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Zebra Acara - gill filaments protruding past the operculum (gill cover) ??

Rich L.

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Hi All,

Just Got my first Zebra Acara.  Added it to my cichlid tank and its looking great.  Noticed it was breathing very heavy, but no other signs of distress (the other fish are all fine). Acara seems to be swimming, feeding, and interacting normally.   Watched it closer and I notice that I could see the filament part of the underlying gill protruding past the operculum (gill cover) by about a millimeter or so.  Follows the profile of the operculum evenly and is the same on both sides.  The filament part looks blue, but not like oxygen depleted, more like iridescent pigment.

Is this normal for Zebra Acaras?   Is this a symptom of a known parasite or infection? 

I don't think I've ever had a fish where I could see protruding gill filament.

I dosed with Metro and Praziquantel to be safe since the fish was new.

125g, pH 6.8, NH3 -0ppm, NO2-0ppm, NO3 - dosing to 30ppm, Kh, Dh 2 to 3 (Seattle water)

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On 4/15/2024 at 10:50 PM, Rich L. said:

Is this normal for Zebra Acaras?

Not in my experience. I haven't seen that in any of my fish. I guess it could be normal, just haven't seen it myself.

Attaching pics of my male and female.



Edited by tolstoy21
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for your replies. Apologies for my slow reply - been busy couple weeks at work.   

Here is a gif of the fish.  It's difficult to see the extra gill tissue without some motion because it has pigment and blends in.  I showed the full video around and most people seem to think its a deformity or injury when the fish was a fry.   Chang was very cool about it and offered to exchange it out for another Acara - But I'm thinking I'll keep him at this point.  He is the most aggressive cichlid in the tank - so him getting short of breath help even things out.   Please let me know what you think of this gillAcaraGif.gif.136dc945c65a52ba5b313f99ae042bfc.gif.

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