Cichlid Fish Diseases and Treatments

Being a cichlid fish owner, there will most likely come a time when you notice a diseased fish. This disease could be brought into the aquarium by a new fish, or could be an illness that develops overtime due to the lack of proper maintenance. Whatever the case may be, it is important to be able to identify the disease so that you can find a cure before it is too late.

First, let’s take a look at some of the signs that a cichlid will show when they are sick:

-Loss of color
-loss of appetite
-damaged or deformed fins
-hanging out in uncommon areas of the tank
-fuzziness or growths on the body
-irregular behavior

Of course these signs can only be detected if you are familiar with the behavior and health of your cichlid fish.

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, you should immediately place the sick fish in an isolated tank. This tank is also commonly referred to as a hospital tank and should be an appropriate size according to the fish. It is important to place some bio media, décor, and water from your main display tank into the hospital tank in order to keep the water parameters stable. The décor will provide the fish with a place to hide to ensure they feel safe and secure. I suggest not using carbon media in the hospital tank because this will cause most medications to not work properly.

In the hospital tank there should be a filter to keep the water clean and circulated; you may also need an air stone to provide adequate oxygen.

Here is a description of some of the most common cichlid fish diseases and treatments:


This is one of the most well-known diseases among freshwater fish. Most fish that are infected with ich will show small white specs all over their body and fins.



The easiest way to cure this specific disease is to purchase an ich treatment such as Clout. Carefully follow the instructions given on the bottle, and be sure not to dose more than recommended. Even once the white spots have gone away it is not acceptable to assume the disease is completely cured. You should continue to dose the ich treatment for at least another 3-4 days after the spots have disappeared.

Malawi Bloat

Despite the name, this disease can affect every species of cichlids and is normally caused by overfeeding, adding too much salt, or stress. This particular disease is very fast acting, and if not caught early, it can kill your fish within 1-7 days. Common symptoms for this disease include swelling, loss of appetite, breathing difficulties, and white feces.

Malawi Bloat


To treat this disease, I recommend placing the ill fish into your hospital tank and using the medication called Clout. When dosing Clout, carefully follow the instructions given on the bottle and perform a 30-40% water change before each dosage.


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Clout – 100 tabs
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Of course there are several diseases and infections that can occur with cichlid fish, but there are far too many to list. If you would like to learn about more diseases and treatments, you can find them in the Keeping Cichlids e-book.

I hope that you found this article informative and that you have success with curing your ill cichlids.

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