if she's ok, I might actually be able to do the research continuously.

If I get up, I get too distracted and forget where I was before. (I'm getting old! ROFLMFAO!!!!) :D

08-27-2003, 12:47 AM
watch that fresh mouth, girlie!:twisted: :razz:

08-27-2003, 12:53 AM

I think you misunderstood the F; in my case F=fat, but I suppose it could mean that other word, too, now that I look at it.

Leave it to you, Oh Evil Mermaid, to think of it! :rofl2: (And that is why I adore you! :D )

I'm finally going to sleep now, after sitting in front of her tank now for hours. Can't keep her in focus. Hopefully she will be better after this last treatment.

08-27-2003, 12:58 AM
that's even worse...detention for you!

08-27-2003, 11:13 PM
SGM the detentions will be given out next week (when I go back to work).

Ok, I am putting a very cautious and guarded :dance: up because today she ate crushed spirulina flake three times in very small quantities offered. She is swimming around more and looks a little better today. I did the water change last night and then medicated this morning and added aquarium salt.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. :uh:

08-27-2003, 11:18 PM
good luck!!

08-27-2003, 11:30 PM
Good to hear, Merl. You might consider shifting her to a diet of good old flake food and the occasional piece of Romaine lettuce (good source of fiber) after she's doing fine. The mushy peas, etc. might be directing her gut to clog city. I'm not saying diet is necessarily the cause of your Troph's ailment; it's just MH observation upon reading your menu. Those who've never had any problems keeping Tropheus can thank their lucky stars as much as anything, I think.

Keep us posted.

08-28-2003, 09:23 AM
Originally posted by SGypsyMermaid
merl...sorry you're having tropheus troubles, again. i don't know if i'll ever be brave enough to try them.:(

These are my thoughts exactly "Brave enough to keep them"

One of the lfs I frequent have great success with them. On the other hand I had a friend years ago who lost a whole colony of those rainbows and this is always in the back of my mind when I'm viewing these beautiful cichlids.

08-28-2003, 09:30 AM
I don't think of it as bravery so much, just STUPIDITY! :wink:

I can't resist those cute little (or in Beauty's case - big) faces.

Tom: I am begining to think you are right about just flake. I feed New Spectrum pellets too, and wonder if her overeating of them, combined with the lights being on too long, was the cause of the problem.

Got to find a good place that sells HBH "Graze" or "Veggie" or whatever they're calling it this week. I want to mix it with the OSI spirulina and the Omega One Cichlid Veggie. All my fish eat both of these, and pellets, usually without any problem...until her majesty, now.

08-28-2003, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by merlyn2221
I feed New Spectrum pellets too, and wonder if her overeating of them, combined with the lights being on too long, was the cause of the problem.

Any inferences made on the basis of a couple of groups of fish are hasty generalizations, I realize; but I don't feed my Trophs pellets because it (from Konings, I think) seems reasonable to me that such food, especially when softened, is too readily digested.

08-28-2003, 05:25 PM
By the way, Merl, although flake is my go-to food, I do include the darker green varieties of lettuce. After they've eaten a small hole or two through the leaf, I dispose of it. In the attached pic, maybe you can see the green of the algae on the rocks. That gives them plenty to nibble on between the short flake feedings.

Also: Can you help me with these questions?
You're using "overeating" to mean "a lot" of that particular food and not just plain stuffing her face, right? Can you pinpoint the medication that appears to have been responsible for her improvement, however slight? Was it the metronidazole? What do you use for substrate and how deep is it?


08-29-2003, 09:02 PM
When I said overeating I meant that she ate a very large amount of pellets. She ate her 3-4 as usual, then got some that had begun to break up once they hit the substrate. She looked to me like she was on a binge. She had never done that before. She maybe ate eight or ten of them that day, much more than what she would normally consume. They are New Life Spectrum Cichlid pellets, the same food all the fish eat, and the same food she was eating in the evening at the lfs. I have fed it to the other tropheus without any problem.

I do feed them leafy greens; blanched then frozen fresh and defrosted before feeding. They go crazy for it. I give them Romaine and zucchini or squash, and the canned baby La Suer peas de-shelled. I squish the inside of the pea into the tank where it breaks into a million tiny pieces, that way everyone gets some. [In the mbuna tank, I don't even get to fully squish it in the water, they steal it right out of my hand and soak me in the process!]

