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Mostly New Member
Feb 8, 2016
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Hi, :)
I've owned my Keyhole cichlid, Fluffy, for about a month and a half now. and for about three weeks she's been extremely ill and I cant figure out what it is. I've tried everything, from anti bacterial, to anti fungal, to ich, to fasting her for bloat. she just wont get better. I also can't tell if she's getting any worse.
it started out with her just acting a little off and staying near the top of my 29g, so I immediately quarantined her into a 20g medical tank and started treating her for what I thought was ich. I did 25% water changes everyday. nothing changed for about a week. I switched to anti bacterial after a 100% water change when she started getting worse, still nothing. kept getting worse. skip to trying anti fungal after another 100% water change in addition to my daily 25% changes. and now here I am.
symptoms are that she will only lie at the bottom of the tank, and seems to be "gasping" the tank has plenty of aeration, so I now its not that. she still eats normally. when she swims upward it seems as if her back end is weighted down with a rock. this, to me seems like a swim bladder disorder, but I've only has success treating this with shelled peas and Betta Splendens.
*note: she's never had the "keyhole" marking, only one vertical stripe on her midline. Her color is still off, but she never had classic coloration.
Meds are fine if you know what you are treating. It seems this fish has been living in an ever changing cocktail of meds for the past few weeks. 
Until you know whats wrong I'd suggest no more meds.
that's why I'm asking now, there's nothing I can do until I know.. but I would rather her not die a slow death.
Do you have a test kit to be able to test the water parameters? Those would help us a lot(ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph. We suggest the api freshwater master test kit). How old was the tank when you added the fish? Did you cycle it before adding it? Are there any other fish in the 29 gallon?
Pre-cycled for about 4 months as I had nothing to add to it because there were no sick fish.
29g parameters-
cycled for about a year now started adding fish about 3 months ago as I was away from home for a while and my fiancé ran it for me
(all these tests were taken when she first got sick as everything has been moved into a 55g)
ph 7.5
hard water
ammonia .1
nitrites 0
nitrates 0
temp stayed at 76
only a salvini cichlid in the tank before she was moved
10g medical tank parameters-
cycled for about 4 months
ph 7.5
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 0
temp stayed at 78
no medication at this point
only the keyhole cichlid
Seeing as how you mentioned ich at first, does she have what looks like grains of salt on her body? Or did she before you tried to treat her?

And other than letting the tank run, were their fish in it at all before you got her? You mentioned another cichlid in there though if I'm reading things right. How long was it in there before you got her? Did you do a fishless cycle? Cycling a tank is much different than just letting it run. The good bacteria needs ammonia to start to get established in the filter so it can take care of the load your fish put out. Sorry if I've misunderstood you on this. But your results are a little strange. Most of the time you should have a tiny amount of nitrates as that's what ammonia and nitrite turn into. I can understand on the hospital tank since you just did a 100% water change though.

I also ask this since you had said she is gasping for air, which could be a sign of ammonia and/or nitrite spikes. Was she gasping in the 29 gallon or just the hospital? And if she's eating, it wouldn't hurt to try to give her peas like you did for your betta. I don't know much about cichlids unfortunately so don't really know what else to tell you other than just keep the tank as clean as possible for now and see what happens. Medicines are hard on fish so before using them you should really know what to treat for the first time and not just throw them in the tank to "see" if it might help.

Oh, and another question, what does her poo look like? Is it normal or like white and stringy? White and stringy usually means internal parasites.

What kind of test kit are you using by the way? I know my api doesn't have a reading for .1. Is it strips or liquid?
Her and the other cichlid were put in together, and were the only two in the tank at the fish store. She Had spots of white on the end of her tail, resembled ich, but when the medication did nothing I assumed fungus. and her poo looks normal, although I haven seen her poop in the past couple days, I don't know if I'm missing it or if she's not going at all. I use strips as the store closest to me doesn't carry a master kit and my fish store is a 30 min drive.
A fishless cycle was done in both tanks, but did 20% water changed on the 29 twice a week once I added the two fish. I'll try the peas, she still has a healthy appetite and goes crazy for blood worms.
You may try to see if you can order the liquid kit online as the test strips aren't very accurate. You can get it for around $25 I think. Amazon is a good place to look if you wanted to go that route. It may give you better results. Hopefully the peas will help. Does she still have spots on her tail? Did the other one ever get anything on it at all?
I'm starting to think the spots are just a part of her coloration, they haven spread or changed at all. An the other fish has never had a problem.
Could be. Could you try to maybe get a picture of it? We could tell you more on the ich route at least then.

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