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Sick Pseudotropheus Saulosi


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hey all,

Has been a very long time since my last post. This is mainly because I have had many months of enjoyable and trouble tree fishkeeping. My luck has taken a turn.

1. "Description of the symptoms, obvious signs of disease and behaviour of your fish"

Fine one day then sitting at the bottom of the tank in the slower moving waters, corners etc. Laboured breathing, gills arn't red but look slightly swolen. Not eating at all. Hardly moving. Few days later, having trouble staying upright. Dead by the next morning. No signs of discolouration. At base of gills looks swolen, yet stomaches are shrunken.

2. List the fish that are exhibiting the above symptoms/behaviour: genus and species name.

Species tank. Females are from one bloodline males are new to the tank and are unknown.

3. When and how did the symptons/behaviour start?

Problem started when two of the new males died. I assumed they were old and were being harased by the other two males. All together 4 males. Approx 12 females @ about 3 years old

4. How old are the affected/sick fish?

Males unknown, one joyng other one maybe 1-2 years. My females had since fry about 3 years old.

5. Have any new fish been added to the tank?

Yes, 4 males added. Three form one source and one from another. Two of the 3 are dead.

6. Has anything 'special' happened recently?

Nothing new comes to mind. 89US Gal tank, running for 4 years, been a species tank for 3 years. $ new males added so i guess its a fungal disease.

7. What are the water parameters?

- pH =7.8

- kH =

- gH =

- Temp =25deg C

- O2 content =

- CO2 additions =

- NH3 =

- NO2 =

- NO3 =

- Metals (copper, iron, lead) =

Not sure what these all are.... Amonia, Nitrate and Nitrite are all basically 0.

8. Describe the aquarium and its contents

89Gal, 300L. Aqua Clear 500 and a Via Aqua 750. Water turns over 8 times an hour from memory, could be wrong...3 years down the trak its prob slowed a little. Shell grit substrate, rocks wood in the middle. Fairly simple.

9. When was the water last changed and how much was changed?

I do not use chemical water ager. Use a 200L food grade barrel. water goes in there from tap. One week later 60L or so gets added to the tank after draining from tank first.

10. When was the filter last cleaned?

HOB Filter gets cleaned monthly or so. Just clean it under the tap. Wring it out etc. Back into tank. Cannister gets cleaned every 6 months or so, and was last done approx 3 months ago. Trouble started about 2 weeks ago. Seems unrelated.

11. What brand and type of food has been used over the past month?

No live food is used. Hikari and tetra bits occationaly, also wardly or sera spirilina wafers/disks. Large amount of food was given when trouble started. As had been busy and not fed fish frequently for several weeks. Had been fed but only every few days or so.

At first I though my problem was over feeding and then perhaps an amonia spike due to uneaten food. But water stats checked out fine. Water change done as usual. Salt, maybe 1/4 cup added w each water change of apprx 60L. so far i have lost two males and then 1 week later, now 3 females and one more sick. Seem to be losing a new one each 2 days now. But only one sick at a time.

I will take a water sample to the LFS tommorow if i get there in time. But sample will sit in the car all day, so stuff may die or change anyway due to time out of the tank, not sure if thats possible or not.

Any sudgestions on what I should do? I have spent so many hours and effort on these gusy to watch them all waste away.



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If someone solves this i'll buy them a 6-pack.

I have a similar problem with Saulosi Males - they just seem to fall over 1-by-1 a week or so after the first went. No females, no nothing.

Smokey - I bet it's the feeding issue. They seem to fall over when they have a pig out.

I dunno.


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Okie dokie. I'm no expert but i'll have a stab at this.

Firstly, get some water conditioner, I can recommend Seachem Prime.

Secondly, start cleaning your filters with tank water not tap water.

Any idea of your GH/KH? I've had auratus and saulosi both drop and look dead when my hardness dropped not too long ago. Lost 1 auratus and 2 saulosi trying to get the hardness back to normal but most pulled through and survived.

Try doing a large water change without using salt, as salt isnt removed by evaporation and you adding it at every water change there is a chance that your salt levels have gradually gotten too high for the fish. Your existing fish have been gradually getting used to it but the new fish took it as a huge shock to the system and died?

Just my two cents.

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dyclops - My first two to go were two of the 4 new males, both from the same seller. Since then its been females only and the rest of the fish seem fine. Only one at a time gets sick. Seems to be affecting the gills somehow. Almost like the gill area underneath the mouth gets swolen and they can't breth properly, stress is evident in their colours (grey/black bars on body) and laboured breathing follows soon red gills also. Fish then is dead within 24 hours.

Palpatine - I have been doing water changed is this way for over 12 months now and have not lost any fish, they have been breeding and going strong. The water tastes good out of the barrel before it goes into the tank so I'm not too worried about that. The hardness level could be a problem though. What shoiut it be? I'll get a kit and try it out.

Lost another female last night. Soon I won't have any fish to get sick. Then my problem will have solved itself....

Frustratedly Smokey.

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The water tastes good out of the barrel

It's not really an issue of it tasting good, or that it sits there, its the chlorine and other chemicals that come out of your tap that are the problem. The water tastes fine out of your tap so why would it taste bad once you'd let it sit? Water conditioners are designed to remove all of that crap and make it safe for your fish. Get some.

Saulosi like a hardness around 20, so get your LFS to test the water and see where yours is. What sort of salt are you using?

If it was me i'd run out and grab some Prime, maybe some melafix and a stress coat product, and think about switching to a proper cichlid buffer/salt mix so you know how much you need to dose and dose it correctly. You could also try a broad spectrum parasitic/bacterial treatment.

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Sounds like the symptoms of mycobacteriosis....try some oxytet ASAP. If you can drop your temperature to under 24C it will help too. Unfortunately it won't go away but the lower temp. will help to control it.

Andrea :)

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hey all,

thanks for the advice so far. lost another females today. Only 9 female and 2 males left.

I have just done a 80% water change, and measured my KH at 6dkh. Way too low, so have put in 4 heaped tsp of Bicarb, and will reseasure again in a few hours and monitor. Will increase it over a few days to help reduce stress to my colony. Also have reduced temp to 22 deg

Will get some meds over the WE if i have any fish left to medicate, after some reasurch on the advice you guys are providing.



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Keep an eye on your GH as well, KH doesnt do much but keep the water stable, its the GH the fish are most sensitive to.

Thanks Andrea, was having trouble finding something that actually matched and was hoping someone else knew.

Good luck.

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