Anyway...In "Beauty's" tank, there is a huge amount of algae on the back wall that I leave, also a coating on the rocks. There is both green and nasty brown algae. They eat both. The Trophs munch out all day on it, so do some of the other fish that are in there.

The metronidazole is indeed Flagyl. It is packaged for freshwater and marine use under the brand name Hex-A-Mit (by Aquatronics). Seachem makes it too, just called Metronidazole and it is much more cost effective than the first brand. There is also Parasite Clear, made by Jungle Labs, but that also contains other things like praziquantel, difluorobenzamide, and archiflavine.

I believe that the metronidazole did indeed "cure" her, as it has my Tropheus Kaiser II and my Aulon. stuartgranti "chiwindi" on more than one occasion. Apparently the "chiwindi" is a Tropheus in disguise. In addition to the metronidazole, though, I also raise the temperature and add Aquarium Salt and formaldehyde. I know you aren't supposed to mix meds, but in this case, I always do. In all my years of fish keeping, the old timers used formaldehyde for everything. I think it wards off secondary bacterial infections and I can use it simultaneously, unlike other broad spectrum anti-biotics (i.e. ampicillin). I call it my "boost" for the metronidazole. Other than its carcinogenic possibilities, it does not ultimately harm the fish. And whenever I treat with any medication I use two to three airstones for water movement and better oxygenation.

The substrate in her tank is fine sand made for cichlids by CaribSea called African Cichlid Mix. It is over a bed of CaribSea's African Cichlid Mix of calciferous rock and crushed shells. There is eggcrate lining the bottom of the tank first, then the gravel is inside the eggcrate and covering both, by about 1.25" if sand, some of which has fallen between the eggcrate and gravel. The substrate is not more than a total of 1.5" deep. I left the gravel base when I changed the tank over to sand a few months ago. I added the sand new, then added a few of the heartier fish in there (1 N. tetracanthus, 2 Aulon. Rubin Red, 4 Yellow lab juvies, and 3 Labeo. trewavasae juvies) to be sure it would stay cycled. All was fine. I tested every other day and there was never any problem with the readings. I had hoped that leaving the eggcrate and cycled gravel mixture as a base for the sand would help to seed it faster and apparently it did.

I worried about gases being trapped in the gravel bed under the sand, so I stirred it up at least once a day so it could mix well. No gas bubbles ever lifted to the surface. The rocks that I use were the same ones that had been in the tank previously. 75lbs or so of lace rock, with algae on it, like I mentioned before. I thought the conditions were ok for her (and the other two Trophs). I really do believe that my cleaning the tank two days before the lights being left on too long, and the lights being on themselves stressed her too much.

She did a very weird thing the night before she stopped eating. She tried to attack me through the glass on five separate occassions. The first two times I thought she might just be grazing on algae on the glass, but by the third time I noticed she would do it only when I came to the tank. Very odd. For a minute I thought she was holding, because that is what Esmerelda (OB trewavasae) will do to anyone, but me, who passes the tank when she's holding. At first when she stopped eating I though that might be why, but it was clear that after I isolated her that there was nothing in her mouth. Then I started to wonder if she had swallowed some eggs. I know that Trophs usually only have small spawns, so I figured it wouldn't be enough to kill her, but certainly could explain a digestive problem.

