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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,
I have a group of 12 ps saulosi (all juvi unsexed, guessing male-heavy) in a 50 gallon 36" tank. Water chemistry is 0 ammonia 0 nitrite 5-10 nitrate 8.2 PH, 78 degrees. I'm also running a carbon and a UV on the tank. Feed NLS daily with very occasional frozen brine shrimp treats. I was feeding Spirulina occasionally until about 2 weeks ago. Weekly 20-30% water changes. I got them from a fairly reputable source, although I do have concerns about the general quality of the species line in captivity at the moment given their meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years.

Here's my problem: they have these black specs all over them. On some, it looks like a very light dusting (almost like the peppering I see on some discus) or like the over-spray from black spray paint. Two in particular have groupings of these black dots that basically look like solid, irregular, blotchy markings on their fins. Of the 12, there's only one that appears 100% entirely "clean."

I've read some old posts on this forum that seem to indicate that some people think it is diet related (which is strange, given the alleged culprit is spirulina and saulosi are herbivores), other say it's parasitic (due to pond-breeding at hatcheries). I figured I'd post a few pictures and see what you folks think. I dosed the tank with API general cure a few weeks back, but it didn't appear to make any sort of difference.

The main concern I have is whether you folks think they could be hybrids. My secondary concern is whether I should be dosing something to avoid losing the colony.

Thanks!





 

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Were they pond raised in Florida? I had spots like this on red zebra once and treated with various products. The meds made no difference but the black spots eventually went away. Took a year or more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
After inquiring with my LFS, that appears to be the culprit. Said they were mixture of F1 and F2s but from an open-pond facility. So, I guess I'll update in a year or so and see if it went away on its own. I wonder if it doesn't react to anti-parasitic because the parasite itself is already dead but the fish's immune response (pigmentation) takes a while to catch up.

DJ, do you think there's any merit to the spirulina spots thing? Cause if not I'll probably go back to feeding them that. My group liked the spirulina flake even more than brine shrimp.
 

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I would not feed brine shrimp to mbuna as a staple...spirulina food usually has a small enough percent of spirulina that it will not cause spots. Why not feed a balanced staple food like NLS or Northfin that has spirulina in it but not too much?
 

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It's been a few years but I remember posting that I heard that spirulina was often cited as a cause for black spots in fish but was disabused of that idea by one of the long time members that that was one of those unproven internet myths that gets repeated. I'll try and locate that topic if I can find it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I usually only give them brine shrimp once a month or so, and that's just leftovers from whatever goes into the other tanks. Their daily diet is NLS cichlid, which they love.

Yeah Deeda, I have heard that it's just a myth too. And that makes sense; how could a species that only eats vegetables (and micro-organisms on rocks) in the wild react badly to an algae flake? I only started feeding it because I thought it might be a natural color-enhancer (plus, they really like it).
 

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Spots or not, spirulina is very intense and high protein as well. I think moderation is key, but the staple foods have the right mix.
 
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