Diagnosis and Clinical Management of Granulomatous Gastritis in African Cichlids
IAAAM Archive
Ruth Francis-Floyd1,2; Hans Roese2; RuthEllen Klinger1,2; Roy Yanong3; Vicki Blazer4
1Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and 2Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 3Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, Ruskin, FL, USA; 4National Fish Health Laboratory, Kearneysville, WV, USA


Granulomatous gastritis or gastroenteritis has been reported as a cause of bloat in African cichlids for more than twenty years. A number of etiologies have been suggested including nutrition, diplomonad and microsporidian parasites and bacterial disease. The American Cichlid Association, under the guidance and support of Florida cichlid growers, has provided funds to investigate bloat in Florida-bred and wild-caught cichlids, Pseudotropheus zebra. Preliminary findings have identified an organism in the submucosa of gastric tissue, and occasionally, in the intestinal wall. In advanced cases large granulomatous lesions can be visualized in wet mount preparations of gastric mucosa, and infection can be confirmed histologically. Efforts are in progress to identify the suspect organism using special stains and transmission electron microscopy. Wild-caught fish from Lake Malawi have been imported in an effort to determine whether the organism might be present in feral populations. Clinical findings will be presented including a retrospective analysis of cases of bloat in African cichlids, clinical presentation of fish affected with granulomatous gastritis, diagnostic techniques, mortality patterns and response to a number of treatment regimes.


This work was supported with a grant from the American Cichlid Association. The authors specifically wish to thank Florida Exotic Fish Sales Inc., Homestead, FL; Old World Exotic Fish Inc., Homestead, FL and African Cichlids Inc., Sebastian FL for their support of this project.


1.  Ferguson HW. 1989. Gastrointestinal Tract, Pancreas and Swimbladder. In: Systemic Pathology of Fish. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA, Pp. 125-145.

2.  Noga EJ. 1986. Diet-associated granuloma in African cichlids. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 189(9):1145-1148.

3.  Woo PTK, Poynton SL. 1995. Diplomonadida, kinetoplastida, and amoebida (Phylum sarcomastogophora). In: Fish Diseases and Disorders, Volume 1: Protozoan and Metazoan Infections. CAB International, UK, Pp. 27-96.

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Ruth Francis-Floyd, DVM, MS, DACZM
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL, USA