All in all, I must say that I feel I treat incidents of "Bloat" or whatever you want to call it when fish stop eating, all too often and I wonder why. I keep coming to one conclusion after ruling out water conditions which are usually Am 0ppm, Nitrites 0ppm, Nitrates between 10 and 30ppm (higher right before weekly water change), pH 8.2, gH 120ppm, kH 180ppm. That is that the diet is wrong.
Now I know that the flakes I feed are ok: OSI spirulina, mixed with Omega One Cichlid Veggie. They are easily digested and can be easily crushed up finely. The New Life Spectrum pellets on the other hand, are nutritious and lower in protein, but they do not break down in water very quickly. It takes them at least 3-5 minutes before they do. So follow this logic: the fish eats the pellet while it is hard; it expands in the stomach and causes a "plug" that takes a while to dissolve and the fish continues to eat three more pellets. The carnivorous fish has no problem with this, because he has the correct enzymes to break down the food, but the vegetarian fish does not possess these enzymes, so it takes a longer time for the food to digest and pass through it's much larger intestinal tract, thus causing a mini blockage. Protozoa, bacterium, and parasites normally occupying the intestines can now become overactive feasting on the decaying food and the fish becomes constipated then stops eating. When treated with an anti-parasitic, the fish improves because the medication kills off excess protozoa, parasites, and bacteria, while at the same time the fish has had the food decay inside and thus it will pass some type of fecal matter (white stringy or clearish white) then the digestive tract is cleared and the fish can eat again.
This of course is just MY logic, but in my case it seems to make sense.

I will be stopping the pellets for the tank she is in (much to the dismay of the 2 Calvus and the Ast. latifasciata, but they will certainly not starve), but I will be adding HBH "Graze" or "Veggie" as I believe it is now called. It is (as you may already know) pure vegetable flake, and designed for feeding fish like Tropheus. I think I will also go with 4 very small feedings a day to keep her from overeating so much.

Thanks to all of you for your support. I though for sure she was history, but thank goodness she is greatly improved!

08-29-2003, 09:03 PM
And that's my dissertation "Professor Tom." :wink: :hehe:

08-30-2003, 12:18 PM
No doubt diet plays a (the?) key role in both the development and prevention of the condtion generally referred to as "bloat" or "Malawi bloat." The length of the Tropheus digestive tract alone suggests this. (It's my understanding that it's considered long even among herbivores.) This further suggests that Tropheus feeds primarily on roughage: The longer the intestine, the more significant the absorption of foods. This in turn suggests that fiber is not just desirable in the Tropheus diet--it's necessary. Will the absence of insoluble fiber in the Tropheus diet lead to complications resulting in "bloat"? Probably--although I also think it's not that simple. But assuming that digestive functions in fish are not much different than those of other animals (it's a fair assumption), waste not expelled from the body with the help of such fiber creates a rich environment for pathogens.

As to the possible pathogens that cause the disease(s) which manifest themselves as Bloat and dealing with them: I doubt Bloat is the result of a single culprit; the diverse conditions (diet, water quality) surrounding Bloat as reported in the aquarium fish literature don't appear to point to a specific pathogen or disease. That metronidazole appears to help, especially immediately at the onset of initial noticeable symptoms, doesn't narrow it down, as the antibiotic is active against both gram-negative bacteria (bacteria found in the intestine are typically gram-negative, as are the anaerobes found in deep substrates, for example) and parasites. The answer may very well be that Bloat is symptomatic of diseases caused by both anaerobic bacteria and flagellates. And until or unless it's established that the culprit is one or the other, I'd probably use metronidazole in the tank when confronted with Bloat. It's not a harsh drug, at any rate. I've used it before in the successful treatment of parasites in Mbuna. A box of 30 Flagyl 250mg tabs (Flagyl is also available as 500mg tablets) is more than enough to last quite a while. I crush the tablets (they're soft) into a powder which I then dissolve in water before adding it to the tank. In fact, I read (at The Cichlid Room Companion site, I think) one hobbyist's Bloat-prevention strategy which was basically the addition of metronidazole upon introducing Tropheus to a tank. I'm not necessarily advocating the method, but given the drug's relatively benign-to-fish properties, it's something to consider after doing some homework.

Anyway, I'd say as a practical matter, in addition to the usual diet/water quality/stress advice given for Tropheus keeping, that this genus be kept in well aerated tanks with decidedly shallow sand beds, be fed flake foods made especially for herbivores, be supplied daily with additional sources of fiber, not be fed anything not super-rich in fiber that can't be consumed in literally seconds, and be allowed to fast ( the algae aside) once in a while. That's no guarantee that they won't fall victim to Bloat, of course; but until the real killers are identified and a definitive, scientific course of action published, I don't see these potentially preventive measures as unreasonable.

