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Mbuna diet question?

8 years 5 months ago #31351 by mikeg2929
Replied by mikeg2929 on topic Mbuna diet question?
after increasing the food intake of your fish, did you also increase the frequency / amount of water changes?

Check your nitrates. Hitting the fish with anti parasites without a sound understanding of what you are treating is a bad idea. ALL meds affect the fish. The more meds you try in a short period of time the more you tax the immune system.

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8 years 5 months ago #31350 by RickB
Replied by RickB on topic Mbuna diet question?
The sand substrate helps fish with their digestive processing thus reducing stress and increasing their ability to process foods. It also increases the bacteria process in the tank.
Give the meds a chance to work and make sure you treat again 10 days after you started the 1st treatment.
I am not big on UV sterilizers as I believe they actually lower the fishes ability to cope with diseases in the long run.
If you are coming to the swap, we sell thera spectrum which has garlic added which is also suppose to be good for the fish and reduce parasites. People who feed thera seem to believe it is good and most, once started, seem to want to continue as they say they think their fish are healthier with it. Personally I have never fed thera as regular spectrum is slightly cheaper and with the amount of fish we have and breed the added expense is not necessary in our mind.
This is about all the advice I can give. If your problem persists, contact Terry Fairfield, the GGCA "fish doctor", and he can probably add more info that might help.
Good luck !
Rick Boester

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8 years 5 months ago #31348 by mmaacchh10
Replied by mmaacchh10 on topic Mbuna diet question?
I ended up doing a couple treatments of formaldehyde/quinine without much luck so I am trying praziquantel. Yes my fish are itching/flashing and some are doing mouth twitering or may stop eating for a day on occasion. The issue has been going on for what seems like months. Why does sand help with parasites? And do you think that a UV sterilizer would help at all if it was a big one?
Thanks for your advice.

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8 years 6 months ago #31249 by RickB
Replied by RickB on topic Mbuna diet question?
I do not believe the food you are feeding is causing problems. I have fed NLS and a spirulina/vegetable mix for over 10 straight years with very few problems.
I have found that a sand bottom substrate works best for Malawi fish. Almost all Malawi cichlids sift thru the sand for food and this helps with their digestive system processing. We had yellow labs experiencing the same as you describe in your email and after switching their substrate to sand all the problems with them went away. Peacocks especially love sand.
Are your fish doing excessive scratching and or mouth twittering ? If so your parasites are probably excessive and need to be treated some. I have found that increasing the salt content of your tank from 1 tsp per 10 gallons to 2 teaspoons per 10 gallons and the use of rid-ich or ick cure will probably take care of your excess parasites. Parasites have around a 10 day gestation period so 10 days after your treat with a parasite killer you should treat again to kill any eggs that will be hatching.
Water changes should remain consistent. Don't increase or reduce. If you are on a 2 week water change routine, continue that. If you are on a monthly water change routine, continue that. If you aren't on a 2 week or monthly routine, start.
I hope this helps.
Rick Boester

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8 years 7 months ago #31113 by mmaacchh10
Replied by mmaacchh10 on topic Mbuna diet question?
I was looking on Cichlid-Forum.com and I noticed a post about fish with sunken bellies that someone said might be parasites.  The description is very similar to what my fish appeared like 6 months ago, eating well but with sunken in bellies.  The sunken bellies  I attributed to not feeding my fish enough so that is why I increased the NLS pellets.  Six months ago I was not losing any fish even though several had significant sunken in bellies.  Now most of the sunken bellies are completely gone or almost gone, but that post about parasites just raises more questions in my head.  The ones with sunken belles were haps, lake victoria, and mbuna.  But recently I have only lost mbuna.  I wonder if there are more then one issues with the diet/amount of food I am using in my tank?

Thank you.

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8 years 7 months ago #31112 by mmaacchh10
I have a 125 gallon mixed African cichlid tank with mostly mbuna.  I currently am using New Life Spectrum Thera A - Medium Fish With Extra Garlic- - 2 mm and Spirulina Algae Flake Fish Food Ocean Nutrition, and a little bit of plankton.  I am feeding twice a day. I switched to the Thera A about 6 months ago from New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula and increased the amount of NLS pellet food.  For awhile my fish were doing well and I lost no fish for quite some time.  Then more recently I lost a couple of fish and have had a couple of fish that appeared to have Malawi bloat that either was treatable with Clout or the fish died very slowly over many many days.  I have had a few fish over the years develop bloat, but the fish that I think have had bloat recently seemed different.  They stop eating and waste away very slowly, which is not typical of Malawi bloat from my experience.  So, that makes me wonder if my change in diet to decrease the parasite burden with the extra garlic was a mistake or that this is just by chance or from the fluctuating weather/other factors.  My options are below:

1. Increase the Spirulina algae
2. Switch back to the NLS cichlid formula
3. Switch back to the NLS cichlid formula and increase the Spirulina algae
4. Do nothing for now

I have kept African cichlids for many years now and have had the best health with my fish in the 125 gallon.  I am just trying to get a consensus of what people feel is the best diet for Mbuna so I can continue to strive to improve the health of my fish.

Thank you so much for any advice.   


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