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Hi, I bought a flowerhorn from a member of this forum 2.5 weeks ago. I've run into trouble quickly and need some advice from someone knowledgable about flowerhorns otherwise I'm going to lose this fish. He is an adult male over 30 cm long. He is on his own in a 6x2x2 - I have the water at 29-30 degrees, ammonia 0 and nitrate 10-20 ppm. I bought cycled filter media with him, so there was no ammonia spike or anything when transferred from the old owner to my tank. I have done two 25-30% water changes (water temp matched) since getting him. I was feeding him a food from rarefishfood that the seller supplied me but am in the process of switching to hikari cichlid gold. I have kept other fish for many years but not flowerhorns before.

Since getting him he has never been very active and I wasn't sure if this was normal for flowerhorns. But he would swim over when something attracts his attention and would always be waiting for food in the morning. Eating fine, normal looking poo. Feeding him 4 3mm pellets/day as per old owner. On Sunday I started to become a bit concerned as I thought his breathing looked a little more laboured. On Tuesday I noticed a small hole had opened up below his Kok, with a tiny pin sized hole beside it. Prior to the hole forming I had noticed like small pimple. Looks like HITH to me. At that point he was still eating and behaving normally. By Wednesday he was looking worse - hanging at the back of the tank, less reactive to stimulii, but still eating. On Wednesday I started treatment with the best information I could find from a sticky from Den on Flowerhorn Fun - which was metronidazole 400 mg per 40 litres - suggested regime water change and repeat every 48 hours. Today he was still eating this morning but colours fading fast and more lethargic. He ate tonight but only by hand feeding. Still pooing but they look smaller in diameter. I have started to change his food because of the possible dietary component but haven't switched over in one go.

I have human metronidazole and can get enough to treat my tank (I've reduced the volume to 400 litres but don't want to stress him more by putting him in a smaller tank) every second day for about 8 days. Treating orally would be better but I can't find any suggested dosing regimes and the window on that is rapidly closing because I think he'll stop eating soon.

Any help in the way of suggested treatment regimes would be much appreciated. I would be really sad to lose such a large and beautiful fish so soon.

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It may not be hexamita at all. Your treatment regime is correct and yes human metro is the same form.

I would ask the seller if the fish was in a higher salinity tank for a start. Alot of people keep salt in there tanks with cichlids.

i would raise the salinity over 3 days. First day 1gram per 10 litres. Second day 2 grams. 3rd day 3 grams. No more.

the second thing i would do is make a mix of 500mls of water to 15grams of epsom salts and soak its food in this before feeding.

i would also dose the tank with a broader spectrum antibiotic something like wardleys promethyasul.

your description sounds much more bacterial than protozoan. The salt and promethyasul will kill bacterium and the epsom salt laden food will both pick the fish up and clean out its bowels.

with bacteria warm water means fast population increase. Drop the temp to 24.

best of luck

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[MENTION=8799]Bubblegirl[/MENTION] can you upload some pics of the head. Metro dose rate I use is different to what you have been advised and is daily not every second day. Will p.m you details. Metro honestly is not fast acting when used with fish and often yields not results at all. I'll p.m you treatment suggestion. Cheers

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[MENTION=323]fishking[/MENTION]?

[MENTION=4247]Matmatmat[/MENTION]?

[MENTION=8516]none[/MENTION]?

Tuffy to the rescue!

Bubblegirl, take Tuffys advice he has been keeping fish like these for a loooong time and knows what he's on about, he's also a super good bloke.. But that's irrelevant right now.. Seriously take Tuffys advice.

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My wife and I are following this post with a box of tissues. Damn those spring colds ;) Our friend has also had a problem with her flower horn this week, which makes your issues closer to the heart. She has removed it to an esky, believing that it was infected due to a plugin household air freshener. I hope for her sake it is nothing more than just toxins.

When keeping larger fish I understand it's hard not to become attached so Good luck with yours and I hope it recovers well. :)

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Thanks everyone, Thought I would do an update. He seems to be improving - still eating and no more stringy poos. He's much more reactive and not just hanging in the corner of the tank all the time. I've done 3 days of metro - and I'll keep treating for at least another 3-5 days. Fingers crossed he continues to improve.

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Thought I'd update this just for anyone interested or who may have a simialr problem. I swicthed from metro in the water to metro in the food. Dosed according to a protocol I finally found in Merck's vet manual - 50 mg of metro per kg of fish per day. I cut the tablet up so they were approximately the correct dose, then each feed dissolved them in bottled water and soaked the pellets in the medication. He at them no problem and improved much more quickly than when the medication was just in the water. If the fish is eating I think this is a much better way of doing things - uses much less medication (need a few tablets versus boxes of the stuff), gets it to where it needs to go so works better, doesn't cause bacterial blooms in the water and means you don't have to be doing a big water change every day.

The hole in the head has almost vanished and he seems back to his usual self. I treated for 10 days.

Hope this information might be of use to someone else.

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