Cichlids are great fish that many people are quite fond of. If you have some cichlids in your tank, you already know how neat they are.
You try to do your best to take care of the fish to keep them healthy. Sometimes things will go wrong if you make mistakes in the tank, though.
If your fish appear to have mouth fungus, it’s not something you should ignore. This is something that you should try to fix as soon as you can.
Read on to learn about cichlids and issues with mouth fungus. You’ll learn why this happens as well as what you should do to treat it.
What Is Mouth Fungus?
Sometimes fish will get fungal infections. This normally has to do with poor conditions in the tank.
You might notice that your fish will have some type of fungal growth on or near their mouths. Typically, this is referred to as mouth rot.
Certain types of fungal infections can negatively impact your fish in different ways. You might have heard about conditions such as fin rot and tail rot in fish.
Mouth rot is a lot like that except the fungal growth is focused on the mouth area. This is caused by bacteria and something that can be very problematic for your cichlids.
There are some differences between mouth rot and fin rot. Mouth rot tends to develop much slower than fin rot, and that gives you more time to treat the fish, in some cases.
Some strains will develop very fast. If the mouth rot situation is particularly bad, it could kill the cichlids within a few days. This is why it’s imperative to recognize the mouth rot fast so you can start treating the fish.
Commonly, you’ll see a white and cotton-like fungus on and around the mouth of the fish. Sometimes the mouth will look as if it is moldy.
Eventually, you’ll see the mouth start to corrode as the rot progresses. It’ll wind up having a frayed appearance.
Don’t wait to take action. You want to fix this issue before it kills your cichlids.
What Causes Mouth Fungus?
Mouth fungus is caused by bacteria. The bacteria infect the fish and cause the mouth rot to occur.
However, you should know that fish won’t normally have issues like this unless they’re in a tank with poor water conditions. Healthy fish that are living in tanks with good water quality shouldn’t contract mouth rot.
It’s likely that the water is dirty or the water parameters are pretty far off of where they need to be. You might have become too relaxed when it comes to cleaning the fish tank.
Dirty water is going to cause the cichlid’s stress. You need to avoid issues like this by cleaning the tank regularly and doing weekly water changes.
The water parameters being thrown off can create an environment where bacteria will thrive, too. This could directly cause the mouth fungus issues that you’re noticing now.
In the future, you should do a better job of monitoring the condition of the fish tank. Regularly test the pH balance of the water and make changes when necessary.
Protecting your fish is important. By doing normal tank maintenance, it makes it less likely that your fish will ever have to deal with mouth rot again.
It should also be noted that nutritional issues might play a role. If you haven’t been feeding the cichlids well, they might become nutrient-deficient and will experience stress.
Remember to feed your fish on time. Give them nutrient-rich foods that will help them to stay as healthy as possible.
How Can You Treat Mouth Fungus?
Getting rid of mouth fungus will involve using antibacterial medications and potentially other treatments. Antibiotics should help to clear up the infection over time.
You’ll also need to address problems in the tank and make positive changes. Ensure that the water quality is high and fix any issues that cause the fish stress.
Follow the instructions on the medication and treat the fish for the right number of days. There are different antibiotics that you can buy that will work to treat this issue.
One popular option is Maracyn. You should be able to buy everything that you need at a local pet store.
If only one or two of your fish have mouth fungus, it’d be better to quarantine them in a separate tank as soon as you can. This will allow you to treat those fish specifically.
Some people like to add aquarium salt to the tank to help the healing process. This can potentially help the fish, but you need to be careful not to use too much.
Try to keep your fish strong by feeding them high-quality foods as they recover. This can help them to have a better chance of survival.
Mouth fungus is a problem that can be very serious. This isn’t something that you should ignore if you care about the cichlids in your tank.
When you see that a fish has mouth rot, it’ll be best to act right away. You can help the fish to get better by treating it with antibacterial medications.
It’s easy to get the right medicine at local pet stores. The treatment process will typically last for five days.
Just follow the instructions and continue to take care of your fish. You should also pay close attention to water quality.
Fix any problems in the tank that might have made your fish stressed. You might need to do a better job monitoring the pH balance of the water and keeping things clean.
Be sure that your fish tank isn’t overcrowded. This is another thing that might stress the fish and it’ll make it harder to keep the tank clean.
Now that you know more about mouth fungus, it’ll be easy to know what to do. You want to try to prevent this from happening in the future, but at least you’ll understand what steps to take if it ever happens again.
Being a proactive fish owner gives you the best chance of helping the fish survive mouth fungus issues. If you do nothing, it’s very likely that the fish will die.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.