Peacock cichlid stuck in rock now swimming irratic

  • Get the NEW AquariaCentral iOS app --> // Android version will be out soon!


Registered Member
Jan 12, 2021
I found my peacock cichlid stuck in a rock. I freed him but he has a big gash in his head and is swimming irraticly and even upside down. I took him out of tank and put him in a cycled 10 gallon half full with some Melafix and salt . Now he is just kinda floating in there upside down. He will swim a little. Please tell me he isnt ganna die and I did the right thing.


Fish Wrangler
Oct 16, 2008
Wonderful Windy Wyoming
Real Name
You did the right thing to move him to a QT tank, as Rift Valley cichlids are horrible about taking advantage of a weakened fish and harassing it until it is dead.

To address the wound first. Is the gash clear to the skull? Is there any skin hanging loose enough that it looks like it is loose enough to fall or rip right off? Is it actively bleeding, even if only a small amount?

Now to the swimming issues. Do you know if he was he wedged in because he was hiding, or did he become trapped when rockwork shifted? Did he try to wedge himself further when you were trying to rescue him or was he already completely immobilized? Hopefully you removed rock work to get him out rather than trying to pull him out.

It sounds to me like he might have some crushing damage from shifting rockwork, and it doesn't take much of a shift to crush a fish and cause internal damage. A lot of possibilities on the gash, too many to count. Can you get some pics? It might help. But honestly the prognosis isn't good from what you described. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it's best IMO to be honest up front.

  • Like
Reactions: Rbishop


Staff member
Dec 30, 2005
Real Name
Mr. Normal
I’d do a normal water change on the tank he came from, and then do frequent changes on the QT tank, with main tank water, adding meds as necessary....
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Wyomingite