Originally posted by merlyn2221
And that's my dissertation "Professor Tom." :wink: :hehe:

Speaking of which, Prof. Merl, as an aside, questions about stuff in English literature (drama, in particular) that continue to bug me:

From early Shakes: Did Cassius use a special diet to achieve that "lean and hungry" look?

From later Shakes: If Othello is "passing strange," then why does he keep using a laxative? Why doesn't King Lear just get in out of the rain?

From modern stuff: Why is The Bald Soprano "art" while Animal Crackers is "low comedy"?

:hmm: :hehe:

08-30-2003, 04:36 PM
get out of the sun, tom...just get out of the sun.:twisted:

08-30-2003, 09:52 PM
Like I said before...YOU ARE REALLY SICK! :rofl2:

Besides, I think Animal Crackers is art! :hehe:

08-31-2003, 04:04 AM
SGypsy: Tom? Who's Tom? I am Sunman. buah-ha-ha-ha
(You can call me Sunny, though.)

Merl: I agree (about the Marx Brothers). It's just a "helpful discussion" I recall from a course: I flipped one undergraduate semester years ago and took something called Modern Drama. The prerequiste was a tolerance for absurdity, I think. We studied such motifs as syphilis in Ibsen's Ghosts, lesbianism in Sartre's No Exit, boredom in anything by Shaw.

Actually, I was in that class only because a girl I had a crush on had enrolled in that course. Outside of class I got only as far as a first date: I had decided that "A Day at the Races" and a night at Denny's were more than any girl could possibly expect. She apparently didn't agree.

08-31-2003, 12:43 PM
Originally posted by tom
We studied such motifs as syphilis in Ibsen's Ghosts, lesbianism in Sartre's No Exit, boredom in anything by Shaw.

That must have been the same class I took where we studied Markist and Socialist themes in Ibsen's plays and penis envy in Sophocles' Antigone. I also took and art course that had us looking at the representation of Markism throughout Marc Chagall's "blue period and the homosexual themes in Dali's works. :roll:

And I thought I was the only one who had weird courses.

Ok, but here's a stumper for you...it was one of the only two final exam questions for my Shakespeare's Tragedies course. Needless to say, I failed the final.

What was the pattern of Desdemona's scarf in Othello and what is it's significance?

I don't think even Shakespeare knew the answer to that one! :rofl2:

09-01-2003, 12:02 AM
Originally posted by merlyn2221

What was the pattern of Desdemona's scarf in Othello and what is it's significance?

"Out, damned strawberry!"
You know, the working title for Othello was "Much Ado About a Handkerchief" but Shakespeare changed it just so teachers like yours could ask silly questions.:mrgreen: :wink:

How's your Tropheus doing?

09-02-2003, 06:56 PM
A mixed quote there, but I like it nonetheless! :lol:

If you knew that answer off the top of your head you scare me even more than normally. :eeek:

Ah, yes, professor, but I do note that you neglected to answer the other part of the question: What is the significance of the scarf and its strawberry-leaf pattern? Buh hah hah! :twisted:

09-02-2003, 07:07 PM
our fearless leader is definitely getting weirder by the day!:twisted:

09-02-2003, 07:07 PM
But Ay, there's the rub! I did answer by "mixed" quoting Lady Macbeth.

Remember: In writing about literature, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers; there are, however, "good" and "bad" ones. The "good" ones you arrive at by using "evidence" from the text to support whatever B.S. occurs to you during the exam. :hehe: (OK, now let me read Othello, beginning with Act III....)

09-03-2003, 04:15 PM
Originally posted by SGypsyMermaid
our fearless leader is definitely getting weirder by the day!:twisted:

"I'm out there, Gypsy, and I'm looooving every minute of it!"


09-03-2003, 08:47 PM
:ok: :rofl2: :lmao:

You are tooooooo much!

Beauty seems fine, thank goodness. She is now back in the main tank and eating normally. I have only been sneaking in the pellets to the other fish and she seems content to only eat one or two now, but the main diet is the combination of flakes. She seems to like the OSI spirulina the best, and indeed I can understand why. It looks good, smells sweet and fresh, and appears to crumble into managable sized pieces when dropped in. The flakes, I find, are very dense, enabling me to feed less, but give them more nutrition.