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Treating Bloat and Ick simultaneously in main tank?


New Member
I have a 75 gallon with 15 Mbuna, 4 OB Peacock and 3 Syno Cats. One of the mbuna came down with bloat. I removed him and surrendered him to my local LFS who is treating him. They instructed me to treat the whole tank with Metro, Aquarium Salt and Epsom Salt and bump the temp to 85. I bought all the supplies and when i got home, after close inspection i saw a few fish with white specks on their body and caudal fin. One of the OBs have it the worst.

What are ways to treat both of these ailments?


CCA Members
I don't know about Africans, but in Discus you treat protozoan infection with Metronidazole, Epsom Salts, and HEAT (raise the temperature to 96).

If you treat your Africans with that kind of heat, it should wipe out the ich without any other treatment. On the other hand, I'm not sure they can tolerate it because I really don't know much about Africans.


Board of Directors
Staff member
Becca has a point. You can take most fish up to 89 to 90 for Ich treatment, as long as you increase their aeration.

I just would wonder what that would do to their metabolism of metro.


Staff member
I'd treat the ick first, bloat might be secondary to the ick, then again it could happen either way. Bloat can be very tough to successfully treat though, while ick is fairly easy to treat if caught early enough.


CCA Members
First, please understand that there is no such disease as "bloat." Bloat is a symptom, not a disease, and treating for bloat is like treating a person for "runny nose." It can be caused by many different things, and the treatment will vary significantly.

Bloat is caused by a build up of either gas, or more commonly, fluids inside of the fish's body. Rarely, it is caused by a growth in the fish, which can be egg mass, parasites, cancer, and even pregnancy (I've had customers try to treat pregnant livebearers for bloat!). Gas build ups will cause bloating, but this usually comes with buoyancy problems, and is typically described as "swim bladder disease," which can be bloating or a bunch of other things. Fluids will build up in the tissues of your fish for a lot of reasons. In Malawi mbuna, and particularly in their Tanganyikan cousins, this can be triggered by poor diet, but the main reason is probably the same: failure of the kidneys. This is the number one cause of bloat, and I would say represents 95% of actual cases.

Now, what's causing the kidneys to fail? Processing too much protein does it. Certain bacterial infections. Stress. Genetics. Bad mojo.

Generally, its not contagious. If more than one fish is displaying symptoms, you should check your water quality, nutrition, and other factors first. Even if it is a parasitic infection, they're seldom virulent. They have to reach an incredible critical mass before they really harm the fish, and its unlikely that numerous fish will be displaying at once - unless something else is wrong. Remember, its a poor parasite that kills its host. Bloated fish are stressed fish. Fix the stressor.

Stressed fish are more susceptible to all sorts of diseases, including ich. Ich is very easily fought off by healthy fish's immune systems: unstressed fish rarely, if ever, get ich. If the fish are coming down with ich, something is stressing them out. A new fish, bad water conditions, etc., including being exposed to a fish that has an ich infection (e.g., if you buy a fish at petsmart and toss it in a tank of healthy fish, that guys gonna get ich, and then everyone else is.). So, somewhere in your tank you have a problem, and need to figure out what it is.

I wouldn't worry about "treating the whole tank for bloat." I would attack the ich, vigorously, and then try to fix what your tank problem is. Raising the temperature over 24-48 hours to 88°F, keeping it there for 5 days, and then decreasing it to normal over another 3-4 days will eliminate ich with no other medication. You must increase aeration in a heavily stocked tank. You cannot do this on really badly infected fish, as they generally will not survive -- the crux of it is that they'll generally not survive anything you do to them. :-/

Goodluck! :)