View Full Version : Parrot Looks Sick...White Belly, Not Eating, Frayed Fins

12-28-2012, 08:07 PM

I am trying to find some help for my blood parrot cichlid.

I have had two red parrot cichlids and a pleco in my 29 gallon tank for several years. This morning, I noticed that my larger blood parrot did not seem to be eating during the normal feeding time, which was unusual. Then, I noticed that his fins are a bit raggedy and his scales look abnormal. I think that a couple of his scales have popped off, and his belly is whiter. Also, the root of his fins seem to have white around them also. He has been hanging out at the top of the tank. I just tried to feed him a couple of peas, but some fell to the bottom and the ones that floated near him he did not seem interested in. I just did a water change today, which included putting in bio, aquasafe, and some aquarium salt.

Here are the current conditions of my tank after testing it with a strip:

-Temperature: Approx. 80 degrees
-pH: 6.6
-Nitrate: approx. 80 ppm (difficult to tell exactly based on the shade of pink on the strip...but it is in the unsafe area)
-Nitrite: 0.5 ppm (caution range)
-Total Hardness: 150 ppm (Hard range)
-Total Alkalinity: approx. 40-60 (low to moderate range)

I have taken several pictures as well if that would help with a diagnosis. I have a 29 gallon tank, and have been reading different posts regarding bloat and dropsy. I read that epsom salt could be used to help, which I do have, but I don't have a separate tank to put the sick fish into. I do have a large pail that I could put him in for a while if that is a good idea, but I do not have an additional filter. I wasn't sure if the epsom salt would harm the other fish in the tank, so I have not put any in yet.

Any help would be most appreciated!
thank you so much


12-28-2012, 09:40 PM
First of all, your tank is not cycled. The readings should be 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 20-40 nitrate.
It does look like dropsy, epsom salt is a good laxative. Treat the whole tank.

I would get the API freshwater master test kit because a) your tank is still cycling and b) your dealing with an illness.
The test strips are not all that reliable.

12-29-2012, 12:55 AM

Thank you very much for your help! How much epsom salt would be a good amount? I was reading about 1 tablespoon per gallon while isolating the fish by itself - is that still the same if I treat an entire tank?

Also, any other suggestions on how to cycle the tank? As I mentioned, I just did the water change today. I have heard those test strips can be unreliable. I will look into a better testing kit as you suggested.


12-29-2012, 07:39 AM
Dose the epsom salt at 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons.

I would look into buying some Seachem Prime, it binds the ammonia to make it available to the bacteria without harming the fish.

12-29-2012, 07:47 AM
You may want to also feed the inside of peas.