Illness, Health & Nutrition • Bloat Cure

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Bloat Cure

Postby sdenovan » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:36 pm

**While this bloat treatment has proven successful for many aquarists, there are other treatment options available as referenced within the updated Malawi Bloat article in the Library.**

After nearly a decade in the hobby, I have seen my fair share of fish get lost to bloat. There are a pile of remedies but I found that at best these gave the fish a 50/50 shot. With some trial and error I came up with the following method that has worked 100% of the time with no apparent negative side affects on breeding, health, etc.

(1) DO NOT FEED ANYTHING during this process.
(2) Start this procedure as soon as the fish shows symptoms (spitting familiar food, not eating, long stingy clear or white feces, gasping, hiding during feeding, bloated or emaciated belly,etc.) NOTE: If your fish is bloated but is still eating chances are it does NOT have bloat. A bloated belly is typically the LAST symptom you will see in a fish that has bloat.

Medication required: Clout (Aquarium Products)

Day 1: Move fish to quarantine tank and treat with Clout at full strength (1 tablet / 10 gallons--remove carbon from filter)

Day 2: No water change. Treat again with Clout at half strength.

Day 3: Do nothing

Day 4: Do an 80% water change and treat with Clout at full strength

Day 5: Do nothing

**Day 6--?: Return fish to main tank only after symptoms have subsided and the fish has been healthy: (eating, swimming, breathing normally) for at least a week.
Resist the urge to try feeding the fish until after the treatment is over and do not cut the treatment short regardless of whether the fish looks better or not. If at any time during the treatment your fish seems to be experiencing stress as a result of the medication then do an immediate 75% water change.

Bloat should also not be occurring regularly with your existing fish. If it is you should consult some of the excellent articles on the internet regarding diet, water quality etc. For myself, bloat has primarily been a problem with new arrivals up to 6 weeks after their arrival.
NOTE: All fish that have been exposed to bloat should be treated regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms. Seemingly healthy but bloat-exposed fish can be treated with Clout or fed metronidazole soaked food. If you choose to use Clout on the still healthy fish then you don't necessarily need to quarantine the sick fish.

Hope this helps save some fish.


**edited 4/9/05-Robin
**edited 4/18/10-Robin
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Postby Fishgal » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:50 pm

Thank you Shane, for taking the time to share your treatment procedure. I'm sure many people (and fish) will benefit from the info.

There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness.' -- Dave Barry
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Postby C-130hercules » Thu Sep 25, 2003 1:09 pm


This procedure REALLY works!!! I almost lost my only Venustus male and with this process I brought him back after he only mouthed food for 2 1/2 weeks. Thanks for saving him.
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Postby degrassi » Mon Sep 29, 2003 10:56 pm

sdenovan- how come on day 6 you return it to the main tank. Why don't you jsut leave him in the Q tank untill yo uknow that he is better?
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Cure For Bloat

Postby cichlidtamer » Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:57 am

Hey Shane, My name's Sunny Patel, and I have a 150 gallon aquarium with haps and a few mbunas in it. Though upsetingly, one of my best fish, a Aulonacara Baenschi had bloat. :( , but guess what, I tried your method, the six day proceure and IT WORKED :) i was so :o . Thanks alot, now i know what to do when this happens, thanks alot again, its just im so happy, and I wish i had done this before with my other fish.

anyway, thanks again!

Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 12:34 pm
Location: Montreal QC

Postby Fish Phenom » Sun Feb 08, 2004 10:29 pm

"Malawi bloat" is a disease perptuated by microscopic flagellates (parasites) that are commonly found in healthy fish. These one-celled protozoans reproduce by binary fission. They can occur on the skin, in the intestine, internal organs, and in the blood of fish.

Intestinal flagellates can be found in many fish which they do not harm. The pathogenicity of the organism varies from fish to fish. Thus, Angelfish may not be affected at all by the same flagellates that damage say a Discus. The intestines of these fish can contain millions of flagellates averaging in size of about 8-12 microns. Here is a list of some commonly known flagellates:

A. Hexamita
B. Spironucleus
c. Trichomanas
D. Bodamonas
E. Protoopalina

The most recognized are the first two.

Most researchers support the view that some of these protozoans reside in the intestines of healthy fish (dormant), but can proliferate to harmful numbers under stressful conditions.

Here is a recent quote from Ad Konings from his book Back to Nature Guide to Malawi Cichlids 2nd. edition pg. 46:

"Malawi Bloat is believed to be caused by a flagellate (a unicellular animal, a protozoan). This flagellate occurs in the intestines of all Malawi cichlids but normally causes no harm since the fish's immune system can cope with it. However, in a stressful situation such a balance may disappear and the fish may lose its resistance against an outbreak of a flagellate "attack". This often leads to bloat."

Fish are very good at fighting off disease, but when exposed to stressful conditions over a lengthy periods of time their immune systems weaken, thereby exposing them to the possibility of contracting various diseases. Under "stress" the organism multiplies causing considerable localised damage. Once severe enough, the intestinal lining is penetrated and the organism enters the blood causing systemic and organ infections. In large numbers they can block the intestinal tract of a fish creating the"bloat"effect.

Some stressors:

1. Low oxygen (O2) levels
2. High nitrite (NO2) levels
3. High nitrate (NO3) levels
4. High ammonia levels (NH3)
5. High or low temperature levels
6. Water pH
7. Lighting
8. Rough handling fish
9. Overcrowding
10. Not enough shelter
11. Harassment
12. Excessive salt
13. Improper diet (specifically herbivores)

What one should remember, is that the parasitical outbreak is brought upon by any number of stressors (some listed above), many times in conjunction with one another. Therefore, sometimes the best way to treat a disease is to prevent it from ever happening. A clean non-stressful environment will breed colorful, thriving cichlids.

If they get bloat from diet, is this in fact something different from bloat due to internal parasites?

No. They are one in the same. Diet in this case being the "stressor".

Is bloat only caused by these parasites, which in turn only become a problem if the fish is too stressed, which in turn can result from any number of causes, including diet, excess salts, etc?

As far as what has been proven, yes. Although, some tend to argue bloat can be bacterial in nature. I tend to agree with experts who feel bacterial complications are secondary in occurance only after the parasite has intially infiltrated the host.
Last edited by Fish Phenom on Thu Aug 19, 2004 10:10 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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