Long term illness

Q&A about diseases and their cure

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Long term illness

Post by RC » Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:49 am

Dear Pam,

I set up a small 160litre tank with Cynotilapia "lion's cove" and Yellow labs some time ago. Things went very well for a few years, with me having to give away fish regularly to prevent overpopulation and no known deaths. Unfortunately I tried to add another species bought from a shop, and some sort of illness appeared to go through the tank, with about half the fish dying.

After a month or so, things settled down, and the deaths stopped. The fish never seemed as healthy as they were before, and they never bred successfully again.

This was some years ago. I'm now noticing that the cynotilpaia are starting to look a bit ragged. In particular the fish that turned out to be the only female among my original 6 cynotilapia looks decidedly "bent" in odd ways (not the typical bent spine) and has poor quality fins. It has looked sick sometimes, but most of the time is active and has a good appetite. I'd estimate that she's the oldest fish in the tank and is about six years old. Some of the other cynotialpa look a bit "worse for wear" as well.

The remaining yellow labs look and act healthy. But they don't breed even though I'm sure I have a mix of genders.

My question (at last) is that I'm concerned that the original illness that went through the fish was some sort of parasite, and that it may still be present in the tank. So that adding any new fish would not be a good idea as the parasite might strike them. So, I'm sort of "stuck" with the tank I have. I live in rented accomodation, and cannot easily just add new tanks.

Do you think that it is likely that there is some illness remaining in my fish?

Thanks in anticipation,

Life would be perfect if it weren't for this one little glitch....

Pam Chin
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Post by Pam Chin » Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:13 pm

Hi Ross,

It is dangerous when you add new fish to an established tank. You may never be able to figure out what your new additions brought in to your established tank. Also consider that most mbuna types are in their prime around 2 - 4 years old, after that there is a decline in frequency of spawns and even the ceasing of spawning. Over crowding, and over feeding is also causes for your cichlids health, it is well known that these fish are great beggars for food, and if your fish are a bit portly, this could also be the reason they are not spawning.

A 10 or 20 gallon tank is a safe way to quaratine new additions, I like to keep them isolated for about 4 weeks, up to 2 months or more if they are wild. I know it is exciting to get new fish, and you want to put them in your tank, but as you have experienced, it can really cause some havoc. Whether your fish are still sick or carrying what ever they did have is possible, and it might not rear its head again until you do add fish.

With the fish you have that are older, and showing your age, you will have to decide whether or not they have a good quality of life or not, and if you should euthanize and start over, by tearing down the take and give it a good cleaning.
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