How to Know When Your Cichlid Is Sick

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While owning an aquarium fish is undoubtedly exciting, it's a big responsibility. If you have a cichlid in your care, then it's your job to keep the little guy in optimal condition through a combination of proper feeding and tank maintenance, to start. Cichlids occasionally experience illnesses, mostly due to parasitic infections.

Symptoms of Parasitic Infections

Parasitic infections affect many cichlids. If a cichlid has parasites, it likely will be highly apparent to you. Some common indications of parasites in cichlids are swelling, absence of appetite and lack of energy. Fungal infections often trigger the emergence of protrusions on cichlids' bodies, while bacterial infections frequently affect breathing. If your cichlid is swimming in a conspicuously slow manner or is exhibiting signs of breathing troubles, bacterial infection could be the culprit. His overall coloring might also start to appear lackluster.

Specific Common Cichlid Health Woes

Some of the specific diseases that regularly make their way into cichlids' lives are ich, Malawi bloat, cotton wool disease, hepatic lipidosis, swim bladder disease, hexamita and fish tuberculosis. Symptoms for these varied sicknesses run the gamut and encompass everything from bellies that cave inward to fast breathing to white fecal matter to lingering conspicuously near the aquarium substrate. If you ever notice your cichlid behaving in an unusual manner, speak to a veterinarian who specializes in fish.

Antisocial Behavior

Antisocial behavior in general often signifies problems with cichlids. Cichlids in good form typically swim freely with their fins away from each other. If a cichlid is hanging out near the ground or is in a nook of the aquarium with his fins tightly and tensely held together, he probably is feeling under the weather.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Specimens

If a cichlid is in less-than-stellar condition, it might be apparent to you even before you bring him home from the store. Some of his scales might noticeably be gone. His fins might look worn out. His eyes might look a little hazy. He might even have prominently visible crimson swellings over parts of his body. If it's feeding time in his tank, pay attention to his interest level in the food. If he doesn't seem to care about it, he might be sick. If a cichlid is healthy, on the other hand, his eyes should look alert. His color should be intense and consistent all throughout his body. His fins should also look immaculate and untouched. He also should have a strong appetite.

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